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Advice/experiences with 3 year old and 12 month old?

PSM

Active Member
Original Poster
With our second boy due in June, we likely won't be going on another family vacation until mid next year at the earliest. There's simply no way my wife will want to go to Disney while still breast-feeding and pumping - plus have a toddler - and she wants to breast feed until the baby is about a year old like she did with our first (we then took him to WDW on his first birthday).

That said, it's never too early to start planning the next trip! So, I'm really just looking to get the creative and inspirational juices flowing. I don't necessarily have any specific questions to ask; I'm more seeking any random thoughts and advice anyone can share based on their own experiences in a similar situation.

A few key details that likely won't change are:

- We'll be staying at either a Moderate hotel or a family suite at Art of Animation or All-Star Music. Wife won't want a standard room at a Value and we can't afford Deluxe.

- The trip will probably include anywhere from 5-7 full days, plus the two travel days.

- Flying in from out of state on direct 2-hour flight, Magical Express from the airport.

- We like pool time, so that will be included even at the expense of the extra park time I enjoy (with two little kids, it seems sacrificing park time for pool time makes a lot of sense, so I'm 100% on board with that).

Other than that, much of it is undecided, so really any input or stories could be helpful. Thanks!
 

HouCuseChickie

Well-Known Member
I think a lot hinges on you guys when they're that young.

-Good stroller nappers can stay in the parks all day while those who don't probably need a daily nap break back at the resort.
-Kids who can deviate from their home routines may be able to go to later dinners, fireworks, etc. while ones who need to keep a strict schedule will likely have to have all planning around that to maintain it while on vacation.
-Little kids means bringing more stuff and a bigger stroller. We found that summer trips meant less to pack than winter trips and trips with diaper age kids means more changes of clothes. We opted for rooms with more space when our kids were young for this reason.
-With those ages, you may also want to look into having things delivered vs. packing/flying with some of the necessities. In other words, you don't want to use suitcase space on diapers and such.
-Most people don't know how their kids will respond to characters, but I went pretty heavy with character dining plans when ours were younger...especially pre-park opening breakfasts, so character stuff wouldn't eat away too much at our park time.

One thing we also did when ours were younger was divide and conquer. In those early days, there were always things the older one was tall enough to do, but not the younger one. So, one of us would ride Barnstormer or something like that with the older one while the other would go off with the younger one and find a play area or attraction with no height restrictions. I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
Personally I would look into renting DVC points. We have stayed at Animal Kingdom - Kidani and Bay Lake Tower in studio rooms for not much more than a moderate and less than a suite at Animation. Bay Lake Tower was exceptionally convenient with a small kiddo after spending time at Magic Kingdom or Epcot. (We split that stay and spend the first half at POFQ, which was fine.) I would also look for a hotel with a splash pad, if your kiddo likes that. Mine does and it made a big difference. POFQ has a nice splash area, as does Kidani and Grand Floridian. Not sure about the other hotels. Swan/Dolphin might also be a good to look into, since they are boat/walking distance to Epcot and HS.
 

PSM

Active Member
Original Poster
I think a lot hinges on you guys when they're that young.

-Good stroller nappers can stay in the parks all day while those who don't probably need a daily nap break back at the resort.
-Kids who can deviate from their home routines may be able to go to later dinners, fireworks, etc. while ones who need to keep a strict schedule will likely have to have all planning around that to maintain it while on vacation.
-Little kids means bringing more stuff and a bigger stroller. We found that summer trips meant less to pack than winter trips and trips with diaper age kids means more changes of clothes. We opted for rooms with more space when our kids were young for this reason.
-With those ages, you may also want to look into having things delivered vs. packing/flying with some of the necessities. In other words, you don't want to use suitcase space on diapers and such.
-Most people don't know how their kids will respond to characters, but I went pretty heavy with character dining plans when ours were younger...especially pre-park opening breakfasts, so character stuff wouldn't eat away too much at our park time.

One thing we also did when ours were younger was divide and conquer. In those early days, there were always things the older one was tall enough to do, but not the younger one. So, one of us would ride Barnstormer or something like that with the older one while the other would go off with the younger one and find a play area or attraction with no height restrictions. I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now.
Really good things to think about and exactly the types of thoughts I'm looking for. Thanks so much!
Personally I would look into renting DVC points. We have stayed at Animal Kingdom - Kidani and Bay Lake Tower in studio rooms for not much more than a moderate and less than a suite at Animation. Bay Lake Tower was exceptionally convenient with a small kiddo after spending time at Magic Kingdom or Epcot. (We split that stay and spend the first half at POFQ, which was fine.) I would also look for a hotel with a splash pad, if your kiddo likes that. Mine does and it made a big difference. POFQ has a nice splash area, as does Kidani and Grand Floridian. Not sure about the other hotels. Swan/Dolphin might also be a good to look into, since they are boat/walking distance to Epcot and HS.
I have thought about renting DVC points before but never went through with it. I'll look into it again. Also, a good splash pad is a must!
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
Really good things to think about and exactly the types of thoughts I'm looking for. Thanks so much!

I have thought about renting DVC points before but never went through with it. I'll look into it again. Also, a good splash pad is a must!
You also might consider the square footage of the rooms. A suite at Animation would be bigger than DVC studios, of course, and has two bathrooms. The BLT studio was on the smaller side, which doesn't bother us at all, but might be more problematic with two little ones.The studios at Poly and Grand Floridian have both a bathtub and a separate shower, which I know some people like so two people can get washed up at once.

If your kids love a good splash pad, you might look into which resorts have zero-entry pools. Also look into which hotels have playgrounds. Not all of them do.

Another thing to consider is the stroller situation. I believe you can take strollers on the monorail without having to fold them up, which makes the monorail hotels very appealing to those with small kiddos. With just one kiddo, we took a small umbrella stroller so it wasn't a big deal to fold it up for buses, but if you have a double stroller, I'm sure that's more difficult, especially at the end of the night if kiddos are sleeping.

Our kiddo absolutely loves the monorail as well as the boat trip from POFQ to Disney Springs. I believe POFQ, POR, SSR, and OKW all have a boat to Disney Springs. Of course there's also boat transportation in the Magic Kingdom area and on Crescent Lake between Epcot and HS.
 

jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
One of the main "issues" that I have seen people have is that they think that they can still tour like they did before they had kids. I recommend several things... keeping their sleep schedule as much as possible, and that means that if they had a rough night and are still sleeping in the morning, do not wake them up. That will lead to a tired and cranky baby all day. Make sure they are well hydrated. We kept giving them sips of water all day long every 15 minutes or so. Make sure that the food that they eat for the main meals is healthy. Processed foods will eventually drag them down. Getting a rotisserie chicken and some green beans in them will do more for their stamina then anything else. Know that it is OK to spend a half an hour just looking at the ducks if that is what is making them happy at the time. The biggest thing is to just pay attention to them and see how they are feeling at the time. Most "melt downs" can be thwarted before they start if you see that your child is hungry, tired, had enough, etc. We started taking our kids when they were 1 & 2 years old and they have been every year since(they are now 18 & 19). I loved it when they were little and still believed all of it was real. Have a great trip.
 

cat hem

Active Member
The first time we took our kids they were 2.5 and 4. We only had an umbrella stroller (quick easy to fold) and as an additional accessory - we brought my parents! They were fantastic, took the tired kids back to the room, DH and I could tour later into the night. Worked out great for us. Back then the AOA wasn't built so we had two adjoining rooms at CB.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
We've been going two or three times per year since my oldest was about six months old. She's now 5, her sister is 2, and baby brother just joined us. Our two biggest tips are 1) avoid the heat (whether you go in the winter or leave the parks midday) and 2) get plenty of sleep. Everything else is easy.

This stroller is awesome. Fits both kids very comfortably and folds up small enough to fit through the scanner at the airport.


FWIW, my wife says nursing at Disney is super easy but to leave the pump at home. It's not worth all of the extra equipment (pumps, bottles, refrigeration, etc.)
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
If you find yourself in the midst of potty-training the toddler while at WDW (or even in the months just after), my advice is to stop and have everybody use the restroom every time you go by one. It's easy to get so distracted at WDW that you aren't really listening to your body and don't realize you have to go until you really have to go!
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
We've done those ages (though not together) the 3yo could be the wildcard. Are they napping? Are they terrible in their 2s already as 3s can be worse? Are you willing to split up if one melts and the other doesn't? What about potty training? Those are truly bigger issues than the 1yo in our experience.
 

carriebeth

Well-Known Member
When mine were 3 even if they were completely potty trained at home and every other non vacation situation, we did mandatory pull-ups just in case there was ever an accident it was a super easy clean up situation. No matter how many times you make them go right before entering a cue or a lone ride or show it seems they will just have to go at least once at an inoppurtune time during a two week trip! An extra pull up and a small pack of wipes packed just in case. Although we never need up with any sort of accident at Disney the peace of mind that we were well prepared was worth it. We did have to temporarily exit a show or two or leave a line and get re entry once for a potty emergency but that’s not bad for 8 kids over the years going every year at least once. We did the pull-ups at night at the resort as well because often kids are exhausted on vacation and don’t wake up when they have to go. Doing that did save us from a wet bed once I recall.
I gave this pull up advice to a friend once and she opted not to put a pull upon her 3 year old because she was “completely potty trained”. It was unfortunate that on the jungle cruise boat everyone on their boat ended up with a wet seat 1/2 way thru the ride !
 

NickMaio

Well-Known Member
Personally I would look into renting DVC points. We have stayed at Animal Kingdom - Kidani and Bay Lake Tower in studio rooms for not much more than a moderate and less than a suite at Animation. Bay Lake Tower was exceptionally convenient with a small kiddo after spending time at Magic Kingdom or Epcot. (We split that stay and spend the first half at POFQ, which was fine.) I would also look for a hotel with a splash pad, if your kiddo likes that. Mine does and it made a big difference. POFQ has a nice splash area, as does Kidani and Grand Floridian. Not sure about the other hotels. Swan/Dolphin might also be a good to look into, since they are boat/walking distance to Epcot and HS.
How do no DVC members get access to DVC properties? Honestly - - - - might do that for our next trip summer 2021 or 22?
Thanks
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
How do no DVC members get access to DVC properties? Honestly - - - - might do that for our next trip summer 2021 or 22?
Thanks
DVC members sometimes rent their points to nonmembers. There are a couple of points brokers online that are pretty popular, but I don't know the status of them following the COVID issue. (If you search for DVC rental store or Davids, I'm sure you'll get some reviews from folks you have used them.) One of the drawbacks to renting points from a member is that you can't really make changes to the reservation or cancel the reservation, unless perhaps if you have some sort of agreement directly with a member.

Disney also does rent a limited number of DVC units directly to nonmembers, but it's expensive.

We really appreciated the kitchenette in the DVC studios. 1-bedroom and larger units have a full kitchen.
 

Gingersnap

New Member
I am going to keep a close eye to this thread as I just had a baby girl in February and being a single mom I am looking for answers to when I am planning on taking her to WDW for the first time which will probably be around 3 years of age. I have also not been to WDW since I was 7 years old and have only been twice in my entire like and I am going to be 31 in early July. So any advice on this thread would be a huge plus.

Also to the OP congratulations on your 2nd child.
 

Disney4allseasons

New Member
Congratulations! I bet you can’t wait to go. From what I’ve seen on YouTube on the Tim tracker he and his wife do tonnes of videos on Disney and have just had their first baby and it was amazing to see what they did in the parks and their first character meet and greet with Mickey Mouse! There always seem to a be a lot of stressed parents and overtired kids when I’ve been in some of the parks so definitely listen to how you and the kids feel. I was in the pool at GF one night and all the parents were saying we’ve got to go for a character dinner but all the kids wanted to do was stay and play in the pool. It was the same in the Pooh’s honey hunt queue in Magic Kingdom. The kids loved the games but didn’t really want to move up the queue onto the ride. If they’re having fun it doesn’t always matter about how many character meals you do or how many attractions you ride. Some nights you might even be happier not watching fireworks, so just go with the flow and if you need a r3st day at the resort just have it. Even going as adults with my mum and sis we had one and it made a big difference, though we probably don’t have nearly as much energy as any of the toddlers out and about.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
I am going to keep a close eye to this thread as I just had a baby girl in February and being a single mom I am looking for answers to when I am planning on taking her to WDW for the first time which will probably be around 3 years of age. I have also not been to WDW since I was 7 years old and have only been twice in my entire like and I am going to be 31 in early July. So any advice on this thread would be a huge plus.
If you go before she turns 3, she will get into the Parks for free. Kids under 3 can also eat at buffets for free and share a meal at a sit-down restaurant for free, if I remember correctly from my kiddo's first trip. If 3 is the magic age in your mind, I'd plan for a couple of months before to save money.
 

FeelsSoGoodToBeBad

Well-Known Member
So much good advice here! My husband and I have taken anywhere from one to three kids (depending on what number we were up to) over the last several years. Priorities and necessities absolutely change as they get older, plus each kiddo is different, so keep that in mind for later when you have a better idea of your children's individual personalities and needs. That said, I have a few things to reiterate and then a few of my own to add....

* Scheduling can be important. We were never ones that kept to a "normal" schedule with our 18 month old on our first trip because she dealt well with being out all day. She REFUSED to nap while we were at the parks, but never got fussy no matter how tired she was. We have pictures of her looking like a zombie in the stroller one minute, and smiling with wonder a few minutes later. Had we taken our son when he was very young (6mo or less) there's no way we could have been out past 7:30p CST. You could set your watch by the "I'm completely done with my day" meltdown; I am not exaggerating a bit.
* If you're in the middle of potty training, I would recommend UnderJams if they still make them. They are cloth, but have a pocket in the crotch for what are essentially pads. They breathe better and since they're cloth would probably be more comfortable, and we never had any issues with leaking.
* Strollers are invaluable. Decide what you feel is most important in a stroller and shop accordingly. I would definitely suggest one stroller, either some variation of a traditional double or a sit-and-stand type I bring this up because a few times I've seen two parents pushing a single stroller each while only one is in use for a kiddo (usually the other has a backpack in the seat). One stroller that seats two allows parents to alternate who's in charge of pushing while the other can keep track of the child that refuses to sit in one. The standard double is likely going to be more comfortable for both kiddos, and offers the benefit of lots of storage, but they drive like tanks. With a sit-and-stand, the front seat lays back and can accommodate a pumpkin seat while the back area has a bench with safety belt for the older child when they want to sit, but also has a platform if they'd rather just catch a ride for a few minutes. Storage is more limited (and way back when when we had ours they apparently thought parents didn't need a place to put drinks so much) but it was much easier to drive and had a smaller footprint, while still relatively easy to collapse when necessary
* Don't get your heart set on that perfect picture with your child's favorite Disney character. Remember that 18 month old? Yeah, she was TERRIFIED of all of the costumed characters, whether they were in a suit or not. It wasn't until the very last meal at the end of our very last day that she FINALLY decided Pooh and his friends probably weren't going to kill her and she would like a brief hug from him. It made that last day all the more special. 😻
* Two bathrooms would be nice for a family of four, but you'll pay for it. Nice yes, but necessary? That will be up to you guys to decide. Last I looked (yesterday), it cost more money to get a family suite at AoA than to get two rooms at CBR by almost $100. That's a whole lotta dole whip and mouse ears!
* Consider bringing someone to help with the kids. On each of our trips, we have a best friend that has traveled with us. She was invaluable, especially when the kids outnumbered the parents. This is YOUR vacation too, so don't get so wrapped up in the kiddos getting everything they might want without treating yourself as well! If you do bring a "helper", you're absolutely gonna want a second bathroom.
* Begin with the end in mind. If you don't send the diapers ahead or order them after you arrive, do be sure to pack an extra suitcase, either in another piece of luggage, or filled with those diapers and snacks. You're probably going to need the space to bring those souvenirs back home.
* BRING. ALL. THE. SHOES. My biggest piece of advice for walking children (and adults): Pack an extra pair of walking shoes for each member of your party. Popup showers (and downpours) are routine at Disney and we've been forced to walk through some pretty deep puddles on more than one occasion. Nobody likes walking in soggy shoes. More importantly, you don't realize how stinky your little darling's shoes are until you're sitting in the bathroom floor, using a hairdryer for what feels like forever, trying to get their shoes dry enough that they'll be able to use them the next day. 🤢

Hopefully I didn't come off too "know-it-all". As I said in the beginning, all the advice in the world may be for naught, since each kid is different.
 

corsairk09

Active Member
We took a trip in September with my 3yo and 12 yo and had an amazing time. I second what everyone is saying about sleep schedules! Every day we took a mid-day break from the parks and went back to the hotel for a quiet movie or a nap. I believe that was ESSENTIAL to our success. We have a trip planned in early November with our new son. IT will be his first bithday and I am looking for any ideas or tip about toddler birthdays! Will be a new one for us!
 

Goof-Man

Active Member
We went to WDW when my daughter was 3 and my son was six months. It was an amazing trip. We rented a stroller from a local place in Orlando and had it delivered to the resort. We also ordered a box of diapers and some accessories while we were there. The trip was good and it was one of the most memorable trips I have.

Our daughter kept us going throughout the week, she is and always has been a night owl and an early riser. So her and I would get up and go for a walk and at night we would play at the beach at CBR and then bed time was amazing. I would sit down with her on the bed and the two of us were asleep within minutes and slept all night only to repeat the next day.

The staff at CBR were amazing and helped us when they would be going by if we needed it.

In terms of breastfeeding, my wife would be feeding our son and my daughter and I would go and explore the park. Her and I would go into a gift shop and this is where Daddy got to spoil her a bit.
 

Club Cooloholic

Well-Known Member
You will do fine, we took our kids who were around that age, as mentioned get a good double stroller that isn't a total monster like a City Mini(can be rented but after renting one you will wish you owned one for home). Remember this park experience will be very different from when you go without kids. Take your time, enjoy the details, you won't be riding the big boys unless taking turns with your wife and that's ok. Enjoy the resort more, going from morning till night at the parks is probably not going to happen. Best part is you will do stuff and rides that cater to the little ones, a few years down the line you might find yourself wistful for the kids dance party at the Studios.
 

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