Seeking Input on Various Options for a 3 y/o First Visit to WDW

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
My 2.5 y/o daughter is already chomping at the bit to get to WDW (it must be in her blood/genes). She has been to Disney on ice twice and Disney Live once, and knows that she can meet the Princesses and Mickey/Minnie at WDW. My wife and I have told her that we will take her when she is 3 years old.

We are considering 2 options for the trip:

(1) A November 2018 visit to WDW for 3 nights in which we would leave our current newborn son (who will be 12 months in November 2018) at home with my in-laws.

(2) A February 2019 visit to WDW for 5 nights in which we would bring our then 15 month old son with us. If we decide to bring our son, we will wait until February so that he will be down to 1 nap and out of the bottle stage.

Our plan either way is to stay at the Contemporary for the close proximity to MK.

On one hand, I like the idea of the whole family being together. We will miss him very much if he is not with us. On the other hand, we will be able to get a lot more done without having the nap, early bedtime, and other schedule/logistical issues with a 15 month old. We will also be able to focus on our daughter who will love and get a lot out of this WDW visit (while our son at 15 months won't get anything except cute pictures out of the trip).

I realize that there is no right or wrong answer to this question and ultimately, it is personal decision for each family, but I am curious to see how other families have handed this type of situation and if there are other factors that I haven't thought of yet.

One more factor: After this visit, our family will be making annual trips to WDW so the question should be viewed in that context (as opposed to a situation where we would only be going once every few years or less often).
 

Pixieish

Well-Known Member
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My 2.5 y/o daughter is already chomping at the bit to get to WDW (it must be in her blood/genes). She has been to Disney on ice twice and Disney Live once, and knows that she can meet the Princesses and Mickey/Minnie at WDW. My wife and I have told her that we will take her when she is 3 years old.

We are considering 2 options for the trip:

(1) A November 2018 visit to WDW for 3 nights in which we would leave our current newborn son (who will be 12 months in November 2018) at home with my in-laws.

(2) A February 2019 visit to WDW for 5 nights in which we would bring our then 15 month old son with us. If we decide to bring our son, we will wait until February so that he will be down to 1 nap and out of the bottle stage.

Our plan either way is to stay at the Contemporary for the close proximity to MK.

On one hand, I like the idea of the whole family being together. We will miss him very much if he is not with us. On the other hand, we will be able to get a lot more done without having the nap, early bedtime, and other schedule/logistical issues with a 15 month old. We will also be able to focus on our daughter who will love and get a lot out of this WDW visit (while our son at 15 months won't get anything except cute pictures out of the trip).

I realize that there is no right or wrong answer to this question and ultimately, it is personal decision for each family, but I am curious to see how other families have handed this type of situation and if there are other factors that I haven't thought of yet.

One more factor: After this visit, our family will be making annual trips to WDW so the question should be viewed in that context (as opposed to a situation where we would only be going once every few years or less often).
If annual trips are for sure, take a trip just with your daughter. That will be very special for all of you as she grows up. The only caveat is to make sure you give your son a solo trip when he gets to be about the same age. My boys adore each other, but it's obvious that whenever they get to do something solo with me and dad that it's super special.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
I would go ahead and take your daughter -- and then plan to take the whole family on the annual trips thereafter.

DH and I took a trip when our son was about 10 months old and decided to leave him home in the care of his adoring aunt and uncle, and although we were guilt-ridden beforehand, we had a wonderful time, and he didn't appear to miss us for a moment. When we returned, he acted like we'd never left. (Granted, he was enrolled in daycare during the day, so he was used to going without seeing us for a few hours at a time each day already.)
 
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CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
One vote for bringing the baby and doing a whole week. We brought my daughter at six months and everyone had an absolute blast, including her.

The language in your OP concerns me though. You need to change your mindset. "Getting a lot more done" is not the way to visit WDW with babies or toddlers. Plan on dramatically reducing the pace you're used to when traveling with just adults who know the parks well. Plan on going, doing whatever you get to, and being content with that. IMO, the fact that you'll be returning to WDW fairly frequently reinforces this strategy. There's no need to stress about getting to every single thing because you'll be back in a year.

I'd also consider different accommodations. The extra space of a Fort Wilderness cabin, a DVC villa, or an Art of Animation family suite could be a huge asset to your family. The absolute number one most important thing when traveling with kids that small (even if the littlest one stays home) is everyone getting enough sleep to prevent meltdowns. If you have a unit where you can close a door and put the little one to bed, that could be a huge advantage over a "standard" hotel room.

Last unsolicited suggestion. Have you considered bringing Grandma and Grandpa with you? The two kids will be much more manageable with extra sets of hands, and it allows Mom and Dad to do some of the big kid rides that they might not otherwise get to. Our best trips recently have included me, my daughter, my wife, both of my parents, and my sister. We usually split the bill with my parents 50 / 50 (sister is in college so she doesn't pay) and stay in a two bedroom villa or two FW cabins.
 

Pixieish

Well-Known Member
One vote for bringing the baby and doing a whole week. We brought my daughter at six months and everyone had an absolute blast, including her.

The language in your OP concerns me though. You need to change your mindset. "Getting a lot more done" is not the way to visit WDW with babies or toddlers. Plan on dramatically reducing the pace you're used to when traveling with just adults who know the parks well. Plan on going, doing whatever you get to, and being content with that. IMO, the fact that you'll be returning to WDW fairly frequently reinforces this strategy. There's no need to stress about getting to every single thing because you'll be back in a year.

I'd also consider different accommodations. The extra space of a Fort Wilderness cabin, a DVC villa, or an Art of Animation family suite could be a huge asset to your family. The absolute number one most important thing when traveling with kids that small (even if the littlest one stays home) is everyone getting enough sleep to prevent meltdowns. If you have a unit where you can close a door and put the little one to bed, that could be a huge advantage over a "standard" hotel room.

Last unsolicited suggestion. Have you considered bringing Grandma and Grandpa with you? The two kids will be much more manageable with extra sets of hands, and it allows Mom and Dad to do some of the big kid rides that they might not otherwise get to. Our best trips recently have included me, my daughter, my wife, both of my parents, and my sister. We usually split the bill with my parents 50 / 50 (sister is in college so she doesn't pay) and stay in a two bedroom villa or two FW cabins.
I agree 100% on the mindset part. Even when your kids are grown or you travel without kids, you need to be flexible and go with the flow or you're going to be stressed out from trying to accomplish a goal instead of enjoying yourself.
 

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The language in your OP concerns me though. You need to change your mindset. "Getting a lot more done" is not the way to visit WDW with babies or toddlers. Plan on dramatically reducing the pace you're used to when traveling with just adults who know the parks well. Plan on going, doing whatever you get to, and being content with that. IMO, the fact that you'll be returning to WDW fairly frequently reinforces this strategy. There's no need to stress about getting to every single thing because you'll be back in a year.
Thank you for raising this point. It's a good one and something I will need to keep reminding myself of.
 

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Last unsolicited suggestion. Have you considered bringing Grandma and Grandpa with you? The two kids will be much more manageable with extra sets of hands, and it allows Mom and Dad to do some of the big kid rides that they might not otherwise get to. Our best trips recently have included me, my daughter, my wife, both of my parents, and my sister. We usually split the bill with my parents 50 / 50 (sister is in college so she doesn't pay) and stay in a two bedroom villa or two FW cabins.
I welcome unsolicited suggestions. We would love to go with my parents or in-laws, but there are scheduling issues. My parents are willing to take the whole family on a WDW trip but because my niece is in high school, we would then be limited to Winter Break and selfishly, I don't want to deal with Winter Break lines with my kids being so young. Very understandably, my parents don't want to pick dates when my brother's family would not be able to join us because of school schedules. It's a similar situation with my in-laws because my mother-in-law is a teacher and would also be looking at a Winter Break trip if we asked them to join us.
 

21stamps

Well-Known Member
I’m assuming that since the OP says- your son will be 12 months in 11/18, that you must have either an extremely new-newborn, or you’re 9 months pregnant. Congrats!!!

My advice, Let the wife’s hormones balance out before making any decisions ;)

I do vote for both kids though, but not your hotel.. I’d say Poly or GF for a 3 year old :)
 

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’m assuming that since the OP says- your son will be 12 months in 11/18, that you must have either an extremely new-newborn, or you’re 9 months pregnant. Congrats!!!

My advice, Let the wife’s hormones balance out before making any decisions ;)

I do vote for both kids though, but not your hotel.. I’d say Poly or GF for a 3 year old :)
Thanks. He was born 10/28. We didn't want to start planning anything until he was born, but now we are ready to plan away :) And fortunately, my wonderful wife is doing great and in a good mindset to make decisions.

Why do you say Poly or GF over Contemporary? I've stayed at all 3 in the past and thought my daughter would like the monorail going through the hotel (and my wife and I would like being able to walk between our hotel and MK).
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
Thanks. He was born 10/28. We didn't want to start planning anything until he was born, but now we are ready to plan away :) And fortunately, my wonderful wife is doing great and in a good mindset to make decisions.

Why do you say Poly or GF over Contemporary? I've stayed at all 3 in the past and thought my daughter would like the monorail going through the hotel (and my wife and I would like being able to walk between our hotel and MK).
Congratulations!

Personally (this is having taken kids at both ages you are considering taking both of yours) I would take both kids if I were you. Maybe plan to divide and conquer. One takes your daughter to the pool while the other is in the room napping. You said the whole family would go on at trip, but can you ask just one parent and not the whole family? I get not wanting to go in December though.

November can get pretty busy if you aren't avoiding holidays or Jersey Week and Food & Wine Festival. I would pick February over that though you have more chances of hitting cooler no pool weather than November (in my opinion).

Anyway we've done 1.5 and it is wonderful and hilarious. We've always kept to regular schedules as well, and that including scheduling down time for naps even when the kid was 4-5 (yes some nap that long if the daytime is quiet for them). Anyway the 1.5 age is one I would want to take a kid - especially if you plan on returning. It's just fun and truly not that much different in ride choices vs a 3 year old. Unless your 3yo is tall the ride choices will be limited. Even if the 3yo is tall, they might not be emotionally ready for some of those rides anyway (BTM was very loud and I got scolded by my child for taking him on such a loud ride at that age - he changed his mind later after he decided he just hated the noise LOL). Truly for us there wasn't much difference in those ages and I don't think the 1.5 will slow you down as much as you think.

As for location I do think your idea of Contemporary is good. It can be a bit annoying to come back from Epcot on if the resort monorail is sluggish, but the walk to and from MK is nice. I wouldn't actually suggest GF due to the monorail sometimes being stuck. Polynesian is better location wise IMO than GF, but not sure it is that much better than Contemporary for your trip. If you can bring a parent or family member along, I would consider a splurge for a DVC room. I wouldn't actually pick the Ft Wilderness cabins due to how not so much fun it can be with the transportation.

So my vote is go with Contemporary and bring the whole family! Don't leave the young one behind.
 

jimbojones

Well-Known Member
I can't imagine leaving one of my children behind at any age for a WDW trip, it is one of the most baby/family friendly vacations you can possibly take. My middle daughter went to DL at 9 months, it was great fun for everyone including her 5 year old sister and us parents. For me it is when they are all older that we will stop doing WDW for more real world travel (life is short and the world is big!). Besides a nursing baby is an extremely easy travel companion, put it in a sling or baby carrier and it is comfy with easy access to food and a ready spot for a nap. Stick a diaper in each pocket along with a packet of wipes and your good to go! I find traveling with a just starting to walk and just starting to potty train 1-2 year old much much more difficult.

My vote is for option 2 or to reconsider your parameters for option 1 and take the baby
 

MichRX7

Well-Known Member
I would vote for take both as well, which we have done almost every year since our son's were born 15 months apart. I also vote for taking the niece. Every family situation is different, but we always went "during" school and posed it to the boy's as a reward for work well done. They had to inform their teachers a month in advance and bring back the homework they missed while we were gone. They did this in the car (if we drove) or plane and at the resorts. Most teachers would just make them give an oral report on their trip and they always went back in with pictures. I believe it made them more out-going and helped them with people skills as they'd have to ask questions while at Disney of cast members and speaking to their class on their trip. Maybe I'm just a bad parent, but the first one graduated high school last year magna *** laude and the younger one this year with honors while playing multiple sports.
 

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Maybe I'm just a bad parent, but the first one graduated high school last year magna *** laude and the younger one this year with honors while playing multiple sports.
Congrats on your kids' success! Those are great achievements!

For my brother, he has been ok with my niece missing school for vacations, but now that she will be starting high school next fall, he feels differently and doesn't want her to miss days in high school.
 

jimbojones

Well-Known Member
Congrats on your kids' success! Those are great achievements!

For my brother, he has been ok with my niece missing school for vacations, but now that she will be starting high school next fall, he feels differently and doesn't want her to miss days in high school.
yes for sure a few days missed in HS are a much bigger deal than in elementary school.
 

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thank you everyone for all your input and ideas. You had some insights that we hadn't considered. My wife and I have decided that we are going to bring the 1 year old too and go as a family. Now the new challenge ... when my daughter heard you need to fly on an airplane, she told me she doesn't want to go to Disney anymore, she wants to go to Wisconsin Dells again instead. Great :)
 

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
One vote for bringing the baby and doing a whole week. We brought my daughter at six months and everyone had an absolute blast, including her.

The language in your OP concerns me though. You need to change your mindset. "Getting a lot more done" is not the way to visit WDW with babies or toddlers. Plan on dramatically reducing the pace you're used to when traveling with just adults who know the parks well. Plan on going, doing whatever you get to, and being content with that. IMO, the fact that you'll be returning to WDW fairly frequently reinforces this strategy. There's no need to stress about getting to every single thing because you'll be back in a year.

I'd also consider different accommodations. The extra space of a Fort Wilderness cabin, a DVC villa, or an Art of Animation family suite could be a huge asset to your family. The absolute number one most important thing when traveling with kids that small (even if the littlest one stays home) is everyone getting enough sleep to prevent meltdowns. If you have a unit where you can close a door and put the little one to bed, that could be a huge advantage over a "standard" hotel room.

Last unsolicited suggestion. Have you considered bringing Grandma and Grandpa with you? The two kids will be much more manageable with extra sets of hands, and it allows Mom and Dad to do some of the big kid rides that they might not otherwise get to. Our best trips recently have included me, my daughter, my wife, both of my parents, and my sister. We usually split the bill with my parents 50 / 50 (sister is in college so she doesn't pay) and stay in a two bedroom villa or two FW cabins.
]

Ending up taking a lot of your advice into account. We booked a 1 bedroom suite at Bay Lake Tower so we will be able to have the 1 year old nap in the bedroom with a closed door while the rest of us hangout in the living area. Also, my parents are joining us for the trip. They are not staying in our room, but they booked a studio at Bay Lake Tower so we will at least be in the same resort.

Thanks for your input.
 

disneygirl76

Carey Poppins - Nanny and Disney Enthusiest
]

Ending up taking a lot of your advice into account. We booked a 1 bedroom suite at Bay Lake Tower so we will be able to have the 1 year old nap in the bedroom with a closed door while the rest of us hangout in the living area. Also, my parents are joining us for the trip. They are not staying in our room, but they booked a studio at Bay Lake Tower so we will at least be in the same resort.

Thanks for your input.
If you have never stayed at Bay Lake, you will love it! The short walk over to the MK is amazing! I am so excited to hear all about this amazing trip your family will be making. Have a magical time and the most fun planning!!!
 

buseegal

Active Member
Thanks. He was born 10/28. We didn't want to start planning anything until he was born, but now we are ready to plan away :) And fortunately, my wonderful wife is doing great and in a good mindset to make decisions.

Why do you say Poly or GF over Contemporary? I've stayed at all 3 in the past and thought my daughter would like the monorail going through the hotel (and my wife and I would like being able to walk between our hotel and MK).
I would look at the Fort Wilderness cabins as pp said. love being able to put kid/s down to sleep and be able to stay up with TV on in a different room or just talk. another plus being able to get breakfast in the kitchen. biggest problem with monorail going thru is not being able to just ride it every time you see it. last trip 4.5 year old granddaughter would get upset every time she saw a bus and we were not getting on. the 2 year old would just go with the flow more because he is the youngest of spread out 4. hardest thing we ran into was the down time be it walking or riding to resort and child falling asleep on way and waking up at room then not going back to sleep. try taking older child when ready to go to bed for a 15 minute car ride or walk will you be able to get back to sleep when you return? that walk fro MK is going to take awhile even if you are at the front of park which never happened for us and you will want a stroller for older one if you are not planning on with that walk at end of day
 

helenabear

Well-Known Member
]

Ending up taking a lot of your advice into account. We booked a 1 bedroom suite at Bay Lake Tower so we will be able to have the 1 year old nap in the bedroom with a closed door while the rest of us hangout in the living area. Also, my parents are joining us for the trip. They are not staying in our room, but they booked a studio at Bay Lake Tower so we will at least be in the same resort.

Thanks for your input.
Nice! Having that living area is a life saver IMO when traveling with little ones. I actually ask for the portable cribs instead of a pack n play since the mattress is a real mattress and more comfortable than the pack n plays. They are easier to move around as well.
 

DisneyDaver

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Speaking as a kid who has been several times, I would take your daughter first. She will get so much out of it with just you guys. You said you were planning annual trips, so you will have lots of time with the whole family! My Parents took my oldest sister just after my brother was born. They love that time with just her!
Thank you for your input. My wife and I actually already decided that we are taking both kids in November. My parents are joining us too. We went back and forth weighing the pros and cons quite a bit before making a final decision.
 
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