Posted on March 27, 2017
Disney World with a 2 month old! Lessons Learned!
Now I am by no means an expert on Disney, in fact I had only been to Disney World once in the last 15 years before this trip. With that being said, I did learn a few things that I think can be helpful.
First of all, if you don’t know anything about the Disney Parks, Attractions and Resorts I would do some research by listening to the two episodes on the Observation Deck Podcast as well as checking out Tour Planning and the other 1,203,979,071 websites on Disney. Really, it’s a bit overwhelming. BUT here is a short list of some basic things I learned with my 2 month old last week. (By the way, 2 months old is probably not the ideal age for Disney)
To start, we stayed at the Disney Yacht Club Resort which is very much on the pricey side and really not all that Disney-ie (is that a word?). But I was there for a conference and we got a huge discount so that’s where we were. It is a very nice place and I really liked it (especially the giant globe in the lobby) but it wouldn’t be my ideal place for kids. I would save money and make the kids happier by staying at the All Star Resorts (Movie, Sports or Music) or something.
TRANSPORTATION- If you are staying at a Disney Resort, there is no need to worry about transportation! Between the Magical Express which takes you to and from the airport, and the fleet of buses going to the parks, resorts, water parks and Disney Springs, there is no real need for cabs or a rental car! (Obviously if you want to go to Universal Studios or something, that is another story).
My Disney Experience- Sign up for a Disney Experience Account . This is easy to do online and can help you organize things before and once you get there. Your hotel reservation, tickets, fast pass and even dinner reservations can all be linked to this. On top of that, there is also a pretty good app where you can easily get/change your fastpass, search rides, find routes to attractions in the park, make/change restaurant reservations, etc.
MagicBands- Magicbands are these wrist bands which can be used as the key to your room, your ticket to the park, your fast pass and even to buy anything at the Disney parks or resorts including meals and souvenirs. Now I would not buy these but they are free when staying at a resort! Having less things (key, tickets, money) to carry when dealing with kids and their stuff is always a plus.
SAVE MONEY- Unlike most traveling I do which usually has some sort of hack that can make things cheaper through points, miles, status, mistake fares, etc; Disney is pretty well locked down! Not easy to get this outside of the price they want you to pay. There are a few things however that have potential to save a significant amount.
First of all, Disney Gift cards can be purchased at Sam’s Club at a slight discount. There are different denominations, but the $150 (3 $50 cards) sell for $145 so you are saving $5 but if you get five of these sets then you saved $25. You can then go online and transfer the value for all these cards on to one card as I did. I also had a 10% back rebate for one of my AMEX cards so I saved another $73 dollars 😉
Another huge cost is FOOD. Now, while you’re in the park you can look at places to eat in your Disney Experience app and compare prices (go to Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom for Chicken and Waffles!). However, what you should really do for inside and outside the park is BRING SNACKS. In your suit case pack fruit snacks, trail mix, cookies, granola bars, etc. These are great to help between meals during your day at the park or for breakfast with coffee in the room. Also, bring a water bottle! The cheapest water in the parks or at the resorts is $3!!! Do yourself a favor and bring a water bottle and find a water fountain. Also, if you are at the Disney Boardwalk or one of the surrounding hotels, the Pizza Window is one of the more affordable dinners with a whole pepperoni pizza running $22. And Finally, NO ALCOHOL! This is what really cost the big bucks, I only saw 1 beer for less than $8!. Avoid this and save even more (or go to the store and get a 12 pack 😉 ).
Also, there is always the option of getting the Disney Credit Card if you plan to spend a lot at Disney, especially for dining and merchandise purchases over $50. Not saying this would be the best credit card for your trip, but it’s an option to be aware of and will beneficial for some.
Baby Care Center- Having a 2 months old we knew that the day would be interrupted frequently for feeding, changing, crying, etc. What we didn’t know until we got there, is that there are Baby Care Centers in each park which are pretty nice. They have private rooms for feeding and changing or whatever you need them for. You can also buy diapers, wipes, formula and other baby things.
They are all fairly close to the entrance to the parks with the one in Magic Kingdom being located on the left at the end of Main Street next to Casey’s and the one in Animal Kingdom can be found by hanging a left at the Tree of Life and walking until just before Africa where there is a Starbucks. The center is tucked in behind it. We went to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom but I know they have them at all the parks.
Parent Switch- I was not aware this was a thing, but when checking out a ride at Magic Kingdom one of the ride attendants informed me that you can ask for a “parent switch” and one parent can go on the ride while the other watches the child and when they are done they are given a pass so the other parent can just go in the fast pass lane. Still not ideal in a perfect world but way better than each having to wait in the regular line.
Flight- This is another area where money can be saved. With United, Delta and American continuing to give less and less for the same price I don’t see any reason to fly with them to Disney unless you have to. Southwest is really ideal with their WiFi entertainment and 2 checked bags per person. With all the stuff you will surely bring regardless of your kids’ ages, it’s nice being able to check all those bags and likely have a direct flight.
Stroller Bags- On that note, if you have a large stroller you want to bring or one with multiple pieces, it can make life a lots easier (sometimes) to just check them. We were given Bebishi stroller bags (different sizes) which were PERFECT for us. With great handles and straps as well as folding up easily and quickly into a small pouch, they were really helpful.
As you can see there were a lot of take aways from this short trip. And I really didn’t even delve into FastPass or optimizing our time at the park that much because we knew having a 2 month old we wouldn’t do much. But he did go on the Safari and “see” the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom (slept the whole time)!
-Let Disney transport you around
-Get Magicbands and the Disney Experience app to make life easier
-Bring Snacks and a Water Bottle (try to abstain from alcohol)
-Baby Care Center are a great place for baby needs
– Stroller bags and Southwest Airlines