Original Trip Report: W Family Trip Report
Laundry- Bring the fold up laundry hamper. Link below to the one we used. If we had stayed another day I likely would have done laundry. It kept our room looking decently clean too without a pile of clothes on the floor.
Food/ exercise- I am a runner. I run and/or workout almost everyday. I couldn’t do that on this trip, nor did I plan to. I purposely didn’t schedule any races soon after our trip so I wouldn’t be stressing. I know CR has a gym and a jogging path, but I didn’t want to compromise our plans so I could get in a run. Additionally, DD1 got sick and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving her. From what I’ve heard from my FIL, the jogging options are limited at CR. I’m very interested to hear about others’ experience with this because I’m already planning our next trip. But here’s my takeaway: don’t plan on working out on your Disney trip. Yes you’ll indulge in food and desserts. I know I certainly did, especially if it was a buffet. I wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth. Plus, its vacation, and that’s the time to do what you don’t normally do. Midnight cupcake anyone? So I did not workout once and I ate dessert, and lots of it every night. And I LOST weight. When I got home I thought for sure I’d gained a few, but nope. I had lost about a pound. I even weighed myself again the next day at the gym on a different scale because I was in disbelief. And it actually makes sense. I was walking all day everyday. My job is somewhat sedentary, so even though I workout, I’m still sitting a lot. And I wasn’t snacking. I had food in our hotel room, but I was only there at night. So I had very little opportunity to snack. I ate 3 meals a day but that was it. So don’t stress if you can’t workout at Disney. You don’t need to. When I went for my first run at home, I had not lost any speed and felt well rested. I was only gone for 5 days, and I realize a week or more may be different, but I say don’t stress go ahead and grab that mini key lime pie.
Southwest- I can’t say enough great things about this airline. We had to reschedule several people and their customer service was impeccable. DD3 had a ticket. DD1 did not need one, but we needed to do check-in with her in person at the counter to get an Infant Boarding Pass. You have to do this when flying with an infant because you need to show them proof of age in person at the counter. I had a printed copy of her birth certificate, but I was assured a photo on my phone would have been fine. We did gate check with the strollers, which was invaluable. When someone shows up at the counter at your gate, ask to get tags for your stroller. They grabbed them right before we stepped onto the plane and were there lined up and waiting for us as soon as we stepped off. So easy. Those familiar with Southwest know that you don’t have assigned seats, you check in online 24 hours in advance and then get a boarding number. The A group boards first, then the Bs, then the Cs. If you are big family and want to guarantee seats together, you may want to consider purchasing a preferred boarding pass where you are guaranteed an A ticket. I checked us all in exactly 24 hours in advance and we were the last part of the Bs, beginning of the Cs. However, if you have children under 7, you automatically get to board after the As before the Bs. And they let our whole family board this way. The flight crew was extremely friendly.
Sick Kid in Disney- My 10 month old, DD1, woke up with a fever on our second night. I gave her some Infant Motrin, but kind of knew it was an ear infection. Her symptoms worsened. She was coughing, had a runny nose, and sounded like she was wheezing. Her fever had gone down, but it was not gone. Our pediatrician has an on-call doctor 24/7, so I called that number and spoke with that doctor who said she needed to be seen by someone. She suggested the ER if we didn’t know anywhere else to go. My husband and I both agreed we wanted to avoid the ER if possible. I did a little research and thiswebsite had some good info. We first tried to have a doctor come to the room from Doctors On Call Service (407-399-3627). I did not find them particularly helpful. I don’t know if it was because it was 6AM, or if they were not comfortable handling an infant, but I got the impression right away that they were not willing to come out. We then decided to try and take DD1 to Centracare (407-399-3627). I remembered reading from someone’s trip report that they had been there and it was good (Thank you TP!). Centracare is not on Disney property, but it is close by. It is open at 8AM and they have a free shuttle service where they can pick you up from your Disney hotel and drop you off. My only issue was that I wanted to be there at 8AM as soon as they opened, not call them at 8 (when they start answering the phone). CR worked with me on this one. I called the front desk and spoke with a manager. She was able have MEARS (the cab company) come and pick us up and get us to Centracare by 8. CR paid for the cab, which was nice. (note- they also offered transport to the ER right away if we wanted to go that route instead). We got to Centracare and DD1 was seen within 20 minutes. There were 2 people ahead of us. The staff was very friendly, although this is not a pediatric specific facility. There are sick adults here and the doctors are not pediatricians. DD1 was diagnosed with an ear infection and given a prescription which we were able to fill right there at Centracare. We then took the free shuttle back to CR. I called back our on-call pediatrician and gave her an update, which she had requested we do. The on-call pediatrician decided DD1 should actually be on a different prescription and we used Turner Drug(407-828-8125) to get this one filled. Turner Drug will deliver your prescription to your hotel and can also deliver over the counter items too. I had the on-call pediatrician send in the prescription to Turner Drug and then 5 minutes later I called myself to confirm they had it and added Infant Motrin to our delivery order. It was delivered very quickly. Bell services required an ID to pick it up. DD1 had made an incredible turnaround and we were able to bring her to EPCOT for a few hours so the day was not entirely lost. I hope no one reading this ever has to experience a sick kid at Disney.
Where to stay: CR location, location, location. CR is expensive, not a new hotel and lacks a theme, but I would stay there again 100% because you cannot beat its location. If you are not renting a car, the monorail is a huge convenience, especially if you have strollers. On a bus, you have to fold them up. You just wheel them right on the monorail. We stayed in the Garden Wing, which means we had to walk outside and then back inside to the Tower, up the elevator, get searched and then board. This sounds cumbersome but it was not a long process and we literally never had to wait for a monorail. There are always seats because you are the first on. We did not take a bus anywhere, so I cannot comment on CR bus service other than the few times I walked by, it was empty. The walkway to and from MK is priceless. It is an easy walk and you get to MK faster than if you had taken the monorail. You do bag check in the middle of it, which I always found to be less busy than the one for the monorail. I found the pool at CR to be just ok, though DD3 really liked it. I did try the slide once and I loved it. The 4th floor is where they have a lot going on and it is LOUD. None-the-less, at CM, you are sectioned off from everyone else and you get stellar character interaction. Although we didn’t attempt this, I’m told you can see fireworks from the 4th floor too. The rooms in the Garden Wing are fairly big and have nice views of Bay Lake. The hallways are narrow, the ceilings are low and the elevators are tiny though. We found the location trumped any of the negatives though. For our next trip, our kids probably won’t be in strollers, but I still think I would want to stay on the monorail line and at CR for that walkway. I am already looking into DVC for BLT.
Mom’s bag: North Face XL Duffel. This bag is giant and I love it. In addition to all my clothes, shoes and jackets, I packed my breast pump and its attachments in here, the ponchos, some of the kids’ things including their cups, bottles, and snack containers, and the fold up laundry bag. I still had room. When we left I took out a lot of my things and put them in the kids’ bags. The packing cubes made this super easy. With my now somewhat empty bag, I put the full laundry basket in here with all of our dirty clothes. This worked out well so that when we got home I had all the dirty laundry in one bag.
Mom’s carry on: LL Bean Backpack I’ve had this backpack since 2007, and it has held up. It is my favorite carry on. It fits well under the seat in front of you even if full.
I also brought a purse(similar style) on the plane with me where I had my wallet, boarding passes, boogie wipes, kids medicine (Tylenol, Motrin and Rx for ear infection), empty water bottle that I filled at airport, and some snacks. I also had a ton of snacks in the backpack in thislunch bag. We also had the diaper bag (link below) with us on the plane.
Dad’s bag: (newer style): Tumi bag This could have been a carry on but we checked it, which I’m glad we did. We needed all the free arms we could get.
Dad’s Carry on: Under Armour backpack Roomy, lots of pockets.
Kids’ bags: VB large duffell Each kid had one of these. We had extra room in both which was great for souvenirs. These have held up for at least 10 years. They could also have been carry-on.
Mom’s Toiletry: VB hanging organizerr I love this organizer and it has also held up for at least 10 years.
Fanny pack : I followed this TP tip and bought a fanny pack. I was great for cell phone, sunglasses, cheerios, VIP tickets
Strollers: We brought one for each child. While DD3 did not really need one in the park, we absolutely needed it in the airports. For DD1, we brought this Britax B stroller (new version). I’d recommend anything that is not super heavy, but big enough so you can store items underneath. For DD3 we used thisumbrella stroller (newer style).
Baby carrier. This was very helpful to have when walking around in the parks. (thank you for the tip TP).
Diaper bag. We brought this backpack style diaper bag to the parks everyday and had multiple changes of clothes in it and the lunch bag with snacks. It can attach to the handles on a stroller for easy access. If you stroller is sturdy, it should not make it tip over even with the extra weight. We also brought this on the plane.
Rain ponchos. We used these for the adults and to cover the stroller when it was raining and we had to park it outside.
Kid rain poncho I bought this one and DD3 has worn it at home several times too.
Kid PJs: I wanted to get them something Disney related to have one the trip that we didn’t have to buy at the parks (and that I could wash before wearing). I found pajamas on sale at GAP, but here are similar ones online now: here and here. GAP has a cute Disney line.
Packing cubes. This was my first time using these and I LOVED it. Great to pack almost all the little kids’ clothes in one. Great for the attachments for pump, for bottles, cups, etc.
Laundry basket. Another TP tip to have one of these for the room. I did not end up doing laundry at CR, but it was so convenient to have it all in one place.
Kid headphoness. DD3 really liked these. I think she would have been fine without the iPad on the flight though.
Amazon Prime must haves: case of bottled water, roll of paper towels, diapers, wipes, bag of apples, baby carrots, granola bars, milk, box of Cheerios, box of Cheezits, bread, bananas, peanut butter, trail mix, sandwich size baggies, applesauce pouches, plastic cutlery, plastic bowls. The bowls actually came in handy in the tub when I needed something to wash the shampoo out of their hair. They also used them as bath toys.
I highly recommend Small World vacations. We had to reschedule MIL and SIL last minute and this was done seamlessly. You also get a free subscription to TP when you work with them.
Consider getting TSA-pre check. It is $85 for 5 years and kids under 12 are free when the accompany you. This saves a ton of time as you are not required to take off shoes, belts or separate your liquids. The line just moves faster. With kiddos in strollers, it is 100% worth it.
I had saved our reservation confirmation numbers in my phone on a notes section. This was very handy when planning and super helpful for DME when we forgot the letter that came without luggage tags.
At restaurants, if you say your child isn’t high chair ready, they let you bring in the stroller. This proved true for all of our TS restaurants. We would usually ask to have a high chair, but that she may or may not use it. Every CM complied.
It is a great idea to bring small children. Our children were 10 months and 2 1/2 (almost 3). People thought I was crazy but I am so glad we did it. They had the best reactions to every ride/encounter/experience. There are things only an almost 3 year old can appreciated with such enthusiasm. Plus, they’re free! Free tickets, free room, free at the buffets. Free on the plane if they are under 2. They may not remember much, but I will have the memories and they are sheer joy.
If there is no line for the restrooms in the restaurants, use them, there will be a line 30 seconds.
If you have a large party, you may be able to get more than one anytime FPP return when you do rider swap, even if you only have one baby.
At Akershus for lunch, they have out breakfast items at the appetizer buffet, but they take them away early, so if you want those, grab them when you see them.
Casey’s Corner, which is not open pre-RD has many clean, empty tables outside that you can sit at and eat while you wait for the opening ceremonies to start. We bought food from Main St. Bakery and brought some other breakfast items.
You can book multiple FPP within the same hour, but you need to have tapped in/ridden a close in time first ride. I’ve heard people do this when you are looking to book your 4th FPP- you can do so as soon as you check in for your 3rd. But if you are like us and need to book a 3rd because you didn’t need one of your initial 3, what you do is you can cancel the unused one, but still need to tap in the one next closest in time before you have a big enough window to book your 3rd.
If you can’t get your full party on a reservation for a dining package, try splitting up one person and booking with a regular ADR.
You can watch the Festival of Fantasy Parade from the veranda at Tony’s, which is especially helpful on a rainy day. We stayed on the veranda till the last second since it was still raining a bit then bolted across the street as Beast and Belle came into sight for our VIP viewing area spot.
If you want to meet Mickey, go to Town Sq. right before Festival of Fantasy Parade at 3PM.