Travelling With A Toddler Part 2
So it's taken me an awfully long time to realise that I'd written a part 1 to this, and not a part 2! We arrived home from Disney with 1 week to get back into a routine ready for the new school year to start then it's all systems go! With mine and Luke's school holidays clashing this year as well, then there was a whole global pandemic...I just totally forgot!
Part 1 of travelling with a toddler was mainly based around just that - the travelling part. I'd spoken about our experience of being in an airport, going through security and how we coped on the flight. This post will focus more on the tips/tricks/hacks I used when going abroad with a 15 month old Rory!
Get Yourself A Decent Buggy
We were lucky that not long before going to Disney, we had a collaboration with Ergobaby and got the most amazing buggy - The Metro City Stroller. It's quite pricey and I'm sure other brands do similar styles, but having a compact, lightweight buggy was a lifesaver. It was small enough to fit into the overhead compartment, had a good sun canopy which covered most of the buggy (very useful in this heat!) and was fully reclinable. It had a one hand fold which was brilliant when getting on and off the buses and you could steer it through the crowds with one hand. Having such a good buggy meant that we knew Rory would be comfortable during the long days at the park and he happily napped in there meaning we weren't constantly rushing back to the hotel for him to sleep. We bought a little buggy organiser from Amazon so we had quick and easy access to the important things such as suncream, water bottles and a dummy amongst other things! We absolutely loved this and we use it every day on our buggy still!
Don't Worry Too Much About Routine
As parents, we love a routine as much as our children do. For me, I was worried how jet lag, the heat and the sheer 'full on-ness' (technical term!) of a Disney holiday were going to affect Rory. Like I mentioned in my other post, I clearly had nothing to worry about. We came to the conclusion that if he was tired, he would sleep. We didn't want our holiday to be organised around naps. What we did do however was make the most of his awake times. Most mornings he was the last to be awake believe it or not, but you're still up and out early. With the August heat, this works well. The parks are quieter meaning you get more done quicker. Because of his brilliant buggy, he'd happily fall asleep and nap throughout the day meaning we didn't have to go back to the hotel for him to sleep. We'd normally use this time to get on the big rides! Of an evening, he stayed up far later than usual and enjoyed the fireworks and other evening entertainment. Most of the time he didn't even fall asleep on the bus on the way back because he wanted to interact with all the other people! It did mean that he slept hard when he did! There wasn't anything we felt like we missed out on because of having Rory with us...and he made sure he didn't miss out either!
Outfit Plan To The Max!
I'm sure we're all guilty of overpacking when we go on holiday - packing for every eventuality and weather forecast imaginable. We've been to Florida in August a few times so know that the only time I wear a cardigan is when I'm on the plane (which is saying something because I always feel the cold!). However, it's different when you're taking a toddler! On the first day, Rory was wearing just a t-shirt and shorts and by 8am was literally sweating! Luckily after the first day or so he acclimatised and was fine. Even as adults we were getting through a minimum of 2 outfits a day so we had to pack smart for Rory. Because he was under 2, we didn't have a case for him on the plane, but because we were in Premium, we got 23kg each which we split between us all. I'd seen a hack on the internet about packing your baby's outfits in sandwich bags. I put a t-shirt and pair of shorts with a pair of socks in a sandwich bag, meaning they were packed flat taking up a lot less room. It also meant that we could just grab an outfit and go rather than rummaging around for something to match! It saved us so much time getting ready in the mornings and I'll definitely do this again when we next go on holiday!
Make Use Of The Facilities
Disney has the most wonderful Baby Care Centers in the parks. Not only do they provide calm and quiet areas for you to feed or change your baby, but they have some many other wonderful features. They have the amenities for you to warm up milk or food, high chairs, plus TVs and games to occupy siblings. You can even put your little ones down for a nap in there if you need to! There's always a staff member to hand and you can purchase any items you may have forgotten, or suddenly need like paracetamol.
Have All The Snacks
As full on as Disney can be, there can also be a lot of waiting around in queues or for the parades and shows. I don't know of a toddler who doesn't love a snack or five. Because we didn't know what we'd be able to get out there (we may have been to Florida a lot but never had to look at toddler snacks before!) we packed a lot of snacks we know Rory loved and would not perish in the Florida sunshine. It meant we had a little bit of home with us, and as well as it keeping him occupied whilst waiting around for stuff, we knew he was eating as it's easy to lose your appetite in the heat.
Consider Taking Them Young
We've had a lot of people tell us that they won't consider taking their child to Disney until they're old enough to remember it. As much as I appreciate their opinions, there are so many reasons why not to wait. Firstly, under 3s are free so they don't cost you a penny! You have to remember that this is just as much of a holiday for you as it is for them, so don't deny yourself from going. With the size of the portions of food, Rory always shared with us and because we were on the Dining Plan, some restaurants even brought him out his own meal free of charge. They have fantastic facilities on the big rides where you can do a child swap, meaning you don't miss out and Disney even have their own babysitting service if you really wanted a night off!
I'm sure there's a million more things I could tell you about travelling with a toddler but I'll leave it there for now!
As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to message me!
Mommy Davies x