Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reader Question - Traveling with little ones!

I received this question this morning on our facebook page from a reader, Jennifer:

I am traveling the first week of May with a 3 year old and a little one who will be 3 months old. I am very nervous about the 3 month old with the Florida sun and heat. Any advice? How is that time of year? Should i expect to spend most of my time in my hotel room with my little one? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! ♥ Disney
I think being nervous to have 2 kids is normal enough, and traveling with 2?  Understandably nerve wracking!  But, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Early May averages in the early-mid 80's, so the heat shouldn't be too stifling, depending on where you're coming from, you may be able to acclimate yourself and your little ones to being outside.  And, hopefully, you'll avoid the torrential downpours of Florida summers as well.  Also, you'll be going for schools start letting out, even most colleges, so the crowds should be pretty low.

I visited WDW with a 6 month old in June and had a wonderful experience, so I'm sure you can, too!

  1. What type of stroller do you have/plan to use?  
    1. If your 3 month old is comfortable in the car seat, bring it.  Whether as part of a travel system, or a snap and go (probably even easier for the buses!), one of our biggest struggles even at 6 months was meal time.  At 3 months, a high chair would be impossible and most table service restaurants probably won't want the stroller inside, so you'd be holding the baby for the meal.
    2. If comfortable in the carrier, the baby would have a familiar place to nap, and if using a travel system (a pain in the butt on the buses), you'll have the double shields to block the sun.
    3. Even though your 3 year old may not want to be in a stroller at the mall, I still recommend carrying one.  If adults tire out quickly walking for miles on end, a 3 year old will tire out quickly.
    4. If you're flying, they can all be checked at the gate, so you can use them for your time in the airport and check them for free.  
  2. Consider babywearing.  
    1. Whether or not you "wore" with your first, I recommend investing in a higher quality (i.e. more comfortable for you) carrier than the standard Baby Bjorn.
    2. Carriers come in different builds, styles, and fabrics.  There are summer lightweight fabrics.  I used an amazing gauze wrap that kept both of us relatively cool and comfortable in June.  Plus, it made for the easiest naps of the trip!
    3. Babywearing is also incredibly convenient for waiting in lines and riding attractions, and even going through the airport.  
  3. Take breaks when needed
    1. Nap breaks are great, but there are tons of options for resting in the shade in the parks.  Look for rides like the Wedway TTA Peoplemover (whatever it is these days!), Hall of Presidents, Carousel of Progress, or even Pirates of the Caribbean.  Need to nurse?   The first 3 are great options for all of that (done in all 3!)
    2. Baby Care Centers - located in each park are amazing places to take breaks, nurse, change diapers, or just relax in the AC
    3. In my experiences I've had 2 options work: Take long nap breaks in the resort (while staying on property) OR head home early and stick to fairly close to normal bedtime/sleep pattern.  My son is by no means a good sleeper and he has always taken naps in his stroller at the park (no where else... and yes, usually after a few minutes of crying)

If you're staying on property, take advantage of being conveniently located - start early, take nap breaks, and don't expect to push as hard as you could pre-children.

Also, depending on how tall your 3 year old, they may be tall enough to start riding some of the big attractions, so double check those limits before you go!  I'll actually try to post them all this weekend, but most of them can be found in my posts entitled "Jenny's Family Vacation" which also have many other tips!

I hope this has answered some of your questions and hopefully taken away some of the fear.

Reader Tina asked about flying with a 1 year old - Tina, I've got several posts on flying (my son had done 5 round trips by 18 months).  My favorite is Flying Through the Years.

Thanks for asking questions and thanks for stopping by!


  1. I brought some small cloths with me (actually a cut up receiving blanket) and wet it with water from the fountain to put on my little one's neck to help keep her cool.

    Attractions like the Monster's Inc Laugh Floor, Little Mermaid show and a number of the DAK shows are great for a little relief from the heat!

    Great tips, Jenn.

  2. Jenn, wonderful post (as usual, of course)!

  3. Jennifer, as a non-mother who is observant, I can tell you one thing that a lot of parents of small ones don't remember to do while at WDW: Stop. Yes, when you need a break, your husband, one of the kids, whoever, please remember it is okay to get something cold to drink, find a bench in the shade and stop. Take care of you! (sorry to sound all Oprah for a second there).