Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Disney for Two: Enjoying the Parks While Pregnant

By: Rebecca Farrell (Follow me on Twitter @RMZFarrell)

Dear readers, as you have likely noticed from my recent blog posts, my husband and I are expecting our first child later this year. The little man, due in mid-October, was also the reason we recently changed our Disney Fantasy Western Caribbean Cruise to a 9-day Contemporary Club Level stay (read more about it here).
**For Jenn's Pregnant Touring Experiences, Click Here**
So while I’m sorry I can’t be blogging about the Mayan ruins at Tulum or a memorable meal at Palo, I am pleased to be able to share some unique insights with you about enjoying Walt Disney World with a baby on board.

But before I get into the specifics, I have to share this little tidbit – I have always been amazed at the number of VERY pregnant women I see wandering around Walt Disney World. Frankly, I admire them and don’t know how they do it. I have never been so tired in my life! OK, now we can move on…

Accommodations: Stay Close!
This was a no-brainer for us as we knew that a deluxe resort with a great location was an absolute necessity.  Prior to switching our trip around, we had already booked in three nights at the Club level of the Polynesian, our favorite resort.  When we changed our plans, we found a more cost-effective option was the Club Level at the Contemporary, and we were pleased with our choice.

Being close (walking distance) to the Magic Kingdom cut down on a lot of waiting around for Monorails and buses, especially important because my doctor didn't want me on my feet all day. Also, when it came time for a mid-day break to swim and nap, we could be back at the hotel inside of 15-20 minutes.

My advice:
Try to stay close to the parks
Take a mid-day break
Determine your tolerance for an evening park return on a case-by-case basis

Be Prepared for: Flexibility and Disappointment
I had NO idea how much this pregnancy would wear me out. Even at only 16 weeks pregnant, I was so tired after a morning in the parks that I barely had the energy to sit up a dinner much less go back to a park in the evening.  I even designed our itinerary with only five (5) park days out of eight (8) days on the ground at Walt Disney World, but that didn't seem to be enough!

My new level of tired (and, let’s face it, cranky) meant being flexible with several dining reservations, missing out on evening live sets by Off Kilter and the British Revolution, and even skipping IllumiNations fireworks for the first time EVER. Was it disappointing? Sure, and in the heat of the moment I may even have shed a few tears, but I know we’ll be back some day and we've done it all before.

The weather during our trip also meant that we ended up skipping a day at Animal Kingdom when mother nature was kind enough to make it rain ALL DAY and adding a day at Epcot instead. We figured we’d rather spend more time with the manatees at the Living Seas than be soaked to the bone during a Central Florida monsoon.

Finally, I was glad we decided NOT to invest in park hopper tickets because we never would have received our money’s worth on this trip. One park a day was all I could manage.

Below is a grid with how we spent our time on this trip, using the TouringPlans.com crowd calendar so we didn't hit any park on an over-crowded day:

Day
Activity
Saturday
Flight to MCO, dinner at hotel
Sunday
Epcot
Monday
Magic Kingdom
Tuesday
Break day – Massages at Grand Floridian
Wednesday
Magic Kingdom
Thursday
Break day – Hung out at hotels due to rain
Friday
Epcot
Saturday
Epcot

My advice:
Plan an itinerary that allows for flexibility
Listen to your body
Remember that you WILL be back some day with your little one!

Expectant Mothers Should Not Ride
I was already prepared not to be allowed to go on quite a few rides in my condition, but I certainly didn't hold my husband back. He enjoyed a few of those on the “no no list” while I took a snack break on a nearby bench.  By the way, being pregnant is an EXCELLENT reason to indulge in park pretzels and popcorn if I do say so myself!

Following is a list of rides that expectant mothers should avoid due to jerky motions, potential for motion sickness, etc.  (Note – this list was compiled from several sources – always speak to your doctor about what is safe):

Park
Location
Ride
Magic Kingdom
Tomorrowland
Space Mountain
Magic Kingdom
Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland Speedway
Magic Kingdom
Tomorrowland
Stitch’s Great Escape
Magic Kingdom
Frontierland
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Magic Kingdom
Frontierland
Splash Mountain
Magic Kingdom
New Fantasyland
Goofy’s Barnstormer
Epcot
Future World
Mission: Space
Epcot
Future World
Soarin’ (this has to do with the harness that hits your abdomen)
Epcot
Future World
Test Track
Hollywood Studios
Echo Lake
Star Tours
Hollywood Studios
Sunset Boulevard
Rockin’ Roller Coaster
Hollywood Studios
Sunset Boulevard
Tower of Terror
Animal Kingdom
Africa
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Animal Kingdom
Asia
Expedition Everest
Animal Kingdom
Dinoland U.S.A.
Dinosaur
Animal Kingdom
Dinoland U.S.A.
Primeval Whirl

My advice:
Talk to your Doctor about your trip
Don’t do anything stupid
Take a break for a snack while others in your party go on rides you can’t


Our "Souven-Ears" - can't wait to wear them on our first Disney trip as a FAMILY!

4 comments:

  1. We went to Disney World when I was 7 months pregnant with our first child. Oh and did I mention that it was the end of July? It was a long planned family trip and I didn't want to miss it. I talked to my doctor and he was fine with the trip. His only special instruction was to drink a TON of water. I think I used every single bathroom in Disney World!

    We took breaks(naps) in the middle of every day which really helped. It gave me enough energy to head back out to a park most evenings. It was so hot during the day that I much preferred going to the park in the evening anyway.



    My only other words of wisdom would be that it's ok to cry in an EPCOT bathroom because you are just SO.FREAKING.HOT. Cool yourself off with some water and march yourself back to the monorail.

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  2. Pregnant In DisneyJuly 22, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Amy you're right! We went when my wife was around 8 months and without the afternoon breaks I don't know if she would have been as happy. She actually kept a water bottle that all of the counter service places allowed her to fill up for free with water and ice.

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  3. You don't even need your own water bottle - they will give you a free cup! This is one of my most basic tips! http://www.disneybabiesblog.com/2011/09/tips-to-beat-heat.html

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  4. I am in month six of round two pregnancy. We live an hour away from Disney and go at least once a month. Our next trip starts Monday and we will be there through New Years Day. Yes, me, my baby belly, and my 2.5 year old are going to ring in the new year with the 10s of thousands at the Magic Kingdom. We end up being at the park from 7am - 3am. It's a long day. When we did this same trip during my first pregnancy, I learned a few tricks. Use the longer shows to take naps; The Carousel of Progress, The Hall of President's, and The Country Bear Jamboree. Don'e be afraid to look silly; find a bench and put your feet up. But most importantly, talk to your spouse; tell them what you need, what you want and how you are feeling. I know I will cry at least three times during our 30 hour day at Disney, but I also know my husband will understand and hold my hand and make me smile.

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