Although Disney is, in general, a family friendly resort, I was surprised by HOW friendly it really is.
When my husband and I pulled up to the gate at Disney’s Yacht Club resort and said we were here to check in, the guard replied something along the lines of, “Yessir, here’s your parking permit. Happy Anniversary and enjoy your stay with us.”
That’s right, because it was a note on our reservation information, EVERYONE at Disney knew it was our anniversary. We were greeted at the door with a hello and our Happy Anniversary pins. Yep, we could advertise even more than the Disney system does that it was our anniversary, if we chose to. We didn’t, but it was still nice to receive them. We were escorted to check-in, given a huge packet of hotel and theme park information, and pins that actually said Happy 5th Anniversary. We also asked for and received a First Visit pin for our daughter.
We took our bags to our room and let Aly run around for a bit. While there are cords visible, they were bundled against the wall out of obvious sight and the outlets are all hidden behind furniture. There were plastic liners for the trash cans on top of the dresser, so no suffocation hazard. The only odd thing within reach was the hair dryer and that’s easy enough to move. I was relieved I didn’t have to follow my daughter around, but she could explore on her own. There was also enough space to set up a play yard or portable crib without rearranging the furniture (as we had to do at the last non-Disney hotel we took her to). Since she wasn’t staying with us, this wasn’t a big deal, but another thing pleasantly noted.
We’ll skip ahead a bit to our time at Epcot. While there were a couple tight spots, I could fit my limousine of a stroller through all the shops. Strollers are generally not allowed into the restaurants or attractions, but you can get pretty close to the ride before you have to either put it in stroller parking or fold it up.
The kid meals are awesome. While not perfectly appropriate for my 14 month old, her lunch was a sourdough dinner roll with turkey, cheese, a tomato slice and lettuce leaf served with unsweetened applesauce and grapes. There are also several options of water, juice and milk in addition to soda. She got milk and I ate the grapes for breakfast the next morning. Her dinner sandwich (because we forgot to make reservations for dinner) was a small hamburger roll with ham, cheese, a tomato slice and lettuce leaf served with unsweetened applesauce and carrots. The carrots eventually got tossed, but isn’t that an awesomely healthy combination?? There are so many sweet treats available around Disney I’m glad that they’re not lumped into their meals too.
Each park also has a baby care station, which has been added within the last couple years. Epcot’s is located near the Odyssey restaurant, which neither my husband nor I has ever seen serve food. There’s a small store that sells baby food, medicine, bottles, cups, plates, diapers, and clothes. The selection is not extensive, but does supply any emergency needs. For other Similac users, only Enfamil formula is available. There is also a room with four padded changing tables and a hand washing sink and another room with a small couch, table, chairs, toys and a TV showing cartoons all day. A great place for overwhelmed kids to relax and recharge. I also noticed that every bathroom also had diapers for sale in the feminine supply vending machine. $1.50 buys you a diaper, wipes, changing table cover, Boudreaux’s butt paste, hand sanitizer… There might have been more, but I can’t remember. It’s pricey if you forgot all your diapers for the trip, but great at the end of the day when you’re one short.
We didn’t take Aly on any rides because she can’t be trusted to sit still, and it’s no fun for us or anyone else in our vehicle if she’s squirming and we’re yelling throughout the ride. If your child can be trusted to sit, I believe that Spaceship Earth, Journey Into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land and the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico are all acceptable places for very young children. Innoventions is a great place to let young kids run around and explore too, and it has an open area and several comfy couches to recharge your batteries on. I had also read that the The Seas with Nemo and Friends show/ride and the Maelstrom ride in Norway were good. I disagree with Maelstrom because it can be a little rough and there is a small drop. I won’t take Aly on that until she’s old enough to ride other kiddie rides. We didn’t see Nemo for ourselves, but the commercial currently shown on TV makes it look like it’s appropriate for all ages.
While we didn’t take our daughter to Animal Kingdom, I was surprised at how friendly it would be to her and anyone else her age. There is a ton of interesting scenery. There are special birds and trees everywhere and a couple walking tours of wildlife. If she could be trusted to sit, the Kilimanjaro Safari is also acceptable for her, as well as the train and attractions at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Lee and I agree that Animal Kingdom is kind of like a zoo on steroids. Camp Minnie Mickey is also located in this park and is supposed to offer playgrounds and kiddie slides, but I can’t confirm this because we didn’t go there.
I would not take Aly to the Magic Kingdom any time in the near future, although she would greatly enjoy the train, the parade and ToonTown. I love this park, but it is SO packed that she wouldn’t be able to see anything but colored walls and people’s knees from her vantage point in the stroller. That does not seem like an exciting time to me, so I will not be fighting the crowd with my stroller for another couple years.
Have you had a fantastic vacation? Or a great experience traveling with a small child? If you haven’t recently, where do you dream of going and doing?