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Old 03-12-2013, 05:37 AM   #1
megsnoli
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HELP!! First Disney trip with 3 and 5 year old.

Hi everyone. I'm new! Me, my husband and our 2 children will be flying out to Orlando on the 12th April.......4 weeks and 3 days! Wahoo........Anyway i'm after some help.

I have been to Orlando, but never Disney, and I went when I was 16 so have no idea what I need to pack etc with children!

That is my main problem at the minute, what do I pack. I've read that the weather will be quite warm when we are there, but also cool at night, having only ever been once, and in february, I am stuck.

We aren't staying on resort unfortunately we are staying at Lake Buena Vista resort and spa but we have booked several character meals and resturant reservations in Disney and have the 14 day ultimate Disney ticket, so mainly plan to spend most of our 2 week stay in Disney parks.

Also its my little girl's 5th birthday while we are on holiday, is there anything extra special anyone would recommend? I have already booked Princess lunch at Akershus banquet hall but am open to other suggestions of how to make her day even more spectacular.

One last thing does anyone recommended me using some sort of harness/reins for my children? I have heard April is the busiest month and i'm quite anxious and nervous about a child getting lost or wandering off. I have a backpack for my 3 year old with a harness attached and I plan to use this, but not sure about for my 5 year old. What would everyone recommend?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:11 AM   #2
EagleScout
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Regarding crowds, while Disney marketing/discounts/international travelers with different schedules, now assures there are no truly "slow" times, it seems like you will avoid the worst of it. The only "crazy" April period will be right around Easter when most US schools have spring break (americans only get vacations in 1 week increments, usually). So that should be done before you get there. Similarly, the very end of april (27-29) is a big cheerleading competition that probably will not increase the overall crowds, but they may travel in a pack/horde so you could in the middle of them at some point. With all that said, maybe try your older one at a zoo or something to see how she does, or maybe bring the harness "just in case". There are some other unique experiences that i'm not sure you mentioned, although many do cost extra- bibbity boppity boutique- a kiddie "salon" where they give the girls princessy sparkle makeup and do their hair in an up do- you can also buy princess dresses to complete the look, although many bring from home (buy at target, etc) to save money. Hoop-de due revue is also fun- a family style dinner at fort wilderness campground with singing and dancing while you eat. Please dont forget to see the dream along with mickey stage show on front court of castle. It is several times per day every day, but standing for half hour in no shade asphalt so maybe try to avoid hottest periods, and certainly try to avoid that show with freshly applied bippity boppity makeup, because i have seen many girls with runny makeup afterward. The pirates and pals cruise also gets high marks (nightime family-friendly cruise to see mk fireworks), but may be too late for 3 yo. While you are there, epcot will have the flower and garden, which should be nice- and a few things specifically for kids. One last thing, remember, a disney vacation with young children is scored like figure skating- you get points for what you do- there are no deductions for what you did not do. Particularly with your extended stay, no need to be just dashing from place to place like a scavenger hunt.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:07 AM   #3
Happyjen27
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Now, mind you, I've only been to Disney one time, 3 months ago with my 5 year old twins. There are many experts here, I am not one. But, I'll give it a shot:

Quote:
Originally Posted by megsnoli View Post
Hi everyone. I'm new! Me, my husband and our 2 children will be flying out to Orlando on the 12th April.......4 weeks and 3 days! Wahoo........Anyway i'm after some help.

I have been to Orlando, but never Disney, and I went when I was 16 so have no idea what I need to pack etc with children!

That is my main problem at the minute, what do I pack. I've read that the weather will be quite warm when we are there, but also cool at night, having only ever been once, and in february, I am stuck. I would pack 3/4 warm clothes and 1/4 cold clothes. So, if you're bringing 12 outfits I would have 9 of the outfits as shorts/skirts/short sleeved shirts. Then 3 outfits of pants/jeans and long sleeved shirts. I would bring one light jacket which is water resistant. That way you can wear a light jacket in the morning until it gets hot, then wear shorts/skirts/short sleeved outfit all day, then in the evening put the light jacket back on. (not that I would do a park all day with little ones; 4 hours at a time was out max) I would also plan on doing some laundry.

We aren't staying on resort unfortunately we are staying at Lake Buena Vista resort and spa but we have booked several character meals and resturant reservations in Disney and have the 14 day ultimate Disney ticket, so mainly plan to spend most of our 2 week stay in Disney parks.

Also its my little girl's 5th birthday while we are on holiday, is there anything extra special anyone would recommend? I have already booked Princess lunch at Akershus banquet hall but am open to other suggestions of how to make her day even more spectacular. My 5 year old girl LOVED the Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique. It was a total surprise. I snuck a new princess dress in the luggage for her, and that morning I used "magic" to make it appear. In all honesty, everything is so magical at Disney she is going to have a wonderful birthday. I think you can pre-order special occasion cakes that can be brought to you at a meal. Or pick one up for your dinner at your resort that night. That would be tons cheaper.

One last thing does anyone recommended me using some sort of harness/reins for my children? I have heard April is the busiest month and i'm quite anxious and nervous about a child getting lost or wandering off. I have a backpack for my 3 year old with a harness attached and I plan to use this, but not sure about for my 5 year old. What would everyone recommend? I only had 5 year olds with me, so it was easier than dealing with a 3 yo. I can't imagine you would need much for the average 5 year old, they are generally old enough to not take off spontaneously. If your 3 yo is a "runner" and is prone to taking off with no notice, a harness might be a good security blanket for you. We used a double stroller (rented from Orlando Stroller Rental) for the week, so in the times when the crowds were thickest, generally my pair was safe and sound in a stroller. Definately made it easy to keep track of them.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:08 AM   #4
Eureka
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We were there in mid-April 2 years ago and it was very warm...like 90! I think that is a little hotter than normal though. I didn't ever need a sweater (and I get cold sometimes when it's 70 degrees out!), but I packed each of us a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans just in case. We wore shorts and t shirts the whole time. I'd say look at the Weather Channel website a couple days before you leave to see the trends. It's easy enough to throw in a few things for cooler weather at the last minute. Have a great time!
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:08 AM   #5
Disneygirl NY
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Welcome. Years ago when my oldest DS was almost 2, we had gotten a harness. It went over his shoulders and around his waist, with a cord that we held. I was embarrassed and was just waiting for people to make comments to me that we were treating him like a dog. Well - it was the best thing we ever did. He was happy because he wasn't confined to his stroller all day, we were happy because we knew exactly where he was and he couldn't run off. No one made a comment except one dad who was struggling to keep his toddler happy in a stroller - he offered me $50 for my harness! As for the 5 year old, at least for me, at that point we didn't need any harness, but do make sure you have strollers handy because those little legs get tired. As far as what to pack: COMFORT, COMFORT, COMFORT! Shorts, t-shirts, really comfy shoes, bathing suits, sunblock, some sweaters or sweatshirts for evenings and early mornings. And - take a day to hang by the pool and do laundry, especially if you are visiting for 2 weeks.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:10 AM   #6
Eureka
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Oh, and I don't know anything about those harnesses, but I would strongly recommend a stroller. My younger DS was 5.5 for our first trip, WAY done with strollers in real life but he needed one in Disney. Way too much heat/walking combined to deal with without daily meltdowns. One of those and we got a stroller..he didn't use it all the time but it was worth it for when he did.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megsnoli View Post
Hi everyone. I'm new! Me, my husband and our 2 children will be flying out to Orlando on the 12th April.......4 weeks and 3 days! Wahoo........Anyway i'm after some help.

I have been to Orlando, but never Disney, and I went when I was 16 so have no idea what I need to pack etc with children!

That is my main problem at the minute, what do I pack. I've read that the weather will be quite warm when we are there, but also cool at night, having only ever been once, and in february, I am stuck.
I too have to say that I am not an expert on Disney, have been 4 times - most recently last August. I would imagine that the weather in April would be perfect. We went in the summer and boy oh boy it was hot. I would pack a sweater and ponchos just in case. We got thicker ponchos at our local dollar store. Although, April is not generally a rainy time I would bring just in case. A good, worked in, pair of shoes is essential as well.

We aren't staying on resort unfortunately we are staying at Lake Buena Vista resort and spa but we have booked several character meals and resturant reservations in Disney and have the 14 day ultimate Disney ticket, so mainly plan to spend most of our 2 week stay in Disney parks.
2 Weeks that is so exciting and as someone said this will give you time to relax and smell the roses, as well as enjoy the parks.

Also its my little girl's 5th birthday while we are on holiday, is there anything extra special anyone would recommend? I have already booked Princess lunch at Akershus banquet hall but am open to other suggestions of how to make her day even more spectacular.
I too would recommend BBB for your daughters. It is quite expensive but if you bring your own princess costumes that saves quite a deal. We loved character meals; Chef Mickeys breakfast, Crystal Palace, Hollywood and Vine if your girls like the Playhouse Disney characters. Coral Reef is also pretty cool in terms of all the sea life you get to dine with. There is a little girls Tea Party at the Grand Floridian but I believe it is quite costly. If it is your daughters birthday during your trip you can add that to one or two of your reservations when you book or after and they usually will bring a special bday dessert. I would also recommend getting the First Trip and Birthday Pins. I believe you can get them on Main Street.

One last thing does anyone recommended me using some sort of harness/reins for my children? I have heard April is the busiest month and i'm quite anxious and nervous about a child getting lost or wandering off. I have a backpack for my 3 year old with a harness attached and I plan to use this, but not sure about for my 5 year old. What would everyone recommend?
Disney is a lot of walking, a lot, a lot of walking. If you are not planning on renting a stroller (which can add up over 2 weeks) I would bring a stroller. Just one of those collapsible umbrella style. Not only does it make it convenient for carrying things - backpacks etc. it also offers a break to both of your girls. Your 3 year old can use regularly but you can switch if your 5 year olds legs need a break. I think a harness is also a good idea for your 3 year old, I am sure your 5 year old will be okay just holding hands.

Thanks in advance.
Have an amazing trip!!!
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:49 AM   #8
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I'll be there at the same time and my son is turning 5, too!!

We've been the last few years between March-May. Weather wise, I usually wear capri's and a t-shirt, though have a sweatshirt or jacket nearby. It's hot in the sun, but can get chilly in the shade. My son is shorts and a tee shirt and a sweatshirt, too. That said, I'll definitely check the weather last minute before we go. I think one year my son ended up wearing pants to the parks in the morning and then changing into shorts mid-day-ish.

From what I understand, most Disney restaurants have cakes in the back so you can purchase a cake for birthday dessert. You can also order something more elaborate (check out the Restaurants board for more info on cakes). If you tell them at Guest Services that it's your daughters birthday they will give her a special birthday button.

I'm not expecting it to by super busy. Most crowd predictors predict middleish crowds. That said, some parts of some parks will be busier than others.

I've never used a harness but my son uses the stroller A LOT at Disney (at this point we only use it for Disney - no where else).
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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Luckly we have not had any issues of our DD's running off, but we always have had a stroller or 2 We now take a sit-n-stand stroller, this really helps if we need to move faster or the oldest gets tired Are you planning any down days just to relax? I know we try/need to have a down day about every 4th day. We learned that we all need to recharge our batteries, so we just hang by the pool and maybe do minature golf, or rent a surrey bike... With this schedule we have yet to have any melt downs(knock on wood).
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:54 AM   #10
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We told them at Akershus that it was my daughters birthday and they brought out a cupcake with a candle on it. It was free and gave her a chance to blow out a candle on her birthday. Personally I feel having breakfast at Akershus will be special enough. We allowed my daughter to dress up and after we ate she changed clothes and we stuck the outfit in a bag in the bottom of the stroller. Like others have said make sure you stop by town hall and get pins to wear that show it's you first visit and they have a birthday pins as well. These are free and cast members will acknowledge your celebrations. Stroller(s) is/are a must. Your five year old will get tired, as well, and if you only have one stroller she wll try and take it over. Since your going to be there so long I would also recomend pin trading. It's fun for the kids and adults as well. You can either buy a few before you go through disney's wedsite or a Disney store or buy some when you get there. Of course, a much cheaper way is to bulk buy them on Ebay.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:06 PM   #11
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We'll be there around the same time. It will be our family's 2nd trip with our 3 1/2 year old). This is my advice, for what it's worth:

Hoodies are great for Florida weather - zip them up with the hood on if it is cold, leave them open/no hood if it is chilly, take them off the other 362 days off the year. You don't even have to pack them, if you find you need them you can buy them at a local Target (that assumes you will have a car).

On our last visit we did the Terrace Dessert Party. It was great fun, but is a bit pricy. We had a great view of the fireworks, and Tinker Bell flew right at us and over our heads. There are a ton of desserts and they keep them coming (of course, our kid only ate watermelon and grapes).

For some reason they don't sell juice anywhere in the Magic Kingdom (that we could find). Take some to the park if you need it. The baby changing/feeding area is great if you need it.

We loved the character breakfast at Polynesian ('Ohanas). It was sit down, served family style - so with a kid (or two) you don't have to juggle them while hitting the buffet. Everyone called you cousin, the characters came around frequently, and the kids got to do a parade every so often. The food was actually delicious.

Take your own stroller. We didn't, thinking renting at MK would be easier. But it is a long way from the car to the Transportation and Ticketing Center to the park entrance to the stroller rental place. Plus, we could never find out stroller when we came out of a ride.

Have you considered a townhouse rental? We stayed on-site for our first visit at Animal Kingdom Lodge (as Florida residents we got a cheap deal). We didn't even like AKL, much less love it. This time we are renting a townhouse with a small splash pool that I think will be perfect for me and the kiddo at the end of the day. We will only be there for 3 days, but for the length of time your family will be in town it will make it easy do your own laundry and cook/eat some meals at home.

As others have said, get your daughter a birthday button for your daughter to wear. Everyone will be wishing her a happy birthday. You can get it at the ticket booth or customer service.

I used to be against harness/leashes for small kids and thought it was horrible. Until I had one and discovered how quickly they can bolt away. Do what you feel comfortable with. Take one if you think you will need one, you don't want to have to offer a stranger $50 for theirs.
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