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Old 10-10-2010, 02:43 PM   #1
CandleontheWater
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WDW with a teething ten-month-old, a tale of survival- finsihed 5/11!!

Unfortunately Scopa was right….

For those of you who listen to the WDW Today podcast, you will immediately get the reference, but for those who don’t, Mike Scopa famously advises against taking babies to WDW. He contends that they (a) will not remember the trip, (b) will be challenging and demand many sacrifices and (c) may disturb and inconvenience other guests. Well, I have to say that all that is unfortunately true. By now I’m sure you’re getting that this will not be a sugar-coated “I took my infant to WDW and all was magical and wonderful” trip report, but that is not to say that we did not have exceptional experiences along with the down times. Some truly wonderful memories were made on the trip, including when DS clapped, for the very first time ever, during the Country Bear Jamboree and watching the joy on DS’s face when he reached to touch Mickey’s nose. However, we did have some dark times, such as when DH threatened that we’d never go on vacation again after pushing a wide-awake Everett around Saratoga Springs during the pre-dawn hours.

All that being said, I’d do it over again in a heart-beat. Let’s face it, when is life with an infant not challenging, full of sacrifices and potentially inconveniencing to others (I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has gotten dirty looks carting my screaming child around the grocery store). If you go into a Disney trip with an infant with the right attitude and realistic expectations, you can not only survive, but thrive! If I’m going to be juggling a cranky, teething ten-month old in one hand, life is always better when there is a Mickey bar in the other.

Coming up next- meet the motley crew, and a tutorial on the WDW Infant Code (actually it is more like guidelines…)

Chapter List
Cast and Infant Code 1-3
Infant Code 4-7
Prelude
Disney Day-part 1
Disney Day-Part 2
Disney Day - Part 3
10/1-Revenge of the birds
10/1 part 2
10/1 part 3
10/2- part 1
10/2-part 2
10/2-part 3
10/3- part 1
10/3 part 2
10/4- Part 1
10/4- part 2
10/5
10/6
10/7
10/8

Last edited by CandleontheWater; 05-11-2011 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 10-10-2010, 04:01 PM   #2
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Subbing! Looks like I am first! Woo hoo! And let me tell you, traveling with a 2 year old also has challenges, but if we all waited till our kids were perfect... they wouldn't be kids anymore!
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:20 AM   #3
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Can't wait to read more. I never took a baby to WDW and can't imagine how hard it must be!
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:59 AM   #4
CandleontheWater
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephielela View Post
Subbing! Looks like I am first! Woo hoo! And let me tell you, traveling with a 2 year old also has challenges, but if we all waited till our kids were perfect... they wouldn't be kids anymore!
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Moonk's Mom View Post
Can't wait to read more. I never took a baby to WDW and can't imagine how hard it must be!

Yay! readers! Thank you for taking the time out to reply, I'll probably have the next installment up this afternoon (during nap time) or this evening after bedtime.

Stephielela- I agree that if we waited until our kids were perfect, they wouldn't be kids anymore! I don't think there is a more understanding place you can take kids then WDW, with all the parents around I'm sure most of us realize that children are unpredictable!

Moonk's- Yup, you're going to see the good, the bad and the ugly in this trip report!
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Old 10-11-2010, 02:42 PM   #5
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Alright- on to the distinguished cast of this crazy adventure!

First up is myself, Marissa. Although I may be a new mom, I’m no Disney tenderfoot, with 49 trips under my belt.



Next up is my DH, Mark. I don’t think he realized that “I will take thee on yearly trips to Disney” was a sub-clause of our marriage vows, but he is a good sport, and really does enjoy our trips.



Also making a cameo appearance on this trip is my mom, Maureen. I can honestly say that my Disney obsession is all her fault. She honeymooned in Disney back in 1977, and fell in love. We went on yearly pilgrimages to the mouse during my childhood, and in 2006 we purchased into the Disney Vacation club, so we could continue to take trips as a family.



Last up is the star of this report, Everett. He is 10 months old, a boundless source of energy and pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.



This trip took place from Sept 30- Oct 8th, and was our third trip this year, and having traveled to Disney with a 4 month old, a 6 month old and a 10 month old, I am working my way toward becoming an expert at taking babies to WDW. As such I have developed The Infant Code- rules (ok maybe more like guidelines…) that will help guide you toward a successful trip.

Rule #1- Practice vacationing before you leave home

Lets face it, Disney is overwhelming, the sites, the sounds, the crowds, the new experiences, all of it can combine to be too much for a child. The problem is that new parents often don’t know exactly how far they can go before code red melt down stage is reached (for both babies and parents). This is why I suggest doing your best to practice before your Disney vacation so you’ll have some idea what to expect. I live right outside of DC, so it was easy for me to practice getting on and off public transportation, exposing baby to crowds, and taking in attractions. Other things we did to prep for this trip was take Everett to the Rainforest Café to see how he did in an unusual environment with loud unexpected noises and audio-animatronics, take him to meet the Easter Bunny to see how he did with characters, and take him to the circus to see how fared sitting through a show. Even if you just take a day trip somewhere, the practice of learning what you need to take (and what you can leave at home) can be very helpful.

Rule #2- Get as much help as possible

Yes, you can take an infant on your own, but it is much, much easier with extra hands. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, friends, anyone who wouldn’t mind schlepping a diaper bag or hauling a stroller, by all means, bring them along for the ride. If no one steps up to volunteer, fell free to conscript them, it’s the pirate way, after all!

Rule #3- Get the biggest room you can afford

I know, I know, you only use the room to sleep and shower, but all that is about to change. I stayed with Everett for two days in a Pop Century room before moving to the Treehouse Villas on our first trip, and I was never so happy to check out of a Disney resort. Between the pack-n-play, the stroller, the diaper bag and mounds of baby-related luggage, you’ll want all the space you can get. Not to mention that you will be spending much more time in the room than ever before, between naps and early bedtimes. Another thing to consider is how heavy a sleeper is your baby. Everett wakes up if we so much as roll over in bed, so getting him as far away from us at night was pivotal to the little sleep we actually did get.

next up- Infant Code 4-7
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:02 PM   #6
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Ok readers, here is the rest of the Infant Code!

Rule #4- Rent a car

I doubt you’ll find a bigger proponent of Disney transportation than myself. I will go out of my way to take Disney busses whenever possible, and I don’t think a trip is complete without inhaling those magical diesel fumes. All that being said, rent a car and save your sanity. Carrying a baby, a diaper bag, a day bag, and a stroller on the bus is enough to turn the happiest of Disney vacationers Grumpy. Also, if you need to make a quick park exit due to meltdowns, the last thing you want to do is be waiting around for the bus, and then share an excruciating ride with 50 of your fellow vacationers.

Rule #5- Bring a good stroller

Consider the stroller your ultimate park touring ally. You need a stroller that is easy to push and maneuver, lightweight, has ample storage space and most of all is comfortable for the baby, adequate sunshade and a full recline is clinch. El cheapo umbrella strollers might be fine for a 5 year old, but if you are traveling with the under one set, do yourself a favor and get something substantial.

Rule #6- Skip sit down dining

(you can feel free to amend this rule if your prince or princess is truly and angel- but if you kid is hopelessly average, like mine is, you may want to take heed) I know that sit down dining is the hallmark of a good Disers vacation, however if your tot is anything like mine, and eating out with them is managed chaos, you may want to consider skipping elaborate dining. My 10 month old will sit happily for approximately 10 minutes, then it is on, the fussing, the crying, the throwing of toys and food, the horror! If eating out is more stress than it is worth, skip it! If you really want to sit down, consider a buffet, where one person can eat while the other entertains the baby, and no one has to eat cold food, or choose a really loud restaurant like Ohana or Whispering Canyon, where everyone is too busy concentrating on the spectacle to notice your screaming baby.

Rule #7- No amount of Disney magic can keep your little prince or princess from turning into a pumpkin
This I think is the most important rule. I know that before each trip, I got so caught up in the magic and dreaming about how perfect and wonderful our vacation was going to be, I forgot that I was going to be taking the same baby that is DONE after 7 pm. If you little one has a trigger, whether it be a rigid nap time, or certain feeding rituals or, like in my case, bedtime, Disney is not going to change that. Work within their schedule as much as possible to ensure maximum magic.

Well, now that you are fully inducted into the mysteries of taking a baby to WDW, lets get on with the show!

Next up- a prelude and day 1!
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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Prelude-

Some babies don’t even notice when they get new teeth, Everett is so far from those babies he might as well be on a different planet. He has 4 (now 5) teeth and each one was an epic battle of crankiness, night waking and general irritability (on my end). It got so bad when he was getting in his top teeth that I read over the hospital bill to find out if they had a return policy; so, when he began his tell-tale teething signs about a week before our vacation (nursing strike, refusing the pacifier, multiple night wakings and being up for the day before 6 am), I knew we were in for a world of hurt. Since there was nothing we could do but ride out the storm, I took a detour to Target, bought extra strength Oragel and extra baby motrin, and wished upon a star that the magic of Disney would have a transformative effect on my little man. If you would like to guess how that worked out, I’ll refer you to Infant Code rule #7
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:42 PM   #8
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Hey, neighbor (we live on the Hill)! Anxious to read more -- we plan to take our then 9-month-old and 2-year-old in May, and having taken our then 9-month-old last year, I find myself nodding along to your infant code.
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:28 PM   #9
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Your baby is adorable! Mine are far past that stage (thank goodness!), but I keep going "uh-huh, I remember that" as I read!
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Old 10-15-2010, 12:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyFanDC View Post
Hey, neighbor (we live on the Hill)! Anxious to read more -- we plan to take our then 9-month-old and 2-year-old in May, and having taken our then 9-month-old last year, I find myself nodding along to your infant code.
Hey there! We live in Old Town Alexandria- so we're not too far from you! You should definitely write a trip report about your adventures, I would find it very interesting to see how different it is to take a 2 year old as opposed to a baby!

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Your baby is adorable! Mine are far past that stage (thank goodness!), but I keep going "uh-huh, I remember that" as I read!
Thanks so much! I'm rather partial to him, even when he is teething!

I'm going to write the next installment tonight, so hopefully I'll have it loaded up before falling asleep!
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Old 10-15-2010, 01:40 PM   #11
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Enjoying your report!

What a cutie your little one is! I'm headed to WDW in December with my grandson who will be 15 months old then. Never been with with an infant so a little anxious and very excited - your tips are MUCH appreciated!

Looking forward to the next installment!
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:14 PM   #12
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im enjoying your report. i just got back on the 10th for my sons 1st trip. he was 12 months but i can relate. im glad i had help because thoses busses by myself would have been horrible!!
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:35 PM   #13
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Can't wait to read more!!! We have a 5 month old and are planning to take him around his first birthday, so it's great to read about your experience to help get us prepared- I'm already so nervous just thinking about it and our trip is 7 months away!

Looking forward to your updates!

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Old 10-15-2010, 02:41 PM   #14
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subbing! we aren't parents yet, but hope to be in that place sooner rather than later. for now I'll use your tr to get my baby/disney fix at the same time.
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:43 AM   #15
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Sorry I didn't get this posted earlier- I was exhausted on Friday, and then yesterday when I was trying the Disboards were closed! Anyway, here goes

Day 1- Sept 30, 2010- DISNEY DAY!!

Rustle, rustle- thunk- *groan * The day started with the distinctive sound of a pacifier being thrown out of the crib. Even though our alarm wasn’t set to go off for 15 more minutes, our tiny tyrant of an alarm clock decided that we were waking up at 5:45 (little did I know that I’d be praying for him to sleep that late only a few days later). Most mornings I’d be desperately trying to get Everett back to sleep, but this was no ordinary morning, this was DISNEY DAY!! I went to into Everett’s room to find him standing up, smiling and laughing. He is definitely a morning person! I took him back into my bed for nursing and a few extra snuggles before diaper changes and getting both of us dressed in the outfits that had been chosen and lying out for the past two weeks. I think it is very important when returning to the motherland to dress the part, so Everett and I were both wearing our Disney best. DH thinks I’m insane and opted for a more mundane ensemble.

The plan was to eat breakfast at home, and head out NO LATER than 7:30. I thought that this would be no problem, especially since I had an extra 15 mins (thanks Everett!), but somehow we were already running late. Maybe it was because I had to take extra time to queue up the perfect DISNEY DAY breakfast music (tapestry of dreams), or maybe it was because I burned the toast and set off the fire alarm, maybe it was because I under-estimated how long it would take to pack all the last minute items, but in any case, DH did not get breakfast and we still just left the house on time.

Now, I need to take a moment to explain that my husband (God love him) is cheap, so cheap, he will go great lengths out of his way and endure much hardship just to save some money. Things that would seem ridiculous to the normal person, will seem perfectly reasonable to him, if it means saving money. Knowing this helpful background piece of information is the only way to understand exactly how we got to the airport… which is, we took the metro. We conveniently live in Alexandria Virginia, within walking distance to the King Street metro stop, which is just two stops away from Regan National Airport. Back before we had Everett it was a simple matter to walk to the metro, and go straight to the airport, however, that was when we traveled with two suitcases, max. Everett has drastically changed all that and we were embarking upon this vacation with two large roller suitcases, one small roller carry-on, a back-pack, a diaper bag, a stroller, a carseat, and a bag for the stroller and car seat, not to mention a baby.

I’m sure most normal people would think you insane if you attempted to lug this much stuff on public transportation, but DH had a plan. We bungee corded the car seat to the stroller, hooked the diaper bag to the stroller handle and put the carseat and stroller bags underneath. I wore Everett in the becco, pushed the stroller/carseat combo, and pulled the little roller suitcase behind me, and with DH pulling both larger roller suitcases we were quite the circus. Did I mention it was morning rush hour? I had visions of being separated from DH, from not being able to get everything off the train successfully and having our luggage travel on to the Fort Totten terminus, but miraculously we made it (with all our stuff) in one piece. I have to thank the anonymous woman who helped me get the small roller bag off while I pushed the stroller. She told us she had six kids and was used to traveling with a lot of stuff, although she did mention that she never attempted to take it all on the metro.

Our first hurdle behind us, we headed to baggage check and security, which is where I was able to snap our first photographs. I love the architecture of Regan National, its so 60’s, I feel like I’m Mad Men, about to hop a PanAm flight to Acapulco.





You can’t even really see the little rolly suitcase in this photo, its hiding behind the larger suitcase!

We made it to baggage check, where we were able to check our bags for free since DH is active duty military. DH was very happy about this, I commented that we could have used the saved baggage fees to pay for parking. The line at the counter was relatively short and that held true for security as well. After showing our tickets, the TSA agent took us through to the head of the line because we had an infant. I’m not exactly sure why she did this, or if it is standard practice at Regan, but we were grateful. I’ve gotten pretty adept at flying with Everett, and I’m able to get our shoes off, our stuff into bins and break down the stroller in about as much time as it take the regular traveler to get their act together, so we made it through with no trouble.

Once through we found our gate, Mark found some breakfast and Everett found a new friend…
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