PARENTS! Please read!

CanadaKid

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 20, 2001
A few months ago I posted this advise on a British board and I would like to share it now with you DIS types. My apologies to the seasoned DIS veterans and related WDW experts: this advice is really posted for families visiting for the first time:

Here are a few tips for taking young kids to WDW. PLEASE keep in mind that these are only my personal observations - every kid is different.

CHAPTER 1: WHERE TO EAT?

First-time parents to WDW are sometimes stressed out about how their young kids will behave in a crowded restaurant. Relax! These places are often full of kids and are usually noisy, happy places. They are designed for kids and parents alike, just like WDW. I once heard parents ask if kids were allowed in the dining room. The CM just smiled and gave their two kids lollypops - question answered. They ARE allowed, they are expected and they are welcome.

Our picks:

1. Chef Mickey's on the Grand Concourse (4th floor) of the Contemporary hotel. Character meals, buffet, all-you-can-eat. The characters wander around and visit with all the kids at their tables. They pose for photos and sign autographs and the kids love every minute. There is much music, singing and waving napkins around. Food is very good and there was good selection of kids-type items.

2. The Crystal Palace, Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom. A little quieter than Chef Mickey's with the Winnie the Pooh characters. Again, great buffet food with lots of items for the kids.

3. The Garden Grill Restaurant, Land Pavilion, Future World, Epcot Center. Often overlooked as a place to eat because it is not out back in the World Showcase (country pavilions) area. It is an indoor revolving restaurant that passes the various scenes in the Land ride (rainforest, desert etc.) I think Mickey, Chip and Dale were there. Not a buffet but platters of country food (chicken, ribs) and kid-friendly stuff, some of which is grown inside the pavilion and it doesn't stop coming until you say so. Don't eat breakfast that day.

4. Sci-Fi Diner, Disney Studios. An indoor rendition of an outdoor drive-in movie theatre. No characters but the kids liked sitting in the cars and watching the cheesy movies on the big screen while they ate.

All these places are in WDW and, yes, they are much more expensive, about US$50-70/family of 4, than going to MacDonald's but two years later our 6-year-old still remembers Chef Mickey's and the photos that we took there will always remind us of a great vacation.

CHAPTER 2 : I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU TOOK YOUR KIDS TO PLEASURE ISLAND!

We heard this after we came back last time.

Everything you have ever heard about Pleasure Island being "Party-Central" is true. It is, without a doubt, one of the best places to go for a night of bar-hopping and dancing. There is a high-tech laser bar there called Mannequins, which was once voted the best dance bar in the southeastern United States. They sell beers and vodka jello-shots at carts along the main drag of the island and every night is declared New Years Eve complete with live bands in the street, a countdown to midnight and fireworks.

But because Pleasure Island is part of Walt Disney World the kids are invited too. There are many young kids and strollers on the streets of PI in the early evenings and parents love it because they can go "out on the town" with their children. I think anybody with a park hopper pass gets on to the island for free and although the shops on PI are open during the day, the clubs don't open until 7:00pm.

One of the island's six or seven themed bars is called The Adventurer's Club and it is fashioned after a stuffy 1930's African gentleman's club. The role-playing costumed cast members at this establishment routinely involve the guests in their weird club activities and often individual kids can suddenly become the centre of attention during the goofy recounting of rhino-hunting stories or whatever. The club president is an animatronic British Colonel who will interact with the kids as they walk by and there are African masks on the walls, which move and talk to the guests. The kids love this place and the cast members love the kids. Often a young child's reaction to the eclectic events adds to the entertainment for all the adults, parents or not.

Another spot on the island is the Beach Club, a large club with a decent dance floor and pop music. Kids are often found on the dance floor dancing with their parents early in the evening. Just like adults, one kid goes up and then there are others who join in.

Also, the kids sometimes like to stop and watch the short live dance shows that happen on the two street stages. We figured that their curiosity for this was because there are very few street parties back home!

At around 9:00pm the families begin to leave Pleasure Island, the children are getting tired. By 10:00 most of the kids are gone and the island fills up with the younger 20's crowd, which stays until 1 or 2.

Walt Disney himself said he wanted a place for kids and parents to have fun together; Pleasure Island was probably created to be the night-time version of that place.

Chapter 3: YOU ARE NOT TRAINING YOUR KIDS FOR THE OLYMPICS!

Parents with young kids traveling to central Florida during school vacation in June, July or August should expect daytime temperature highs of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (high 30's Celsius) every day and humidity which can make you feel like you are on the surface of the sun. You can sometimes walk out of your hotel at 8:00 am and it hits you like a brick wall, especially if you come from a cooler place like Canada or the UK. Now the good news is you can have your kids out in shorts 24 hours a day but the bad news is that it takes a toll on their stamina and they will wear out faster even if they are having the best time of their lives.

Florida is known as "The Sunshine State" and they aren't kidding. It seems like it's sunny every day. It's good weather for a tan but it's perfect weather for a burn. Keep the kids well greased with that waterproof SPF 20 or 30 or 40 or whatever it is. I imagine that a serious sunburn to a kid will signal the end of a happy holiday.

Young kids arriving at the parks first thing in the morning may begin to expire after lunch. At the first real sign of them getting fussy MOVE! Go to a different park or a water park. Change environments and mix it up. You coughed up a fortune for those "hopper" passes so HOP! Sometimes even a ride in a nice cool monorail can perk them up. The parks are busy, visually stimulating places and, if you combine that with the heat, kids can get tired. Exhausted kids are not having fun any more and they can stress the parents out enough to think they are no longer on vacation.

NOTHING recharges a kid's batteries more than an afternoon nap in a cool, quiet, dark hotel room. It also does wonders for the parents! A swim works well too. Our kids listed the pool as one of their favorite parts of the holiday. If your hotel has a beach or sandbox, just let them unwind and play at their own speed even if it's only for a little while.

This mid-day break becomes less practical the farther you are from the parks and that's why I am a firm believer in staying at one of the hotels within WDW. A refreshed kid can have a blast in the parks in the evenings after the sun sets and it is cooler. Don't worry about it if they are still happily going after their usual bedtime but watch for the signs they are running out of gas - it may take a while to get back to the room.

If the little one in the stroller is asleep, your evening is over. Go back to the hotel, put them into bed, have a drink and watch TV. I once saw parents trying to keep their little one awake at 9 o'clock pm in the line-up for It's a Small World claiming they needed to do three more rides before they went home. When they got into the boat the kid started screaming. He was miserable; the parents were miserable and they spent the whole ride desperately trying to make him happy. Bad move!

SLOW DOWN! One day we were rushing through the Marketplace to catch a bus and the kids noticed one of the fountains. Some fountains there, in typical Disney style, are specifically designed for kids to safely wander in, cool off and get wet. They love it because they can't do that anywhere else. We stopped there for over an hour. We missed our restaurant reservation - big deal! The fountain became ringed with delighted, laughing parents taking pictures of their kids who had become part of the fountain. Walt Disney World, probably not by accident, is full of little diversions like this. It doesn't have to be a ride for the kids to have fun. Remember, it's their holiday too.

If this is your first visit to WDW, you may have had your last family vacation anywhere else. In case nobody has told you yet, you have picked the best place on this planet to take your kids on a holiday. They are totally going to have the time of their lives and, as a result, you will too.

Have Fun!

CanadaKid
 
Thank you for the wonderful advice.

You did a really great job. :D

Shirley

"The Twins"
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This is a wonderful list to keep your trip to WDW magical. Thanks for putting in the effort to list these. It is better to see less and have a joyful time than to see more and be miserable!

Disney IS a Life Skill!
 
All the advice I would give anybody visiting WDW. Great tips. I'll have to try the pavilion restaurant next trip, the others are already our families favorites.

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THANKS FOR THE ADVICE AS WE ARE NEW PARENTS TO OUR ADOPTED DAUGHTERS AND THIS IS OUR FIRST TRIP AS A FAMILY AND WILL HEED YOUR ADVICE!
 


Advice always welcome. Very well stated. I had never even thought about Pleasure Island with the children, interesting.

'83,'84,'88 off site
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FYI:

Pamelia Perkins is the Club President

The British Colonel is just that: the Colonel!

(I've never been anywhere else on Pleasure Island except Adventurer's Club cause once I get in there I can never drag myself out!)

I live to see Hathaway Brown slide down that ladder!

Kungaloosh!!!!

Have a Great Disney Day!

Carol
10/97 All-Star Sports 9 nights
01/98 Quality Inn Plaza I-Drive 3 nights
12/98 All-Star Sports 3 nights RADP-III
11/99 All-Star Music 6 nights
12/99 All-Star Music 3 nights RADP-IV
02/00 All-Star Sports 4 nights
06/00 Travelodge & Sleep Inn 192 4 nights
12/00 All-Star Music 6 nights RADP-V
08/01 All-Star Sports 8 nights
09/01 All-Star Sports 5 nights
12/01 Ft. Wilderness Tent Site 5 nights RADP-VI
07/02 All-Star Movies or Pop Century 14 nights
 
Thanks so much for the great advice. I was condsidering Chef Mickey's on our first night to get us "in the mood", but after reading your post and positive reviews, we will definitely have to try it!
 
I've been to Disney many times, and it's nice to be reminded of what really matters. This advice pertains not only to children, but to adults as well, as we run out of steam too, and need to recharge our batteries in order to really enjoy our vacation. Thanks for reminding everyone to stop and smell the roses. :)

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Thanks for the post!

We've been to the Adventurers Club before but we didn't have the kids then. I would have been a bit reluctant to take them this time as I considered that there might be a few raised eyebrows from the other adults.

If they can stay awake after a whole day of excitement, then I may give it a try.

:cool: :cool:

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I neglected to say in my original post that there are 1 or 2 clubs on Pleasure Island which do not admit anyone under 21, probably the only places in WDW were the kids can't go. Mannequins is one and I think the Jazz Club might be another. Can anyone help me out on this one?

clkelley:
I stand humbly corrected. Thanks for clearing that one up. How could I have forgotten Pamelia?

Our kids liked the mask room show when the masks started talking. They also liked the radio show taping, especially when everything went wrong. Now that I think of it, things went wrong in that place all the time, that's part of what made it so fun.

Often during the course of the evening, all club members present (you) are asked to repeat, line-by-line, the following official club declaration. The kids liked that part too.

clkelley, like other AC fans, probably knows this off by heart but for the rest of us, here goes:

Adventurer's Club Creed:
We climb the highest mountain, just to get a better view.
We plumb the deepest oceans, cause we're daring through and through.
We cross the scorching desert, Martini in our hand.
We ski the polar icecaps, in tuxedo looking grand.
We are reckless, brave and loyal, and valiant 'til the end.
If you come in here a stranger, you will exit as a friend.

Thanks to Taryn's post from last year where I stole the creed and watch out for the barstools - clkelley, you know what I mean!

Kungaloosh !!

CanadaKid
 
We pulled the barstool on my kid's Grandma and the look on her face was amazing. The rest of the group was sitting on the round couch practically rolling in the floor we were laughing so hard!!!

Have a Great Disney Day!

Carol
10/97 All-Star Sports 9 nights
01/98 Quality Inn Plaza I-Drive 3 nights
12/98 All-Star Sports 3 nights RADP-III
11/99 All-Star Music 6 nights
12/99 All-Star Music 3 nights RADP-IV
02/00 All-Star Sports 4 nights
06/00 Travelodge & Sleep Inn 192 4 nights
12/00 All-Star Music 6 nights RADP-V
08/01 All-Star Sports 8 nights
09/01 All-Star Sports 5 nights
12/01 Ft. Wilderness Tent Site 5 nights RADP-VI
07/02 All-Star Movies or Pop Century 14 nights
 
Marching Along We're Adventurer's
Singing the Song of Adventurer's
Up or Down
North, South, East or West
An Adventurer's Life is Best
An Adventuer's Life is Best!!!!

Kungaloosh!!

Have a Great Disney Day!

Carol
10/97 All-Star Sports 9 nights
01/98 Quality Inn Plaza I-Drive 3 nights
12/98 All-Star Sports 3 nights RADP-III
11/99 All-Star Music 6 nights
12/99 All-Star Music 3 nights RADP-IV
02/00 All-Star Sports 4 nights
06/00 Travelodge & Sleep Inn 192 4 nights
12/00 All-Star Music 6 nights RADP-V
08/01 All-Star Sports 8 nights
09/01 All-Star Sports 5 nights
12/01 Ft. Wilderness Tent Site 5 nights RADP-VI
07/02 All-Star Movies or Pop Century 14 nights
 
What a great posting, I didnt realize that Pleasure Island had attractions for kids. Thanks for the info.


cbr 11/01
 
I guess I am in the minority, but I do not think that Pleasure Island or the Adventurers Club are appropriate places for children to be. The atmosphere at PI is definitely adult, drinking and adult humor abound.Much of the humor in the Adventurers Club is risque, ie. - the french maid.
Maybe I am just a overprotective country hick, but my children did not go to PI until they were 16. There are so many other good places to take the kids at WDW that are not questionable. I don't expose my children to this type atmospere at home, why would I do it on a vacation? Just my personal opinion !!
 
Chapter 4: OH NO!! WHERE'S THE STROLLER?!!!

This freaked us out the first few times.

Almost all the attractions at WDW require parents to leave the stroller at the entrance of the ride. After coming out they will often discover that the stroller, including all the supplies and souveniers, is GONE!

Outside the long toddler-friendly attractions such as "It's a Small World" or "Jungle Cruise" the parked strollers accumulate to huge numbers as the owners can take 30+ minutes to return.

As a courtesy to their guests, in typical Disney style, cast members routinely re-park the mobs of strollers into orderly rows while you are in the ride. It's sort of like free valet service for your kids. Don't panic when you come out - just look around and it will be there somewhere.

Also be advised that the exit from some of the larger attractions may be some distance from the entrance so it may be a walk back to the stroller. The Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom is a good example.

Have Fun!

CanadaKid
 
In my original post on this thread I recommended The Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom as a good place for parents to take their young kids. I have now realised that, thanks to information supplied on the DIS boards, the Crystal Palace will be closed for renovations beginning July 29th and I just wanted everybody to know.

I have put to use so much good advise from these boards, I would hate to lead anybody astray with outdated information! We will be in WDW for one week in August and we will miss our usual visit to see Pooh and friends at the Crystal Palace.

We have decided to stay at the Polynesian Resort. We have only stayed there previously one single night but that's enough to make us want to live there! "Aloha's", 'Ohana, the Luau, the torches, the fireworks - we can't wait!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tikiman for providing people who are considering staying at the Polynesian with so much information. To create and maintain a website as comprehensive as his takes dedication but I think, in his case, it's a labour of love.

To Tikiman: Thank You!

CanadaKid
 
Originally posted by Debby7
I guess I am in the minority, but I do not think that Pleasure Island or the Adventurers Club are appropriate places for children to be.

You're not in the minority. I don't think that PI is a good place for kids, either. Pleasure Island is marketed as an adults place. I don't have a family, and while I love kids, Pleasure Island is the one place where a person can get away from the kids. There are TONS of things for kids to do at Walt Disney World, as well as many babysitting services. I don't see any reason to take kids.

Just my humble opinion.
 

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