Taking on the World with a 1 & 3 year old

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by smidgen21, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. smidgen21

    smidgen21 Wanna be Tink

    Jun 30, 2008
    This does have a point...I promise...I know it's long...

    We went to the Detroit Zoo yesterday. I guess we should have planned better (spur of the moment trip). We left at 8:30 thinking we'd get there around opening time (11am). Mapquest estimated 2 hrs 11 min trip. However, we encountered over 100 miles of construction which slowed us down a lot. We stopped at BK for breakfast. DS3 made a mess of his shirt. I had dressed the boys in matching shirts. Now I was mad at myself for not waiting until we got to the zoo to put their shirts on. I insisted DH stop at the outlet mall so I could run it to buy new shirts (yes, I'm type A and yes he had a spare shirt in the bag...it just wouldn't match DS1). So I ran into Oskosh and got a great deal on matching shirts ($3each on clearance). So we made it to the zoo an hour later than we planned. Noon. Guess what happens at noon everyday at our house? Lunch followed by a nap. I though maybe DS3 would be okay for an hour or so, but he was tired and cranky right from the get-go. I think he cried the whole first hour. He didn't want to ride in the stroller. He fell and scrapped his knee. We quickly found a place to eat. After feeding him he was slightly better, but still continuted to cry and scream through the zoo. We had promised him elephants and there were NONE! I'm still wondering how you have a zoo without elephants but oh well. We rode the train around the zoo and then let him buy a prize (because after fighting about the stroller we promised him if he sat in the stroller like a big boy until we left he could buy a toy so he did ride for the second 1/2 of our day). We left at 4pm and he fell asleep before we could leave the parking lot. He was practically asleep in the stroller by the time we walked from the gift shop to the car!

    so my point is...is this how everyday at Disney is going to be. DH and I were frustrated and left there feeling like we had just been through a battle we never want to relive. :sad2: I had already thought about spending our mornings at the hotel pool etc, having lunch and taking naps before we hit the parks. That means we wouldn't be in the park until about 3pm each day. Neither one of my boys is really famous for waking up happy. Their afternoons are much better (if they've had naps). I'm just afraid we'll spend all our time on the bus if we leave for the parks after breakfast, eat lunch, return for naps then return again in the afternoon. How do others handle the parks with small kids?
  2. Tiffany_MommyOf3

    Tiffany_MommyOf3 missing my mouse

    May 9, 2007
    This is the exact reason I'm always going to stay in a monorail resort until all of my kids are older LOL - We stayed at the Poly last time and it was great. Everytime we have stayed in a value - we have issues - luckily though, we drive (we live 3 hrs from Disney) so we dont have to deal with busses but instead loading and unloading in the car and all.
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  4. smidgen21

    smidgen21 Wanna be Tink

    Jun 30, 2008
    Thank you! I hadn't thought of that. It would be worth the extra money to have the convience of the monorail.
  5. laughinplace199

    laughinplace199 <font color=blue>AKA Shrimpo or Flamingo Legs<br><

    Apr 28, 2001
    Our first family trip to WDW was when our kids were 3 & 1. I was nervous too, but it was one of the most incredible trips we've ever had! My kids are early risers, so it was easy for us to get to the parks at opening. We also rented a car so we could come and go as we pleased and didn't have to wait 20-30 min for a bus, especially if they were tired and cranky.

    We really just followed their lead. They seemed to do fine until lunch time and then they'd just hit a wall. So, we learned to eat lunch and then leave the parks, or sometimes we'd leave the parks before lunch and eat at the hotel. Naps every day were a must for my kids at that age. Then, after naps, we'd swim and then get ready to go out to dinner/and or back to the parks.

    We went with really low expecatations, not knowing if the kids would like rides, characters, crowds, etc. We were prepared for just watching parades and swimming in the pool if that's all they could handle. My 3 yr old, who I thought would be afraid of the rides, shocked me. She rode the Barnstormer 10 times that week! The baby was easy as pie and just went with whatever was going on.

    It might help to explain ahead of time that there will be lots of riding in the stroller, but lots of fun stuff too. Do you have one of the WDW vacation planning DVDs? That would be fun for them to watch and see all the fun things to do.

    Don't worry too much. It seems like your zoo trip didn't work out too well due to that fact that it was spur of the moment and not planned out. You can plan how to spend your time at WDW, make sure the kids eat on time, give them an idea of what to expect, etc.

    Don't stress and have fun! :goodvibes
  6. MyDizneyBoyz

    MyDizneyBoyz Me and my Disney Lovin' Boys!

    Aug 3, 2007
    Ditto everything Julie said! Also, consider getting Parkhopper tickets so you can come and go at your convenience. Our boys are 4, 2 and 1 and we'd hit a park in the morning, back to resort for lunch and naps and then either hit another park in the afternoon or play in the pool.

    Go at the kids' pace, don't try and see everything, and take a printout of this thread with you - it details quiet places at each park for the little ones to get some downtime if you sense an impending meltdown - I never knew about the Hall of Innoventions at Epcot and it was a quiet Godsend when we needed it:


    Keep in mind that to a little one, just being at Disney can be overwhelming with sights and sounds. Adding a rushed agenda is a recipe for disaster so keep it slow and you'll have a great time. :goodvibes
  7. SLK1

    SLK1 DIS Veteran

    Aug 3, 2008
    This zoo trip was probably the best thing that could have happened to you! Now you know what your kids NEED and how they will react when those needs aren't met. Just plan accordingly. Disney is different for people at very different ages...at your kids ages, you need to take it slow, eat on schedule, take naps, and lastly, don't expect too much. There's nothing worse than seeing a family "having fun" at Disney when the kids are melting down, the parents are mad, and the day is ruined. Then, when your kids are teenagers and you come to Disney again, your experience will be completely different!!!
  8. tanyaandallie

    tanyaandallie DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2006
    I think your trip to the zoo reveals one very important thing. Planning is everything when you are dealing with a 1 and 3 year old. It is just too hard not to plan when you have little ones. If you know that your kids need naps at 1:00, you are going to want to get at the parks at rope drop, tour, eat and leave. If you follow your kiddos schedule, you will have a very good trip. My kids are nappers and we have always followed their schedule as much as possible.

    We have done Disney many times with my 2 and it's almost always wonderful. Of course, all trips have some crazy moments, that is to be expected. But, you can expect to have a great trip with your kids as long as you plan and follow their lead.
  9. brymolmom

    brymolmom DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2005
    I disagree with the park hopper advice. With young kids, IMO, it is too much of an ordeal to quickly 'hop' to another park if one is too busy, which is the best reason for hopping. If you're going to go back to your room in the afternoon - -you might as well return to the same park afterward. You won't have had time to see it all.

    One bit of advice, tackle the stroller issue before you go. At 3, my kids were required at WDW to sit in the stroller whenever mom or dad said (we weren't cruel, if everyone needed to stretch their legs - we would do so, we would just do it on our terms - like in Ariel's Grotto or the play area in Toontown, or a slow stroll down mainstreet holding hands. There are so many people and so much to look at (so they won't be looking down) - it is very easy for a 3 year old to trip and fall and/or get irritated (both he and parents) if there are too many 'sidetracks' when trying to get to one of the rides. A stroller at that age is key to a happy trip, IMO. Put him in there with a cold drink to rest while you're walking to Toontown and he'll get the rest he needs, he won't trip, he'll be happier with less-tired legs, you'll know where he is - right in front of you- the whole time (for security sake), and, my guess is there will be way fewer arguments or discussions about where to go, etc. - to me - this equals a happier trip.

    Anyway - my kids didn't really want to at all time (sometimes still pull that just to see what I'll say) - but we would go over 'the rules' before we went. And if either kid wouldn't comply - we would just sit and go no where - this usually lasted about 60 seconds before the child hops in the stroller. And then they realize what they need to do to have the fun.

    Last piece of advice - I like having my kids in matching shirts too. Go with the flow though or you might Type A yourself into a miserable time. Ice cream WILL FALL on one of the kids (chances are) - go with it. Bring a shirt if desired, but don't worry about it- I wouldn't bring another shirt to change into after meals - just see what happens - there's plenty to think about and do without adding that to the list. That is just a sign of the kids enjoying themselves!

    Anyway - that's my best advice.
  10. lynn432

    lynn432 Earning My Ears

    Sep 8, 2008
    If that sounds good to you, that's what I'd do! I don't know how many days you'll be there... maybe you can do one or two early days as well, but our best day was the day we did exactly that - we spent the morning at the pool, naps before we left, went to the park around 3 or 3:30pm and had a GREAT time -we liked it so much better we said we'd never do Magic Kingdom any other way!

    Epcot was fine - we went early, the kids fell asleep after lunchtime, so we walked all around with them sleeping in the strollers, then stayed until closing. We were glad to have the park hopper tickets, b/c we could go to one park very early in the morning, and if it was a 'bad day' at that park, we could go back and rest and then go back to a different one later, so that was nice, but for MK, the relax-then-nap before going to the park worked really well!

    Staying in a monorail hotel would probably also be a good idea, too, so you could try the 'spend the morning in the park, back for lunch/naps, then back to the park for the evening' route and see how that works for your family without having so much time eaten up with riding/driving.

    Have a great trip! :)

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