Archives for February 2013

Tips for Disney Trips While Pregnant

preschoolears: Disney Trips While Pregnant

Believe it or not, I’ve done both Disneyland and Disney World while pregnant. And I will confess, neither was easy. Between the two parks, Disneyland is a little easier as it requires less walking and depending on the time of year, the heat and humidity are less. It can be a bit of a bummer to have to sit out from some rides, but it does allow time to rest which is very important. At Disneyland, I was almost 6 months pregnant, and at Disney World, I was 7 1/2 months pregnant.

preschoolears: WDW_Pregnant2

preschoolears: DL_Pregnant

If you have booked a Disney vacation to one of the parks, and now find yourself expecting, here are some tips to help make your trip easier and more enjoyable.

  1. Schedule rest periods in your day. Regardless of which park you are at, you are going to need to rest. Even if you are in top shape and your pregnancy is going great, it isn’t worth pushing your body to stand for longer than it should and walk for longer than it can. Take two hours and lay down and nap.
  2. Stay close. Since you will need to minimize your walking and take naps and rests, it is best to stay on property and as close to a park as you can. At Disneyland, this means staying at one of their three resorts. At Disney World, there are several resorts that are close to Magic Kingdom and Epcot which can make your vacation easier and help with taking naps midday. The resorts that are farthest away, like All-Stars Resorts and Pop Century, will make it very hard to take mid-day rests.
  3. Drink LOTS of water. Both parks are coastal and have high heat, depending on the time of year, so you will get more dehydrated than usual. Bring two water bottles just for yourself each day, and after you rest, take two more. Also keep in mind the foods you will be eating in the parks are saltier than your normal diet so that will dehydrate you even more.
  4. Eat your fiber. All those processed park foods and trying to drink enough water can add to an already common pregnancy problem – constipation. Have fruit with every meal and add a bran muffin each day. Or pack some prune juice in your suitcase and add it to some apple juice every morning. The last thing you want is to deal with this problem on your vacation.
  5. Wear a band. Your growing belly may need some added support with all the standing and walking. Any Maternity Support Band will help – I liked the one by Boppy as it was soft on my skin. I also used the BellyBra which was a nice tank top that added great back support. I usually did one or the other, but not both. I’m not sure I could have done 10 days at Disney World without my BellyBra!
  6. Bathroom breaks. If your drinking your water like you should, you will be stopping for the bathroom everywhere. It is important to know where bathrooms are at all the parks. Scout them out on the map when you first arrive so you aren’t doing extra walking to get to one, especially at Downtown Disney which has hard to find restrooms.
  7. Ask for help. Cast members are always willing to help if you will simply ask. If there is standing room only for a line, ask if there is a handicapped area you could sit instead. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  8. Sleeping comforts. Don’t forget to bring any special pillows or wedges you normally sleep with, so you can easily sleep at night. It is hard to sleep soundly in a hotel room for some people, and you want to assure you can get the best rest that you can.
  9. Emergency info. Make sure you have on hand where the nearest hospital that is covered under your insurance is, and bring your insurance cards as well. Just in case something happens, it is best to be prepared when traveling.
  10. Plane travel. If you are flying, make sure you get up and down several times during the flight to help with blood flow. Blood clots can happen with pregnancy and sitting in the confined space of a plane for long periods can exasperate that, so get up every so often and stretch.
  11. Pack the Snacks. If your bringing along little ones, you will already be packing snacks for them throughout the day, but don’t forget yourself! Pack yourself some great snacks to help with low blood sugar and hunger cravings. Some ideas are Ritz crackers, raisins, goldfish, grapes, mandarin oranges, apple slices, string cheese…
  12. Pictures. Take lots of pictures with your beautiful belly! Have a PhotoPass photographer get a picture of just you in front of the castle, so your little bundle can see his or her “first” trip to Disney.

preschoolears: WDW_Pregnant

There are rides at both parks that are not recommended for women who are expectant. Here is a list for reference:

California

Disneyland
Autopia
Big Thunder
Gadget’s Go Coaster
Indiana Jones
Matterhorn
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
Star Tours

California Adventure
California Screamin’
Goofy’s Sky School
Grizzly River Run
Luigi’s Flying Tires
Radiator Springs Racers
Tower of Terror
Tuck n Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies

Orlando

Magic Kingdom
Big Thunder
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
The Barnstormer
Tomorrowland Speedway

Epcot
Mission: Space
Test Track

Hollywood Studios
Rock n Roller Coaster
Tower of Terror

Animal Kingdom
Dinosaur
Expedition Everest
Kali River Rapids
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Primeval Whirl

Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach Water Parks
All water slides

Some of the things that were really hard on my Disney trips were having to sit out on some of the fun. Also, it was so warm, my ankles swelled up at Disney World and I had to elevate them every night. When I got back home, it went away, but my doctor said it was normal with all the heat and high sodium foods.

But the worst thing I had to deal with while at Disney World pregnant, was the comments from all the Cast Members. Somehow, people think they have to make some comment when they see you, and it can be hard to smile and hold your tongue. I had one CM say “Wow, you look like you are about to pop!”. Don’t know why he thought that was a kind comment, but I just half grinned and walked away. And of course, everyone wants to guess what you are having and make their predictions. So be prepared for lots of comments from Cast Members and take it with a grain of salt!

If you are taking a Disney vacation this year and you will be expecting, I hope these tips help and that you have a wonderful and memorable trip!

Hooray for Parades!

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland

First, I must confess that I love Disney parades. Our family will stake out a good spot, and get some fun treats to enjoy while we wait for it to begin. And when it starts, we love every part from the music to the characters to the dancers…so much fun! I confess that I love parades because I think I am a bit biased toward loving all of them. With that said, our family completely loved Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland. It was filled with amazing characters and music and a wonderful energy. One of my favorite parts was right at the beginning with the drummers and Mickey – parades don’t usually start with Mickey so this was a great surprise. The parade spotlights some unusual characters as well as the usual favorites. Some of our favorite highlights were Aladdin and Genie, the Three Cabarellos, and Mary Poppins. Enjoy the pictures of this fabulous and sensational parade.

 preschoolears: MickeyFloat
preschoolears: Mickeypreschoolears: Donaldpreschoolears: Three Cabarellos
preschoolears: Rafikipreschoolears: Arielpreschoolears: Rapunzelpreschoolears: SnowWhitepreschoolears: Cinderellapreschoolears: Aladdinpreschoolears: Geniepreschoolears: Tinkerbellpreschoolears: PeterPanpreschoolears: Tianapreschoolears: ChimneySweepspreschoolears: MaryPoppins
Do you have a favorite parade or one your kids have especially loved to watch? Leave me a comment about a parade your family has really enjoyed.

Test Track, Redesigned

preschoolears: Test Track

Test Track is located at Epcot in the Future World half of the park, and is one of my kid’s favorite rides. Recently, it underwent a renovation when Chevrolet took over as sponsor of the ride. It is one of the most popular rides at Disney World, and rightly so, as it is so much fun! Inside the queue, there are displays of new technology and prototype cars to look at.

preschoolears: PrototypeCar

preschoolears: PrototypeCar2

Once in line, you enter the design studio where you get to design your car, in theory, that you will test drive.

preschoolears: Test Track interactive

Kids loved this part as the touch screens were fairly simple and they enjoyed making choices on their car.

preschoolears: Test Track Design Studio1

preschoolears: Test Track Design Studio2

Everything you design is recorded on your special card, which you take to the loading dock and swipe before entering your car. This allows the computer to “load” your car design in and test it on the track.

preschoolears: Test Track Loading

The screens inside the car give you updates on how your car is doing. If you don’t swipe your card or don’t have one, the computer will substitute a basic car design for you. The ride was so much fun, especially the speed test. We loved it!

preschoolears: Test Track car

After the ride, you enter a giant showroom with Chevrolet cars and interactive games you can play.

preschoolears: Test Track Showroom

If your kids do not enjoy roller coasters, they may not like test track although it doesn’t spiral and has limited dropping. All in all, most kids love this ride. Since it is so popular, don’t forget to grab a FastPass to avoid waiting in too long of a line.

preschoolears: FastPassTT

If you do use the FastPass system, you will bypass the Design Studio part of the queue and will miss designing your car, which is fun for kids. I guess it all depends on how long of a wait the standby line is – you’ll have to decide if the queue is worth the wait!

Preschoolears rating: FourHalf (4.5 stars)

Have you been on the newly renovated Test Track? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the attraction.

For more information and ratings on Disney World attractions, visit the preschoolears website.

WDW Dining Review: ABC Commissary

preschoolears: ABC Commissary

ABC Commissary is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, near the American Idol Experience and the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. We recently ate lunch at this quick-serve restaurant and we were less than impressed. There is plenty of seating which is great, but the atmosphere is a bit drab and there are TVs playing random bits of ABC shows.

preschoolears: ABC Commissary Dining Area

The menu was rather underwhelming, with a couple cheeseburgers, a chicken sandwich and a couple salads.

preschoolears: ABCCommissaryMenu

The kid’s menu was simple as well but would appeal to most children, and we do love the Power Pack Lunch for toddlers.

preschoolears: ABC Commissary KidsMenu

We ordered a cheeseburger and the Asian Salad. While these options sound pretty good, they weren’t that tasty. We could have overlooked everything else, but if the food just doesn’t taste good, nothing else matters.

ABC Commissary Cheeseburger

ABC Commissary Cheeseburger

ABC Commissary Asian Salad

ABC Commissary Asian Salad

Overall, we wouldn’t recommend this restaurant to families simply because the food wasn’t very good. We think the kids menu is good and the seating is ample. But there are other options that offer better fare.

Preschoolears rating: Three (3 stars)

For more dining ratings and reviews, visit the preschoolears website.

15 Things to Love About Disney Vacations

preschoolears: Mickey Valentines

On Valentine’s Day, there is a lot of love going around, and I would like to show some love to Disney. We all love taking Disney vacations with our families, so I put together the 15 things that everyone loves about Disney parks.

  1. Leaving Reality. It is truly amazing to enter a Disney park and completely leave real life behind. It is true the famous quote as you enter Magic Kingdom and Disneyland “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” Something about being shut out from the world of today makes entering Disney parks fantastic.
  2. Family Time. Whether it is you and your spouse, or your entire family reunion at the parks, Disney gives you wonderful family time together that is unforgettable.
  3. Magic. Disney parks are filled with magic. You enter and there are princesses, pirates, movie stars, twinkling lights, dressup, shows and fireworks. It just feels special and magical.
  4. Attractions and Rides. The rides and attractions are simply wonderful at Disney. Whether you are three years old and love to see Ariel under the sea, or you are 50 years old and you love Tower of Terror, every attraction provides laughs and enjoyment for all guests.
  5. Resorts. Disney puts so much detail and charm into all of their resorts, they are simply a joy to stay at. Part of the Disney vacation experience is the magic and enjoyment you experience at your resort. Nothing really compares to the hotels Disney offers at their parks, from Disneyland to Disney World.
  6. Characters. A Disney vacation wouldn’t be complete without seeing your favorite characters! Part of the magic we all love is seeing fun characters and believing they are real. It is even more special to watch your children’s face light up when they meet their favorite character for the first time.
  7. Shows. Disney offers shows like no other, and is constantly offering new shows so every visit is different. From musicals to live animal shows to car stunt shows to street performers, every show makes Disney vacations special and unique.
  8. Parades. Our family loves parades, and Disney never disappoints. We love the music and the performers, and our favorite parades are when we get to participate in them. Parades are a great time to relax and simply enjoy a wonderful show.
  9. Dining. Disney parks offer some amazing dining for families and it can be part of the fun experience on your vacation. Beyond the usual park fare, Disney dining is anything from sushi to steak to homestyle favorites to African and beyond. There is a huge selection of dining, especially at Disney World.
  10. Theming. We love the creativity and imagination at Disney and the unique worlds they create inside each park and each resort. For example, when you walk into Cars Land at Disneyland, the Cars theme is so amazingly executed, you feel like you are in the movie. Or when you walk into the Yacht and Beach Club resort, that theme is so well done, you feel immersed into it. It is an ambiance that is created in each park, land, and resort, that just makes you love being there.
  11. Special Experiences. These special experiences just can’t be replicated anywhere else, and it is the icing on the cake for your vacation. These include things like a Pirates cruise, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Enchanted Tales with Belle, or Tours throughout the park. All these added extras make Disney vacations truly unforgettable.
  12. Cast Members. Nothing compares with the service at Disney. The cast members are always helpful and happy, which truly makes it the happiest place on earth. And they always make you feel welcome and important, something that makes a vacation totally enjoyable and stress free.
  13. Details. Disney is all about details. These details may be so tiny that you don’t even notice them, but they make your vacation special. It’s the details in the buildings as you walk down Main Street, or the mosaic tiles inside Cinderella’s castle as you walk through, or in the queue of a ride or the smells from the bakery. It’s these details that make an amusement park feel like a trip into fantasy.
  14. Park Treats. A Disney vacation wouldn’t be the same without special park treats, and everyone has their own favorite they look forward to each time. It could be a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, a frozen banana, a churro, a pretzel, Goofy’s candy, a French pastry, a soft-serve ice cream, or a Dole Whip. Whatever your favorite is, Disney has wonderful treats inside all their parks.
  15. Souvenirs. We love visiting the parks and picking up some fabulous Disney souvenirs. And it isn’t just Mickey and Minnie themed items, but there are fabulous shops in Epcot with items from around the world, and amazing items at Animal Kingdom. It is so much fun to shop at each park and see what treasures you can find.

Did I miss something that you love about Disney parks? Leave me a comment and tell me what your family also loves about vacationing with Disney. Show some love this Valentine’s to our favorite family destinations!

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