Disney Travel Planning for Families Series: Part 5

preschoolearsL TravelPlanningSeries

Diaper Changing Prep 101

If your family includes a baby, toddler or preschooler, then you are probably still dealing with diapers. Diaper changing on a vacation can be a bit of a drag. Our family is still in the diaper stage, and we are mapping out a plan for our Disney trip for how to efficiently and effectively deal with diaper duty!

For travel time and park time, I carry what I call the “bathroom bag”. This zipper pouch is water proof and compact, and we take it into the bathroom for diaper changes and accidents.

ChangeBag

Some of the things we carry in the bag are:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Desitin or diaper cream
  • Cottonelle wipes
  • Ziplock bags for messy clothes
  • Changing pad

Another item to think about bringing is baby powder, as diapers in the heat can cause some bad rashing. Frequent changes are the best, but if your little one has sensitive skin, you may want creams and powders to help with irritation.

For planes, I carry disposable changing pad covers. We purchased this box at Target and they are a decent quality. For the parks, I don’t want to have to use a lot of disposable pads as that can be expensive. I made this changing pad for this trip.

ChangingPad

It is very patriotic! That is because it is made from tablecloth material, and this was the best choice at the fabric store. I simply cut the mat with pinking shears to make the edges cleaner. The final size is 18×31 inches. This changing pad is pretty large because we will be changing a toddler/preschooler. Regular changing mats are made for babies, and are usually too small. This material isn’t very thick, which is great for folding up and putting in your bag. But it also doesn’t provide a lot of “cush” for my little guy. I made a little pillow on one end by sewing felt in a rectangle and stuffing some light filler in before finishing the rectangle. It makes a light pillow for his head for changes.

At all Disney parks, there are changing stations in the bathrooms. Changing stations are in both men and women bathrooms. At Disneyland, they are usually equipped with two changing stations in each bathroom. At Disney World, there are usually only one changing station, so expect a bit of a wait. The best place to change your little one is at the Baby Care Center, located at each park. This center features:

  • Large, padded changing tables
  • Toddler/preschool size bathroom if your child is potty training
  • Feeding area with highchairs
  • Private nursing room with rocking chairs
  • Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
  • On-site shop to purchase formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing
baby_care_center_changing_area

Photo from MousePlanet.com

MousePlanet has some great pictures of the Babe Care Center if you would like to see what it looks like. They are really awesome! Lost children are also brought to the Baby Care Center at each park. Here are their locations in each park:

  • Magic Kingdom: End of Main Street near Crystal Palace
  • Epcot: Odyssey Center between Future World and World Showcase, Mexico Pavilion
  • Hollywood Studios: Left of Main Entrance
  • Animal Kingdom: Near Creature Comforts and First Aid Center
  • Disneyland: End of Main Street on the right before Plaza Inn Restaurant
  • California Adventure: In Pacific Wharf near Ghirardelli

If you have older kids in your group and you need to use a family restroom or companion restroom, here is a list of where those location are at each park. A companion restroom is a larger, single restroom that is wheelchair accessible and can be used by families with children of different gender so they don’t have to use the main restrooms. It is also handy if you have a potty training preschooler who needs extra assistance. Keep in mind that not all companion restrooms have changing table stations.

Magic Kingdom

  • Lower level of Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Mickey’s Toontown Fair
  • Next to Space Mountain
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Splash Mountain
  • Transportation and Ticket Center East Gate

Epcot

  • East side of Spaceship Earth
  • Future World East Block opposite Test Track
  • Future World West Block opposite The Land
  • Near the Canada Pavilion
  • Near the Germany Pavilion
  • Near the Morocco Pavilion
  • Near the Norway Pavilion opposite the Viking ship

Hollywood Studios

  • Fantasmic!
  • Next to Soundstage 3
  • Opposite Star Tours
  • Opposite “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”
  • Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • To the right of the entrance to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Animal Kingdom

  • Asia near Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures in Dinoland U.S.A.
  • Discovery Island opposite Flame Tree Barbecue
  • Harambe Village in the Mombasa Marketplace
  • Expedition Everest Area Restrooms
  • Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Blizzard Beach Water Park

  • To the rear of the Locker area on the north side of Main Change

Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

  • Near Guest Services

Disneyland

  • In Adventureland near the Tiki Room and the Tiki Juice Bar
  • First Aid Center on Main Street
  • Tom Sawyer Island near the fort

California Adventure

  • Left of Main Entrance as you enter
  • In A Bug’s Land near Flik’s Flyer
  • Carsland back around Flo’s V8 Cafe
  • Restrooms on street across from The Little Mermaid-Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Diaper changes can be difficult, but planning ahead will make it a little bit easier. And using the Baby Care Centers as much as possible will make it even easier. We have found that having the small “bathroom bag” makes diaper changes go quickly and easier rather than carrying a larger diaper bag.

Our family is looking forward to Disney trips sans diapers, but until then, we will try to make the best of it and use the services that Disney provides to make it easier.

Other posts in our Disney Travel Planning for Families Series:
Part 1: Countdown To Do
Part 2: These Feet Were Made For Walking
Part 3: Preparing for Medical Issues & Emergencies
Part 4: Travel Backpacks for Kids

Disney Planning for Families Series: Part 2

preschoolearsL TravelPlanningSeries

Part 2: These Feet Were Made For Walking

Part two of our Disney Travel Planning for Families series is all about getting the family walking! When you are planning a Disney trip, keep in mind that your little ones will be walking and standing a lot during your days at the park. While Disneyland is considerable smaller in size, Disney World is very large and it takes a lot of walking to get around. Even if you will have strollers, its a good idea to plan for the kids to be walking quite a bit. Even our last trip to Disneyland, our older kids were given a chance to walk quite a bit and they did great.

First things first, we went through everyone’s sneakers last week. I have learned over the years that it is a good idea to spend a little more money on sneakers that will last. Kids are tough on shoes, so you want ones that will go the distance! I also dread shoe shopping with my crew of four. In our house, we enjoy buying our shoes from Zappos.com. We measure the kids feet ourselves and order from the comfort of our home. Zappos provides free shipping both ways, so that means if it doesn’t fit, you can ship it back for free. Yep, free. And their free shipping arrives in lightning speed. I am always excited to see the Zappos box on my porch!

Zappos

If in doubt, we order several styles and sizes of shoes for the kids to try and then return what doesn’t work. This time around we ordered our sneakers for Disney World as well as fun shoes for the summer. That’s a lot of shoes!

ShoeBoxes

The brands our family has found hold up very well and fit our kid’s feet great are New Balance, Nike and Asics. They have held up a whole school year which is awesome considering the abuse they receive on the playground. The brands we have had the worst experiences with are StrideRite, Skechers and Saucony. These brands just didn’t hold up for our kid’s feet, but they may do fine for your kid’s feet. Here are the shoes we ended up picking for our kiddos this time – I think bright colors are in style right now!

Girls Sneakers - New Balance

Girls Sneakers – New Balance

Boys Sneakers - New Balance

Boys Sneakers – New Balance

Girls Sneakers-Asics

Girls Sneakers-Asics

Toddler Boys Sneakers-New Balance

Toddler Boys Sneakers-New Balance

It is about a month until our trip, so the kids have time to work these shoes in a bit so they are ready for walking the parks!

Speaking of walking, now that we have our shoes, we have to get those little legs ready to walk a lot! We have started a walking program where we take family walks throughout the week and chart how many miles we can do each week until we leave. While our younger two will be strolling quite a bit, my 7 and 9 year old will get to walk much of the time. About 4-6 weeks out from your trip is a great time to start walking with them and having them work up to longer distances. It will help so much when you are at Disney.

Here is a chart we are using to keep track of the miles the kids complete. You could do a sticker for each 1/2 mile or mile completed in a week. We are also setting goals for each week so we will increase how far we walk.

ChartPic

So get those kiddos in “Disney Training” to get ready for your Disney trip! Remember, their little feet were meant for walking (and sometimes running)!

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed were my own and I received no compensation from Zappos or the shoe brands mentioned to write this post. We simply enjoy their service and shoes.

For more posts in this series, click on the link below:
Part 1: Countdown To-Do List
Part 3: Planning for Medical Issues & Emergencies
Part 4: Travel Backpacks for Kids
Part 5: Diaper Changing Prep 101

Top 10 Disney Attractions for Toddlers

Top10ToddlerLogo

I recently read a blog post about the most popular toddler attractions at Disney parks, and I really questioned whether the author had ever had a toddler! Well I have taken each of my four kids to the Disney parks as toddlers, so I think I have a little “street-cred” in this department. So I put together the top 10 attractions my toddlers have loved at both Disney parks. Frankly. toddlers are easily amused in general – if it lights up or bounces, they are pretty good! Hope you will agree with our list – we will do this list “Letterman-style” and count down to the big #1.

FlikFlyer

10. Fliks Flyers (Disneyland) – Simple fun at California Adventure, this ride is in Bug’s Land. It is pretend hot air balloons that fly around. It is something a toddler could do again and again.

9. The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Disney World-Epcot) – Not to be confused with the Nemo Subs at Disneyland, the Nemo attraction at Disney World at Epcot is a clam-shell style ride where they get to follow Nemo and Dory underwater. It is quite a hit.

8. Golden Zephr (Disneyland) – The Golden Zephr is a simple but favorite ride at California Adventure. You basically fly around in circles but it is very enjoyable and pleasant. My kids say “Again! Again!” everytime we ride it.

Mermaid

7. The Little Mermaid-Ariel’s Underwater Adventure (Disneyland & Disney World) – This ride is identical at both parks, and is a toddler favorite at both as well. The wonderful animatronics and music make this a visual masterpiece for little eyes, and they all love Ariel!

CaseyJr

6. Casey Jr Circus Train & Disney Railroad (Disneyland & Disney World) – I’m grouping these two trains together. Casey Jr. is at Disneyland, and both parks have the railroad system. Anything train seems to be universally loved by toddlers. As a parent, I don’t enjoy having to cram into the little Casey Jr. train, but kids love the short, sweet ride.

5. Disney Jr.-Live on Stage (Disneyland and Disney World) – This show, located at California Adventure and Hollywood Studios, is a big favorite for toddlers. Bubbles, confetti, dancing, music, and their favorite Disney Jr. characters? Yep, this one is a big hit!

SmallWorld

4. it’s a small world (Disneyland and Disney World) – This is a great attraction for toddlers because they are completely mesmorized by the dolls and scenes the entire ride. And parents get to sit and rest in a cool ride. They may even start singing the catchy song! Maybe that isn’t a plus!

Carousel

3. Carousels-ALL (Disneyland and Disney World) – There are two carousels at Disneyland and one at Disney World, and regardless of the theme, toddlers love it. There must be a theme of going around in circles, because the carousel only does that, but toddlers love being up high on a horse and going around and around.

2. Winnie the Pooh (Disneyland and Disney World) – I can’t tell you how many times my toddlers have asked to go on this ride, at both parks. Its a big favorite! At Disney World, it is a FastPass ride, it is so popular! The adorable scenes and music make toddlers enjoy this simple Disney ride.

Dumbo

1. Dumbo the Flying Elephant (Disneyland and Disney World) – No surprise that this one tops the list. I remember one trip to Disneyland, my daughter made us ride this 8 times. That’s a lot for a simple ride! And of course, it goes around in a circle! Now at Disney World at Magic Kingdom, there are two Dumbo rides as well as a FastPass system AND a new paging system where you can skip waiting in line and let your little ones play in a new play area. That is how popular this “simple” ride is for kiddos!

ToddlerSmile

Other toddler favorites are parades. My kids just love the fun characters and music. Other things not to miss with your toddlers:

1. Casey Jr. Soak & Splash – Magic Kingdom
2. Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – California Adventure
3. Honey I Shrunk the Audience Movie Set Adventure – Hollywood Studios
4. Princess Dot’s Puddle Park – California Adventure

So, how did our list compare with your toddler’s favorites? Leave me a comment if I missed one that should be on the list!

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