Four kids and one pregnant mom at Walt Disney World!
What started as taking one boy to Florida turned into taking all four kids and agreeing to a day at Magic Kingdom. It was awesome. Exhausting, but awesome.
Here's what I cover in this post:
- Is just one day enough time at Walt Disney World?
- Should you visit Walt Disney World while pregnant?
- What is your strategy for minimizing wait times and riding all the rides at Magic Kingdom?
- Is Walt Disney World worth going to without the rides?
- What should you take to Walt Disney World?
- What other tips do you have?
Is just one day enough time at Walt Disney World?
One day is not enough to see all of Walt Disney World... but it is what we had. So, we selected one park and we had a great time.
Some things to know:
- I took my four kids, ages 14, 12, 10 and 5. Since we were just going to have one day, and we really wanted a magical day for my 5 year old, we selected Magic Kingdom.
- We prepared to spend the whole day at the park... arriving an hour before opening and committing to the long day.
- The kids and I agreed that we would focus on our very favorite rides. Our priorities were Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion and much of Fantasyland. That said, with the interactive wait time map on the Disney App, the kids were able to get through most of the Magic Kingdom without crazy lines. (All morning, the wait times were 20-30 minutes... which basically meant you walked through the long, and entertaining, queue, and jumped right on the ride. In the afternoon, we decided to wait in lines that were not getting faster (like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train).
- The wait times are random and cannot be perfectly planned, so I would use the same approach the next time we go. Just pick the favorites and make sure they get done. (Also, when Genie+ is available, that will help secure some spots in line.)
- If you want an idea of which rides usually have the longest waits, check out Mouse Hacking's Wait Times.
- We did our best to schedule the day on one of the least busy days, according to the WDW crowd calendar. (On a weekday in October, the park was still very busy... just not as crazy as other days.)
- Most importantly, during our short trip, we were able to see the castle, the princesses, Mickey and Minnie. That alone was reason enough to take my youngest daughter.
Should you visit Walt Disney World while pregnant?
For me, the answer is "yes". My kids really wanted to go, my doctor said it was fine and I think things are easier pregnant than with a new baby. So, we went while I was 31 weeks pregnant.
Some things to know:
- Having a 14 year old made this possible. I could not ride most of the rides, but per Disney rules, a 14 year old can supervise younger kids. (Having a second adult would also work.)
- I personally don't care if I miss the wild rides. The Haunted Mansion is more my style! That said, HERE are the rides okay to go on while pregnant.
- I was able to drop off the big kids (with a 14 year old) at the entrance and then wait on a bench while they went on the attraction. Often there was a parade or marching band to entertain me.
- I did not get a disability pass, but you could try to get one at guest services (and when it's available this fall, preregister for the pass before you arrive at the park). If you get the pass, you can check in at a ride and come back at a set time so you do not need to stand in line.
- We only stayed one day. Had we stayed two or three or more, I likely would have gotten more and more exhausted. (And I would have tried for the disability pass!)
What is your strategy for minimizing wait times and riding all the rides at Magic Kingdom?
Some things to know:
- Before arriving at the park, I did a lot of research, including studying Mouse Hacking's One Day Itinerary and the Mouse Hacking's Wait Times. I did start to get a little crazy about it and had to remind myself that we were really going for the youngest to experience the magic of Walt Disney World. So, we highlighted a few must-do rides and then decided the focus should be on seeing the parades and characters.
- That said, with our rough plan and the Wait Time Map in the Walt Disney World App, we were able to do pretty much everything at Magic Kingdom.
- We arrived at the parking lot about one hour before the park opened. We took the monorail to the park, scanned our tickets (phone) and got to the castle with time to spare. We were able to take lots of pictures before heading to our favorite rides when the park officially opened. (Each section of the park is roped off before the official opening.)
- Lightning Pass went away with the pandemic, but this fall, there will be a Disney Genie Service to help plan your day and Genie+ that lets you reserve time slots, for a fee. (This was not up yet when visited.)
Is Walt Disney World worth going to without the rides?
For me, the answer is "yes"! I do not love wild rides, but I do love the Disney magic.
My very favorite thing was the character parades. Since reopening, these cavalcades frequently run by the castle and to city hall.
The best part of the day was the princess parades. I was amazed that as they were passing by thousands of people, the princesses were able to focus in on the little kids and say something really personalized about their outfit or dancing or whatever. Peter Pan liked my daughter's dress. Aerial commented on her scepter. Elena told her she did a great job running to the parade route. It was magical for my 5 year old.
What should you take to Walt Disney World?
- Bring the stroller if you have a kid that just might use it. There is a lot of stroller parking and no one seemed to mess with our stuff (but there was nothing of value in it). Plus, we could use it was a wheelbarrow to carry water and snacks and all our stuff. I also bought a cheap canvas bag to hang over the handles and let the kids paint it.
- Wear a fanny pack. Yeah, I know they are not cool... so I went all out with a neon blue and pink flamingo fanny pack to carry my phone and money.
- Bring a portable phone charger. You need your phone for everything... admission tickets, interactive wait time map, pictures... My phone has pretty good battery life, but it was getting low after lunch.
- Bring water. Lots of water. Florida is hot and having a stroller full of water saved tons of money.
- Bring snacks. We still bought some food, but having snacks helped.
- Bring sunscreen. It's a day in the Florida sun. Bring a sunscreen stick and avoid problems later.
- Bring glowsticks. If you don't want to be tempted to buy expensive WDW glowsticks at night, bring your own. We brought glowsticks and glow flower crowns.
- Bring ponchos. If there is a big rainstorm, you might be happy to have these.
- Bring a change of clothes or a swimsuit for the splashpad. I brought this for the little kids... and I wish I had a dry shirt and some deodorant for myself!
- Bring baby wipes. These are good for messes and sweaty faces and...
What other tips do you have?
I am certainly not an expert on Walt Disney World, but here are some things I looked up before I went... or wished I had known when I got to the park.
Some things to know:
- Dining reservations - I did not make dining reservations ahead of time. I was going to reserve the princess lunch in the castle, but with the pandemic, the characters had not returned so I skipped it. We could find plenty of food and drink, but it would have been nice to have an air conditioned spot to sit in the late afternoon.
- Masks - When we visited, masks were required on indoor attractions and on transportation.
- Reservations - When we visited, you needed Walt Disney World tickets AND reservations for the specific day and specific park.
- Stroller tires - Okay, this is silly, but when we arrived, I realized my jog strollers were a little flat. It was annoying to have planned everything else just to feel like I was pushing a stroller through sand all day!
- Disney Genie - It's coming out soon to help you plan your day.
- Disability Pass - Soon you will be able to do a video call with a cast member and get your disability pass before you arrive at the park.
- Disney Gear - I have a lot of kids, so I was not very interested in buying lots of things at the park. We brought our own Mickey Ears and Disney outfits before we got to the park. The ears weren't nearly as fancy, but they were a whole lot cheaper!
What are your tips for Walt Disney World? Let me know for next time we have a chance to visit!