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Jul 07 2009

Traveling to Walt Disney World with young kids

Well, we’ve been home for a couple of weeks now and I think I may be caught up. And if not, I can deal. But I have this one little note in my planner, mocking me, gloating that I have this one last thing: a post about the trip. No, not a “first we did this, then we did this, and then this happened” post, but things that ran through my mind while we were there. Things I wish I had known beforehand, or want to share with others. And what’s a better way to share than with a bullet post! Woot!

  • As a nation, we are big. Really big. I realize Colorado is the fittest state in the nation, but dang. We’re big.
  • Tattoos are in this year. Of special note are the full arm in color and the lower leg. Coming in close behind is the full chest tat. On a woman.
  • If you’re going in June, be warned that it’s hot. Holy hot. Hotitty hottity hot. The first day I sweat through my clothes. At one point I looked down and thought I had wet my pants. No, I had sweat through my shorts. Then I wised up and put deodorant under the arms, between the thighs, and under the bra. Voila! Less sweat. Marginally less, but less. Consider this my tip to you.
  • If you’re looking for quiet spots to rest and take it easy in the middle of the afternoon (or to calm an overloaded child), I have a couple. In the Magic Kingdom, take the ferry to Tom Sawyer’s Island. Walk around to the back where Aunt Polly’s porch is. It’s shaded, it’s cool(er), and as long as you don’t mind the bluegrass twanging from the speakers, it’s a good place to relax. In Epcot there’s a shady spot in World Showcase next to Germany, grass and everything. In Animal Kingdom there are paths less traveled that are shady and cool, but I’m not terribly familiar with the park, so you’re on your own. And I’m drawing a blank on Hollywood Studios. Sorry.
  • Learn from me, my children. Don’t go in June unless you’re accustomed to extreme heat and humidity. The boys were real troopers, but it about killed us.
  • If you have a food allergy, this is the place to travel. When we made our dining reservations we let them know that we had one person with a gluten allergy (that would be me) and two with a dairy allergy (A and my dad). At every single restaurant we went to, the host/hostess noted the allergies, the waitstaff noted the allergies, and the chef came out to discuss the menu with us. Not once did the chef say “you can’t have that,” which is my NUMBER ONE pet peeve about eating out with a gluten issue. I know damn well that I can’t have it, please don’t treat me like I’m five and use those words. Instead, we asked about the meals we were interested in, and the chef would say something like, “yes, that’d be safe.” Big Difference. Of special note were the restaurants Teppan Edo (the head chef not only assured me that what I was interested in was safe, but another woman came out with the ingredient lists for their sauces AND brought me gluten-free soy sauce in the original bottle so I could see the ingredients, and the grill chef–this was a Benihana type restaurant–made sure the gluten-free preparation was made separately), the Biergarten in Germany (the chef walked me through the buffet to discuss what would be safe AND brought plates of food that had different preparations–like no bread crumbs–AND brought a baggie of gluten-free/dairy-free desserts for us to take with us because there was nothing on the buffet), and the Liberty Tree Tavern (the food is served family-style, and the chef brought out separate plates of food to avoid cross-contamination). I had heard Disney World was a great place to eat with food allergies, but I was blown away by the care and consideration from every single person we dealt with.
  • Dear Man Who Watched J Puke: You, sir, are a prick. A selfish prick. You saw me trying to deal with a vomiting child, with another child freaking the hell out, all alone, and you did nothing but make a face and sit there. You, sir, sat there with your daughter, a daughter who was old enough to have helped out, and did nothing. A huge thank you to the older couple who got me water and wet paper towels, and to the single woman who got me another bottle of water. Good karma will come your way. You, idiot man who was so grossed out by a little boy throwing up, bad karma in the form of H1N1 will be coming your way this fall.

And there we go, my quick and dirty tips for Disney World with young kids. There are more, but I can’t give away all my secrets. Beyond these few tidbits, my last little bit is that I will never go in June again amen.

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  1. cms8741

    I LOVE the service at Disney. Wow about the gluten free!!!! That’s a huge weight off your shoulders — especially when traveling on vacation. When we went to Disneyland, I forgot my all-important doctor’s note detailing E-Niner’s disability. They accommodated us anyway — we got to use the stroller as a wheelchair (so that he could stay in it in lines, which by the way, also gets you to the front of the line faster). So that was a plus and with nothing but our good word. Disney is fabulous where that’s concerned!

  2. cursingmama

    I don’t know if it is still there – but I could always count on The Universe Of Energy building at Epcot for a nap. Big comfortable seats on a gentle (and boring) ride through a dark air conditioned building. If memory serves me correctly the ride takes about 20 minutes ~ great refresher nap.

  3. Merrily

    Man Who Watched J Puke? I empty my nose on him!

  4. RC

    WDW was wonderful with my little guy’s severe dairy allergy, too. We planned ahead when we did the special meals, and I printed out the lists of where we could find alternatives in each park for quick dining.

  5. Jen

    Wimp! LOL, just kidding! Seriously, I live in South Carolina in the official Land of Humidity, and even I was about to die during our June Disney trip (week after yours). By the last day, I truly was on the verge of heat exhaustion. Damn the fact that we’re teachers and have to go during summer vacation. 🙁

    Very cool about how the restaurants accommodated the food allergies! We didn’t have those issues to deal with, but I”m so glad you had a great experience in the dining department! 🙂

  6. mrsvierkant

    June in WDW is as hot as it gets. 🙂 I didn’t sweat profusely, my hair was just one mass of frizzy kinda- curls. But I wouldn’t trade the memories for a cold pack or anti-frizz product, LOL.

    Attire at WDW cracks me up, whether it is June or whenever. It amazes me what people will wear in public these days.

    DHS has no shady spots, it is a concrete jungle, LOL. We just did a lot of shows there.

    Except for the puking bit, it seems that you had a wonderful time. Oh, and I agree the vomit-spectator was a JERK!

    **sigh** I love WDW! 🙂

  7. Lynn from For Love or Funny

    I agree! June is mortifyingly hot! Even September can be mortifyingly hot down there. We did visit in May, and it wasn’t so bad then.

  8. Denise

    must bookmark for future reference. even though it was hot, it sounds great (except for weird lurker, LAME).

  9. Mama Zen

    What a jerk, just sitting there and making faces!

  10. Mrs4444

    I really, really love that your food allergy was not just accommodated, but almost embraced. That must have made your vacation! (And you deserve it.)

  11. karen (Pediascribe)

    There is not a single cool spot in all of Hollywood Studios. Take my word on this issue. It was voted “Hottest Theme Park Ever” 8 years in a row, even beating out the theme park on the surface of the sun.

    As for the H1N1 curse…..why wait until fall? It’s rampant here now. Dh is seeing 5-10 cases of it each 6 hour shift he works!

  12. karen (Pediascribe)

    Just remember, it may be hot here, and I may be mostly living in my A/C, but in January when it is sunny and 70 degrees every day, you’ll be trapped in your house with your heater and I’ll be taking a bike ride. 🙂

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