We vacation in Disney at least once a year. But heading there while pregnant was an entirely different experience. I’ve waited awhile to post anything about our babymoon because I wanted to take some time and think about what really worked for me – and what didn’t – when traveling to Disney with a baby bump.
I was 30 weeks along when we hopped on a plane and headed down to Orlando, so thankfully there were no airplane restrictions to deal with. As far as warnings from my doctor, she mostly suggested hydration and frequent rests. With those few cautions in mind, we went ready to have some fun and attempt to relax, as well.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will be helpful to those of you who might also be considering a babymoon at the Happiest Place on Earth!
1. Stay in the nicest place you can possibly afford
This is your babymoon, afterall – the last time either of you will be vacationing without worrying about the kiddos. Even if you take a trip and leave the young ones behind, you’ll inevitably be thinking of them, worrying about them, and just generally interested in how they’re getting along without mom and dad. Take advantage of this last experience and really do it right!
We loved our stay at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This is a monorail resort – one of three that are connected to each other and the Magic Kingdom via a sky tram. It’s the perfect option for pregnant women, because it means less walking, less time being crowded on Disney buses, and a few more minutes to snooze without rushing to a bus station in the mornings. Other monorail resorts include the Polynesian and Contemporary, both also great choices. The Grand Floridian is just what the name implies – Grand! But it also carries the grandest price tag, so you’ll need to decide what is most important to you during your vacation.
Any of the Disney Deluxe resorts would be a great choice for a babymoon. In general, these resorts tend to have a few less children running around (although it’s Disney, so a few less doesn’t count for much). They will also have wonderful pools and outdoor spaces, with adult only “quiet areas” and upscale dining options. Signature dining at Disney is nothing like what you might think of in terms of theme park food, and each Deluxe resort has at least one restaurant full of romance.
2. Research your resort, and get the best view possible
Depending on the resort you stay in, your room view could be anything from a parking lot to an African savannah. Because you’ll want to have some downtime during the day, and also spend a leisurely amount of time relaxing as you get ready for evening activities, your resort view could play an important role in your trip.
At some resorts it will be more important to specify than others. The Grand Floridian’s standard view provides garden or lawn scenery. We didn’t have to upgrade in order to have a balcony with peace and quiet. This was very important to me, since I knew I would want to sleep in some days and not wake to the sound of excited kids making their way towards the parks. The Boardwalk Inn is very similar. I have rarely received a room with a bad view, especially if staying in one of their studio villas (these are typically a bit cheaper than a standard room in the Inn, as well).
Resorts where views really matter are Polynesian, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the Yacht and Beach Clubs, to name a few – these resorts will sometimes offer parking lot views for their standard rooms. At the Animal Kingdom Lodge, it is well worth the upgrade to step onto your balcony and into an African-style savannah – an attraction in and of itself!
3. Pack comfortable, stylish clothing
Remember your honeymoon? If you were anything like me, you spent a fair amount of time figuring out which items to pack. The same goes for your babymoon, as well! Although walking around theme parks may make you think of tennis shoes and t shirts, try to bring comfortable shoes that can take you from a walk in the park to a sunset glass of wine. I brought a few different pairs of Toms, as well as cute flipflops.
Speaking of flipflops, keep in mind that most pregnant women’s feet swell. I didn’t suffer from this…until I got to Disney. Walking around all day will make anyone’s feet tired, so bring some shoes that will accommodate.
For evenings, think cute and casual. While there are a few restaurants in Disney World that require more elaborate attire, you will most likely want to relax during the evening. I packed an array of maxi skirts for dinners around the World, and they served me well for both day and nighttime activities. Simply change from a tank top to a cute blouse and your skirt just went from fun rides to a candlelit dinner.
Also bring a purse big enough to carry a camera in, but small enough to carry around for a few hours. You’ll be traveling to different restaurants and events during the evening hours, so a bag with a long shoulder strap is ideal.
4. Shop for Baby!
What better place to stock up on cute nursery decorations and baby essentials than Disney? We searched the parks and resorts every day to find the perfect plush toy. It became a game of sort for us, especially at the attraction shops, which are usually themed like the ride you’ve just ridden. Our perfect find was a very soft Pooh doll that Griffin is currently loving! We also discovered a beautiful painting at one of the art galleries. It was exactly what we had wanted for above the nursery crib.
Disney has shopping opportunities at every turn – literally! Each resort has at least one boutique, the parks are filled to the brim with purchases of every shape and size, and Downtown Disney has character merchandise, as well as other well-known retailers. Simply spending a leisurely day shopping and eating at Downtown Disney is something we try to do each time we go.
There’s nothing like having a story behind the items you surround your child with. They will also provide many stories for years to come.
5. Take more pictures than you think necessary
Remember your camera, and use it! This is typically my downfall. Why I can’t remember to snap some quick shots, I’ll never know. Fortunately for us, Disney is a great place for having others take photos for you! You can always ask other guests to take a quick picture – even offer to take one for them as well. And cast members (Disney staff) are always more than willing to use your own camera when meeting characters or posing in front of the castle. Take advantage of everyone’s good mood and excitement for being in Disney!
But the best option for me was to simply get a professional to do the job. Disney offers a program called PhotoPass – by taking a card from one of several Disney park photographers, you can track every picture they take of you during your stay. This includes photos in front of attractions and special scenery, and some even include some “Disney magic,” with digital effects. It’s well worth the investment if you’re like me and never seem to get enough pictures of the two of you.
Just because this is a Disney babymoon, doesn’t mean there isn’t time for pampering yourself. In fact, that’s what a babymoon is all about. Each resort has hidden spots that offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of other tourists. Quiet pools, lush gardens, and waterside pathways are all available for anyone that takes the time to find them. Generally speaking, these activities are hardly ever crowded, and can offer the two of you a breather. Take a dip in the quiet pool at the Boardwalk Inn. Walk out on the observatory deck one evening while dining at the Contemporary’s California Grille. Even simply give your feet a rest in a beach-side hammock at Disney’s Beach Club, Polynesian Resort or Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
Speaking of spas, the Grand Floridian has just finished an overhaul to Senses, the spa located directly between the Grand Floridian and Polynesian. They have a full spa menu, where guests can choose anything from a simple Swedish massage, to an elaborate day of pampering. I chose to get Jeremy a 90 minute massage while I spent time listening to a classical pianist in the Grand Floridian’s lobby. It was heavenly for us both!
It’s even possible to relax while in the parks, as well. Epcot is my favorite for doing this – there’s no need to rush when walking around the World Showcase. You can shop, dine, take in the sights, and sample the culture at each location. Also, the Magic Kingdom is a great place to simply enjoy some ice cream and people watch. There are plenty of shaded seats tucked away around the corner from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.
What worked really well for us was to eat a leisurely breakfast (the character meals are delicious and make great photo-opps), walk around the parks and have lunch, head back to the resort and have some downtime before getting dressed for the evening, and then head out for a nice dinner.
7. Go During a Special Event
Disney has festivals and special events throughout the year, so try to plan your trip to coincide with at least one. We went during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which was perfect for a girl with a large appetite. It was so much fun to stroll around Epcot while sampling food and drinks from around the world.
On top of that, it was also Halloween season at Disney when we arrived, and no one does Trick-or-Treating like the Magic Kingdom! Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was a nighttime special event that required additional admission, but it was well worth it. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed myself at Disney as much as I did that night. Guests are allowed to dress in costumes, and there are candy locations for trick-or-treating set up throughout the entire park. Rides are open until the early morning hours, and a special Halloween themed parade is the highlight of Main Street activities. We truly had the time of our lives!
Other events throughout the year include Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival every spring, Star Wars weekends in early summer, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which begins in late December.
8. Eat – and Eat Well
Disney has hundreds of dining choices. From snack vendors selling popcorn and quick service locations doling out chili dogs, to five star dining choices that require formal attire and a credit card guarantee, Disney World has something for any time of the day, and any type of person.
Since you may not be able to hop on your favorite ride, consider booking your dining reservations in advance and making your meals part of your entertainment! Disney allows guests to book up to 180 days in advance, so take advantage of that and plan based on your cravings – I guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for.
Jeremy and I did a lot of research in order to save a bit of walking and eat at as many new places as possible. My favorite meal of the day is breakfast, and it was so fun to wake up and head to a character meal in the mornings. Lunches were spent resting in an air conditioned restaurant in the parks, such as 50s Prime Time in Hollywood Studios, or any of the choices in Epcot’s World Showcase. Dinners were our dress up times, and we indulged in multi-course meals that truly pampered us.
Disney is one of the best places for those with allergies or food sensitivities. All you have to do is ask, and you’ll most likely get what your heart desires! I ate Mickey Waffles almost every morning, and the chefs made sure they were gluten free. Not only that, but they let you know what brands they use (Bob’s Red Mill for the waffles), so I knew that my baby was getting good ingredients. BabyCakes, in Downtown Disney, offers allergen free treats that are also refined sugar free – and tastes amazing! We stocked up and had enough for snacks throughout our stay.
Remember that this is a special time, so treat yourself! But also keep in mind that the little person inside of you needs nutritious foods. It’s tempting to grab fried food every day – after all, you’re at a theme park. But remember that Disney has delicious, fun restaurants that can be nutritious, as well.
9. Schedule some Downtime
Along the same vein as relaxing, taking time out of your day to reset is a great idea. If not, you’ll wind up like me – completely dead at 8pm and unable to make that coveted fireworks-view dining reservation you spent months trying to secure. Consider even taking an entire day to do nothing but go with the flow – not every minute of a Disney vacation has to be go, go, go.
Downtime doesn’t have to mean a nap – do one of the relaxing activities listed above, or head to Downtown Disney and catch a matinee at the theater. Simply get off your feet for a bit, preferably in the shade since Orlando tends to be sunny and hot year-round.
Taking a nap isn’t a bad idea, though. Most pregnant women do this on a regular basis, and there are tons of benefits to it. Although I wasn’t someone that could manage it, a little shut-eye during the day can really recharge your batteries like nothing else. Besides, you have a great hotel room!
10. Keep Realistic Expectations
To some people, Disney is all about the rides. If this is the case for you, babymooning at Disney World is going to look alot different. Obviously, any type of roller coaster is out – the jerks, drops, and turns could send you quickly on a ride to the hospital. For a list of attractions that are a no-go, head here.
But by keeping realistic expectations, you’ll soon realize there are way more activities that you CAN do at Disney. I rode tons of rides while there – most of the rides in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland are completely safe. Even the Tea Cups was a blast! We just spun a little slower than most.
These rides provide some excellent photo opportunities, so grab a cast member and have them take pictures of the two of you on the beautiful carousel, in a colorful tea cup, or standing in front of the Winnie the Pooh characters. Years from now, you’ll be able to show your child that they went to Disney even before they were born!