In December 2020, we took a ten-day vacation to Disney World. It was SO much fun, but with a 19-month-old, there were many things we learned that I think that all parents should know before going. We had AMPLE time to plan because our trip kept getting pushed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought its own set of challenges that I will go over.
BEFORE YOU GO
Keep in mind where you’re going to stay
Your options are a hotel on Disney property or somewhere, like a condo, off the property. We chose to stay off the property. Those perks include having room to run around and spread out. You’re not so cramped in a small hotel room, and you don’t have to worry about kids running up and down the hall.
If you choose to stay on property, check out the resort options to find one that you think is best for your kids. Check out the pools. Disney resorts are known for their awesome pools! Request a room at the end of the hall or on a higher floor. These tend to be quieter areas, so you won’t have to worry about something waking up your child.Think about your little one’s sleep set up
If you stay off property, you can have the option to put the little one in a completely separate room, but I know that’s not feasible for everyone. If you stay on property, you will likely share a room with your child. In this case, (and even if you have separate rooms), you’ll need some solution to blackout the space so that you can walk around without detection, as well as the sunlight coming in not waking up your child. Many condos you rent will not have blackout curtains.
We brought our SlumberPod and used it our entire trip. It was a COMPLETE game-changer and lifesaver. The room our daughter stayed in faced the sun most of the day and had zero blackout solutions. If we hadn’t had our SlumberPod, our daughter would never have been able to get decent sleep. When we came back to the condo for naps, we could put her down, and she slept for her entire nap time without the light disturbing her. She was also able to stay asleep in the mornings after the sun rose. I would 10000% recommend this to everyone for when you travel. Use the code THEBESTREST20 for $20 off yours!Consider how you’re going to get there
We live in Louisiana, so the drive to Disney World took us 14+ hours. We had to do it in two days and stayed in a hotel for the night. This trip was the first time we truly used the SlumberPod. We shared the hotel room with my daughter, and it was better than we expected. Granted, I had to sit outside of it and sing to her until she fell asleep, BUT we were able to keep the lights on as well as pack up the room in the morning without her even knowing.
If you fly, you won’t have to worry about the halfway hotel, but you might have to stay in a hotel the night before or after your flight depending on where you fly.WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Don’t overrun yourself
If you’ve ever been to Disney World before, you know how exhausting it is. If you haven’t been, let me be the first to tell you that you can not do every park and ride in 4 days. It’s simply not possible, especially with small children. We went for ten days, with 7 of those being park days, and I was still so tired. By our last day, we returned to the condo, and my daughter and I passed out. We ended up cutting our day short because we were just simply too tired to go on.Pack those snacks!
If you don’t get anything else from this, get this. BRING SNACKS—all of them. We went through so many snacks while we were there, mainly because we were standing in line and needed a distraction, but we also needed snacks randomly. Trust me when I say that you’d much rather grab a bag of goldfish from your snack bag than you would pay $5 for an apple.Make a plan for naps
Disney naps are the best naps because you go back to your condo or hotel and have the best nap of your life. Chances are, your kids will fall asleep as soon as they hit the bed. Then you get to wake up rested and ready to go. The SlumberPod was fantastic because it gave my daughter the dark environment she needed to get the best rest she could.
This time is also great to just spend some downtime at the pool, getting refreshed for the rest of the day, especially in the summer when you need a break from that hot Florida sun.
Cherish those memories
Above all else, cherish those babies and the memories that you are making with them. They are only young once, and the odds are that you won’t go to Disney World and see the magic on their face every year. Seeing your little one seeing Mickey and Minnie Mouse up close and in person for the first time is one of the most magical experiences. Buy the memory maker. Find all the photographers. Ask for the magic shots.
Try not to get too caught up in the schedule or worry too much about your child’s sleep. Don’t form any sleep associations that you will have to break when you get home.
WHEN YOU GET HOME
Don’t stress over getting back on schedule
If you have trouble getting back on track when you get home, revert to your original sleep training method to get through it. If you don’t have a sleep training method that you used to sleep train initially, now is the time to begin researching and implementing them.
Download your photos
Just an extra tip to make sure you download your memory maker pictures before they expire! Many people forget this.
Above all of this, remember to have a good time and relax. Your kids are only young once, so enjoy this time while you can. Disney World is truly is one of the most magical places on Earth. Enjoy and have fun! Eat a Mickey pretzel for me.
Ashlyn Strickland is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and owner of The Best Rest Sleep Consulting. She lives in West Monroe, LA, with her husband and daughter. Ashlyn knows the anxiety, worry, and fear that comes with motherhood, so her main goal is to not only help families get their best rest but to empower parents to help their children along the way. Ashlyn strives daily to break through the fear-mongering that surrounds sleep training and bring some peace to families in the process.
To learn more about Ashlyn and schedule a FREE 15 minute “get to know you” call, click here!
Note: Guest blog posts are shared for informational and educational purposes and may not reflect the official policy or position of SlumberPod (parent company, Dovetail Essentials, LLC), our employees and/or contractors.
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