where stories are told
If you've been with me for a while, you know I've got a thing for Disney. I started planning this past Disney trip in January of 2017, a mere 8 months after getting back from our last trip the previous May. I was in heaven. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for that trip and it was amazing. You can read a little more on that trip here. I booked our room at Disney's Beach Club Resort and I was PUMPED. We were going in late August and I could just imagine myself in that awesome lazy river at the resort's Stormalong Bay pool area.
Fast forward about a month or so after booking the trip- I realized I was pregnant. What an amazing surprise! A few weeks later I began thinking... "Oh my gosh, I'm going to be going to Disney 31 weeks pregnant in August..." To cancel or not to cancel, that was the question. A quick Google search and Facebook poll convinced me that I could easily do this...and by easily, I mean with realistic expectations.
So, with that being said, I have put together my thoughts on the planning and execution of the trip with tricks and tips (and pictures too!) to help you in your planning phase if you are pregnant and planning a Disney trip or may find yourself in the situation in the future!
What is a "babymoon" anyways?
Typically, a babymoon is a vacation you take before a baby is born-just like a honeymoon, but for a baby. It can be any point in pregnancy. Why take one? When I asked this, I received answers different from my own reasoning (mostly, it was already planned!). Here's a few:
"We had 3 nights away in a fancy hotel when I was about 26 weeks. I had it early so I wouldn't be uncomfortable and it was lovely! We did a bit of shopping, there was a nice big bath in our room, went out to fancy restaurants to eat and got room service. We also went to IMAX and Science Works. This was my second pregnancy and I didn't do one with my first." - Melanie S.
"Went to Las Vegas recently at 28 weeks. Stayed at MGM and floated the lazy river everyday. It was heaven. Saw some shows, danced with hubby, etc. needed to go out with a final bang before years of parks and kiddie pools. I say it's a must!" - Maggie B.
"With no other children at home, we took a babymoon to St. Martin. The island, food, and resort was amazing. The plane ride was brutal and I was so swollen for two days after flying it made it hard to do much except lay on the beach- which was fine by me! I was 7 months along." - Christine R.
It's a popular thing. And I absolutely recommend it! We used this as an opportunity to spend this precious time making memories with our other 2 children and really celebrating the fact that we were about to become a family of 5! It wasn't the most romantic thing in the world, but it was perfect for our family. And a much needed break from reality! We'd had a hard summer with schedules and a major death in our immediate family. We were stressed and needed a change of scenery. We needed fun. We needed family time. It was exactly what the midwife ordered!
So, lot of those stories involved relaxing, but typically a trip to Disney isn't exactly relaxing, right? Especially not with 2 other kids! So, here's my story.
Tip #1: Stay longer than you play.
This is my number one tip. When we have gone to Disney in the past, we've always done the "go hard or go home" approach. Arrival in the afternoon, unload the car, check in to the hotel, dinner, sleep, up EARLY in the morning to get a good 15 hour day in at the parks. If you can help it, try to schedule in a few rest days. We have found our sweet spot is staying for 7 days and only buying park tickets for 4 days. This made a crazy difference in our trips! We were able to sit and relax at the pool, enjoy the resort, sleep in, and spend a bit of downtime together. But wait- we're at Disney! Don't worry, there's plenty of activities and things to do at the resort to keep you busy all day. And if there's not? Resort hop to a resort you've always wanted to go to! We've only done that once and made it to 2 resorts. I want to spend a day doing it! Our schedule typically goes something like this:
Day 1: Arrival, check in, exploring resort.
Day 2: Park Day
Day 3: Park Day
Day 4: Resort/Rest Day
Day 5: Park Day
Day 6: Park Day
Day 7: Resort/Rest Day OR Departure
Day 8: Departure if not on Day 7
I think the most important thing with this tip is that staying longer allows you downtime so you don't over do it. Scheduling in that time to relax gives your body the chance to recharge and grow that baby. You're pregnant. You don't need to be bedridden in your "delicate condition", but you do need the chance to throw your feet up. Being at a fantastic pool helps a lot too! Swimming is fantastic, low impact exercise for pregnant women. After 2 days at the park, the pool quite literally felt like heaven. I didn't realize how much pressure my hips were experiencing until I was weightless in that pool!
Tip #2: Beat the heat.
Alright, so this one I am a little biased on. I was born and raised in the Deep South. Deep. My roots grow deep in thick, red Georgia clay. Me and my husband are both quite used to heat and humidity. So, it's not quite as oppressive to us as it is from someone born and raised up north. But, nevertheless, it's still hot. After all, it IS August. But it's not impossible! So, here's what we do. We love the Frog Togg type cooling towels! We've found that they help keep us somewhat cool during the hottest hours of the day. They are lightweight, easy to pack, and there are water fountains all over the park to refresh them at. Lots of blogs tell you that the cooling mist fans are amazing, but for us, we can do without. We have 2 and they served more as toys for the children than they did cooling us. We often saw shows in the middle of the day to get out of the direct sun. The Indiana Jones show was great at Hollywood Studios even though it wasn't air conditioned. The last thing that helped me beat the heat was that there were several rides I couldn't go on, so I took the opportunity to find some shade or air conditioning and a cold drink, propped my feet up and had a rest. Sometimes I would meander around with my camera, visit a shop, or people watch!
Tip #3 Shoes and Clothes
I have always been told, bring comfortable tennis shoes to Disney. Lies. All lies. If you're like me and you don't typically wear tennis shoes? They may not be comfortable for you to wear walking 17 miles a day. My feet need room to breathe and I only wear tennis shoes if I'm actually working out. I wore them this time ONE day in the parks and that was enough for me. This time I listened to my gut and brought my Mickey Mouse Crocs (yep! I went there!), Sanuk sling back yoga sandals, and pair of very broken in leather sandals for resort days. A blister can ruin your whole vacation, I'd recommend bringing some bandaids and moleskin too, just in case. Let me tell you, my feet did just fine. I was more comfortable this trip than I have been on any others. Crazy, right?!
The absolute GAME CHANGER for me was a pair of compression, belly support type shorts I wore under my dresses. They wicked away moisture, were insanely comfortable, and provided just a tad of belly support right where I needed it. I instantly felt relief putting them on. No- they weren't hot, no- they weren't bulky, they didn't ride up or down. They were simply perfect. I purchased them on Amazon and they were worth the $30 I paid for them! And I wore mostly sundresses to the parks because they are super lightweight, comfortable, and breezy!! I think I only wore pants one day and it was workout type clothes.
Tip #4: Rides
Okay, so this isn't so much a tip as it is addressing a concern that most preggos would probably have. "What can I ride at Disney while pregnant?"
Honestly, not a huge deal for me. There's SO much to see and do at Disney other than ride rides. There are a million shows (I STILL haven't seen Fantasmic!!! WHAT?!), places to see, snacks to eat, shops to peek in at... but above all else, there's more than enough rides for you TO ride. One of my favorites is the Tea Cups! I modified this one for myself. I rode it in a separate tea cup, but next to my family. I took some cute shots of them whirling round and round while I stayed stationary. It was so cute to see them enjoy it and have so much fun! While they were riding Space Mountain (I was a little salty about missing this one), I rode one of my favorite rides in all of Disney with my little guy- the People Mover in Tomorrowland! (Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow...)And it was just what my pregnant self needed. Smooth, breezy, seated, relaxing. And you get to see all of Tomorrowland and it usually has very little wait time to ride. There's always something to do. It won't be a waste of time and no, you won't be bored.
- Stay hydrated. Your provider will stress this a lot and I'm stressing it even more for you. You will be walking so much and the humidity will make you sweat. Replenish those fluids hourly. You're growing a baby! I stuck with Smart Water because it has electrolytes without all the salt and things that sports drinks have. I'm on a sodium restricted diet and I got more than enough salt from the food!
-Prop your feet up when you can, rest when you can. Listen to your body.
-Bring your own Epsom Salts. I brought a bag of Epsom Salts and would do a 20-30 minute soak in the bath tub after we got back from the park. It would be late, yes. But those extra 30 minutes really eased my muscles and would help any feet/ankle swelling I had (which was minimal). I added a few drops of essential oils to really relax me. Peppermint was good and lavender is always a go-to. I use about 2 handfuls of salts in a bath. A perfect before bed treat!
-Bring a Brita Water bottle. They have drinks for sale everywhere and you can stop in any quick service restaurant and get a free cup of water, but I found my Brita bottle to be very helpful. I could fill it up in any bathroom or water fountain and have a fresh, filtered bottle of water without any waste. I got mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond for under $20.
-Pack light for the parks. I do tend to pack a little heavy going to the resort. But for the park, we pack as light as possible. I've got my park bag down pat and when staying at a Disney resort, you have your Magic Band with all of your credit card info, room key, etc. on it. So we don't take any of that in. It may not look like much, but the more you pack the more you have to carry! And take advantage of having your purchases delivered to your resort room!
-Check the crowd calendar and dates of special events held at Disney. We've been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party once before and we were so excited to see that our trip fell on one of the first days of the Party at Magic Kingdom. We bought tickets for the event and had a blast! I knew it would be well worth the extra money because of how much fun we had before, how light the crowds are, and there would be NO sunshine- which meant cooler temps! Go to a special event if you can. They are amazing!
Click here to skip ahead for my next blog post with more about traveling to Disney pregnant and with more tips, pictures, and info. Until then, I'd love to hear about your babymoon and if you have any questions or concerns I can address in my next blog about Disney, leave them in the comments below!
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.
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