Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Planning Help for a Trip with Young Twins (or Children) to Disney World

This is a slightly revised excerpt from my book, Twice Blessed: A Parent's Guide to Twins. It is part of an entire chapter on planning for a trip to Disney World. My wife Lisa told me a story about the last time she had been to Disney World as a young adult in the early nineties. She told her father at the time, “The next time I come back here, I’m coming here with my kids.” Little did she know, it would be with nearly four year old twins. As for me, I had not been to Orlando’s Disney World since I was a teenager in 1982. Epcot had just opened, and there were was no Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios at the time. 

But both my wife and I wanted to take our twins,about to turn four at the time, at a young age but not too young as to not remember anything or appreciate it. It is one thing to plan to take young children, but as multiple parents know, twins or other multiples always provide their unique challenges that don’t always apply with different aged siblings, so planning for Disney World had its own series of questions to be answered. Hopefully, my research, discussions, decisions, and experiences will help answer some of your questions and assist you in better planning your trip, should you decide to go. One thing is for certain, you do need to plan for Disney World. Just showing up and hoping to enjoy one’s self fully doesn’t really work, with so many options, and limited time and resources.

Guidebooks and Websites There are many invaluable guidebooks and much of the information was garnered from the ones that I read. I started by checking out a few from the library to see which ones were the most helpful. You won’t usually find one for the current year, but try to find one as recent as possible. Most of the information will not change, and you can choose to purchase any that you find will be useful, both in your planning, and to take to the parks. The guidebooks explain all the attractions in detail, including what rides might scare young ones; suggestions for renting or bringing strollers; hotel information and recommendations for both inside and outside Disneyworld; and restaurant information, including character meals.

In my opinion, the one guide that is the best for pre-planning is The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa. It has over 800 pages of information on everything related to Disney World (and even a chapter on Universal Studios as well). The best thing about this book is that they include quotes from actual families so you get an idea of what people like yourself experienced. There is also a version entitled The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids, by Bob Slinger and Liliane J. Opsomer,  which I  will be reviewing in a future post. In my opinion,  one of the best book for the parks is The Passporter’s Guide to Walt Disney World by Jennifer, Dave, and Allison C. Marx . It includes fold out maps, planning sheets, and pockets to hold information, tickets, etc.  Birnbaum's  Walt Disney World: The Official Guide is also very good, and includes valuable coupons in the back for such things as restaurants in WDW and stroller rentals.

There are many great websites with information including Allears.net. Websites such as these give important information such as restaurant menus so you know whether or not there is a kids menu, and what the choices are. My son does not like pizza with sauce on it, and usually wants a cheese or peanut butter sandwich. Allears.net gave us great information including the prices. The last website I want to mention is tripadvisor.com. This website provides user’s reviews on hotels, restaurants and attractions, and ranks them based on how people rated them. We chose the Holiday Inn in Walt Disney World in large part due to the reviews on tripadvisor.com. Everything they said in the reviews was correct including how nice the rooms and pool were, the high level of service, and the frequency and punctuality of the shuttle to the parks. This hotel is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, a five to ten minute walk to Downtown Disney.

For more on planning for Disney World or twins parenting please check out the rest of my blog at http://atwinsdad.blogspot.ca.

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