A moment I had been waiting for – taking my baby bump to my “happiest place on earth”. Walt Disney World! So for Easter weekend we decided to risk the holiday crowds, weather and other craziness to experience our first visit with little Elise along for the ride.
In preparation for my first trip to Disney while pregnant, I did my usual internet searches and found a few blogs with tips and pointers. But as usual, nothing really prepares you for how different you will feel once you are in the parks. Normally I am able to walk for miles without stopping, but I found out very quickly that stopping to rest and keeping fed and watered were constant staples of our visit. Fortunately, we have been to Disney enough times to know where all the restrooms, benches, and shady places were prior to our arrival.
One note I did not see on many of the blogs I read was that you can request a cup of water from any quick service stand for free. This is something we found out about a couple of years ago, and while I still carried my water bottle with built in filter, sometimes a cup of ice water is always a welcome change. The other thing I noticed was that many Disney cast members were extra diligent when they realized my tummy was a baby bump. While hitting the restroom before the Indiana Jones stunt show, I had multiple cast members direct me, ask me if I needed assistance, and seeking assurance that I was “A-ok!”
The highlight of the visit was meeting Mickey and Minnie. You may laugh, but I never tire of this experience as I am always taken back to childhood. But this time was a moment seen only in my dreams. I entered the Character Spot at Epcot bright and early on a Saturday morning and immediately found myself face to face with The Mouse. Sporting my “Mouseketeer onboard” maternity shirt mama and I had found on Pinterest, the cast members and characters quickly noticed my little Elise bump and with that, everyone was ready for my sweet girl and I’s official first Mickey photos together. Upon finishing the character rounds, I found myself overwhelmed and shed a few happy tears that something I had given up on ever happening had actually come true.
A few other quick tips for anyone else traveling to Disney at twenty weeks pregnant:
- Pack a light backpack with granola bars and trail mix. While there is plenty of food in Disney, not all of it is healthy and you will find that you are waiting in a line when you need a quick snack.
- Bring a water bottle with built in filter. The water in Florida does not always taste the best, even from the quick serve counters, so I find I cannot live without my Brita water bottle.
- Rest every hour or so. I made sure to get off my feet for a few minutes about every hour to drink water and to prop my feet up. This due diligence kept my ankles from swelling and I suffered hardly any aches and pains at the end of the day.
- Catch a show. There are so many fabulous shows in Disney and what better time than when you are not riding the headliners.
- Give yourself a treat at least once a day. With so many goodies, I selected one item a day to splurge on. This kept me from having too much of a good thing all at once and kept my weight on track. Mickey Ears ice cream and the cream cheese filled pretzel are two of my favorites.
- Go early and take a nap in the afternoon. The best time to be in the parks is at opening since you can usually ride most rides without a fastpass (especially in the Magic Kingdom since the kiddie rides are pretty much the limit). Also, you can be back at your hotel prior to the afternoon sun or heat settling in.
- Wear a hat and sun screen. I’m not sure about others, but my freckles have been really pronounced the past few weeks with pregnancy, so I was extra diligent with the hat and sunscreen.
Most of all just take in the experience. While we are fortunate to have been to Disney more times than we can count, no matter if it will be your first or your 100th visit, my motto is to always just enjoy being there.
Disney is something special. There is no place like it. Everyone can be young and silly. And yes – dreams can come true there! See you real soon, Mickey.