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  #1  
July 26th, 2011, 06:35 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,364
We leave in 4 days for Disney and my ds is so excited he can't talk about anything else. Any tips for managing the parks with a 4 year old? We are staying off property so I'm not sure if we will really be able to go back to the resort for afternoon breaks, but am hoping to find some air conditioned, low key activities to do in the parks for an afternoon break some of the days. I've never been to Animal Kingdom, and the last time I went to Epcot I was probably 15, so I'm not sure what the highlights are in those parks.

Thanks for any advice!
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  #2  
July 26th, 2011, 06:46 AM
Shadeauxe's Avatar It's me
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 5,820
I love Disney!!

Even though I've been almost 20 times, I've never been in the summer, so I don't have any seasonal advice other than it's going to be HOT. As long as you don't go to a DVC (vacation club) resort, you should be able to ride the Disney bus to any Disney hotel to use their pool. They never ask to see the room key. This would be especially true at the value resorts located near Animal Kingdom.

Just about every day, we will go back to the hotel around lunchtime or shortly after to go swimming. It's great on really hot days and let's people rest their feet and charge up for the second round of going to the park. My feet would start killing me on day three, usually, but since we have been doing this, I haven't had sore feet once.

EPCOT - My son (age 6) loves test track and the Kim Possible missions. You go to a kiosk and pick up a mobile phone that talks to you and tells you to look for this or that in a given country and the environment will react to your kid pressing a button on the phone while you're standing in the right place. It's cool. He also likes Mission Space, but your son might be too small.

ANIMAL KINGDOM - My absolute favorite thing at the park is the Flights of Wonder bird show. It's really good. I also like Expedition Everest, but your son is probably too short. They have a lot of walking trails and the safari is good. Dinosaur will be too loud and scary for a 4 year old. The Finding Nemo show is excellent as well. It's my least favorite park, but it's some people's favorite, so it just depends on what you like.

I could probably type until my fingers bleed, but I'll stop here.
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  #3  
July 26th, 2011, 07:04 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,364
Thanks! The Kim Possible missions sound like a lot of fun! Expedition Everest is of course banned for pregnant people, which is a shame as i wanted to do that - but luckily the rides he's too short for are the ones i can't do. Of course he's a little daredevil and wants to do it all!

We really wanted to go in the fall but my inlaws gave us a time share for the week and we had to use it before September 1. It didn't seem like such a bad idea when we booked in January, but now it just seems crazy.
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  #4  
July 26th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Illinois
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Ahh have fun :-D
I went one year in Aug, it was hot, humid, and busy. I don't really have any advice for taking along a four year old! Sorry
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  #5  
July 26th, 2011, 11:10 AM
missy123's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Savannah GA
Posts: 13,417
Courtney - Disney should hire you as a promotional spokesperson!

Have a great time BeccaBee! Disney is the one place on earth that is magical for everyone.
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CP 10/2008, 1/3/11 {missing my babies every single day}Mommy to 4 Children - 3 boys ages 22, 21 and 18 & baby Scarlett
After 2.5 years TTC with 4 losses our Family was given the gift of Miss Scarlett
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  #6  
July 26th, 2011, 03:26 PM
JessP's Avatar Lovin life and family
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Have a great time. We have. Never been to Disney World.
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  #7  
July 26th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
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Thanks all! I've been about 8 times over the years with my first trip at 4. But I haven't been with a child (unless that child was me!) so I'm looking forward to a totally different experience.
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  #8  
July 27th, 2011, 05:15 AM
Mommy2Makenna's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,070
Becca,

I live here in Central Florida and we have passes to the parks. We don't usually go too much in the summer (except for short trips), but here are a few ideas...

Each park has a Baby Station. This is an air-conditioned area that is great for caring for kids. Check your maps to know the location at each park.

Don't forget sun-screen! Even on cloudy days, that sun can scorch you.

Animal Kingdom has the most shade. You can find a nice shady spot to watch the parade -- that's a favorite for us.

Disney isn't picky about you bringing in your own food and water. If you have a small soft sided cooler that you can fit in a stroller, it is great for staying hydrated with COOL water. Squeeze Breeze fans can be helpful too.

If it rains -- try and stick it out. It can be a great refresher and the lines get shorter then.

If you really want to ride any of these rides, I suggest you use your fast pass -- the lines are AWEFULLY long if you don't and fast passes get distributed QUICK:
• Toy Story at Hollywood Studios
• Sorin' at Epcot (I think you can ride this one pregnant -- at least I would/will)
• Everest at Animal Kingdom (I wouldn't ride this one pregnant)
• Peter Pan at Magic Kingdom

Have a great trip! If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.
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  #9  
July 27th, 2011, 06:31 AM
Shadeauxe's Avatar It's me
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Massachusetts
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Missy - I agree. I could totally be on their mom's panel.

Becca - Let me know if you want sit down dining suggestions or opinions. I have eaten at almost every restaurant including the ones in the hotels.
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  #10  
July 27th, 2011, 06:46 AM
mom2moose
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Wowza Shadeauxe. You know a LOT about Disney. LOL

Becca- Hope you guys have fun. Your son is going to LOVE it there. I've only been there twice, once as a kid and once as an adult. It was crazy hot both times (and that was in March) but I remember a lot of those cooling stations and then restaurants that had AC. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!
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  #11  
July 27th, 2011, 07:31 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: New Jersey
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Thanks, Sacha! My friend bough her daughter a squeeze fan and she is giving it to me tonight - said i wouldn't survive pregnant in August without one! I'm definitely doing Soarin - it looks too cool to pass up and wasn't there the last time I was at Epcot. I know I have to skip the roller coasters and Splash Mountain, but do you think I can do the river rapids? That is the one ride i was most excited to try when we booked the trip (before i was pregnant). Also, my husband thinks the safari should be fine but it says not to ride pregnant as well.

Shadeaux - I had to make the dinner reservations a while back but here is what we booked. Let me know if we should skip any of them or if all should be good.

Brunch at Chef Mickeys

Dinners
1. La Hacienda in Mexico
2. The Coral Reef
3. Kouzzina (at the boardwalk) - I recently worked with Cat Cora on a couple of projects and have been dying to try her restaurant since then.
4. A place in Animal Kingdom that does mediterannean/middle eastern food. I can't remember the name and my itinerary is at home.
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  #12  
July 27th, 2011, 08:17 AM
Shadeauxe's Avatar It's me
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I've never eaten at La Hacienda because we almost always eat at Rose & Crown Pub (a favorite of my husband's). I've never had a bad meal at any of the countries in Epcot though.

I've never eaten at the Coral Reef because I don't like seafood. Also, it seems a little weird to be eating seafood while the fish are swimming around in the aquarium like I am taunting them by eating their relatives, but that's my own weird hangup.

Kouzzina has rally good food. We've eaten there at breakfast and lunch but not dinner.

The Animal Kingdom place is probably Tusker House. There are very few sit down restaurants in AK. The food is pretty good, but it's a buffet and it's noisy in there. If you go for lunch at the right time, you can get priority seating for the Nemo show too, which is nice because it's a big line. You have to ask for that specifically when making the reservation and I don't think it can be done online.

I highly recommend the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Hollywood Studios. The tables are shaped like cars and it's like a drive in movie theater complete with ultra-cheesy 1950's movie clips.

I generally avoid the buffets because they are very expensive (up to $40/adult) and the food is better at the non-buffet restaurants.
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  #13  
July 27th, 2011, 09:49 AM
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I never thought about that at Coral Reef. Max loves watching fish so we thought it would be fun for him... but now I'm going to feel bad of course. Yes, Tusker House was the AK restaurant. My husband is a 6 day a week vegan and so he thought he could have more options there - to be honest it didn't look great to me, but i couldn't say no since he's going to struggle at the other places.

We will try to do lunch at the SciFi place if i can still snag a reservation! Thanks for the tip.
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  #14  
July 27th, 2011, 11:02 AM
Shadeauxe's Avatar It's me
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeccaBee View Post
I never thought about that at Coral Reef. Max loves watching fish so we thought it would be fun for him... but now I'm going to feel bad of course. Yes, Tusker House was the AK restaurant. My husband is a 6 day a week vegan and so he thought he could have more options there - to be honest it didn't look great to me, but i couldn't say no since he's going to struggle at the other places.

We will try to do lunch at the SciFi place if i can still snag a reservation! Thanks for the tip.
You can call any restaurant with special food requests if you give them advance notice. I think 48 hours.

Disney World - The Largest Unofficial On-Line Guide to Disney World, Walt Disney World - has the menus for every restaurant
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  #15  
July 28th, 2011, 10:26 AM
Mommy2Makenna's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeccaBee View Post
I know I have to skip the roller coasters and Splash Mountain, but do you think I can do the river rapids? That is the one ride i was most excited to try when we booked the trip (before i was pregnant). Also, my husband thinks the safari should be fine but it says not to ride pregnant as well.
The Safari and Kali River Rapids I think are both very similar (from a pregnancy perspective). They will both bump you around a bit. I would check into the safety restraints used on Kali -- with all the bumping, it could cause some significant pressure on the safety restraint. With the safari, there are no restraints -- it's just like a bunch of potholes and "speed bumps". You would need to make a personal decision on both of those. i'm sure they are probably safe, but YOU need to feel comfortable with it, to do it. I was very careful with my first rainbow because I didn't want to do ANYTHING that would make me think back and wonder. Good luck with your decision. I know the river rapids will FEEL great in the heat.
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  #16  
July 28th, 2011, 10:37 AM
Shadeauxe's Avatar It's me
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I think the rapids ride is a lot less bumpy, overall, than the safari. Like Mommy2Makenna says, the safari is full of potholes and uneven roads. The rapids is mostly smooth hills. I guess when the boat bumps into the sides it could jerk around a little bit. The safety restraint on Kali is a big 2 person seat belt.

Both rides have a "expecting mothers should not ride" warning.
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  #17  
July 28th, 2011, 10:46 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,364
I think i will skip the Safari and do the Rapids. The big issue I'm having is that my ds doesn't know I'm pregnant. I'm overweight so it's still easy to hide and after having lost a pregnancy at 21 weeks last year, we want to protect him from that kind of pain so we are waiting until the anatomy scan at 18 weeks to tell him. He is going to ask a million questions if i skip all the fun rides!

I know how you feel, Sacha, and i felt the same way during my second loss. Here is what my doctor told me (not about Disney, but advice i apply to life while pregnant in general!) Two days before i found out about my missed miscarriage (12 weeks) I went dancing in Atlantic City with some girlfriends. When i came home and had my 12 week u/s the doctor said the baby had died. I was overwhelmed with panic that my night of jumping around and dancing like a lunatic caused the miscarriage and of course i asked her about it a hundred times. She said that the baby was dead before the trip (hence why i was not feeling m/s anymore) but more than that - you can not seriously hurt a fetus by dancing or anything else in daily life that seems to rock the fetus... if you could, there would be no need for abortions. I'm sure there are slim chances of anything happening, and i won't be going on Space mountain, but that advice is something i carry with me whenever i start to panic. Turns out it was Trisomy 16, not crazy dancing, that took my angel.
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  #18  
July 29th, 2011, 05:24 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2011
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,364
One more question for all of you Disney regulars. Is Max (4 years, 3 months) too young for the Jedi Training Academy? I know the rules say you can do it at 4, and my husband is a huge Star Wars fan and really wants him to do it, but do you think it would be overwhelming for him?
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  #19  
July 29th, 2011, 08:00 PM
Mommy2Makenna's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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I've never done it. Sorry... I'm no help on that one.
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  #20  
July 29th, 2011, 10:16 PM
Shadeauxe's Avatar It's me
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I've never done it either, but it depends on the child. My son probably would have been too shy at 4. I'm not even sure he wouldn't be too shy now.
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