Ken and Emily (of Mousehacking.com) are Disney parks pros but they are used to traveling as a couple and this is their first trip with their baby! Zoe is 10 months old and this was her first hotel experience, plane ride, and trip to Walt Disney World.
Ken, Emily, and baby Zoe flew from their home in Chicago for Zoe’s first Walt Disney World trip June 11-16. They did a split say at Pop Century and Grand Floridian.
This was a completely new kind of trip for them. They learned a lot about traveling with a little one and were able to utilize rider switch and baby care centers.
Traveling with a baby brings a whole different set of challenges but they were able to have a wonderful trip in spite of some rain. Ken and Emily did learn that the things they thought Zoe would be excited about didn’t impress her at all but she was very excited to see animatronics!
The Night Before (June 10)
Ken, Emily, and Zoe had an early flight out on the morning of June 11, so they took the train to the hotel at the O’Hare airport and stayed there for the night to be close for their early flight.
This was Zoe’s first hotel stay and she did great. It was very convenient to be so close in the morning.
Arrival Day (June 11)
Zoe had everyone up early. They woke up and went straight to the airport. They have TSA pre-check so security was smooth.
They got on their flight and it was fine! Zoe was relatively entertained on the plane.
They had carry-ons, carseat, and a baby. Thankfully they were able to board early and get situated. Zoe had very little interest in her carseat because she’s not used to it.
They landed in Orlando and boarded Magical Express very quickly. They arrived at Pop Century very quickly.
Their room wasn’t ready when they arrived, so they grabbed some lunch and Zoe napped in the carrier in the business center. Ken went by the front desk to see if they could get a room before they left for the parks. He was able to get a room.
They got their luggage to the room and went straight to Disney Springs. Emily and Zoe went to Starbucks for a drink and snacks. Ken went to guest services to upgrade to Annual Passes.
Emily and Ken both had annual passes when the pandemic hit. Ken’s expired and Emily canceled hers and got a refund. This made them eligible for new Annual Passes.
From Disney Springs, they took the bus to Grand Floridian (Zoe took a nap!) and they took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom!
While Zoe slept, they hung out in Town Square Theater so that they could wait until she woke up to walk in. She woke up to the Mickey and Minnie cavalcade, which was magical!
Zoe was unimpressed with everything. Their first stop with Zoe was the PeopleMover. She was a little nervous in the darkness, but generally did well. They stopped for a snack because it was very hot. Zoe liked the dole whip.
They needed to alternate between outdoor and indoor activities because it was so warm, so they stopped at Country Bear Jamboree. Zoe watched it and was interested in the animatronics.
It started to rain and Zoe was due for a nap. They purchased ponchos because they didn’t want Zoe to get wet. Of course as soon as they bought them, it stopped raining.
They didn’t wait out the rain so that they could get Zoe back to the room for bed. They took the bus back to Pop Century. They’d requested a pack ‘n play and it still wasn’t in their room when they got back.
They called and it took about 15/20 minutes to arrived in their room. It arrived fully assembled. It ended up being perfect for Zoe. She was asleep by 7:30 p.m. or so.
After Zoe went to bed, Ken went to Petals and wandered around Pop Century. He said it was magical.
Magic Kingdom (June 12)
Ken woke up before the girls and went for a run around Hourglass Lake. They got breakfast and Zoe had her first Mickey Waffle. They were on the bus by 8:40 a.m. headed to Magic Kingdom!
They started their day at Haunted Mansion. Zoe wasn’t afraid of it, but she wasn’t super excited about it. Peter Pan’s Flight had a 20 minute wait, so they did that next. It was a constantly moving queue.
Now it’s time for rider swap! They decided to do Space Mountain because Seven Dwarfs Mine Train made both parties wait in the outdoor portion of the queue and Zoe wasn’t going to have that. Space Mountain allowed them to check in and Ken waited in line while Emily and Zoe went to the Baby Care Center which was right there by Space Mountain.
The Baby Care Center was air conditioned and amazing. Zoe nursed and napped while Emily waited to ride Space Mountain.
The line for Ken was 35 minutes and the return time for Emily in My Disney Experience was 4 hours. They thought this was when she had to come back, but evidently you can come back anytime.
While Zoe napped, Ken got Zoe a My First Visit button and rode Tomorrowland Speedway. Then they stopped at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for lunch. Zoe loved Sonny Eclipse! Unfortunately the vegetarian options in the app were very limited, but it was worth it for Zoe’s excitement.
It was very inconvenient that they couldn’t enter the restaurant until their mobile order was ready. They had hoped to hop in and sit down while they waited for their food. It was a difficult policy when it was so hot with a baby.
Their next stop was Dumbo! Emily had hoped Zoe would love this but Zoe wasn’t impressed. The Journey of the Little Mermaid was next and they waited about 10 minutes for this ride.
They rode the Liberty Square Riverboat next and Emily nursed Zoe on this ride. There wasn’t any indoor seating, but they found a nice place to sit. The Enchanted Tiki Room was next and it was a huge hit with Zoe!
They wanted to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad next and it was time for Zoe to nap. The posted wait time was 30 minutes and they thought this would be perfect for Emily to wait and ride while Zoe napped.
However, Emily walked right on while Ken waited in the area by the restrooms outside Splash Mountain. Emily also grabbed coffee and even the Starbucks line was short. Then it was Ken’s turn to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Jungle Cruise had a posted wait time of 40 minutes. While they were waiting, there was lightning. A lot of the line left, but they opted to stay to allow Zoe to play. They decided to wait until 4 p.m. before leaving to do something else and the ride opened back up at 3:59 p.m.
Zoe was dressed for Jungle Cruise, so they had to ride it! After that they took some photos and went back to the bus to get back to Pop Century. They got back around 5:30 p.m. and hit up the splash pad and the pool.
The time at the pool in the evening was great for everyone. Zoe needed some time to run around. Everyone needed to cool off.
After Zoe went to bed, Ken went off to Epcot. He grabbed a beer and rode Spaceship Earth.
Hollywood Studios (June 13)
They woke up and got a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance! Zoe was not part of their party to get the boarding group, so there weren’t any issues. They decided they wanted to get in line for the Skyliner at 7:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. opening.
They went to Slinky Dog Dash first and Emily rode while Ken got a rider switch. Instead of using it right away, they went to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Ken rode that and Emily got a rider swap. Then they did that in reverse and Emily used her rider swap for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and then Ken rode Slinky Dog Dash.
Zoe was able to crawl around in Galaxy’s Edge while they waited for Ken to ride. Then they went to do rider switch at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Ken rode while Emily and Zoe hung out in the air conditioned gift shop.
After Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster they stopped for lunch at Docking Bay 7. Unfortunately, Zoe was not happy because of the heat. They weren’t allowed in until their meal was ready, so they waited outside with Zoe screaming until their meal was ready.
Inside the restaurant there was lots of space and cast members, so it was frustrating to have to be outside waiting with a screaming baby and no shade. It was a stressful experience, but once they were inside it was a pleasant lunch.
After lunch they went over to Mickey’s shorts. Zoe really enjoyed it! They got coffee and sat over by where Starring Rolls Cafe used to be to allow Zoe to rest. This is when their boarding pass was called for Rise of the Resistance.
They originally thought that rider switch would take a long time to get through a ride so they opted to have Ken ride without rider swap while Emily and Zoe rested. It also started to rain.
After that they went over to Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror. They did rider swap and waited with Zoe near where they used to have the photos.
They went over to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Zoe really seemed to enjoy it! Unfortunately they didn’t get the preshow. This was their last stop at Hollywood Studios. They missed out on a few things at Hollywood Studios and could have done a full day.
They went over to the Friendship boats and took them to Epcot. They went straight to Living with the Land and it was a great place to cool off. Zoe liked the green house.
They needed some crawling time for Zoe so they settled right outside the Soarin’ exit. It was time for Zoe to nap so Ken took her to the aquarium at the Seas Pavillion while Emily excitedly grabbed dinner alone!
She made the mistake of getting two of each of the vegetarian options at Trowel and Trellis. Now she has four things to carry to bring back to Ken. She had two bowls of soup to carry and it started pouring rain. She stopped at the first covered area she could find.
Ken and Zoe enjoyed wandering around the Seas. Then they went over to Spaceship Earth. The ride kept stopping and Zoe was hungry, so Emily nursed her on the ride – which ended up being perfect.
After Spaceship Earth they walked all the way to the Skyliner only to find out the Skyliner was down. They walked all the way back to the front and grabbed a bus back to Pop Century.
Animal Kingdom (June 14)
Ken likes to switch resorts on Animal Kingdom day because you take the bus to Animal Kingdom. The day started with taking the bags down to Bell Services to be sent to Grand Floridian.
They waited for a bus and were through the gates at Animal Kingdom by 7:27 a.m. They went straight to Flight of Passage and got a rider switch. Emily tried to ride Na’vi River Journey but it was down.
Their next stop was Kilimanjaro Safaris and it was one of the greatest safaris they’ve ever been on! They waited a while but it was very worth it.
Emily waited in line for Expedition Everest while Ken and Zoe hung out in the theatre area and watched the Flotillas. This was a great area for Zoe to crawl around. They switched right away and Ken rode Expedition Everest.
They tried Festival of the Lion King but didn’t get in. Their next stop was Satu’li Canteen for lunch. Their food was ready as soon as they arrived at 10:30 a.m.
After lunch they saw the 11:15 a.m. Winged Encounters. Emily is a big bird fan but was disappointed with the show because it was so pared down.
DINOSAUR was next. Emily rode while Zoe napped and Ken wandered around. They took some pictures and got some coffee. Emily then used her rider swap for Flight of Passage while Zoe and Ken shared a parfait.
They took the train over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. It was a lot of fun! They took more photos and then did the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Zoe really liked the birds.
They rode TriceraTop Spin and Ken rode DINOSAUR. After that they took a break at Nomad Lounge. They ended their day with Na’vi River Journey before getting on the bus. It was pouring rain!
They went back to the Grand Floridian and their bags weren’t in their room. Ken called Bell Services but they couldn’t bring the bags because of the weather. Ken just ended up getting the bags. About 30 minutes later their pack ‘n play was delivered.
Ken really likes Pop Century, but they really enjoyed the space at Grand Floridian. It gave Zoe a lot more space to explore. The balcony was also a wonderful extra space to utilize while Zoe was sleeping.
After Zoe went to bed Ken went to Enchanted Rose and it was okay. They picked up dinner from Gasparilla Island Grill and ate it on the balcony while Zoe slept.
Magic Kingdom (June 15)
They woke up early to walk over to Magic Kingdom. They were excited to know that Gasparilla Island Grill opened at 6 a.m. so they grabbed snacks to eat on the way.
It was raining so they wore their ponchos on the walk over to the Magic Kingdom. They arrived to Magic Kingdom very early and Emily was the first person at the tapstile.
They stopped for a photo in front of the castle and it was empty without a line! They went straight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Emily rode and was in the first car! Ken took Zoe on the carousel while Emily rode.
They did Peter Pan’s Flight together as a family next. They did rider switch for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before going to Pirates of the Caribbean. This was another good ride for nursing Zoe!
Zoe took a nap while Ken waited in line for Space Mountain. The gift shop at the end of Space Mountain was a great place to rest with Zoe. Then they went to PeopleMover. The waits were getting a lot longer now at 10:15 a.m.
They got coffee next and were going to go to Dumbo the Flying Elephant but couldn’t take their coffees so Ken took Zoe into the play area at Dumbo while Emily held the coffees.
Then it was time to see Sonny Eclipse! They waited for 30 minutes for their food to be ready but then they were able to enter Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and Zoe loved it again!
The waits were getting really long, so they took the walking path back to their hotel. This was a good move because the storms rolled in and the rides were down. They were glad to be back at the hotel.
Once the storms passed, they went back to Magic Kingdom via the monorail. Their first stop was Zoe’s first Mickey Bar!
They went on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Mad Tea Party, and it’s a small world! It’s a small world was a Zoe winner!
They ended their day with the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh before heading back to the hotel. Zoe had a rough night sleeping that night.
Departure (June 16)
They weren’t planning to rope drop today, but Zoe was up early so they did the same thing as the day before. Ken went straight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train while Emily and Zoe did Peter Pan’s Flight.
They did the carousel, Astro Orbiter, and Magic Carpets of Aladdin together. This completed Zoe’s rides – every ride without a height requirement.
Ken packed up their bags while Emily and Zoe went swimming for a bit before their Magical Express bus back to the airport!
The flight home was rough. Zoe screamed the whole time, but they survived the trip!
- If you are traveling with a wiggly baby, it is important to find areas where they can crawl or toddle around. Emily and Ken recommend the area by the Splash Mountain bathrooms, anywhere quiet near walls, the Jungle Cruise line, Soarin’ exit, and grandstand area at Animal Kingdom (where Kite Tails is currently).
- If you are using rider switch, be sure to go to the person in the line with the iPad. They will know if the second party to ride needs to wait in the queue or not.
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Friday 23rd of July 2021
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