Summer Theme Park Survival

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IMG_0123We’re addicted to Universal Orlando. Our kids love the rides and it’s the only place where I can get them to actually walk on their own without wussing out. The kids usually can’t make it through the grocery store without begging to ride in the buggy, so you bet I’m proud of their vacation stamina.

In 2015, I did Disney and Universal twenty weeks pregnant. This year, I pushed a six month old around in her stroller. Between Disney and Universal, I found Universal to be a lot easier to manage with limitations. For instance, we rode the buses from our Disney resort to the parks each day. The walk from the bus to the park seemed like miles when I was pregnant. Universal, on the other hand, employs moving walkways if you park there; otherwise, you ride the water taxi and walk a short distance. If I had to pick between the parks again during pregnancy, I would skip the Disney experience altogether.

Surviving major theme parks in the summer take serious dedication. It’s one thing to get hot and tired doing the regular park thing in the blazing heat, it’s an entirely different beast to try it pregnant or with a small baby.

 

surviving orlando pregnantPregnant Parking

I discussed my trip with my doctor beforehand. His advice was to stay hydrated and wear plenty of sunscreen.

  • Bottled water is your friend. To quote my sister: drink, drink, drink!
  • Stay cool. I opted for an evaporative cooling towel.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. My feet were already swelling by 20 weeks. I bought slingback Crocs. I have a Croc obsession, I admit it. I love their sandals. My feet stayed cool, had plenty of room, and didn’t blister.
  • Wear sunscreen. I’m fair, so I require a decent sunscreen for my face. I prefer any sport spray for the rest of my body.
  • Bring an umbrella. The added protection from the sun kept me cool.
  • Rest when needed! I had much better luck finding places to rest at Universal than I did at all the Disney parks.
  • Consider pain management. I suffered from SPD during pregnancy, which causes pelvic pain. Although I’m not one to take a lot of pills during pregnancy, Tylenol did the trick.
  • Use the¬†hotel. Hotel pool, water taxis, room service. If you’re staying at an onsite resort–Royal Pacific is our favorite–use the hotel amenities to your advantage. After an exhausing day, the kids will be happy to return to the resort early and swim (or nap).

With Little Ones

  • Pack wisely. A good bag to toss under your stroller is a must-have. Consider packing extra clothes for water rides, bottled water, sunscreen, and a snack since park food can be expensive. If you’re packing for a baby, bring the usual + extra diapers, wipes, sunhat, etc.
  • A comfortable stroller. Is your stroller tall enough for you to push for several hours? Many umbrella-type shoulders are too short and will cause back pain after a while.
  • A stroller fan. We purchased this one and it worked great. Make sure to pack a screw driver and extra AA batteries.
  • Ponchos. Don’t wait until you’re in the park to buy them. You can get them for less than a dollar at Wal-Mart.
  • A bottle bag or small soft-sided cooler. Even if you don’t need to carry bottles in, Gooby loved having a nice cold teething ring.

What are your suggestions for surviving the summer theme park season?

Breastfeeding at universal

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Emily is the person to blame behind Surviving Alabama. She is a nerd, a mother, and sometimes pretends to be a writer (although there was that one legit writing job for a few years...). When she isn't writing, repairing computers, or designing websites, Emily is happily raising three children with her very understanding husband.

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