Question(s) For The Internets

Thanks so much, y’all, for all the great ideas re: traveling with a four year old. I am making my way through your emails, too – and you have shared so much info that I never would have thought of otherwise. All your tips are going to be a huge help as we make our way through a sizeable to-do list tomorrow.

The biggest thing I’m wrestling with is what shoes to take for me. Personally, I don’t think running shoes / tennis shoes are all that comfortable for long periods of time…and even though I have some Geox sandals that are super comfortable, I’m concerned that something without a back strap will get on my nerves after a few hours. I know that Crocs would be cushiony and good – but I worry that they’ll get hot (rubber + sun = HOT FEET = EWWWW).

So, if you’ve recently traversed either the land or the world of the large mouse (trying to avoid unwanted google-age), what shoes did you find worked the best? What about with your kids? Did they do okay in tennis shoes? Or Crocs? I don’t want to pack too much, but I want to make sure that I pack the right stuff.

Also, did y’all try to take water bottles and snacks into the park? Or did you just buy whatever you needed once you got there?

Finally, we’re thinking that we’ll just rent a stroller at the park…does anyone have any experience with that?

Okay – I think that’s all. But if you have any additional hints – anything you think I’m missing – feel free to share.

Thanks so much, everybody!

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  1. Stephanie says:

    I’m with ya on the tennis shoe thing – not comfortable for long periods of time. My failsafe shoes of choice are Birkenstocks – they are super-comfy and don’t slide off.

  2. I rented a stroller at DisneyWorld for my 16 month old daughter. It worked great and I wasn’t afraid of anybody stealing my own nice stroller.

  3. suzanne says:

    It’s been a while since we went, but each person had a fanny pack with a bottle of water and a snack. We also took some other snacks and just left them at the front in the lockers. With only three of you that might not concern you so much, but we had a party of six and wanted some inexpensive snack choices so we could use that money other places……HAVE FUN!

  4. It’s been a while since I did the theme park scene and have yet to do the mouse house but I had several trips under my belt at the one in Texas.
    I always wore plain old flip flops. Of course, they are about the only shoes I wear all summer anyway but they are just so comfy and cool and if they get wet, not a problem.

    Hope you all have a ton of fun!

  5. While I don’t have any advice for you concerning the abode of The Mouse, I am anxious to hear all about your trip and what worked for y’all. We’re planning our first trip down there in September with the three kiddos. Have fun!

  6. Keen sandals are great for arch support making for a more comfortable walking about and standing in line experience. They are also great when wet, as they aren’t sloshy when you walk in them. I had never heard of waterproof sandals before.

    Chris over at in the trenches of motherhood has some good advice on when she planned a trip to Disney with her 7 kids. Here’s the link:

    Have a wonderful trip!

  7. We packed our own lunches and snacks and water bottles and bought ice-cream and treats. Definitely use their strollers, they have a great system and they are great strollers. Just wear your most comfortable shoes. Some of us wore sandals, some wore sneakers. You aren’t outdoors all the time and all the attractions, etc have great AC so you will cool down. Take cheap shades so it you loose them it won’t matter. And wet wipes for sticky fingers. We went when ours were 9,8 and 6 and it was a BLAST. You’ll have a terrific time. By an autograph book and pen as soon as you get in so you can get the autographs of the characters as you see them. Have fun!!

  8. We just went in April and we were the “Croc” family. The kids and I had disney crocs and Daddy had his plain old boring black ones!! My feet did not get hot at all although it was cool when we were there so don’t hold me to it since it will be warmer. The kids didn’t have any blisters or complain of their feet hurting though and considering all the walking we did that says something for good ol’ crocs. As far as the stroller, we always rent a double stroller for the kiddo’s (6 and 2 this year) so they can rest when necessary. Even with my 6 year old it was still easy to push around. It also has nifty cupholders and a hard top to put any other “stuff”. The stroller was great to sit in to watch the parades too. You can also pay at one time for a stroller for a few days so then you can skip the line and just show them your receipt to get the stroller. Plus once you pay in one park you can get a stroller at any park by just showing the receipt. For snacks I always carried (okay threw in the storller) a backpack that had snacks and juiceboxes. It was nice to pull out snacks while in line for rides because it occupied them. I took trail mix, raisins, crackers, fruit snacks and stuff like that. There are plenty of water fountains so you can refill water bottles too. Feel free to email me with any questions…I love to talk about Disney.


  9. Here’s my tip, the only water that they sell in the parks is Dasani and that contains magnesium sulfate, which is a laxative. You have to decide if you want everyone to take a lax a day at disney. Might made for a smooth trip.

    We stayed at one of the resorts and just had our own bottles and we filled them at night with tap water and froze them. They thawed through the day. You can also ask for and get tap water at many of the vendors in the parks. It is much better than the Dasani.

    We just wore sneakers and socks. I have been told that it is wise to pack a little moleskin (?) in case of blisters, but I forgot and no one got any blisters anyway.

    Those fans that spray water that you can get at Disney? Worth their weight in GOLD!


  10. About my comment, if you don’t have a freezer, it won’t work, sorry!!

  11. Newish lurker here. Did House of Mouse last year with 3 year old and 6 month old. It was magic.
    3 year old and I had Merrills on–technically winter shoes but the best padded things we had. We needed the padding too–lots of standing, lots of walking.
    If you go to the park with the countries, take a change of clothes–they have fountains that come out of the ground for kids (and grownups) to play in. We knew that, and had the clothes, but didn’t think to bring a towel, so those thoughtful people had a stand there selling towels–would you believe it? So we are the proud owners of an adorable towel shaped like a certain orange and white fish and a boy who thinks he’s the bee’s knees when he wears it.
    Ditto the stroller rental or bringing. And oh, my, goodness, have an amazing time.

  12. I have not done The Mouse with kids, but I do consider somewhat of a shoe girl. I don’t think you can go wrong with Crocs. They breathe well, and they can get wet.

    Hope you have fun!

  13. Love the bag! My daughter and I purchased a similar one recently to use on a trip to Sea World. It worked great. My favorite sandal in the entire world is Teva. I wore them to Disney in December and was wonderfully comfortable. Say hello to the Mouse for me.

  14. They are a bit on the pricy side, but I have found sales….for Chaco sandals. They stay on like tennis shoes, but are sandals. I like those a lot! They are not super stylish, but they are very practical for such things!

    I used to go with a family to the theme park in college (not that long ago), and they always rented a stroller. Even the older children could fit in it. So I think thats a wise decision!

    Treats are EXPENSIVE in the park, but so is everything else. So if cost is a factor, pack your own.

    Have fun!!!

  15. Definitely rent a stroller. It’s so much easier. Plus, they’re all the same so if someone takes yours, you can take someone else’s! ;)

    I’d bring some snacks. But make sure you splurge for the mouse ears ice cream!

    oh! I’m jealous!!

  16. Don’t Rent A Stroller! Because they all look alike, you park it while you’re on a ride…then you walk out and someone has thought, “Oh, I’ll use this stroller.” Then you have to go back, report it missing, and get a new one. Happened twice in one day, thank you very much. Although someone did give me the tip to tie a clear pastic bag to the stroller with what looks like a dirty diaper in it and then we never had a problem. Hmm… go figure!

    Shoes? I hate having hot sweaty toes. I outfitted us all in those walking sandles with the velcro straps. Not too beautimous but very comfy.

    Snacks? TAKE. THEM. IN. A bottle of water is like, $5 in there and a family of three can’t eat a meal for less than $50. And what pre-schooler can wait 30 minutes in line when they WANT A DRINK NOW!!! You have to wait in line for everything so if you have a hungry kiddo it’s better for him to have a snack while waiting to have a seat in the very-expensive-restaurant-that-serves-food-mysteriously-similar-to-the-grocery-store-deli.


  17. Hiking shoes are WAY more comfy and there are some really cute ones out there (Timberland especially). If I thought I could actually work out in them I would, but that would be difficult with the tread thing. I did fine in tennis shoes at Disneyworld, but prefer the hiking tennies b/c they have a lot of support. My kids did fine in tennis shoes — never complained. We rented a stroller for our older child on the 3rd day and IT WAS THE BEST THING! He was VERY happy! They’re not that expensive – well worth it. We took a backpack and packed it full of nuts, raisins, cheerios, beef jerky, fruit snack, pb crackers, and water bottles. We took it in a Wal Mart sack so that we could leave the frozen water bottles in the stroller (or you could use a separate backpack). It was never a problem. If you have some time before your trip I’d read one of the books published about getting around Disney, where to go first, getting there early each day (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), etc.

  18. Referring to the previous comment from Gayle: tie ribbons or an unusual bandanna….or premake a tag or something to put on your stroller (recommended in the books and worked great).

  19. Well we just got back from the mouse house just a couple of weeks ago. Depending on how many days you are doing I would bring my own stroller…its handy in the airport also. The ones at the Magic Kingdom are hard and there are sooo many strollers I wouldn’t fear one being stolen. And you are more likely to have your stroller and its contents walked off with by accident when it looks the same as the other 96 in the stroller park. Also it was easier to find our own with the bright green mister hanging off the side.

    We brought food… first we were trying to be frugal and I started to think I should just bite the bullet and pay the money but we found the second benefit was that we didn’t need to wait in lines, fight crowds etc. We just pulled over to a quiet spot and ate.

    CROCs for kids… I wore my Columbia Sandals… bring bandaids with you to catch blisters before they become bad.
    We also brought Frozen Face clothes – they kept food cold in our little insulated bag and later in the day it was heavenly to wash up with a nubby cool cloth. They cool you off if you put them on the back of your neck. And the spray bottles they have at Disney they have at Walmart there much cheaper – same with souveniers.

    If you dont like to get wet get a dollar store poncho for Splash Mountain or Kali River Rapids – Alex will love both of those and he is big enough most likely (my guy snuck under!)

    Oh and spare nice white socks tucked in the bottom of the stroller are amazing if the kids have crocs… they all oohed and aahed when I handed them out later in the day.

    Are you supposed to write this much in the comments??
    Have a blast!

  20. We went with our four year old back in January and had a blast. You HAVE to rent the stroller once you get there. It is so much easier that way. We had a backpack that we just put in the stroller, but we didn’t put our own drinks in it. Instead we spent a fortune buying them there because we didn’t want to carry too much. Also, I wore flip flops (Yellow box – the most comfortable) the whole time we were there and my feet never bothered me.
    I haven’t read the other comments, but if you don’t know about Chef Mickey you need to look into it. Alex would LOVE it and the food is great before spending the day at the park.
    My son wore t-shoes the first day and begged to take them off all day. So we stayed with his crocs the rest of the trip and they were great. I was worried about him not being able to walk in them but they weren’t a problem.
    Have a wonderful time!

  21. We went to Rome for my 40th birthday last fall, and I knew we’d be walking 8-9 miles per day. I wanted comfortable walking shoes that would not make me look dorky and out of place in such a stylish city.

    I chose Mephisto All-Rounders (with Thorlos socks) from based on a lot of web reviews, and they were fantastic–so comfortable that I wore them every day for months afterward. And I got nary a single blister on our trip. Highly recommended.

  22. Was at the World you spoke of just about a year ago – great trip, thanks for asking. ;) Also just did a Works For Me Wed. on it!

    DO rent a stroller. We actually took ours for the plane ride, then left it in the room and rented theirs. Kids could lay down in theirs, they drive easily, don’t tip, dry quickly, didn’t worry about loosing ours. Take a bandanna or something distinctive that you can tie onto the middle of the handle to mark it as yours.

    Shoes – take what you find comfy, just take a couple different pairs. I found that my feet were very happy for the change of scenery. Take moleskin or some of the blister band-aids-better safe than sorry!

    Take your own water bottles and snacks, but be open to buying crazy overpriced ice cream – cause, you know – it’s vacation!

    Yes, the misters are worth their weight in gold, but you’ll save a ton if you head to Stuff Mart and buy one there before your trip!

    And last, learn to use FastPass – then whatever shoes you pack won’t get nearly as tiresome!


  23. Have so much fun, SO. MUCH. FUN!, just so much fun, ya’ll :)

    Wear your favorite sandals…you won’t be sorry. Get Alex some easy slip on and off (velcro) sandals, too!

    I know you will have fun…get plenty of rest and enjoy everything! Grab yourseves some of those wonderful Mickey Mouse Belgium waffles with strawberries and cream…you won’t be sorry! I think they were at an outdoor patio place toward the front. Also, I really enjoy the shows at the hottest part of the day…a good time to cool off!

    Praying for a wonderful time!

  24. We went with part of our family about a year and a half ago, 1 18 mos and the other 3 1/2. A double stroller was taken for them on the plane, but I hear that using their’s works fine. Definitely take something very distinctive to tie to it, we even did that w/the double stroller and it helped in a sea of strollers!
    We wore backpacks or backpack purses (no fanny packs!) and put in stroller; with water bottles/snacks etc. inside the packs. Plenty of places to refill if you want. We were on the meal plan & it was wonderful so we each got a snack daily with it, plus 2 meals. Using a guidebook is very helpful! We wore flip flops/sandals & tennis shoes some…wear whatever is comfy for you.
    Fast pass is the way to go!
    You’ll have a blast!

  25. I’m a bit of an expert on the Mouse (at least the one in Florida) so if you have further questions, I really do have answers…

    First of all, in reference to your last post…TAKE THE LAPTOP AND DVDS!!!! I’m surprised you were ever opposed to it! First and foremost you want a happy child at the House of Mouse and it begins with the beginning of the trip!! TAKE THE MOVIES!!

    Don’t rent a stroller…it gets quite pricey (I think it’s up to ten or fifteen dollars a day) and then you don’t have a stroller for the airport (you can gate check your own so you have it right up until you board the plane and then immediately after you land) and you have it going from the exit to the parking lot or bus station or boat station or to wheel your sleeping Alex right onto the monorail or ferry boat. (what hotel?? what mode of transporation?? these questions are crucial to the advice you’re seeking….) If you ignore my advice (tsk tsk…) tell them you want to rent a stroller for X number of days and it will be cheaper to rent and pay for X number of days upfront.

    Crocs are THE choice of footwear at Disney. I don’t own any, myself, but as I said, I’m pretty much an expert and read the famous DISboards regularly and everyone swears by those ugly rubber shoes. They say they do NOT get hot. I, personally, have always worn socks and tennis shoes.

    Yes, you can take snacks and water bottles inside. They’ll peek in all your bags at the entrance but they won’t stop you from bringing it in.

    Are you on the dining plan?? If so, you can get your daily free snacks or water, too. My husband and I never snacked so the girls ended up with two free snacks a day on the dining program.

    I second the Mister Spray Fan bottles. They’re wonderful.

    My BEST advice? Do whatever ALEX wants. Make it all about him. He’ll be happier and you’ll be happy watching him be happy. :o) Our plan is always to be there when it opens, and head back to the hotel around 11:30 or 12:00 for naps and swims, and then head back to the parks around 4:00 or 5:00, eating both lunch and dinner back at the hotel preferably.

    If he doesn’t like loud noises take earplugs for the fireworks and Illuminations and Fantasia (if you bother to take him to Epcot and the Studios, that is)

    Have fun!

  26. The only thing I have to add is that they have GREAT 1st Aid stations in the parks. They are centrally located and they will give you pretty much whatever you need in the way of bandaids, ointments and over the counter meds. Plus the nurses are super nice just like everyone else in Mouseworld. Have fun!

  27. I havent had time to read all of the comments, but crocs are the best…there are different styles, so you dont have to have your toes covered! They were soooo comfortable for me when I was pregnant and then carrying Noah during the summer. the Nile version are the best for me…cool and relaxed, but with a strap in the back. Have a great time, I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  28. By the way crocs are great to get wet in too!

  29. Hey there traveler to the wild world of the mouse!! Helpful hints – definitely rent the stroller – it holds much more than just a kid…and I swear, I don’t know how else you can keep up with a tiny person…make sure to wear a small backpack or the kind around the waste – may not be the ultimate fashion statement unless it happens to be a vera bradley, but it sure does make your life easier!! take a couple of small packs of wipes – good for the bathrooms and for cooling off – If you are staying overnight, take a break during the hottest part of the day, go back to the hotel and cool off in the pool, then back to the park later. Have a great time!!

  30. Okay, here’s my advice. We have gone twice for family reunions on my husband’s side the week of July 4th (soooo hot :().
    1.We always wore tennis shoes & socks. Although they keep the parks clean, I just did not want our feet to get quite so dirty and tennis shoes were comfy.

    2.We bought inexpensive matching umbrella strollers for our two little ones that needed them and tied a red bandana on each to tell them apart. I never wanted to rent because I looked at all the kids in the rentals and just thought of germs, sweat, and potty/vomit and it made me shudder. Our were never stolen, but if they had been, we would not have lost too much sleep because they were under $20. each. You could even buy one at one of the outlets when you got to FL if you did not want to take it on the plane.

    3. The first year we stayed at Ft. Wilderness and froze water bottles at night, took our own in, etc. It was kind of a lot of trouble. The water in the park is not that expensive, really, and then you do not have to carry around all those water bottles. I did not like the water fountains because the water tasted like metal. Here’s a great tip: if you buy a large souvenir cup in the morning (I know Animal Kingdom sells them, the other parks probably do also), you get either half price or free refills the rest of the day…and the cups are huge! We did that and all of us would drink out of it.

    4. And, finally, yes this is coming to a close :), we made laminated id tags for each of our kids with their information on it and our cell phone numbers, etc. and put one in each of their pockets. That way, in case they got lost, they knew they could hand their card to a security guard.

    I hope this helps! Have fun!!!!

  31. Crocs have thong sandals that are SUPER comfy. And, Crocs are microbiral? (sp?) and I haven’t had much of an issue with sweating. Other than that, I have NO clue! LOL

  32. BizzyMom says:

    All four of us wore socks and tennis shoes all six days with no problems. Each of us had fanny packs (sorry!) and water bottles with strap to carry on shoulder or on belt. Each fanny pack contained package of peanut butter/crackers, apple, chapstick, and another small snack. Price of snacks aside, it is the convenience that matters. Invariably we would be in line and someone would suddenly be starving and one of the snacks bought us time to enjoy the ride then get to lunch.

    Best advice book BY FAR is the UNofficial Guide to WDW by Bob Sehlinger. Read it and follow its advice.

    Even if you just read it on the plane it has excellent advice as to which theme park to visit on which day of the week, evaluations of rides for different ages, crowd flow, best site for parade watching, best food and prices, etc. etc. It is written by an objective group who has been doing this since 1986.

    We bought the newest edition each time we visited (12 years apart) and both times it saved us countless hours and money. As the book warns, though, don’t be upset when Alex just wants to go to the hotel and swim.

    I concur with previous advice (and confirmed in the book) to be at any theme park when it opens. However, going back to the hotel to rest then returning to the park isn’t as easy as it sounds. Our experience proved we were better off to get there early and stay as long as we could then call it a day. Have a great time!

  33. Go with the tennis shoes for Alex. I am always worried someone will trample on my little one’s feet. Just go for the most comfy for you. You’ll end up pushing him around in the stoller half the time anyway-go ahead and splurge on the stroller rental. It is worth it. Have fun and don’t forget the sunscreen.

  34. I wore sandals, kids wore tennis shoes after the first day when one daughter’s flipflops mixed with sunscreen turned her entire foot blue. :)

    We took water and snacks; they don’t care.

    Have you found TONS of great tips and money saving ideas.

    I’m excited just thinking about it all. :)

  35. Ah Disney, my home away from home (I posted in the last thread that I live only 40 minutes away from WDW).

    You have gotten some great advice. Here’s my $.02:
    Get there early- like when the parks open. If you are staying on property take advantage of the extra hour you get at different parks each day (there will be plenty of info in your room about it).
    Learn to use fast pass.
    Use a stroller.
    Mister fans are great (luckily the weather has been unseasonably cool lately- like only 90 today)
    Pack a few snacks- oh yeah, carry a backpack.
    Wear whatever shoes you would wear to go on a walk at home with your son- for me it’s sneakers. Be aware that there are a lot of fountains/wet areas to play in so expect wet shoes on Alex.
    Do a character meal- it’s a bit pricey but it is a great way to meet the characters. I personally like The Garden Grill in the Land pavillion at EPCOT or Chef Mickey at the Contemporary hotel (the hotel the monorail goes thru) But, it depends on which characters you want to see.
    Visit before you go and too
    If you have questions ask a cast member- Disney has some of the best employees you will ever meet.
    Have fun!

    PS- I put this in my comment on the last thread before I realized you had another post- you can see my workplace when you are at the airport. I work in the control tower at Orlando Int’l Airport!!

  36. Definitely need a stroller…sometimes you have to wait in lines to rent, especially at the beginning of the day…one line to pay and then another to pick up (at least this was the case at the “land”). If you have a fairly compact stroller that you like, I would say to bring that.
    Definitely bring some snacks and some water…especially if you will have a stroller to carry it in. I found I brought more than we needed…but better to have too much than not enough.
    We all wore socks and tennis shoes and for me that’s the way to go…so important to have good support for that much walking. I hear good things about Crocs, though, so that could be a good option.
    Also…if you go to the Town Hall as you enter the park, they can give you a sticker to put on Alex’s back…you write your name and cell # on it in case he gets separated from you. (I suppose you could make your own sticker for that matter)
    Have a BLAST…and I agree about Buzz Lightyear…it’s the BEST…short line and such a fun ride for all!

  37. Wellllll, we just got back 4 days ago from “the land of the mouse” with our 2 little ones…. ages 1 and 3 . And tips?? DEFINITELY rent the stroller. Click over to my blog to see a pic of my kiddos asleep in it! Totally worth it… easy breezy!!!!!!!! My little man wore his crocs and sandals and was very comfy. Little miss wore sandals and T-straps. I wore flip flops, slip on shoes and tennis shoes, hubs wore crocs and tennis. No blisters, no sore feet. We ate lunch in the parks everyday. I just couldn’t fathom trying to pack a lunch, lug it around and then eat soggy sandwiches. Ick. We brought our own water and hubs carried a backpack for all of our “stuff”. We got there when it opened, left for naps and “rest time” in the afternoon, and back again in the evening. PERFECT system for little ones, at least for ours. Great trip, great time of year. The lines weren’t too long and wasn’t too hot. Just perfect. Have fun and give the “big mouse” a hug for us!

  38. I have been off the internet for a few days and was so excited to see all your new posts.

    We live near the large mouse in the OC and have also gone to visit him in florida. We always took in water bottles and snacks. I prefered to spend our “extra” money on more fun things like t-shirts, mouse ears, and fabulous dress up clothes. If you want to spend $5.00 for a bottle of water than leave your drinks in the hotel.

    Our youngest was three when we went to Flordia and the portable DVD player was a life saver on the plane. I bought a few new videos and by the time she was done watching them we had arrived. We also colored and ate snacks. Pack lots of snacks for the plane. They were a life saver.

    I brought my own stroller but have rented one in the past. Your little man might think it is fun to rent a stroller. Some of them are kind of cool. Either way I think is fine.

    Have a great time.

    ps. Our family just wore flip flops the whole time. It rains so much it was easier to dry without tennis shoes on.

  39. We’re Disney World freaks over here. We live about an hour away. I vote for the crocs, for sure. They don’t get hot, and you’re back won’t hurt from all the walking. If you plan to buy water and snacks at the park, take out a small loan. Really, pack what you can in a small snack bag.

    Have a ball! I know which restaurants are particularly good, so e-mail me if you need more info! And you must, must, ride the “Rockin Roller Coaster” at MGM. Totally awesome, dude. You’ll need to take turns with BooDaddy, cuz it would scare the lightening out of the boy. :)

  40. I am not a sneaker girl in the LEAST but I did wear them in Disney. That said, I saw lots of Crocs, and you probably should bring both. You can always wear your Crocs to the pool if you don’t wear them at the park. My kids wore sneakers at the parks too.

  41. Laurie says:

    We just bit the bullet and spend our children’s inheritence on cold bottled water. You can haul it in, but you will be carrying it… in that cute purse of yours! Or you can take in empty bottles, but the water in the fountains in lukewarm – yuck! When your that hot, you really want COLD water. Just what we did. Laurie

  42. I wear my Crocs and they dont get hot or sweaty :)

    I would love to see you when you come!!

  43. As someone who has season passes to that home of a great big mouse- let me tell you a few things. :)

    -Crocs are your friend.
    -So are thier rental strollers
    -almost every cast member has stickers. If he gets antsy waiting for something- ask for one or two.
    -take advantage of fast passes. They are your friend.
    -don’t try to do it all.

    Have fun!

  44. We did Mouse House when kids were about 3 and 5. Rented the double stroller; were able to move quicker than having five year old walk. Never took much time to rent it. The first day I packed snacks, but found it too cumbersome. I definitely recommend getting to the park as it opens. You get to ride several things before the masses descend. We tried going back to the hotel for lunch, nap etc., but it took too many hours. We preferred going to a nice restaurant for lunch. Get the Unofficial Guide to Disney. It has great information.

  45. Being Floridians and all, we’ve extensive experience with the Mouse House. The strollers are great (I think to rent a single one is $10-$15 for the day and your one rental is good at any park for an entire day – meaning, if you go to another park on the same day, you don’t have to pay again to use one at each park). Definitely pack snacks and water – food is expensive. If you can get to Publix beforehand (the grocery), stock up on easy snacks and fruit. We usually pack pb&j sandwiches along with snacks and then just buy one meal (for our family of four, we spend about $35-40) in the park.

    Have a wonderful time and don’t forget your sunscreen!

  46. I was JUST in the mouse-world and going back in July. I second the unofficial guide by using their touring plans our longest line was 20 minutes (for a VERY popular ride!!). Also I never wear sneakers, so I figured why wear them there? I just wore my rainbows (flip flops), but my niece wore crocs and said they were very comfortable.

    I would NOT rent a stroller. The disney ones are huge, bulky and hard. Plus after a long day at the park I bet Boo is going to be tired and going to sleep. It’s much easier to be able to wheel him out of the park and onto your hotel. Just bring an umbrella one, it’s easy to fold up.

    I would take small snacks easy to carry around. Bring a nalgene that you can put in the bottom of the stroller for everyone and it’ll be easy to refill at water fountains (the water fountain behind Cinderella’s castle has the COOLEST water in Magic Kindgom!).

    Are you on the dining plan? If so, don’t bring any snacks. Bring some breakfast food in the room (granola bars, etc…it’s just easier). Then eat lunch/snack in the park. On the dining plan you’ll have MORE than enough food.

    Have Fun!

  47. Okay here’s my best advice…go to wal-mart and buy those cheap rain ponchos just in case. We got caught in the rain several times and they sell those ponchos but they’ll completely fleece your wallet. We were too cheap to buy them so we all got soaked instead. And we took a soft sided cooler and put in the bottom of the stroller with drinks and even sandwiches. Remember, we’re cheap.

  48. Oh! This is important!! Buy the rain ponchos, as everyone says, and when you park the stroller to go on a ride, COVER the stroller with the poncho….you’d be surprised how often the House of Mouse gets a sudden, quick rain shower and you come off the ride and discover your stroller is soaked….NOT FUN! So each time you park it, cover it, regardless of how innocent the sky looks…

    And I third or fourth ‘The Unofficial Guide’ by Bob Sehlinger. He is your friend. Your best friend.

  49. Having lived in Florida for years and being obsessed with Magic Kingdom (been there so many, many times….) LOVE IT! My quick tips: wear tennis shoes….period…..your feet will love you for it.
    Also, we always rent a stroller, yes they all look alike, but we just buy a balloon or tie a scarf to the handle, it is a quick way to find your personal stroller in a sea of look alikes.
    There are tons of little hidden “secrets” for a fun day at Disney, but the most fun my kids have is “pin-trading” we always buy some Disney pins at a Dollar Tree Store or somewhere cheap (buy a lanyard to wear around your neck and attach them to). All of the “cast members” around the parks have tons of them around their necks and LOVE to trade with the kids. You can end up with a ton of them if you want. Just walk up and ask them to trade, they love the interaction with the kids and it is neat to see what you can end up with.
    Try to get in a character breakfast, the best one by far is “Chef Mickey”, you can get on a waiting list at the gate, they will tell you it is full, but if you show up, you can always get in, people make reservations and don’t show. The food buffet is unreal, and the characters are so entertaining while you eat.
    Oh I WISH this I was going back too…..have a great time. Oh, one last tip, when you get there, your best bet for small crowds is to take the train to the back of the park and start your visit from there. TRUST ME on this one!

  50. You are going to have a blast! My family went last year on a Make A Wish Trip for my son Jack. Out of any where in the world he picked Disneyworld, the most magical place for children. I was worried about shoes, I bought some very cushioned Earthshoes from walmart, they were sandally flip flops. Loved them, but they gushed when they got wet, so crocs sound like the best alternative. I don’t think it is a bad idea to bring an alternative pair of shoes, like tennis shoes, just incase your feet need a bit of a change every other day. Definately bring in snacks. One thing someone told me was to buy the autograph books for my kids before hand, but we ended up buying them at the park. Definately bring rain pancho’s and water bottles that you can refill. The Unofficial Guide to Disney was the best purchase, and there is a book called “Hidden Mickey’s” that will give Boo something to look for when you are waiting in line. One of my friends gave me that book because her kiddo’s loved searching for the “hidden Mickey’s” wherever they went.
    There were a few times we waited in line for autograph’s from the characters, but for the most part we didn’t for most characters. It takes up a huge part of your day.
    Out of the Disney parks our favorites were Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, but I think overall we loved Universal Studio’s the most. Have a Magical Time!

  51. I’ve got no advice for ya. nothin! But HAVE FUN!!!!

  52. Not that I have kids, but I recently went to Florida with 2 Two-year olds. We used our own strollers, took a backpack and our own snacks. We buy water in the park, because you can buy the “free refill” containers. They’re $8 (I think), but they’re worth their weight in Coca-Cola with all the free refills. Plus, you can take them back each day, so they wind up paying for themselves like 40 times over. Also, I also take two pairs of shoes, one lights pair (I used the white sketchers (the Carrie Underwood ad), and then took a pair of Mush Teva’s. My feet get tired easily, and I discovered that changing shoes helped ALOT. Plus, they’re skinny shoes, so they’re easy to tote. And we packed three pint size baggies of snacks per person to take in the park. It seems like alot of work, but it’s well worth the time! Ooh.. and rent a locker! We were able to drop some of the heavy stuff that we knew we wouldn’t immediately need but wanted to have quicker access while in the park. We even kept a change of clothes in there too! Have fun!!!

  53. Not that you want to take these…but they have shoes/flip flops at target that match the purse you flipped for a few weeks ago. Haven’t been to the mouseland w/ kids. Did go for my honeymoon and wore sneakers the whole time. But it was December and the high was only about 70 during the day. Have fun!!

  54. We just went a couple months ago with our 3 1/2 year old.

    He wore Crocs and loved it because they have lots of Jibbits (little decorations to stick in your Crocs) all over the parks. He loved getting new ones and sticking them in.

    I myself looked for weeks for new shoes for the trip. I just COULDN’T walk around in my cute skirts and t-shirts with tennis shoes on. So, I foung Privo shoes. They are the athletic division of Clarks shoes. They are seriously the most comfy shoes I have ever owned. And they look cute with everything from shorts to skirts and jeans.

  55. We went to DW a couple of years ago and rented the stroller. It was the best thing we did.
    AND, you can rent it for the whole of your stay and it is a bit cheaper than if you rent one each day.
    They will give you a ticket that has the dates of you stay on it and you just show it at each place you go and pick up the stroller.
    It was great!

  56. Here’s a link:
    I got the Sofrito ones, and I love them. You can get them at Dillards, Nordstrom, Von Maur (any higher-end department store).

    Also, stroller rental is at least $10/day. Just take an umbrella stroller. It worked great and the airline checks it for you at the gate.

  57. We go to Disney at least once a year. I make my kids wear tennis shoes. My two year old has a habit of throwing her Crocs at us when she gets angry, so we have to have something permanently attached to her feet! They are also the only shoes I know that will not give my six year old blisters. I have a pair of Bass flip flops that I wear, but there are lots of people and strollers that can be murder on your toes! We have taken our own strollers and rented. My little one will nap, so I liked having my own stroller to lay back. The Disney ones are harder to get around with because they are so wide and don’t turn easily. Your own stroller is also nice because they fit on the monorail and you don’t have to wake up your child to leave the park. We buy our snacks at the park, because even though we have tried to take snacks, my girls see other food they want and to actually make it the “Happiest Place on Earth” you just have to do what it takes to make the kids happy!!! You guys will love it!

  58. I took my own stroller. I think you have to turn in the parks strollers each day and then have another line to stand in to pick it up each morning.

    I did take our own snacks. I also took bottled water and juice boxes for my little one. It worked out great. I also took breakfast foods so that we did not have to spend money on that meal. Pop Tarts and Granola bars.

    One other thing that I did was pack a hand towel, swim suit, change of cloths, and a ziplock baggie for when Molly wanted to play in the water. They have little fountains everywhere that the little ones like to play in. This way after we were done we had dry cloths to enjoy the rest of the park in.

    I wore tennis shoes because that is what I like best but my little girl wore her Crocs and we did not have any problems.

  59. I would say wear whatever shoes you find most comfortable to walk in at home. When we went about 3 years ago I wore tennis shoes, my SIL wore flip flops every day, and my nephews wore sandals. If you wear tennis shoes I would recommend taking extra socks so if your feet get wet on a ride or from sweat you don’t have to deal with soggy feet all day.

    We rented a double stroller for my nephews (7 and 3 at the time) and it was great. Nice and roomy and easy for the boys to get in and out of on their own.

    A couple of other safety ideas I’ve heard that people use: write your cell number on the child with a Sharpie marker (directly on their skin – arm, stomach, etc); it doesn’t wash off and you don’t have to worry about them losing it or a sticker peeling off. Also, take a picture of him on your digital camera (or cell phone) each day as you leave the hotel or enter the park. That way you always have a clear picture and it shows what he was actually wearing that day in the event he gets misplaced.

    Have a great time!

  60. It’s nice to have a stroller in the airport with all the bags, and hands to hold, it is nice to know that the baby is in a seat. Also, depending on how far away from the park you are staying, his feet may be too tired to walk, and I know how heavy kids can be. We brought our own strollers as we didn’t want to have to CARRY everything to and from the park. We had the convenience of the stroller to carry everything. If you rent, then you can only have transport in the park.

    I vote sneakers, and BRING A CHANGE OF SOCKS FOR EVERYONE! If it rains, the dry socks will be the best if shoes are wet. Then stuff your sneakers with newspaper at the hotel to dry them at night (change it once or twice).

    One more thing, if you are looking for some serious treatment, go to the Town Hall (ask a cast member) and get a Pin that says FIRST TIMER! You will be treated so well, and get all the benefits of help. They have more free buttons/pins there, like anniversary, birthday, etc. They are great for recognition from cast members.

    I hope I havent’ overloaded you. You will just have to go again to get all the benefits!

    Have fun!

  61. Definitely put him in comfy tennis shoes–you will do lots of walking and standing. WITHOUT A DOUBT rent the strollers they have there. It’s worth every penny. Have fun!

  62. Tennis shoes and socks are a definite – for both you and Boo. If you are staying an extended time and inside the park hotel, you can always leave and go back to your place to rest. The first time we took our own stroller and the second time we rented one there – our own stroller held more, but the convenience of theirs was incredible – highly recommended!
    Lots of sunscreen and go early in the AM! :) And yes, bring snacks with you, and the water was only like $1.00 or $2, so it’s not all bad.

  63. Wow, Cheryl’s comments were spot on. Yes, bring your own food. Absolutely. I’d go for tennis shoes or running shoes with socks. Kids don’t really care what they wear, as they are in the stroller 1/2 the time. The Disney strollers are ok, but for the price you pay to rent one every day, you could buy your own when you get there. We always bring our own. And tie something distinctive onto the handle so you (and others) will know it’s yours. I once knew someone who tied a diaper in a bag onto the handle of their stroller. No one was going to steal that one, for sure. And only they knew it was clean.
    Have a wonderful time. I so wish I was going, too.

  64. We def took our own snacks and water. Rented a stroller which was great…take a colorful bandana to tie around the handle and you will be able to identify yours from the masses. (This is what I did for locating out luggage at the airport too…it was easy to spot ours because we had the bandanas!)
    We did nike sandals but saw a TON of ppl with crocs! Have fun!

  65. I have visited that giant mouse quite a few times. My best advise is to pack one of those collapseable coolers. Get some of the drinks in the foil containers, freeze them. I know they are not the best, but they make great ice packs and will keep the bottles of water cool. I put grapes and string cheese in also for easy healty snacks. I also have packed PB&J for the kiddos. As someone mentioned, when the kids are hot and hungry and tired those lines are not appealing. You have a stroller so you won’t have to lug this all around. I never had a problem with theft, but do tie a big ol’ colorful ribbon on the stroller for easy spotting. Also, I packed the kiddos swimsuits in a gallon sized baggie. When we came across one of the water things, just slip them on, let them play, and back into the baggie. They don’t get everything wet that way. Enjoy the happiest place on earth.

  66. Oh and one other thing…we did not use a stroller in the airport…my 4 yr old just thought it was great fun to roll her own suitcase…we used the smallest one in the set for her clothes and it was great! She carried her own backpack and lugged her own suitcase! She was the bee’s knees!

  67. Dee Anne says:

    I thought of one more thing…if Alex loves the characters as most kids do, you need to get him an autograph book to take and always have a pen handy. They sell really cute autograph books and fun pens at the parks and usually at the hotel stores if you want to wait and get one there. Usually the characters are at the front of the parks when you arrive and you will find them in different places within the parks and at character meals. Our first year at DW when our daughter was 5, getting character autographs and pics was her favorite thing.

  68. For us, my kiddos were 5 and 8 and it was a blast and can’t wait to go back. We don’t do this every year as some do, so my advice would be a little different.

    1. Definately buy the Unofficial Guide to Disney. I know it seems crazy for someone to tell you to read a book in two days (or is it 1 now?). Anyway, I didn’t read the thing cover-cover. It is an easy guide to help you make the best trip. It really saved us so much time. We didn’t follow it one day and it was the only day of our trip we waited a long time in lines and wasn’t flowing like we did the other days. I just thumbed it before we went and got a game plan on which park to got to which day and then each night when the kids were asleep in the hotel I would thumb through the next days park and get the tips to make that day go smoothly.

    2. The first night there we saw the show at the end of the night at MGM (Fantasia ?) anyway, it was great. The kids got to see almost every character that night and it was so exciting. We were all just mesmerized! I recommend this to first-timers at the beginning of their trip.

    3. We did take a few small snacks and the kids would nibble on pb crackers or goldfish and then we did eat at the park one meal a day. We ate a late lunch/early dinner so that we could experience some of the great restaurants at the parks. These were great memory makers. My son still remembers being “fed” by one of the hilarious waiters at the 50’s diner. We had a blast at the character dinner as well. I heard Chef Mickey is great, but we did the Villain’s dinner at the Grand Floridian hotel. Just going over there and visiting that hotel was amazing, but the dinner was made quite exciting by Hook and the Queen of Hearts. Much fun and great pictures to treasure!

    4. I recommend starting early, going to the hotel to rest and then coming back to finish, because there are fewer people early, but wonderful shows, fireworks and parades that close the parks that you don’t want to miss.

    5. Don’t forget to pack in your cute little funky purse a travel size pack of wipes and those cheap dollar rain ponchos ahead of time. They came in handy when needed and the kids were able to spend the $ we would have spent on the more expensive ponchos on other souveniers.

    6. We rented a stroller one day and it worked fine. Don’t remember it being too much money and don’t remember waiting in line at all. I do know it was nice just turning it in when we were done and not worrying about it anymore. Then again, my kids are walkers/runners…not much on riding all the time just to ride…..only do it when really tired.

    I know you will have a great time. Take tons of pictures and ENJOY!!!!

  69. My kids (2, 5 and 7 at the time) all wore sandals or flip flops. No complaints. I wore tennis shoes, so I have no other suggestions there. We didn’t plan to rent a stroller because we took one, but it was way easier to keep up with all three kids when we rented a double stroller. You can rent for the week or a few days and the receipt allows you to get a stroller in all the parks. With a double, you have room for Alex and your backpack…which we took filled with water bottles. (we froze the bottles half full, then filled them the rest of the way up when we left for the parks. The water in the parks is so nasty to drink!!) We also took lots of the little flavored powder packets made for water bottles, peanut butter crackers, trail mix, and other snacks with protein in them. We just couldn’t afford to buy meals for five people in the parks. Hope this helps.

  70. My kids (2, 5 and 7 at the time) all wore sandals or flip flops. No complaints. I wore tennis shoes, so I have no other suggestions there. We didn’t plan to rent a stroller because we took one, but it was way easier to keep up with all three kids when we rented a double stroller. You can rent for the week or a few days and the receipt allows you to get a stroller in all the parks. With a double, you have room for Alex and your backpack…which we took filled with water bottles. (we froze the bottles half full, then filled them the rest of the way up when we left for the parks. The water in the parks is so nasty to drink!!) We also took lots of the little flavored powder packets made for water bottles, peanut butter crackers, trail mix, and other snacks with protein in them. We just couldn’t afford to buy meals for five people in the parks. We also took the self adhesive luggage tags and wrote the childs first name and our cell phone number on it. Then we attached the loop to a belt loop. It was covered by the shirts they wore so no loonies were calling their names. The kids knew to go to someone in the uniform for help if they were lost. Then the cast member could call us. Hope this helps.

  71. Sorry for the duplicate, but I did add a little more info at the bottom!

  72. candyjarmama says:

    No running in Crocs. My kids fall every time.

  73. As far as the spray fans, buy them here at Walma*t for $4.95 as opposed to $15.00

  74. I haven’t read all of these tips–this one may have already been mentioned.
    My son and dil had two children–ages 9&5–when they went to visit the large rodent. DIL dressed both boys identically every day and took a picture each morning. That way if you have to search for a child you have a picture and can also say, “His clothes look exactly like this other child!” I thought that was a good safety idea.
    Of course, with one child, you would just use the picture part–unless your hubby wants to dress identically to Alex! And, of course, you’re not planning on losing your child! But safety is safety!

  75. We just returned from the “happiest place on Earth” about 1 month ago. We traveled with a newly 4-year old & a 1.5 year old. Tennis shoes, definitely!! So much walking! So much line waiting! Take advantage of the “fast pass” on super busy rides. We took 2 strollers of our own, one for each kid, & I would do it over again! It made life so much easier! The strollers there…not so much! Something with a nice roomy basket underneath to store all the new treasures that you will be buying (it’s hard to say no!) & for snacks & bottled water because you know everything there is way over-priced. Although we ate lunch at the parks every day…& it was nice. Try the Sci-Fi Diner at MGM. My 4-yr old son loved it!! And don’t underestimate the Animal Kingdom. Both children loved it! But unless you have a super brave little boy, I would steer clear of the “bug’s life” production at AK & the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

    Buy Disney theme stuff from Walmart! It will save you a couple hundred $$$. It’s so hard not to get sucked into buying everything!! It really is so cute!! :)

  76. I thought of another tip…if you are staying in one of the Dis Hotels, you can have your purchases sent straight there from the parks. So much better than lugging it around if Alex doesn’t insist on having it immediately.

  77. Aunt Nette says:

    Ok, for the flight less is more. Bring the video thing. Make sure it is a new movie he has not seen.
    Now for the little mouse. Tennis shoes or whatever is your most comfortable shoes. Do a hot event then a cool event. Example: wait in a long line then do an inside event. Like the Presidents show. Splash mountain was a really cool event.
    Buy one drink in the a.m. then refill with water for the rest of the day. I know you can fit several flavor packs (lemonade, grape or tea powders) in that neat little bag. And you won’t have so much to keep up with. And not so much additional weight to drag around the park.
    Another hint. Start early. Go back to the hotel for a 2-3 hour break in the afternoon and then go back to the park in the late afternoon. The hotel usually has a pool (cool and refreshing) or you could have “Boo” take a nap so he will enjoy the fireworks show later that night. I hope you get this in time.

  78. amanda says:

    Hey Boomama!
    We have gone to Disneyland or Disneyworld every year since my children were 1 year old (she’s 9 now.) Obviously, Florida is much warmer than CA. The one thing that saved us were the personal fans that you wear around your neck. You can buy them at little carts around the park. Waiting in line was not a big problem with the constant breeze from the fan. Everyone was trying to stand behind me to get the wind. A LIFESAVER!! have a great time!!!

  79. I wore flip flop crocs and was fine. My little one wore crocs also, the standard issue kind. They are so easy to clean…

    And, rent a stroller. It’s worth it.

  80. Haven’t read all the comments – definitely rent the stroller. They turn on a dime, they’re roomy, they put a big nametag in the back panel so you can always spot your stroller (works great if your last name isn’t Smith and there aren’t 5 bazillion other Smith families renting strollers) and they are covered so the littles get a bit of sun relief. I think there is a spot for their over priced drinks too.

    It makes it so much easier to get to the park if you don’t have to haul a stroller. Have fun!

  81. I wore tennis shoes light short socks one day and sandals the next. I think they both work just as good as the other. My kids just wore their regular sandals and we had no complaints.

    We took our own stroller in case the little guy fell asleep… more comfort in his own stroller. Plus, we never had anyone touch it and I wasn’t worried at all about having it stolen… plenty of stroller parking!

    We did take our own snacks and water bottles in to safe money. It can get pretty expensive to buy all you need in my opinion! Maybe I’m just cheap : )

  82. A few recommendations from a native with season passes. Stay in a Disney Resort (the budget ones are cheap enough for almost anyone…Floridians seem to prefer the Port Orleans) you usually can get into the park an hour earlier than the rabble.) Then, make reservations for the character breakfast in the magic kindgom. It’s pricy, but the characters come to EACH table in a continuous pattern. It’s MUCH easier than trying to chase Winnie the Pooh down in 90 degree sun and waiting in line, to be told that Pooh has to go back inside now before your kid gets a photo.

    Also, the luau at the Polynesian Resort is a winner. Big fun. :) Oh, and MGM studios mostly is boring and kids hate it. The Big Movie ride is scary. Not much for little kids that doesn’t scare the begeezus out of ’em. Really, the sad but true best tip is…the more money you spend, the more smoothly the Mouse Trip with small kids goes. Sucks, but reality.

  83. Bailey's Leaf says:

    I agree with Stephanie on comment #1. Birkenstocks make sandals with the strappy-do on the back and they are WONDERFUL! (Wear them for a few days to break them in before the trip, but I think that the trip is coming up soon!) I also have a pair of Clark’s leather flip flops that I could walk to the end of the earth and back in. Now, I had to really work on becoming a flip flop convert (in my childhood, they were called THONGS!), but these have the arches, a soft in-between toe thingy and the front is bent up slightly. They are fabulous!

    Regarding snacks– I’ve never been to the House of the Mouse with the big cheese, but we take snacks everywhere we go. We bring water in bottles. That snacky stuff in amusement parks are generally grossly over-priced and generally not healthy. Don’t laugh, but a few times I’ve actually mailed the food pack ahead of time to the hotel. They keep it on hold and you pick it up at check in. It’s consumable, so you don’t have to worry about packing the stuff back up and taking it home! (We went to Boston and the nearest grocery was?!)

    Happy trippin’, B-Mama!

  84. Hi BooMama.. it’s me. “Chicken Taco Kalyn”. I must say- I NEVER wear closed toe shoes….ever!!! I always wear sandals, ALWAYS. However, I do wear Running shoes when I go. I was fine. But thats me. As for water and snacks…PACK EM! I packed my whole house and then some!!! I don’t believe in 7$ water of any kind!! And I like water! As for the plane ride- Crayola markers that only color on the certain Crayola paper- THOSE are a God-sent! :)

  85. Hey BooMama,

    We just got back from the House of Mouse a few weeks ago. We went there with ten children! (Only half were mine.) All the kids wore socks and sneakers. I wore a pair of comfy sandals with a back strap. No one complained about sore feet.

    The seven in my family wore waist packs filled with snacks and carried water bottles. We bought ice-cream once for $40! Once was enough!

    Our favorites were Mickey’s Philharmagic…Soarin’…Nemo-The Musical…and the Buzz Light Year ride. Have a wonderful time!


  86. I just wanted to thank you for requesting suggestions for your trip because we are heading to the big MOUSE HOUSE in July and these tips will all come in handy! Please post a wrap-up when you return from your trip and add in your own suggestions…. PLEASE?!!! Have a GREAT time! :)

  87. Buy a cheap umbrella stroller — you’ll appreciate it in the airport.

    Crocs nare so comfy, but make my feet sweat and they slide around when they are wet and sweaty. Nice. Keen shoes are great – hate sneakers, my feet hurt in them — and they look dorky. Take your sandals, and an extra something-something to change into when your feet get tired, because they will.

    Have fun!!!