Are you visiting Walt Disney World while you're expecting? You've come to the right place! (In case you missed it, I'm pregnant!)
I've rounded up the top 10 things that I did for a successful and healthy visit to Walt Disney World during pregnancy!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
1) Talk To Your Doctor
I am not a medical professional. I am a travel advisor & travel blogger sharing my own experiences. Speak to your doctor.
Before you travel to Walt Disney World, make sure that you’ve cleared this with your doctor. Explain your method of travel. (Flying, driving, etc.) Ask if you have any restrictions. Stock up on needed medications, make sure that you have your medical insurance information with you, and carefully heed your doctor’s advice.
Personally, my doctor didn’t restrict anything, but she did tell me to get up and move once per hour on the plane, and to drink extra water before, during, and after my flights. Which brings me to Tip #2…
Like I mentioned, my doctor had me hydrating extra on my travel days. I’ve long been telling readers and clients to hydrate constantly in the parks. (My advice for all folks is to aim for one bottle of water per person, per hour.) In pregnancy, hydrate even more. Drink more water than you've ever drank before. (I always use a water bottle strap to save room in my park bag. I love this one!)
One day, early in our trip, I thought that I was staying on top of the water game. I was not. I was hydrating in the same manner that I do on every trip, and I paid the price later that night with some pretty bad nausea. In retrospect, I didn’t hydrate nearly enough. After that, I doubled my water intake, and that problem didn’t arise again.
Oh man, you’re going to have to snack? At Walt Disney World? Regularly, all day long? Bummer…
I always advocate for the mid-day break back at your resort. If you’re heading back to your resort, take a nap or just lie down in the cool room. Swim. Just make sure you’re still hydrating! If you’re still in the parks, this brings me to Tip #5…
5) Find the A/C!
There are spots to rest, even if you’re in the parks. Take in a show, just so that you can sit back and enjoy the a/c. Find an indoor bench and cool off for a bit. (My rainy day tips actually lists tons of areas where you could sit and cool off for a while!)
6) Pay Attention to Warnings
Read ride warnings carefully. Signs outside the rides will very clearly state that “expectant mothers should not ride.” That’s you!
I know you want to ride your favorite rides. (I get it, trust me!) I know that Rise of the Resistance is the most amazing ride ever, and how rough is Test Track really?
Play it safe, sit out on rides with warnings for pregnant mamas, and find a cool spot to wait for the rest of your party if they choose to ride. There are plenty of rides that you can still enjoy, and the ones you have to miss out on now will still be there after your little one arrives.
7) Wear the Right Shoes
Wearing the correct gear can make all the difference. Let’s start with your footwear. Comfortable shoes matter on every Disney trip, but they matter even more now! I personally prefer these sandals and these tennis shoes for the parks. If you have a dressier evening planned, wear flats. Now isn’t the time for heels, especially after a long day in the parks!
8) Stay Somewhere Convenient
This means somewhere in walking distance, on the Monorail route, or along the Skyliner route. Like I mentioned above, the mid-day breaks are key, and having to wait for a bus (they don’t always run mid-day like you might think!) is the last thing you’ll feel like doing. Of course, you can always use a ride-share service or Minnie Van, but those cost money, and those costs can add up.
Regardless of which Disney Resort you stay at, spring a few extra bucks for a “preferred” room. These are closest to transportation and/or food, and saving those extra steps is extra worth it when it comes to pregnancy exhaustion.
I do NOT recommend staying off-site if you’re an expecting mama. Your travel time will more than double, and you’ll be missing out on tons of perks only reserved for on-site folks. Plus, once you factor in paying for parking, travel time, etc., you aren’t saving much money. In fact, most off-site folks end up spending more in the long run.
9) Listen to Your Body
Time to tap into that intuition! Your body will tell you what it needs. If it needs a rest, give it a break. If it needs water, hydrate! (And then hydrate even more, for good measure!) If your body is telling you you need another Mickey pretzel with extra cheese sauce (mine definitely did) then feed it!
I will say that having a bit of protein really helped to eliminate my nausea, so if you can factor that into your meals/snacks, go for it! But if all you can stomach is carbs, that’s totally fine, too. Your priority is you and your baby, so keep both of you happy!!
10) Enjoy It!
Soak up this time. If this is your first baby, this is a really special time to enjoy a magical trip with just you and your significant other. If you’ve got other little ones, soak up this time as a family before your next little one arrives.
You won’t get this experience back again, so take tons of photos, eat all the snacks, and dream about your next trip once your little one arrives!
My TOP Genie+ Tips
If you're traveling to Walt Disney World in 2022 and beyond, you've probably heard of Genie+. But what is it?
Genie+ is Walt Disney World's paid replacement of the old FastPass+ system. It arrived in late fall 2021 and completely changes everything when it comes to Disney travel. This system can feel overwhelming. Below, you'll find 10 tips for navigating Genie+ like a pro. This list is a labor of love between myself and many of my colleagues. (It's important to note that these tips are only for Genie+, and do not pertain to the paid Individual Lightning Lanes for headliner attractions.)
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
1) Call Me, Beep Me, Genie+ Me
You'll be on your phone all day long. I suggest planning some downtime activities to give yourself a break from the app. I offer my recommendations for easy "anytime" activities to my clients.
Regardless of how much you use your phone, you're going to need a portable phone charger. Amazon has tons of great portable phone chargers, including my personal favorite and an extra slim option. (Pro tip: keep your phone on battery save mode to help it charge faster and keep its charge longer.)
2) Practice Makes Perfect
Before you use Genie+ for the first time, go into the My Disney Experience app and get familiar. Like I mentioned above, you'll be on your phone a lot in the parks. Having a little experience with the Genie section will help the process feel less overwhelming.
When that early alarm goes off for your 7 am selection, the whole Lightning Lane process will seem much less intimidating and you can hit the ground running in the parks. (Pro tip: make sure you're using the most updated version of the My Disney Experience app.)
3) The limit does not exist.
There's no way of knowing how many folks will purchase Genie+ on any given day, because there's no limit to the number of guests who can add this feature. What does this mean for you? Book your top selections before they’re gone.
Genie+ won't sell out, but Lightning Lane queues can only physically hold a certain number of people for the day. If Slinky Dog Dash is your top must-do, choose that first before selecting something that won't fill up, like MuppetVision 3D. (Note: MuppetVision is a personal favorite, but it's not a good use of a Lightning Lane.)
4) If at first you don't succeed, refresh and refresh again.
If you don’t like the times that are offered for a particular ride, and you haven't made your selection yet, refresh that screen! Occasionally, you'll see options that were previously unavailable. DO NOT do this for top priority rides, as these can run out of return times. (See #3 and #9)
5) Watch the Clock
Booking a Lightning Lane "blocks" your account for 2 hours. The only way to "clear the block" is to wait 2 hours from when you made your last reservation OR use the last selection you booked, whichever comes first. After that, you can continue to reserve Lightning Lanes every 2 hours. Use your phone alarm to help keep track. Remember, the 2 hour clock starts at park opening time. (ex: park opens at 9, book your next selection at 11)
6) The Stacking Trick
Typically, you’ll have one Lightning Lane at a time. That's how the system is designed. But there IS a way to stack them and have your return times overlap. This happens when you schedule multiple return times for later in the afternoon/evening.
How does this work if you can only book every 2 hours? At 7 am, you can make your first selection, and let's say your return time is for 2:50-3:50. At 11 am, you can select another attraction, again at 1 pm, 3 pm, and so on. If you keep choosing later return times, they can overlap, meaning you can hop from attraction to attraction with no waits!
7) Park Hop 'til You Drop
You can reserve Lightning Lanes for parks that you're not physically in. That means that if you're at one park in the morning, but know you’ll hop to another park later, you can make selections before you hop.
Just make sure that your return time is late enough to accommodate the travel time between parks after hopping begins at 2 pm. This, of course, requires a park hopper ticket.
8) Head of the Party Planning Committee
If you have several parties traveling together, designate ONE person to handle Genie+ for everyone. Otherwise, with multiple people on the app making changes, things get messy quickly.
To make things easier for your designated Genie+ booker, make sure that everyone is linked via friends & family and that everyone has valid park admission and reservations.
9) Set in Stone
Once you book a Genie+ Lightning Lane, you cannot modify your return time. But you can cancel that Lightning Lane and rebook another. Please note that by doing this, you do risk that attraction booking up for the day. Lightning Lanes can, and do, fill quickly. Pro tip: If you do cancel and rebook, the 2 hour window restarts.
10) Time is Money
The time has come to head to your attraction! You have a 1 hour window to return. There is a grace period of 5 minutes before and 15 minutes after your hour-long window. That's it. If, for whatever reason, you'll miss your return time completely, don't panic!
First, try to cancel that Lightning Lane in the app. Easy peasy. Missed Lightning Lanes can result in you not being able to book more Lightning Lanes later. (It can cause issues with the system, essentially tying up your account.)
The best option is to find a Guest Services Cast Member (look for the blue umbrellas) and explain the situation. Usually, they'll simply remove the missed Lightning Lane from your account! (This should go without saying, but remember to be kind to all Cast Members!)
My clients all get a detailed Genie+ guide, as well as personalized park touring recommendations and tips. To learn more about my client package inclusions, click here.
Disney Genie officially launched on October 19, 2021! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.
Like I explained before, this free component of My Disney Experience will be available for all guests. This complimentary service offers new features, including a tool that can map out an entire day based on your pre-travel choices. It will also help to reduce wait times in rides, pace your day, and build around existing plans.
While Disney Genie is free, there will be 2 different ways to utilize paid Lightning Lanes to save time in lines. Lightning Lane entrances, available for a fee, will be used.
Disney Genie+ will be an add-on at 40+ attractions. It will cost $15 per person, per day. Using this service, you can select arrival windows for Lightning Lane entrances, one at a time throughout the day. Genie+ will also feature audio files and PhotoPass lenses. Genie+ will not sell out.
Once you have Genie+, you can book the next available arrival window for your first experience via the My Disney Experience app beginning at 7:00 AM on the day of your visit. Once you’ve redeemed your initial selection (or the arrival window has passed), you can make another selection using the app, up to park closing.
I can add this on to your ticket or package for the duration of your visit prior to travel, or you can choose to purchase for single days on your own in the My Disney Experience app.
Individual Attraction Selections
These are the headliner attractions. These highly demanded rides will offer Lightning Lane entry as an "á la carte" purchase. This option will be available for everyone—with or without Disney Genie+ service—and lets you choose a time to arrive at up to 2 attractions each day (booked one at a time).
Purchase of Lightning Lanes for these headliners will be only be via Disney Genie in the My Disney Experience app on the same day of your visit. Pricing will vary by date, attraction and park. Prices and availability will be listed in the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit.
You can only purchase individual selections for up to 2 different attractions per day. These will have a limited, and can sell out. Guests at Disney resorts will have "first dibs" on attractions.
The photo below outlines which rides are included with the Genie+ add-on, and which are included with the “a la carte” premium Individual Attractions.
Disney Genie, as well as its paid components, only work if you have the most updated version of My Disney Experience app. Update this the day before you travel, and double-check that it's the most updated version before you use any part of Disney Genie. We also learned that it's MUCH easier to add Genie+ prior to travel, rather than adding by day once you're already there.
I have already added Genie+ for all currently booked clients who have requested it. If you have questions about how I can add Genie+ to your trip, contact me. For more information about becoming a concierge-level client, click here.
What a crazy week it's been! “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” is in full swing as of October 1st, and now Disney has some MORE news!
The previously announced Disney Genie service will launch on Oct. 19 at Walt Disney World Resort! This service will be available for all guests right in the My Disney Experience app! This complimentary service will perfectly compliment my tips and suggestions with your decisions in real time!
The technology will work similarly to a navigation app on your phone. Basically, Disney Genie will update your itinerary. This will help to:
This launch will also include Lightning Lanes at 40+ attractions! This will be available for additional purchase through Disney Genie+ OR individually “a la carte” at the most highly demanded attractions. Pricing will vary, depending on date, attraction, and park. Additionally, some rides, like Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, may still operate on a virtual queue.
For more information about how Disney Genie, Disney Genie+, or Lightning Lanes will work, contact me!
Walt Disney World Turns 50!
Walt Disney World is officially 50 years old!
I was fortunate enough to be in Magic Kingdom on its actual 50th anniversary. While it was magical and emotional, it was also crowded. Read along to find out how I skipped all of those crazy lines and what I did instead!
I've been planning this trip for a long time. I predicted that the crowd situation would likely look intense, and I was right. However, what I wasn't prepared for were where the crowds actually were.
I personally prefer my "merch" in the forms of things I can use in my daily life. (Water bottles, coffee mugs, hoodies, etc.) After over 20 personal trips over the last 31 years, I've learned what I use the most. Anyway, I never got super into things like popcorn buckets, pins (I do have a few), or other items that I otherwise can't use in my daily life.
If you saw the INTENSE lines on the news, TikTok, IG, etc., those were lines for merchandise and popcorn buckets. No joke. As of 8:15 a.m., the Emporium and Main Street Confectionary were literally full for the day and were not accepting anyone else into their virtual spots. With those people in lines for merch, as well as people who didn't mobile order food in advance (more on that soon), lines for rides were crazy short all day.
While most people were extremely polite, I sadly saw some very ugly behavior on October 1st, too. Literally fighting over merchandise, folks screaming at Cast Members, complaining about having to wait for food, you name it. Please, no matter where or when you're traveling, remember to BE KIND.
What I Ate
I pre-ordered our breakfast, dinner, and snacks at 5:30 a.m. (We had table service lunch reservations.) While that may sound extreme, I mentally thanked myself for that all day long. I was also sure to hydrate constantly, and carried snacks in my park bag, just in case! (If you're wondering what's in my park bags, get my packing list here!)
Breakfast - Fresh fruit waffle sandwich and French Vanilla Iced Coffee (Sleepy Hollow)
Lunch - All-You-Care-to-Enjoy platter and 2 adult beverages (Liberty Tree Tavern)
Snack - Pineapple Dole Whip cup (Aloha Isle)
Dinner - 1971 Meal (Casey's Corner)
One of the highlights of my day was seeing absolute legend Randy Morris play at Casey's Corner! Randy started as a pianist at Casey's Corner (then called Coke Corner) back at the park opening in 1971. He's since retired, but returned on the 50th to play again! It was incredible, and I'm getting emotional just typing about it!
What I Did
While these aren't the order we rode them in, we experienced:
I was at Magic Kingdom on September 29th for the last-ever Happily Ever After, and I thought that surely nothing could top that show. This one absolutely did.
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. This show made my jaw drop, gave me goosebumps, and made me laugh, cry, and sing along. The theme song, "You Are The Magic", is one of the best, most magical pieces written for a Disney attraction ever. This show is a must, MUST see. I was so glad to get up close to the Castle (we were in front of the hub grass) for the premiere, but next time I definitely want to watch from Main Street USA.
Did you know that there are projections along Main Street during this show?? Depending on where you watch, you'll have a completely different experience!
This was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I'm so incredibly thrilled that I was there to experience it. The heat, the crowds, the exhaustion...they were all well worth it.
The World's Most Magical Celebration lasts for 18 months, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to experience everything that the 50th Anniversary has in store, including cavalcades, nighttime spectaculars, shows, and merchandise (did I mention that the infamous Starbucks cup that people were punching each other over is already back in stock???? LOL!!)
There is tons of fun, excitement, and magic to be had. If your trip isn't on the books yet, contact me to get started or schedule a complimentary vacation consultation to get more information!
What I Wore
I opted not to do a DisneyBound for the 50th, and instead relied on a few of my tried and true favorites. I wore a pink version of my favorite FunkyMonkey park sandals, a pink "bunny ear" scrunchie at the bottom of my Dutch braid, rose gold Mickey earrings, (mine were "Hey June" brand and a gift from a friend, but I've linked something similar), and my favorite Disney Parks Attractions Loungefly mini-backpack. You can find each of these right on Amazon and can shop them from these links or from the photos below!
Breaking News! Disney Genie is coming this Fall!
Replacing FastPass, FastPass+, and MaxPass, Disney Genie is a complimentary new digital service at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort.
It will include tips that can help you reduce time in lines, discover magic around every corner, and take the guesswork out of “what’s next.”
For even more convenience and flexibility, there are 2 other paid options for enjoying the parks through a queue called the Lightning Lane entrance. (This will save time in line!)
Lightning Lane selections will be made on the same day of your visit and can be used across multiple theme parks, great for those who love the Park Hopper option.
Attractions will continue to offer a traditional standby queue (or virtual queue at certain attractions) to maximize flexibility. Guests can choose from all the new options, a mix of them, or none at all!
Stay tuned for more information!
I know, I know. You planned your trip to Walt Disney World and that forecast is calling for rain every day. Never fear! I'm sharing my pro tips for how to handle the inevitable rain during your trip.
Plus, a rainy day at Walt Disney World is STILL better than a sunny day anywhere else, right?
First things first. It rains almost every single day in Florida. This is typically a short afternoon storm followed by beautiful weather. However, there are days where it rains all day long, particularly if there's a nearby tropical storm or hurricane. Make sure that you're prepared with a reliable weather forecast and a perfectly packed park bag.
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Of course, as soon as raindrops start falling, thousands of people are going to run to the nearest indoor spot. (Usually they'll head towards shops or quick-service dining spots.) However, if you've got a great minute-by-minute weather forecast, you can beat the rainy rush to a much better spot. Below are a few family-friendly indoor attractions that help kill the time while you wait out the rain.
Make a Dining Reservation
This one will take some advance planning. However, since most pop-up storms in Central Florida happen anytime between 1-4 pm, make an advanced dining reservation during this time. This will guarantee that you will be happily indoors during those storms. My clients always get my personalized dining recommendations and tips as part of my concierge services. Contact me to learn how to become a concierge-level client.
Embrace the Rain
Life's all about dancing in the rain, right? Throw on a poncho (or don't!) and enjoy your vacation! If you're lucky, you'll also catch the Rainy Day Cavalcade in Magic Kingdom. This particular cavalcade has actually been in place for years, long before character cavalcades were the norm. It features a very catchy song and some of your favorite characters.
The parks clear out big time during a downpour. If you can wait out a storm, you'll be rewarded with cooler temps and shorter wait times as soon as it ends!
To get personalized touring plans, money-saving tips, travel hacks, and more, become one of my concierge clients. Want travel news, tips, tricks, and pixie dust straight to your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter below!
All About People Eaters
I shared about People Eaters as a "Travel Tip Tuesday" across social media yesterday, but I got tons of questions and "aha" moments in my DMs, so I've decided to let this post live in blog infamy!
You’ve probably seen photos or videos of long lines at Disney parks. (And some of those lines look loooooooong, I know!) Many people want to blame those lines on the fact that FastPasses won't return. Really, though, there aren’t enough “People Eaters” around!
So what is a People Eater? (No, I don't mean the one-eyed, one-horned flying kind!) People Eaters are shows, meet & greets, offerings, etc. that would typically attract thousands of people daily. Since most People Eaters aren’t currently open, those crowds are all in ride queues.
Don’t let the lines scare you, though! Disney Cast Members are working hard to keep the lines running smoothly. During my last several trips, our wait times were actually shorter than what was listed most of the time.
See what I packed for a June 2021 trip here.
My clients all receive park touring tips to help beat the crowds and tour like a pro! I offer planning services for both clients who book through me, as well as clients who book on their own.
Click here to become a concierge client and get all of my tips, tricks, hacks, and money-savers on your next Disney vacation.