Seeking Advice on Air Travel, and Disney

Updated on June 16, 2008
B.M. asks from Coopersburg, PA
18 answers

Hello All,

I am about to go on a family vacation to Disney with my husband and 2 boys (ages 3 and 7 mos). I am nervous about traveling with 2 children (and I HATE to fly), and am seeking any and all advice on dealing with the flying thing and any advice for Disney. Please help.

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answers from Scranton on

I'm apologizing now because I wrote you a novel, but I've got lots of info for you!
First of all go to click on For Travelers at top and then about the middle of the page click on list of prohibited items, this will give you all the info you need for what you can and cannot take on the plane and what procedures to take with formula/breastmilk for you youngest. Strollers can be gate checked, so keep your kids in the stroller until right before you get on the plane. They will check it at the gate, and give it back to you at your arrival gate. Also if you are taking a car seat make sure on your car seat that it says its aiplane safe some are not allowed on the plane, the ones that are allowed you can take right on and use in the plane seat. Might work well for your 7month old. Its just very awkward to carry through the airport!
I went to Fl when my 4yr old was 8 months and she was great on the plane, I was surprised. But definitley make sure you have some snacks (goldfish, crackers, fruit snacks), a bottle or pacifier for the little one for his ears! If your 3 yr old likes to color definitely take on some color wonder books, they won't be messy and he can go to town coloring. A portable DVD player would also be good if you have one. I would pack a home made "fun pack" for your 3 yr old but don't even show him until you take off and you're in the air to make the most of it! You could get some Disney stuff to get him excited for the destination! Double check the list of things you can carry on, but maybe some Disney fruit snacks, a Peez with a Disney character, disney color wonder book, maybe some Disney reading books, you may be able to find a travel book for Disney that shows a lot of pictures of Disney world to get him into your trip! If you go to the store you'll probably be able to get a whole bunch of ideas for a disney themed fun pack!
As for your actual trip to Disney, it sounds crazy and sometimes its hard to pass everything, but when you get to the park, go straight to the back and work forward. Many travel agencies will recommend this, the lines are usually shorter and a lot of the kids rides are towards the back. Go to the park when they open always quieter right away, most families sleep in a little and go to breakfast. Also, I remember reading this when I went there on my honeymoon, when there are multiple lines for a ride or to get into the park go to the left, its natural for most to automatically go to the right line and for some reason 90% of the time the left line is shorter even if they look the same. It worked for us. and if you didn't get the fast pass look into it, we had it and it was so great. You can scan it at a busy ride and it will give you a ticket for a time frame to come back to that ride and you get to go right up to the front. Sometimes you have to wait a ride or two, but its no where near the full wait time. Be careful though when we were there you couldn't just go around collecting fast pass tickets you can only have so many at a time or something, check in to the details. i think that they have a sign outside each fast pass ride that will say the fast pass time frame. You don't want to get a pass for a much later time frame, because then you will be unable to get a fast pass for another ride until after you use your first pass. Definitely have to go to a character breakfast they're all the time and so much fun. Don't be surprised if your 3 yr old is totally freaked out by the characters, just don't force him to approach them and he'll adjust. If you have a video camera that takes tapes or a regular camera with film, pack plenty because they are ridiculously expensive in the park! Oh and pack batteries you may need for your camera or toys bought another expensive item. Also pack juice boxes or something because the drinks too are pricey and your little ones will get thirsty in the heat. I'm not sure if it is the same all the time, but both times we went in July and August, it rained every afternoon for like a half an hour, it was almost predictable it was at the same time every day and I want to say it was around 3:00pm. So prepare for that if it is the rainy season there now, you'll be able to see the clouds rolling in and like i said its quick but it pours. Good time to see a show or head back to the hotel for naps. But it cools off real nice after the rain. If you rent a stroller at Disney World, you can leave the Disney stroller at one train station, take your belongings and your nametag for the stroller, and then get a new stroller at the next station. If you go to multiple parks in one day, and rent a stroller, you can take your belongings and the nametag from the stroller, show it at the next park, and be given a stroller. Only bad part of the renting a stroller is that it can't leave the park, so you need to carry sleeping children and all your stuff back to hotel. Florida tap water is yucky taste, so plan to buy some bottled water or take flavor packets like crystal light or propel so you don't taste the yuck! Ok I think that is all I can think of, sorry its so long, but wanted to help as much as i could. I can tell you one thing that I remember my mom doing when I first went to Disney as a kid. i was about 5yrs and my brother was 2yrs. On the morning after we got there my mom left a note outside the hotel door with a big sticker of Mickey on it and it was written as if it was from Mickey welcoming us to the park and saying that we should come visit him while we're there. I remember as a kid that was the coolest thing ever like Santa Claus sending a special letter. Hope this was all helpful and enjoy every moment it can seem overwhelming but its the greatest place on earth, truely! Oh and Epcot is nice, but no where near as child friendly as Magic Kingdom. And if you are doing the other parks the Animal Kingdom is great and kid friendly and MGM studios is cool but again more for adults. Don't plan large amounts of time in Epcot and MGM since its your 3 yr old that is going to have the greatest experience! Good Luck and have fun. Jennifer

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

My boys are the same age as your boys!!

We went FL in March (although we skipped Disney, we will try that when our oldest is 5 so the younger one can enjoy it too) We actually drove & it was a good time! We had so much packed I think we would have taken up to much room on a plane!! LOL!! And it was nice to be able to control when we stopped to take a breather!
I think you'll be fine on the plane, maybe take a portable DVD player for the 3 year old & lots of books!

Good luck & have fun!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I also have two boys and we did Disney this past Sept. My oldest was just about to turn 4 and the other about to turn 2 at the time. We had a blast, they still talk about it. There is so much info. I can offer you and can't possibly type it all,so I will suggest 2 things that helped me out. First get the book, "The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World." Also, I found this web-site extremely helpful,
For the plane ride we let the boys pick out small rolling back packs and let them fill them with their choice of toys, crafts, snacks, etc.. We added a few surprises to them also.
They felt like big shots wheeling them through the airport.
We also took a portable DVD.
Last bit of advise is don't try to do it all. You'll find you'll have cranky kids if you push them too hard.
Have a wonderful time. It's hard not to, especially when you see Disney through your kids eyes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Hi - I've travelled all over with my kids .. they started flying when they were babies! My oldest is 11 now, my youngest will be 9 next week.

For the flight - bring pacifiers for the infant and a sippy cup for the 3 yo. (I saw in one of the earlier posts that someone brought liquid on the plane - guess it depends on the security personnel .. check with the airline about that first!) If you are breast-feeding bring a light-weight cover and nurse the little one on take-off and landing. Bottle feed if that's what you do. Bring something for the 3 yo that is chewy or crunchy..carrots or something that he has to bite into. This will enable them to equalize pressure in the inner ear and should make the flight more comfortable.

Dress in layers. Bring a special toy that only gets played with on the plane (i.e. something new) and let the 3 yo stand up and play on the seat (unless the seatbelt sign is on).

Bring a couple board books, and maybe some paper and crayons (don't need to go overboard, just a few colors!) Ask the flight attendant if your 3 yo can meet the pilot.

I never brought my own stroller to Disney .. I carried the little one in either a sling or backpack .. make sure to liberally apply sunscreen and pop a little hat on his head! I rented the stroller at the park .. it's much bigger and holds the diaper bag, and sundry items. Bring a blankie to the park and put it in the stroller, that way your 7 mo can snuggle down if he gets sleepy.

Disney has stations for nursing moms .. and it's a nice quiet place to just go and relax during the day. It's also air-conditioned! They have diapers and wipes and such .. can't remember the prices. Ask when you go in the gates about where they are located. It's probably on the map too .. it's been so long since I needed them I honestly can't remember!

One thing about Disney - regardless of the Park you are going to .. if you go early, go in and head to the back of the park and work your way forward .. usually people do it the other way around! Oh .. if your 3yo is anything like mine were you'll need to keep a close eye on him when you stop .. and he keeps going! The only time I used a kid-leash was at Disney when the oldest was 3 1/2 and the little one about 1 .. the 3 yo was a whirling dervish!! She could book outta there faster than Superman! I really don't know if you'll need to do that or not .. depends on the kid. It's a big park tho and lots of kids running around.

I agree with one of the other posters about going back to your hotel room if the kids get cranky, but that really depends on if you're staying at a Disney hotel or are off-site. If you're off-site that can be a real pain.

Above all take your time walking around and seeing all the stuff .. take pictures .. have fun!



answers from York on

Is the Auto Tran / Amtrak an option. I was just down in Disney for the first time in November and we took the train down but drove back because i was not sure about the train. However, I will auto train it everytime we go back from here on out.



answers from Harrisburg on

I am also a mother of 2. My husband and I think Disney is one of the best places on earth. We have taken the children there probably 5 times over the years. Air travel, relax. (It's much better than being in a car with kids) Make each of the boys a small back pack with new things. Snacks, little game books,toys movies etc that they enjoy. They will be facinated by the air travel alone. Ask questions at airports if you are feeling confused. Kids take alot from our body language. So if you relax so will they. Disney.....stay on site if you can. There is always lots to do and you will never see it all so plan your days with age appropriate attractions. When they get tired...quit and go back and relax. Plan a dinner in Epcot. They are fabulous. They have lots of stroller etc options so leave that at home if you can manage thru the air port travel without it. Most importantly ENJOY



answers from Philadelphia on

Last summer, my husband and I flew cross country with our 2 and a 1/2 year old daughter while I was 6 months pregnant with my son. We traveled to Montana and then down to Anaheim, CA for a trip to Disneyland. My daughter did well with take off and landing b/c she has tubes in her ears. The drs. said this would minimize the popping effects due to the air pressure. We made sure to bring her a backpack of new toys that we did not pull out until we were on the airplane. We also invested in a portable DVD player with headphones. We allowed her to watch the DVD player using her headphones a few days before the trip to make sure she would adapt to using headphones. We bought her new movies for the plane only. On the plane, we used the new toys before exposing her to the DVD player. That was our last resort. We also brought some special snacks (fruit snacks and lollipops) that we often don't give her.

When at Disney, the biggest lesson we learned was to go during the middle of the week and not to try to push it. If your children appear tired, take them back to the hotel to rest. You will all be much happier that way. We tried to push it one day and it was a mess. I think all three of us melted down and we were miserable. We utilized Fast Pass for adult only rides. Also, if you or your husband want to go on a ride that the kids can't go on, look for a single rider line near the entrance. During the week they open these lines up and there is a minimal wait. Also, Disney offers a parent swap. You ride while your husband waits with the kids then you switch and your husband gets on immediately after you done. We invested in one of the disney vacation travel books and brought it with us. We also utlized the online component for disney and mapped out which rides we wanted to go on and in what order. These resources tell you the best times to ride certain rides and give you insider info. I highly suggest it.

In a few weeks we will be traveling back to California and doing Disney again with our now 3 1/2 year old and our 7 month old!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi B.,

We just got back from Disney on Saturday with a 9 month old and a 2 year old. I was allowed to bring a pre-maid bottle, sippy cup with milk and one container of juice.....they took the other one ( considered it excessive) I also brought a plastic travel container with extra formula. If you are doing the Disney package your bags will "magically" arrive in your room. We had no problems just planned ahead for a change of clothes and extra diapers so we could go straight to the parks. I was able to wheel our double stroller right to the gate and it was EXTREMELY helpful to have my baby bjorn so I wore the baby when going on rides and standing in lines. I found it was a great time of year to go, the park was not that crowded. If you haven't already make reservations for your meals which will force you to plan your days in certain parks. We got to the parks early, went back for naps, then headed out again at night. I you don't know the parks well go online and take a look and see what attractions are at each park. I bought a book and have been to Disney 4 times but never with my kids and we wasted a bit of time trying to figure out a plan each day. I also suggest to go to the Disney store and buy t-shirts and a stuffed animal before you go to give to your little guys on the plane. I also hit the dollar store and bought some toys and even a lollipop just in case your child begins to cry on the plane. My 2 year old surprised me and slept most of the way there. I hope this helps, have a FANTASTIC time!!!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi there,
We have done Disney a few time in the past couple of years. last time was September '07 and my son was 4 and my daughter was 15 months. we are going again on Saturday :-) I buy books with Disney characters and go to the Disney store for the sales often to get things that will familiarize the kids with the characters. We also watch the Disney channel or on demand too. I start buying little toys and coloring things way in advance and give each kid a bag full of toys. they open it in the airport or on the plane and it works for the hotel while you are getting ready, on line for a ride and at meal times! We usually take a portable DVD player for the plane too, however ours broke recently so we invested in a classic video ipod, it's soooo much smaller than a portable DVD player and the 80GB holds a bunch of DVD's and has great battery life so they can watch for a long time! THE BEST website (and not well known... yet) is it's $7.95 to join for the whole year and it gives you info on everything! The best part is the personal touring plans you can get. we use the ones for travelling with small kids and they are great. if you follow them, they show you how to get through the parks without lines! We have done it and it works! you can also get a list of the restaurants and their menues so you can avoid paying too much money for too much junk food! (this isn't easy, especially in the magic kingdom). make sure you and the kids nap in the afternoon and go back out for dinner and some evening activities, you get out of the heat of the day and it stops everyone from melting down!
Hope this helps,



answers from Philadelphia on

I traveled to Disney with my 2 yr old and yr old and brought on the plane alot of sticker books and coloring books and crayons. I also brought was a portable DVD player with some movies that they could watch in the airport and the airplane.
Hope that helps. Have a great time. V.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi! I can't really give you advice on flying with children, as I have not ventured into that area yet. However, my husband and I have been going to Disney for 6 years, so I can give you some pointers on the parks. Try to plan as much as you can ahead of time...there are some great guidebooks to read for Disney with Kids and they will give you all the important info. If you are staying on Disney property, definitely take advantage of the amenities. Especially with young children...spending entire days in the park will be torture on all of you! Go to the park for a little while and then head back to the pool (all of this is made much easier if you have the park hopper tickets). The parks also have some great activities for the little can check at guest services about those! Be sure to HAVE PATIENCE!!! Remember that its Disney...there will be lots and lots of people and long lines. The most important part is to enjoy the time with you family and Have Fun! I hope you have a great time!!!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi B.

We went to Disney in December with our 6 month old and almost 3 year old. My best advice is to go with the flow of your kids. When they've had enough, go back to the hotel for naps or to hang out at the pool/play ground. My son had a great time and went on a lot of rides, but when he started getting hot and grumpy we went back to the hotel for the afternoon and then out again in the evening. Don't expect a normal sleeping routine, but they will sleep when they are tired. Just an FYI about travelling to the parks, the transportation is often very crowded so bring lightweight stroller(s) - umbrella strollers because you have to hold them.

Flying wasn't bad at all for us. I took an unopened bottle of premade formula in the diaper bag, a small bottle (20oz) of unopened juice and a few jars of baby food in the diaper bag. I left bottles and sippy cups empty. Tell them at security and you shouldn't have any trouble. I bought water inside the airport after security. Just be sure to pack extra diapers and change of clothes in your carry on in case of delays. The weather shouldn't be too much of a worry but when we came home, Philly was in the midst of it's first snow storm and we were delayed at Orlando for 6 extra hours and the baby messed through her clothes ( i threw them out in the bathroom) and we almost ran out of diapers. Give your oldest his own carry on - school bag with some new and unseen dollar store type toys/ books to keep him occupied on the plane if he doesn't fall asleep. I was surprised at how well we did, so I figure if we can do it, everyone can! We had so much fun and I can't wait until we can go back!

Oh, BTW I get airsick and hate flying and I took dramamine and valium and it was a terrific flight, lol.



answers from Philadelphia on

Look in the archives here. There have been numerous postings re flying (in relation to the kids, that is!) in the 2 or 3 months I've been registered with MamaSource. We went to Disney a number of years ago. I read the Unofficial Guide cover-to-cover, took notes like I was back in grad school...and it all paid off. We had the best time, and the advice was priceless. Two things friends also told us, which were so helpful: Bring breakfast with you and eat in the room. We brought cereals, etc., and bought milk and juice every day. It just saved a lot of eating while a parent showered, etc...and with Disney, getting there early in the day is a key. The other great advice was to tie something really colorful and distrinctive to the stroller. The Disney people move strollers around while you're on a ride or in a show, and it can take some time to find your stroller among all the look alike strollers! Have fun!



answers from Philadelphia on

Definitely get the "Unofficial Guide to Disney," it is great. Some of the things seem crazy but it works so well. One day of our trip with three boys we decided not to use the tour guides and it was the worst day. You avoid all the arguments over where to go next, etc. We just skipped the things we didn't want to see and moved on. It was an awesome trip and the book made all the difference. They have some great tips in there.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We flew to Florida last year with our now 4yo...then 3yo and it went VERY smoothly! We had a direct flight on the way down and a connection on the way home....IF AT ALL POSSIBLE>>>GET A DIRECT FLIGHT both is WAY easier on ALL of you!! I also explained a few days before about "security" at the airport. We practiced taking our shoes off and putting them in the laundry hamper/box! Shoes with velcro instead of ties will save you time! I also packed some snacks in my bag to get through the flight! A quiet hand held game was a help too! BY ALL MEANS follow ALL the restrictions of the airlines (ie) small bottles in the zip lock bag, etc. The families that did NOT were delayed and tempers were HIGH because of it! are going to have to "hide" YOUR not liking to fly! Kids pick up those feelings FAST and that will add to their acting out!! Best of Luck to you!! Let us know how things go!



answers from Dallas on

You've received alot of great advice already but I just wanted to let you know that we are avid Disney people and go every year. My kids are 7 & 4 and have been to Disney at least once a year since they were born. I actually plan most of our friends trips to Disney for them. If you would like any individual advice about Disney...where to eat, etc. please email me directly. I've been told I should have been a Disney travel agent...maybe one day I will!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi there,
I am a mom to 3 children- 8,5,and 2. We go to DISNEY every year. First of all, for the plane we travel SOUTHWEST- great prices and they let parents and children board first- you need to line up in the line for preboarders. We take an EMPTY siipy cup - they will fill it for you once you are on the plane. We also pack a SMALL backback for each child with NEW coloring books, dot to dots, new crayons, stickers, a book to read..... Also, we ALL wear flip flops, b/c EVERYONE has to remove their shoes for the plane while going through security.

DISNEY is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get autograph books at the gift shop. Also- at the end of your trip you can buy a photo CD($100?) of ALL of the pictures that you collected on your DISNEY photo card- it sounds expensive, but if you keep the card on you and have the photographers take pictures you can really rack up pictures and memories- I think the most we have gotten were 457 pictures!!! It is a GREAT Souviner. Also, we buy water at a local CVS and take that with us to the park. This will be our 6 time this SEPTEMBER!!! It is so WONDERFUL- enjoy it. Go to MOUSESAVERS.COM for AWESOME INFO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



answers from Pittsburgh on

we took our son when he was a little over 2, i was too consumed with his needs that i wasnt worried about the flying thing at all ;)
just try to keep calm anf happy because your kids can feed off your energy, and it will help the trip go smoother

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