Sunday, 29 April 2012

Taking Young Twins to Disney World - Planning Help

            My wife Lisa told me a story about the last time she had been to Disney World as a young adult in the early nineties.  She told her father at the time, “The next time I come back here, I’m coming here with my kids.”  Little did she know, it would be with nearly four year old twins.  As for me, I had not been to Orlando’s Disney World since I was a teenager in 1982.  Epcot had just opened, and there were was no Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios at the time.  But both my wife and I wanted to take our twins, Joshua and Abigail, now aged four, at a young age but not too young as to not remember anything or appreciate it. 
            It is one thing to plan to take young children, but as multiple parents know, twins or other multiples always provide their unique challenges that don’t always apply with different aged siblings, so planning for Disney World had its own series of questions to be answered.  Hopefully, my research, discussions, decisions, and experiences will help answer some of your questions and assist you in better planning your trip, should you decide to go.  One thing is for certain, you do need to plan for Disney World.  Just showing up and hoping to enjoy yourself fully doesn’t really work, with so many options, and limited time and resources.
             There are many invaluable guidebooks and much of the information was garnered from the ones that I read.  I started by checking out a few from the library to see which ones were the most helpful.  You won’t always find one of the current year, but try to find one as recent as possible.  Most of the information will not change, and you can choose to purchase any that you find will be useful, both in your planning, and to take to the parks.  The guidebooks explain all the attractions in detail, including what rides might scare young ones; suggestions for renting or bringing strollers: hotel information and recommendations for both inside and outside Disneyworld: and restaurant information, including character meals.
In my opinion, the one guide that is the best for pre-planning is The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa.  It has over 800 pages of information on everything related to Disney World (and even a chapter on Universal Studios as well).  The best thing about this book is that they include quotes from actual families so you get an idea of what people like yourself experienced.  The best book for the parks is The Passporter’s Guide to Walt Disney World by Jennifer, Dave, and Allison C. Marx .   It includes fold out maps, planning sheets, and pockets to hold information, tickets, etc. 
There are many great websites with information including allears.com.  Websites such as this give important information such as restaurant menus so you know whether or not there is a kids menu, and what the choices are.  My son Josh does not like pizza with sauce on it, and usually wants a grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwich.  Allears.com gave us great information including the prices.  The last website I want to mention is tripadvisor.com.  This website provides user’s reviews on hotels, restaurants and attractions, and ranks them based on how people rated them.  We chose the Holiday Inn in Walt Disney World in large part due to the reviews on tripadvisor.com.  Everything they said in the reviews was correct including how nice the rooms and pool were, the high level of service, and the frequency and punctuality of the shuttle to WDW.