I am no way an expert on traveling with a toddler, however I learned some things from our first trip to our second trip that made it go more smoothly (and less smoothly in some cases!).
As far as food and naps..
– Bring lots of little snacks, and let them snack as much as they want in the car. In my opinion when you are on the road it doesn’t make any difference if they eat in the car or at a stop because you are only stopping at fast food for the most part. My smartest move was carrying individual containers of peanut butter and honey. When we reached our destination, all I had to buy was bread and we had sandwiches galore!
– Don’t expect your toddler to sleep more in the car. I always expect our little munchkin to sleep longer, but every time we have traveled he always has stuck to a normal napping time (no more, no less than usual). In fact I expected to be able to switch his nap schedule a bit (what was I thinking??) by him taking a nap in the morning in the car (or on a bus) and then being awake and happy longer in the afternoon. That did not work, as evidenced by our many pictures of him sleeping at Disney World.
-I also brought bottled water for his sippy cups. You really can’t do this if you are flying, but you can buy it once you get there. I had read before that switching to different tap waters at different places can mess up your system for a few days, so I always avoid it unless the water is filtered.
For traveling to Disney World…
– Go low key. We did one park and it was more than enough for a nineteen month old. We also did the park in the morning because that is his best time of day. We also let him determine the pace. We picked the Animal Kingdom because they have lots of walking trails and he was able to walk through holding my hand, and stop and look at the animals for awhile.
– If they like visit or ride whatever they like as much as they want (within reason, HA!). Although this wasn’t a ride, our little cupcake loved the conservation station area, especially this huge wall of animals they had. He was running around picking out each animal and pointing to it. As a parent you really REALLY want to get them to the next thing as soon as possible, but the kids will have much more fun if you try to let them actually “be” some.
– If you are going to stay at one of the resorts pick one that has easily accessibly dining options. I’ve stayed at a variety of the resorts over the years and this time we tried “The Caribbean Beach Resort”. I didn’t realize that at this resort they have buildings that are separated and for some of the visitors you have to take a bus to get to the area that has food! Luckily we ended up at one within walking distance, but I would have hated to take a bus to get a snack or coffee. At the resorts walking not only makes traveling easier, it also lessens travel time.
– What you think is fun…may be too much for your toddler! We really wanted to take our little cupcake to the T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney. We thought we were doing really well as we pushed the stroller into the restaurant because he didn’t cry. Well we realized he had fallen asleep on the walk over to the restaurant. We went ahead and went in and ridiculously sat at a table with this…..
Staring down at us. We figured it would be fine…and it was not! As soon as our little munchkin woke up, he was absolutely terrified and we had to take turns eating our dinner as the other one sat outside with him. He still walks around saying “I wake…dinosaurs.” Hopefully we haven’t scared him away from dinosaurs completely.
And lastly, I wanted to share some of my favorite mobile uploads from our trip!