Touring for Two:
Tips for Touring while Pregnant

by Skip Broomes
ALL EARS® Guest Columnist

This article appeared in the
March 14, 2006, Issue #338 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

My wife, Deanne, and I recently made our annual pilgrimage to the Mouse. Only one thing was different this time -- Deanne was six-and-a-half months pregnant. What to do? Based on our previous trips, we had a hotel planned out, as well as meals and touring plans for each park. Those all had to change. Here are some things that we did differently and some things we learned while we were there.

1) Hotels -- If you are able to, stay at a monorail hotel. We stayed at the Polynesian. The reason for the monorail was its ease going from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot. That allowed my wife to have a seat on the monorail. Many people kindly gave up their seat for her when they saw her get on. Another plus is that the monorail queues are usually covered. This is not necessarily so for all the bus waiting areas. Plus, the buses have less room and can be packed with people. We stayed away from the buses if at all possible.

At the Polynesian, we requested a room that was close to the Great Ceremonial House. Usually, when you put in a room request with Disney, they tell you that they will try to honor it, but they won't guarantee it. That's basically just in case they can't. But this is one time when you should let people know that you are pregnant -- I call it using the pregnancy card. My wife called to make the reservations and let them know that she was pregnant, as well as how many months along she would be when we arrived. As a result, they did their best and honored our request. One thing, though -- we had also asked for a king bed, but received two queen size beds instead. We were told that king beds are only available in the suites.

2) Dining -- You cannot plan your eating time around a schedule... you have to plan it around when she is hungry. 'Nuf said! Don't make too many reservations!

3) Shows -- Use the dinner packages. Deanne is a trooper, but no one is their usual self when they are six-and-a-half months pregnant. We saw both Fantasmic! and the Candlelight Processional during our vacation. We made reservations using the dining packages for those two shows and it was well worth it. At Fantasmic!, we were able to sit in the section for guests with disabilities, so we didn't have to navigate a ton of stairs. Everyone else who asked to sit there who did not have a disability was turned away. It also made it easier for us to exit quickly and avoid being pushed around by the crowd.

If you visit during the holidays and plan to see the Candlelight Processional while pregnant, I would recommend dining at Germany's Biergarten Restaurant. It is a buffet and it is the closest restaurant to the America Gardens Theater, where the Candlelight Processional is performed. If you get caught running a little behind, it is hard to rush from the United Kingdom pavilion to America with a pregnant woman. Also, to get the full effect of the Processional, I think you need to view it at the second or last show of the evening. That means your dinner reservations might be early, but that is OK -- if your pregnant wife is like mine was, she will be hungry early.

4) Bathrooms -- Know where they are! Whenever Deanne looked at me with that certain look, I knew what that meant. Luckily I am a Disney veteran and know where most of the pit stops are. If you don't know where they are, get a map! Quick!

5) Plan a break during the day. We all love Disney and love being there, but it is hard to walk and stand for such a long time when you are carrying an extra 20 to 30 pounds on you. We planned a break during our days and went back to the hotel. Deanne rested while I hit the Tambu Lounge and stores. Then, she was able to go out and do the parks for a few more hours that night. There's another advantage to this. There are some really popular rides that you can get to more easily at night when not many people are around. One is the Jungle Cruise. We basically walked right on the ride in the evening.

6) Think ahead. If you like Wishes, then plan to get a seat ahead of time. We found that a decent place to watch these fireworks is at the outside tables by the Crystal Palace. Also, plan to do your "must-sees" first thing in the day. Then, if she is up to it (not if you have time left), do some other favorites. Realize that being a commando late at night kills you the next day.

7) Mousecellaneous -- Invest in some good socks. We like the Thor-lo brand, and think these are the best socks on the market. They keep ankle swelling down and help those dogs to not be so tired at the end of the day. Take two pairs per day, and change into the second pair after your rest in the middle of the day. Also, obviously, make sure you have comfortable walking shoes. Expensive socks and cheap shoes don't go well together. Think of it as a system... would you buy $80 shoes and $1 socks?

Another thing to remember is to make sure that you get a picture with a character who is pointing to the baby-to-be. Lilo, at 'Ohana, was especially good at this and was very nice to my wife, as was Mickey. In fact, Mickey seemed as though he wanted a special picture with my wife when he saw she was pregnant. He got her up out of her seat and brought her over by the wreath on the wall. Next thing you knew, everyone wanted a picture by the wreath on the wall. It is a great picture for those baby books!

Don't be afraid to let people know that you're pregnant. It was amazing to see what special attention we received when the Cast Members noticed that Deanne was pregnant. Everywhere we went, people took one look at her and did everything they could to help her and be extra nice.

And last but not least, remember, this is not "Disney or Die." Just see what you can and realize that you are not going to be able to do everything this trip. You'll be back... and next time, with the little one!

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Skip Broomes, an 8th grade science teacher in South Carolina, has been to Walt Disney World about 40 times. He and wife Deanne, an elementary school teacher, plan to return to Walt Disney World this June for Star Wars Weekends -- this time with newborn Owen Benjamin, who arrived February 21. Congratulations to all!

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RELATED LINKS:

Find additional Reader Pregnancy Tips HERE.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World while you're pregnant, or with a newborn like the Broomes family? You might also want to pick up a copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World for Your Special Needs, by Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma. The book is chock full of information for both moms-to-be and new moms, from lists of quiet places to take a break in the park, to ratings for all the attractions that might cause concern, to first-hand tips from women who toured the parks while they were carrying their own "little souvenirs." Read more about the book HERE.