Taking Twin Toddlers to Disney World.
If you’re a parent of young twins or even if you have two children who are very close together in age, you know that just going to Target can be something of a logistical nightmare that entails dragging lots of gear, hoping for a cart with two seats and straps that actually work, and doing everything you can to avoid meltdowns in the process, but that’s nothing compared to going someplace like Disney World. The truth is, taking two two-year olds on vacation is not the same as taking a one-year old (who probably can’t walk) and a three-year old (who is probably out of diapers and starting to listen better). You’ll face additional challenges. The extra work required can run the gamut from mere annoyances to real safety issues. But is it worth it? I think so, and with a little planning, you can definitely make the experience easier.
The Stroller Issue:
Probably the biggest challenge you’ll face. Buses are especially difficult, so much so that I just avoid them completely because it’s just about impossible to get two small children (and your other kids, if you have them) on the bus and all while taking everything out of the basket of the stroller, collapsing it, and then loading it on the bus. While it can be done, expect annoyed stares from fellow passengers.
If you’re going to use the bus, carry a backpack that you can put everything into from the stroller basket ahead of time. This will make getting the stroller folded after you take the kids out a lot easier. Definitely don’t try to use the buses if you’re alone. This is a two-person job. Once the kids are out of their stroller, keep in mind that Disney bus stops are very busy, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on them.
You can easily avoid Disney buses if you have your own car. In fact, this is the one time I would absolutely insist on having a car at Disney World. If having a car is not an option, consider staying at a monorail or Boardwalk resort. You can also minimize the number of times you’ll need to take the bus by using the monorail and boats to park hop. You can park hop between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom using the monorail and you can also park hop between Epcot and Hollywood Studios using the Friendship Boats. Both of these options allow you to keep your children in the stroller.
You shouldn’t have too much difficulty maneuvering your stroller around the parks. Most double side-by-side strollers are only slightly wider than a wheel chair and just about everything in Disney World is wheelchair accessible. Keep in mind that you’ll have to take the kids out of their stroller at sit-down restaurants and while waiting in line for attractions and character meet-and-greets. The biggest issue is the bottlenecks that happen in some parks. On a crowded day, it can be nearly impossible to maneuver your stroller around Frontierland and in Tomorrowland, so if possible, try to visit the World during a slower time of year. If that’s not possible, go to the parks early in the day when they are less crowded.
Some twin parents use two single strollers rather than a double stroller. Not only is it easier to maneuver and to get on the buses, it allows you to split up if one twin needs to go back to the resort, for example. Even better, and I’m sure all twin moms know about this, it helps avoid what I call twin fight club: Bored with being in the stroller, they start smacking each other. Come on, you know you’ve been there. It’s a well-known fact that if one twin falls asleep in the stroller the other twin is obsessively compelled to poke and annoy his sibling. The only downside of this is that one parent can’t push both strollers while the other parent does something on her own.
If your kids are still using a highchair, consider getting portable booster seats. They’re small and easy to pack. Most rental houses off site will have one highchair. Ask your agent if your home comes with a highchair; they may possibly be able to give you a second one as well. I’ve never had any trouble finding highchairs in Disney restaurants.
Where are they going to sleep?
Sleep is a big one. My twins sleep in separate rooms at home and the first couple of times we travelled to Disney World with them and they stayed in the same room, it took some getting used to. If your kids are still in cribs, you’ll get a Pack and Play if you’re staying at a Disney resort. These P&Ps are slightly smaller than the ones you’re used to at home, but they are clean and in good shape. They’re fine for kids under two-years of age. Some Disney resorts also have cribs, but they are on a first come, first served basis. Many rental houses will have one crib; again, ask if you can get two. If you need to rent a crib, I’ve had luck with Orlando Crib Rentals. They, like other rental agencies, will deliver the crib to your resort.
Space constraints limit where you can stay. While Disney will give you a P&P for each child who needs one, you won’t be able to fit two P&Ps in a value room and still get around. You’ll need to go with a moderate or larger if you’re staying on Disney property, and even then, two P&Ps will be a tight fit. We stayed at Ft. Wilderness however, and found there was enough room in the bedroom for two P&Ps. A better solution is to stay off site in a rental house, which can actually be a very economical choice. I’ve used AllStar Vacation Homes and been pleased with them. You could also rent Disney Vacation Club points.
Finally, the babycare centers are great. The problem for twin parents is that you can’t bring your stroller inside. This isn’t such a huge issue if you have help, but if you’re on your own, you’re likely to find yourself changing one toddler while attempting to corral another. If you’re a twin mom or you have two kids who aren’t yet at the age where they understand that they need to stay put, this is a pretty stressful situation. In this case, consider using a family bathroom. You can bring the stroller in and one child can sit while you change the other.
Need more information on taking younger children to Disney World? Our own Lisa has a funny and helpful piece on Training Your Baby for Disney World. You might also like this post on general safety at Disney World. You can also check out these posts on my blog (shameless plug) Bringing an Infant to Disney World and another on Childproofing on Vacation.