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Disney, flying w/kids, luggage etc

packrat

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My parents are taking JD, the kids and I to Disney in Florida in March over our spring break. We've not told the kids yet. I have some questions and thought the well traveled (or at least more-traveled than I w/my three whole plane trips in my life) here would have some advice.

We are driving down and flying out the same day. We're thinking to tell the kids when we get to the airport. That gives them a couple hours to get worked up about flying. Neither JD nor I are seasoned travelers. We have to be calm b/c we don't want the kids to be scared. We will have their kindles for them, gum and candy to suck on for ears. But, what else? I know they can't have their kindles during take off and such. We'll be in a two row group, mom and I at the windows, the kids in the middle and then JD and my dad in the aisle seats. What do we do if they're scared? They're 12 and 9 (it will be Trapper's 9th birthday when we fly out!).

I bought us luggage tags last night (w/a PSers artwork on them!) b/c I thought that would be fun and make them kind of "official". We have no luggage (got tags tho haha!). I'd like to buy some, not super expensive b/c we don't have a lot to spend, but I thought a bag for each of them so they feel like big stuff? JD and I last flew in 2003, and I think we had a carry on and then one bigger one we checked. He and I don't need anything fancy, but we will need something as well. Where should we look? And what do you think we need?

It will be Florida toward the end of March-anyone know what the weather usually is like at that time? Or ideas on what to wear while at the parks? Dad said where we're staying has a washer/dryer so we don't have to pack tons of stuff b/c we can wash it. ("we'll bring some of that washing powder yanno" :lol: )

Any advice on the parks themselves? Do I bring a purse? I usually wear a smallish cross body bag but thought I would look for a smaller one.
 

Queenie60

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We have traveled a lot over the years with our two children - they're now much older and very used to the travel stuff. I suggest you tell them ahead of time so that you can have conversations about what they should expect. Arrive at the airport 2 hours before your flight as it takes forever to go through the security gates. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that are easy to remove. The children will react to the news based on your actions - if you show fear of flying, they will. If you demonstrate complete confidence with the flying, they will react the same. Cross body bag is the best! You're hands free and can move freely without worry of your purse. Good luck, sounds like a wonderful family vacation. :wavey:
 

EvangelineG

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What a great gift from your parents! Your kids are great ages for a Disney World trip- you guys are going to have soooo much fun!

We have gone to WDW every year or couple of years for awhile now with a large family group. It can be a fantastic holiday, if you do exactly what you are doing now- a bit of planning and homework ahead of time. I'm always our official trip planner, so could probably write a book on the subject at this point. :lol:

As far as flights, if this is your kids' first experience with flying then I might reconsider surprising them with it so close to departure time. Sometimes it helps to know about it in advance and have a chance to go over what to expect ahead of time. There are videos online showing what to expect as they go through security and what to expect on the plane. Security can be tough on kids- long lines, people barking orders at you, potential for a pat down etc. My kids did great when they knew what to do. Also a good idea to have the kids aware of the possibility for delays, sitting in the plane on the tarmac and stuff like that. A new video game to play on a handheld device works wonders in these situations! Another thing you might want to have if you think their ears might be bad are "ear planes" (little ear plug type devices that help with ear pressure).

For luggage- we usually have each kid carry their own backpack with activities, change of clothes, snacks etc as a carry on, and then we usually check a couple of large rolling suitcases with the bulk of our stuff (buying a colour other than black makes your checked luggage way easier to spot on the belt).

For at the parks- expect to do A LOT of walking and standing. Good shoes for everybody are the single most important thing you need to make the trip a happy one! You want to take as little stuff to carry around with you as possible. I usually carry a cross body bag with basic supplies.

Having a plan of attack for the parks each day is important if you don't want to spend your whole trip standing in line. A couple of great sites to check out for planning info-
http://yourfirstvisit.net/
http://www.easywdw.com/easy/

And if that seems like too much work- in a nutshell- get there early, ride the most popular attractions early or make fastpass+ reservations for them for later in the day, ride the less popular stuff in the afternoons when it is busiest or take a break in the afternoons (great time for swimming and relaxing), make dining reservations unless you want all counter service, dress in light layers and have fun!
 

monarch64

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Packie, obviously you know your kids best, but don't assume they'll be scared. Will it be their first flight? Make sure to tell the flight attendant so they can get their wings, and on your way off board you might also want to get a picture with the captain and crew. That might make for an easier-minded, less apprehensive set of kiddos and probably parents. And honestly I would not wait to tell them until you're heading to the airport. Have confidence in them that they can handle this and then help them prepare--you can do it as a family and talk about the things Evangeline brought up like security/delays/airport behavior, etc.

Pack light and don't check any bags. The kids are old enough to have their own backpacks or carry-on size wheeled bags. I've flown a lot and haven't checked a bag since 2001. It's Disney for a week, you are traveling as a family and can look as touristy as you please wearing shorts and t-shirts. Other than that, swimsuit, undies and comfy shoes are probably all you need. Also you need to buy a fanny pack and make JD wear it. He's used to stuff hanging from his belt. LOL
 

packrat

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Thanks for the replies guys!

I think the kids are on to us. London gets on my phone and reads my texts, so I'm wondering if she saw the one I sent to a couple coworkers about it. Trapper asked JD yesterday if he'd ever been to Disney or to Florida. That's kinda random. Now, last year when mom and dad first brought it up, there happened to be a ton of shows about Disney on the travel channel or wherever, and I recorded them. The kids asked why I'd done that and I said daddy and I had gone to one of the parks many years ago and we'd like to go again as a family sometime. That's when we had the discussion about being scared to fly-they said they'd rather drive. It will be their first flight.

Yeah, I agree w/you guys, we better tell them earlier. If they're worried about it, that gives us time to go over things and talk about it, watch the videos on youtube recommended.

I didn't think about wings and pictures, good idea, thanks!

We'll for sure be getting there in plenty of time-my parents fly to Vegas once or twice a year so they're old hands at this.

I am looking at luggage now to see what I can find-carry on specifically. Some of them seem decent enough sized, I wonder if the kids each had a carry on, JD's and my stuff would fit in them as well or do we each need a carry on?
 

monarch64

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Packrat, we went to FL for a week last summer and I shared a wheeled overnight bag with my daughter. We both had plenty of outfit options, multiple swimsuits, and shoes. I took a tote with a laptop sleeve and lots of room (but still fit under the seat in front of me on the plane) as my "purse," and brought my devices, makeup bag, and toiletries in that. I also brought a swingpack/crossbody bag to wear when we went out, and used one of those reusable shopping totes that packs into itself, down to nothing, as a beach bag when we went to the beach or pool. Easy peasy! ETA: I hate bringing a lot of baggage anywhere. It's like a metaphor for life. Anything you forget you can most certainly buy when you reach your destination or do without. That's just my philosophy but I'm a minimalist these days!
 

packrat

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I have a zip top thirtyone organizer bag, I can use that for the pool and as my "purse" for toiletries etc (and I need to find a makeup/toiletry bag) and then the cross body. And I'll attach my new luggage tag to the big bag so I can at least use it since I bought it dangit. Then I'll squish my stuff in w/London's and JD's stuff in w/Trapper's.

Will it be nice enough for shorts/tshirts/sleeveless do you think? I don't have shorts, but I have a pair of crapris and a couple sporty dresses/knee length skirts I could wear.

Oh, mom asked me this morning, do you think the kids will need some sort of ID for the plane? I don't know what all is needed, but I've got a couple forms of ID. The kids don't have anything. Do we take them to the courthouse for like, a student ID or something?
 

monarch64

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Under 14 y/o just need a copy of their birth certificate and their boarding pass.

Capris/skirts/dresses will work! It should be in the high 60s/low 70s by the end of March.
 

MollyMalone

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I am so thrilled for all of you, the fun you'll have, the memories you'll make!

Kids under 18 don't need any ID for airplane travel within the USA, and those under 13 don't have to take off their shoes, hat or jacket.
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children

A reminder, since you mentioned a toiletries/cosmetics bag: liquids, gels, creams, aerosols, lotions can't be in containers of more than 3.4 oz -- and need to be stashed in a clear, 1 quart, Ziplock-type bag or clear, zippered cosmetic bag -- if you are limiting yourselves to carry-on bags (bigger sizes are fine for checked luggage & don't have to be in a clear bag).

Highly recommend The Unofficial Guide to Disney World, but buy or borrow the paperback (a current or fairly recent edition is hopefully at your local library) instead of the Kindle version.
http://www.amazon.com/Unofficial-Guide-Walt-Disney-World/dp/1628090367/
ETA: I have no idea why my link to the Amazon page keeps getting converted, after I hit the Submit button, to that annoying eBay link.

Lots of handy, money-saving and other tips to be found on MouseSavers.com, e.g., here's the portal page on food-drinks-dining:
http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/disney-world-meal-snack-drink-discounts-coupons/

Please do an extra trip on Splash Mountain for me :sun:
 

Bayek

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My kids loved Universal studios back in the early 2000's... I think there is a new Harry Potter theme.... have fun, kids love it, expect lines, and live through them, it's a joy to see your kids get so excited!
 

EvangelineG

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Packrat, how long are you going for, and are you staying onsite or offsite? These would be my considerations when deciding whether to check a bag or not. We usually stayed 10-14 days and so needed more stuff. If you can get away with only taking carry ons like Monarch64 said, I absolutely would!

If you are staying onsite (at a hotel on Disney property) bear in mind that everything you may need to buy will be very expensive. If you are staying offsite (we usually rent a large villa nearby), then there are plenty of options for buying sunscreen, toiletries, water bottles, snacks etc at good prices.

Couldn't agree more with MollyMalone's suggestion of mousesavers.com. We saved a lot of money with their tips. Not sure if you guys have tickets yet, but signing up for their newsletter can get you a discount from Undercover Tourist. We have used them for tickets many times, and experienced great service and savings.

If you have time, Universal Studios is indeed fantastic, especially for Harry Potter fans (we love it there!), but these vacations can be pretty punishing as far as time and energy, and unless you have more than a week you may not want to squeeze it in. Just for WDW, we usually tried to do 2 days at Magic Kingdom, 2 days at Epcot, 1 for Animal Kingdom, 1 for Hollywood Studios, 1 flex day and a rest day...although you can skip the rest and flex day, that's kind of the minimum time you need to absorb most of WDW. Depending on your kids' interests and tastes there are also 2 water parks, a racing track and tonnes of other stuff at Downtown Disney and the resorts. There is a crazy amount of stuff to see and do!

The good news is that you guys are going at one of the best times of year for weather-not too hot, not too cold, not too wet. Shorts and T's should be perfect. I would suggest bike shorts/short leggings or something similar under dresses or skirts for modesty sake getting in and out of rides. (I learned that one the hard way :oops: ) I would still take light hoodie/sweaters for potentially chilly early mornings/late evenings and one pair of long pants for everybody, and we like to take light, waterproof, hooded jackets, but you can take or buy disposable ponchos and save space. There are rides where you get wet (Splash Mountain, yay!), and so clothing (especially shorts) in quick dry athletic fabrics can be a nice thing.

The not great news is that spring break is a higher crowd time. It can be pretty miserable with wall to wall people there at times, but there are lots of ways to stay ahead of the crowds.

Another link for you-
https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/disney-world-spring-break-survival-tips/
 

MissGotRocks

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http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/orlando-fl/32801/march-weather/328169

You should have spectacular weather! Might need light jackets in the evening but otherwise you are gold!

We took our kids three different times but always during summer vacation. It was hot and muggy! We stayed in the resort and one of the parks always opened an hour early. We took advantage of the cooler morning, stayed until hot midday when we would return to our hotel to either nap or swim. I'm excited for you - everyone will have a fabulous time. I would not worry about the kids being nervous about flying - my guess is they will be too excited about it to be nervous.

I would suggest that everyone have at least one bathing suit and change of undies in a carry on bag just in case the luggage gets lost or delayed. You'll have the w/d to help but at least you won't have to miss any of the fun in case your luggage gets delayed
 

packrat

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Oh this is so fun to talk about! We don't have anyone here who has been, that we really know. And now that I have people to discuss it w/, I want the kids to be excited and look forward to it too, so I think we will tell them soon.

We are flying out on a Saturday at lunchtime and coming back the following Saturday at lunchtime.

I'll ask mom if it's off site or where, that we're staying. I thought it was w/their time share but she said it's not. She did say they always take one carry on and check one bag so if I need to I can stash our stuff in their checked bag. I can get little travel sizes of some things to put in their bag. What does a person do w/lotions? I have been using sweet almond oil..if I put it in the checked bag, does it still need to be in a special bag etc? And my face washing stuff, acne creams and foundation? Oh, oops, sorry I scrolled down and see it's ok for a checked bag.

Mom said they have some sort of special thing, maybe b/c they fly all the time? Where they don't have to do the special stuff everyone else does as far as like taking off shoes and having everything examined. Fast track or something?

I always wear exercise/compression type shorts under my skirts/dresses, so we're good to go there! I am looking at Zappos now for shoes for my weird feet. I have the orthaheel flip flops for when it's nice outside, but I wondered if it would be better to have a more sandal type in the brand.

Mom said they have a ton of luggage at home so not to buy anything but I kinda want to get the kids their own little set, either what I posted above or there's a couple others that are rolling duffle bag things, something that is just theirs..when the luggage tags come, and then ordering new luggage, that might be a fun way to tell them.

I saw some things on Pinterest about the best ways to pack to maximize the space..too bad I didn't save any of them ha. I like to have things planned out to the nth degree ahead of time so I'll be researching the shit out of this stuff and probably asking a lot of questions.

Oooo and thanks for the links! I'll send them to dad-he's the "party planner", and is crazy about researching also (We've given him the title for our home business of Director of Stuff Getting), so he'll probably like to spaz out on them.

I need to start working out so I can look pretty and actually take pictures for once.

The kids each have a light, waterproof hooded jacket for the fishing trip, so we'll bring those. I need to order one.

:appl: I'm so excited! Thanks you guys, for talking to me about it! This will be my first trip of any distance since 2003! We went fishing last summer and will this summer, but that's just an 8 hour drive away.
 

Tacori E-ring

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monarch64|1452985283|3976939 said:
Under 14 y/o just need a copy of their birth certificate and their boarding pass.

Capris/skirts/dresses will work! It should be in the high 60s/low 70s by the end of March.

I have never had to shown ID (or carried ID) for my 8 years old. Sometimes they ask her what her name is but not always.

ETA: Under 12 does not have to take off their shoes through security.
 

MollyMalone

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Mom said they have some sort of special thing, maybe b/c they fly all the time? Where they don't have to do the special stuff everyone else does as far as like taking off shoes and having everything examined. Fast track or something?
Probably TSA Pre✓. Don't know if your parents actually applied for it & paid the fee
https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck
or, if like me, they discover they've been approved for the Pre✓ line for their flights when they print out their boarding passes & see the designation on that?

What airline are you flying; any chance that it's Southwest, so there's no fee for 2 pieces of checked luggage per passenger?

Re footwear: you're going to be walking m-i-l-e-s, so your feet will appreciate being supported and cushioned ;))

I love your idea of presenting the kids with their own luggage and luggage tags & making that gift the announcement, so fun and special -- just like the trip itself will be!!

ETA: I suggest that you don't get them the wheeled duffels; they are very prone to tipping over when you'd like 'em to stand upright.
 

swingirl

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We took our young kids to Disneyland. We all enjoy flying. My kids had no reason to be afraid. They thought it was really fun and special.

What worked for me at the park was to wear a fanny pack. No straps and nothing dangling. Wallet, camera, phone.

We stayed close to the park so we were able to go to the park in the morning, stay until the kids got tired. Then we left, went back to hotel and rested, napped, ate, changed. And went back to the park for the evening. We were able to see the light show and fire works. I don't know what Disneyworld is like but you will have fun no matter how you do it.
 

packrat

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We are flying Southwest! I looked at the itinerary thing dad emailed b/c I thought it said something about that fast track fast whatever, but it doesn't. It says "early bird check in" but that's all. And it says first and second checked bags are free, and you can have a small bag and one personal item as a carry on. I should check size limits maybe?

Good to know about the wheeled duffels, thanks!
 

MollyMalone

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Southwest, WOOHOO! It really is a lot easier, especially when traveling with kids, to make your way through the airport, then kill the time waiting to board -- and use the restroom facilities -- if you're not dragging suitcases around.

Plus, Southwest has a fun "personality" (e.g., the flight crew's spiels re seat belts, etc. are not cut-and-dried), and in my experience, they offer more comfy coach seats than, say, United. SW used to give quickie, cockpit tours for kids so they could meet the pilots and see all the controls and gauges before take-off, but I think those are now a thing of the past. Still, your kids should be able to each receive a First Flight Certificate, so ask about that at the gate or as you board.

sw_1st_flight.jpg
 

chemgirl

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I'm so glad you are telling them ahead of time. My first flight ever was a trip to Disney when I was 8. I was so excited for all of it. I remember thinking the flight was almost as cool as Disney.

I have Global Entry so I usually don't have to take everything out of my bags at security. Maybe that is what your parents have? I still have to follow all of the rules for liquids and prepare like I would if I had to do the full search. It's not too difficult, just keep your liquids and lotions in a clear plastic bag. I find it easier to stick that in the front pocket of my carry-on so it's easy to grab. I wear shoes that are easy to get on and off, avoid a belt if possible, and throw my watch in a bag because I always forget about it until the alarms start going off.

You can put full sized liquid stuff in a checked bag. If your mom is checking a bag just put your normal containers in there.

The whole airport thing can seem intimidating (I was so freaked out for my first solo flight), but it's really not that complicated. Airport staff are usually helpful and will explain what you have to do.

I'm not sure how long your flight is, but for anything over 3 -4 hours I check out seatguru for seat advice. Check in online as soon as it becomes available for your flight. Often back row seats and seats in front of exit rows don't recline. I also avoid areas right by the bathroom because you end up with people hovering over you while they wait.

So excited for you! Traveling is so much fun!
 

packrat

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the itinerary says it will be about 4.5 hours. We stop in Chicago both times but don't deplane.

I sent dad the links above to check out. We talked about it and I'm going to order the kids each a set, probably the one I linked above w/the wheeled carry on and little case. Then put the luggage tags on when they come-dad said he will print something off on the computer about Disney or whatever,put it inside the bags, and then mom and dad will give them to the kids. I thought that would be more fun than just "oh hey we're going to Disney"

I'm glad we're going w/mom and dad..JD and I always (ha, always, like we've done it more than 2 whole times) end up looking around like total dorks. We're the ones standing in the wrong line or heading the wrong way.

I should charge up my Kindle..I have one of those older ones just for books and I've got one book on it hahahaha. And I've only read about 4 pages on it. But it's a book I've read probably 20 times and enjoy immensely so it would keep my mind occupied for the flight.
 

MollyMalone

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Southwest Airlines operates differently: there are no assigned seats. Instead, you board in groups: A, B, C and so on. Which boarding group you're in generally depends on how early you do the online check-in routine; that becomes available to most passengers 24 hours ahead of the scheduled departure time.

So it's great that you all have "early bird" check-in privileges at 36 hrs before departure... altho' families traveling with children are otherwise boarded between the B and the C groups, if they weren't already assigned to A or B. And if you don't like your seats on the first leg of your flight, you should be able to switch before the Chicago passengers get on. (Which is why getting assigned to a better boarding group isn't so much of a plus for those boarding at a stop along the way, but sounds as if you're boarding where the flight to Orlando originates.)

Have your parents said where you will be staying? Since they mentioned a washer & dryer, does sound like a house or condo, which is a nice plus. Can have some cheaper, more leisurely meals and snacks "at home"; you can stay up later than the kids without worrying about disturbing them, altho' you and JD may crash earlier than is your norm; can go home with clean clothes in your suitcases :))
 

monarch64

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Tacori E-ring|1453001771|3977079 said:
monarch64|1452985283|3976939 said:
Under 14 y/o just need a copy of their birth certificate and their boarding pass.

Capris/skirts/dresses will work! It should be in the high 60s/low 70s by the end of March.

I have never had to shown ID (or carried ID) for my 8 years old. Sometimes they ask her what her name is but not always.

ETA: Under 12 does not have to take off their shoes through security.
Thank you--we've only flown once with our 3 year old and my husband made sure we had a copy of her BC for identification/age verification purposes based on what he'd read while booking her ticket. I still think it's a good idea to travel with some form of ID for minors, just in case, but understand it is not necessary. In the odd event that adults and children become separated, I also think it's a good idea for youngsters to travel with some form of identification on their person, and BC or photo ID might be prudent whether necessary or not. (Not to worry our dear Packrat or anyone else!)
 

lioness

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I've taken babies and toddlers on the overnight to Buenos Aires. Your kids? Disney? Don't worry about it. They'll love the flight.
 

packrat

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I looked online at Southwest and the kids do need to have an ID so their age can be "verified" and then it sounded like after that they're fine and won't need it, when flying w/that airline.

I think it's a big hotel type thing, like their timeshare but not w/their timeshare, in a big suite. It's two bedrooms, two baths, w/a little kitchenette thing I'm pretty sure.
 

MollyMalone

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This SW page isn't as clear as it might be
https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/family/children-pol.html
but this additional page assures you that you don't need to provide to SW proof of age & go through the hoops of their in-advance verification process -- unless the ticket is an Infant, Child, or Senior Fare ticket:
https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/faqs.html?topic=age_verified

It's unlikely that your parents purchased Child Fare tix because the discount for those applies only to the more expensive classes of adult fares, so it's cheaper to simply buy the least expensive adult fare (Wanna Get Away fare) whenever available & it sounds as if your parents booked the flights far enough out that they were able to get Wanna Get Away prices for everyone's tickets.

Since the SW verification process is rather a PIA, check with your parents before, e.g., establishing a SW account for each of your two kids that may not be needed. :))
 

April20

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I didn't see anyone mention this, but the rules on electronics have changed. You don't have to turn them off for takeoff or landings so your kids can play with them during that time.
 

liaerfbv

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Disney! DH and I lived in Orlando for 10 years and I am a Disney enthusiast. I still try and go once a year even though we don't live there anymore.

Download the Disney World app on your phone - it tells you wait times, has maps, lets you sign up for Fastpasses (and reschedule Fastpasses). Are you planning to eat in any of the fancy restaurants at the parks? If so, you should go online now and make reservations because they fill up months in advance. My personal favorite is the steakhouse in Canada at Epcot (Le Cellier).

If you're staying in a time share, it's probably "off property" which means it's not a Disney hotel and you won't be eligible for extra Magic hours they offer to the hotel guests who stay in hotels at the park. Either way, you'll still have plenty of time at the parks. Also, though it's not widely known you can bring your own water and snacks to the park to cut down on food costs. The weather in March in Florida is great - generally in the 70s and very sunny. Bring sunglasses!
 

Tacori E-ring

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monarch64|1453085665|3977355 said:
Tacori E-ring|1453001771|3977079 said:
monarch64|1452985283|3976939 said:
Under 14 y/o just need a copy of their birth certificate and their boarding pass.

Capris/skirts/dresses will work! It should be in the high 60s/low 70s by the end of March.

I have never had to shown ID (or carried ID) for my 8 years old. Sometimes they ask her what her name is but not always.

ETA: Under 12 does not have to take off their shoes through security.
Thank you--we've only flown once with our 3 year old and my husband made sure we had a copy of her BC for identification/age verification purposes based on what he'd read while booking her ticket. I still think it's a good idea to travel with some form of ID for minors, just in case, but understand it is not necessary. In the odd event that adults and children become separated, I also think it's a good idea for youngsters to travel with some form of identification on their person, and BC or photo ID might be prudent whether necessary or not. (Not to worry our dear Packrat or anyone else!)
Being prepared is never a bad thing Monnie! I have flown with T probably 100 times. Not even exaggerating. It has never been a problem. Even now that we have different last names. I have only heard about them asking to see a BC if you are claiming the child is a lap child (under 2) and they suspect he/she is older. Regarding separation, I have always thought it was important for her to know her parents REAL names in case there was an issue. My uncle runs a hotel and stray toddlers asking for "mom" or "dad " isn't that helpful.
 

Kelinas

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
431
Haven't read everyone's responses so I don't know if this was said but :

get to the Orlando airport early

I fly out of MCO quite often, and need about 2 hours on a regular basis to get through security and whatnot but during last spring break- it took over 3 hours due to all the theme park visitors.
The line for security typically lines all the way to the elevator or snakes around the lobby.
Luckily I now have the pre✅ so security only takes 15 minutes tops.
 
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