The final instalment of my guest bloggers Disney mini series is courtesy of Nicola aka Mrs Lighty of baby blog All Things Spliced. If you are expecting, this is an absolute must read!
How to Survive Disneyland when Pregnant
Most sensible people, when trying for a baby, wouldn’t buy an annual pass to Disneyland Paris during this time. Mrs Lighty isn’t most sensible people. To be fair, Mr and Mrs Lighty waited a loooong time to hear the news that we would be expecting a little prince or princess of our own, and we’d got to the point where we couldn’t keep putting our lives on hold in the hope that I’d be pregnant by the time certain events rolled around. But buying an annual pass to Disneyland Paris? Probably not one of my most sensible ideas.Having said that, it was pretty much a dream come true. Having been to to Disney World, Florida, and shortly after, Disneyland, California, Mr Lighty and I take our Disney-ing pretty seriously. I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to the subject of all things Disney. So when we visited Disneyland Paris at New Year 2013 / 2014, and decided to buy annual passes, it was pretty much a dream come true.
However, as with any good fairytale, there always has to be a twist: and for Mrs Lighty, that twist had to be that she was to be with child for half of the visits in that year.
The reason I’m beaming in this photo is not just because I’m in Disneyland…it’s also because we’d literally found out four days before our trip that I was pregnant!
We actually found out that I was pregnant four days before our third trip to Disneyland Paris that year. And to be honest, I was so grateful to finally be pregnant that I couldn’t resent the fact that I wasn’t going to get the full Disneyland Paris experience when we visited four days later for our 31st birthdays.
That said, being preggers does make the whole Disneyland thing different. It doesn’t have to dampen your spirit, however; just wave your magic wand over your trip, think outside the box, and you’ll have just as fantastic a Disney experience as anyone else.
Still feeling a little miffed that you’re going to miss out on all things Disney? Here are Mrs Lighty’s top tips for surviving Disneyland whilst pregnant.
1) Ride it Out (or not)
If ever I hear that someone has struggled to fall pregnant, I always tell them that they will be grateful for their pregnancy all the more. I know that I certainly was. After a relatively difficult pregnancy I was so happy to be pregnant at all, that it meant that I didn’t ever feel like I was ‘missing out’. I certainly wasn’t worried about the rides that I couldn’t go on whilst pregnant at Disneyland Paris, even though I’m normally a huge fan of the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and Space Mountain despite many of Mrs Lighty’s friends probably not believing that to be the case!
Instead, think about all of the rides that you can go on, such as the annoyingly catchy It’s a Small World, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and the Haunted Mansion. Indeed, during one visit, Mr and Mrs Lighty went on the Haunted Mansion so many times that we started reciting the words whilst riding – “a ravishing bride, a vanishing groom!”!!
There are also plenty of shows that you can rest your weary, and probably swollen, pregnant legs at. There’s everything from the car stunt show through to Animagic, although Mrs Lighty’s favourite whilst pregnant was probably Stitch Live, simply because Mr Lighty got picked on by Stitch to be blamed for all of the mischief that he got up to!
2) Snack Smart
One piece of advice I’d give a pregnant woman in general, not just one visiting one of the Disney parks, is to make sure that you’ve got plenty of snacks with you at all times. If you’re feeling sick / ravenous / faint* (*delete as applicable), you’ll always have something to hopefully overcome those feelings. Queueing for food in the parks can take a while, or alternatively you may get stuck in a queue for a ride or a show and be unable to get out to get food, and so it may be a while before you can get your pregnant mitts on some grub. Having some simple snacks such as breadsticks, crackers or shortbread biscuits to hand will help you to instantly feel better.
Similarly, if you’re visiting Disneyland in Paris, go armed if you can with some basic French to explain to staff that you’re pregnant. There was much gesturing Bridget-Jones-style when we were trying to explain to the waiter in The Rainforest Cafe why I’d sent the undercooked ribs back. “Je suis – possibly – avec bébé!”
3) Be Prepared for – erm – all Eventualities
Just as with the snacks above, if you know how you’re likely to be feeling when Pregnant, go armed for all eventualities; this means the likes of booking a hotel with other amenities – perhaps a spa – so that you can relax and arming yourself with the likes of travel sickness bands if you’re feeling queasy.
After all, we try not to speak now of the 3 hour drive home from Paris to our Eurotunnel train at Calais when an 11 weeks’ pregnant Mrs Lighty couldn’t go longer than 5 minutes without throwing up into a plastic bag….therefore, make sure you are prepared for ALL eventualities!!
4) Add Character(s)
One of the biggest parts of the Disney magic for Mrs Lighty is meeting the characters. Yes, yes, I know, I’m far too old for this, but I love it. We actively looked for things to do which didn’t involve thrill-seeking rides (see point 1) when we visited when I was pregnant, and this meant that we had more time for meet and greets with the characters.
We were lucky enough to go at Halloween when I was 4 weeks pregnant, and then again when I was 11 weeks pregnant, when the park had been changed over for Christmas. This meant that the characters were dressed in all of their seasonal finery on both visits, and we had plenty of time to queue for photographs as we weren’t queuing for the big rides.
Mrs Lighty was 4 weeks pregnant when we met Buzz!
And Mrs Lighty was 11 weeks pregnant when we met Mickey and Minnie at Christmas!
5) Play the Waiting Game
One of the downsides of being pregnant at Disneyland is that there are bound to be times when you’ll have to wait around for other members of your party to get off of rides. However, you don’t need to let this get you down; remember that many of the major rides have fastpass tickets available so encourage the rest of your party to use those wherever possible, and then use the wait time wisely.
I found that I tended to use this time either to explore and photograph certain aspects of the parks that I knew I’d miss as part of a crowd, and also was also the designated photographer for photographing family members on the rides themselves where this is a possibility.
You may also get to see things that the rest of your party miss: Mrs Lighty is still very chuffed with herself for having seen the talking trash can on our last visit to Disneyland Paris whilst waiting for Mr Lighty and Daddy Hatchy to get off of the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, especially as this was recently listed in Buzzfeed’s 29 Things you’ll Never See at Walt Disney World Again! Clearly it is still around in Disneyland Paris, but I am the only one that’s ever seen it, hurrah!
6) Shop till you Drop!!
And if all else fails?! Definitely shop til you drop! Just think, all of those cute baby clothes and soft toys that you can purchase…or at least all of those cute baby clothes and soft toys that you won’t purchase because you haven’t had your 12 week scan yet, if you’re Mrs Lighty on her last visit that is, and which you’ll then have to send Mother-in-Law Lighty back for on a future visit because your brother wants to buy the baby one of the aliens from Toy Story for Christmas…
Ah well. I guess the moral of this story is that we’ll have to make another trip back now that Baby Lighty is here so that Mrs Lighty can experience the shopping – and not being pregnant whilst at Disneyland – properly!