When my husband and I first got pregnant, we had a huge Disney trip planned with two of our best friends. We were trying to get preggers, and I was exactly four weeks along when we found out. I honestly thought it was going to take us at least three months to conceive, as I had been told by an ex-gynecologist that I only had about a 30% chance of ever getting pregnant, and there are a lot of couples out there who are way healthier than us that struggle with conception. With that in mind, I wasn’t too worried about pregnancy affecting our upcoming Disney trip, which was in the beginning of November during the Food & Wine Festival and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. However, we were very fortunate and got knocked up within two weeks of trying.
It was a Saturday morning, and we were having our Halloween party that night. I was trying to figure out what to wear, but knew I was due for my period to start that day or the next. I wanted to know if I should wear pants or a skirt, and since we had been trying, I decided to go ahead and take a pregnancy test. To my surprise, that second line turned ever so slightly pink. I called my best friend, a nurse and mother of three, and asked her if a very light pink line constituted as being pregnant? She started screaming and crying, so I knew that must mean yes. Skirt it is for the party, then! I swapped my wine for grape juice, and our party guests were none the wiser.
That Monday morning I immediately called my doctor to say I tested positive and set up an appointment. To my dismay, the receptionist said they don’t see women for pregnancy confirmations until they’re at least six weeks along. I had so many questions, mostly about my Disney trip the following week. They put me in touch with a nurse, who simply said that it doesn’t matter how far along you are, if you’re 4 or 40 weeks, don’t ride anything that says you shouldn’t if you’re pregnant. This was not what I wanted to hear. I could deal without drinking at the Food and Wine Festival, not a problem. But now I can’t ride anything?? And we’re going with two of our best friends…they’re going to know something is up when I’m not getting on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or having my prosecco while we wander around the World Showcase, and I didn’t want to tell anyone so early on.
Another thing you should know—I’m a bit of a paranoid hypochondriac. My husband has banned me from googling any symptoms, and I’m pretty sure he’s blocked WebMD entirely. I also like to do a lot of research and prepare for everything (I would have made an excellent boy scout.) So that whole week, I researched the crap out of “Disney while pregnant” on the internet. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that was helpful; there was absolutely nothing telling me about what rides were safe (other than people saying it says it on the ride sign, but not actually listing the rides), how to prepare for the trip, etc. For someone like me, who not being prepared is not an option, it was a nightmare.
I kind of figured everything out as time passed on the trip. Since I was only five weeks along when we left for the trip, my morning sickness had not hit me yet. However, I was exhausted the entire time. My feet ached. My lower back hurt. My breasts had all kinds of aches and pains. My memory was already going (pregnancy brain is real, guys.) And all I really wanted to do was sleep, but I was not about to spend our week long vacation doing that. As for keeping it a secret from my friends, I think I managed. I am gluten intolerant, and anytime they’d want to ride a roller coaster, I’d say I was feeling sick and must have eaten something cross-contaminated. (This is not true; Disney is a gluten free heaven. I’m sure I’ll write a post about that one day.) I’d also pull out the old “I have heart problems” excuse and that I wanted to get my heart checked out first. (This one is true. I have mitral valve prolapse, but the last time I went to the cardiologist he said mine was so minor I could ride what I want, with the exception of Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.) They said they directly asked at one point if I was pregnant and I said no, but I have no memory of that, so in my head it never happened. Anyways, I hope by posting my tips below that I will help someone else out there who is looking for guidance.
- Don’t go in your first trimester. As previously stated, there was nothing nice about my first trimester. Between the body aches, not being able to ride much, and all around uncomfortable-ness, including having to constantly pee, it wasn’t the best trip, and I can only imagine how much more difficult that trip would have been had my nausea already kicked in.
- Don’t go in your third trimester. I never went to Disney in my third trimester, but I know how miserable the third trimester can be. My daughter was born in the middle of July, and we live in Georgia. I could barely go outside for more than five minutes before being like “Nope, not doing this!” and heading back in. We had to keep the house at 60 degrees at night just for me to fall asleep and not breakout in night sweats. Everything is swelling and achy during that trimester, and talk about the constant need to pee. Do you really want to add Florida, crowds, and standing in line to that mix?
- Get some really good castle pictures for pregnancy announcements, Christmas cards, etc. with baby merchandise. Pictures are a great way to have fun with pregnancy at Disney World, and the Photopass cast members are pros with this. We did this during our trip, and it was the picture we used on our Christmas cards to announce our pregnancy. Even if you’re not going to use it for some sort of card, it will be nice to have those pictures, who doesn’t love tiny baby Mickey ears??
- Don’t try to do it all. You can still cover a lot of ground while pregnant, but keep in mind your body’s limitations. You need to rest more, drink more water, and take breaks more often. If you’re not feeling up for running all the way across the park to catch a fastpass, then don’t. Overexerting yourself, especially in the constant Florida heat, isn’t safe for you or your baby. Take breaks and stay hydrated. Enjoy the atmosphere and know you’ll be able to hit Disney hard at another time.
- Don’t let this be your first Disney trip. If the trip we took while I was pregnant was the very first one, I don’t think Disney would be something we still do on a yearly basis. Don’t get me wrong, you can do a fair amount of stuff, but you’re also limited. Additionally, if you’re the hormonal type of pregnant woman, where you’re happy one second and wanting to murder the next or crying because the sprinkles on the ice cream weren’t the right color, then being around so many [sometimes inconsiderate] people might not be the best idea. Thankfully, I wasn’t a hormonal pregnant woman, but if my period happens to hit while we’re in Disney, look out fellow park-goers. Point being, you’re not you when you’re pregnant. Experience Disney for the first time as YOU.
- Bring snacks and water and dress comfortably. ‘Nough said.
- Look into tours and explore resorts. One thing my husband and I did on our trip was the Behind The Seeds Tour at Epcot. Living With The Land is one of my favorite attractions, so this was something I’ve always wanted to do, and this tour is really inexpensive (only $25 per person.) This one specifically is a two-hour walking tour. It’s not so much walking that your feet are aching or so long that you might have some bladder leakage (assuming you’re in your second trimester.) Anyways, Disney offers a multitude of tours that are worth looking into. If you want to take advantage of something a little less expensive, as in free, check out A Pirate’s Adventure. It’s a scavenger hunt located where Frontierland and Adventureland meet, and it is so much fun! There are five rounds that take you all around Adventureland searching for Captain Jack Sparrow’s treasure. It is genuinely one of the coolest things at Disney, and something we have to do every trip. Disney also has so much to offer outside of the parks, including resorts, the Boardwalk, and Disney Springs. There are more than 30 resorts, each with a unique theme, that’s open to visitors to explore. You can spend a whole trip (or a day) resort-hopping and seeing what each resort has to offer. (Side note: The Boardwalk is so much fun, and even has a back entrance into Epcot! Be sure to check that one out at night when it is all lit up.)
- Eat well. Take advantage of your pregnancy and go to some of the fun restaurants. Eat around Disney and try new places. Epcot has so many amazing restaurants and quite the variety. At the Magic Kingdom, you can dine inside the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Personally, my favorite restaurant is Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot. You can’t go wrong with the filet mignon, but be prepared to spend a pretty penny. It is definitely worth it, but it will make any other steak you ever have in your life taste like garbage. Also, this restaurant fills up fast, so make those reservations well in advance (Disney allows reservations up to 180 days in advance.)
- Enjoy the attractions that are safe to ride, and don’t forget about the shows. Download the My Disney Experience app and start checking out the shows that are available. All of them are of course safe while pregnant, as you’re only viewing something. For your benefit, I have listed all the attractions that do not have pregnancy warnings at the end of this list, so that’s one less thing you have to do!
- Have fun! Understand that you’re going to Disney while pregnant, and this is your choice. No, you can’t do that much, but you can still have so much fun! Your attitude is yours and is something only you can control, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the vacation you’re paying so many dollars for.
Attractions that do not have pregnancy warnings, per the My Disney Experience app, as of 12/27/2017:
- Magic Kingdom
- Astro Orbiter
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Haunted Mansion
- It’s a Small World
- Jungle Cruise
- Mad Tea Party
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Pirates of the Caribbean (Concerning this ride, there is a “small” drop at the beginning. It’s enough of a drop that it turns my stomach and feels thrilling. However, there is no warning, and I’m assuming Disney knows what is and isn’t safe. I rode it a couple times while pregnant, but it still made me nervous. Use your best judgment.)
- Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Walt Disney World Railroad
- Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
- Frozen Ever After (Once again, this has a “small drop” towards the end of the ride. It is enough of a drop that it is thrilling, but there is no expectant mother’s warning. Use your best judgment.)
- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
- Journey Into Imagination With Figment
- Living With The Land
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends
- Spaceship Earth
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Star Tours (WARNING! This attraction is listed as one that expectant mothers SHOULD NOT ride. However, there is one ship that does not have any motion. You MUST request that one to be placed there. It still has the 3D screen and glasses, just no movement and should be safe for expectant mothers; however, check with the cast member at the front of the line cue and always use your best judgment.)
- Toy Story Mania! (This ride has no warning; however, I found it to be very jerky, which made me nervous. It is not one I will ride again while pregnant, especially if I have any kind of belly. Use your best judgment.)
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Na’vi River Journey
- TriceraTop Spin
There you have it! That’s all the rides safe (for the most part) for expectant mothers. Magic Kingdom has the most to offer as far as rides go, but keep in mind Epcot and Animal Kingdom are mostly walking parks and this list does not account for shows.
Please also note that I am not a doctor nor do I have any experience or formal education in medicine, and you should consult your doctor before taking any trip while pregnant. Just because going to Disney World while pregnant was a good and safe decision for me does not mean that it is the same case for you. Use your best judgment and reach out to your doctor for any questions or concerns pertaining to your health and safety; after all, that’s what you’re paying them for!
As always, I’d love to hear your comments! Do you have anything to add to this list? I can really only speak from a first trimester perspective and then build off of how my second and third trimesters in general were, so any advice is always appreciated!