First Airplane Ride with an Infant

One of the greatest joys in my life was unquestionably meeting my wife. Being single well into my late twenties had its advantages when it came to traveling, but I undoubtedly wanted someone to share it with. Shortly after meeting my wife in May 2006, we were jet setting around the Country to experience new places together (Chicago, Las Vegas, South Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, the Bahamas (well almost), etc.). We were married in July 2008 and had our first son in April 2009. Starting a family was truly everything I always thought it would become.

Traveling with babies, then infants, and now a toddler has opened up a whole knew realm of possibilities when it comes to travel. Who knew I could enjoy my time watching Disney Toy Story 3 on ice or other kid friendly events? The major change with traveling as a young family though is the abundance of stuff you need while traveling. Yes you could always pick it up when you arrive at the local store (diapers, wipes, etc.), but sometimes it’s just not worth the time and effort. So into the suitcase it gets crammed.

In April 2010, I surprised my wife for her 30th birthday by flying us all out to California. The purpose…to see San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Disneyland (Anaheim). My parents, sister, and brother-in-law all accompanied us on the flight into San Francisco. My wife’s parents were also flying out to surprise my wife later in the trip to meet up with us at Disneyland. We left Easter afternoon at a smaller airport, making it extremely convenient with little crowds. This was after all going to be my sons first time on an airplane just days before his 1st birthday. In addition, it was our first major travel where we weren’t driving with all the necessary baby equipment.

Flying to San Francisco was honestly not a problem. There was enough entertainment between all of my family that our infant was easily enthralled. One thing I had never put any thought into ahead of time, and that saved us a ton of headaches, was that hotels typically provide a crib or pack-n-play just by asking. This alleviated my concerns of having to carry a pack-n-play to the other side of the country.

Another major bonus, when you are traveling with a young family, is a good stroller can pay dividends in the end. For this trip we chose to bring our larger stroller (not the quick umbrella type). This allowed us to easily carry around additional baby items for maintenance and entertainment. In addition, the back could be dropped to allow our son to sleep. And the best thing…that we could gate check the stroller free of charge. I have to say I was extremely surprised to see how friendly and accommodating airlines were with young families. On this trip, we flew Delta for the major hauls, and then took Southwest on the small connecting flight later in the trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

This trip really opened my eyes and made me think about future travel arrangements in more detail. We love to travel and as long as we are financially stable, we will continue to do so as we feel it creates a great learning environment for our son (and future child). When making plans for the trip though, we now need to think about a lot of items I never had to as a single traveler. What time will we be eating? How will our son react if he goes without a nap? How will we get from point A to B with stroller, etc.? I’ll elaborate more on our travels to California in future posts.

Today’s Groupon Ski Deals

Today there are some decent deals on Groupon for lift tickets.

$22 for a Weekend Lift Ticket ($45 Value) or $15 for a Weekday Lift Ticket ($35 Value) at Manning Park Resort via the Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada page. Click here for details and search for the Abbotsford page.

or

$45 for One Lift Ticket at Jay Peak Resort in Vermont ($69 Value) via the Boston, Massachusetts page. Click here for details and search for the Boston page.

Holiday Inn Downtown Disney Review

Over Thanksgiving (2010) we stayed at the Holiday Inn located in Walt Disney World. We last visited Walt Disney World for our honeymoon (July 2008) and stayed at the Royal Plaza (now the B Resort) located next door to the Holiday Inn. After having such a great experience at the Royal Plaza, we were a little hesitant to stay elsewhere. However, as a member of Priority Club Rewards, I was inclined to work on my Crack the Case promotion.

I was invited to take part in the Crack the Case promotion, and if I meet certain stay requirements up till May 2011, I receive bonus points. With planning for a future trip to Hawaii, I felt inclined to try and meet my requirements to stock up on points towards future stays. Therefore, we looked into the Holiday Inn at Downtown Disney.

Since the hotel is brand new, the reviews via TripAdvisor were great. On top of it, to our surprise, the rates over Thanksgiving were fantastic ($99/night). So we booked the hotel from Wednesday to Sunday.

We flew into Orlando (MCO) and arrived at the hotel around noon. Luckily, they had our room ready. The disappointing thing was that we reserved a resort view room. However, it’s not what you think. A resort view is a view of the resort area, not the Disney parks. The website description was completely off in this regards, so we were disappointed. However, we weren’t there for the view as we wouldn’t be in the rooms for long.

Overall the resort was beautiful and new. The room was adequate with one king bed. We were quickly brought a crib for our infant.

Before I forget, one thing we were extremely concerned with was bed bugs. My wife scoured the internet for reports of bed bugs. During our stay we quickly inspected the room and didn’t find any evidence of bed bugs.

Perhaps our best moment at the hotel was the pool. We went in the pool on Wednesday night after returning from Hollywood Studios. The pool was great! It was heated to the perfect temperature and was so relaxing to know we were swimming in November while it was freezing and snowing back home.

Another one of our favorite aspects of staying at the Downtown Disney resorts but not a Disney resort is the transportation. There is a separate bus route exclusively for Downtown Disney resorts. The best part is it’s not nearly as crowded, typically, then the Disney resorts. We never had to wait for a second bus, although we did have to stand one time on the bus, which is expected during park closing time.

Overall, we would absolutely stay at this Holiday Inn again as the price and accomodations exceeded our expectations.