Planes, Babies and Automobiles

I have a recurring dream, or more accurately, nightmare. It probably originates from the huge sense of responsibility I feel when planning a WDW trip for everyone I allow to join me.

It goes something like this.

It is the end of a Florida holiday and somehow, for reasons that never become clear, we’ve done nothing. None of my plans have come to fruition, and we are about to head for the airport to go home. The feeling of having had a holiday slip through my fingers turns my stomach and brings me out in cold sweats.

It is a subliminal reminder to make the most of every second of these holidays of course and is probably some important message about life in general that I am missing the point of. I only mention it as I had a week off last week and I sit here on the cusp of returning to work feeling exactly like that. It vanished in a puff of smoke before I knew it was happening. I didn’t have any plans for my week off and that was intentional. Well, my plans were to do as little as possible to be honest, and bearing that in mind it was a success and yet I still feel that I’m only now ready for the time off and I need another week to do it properly.

I did manage to finish the West Wing and felt actual grief that it was over. I think I was one of the last few people on the planet not to have watched it, so if you are one of the others then do give it a go.  If you don’t fall in love with Martin Sheen then you should see a doctor.

We’re in June now somehow and this holiday hurtles towards us at great speed. I took the opportunity last week to get one of the final pieces of the jigsaw sorted by booking the hire car. As ever, I used US Rent a Car, mainly as you can secure it with a small deposit and pay fully a few weeks before. With the size of our party I have of course booked a mini van thing. When we get sent to the row of cars to choose from we’ll be looking for the one with most room of course as we have six adults and a car seat to cram in plus all our luggage. Those journeys to the airport and back are always hot and sweaty fun with suitcases on knees.

I think the plan is to take a car seat with us rather than rent one from the car hire folks. I’d appreciate any advice from those having done it but this seems to make sense for a few reasons…

  1. We will need it in the taxi to the airport at this end and on the journey home
  2. It costs an arm and leg per day to hire one
  3. You can’t be sure of the quality of whatever you rent

My thinking is that we will have Freddie in his normal car seat in the taxi to Manchester airport and then once at the airport we will label it up and send it through with the luggage. Am I missing something here which makes that a bad plan?

Maybe this is the answer? 🙂

Stroller wise I think we’re still in two minds. One option is to not take one and at the airport poor Tom will transport Freddie around in a harness, risking permanent damage to his back as Freddie is going to be a bundle by that time. We would then either use the one provided in the villa or buy a suitable one from a supermarket for day-to-day use. The other option would be to take a lightweight one with us and keep it until we get to boarding at the gate. I can see the benefits of that as Freddie can have a kip before we get on the plane if he needs it and we’d have it from baggage reclaim at Orlando too.  Hmm, not sure on that one. What is your advice dear reader?

Steer us in the right direction please if you have handled these logistical challenges.

Having had two gigs this weekend, resulting in two very late nights I am going to sign off now and rest my weary bones. As I type this nonsense, I am enduring Love Island as Emily is catching up with the previous episodes in preparation for the new series tomorrow. It is probably best that I don’t start expressing my views on this programme as I have to go to work tomorrow and I’d end up being short of time. My blood pressure may also suffer.

Have a good week.

Till the next time…..

24 thoughts on “Planes, Babies and Automobiles

  1. Car seat plan sounds great.

    Stroller wise, rather than take or buy a lightweight one I’d consider renting a more substantial one. Don’t forget, the adult pushing needs comfort as well. The Baby Jogger is a very popular rental stroller in Orlando and for good reason (we actually bought one when we got back we loved it so much). Almost full recline, mesh at the back (once reclined) so air can circulate and a really massive hood which provides great shade. Easy to put up and take down (a one handed job) plus beyond easy to push.

  2. Craig, I could have written this myself – the recurring dreams, the pressure of being the main holiday planner and the ‘wasted’ week off (substitute The Handmaid’s Tale for the West Wing). No advice on strollers or car seats, unfortunately, but let me congratulate you on bring a step ahead. With just 11 weeks until our trip, I have still to sort out the hire car. Our park tickets did arrive yesterday, though, all set for FP day on 23rd June. Happy planning!

  3. Have you watched Newsroom? More Sorkin excellence – particularly seasons 1 and 2.
    We took our own stroller – purposefully bought with Florida holidays in mind. Full recline and large sun hood are a must! Ours is a baby jogger city lite) We also took a baby carrier – mainly for use in Immigration (although there were only the 2 of us with our baby – you have lots of pairs of hand to pass him around!)

  4. We always took our own car seat and stroller. But I agree with the previous poster. It has to be a decent one. Comfy to push and lie flat so Freddy will sleep. Back in the day I liked a Maclaren but they may have been superseded by something better.

  5. I would highly recommend taking a stroller (we brought a Babyjogger city mini) for the airport here all the way through to having it there. We loaded our 2 year old up in it, plus hand luggage and Nanna was in charge of buggy and 2 kids which instantly removed the headache of a fed up tiddler and stopped Nanna wandering off! That was her main role for the whole holiday. We had it up to boarding and straight again once through immigration and reversed on return. No damage. In one piece and easy to transport. We also love our Maclaren and take a seat liner.

    Car seat we took our spare.. Britax Evolva. Handed it over at check in and that was it. Saw it again with our cases and repeated on the way home. It’s a very simple process that we repeat yearly to wherever we go. I hope that helps a little.

  6. Stroller wise I thoroughly recommend this one:

    We used this for all our travel when our son was younger. It folds really small and we would take it on the plane with us in its travel bag. No waiting for strollers at the other end and no carrying baby/toddler in immigration. It lies flat so perfect for naps during the day too. It served us well during multiple Orlando trips.

  7. I would/have taken a stroller. I think a city jogger is brilliant and used the same one in every holiday we have take and bought the travel bag that goes with it and it’s a godsend. Also for the airport and some bits we bought a sling and shoved her in there. It’s great for queuing. Saved my back loads

  8. Been a few years since we took them, but we always took our own. I prefer to not have to rely on anyone and know the condition of stuff etc. Never had any damage to either items. Full recline and big hood were minimum requirements. I also liked a basket underneath as it’s handy to store all the baby items and also shopping and drinks etc

  9. We’ve always done the carrier at the airport than hired a decent stroller from orlando stroller rentals. They have it waiting at ypir villa on arrival. We pay around $100 for 2 weeks for a baby jogger city mini – I wouldn’t bother with a cheap one from the supermarket. We tried it once & it lasted all of 3hrs before meeting the bin. Alternatively buy a lightweight one here to use- however still take the carrier as when dd was little we were stuck in immigration for over an hour – holding a wriggling baby would not have been fun without the carrier.

  10. Another vote for a Baby Jogger City Mini. I bought ours second hand specifically for our last WDW trip. You can get them for about £40-£80 second hand and then sell it on when you’ve finished with it as they hold their value really well. However, if you want a new buggy for Freddie, a cheaper alternative is a Joie Litetrax (3 or 4 wheel model). These are really lovely, lie flat for naps, have a huge sun shade, massive basket and have lots of extras included like a parent console, rain cover etc.
    They also have the all important one-handed fold. This is invaluable if you are staying on property and using the buses, as you have to fold the stroller every time you board. We took our son when he was 8 months old with a traditional fold buggy and looked on envy every time those with city minis (or similar) collapsed their buggy in an instant whilst we grappled with ours in the queue in the heat whilst people tutted behind us. So we highly recommended the baby Jogger or the lovely-looking litetrax.
    And yes, we took our own car seat first time round and would do so again. It goes onto the plane with the special luggage like cellos and racing bikes. We also bought a cheap bag to keep it clean in the hold which also had the benefit of us stuffing it with nappies for padding. (Less room taken up in suitcases by the pampers.) Hope that helps.

  11. Last year when we took Hollie, we bought a car seat bag off amazon and took our own. For rhe reasons already mentioned we preferred our precious cargo in her own seat as we knew she was comfortable in it and it was in first class condition. We used it to the the airport, bagged it and labelled it and off it went through the magic screens with our cases. We received it at the other end totally fine and was able to fit it in the rental car on collection. We also took our own buggy. Again, we knew she was comfortable in it, we already knew it was comfortable to push around and we could use it right up until boarding and again when waiting for the cases at the other end so she wasn’t running around. VA gave us a buggy bag and we bagged the buggy at the gate where VA took it off us as we went through the gate. Again, this went so smoothly and it was so convenient. Oh how I wish we were doing it all over again. Happy planning x

  12. I’m singing from the same hymn book as everyone, take your own! We took our own car seat and luckily it survived well in the hold, I didn’t even realise car seat bags existed and just glibly handed it over at oversized baggage! Hindsight is a good thing though and I would always buy a bag now, just in case! Similarly with the buggy, nice to have right to the gate for naps etc and it’s always useful for carrying Louise’s’ purchases from Duty Free! I would recommend an umbrella type (we also had a Maclaren) because of the way they fold, always much easier to use on the tram from the car parks. The space is quite narrow (as you know) and it’s easier to get on and off quickly. My sister once used the villa one and it was a complete nuisance to squash on! Good luck researching!

  13. Car seat… I did exactly as you said… but ref the pushchair, I took my own when my son was 9 months old, had the sun canopy and also rain cover for it, very doable in August… following year, we bought one from Walmart, click and collect, just make sure it has a hood and lie back facility, and I took a universal rain cover I bought from eBay…
    Taking small children certainly puts a different slant on things… enjoy xx

  14. We took our buggy and car seat with us when we took our then 8 month old. The buggy was really useful for the airport so I wouldn’t have been without it, we took a maclaren and also bought a bag for it. I would recommend a bag for both buggy and car seat just so that they stay clean. As a totally different point I would recommend buying a clip on buggy fan before you go if you haven’t already. I didn’t as stupidly thought we would get one when we were out there. Turns out we had a real nightmare finding one in Florida!

  15. Heya,
    When we took our 14 month old grandson last year – we really should have taken a car seat. We hired one and it was horrendous. We were in the car pick up area, boiling hot and they just point at a pile of car seats – they were no help – nope they can’t fit it – so there we were trying to find a ‘decent’ car seat and then trying to fit it in the car – the car you’ve only just managed to get the air con on in! So definitely take one.
    Pushchair is essential too – ours was a silvercross stroller and a godsend. When you get to baggage collection make sure one of you keeps an eye on the back wall of baggage claim and not the carousel – they have a tendency to line the pushchairs up there and not on the carousel.
    We were first off the plane….and last to leave the airport because of this. Oh the joys of arrival at MCO!

  16. Have taken the kids to Orlando since they were babies. Always took our own stroller and car seat. Had a McLaren buggy at the time which had three lay back positions, was perfect at night for the kids falling asleep.

  17. I’ve been getting that same recurring dream for the last 30 years of planning Florida holidays. The disappointment of wasting the precious 2 or 3 weeks is awful isn’t it?

  18. In my experience, mum of four, take your own car seat, it’s so easy, so much cheaper and the car hire ones are rank! ( I made the mistake of hiring one back in 2006!)
    Regarding the buggy, we have bought over there in later years and used the villa stroller once they are 4/5, but for a younger one I would definitely take my own, you need a good quality one for storing all the stuff, as well as baby, for pushing for hours on end and for your babies comfort. The Walmart ones are not great. We took our phill & teds (this was a few years back) and it was a god send. One year Virgin broke our Buggy on the flight home, we made a claim and ended up with a new one!

  19. It is many years since we did this but I can only echo all of the above take your own car seat and buggy- and one that collapses one handed.
    Also think of the rain cover for when you have it parked up and you are on a ride and it downpours, go nowhere without it!
    And West Wing, one of my all time favourite series ever, felt bereaved when it ended.

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