Menu
How to travel with 3 kids and 1 on the way—and still make it magical

I'm still not ready for summer to end (yes, I know it's October), but I am always grateful for the memories made and quality time spent with our kids. We had plenty of trips to the beach, late nights watching movies, ice cream dates, and days spent at the pool with friends.

But the most magical part of our summer was undoubtedly our impromptu weekend at Disney World. With three kids in tow and one on the way, we weren't quite sure how to pull it off, but we were determined to make it happen. And—spoiler alert—it was totally worth it.

Here are 6 of my tried-and-true tips for making the mania of family travel extra magical.

1. Try a test drive.

As we quickly planned the details of our trip, we knew we were going to need a way to transport our entire crew since we planned on venturing outside of the park. Thankfully, we were able to secure a Chevy Traverse for the weekend.

We actually looked at this as the perfect opportunity to test out a new family car, as we will soon outgrow our little SUV with the newest member of our family arriving in January. We're going to need a bigger ride, and this was a great way to see if we liked this option before committing. (And for all you families of 6 out there, we definitely did!)

2. Embrace directions you can really trust.

As we arrived in Orlando, it was so nice being able to immediately hop in and get to our hotel quickly. Even with three car seats, a stroller, a diaper bag and several pieces of luggage, we had tons of room. Thanks to our wi-fi enabled ride and phone integration, we navigated our entire family around an unfamiliar place with ease. (Now a serious must for future family excursions!)

A car full of sleepy kids and bad directions just don't mix. It's always worth it to check that map twice or invest in travel options that you know can get you where you need to go.

3. Travel for the light in their eyes first and the attractions second.

As we pulled up to the Grand Floridian Resort, seeing the look on our children's faces was a sight I will never forget. The magic of Disney hit them as quickly as I imagined it would, but somehow seeing it all happen in real life was beyond my expectations. They could barely contain their excitement and seeing their expressions made the trip that much more magical for me. I'll never forget it.

4. Leave time to drive off the main road.

We tackled Epcot first, exploring new rides and trying out the new Chevy test track, followed by a special dinner with Mickey and Minnie and then the most spectacular fireworks show we've ever seen.

Throughout the rest of the weekend we visited almost every park and even made it to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, an experience we were all looking forward to. Being able to leave the park and drive there ourselves—enjoying some stops along the way—made the scheduling and planning a LOT easier on Mom and Dad.

Flexibility is everything when it comes to family travel. With a lot to see and do, make sure you leave time to stop along the way and have the unexpected adventure—even if it's just to deal with a diaper change.

5. It's the simple things that make family travel a true vacation.

And I should add, when you're comfortably nestled in a roomy car—protected from the intense Florida summer sun—a 40 mile drive to Cape Canaveral feels like a vacation in and of itself—a very welcome respite from walking to and from attractions. Our little one even got a nap in on the way which was obviously a total lifesaver. Nap schedules and vacation schedules rarely mesh well.

6. Stop adulting so hard.

Experiencing Disney World as an adult was incredible, and while it may be considered a destination created for kids—it's truly designed for the kid in all of us. My favorite part of the trip was Animal Kingdom. The African inspired safari was amazing. There were so many beautiful animals to see, and much like our 18-month-old, I was completely fascinated with each one of them. (I highly recommend!)

Make sure to find time to let go and do the things that will take everyone's breath away—your's included, mama!

We wrapped up the weekend with an evening at the Magic Kingdom and the most delicious dinner in our hotel; each of us feeling like this trip had all the makings of a fairy tale ending.

And even though our children were exhausted by the end of each day, even though there were plenty of meltdowns, and even though it was 100+ degrees—it was one of the best weekends we've ever had together as a family.

It's made me so grateful for each experience that made these memories possible from the eye-opening safari adventures to the easy comforts of a cool car. Adventure is out there—and while it can be challenging, it's so, so worth it.

This article was sponsored by Chevy. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Tenth & Pine: Gender-neutral and butter-soft basics for littles + bigs

In 2016, after a stage four endometriosis diagnosis and a 10 year battle with infertility, Tenth & Pine founder Kerynn got her miracle baby, Ezra Jade. As a SAHM with a Masters in Business, she wanted to create a brand that focused on premium quality, function, comfort, and simplicity.

She sought out premium, all natural fabrics and factories that shared her core values, practicing environmentally friendly manufacturing methods with fair and safe working conditions for employees. As a result, her made in the USA, gender-neutral designs check all the boxes. The sustainable, organic basics are perfect for everyday wear, family photos and any adventure in between.

Lucy Lue Organics: Sustainably and ethically-produced modern baby clothes

This family-owned and operated business was started by a mama who wanted out of corporate America after the birth of her son. Thoughtfully designed to mix-and-match, Lucy Lue's sustainably and ethically produced collection of modern organic baby clothes only uses fabrics that are "environmentally friendly from seed to seam." Their gorgeous, earthy tones and comfy, minimalist styles make the perfect addition to first wardrobes from birth through the first years.

Sontakey: Simple bracelets that speak your mind

Sontakey has been such a hit in the Motherly Shop that we knew it was time to expand the line. And since these beautiful mantra bands look so stunning stacked, more options = more fun.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

FEATURED VIDEO

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

Keep reading Show less
Life

Every parent can relate to these funny tweets about the presidential debate

If you've refereed siblings you can relate to Chris Wallace.

Wendi Aarons/Screenshot

The first presidential debate was painful to watch for many reasons. The sitting president of the United States failed to condemn white supremacy when asked, and while both President Trump and Joe Biden spoke nearly constantly, they didn't say much of value.

It was disappointing for stressed parents who would have rather heard more about policy and the future of America instead of watching two men interrupt and insult each other.

The candidates spent a significant amount of time talking over each other, asking the other to shut up and deflecting questions from moderator Chris Wallace, whose position was instantly relatable to any parent who has had to ask their children to stop squabbling at the dinner table.

FEATURED VIDEO

These viral tweets sum up the debate perfectly:

Keep reading Show less
News