Many thanks to author Lisa Battista, for providing The Affordable Mouse with a copy to review.
Having spent over twelve years as a teacher of preschoolers and toddlers…in addition to having raised my own child…… :)…….I know only too well the joys…and challenges… that preschoolers can present on a day to day basis. Introduce them to something as overwhelming as Walt Disney World, and those challenges…and joys….become magnified. Being prepared is even more important with these little ones, if you want a magical vacation.
Knowing this, I was honored to be able to review the 2011 edition of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers. While there are a number of great Disney World guidebooks on the market, most are “general” types of books, providing valuable information, but not necessarily the kind of things that a mom (or dad) specifically needs to know when traveling to Disney with little ones. Such as which attractions your preschooler will probably love…and which ones could very likely scare the dickens out of them. Or how the Baby Care Centers can be a lifesaver. Or what to do to make sure you don’t get lost from your preschooler at the parks (at Disney, children don’t get lost, their parents do…) Or what kinds of things you need to pack specifically for preschoolers. Beyond the Attractions provides this information and a great deal more, making it indispensable in my opinion, for anyone who will be visiting Disney World with preschoolers or toddlers. Even Disney veterans who may have been many times before, will benefit from Lisa’s practical “mom” perspective, especially if this is a first trip with young children. As Lisa says in the introduction of the book, she offers a “new approach”:
“This Walt Disney World guidebook differs from other Disney World guidebooks in that it is not a general overview of everything the parks have to offer – much of which may not apply to small children – but is devoted solely to visiting with preschoolers. With a Disney World travel guide that provides specialized information and tips relevant to small kids, you’ll be able to plan an incredible trip with your preschoolers without wading through hundreds of pages of general information. Save hours of research with a succinct, yet complete Disney World travel guide that is easy to read without a lot of filler.
Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers was written by a parent for parents and caregivers. As a mother who has vacationed at Disney World with a young family, I know what parents care about and need to know when planning a Walt Disney World trip.”
One of the things that I especially like about Beyond the Attractions is that at 173 pages, it is an easy read: it’s filled with tons of valuable information, but yet not so long that you feel like you are reading War and Peace. Starting with “Top Six Tips for Travel with Preschoolers”, Lisa then moves on to discuss specific things that need to be considered when planning a Disney vacation as they relate to preschoolers. So for example, in “Preparing” she shares her thoughts on determining if your child is ready for a Disney vacation, gives some excellent planning advice, and provides helpful ideas for handling the “anticipation” factor with little ones. She then covers some of the basics like Lodging, Transportation, Touring, Attractions, Activities, Recreation, and Dining in subsequent chapters, all with planning tips for making things as stress-free for little ones…and their grown-ups….as possible.
Some of the most valuable information to the parents of preschoolers comes in the later chapters:
- Child Care and Safety: Here there is important information about safety, child-proofing, child identification, first aid as well as child care services so mom and dad can have some time for themselves if they want.
- Must-Do List: The best activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Resources: This section is indispensable with a list of important phone numbers, websites, books, local shopping, medical care and pharmacies (because unfortunately those ear infections still happen while you’re on vacation)
- Planning and Packing Checklists: Think you know everything you should bring to Disney with your preschoolers? Lisa has a complete list with ideas for things that are “must-brings” on a Disney vacation no matter what the age of your family members (I will be adding several to our next Disney trip).
- Paying for the Magic: Always near and dear to The Affordable Mouse, there are some very helpful ideas for saving for your trip…and on your trip.
Traveling to Disney with little ones has its own challenges that Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers will definitely prepare you for. I mentioned earlier in this review that Lisa starts her book with her Top Six Tips for Travel with Preschoolers. My years of working with preschoolers make this one my favorite:
“Don’t Force the Issue. Preschoolers are a funny bunch. They sometimes have difficulty communicating a fear or just plain discomfort with a ride or situation. If they resist a particular attraction, don’t force the issue; it’s easier to find a ride they do enjoy than having to coax them on future rides if they have a “bad” experience.“
Will you find this to be a helpful book as you plan your Disney vacation with your preschoolers? I am sure of it. In fact, I am sure that you will find this to be a helpful book even if you are a family of adults.
Disclaimer: While a copy of Beyond the Attractions was provided to The Affordable Mouse at no cost, this review consists solely of my own thoughts and opinions.
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