Pregnant at Walt Disney World: Surviving My First Trimester
Even morning sickness couldn’t stop me from visiting my “Happiest Place on Earth” in the dead of summer during my first trimester, but there were certain obstacles I encountered (both anticipated and unanticipated) that I thought would be useful for moms-to-be to consider as you plan your vacation.
If you’re in your first trimester, it’s likely you haven’t announced your big news to the world. I certainly was not ready to share beyond my immediate family and close friends. A lot of us travel with extended family, friends, or even with friends of friends. And keeping your news a secret in an environment with rides, alcoholic drinks, and outrageous food offerings while simultaneously dealing with nausea and food aversions is a delicate balancing act.
Fortunately, with food and drink offerings, it’s fairly easy to appear to be making a choice unrelated to gestation from the myriad of options available. Many of the food menus are available online. Before going into a restaurant, I would choose what I would order and research any of the potentially off-limits ingredients before sitting down to the table. Of course with restaurants that change menus frequently, this sometimes did not work out perfectly. But I would often choose a second or even a third backup option to avoid drawing any unwanted attention to my new eating habits. If you normally enjoy alcohol at meals or while walking around World Showcase, coordinate with your partner so you may appear to share drinks so as not to arouse suspicious glances from those not yet in the know.
Rides are another matter entirely. This is where I gave up and just ended up telling people I was with that I was pregnant, but to please not share just yet because it was too early. I’m a ride junkie, and my favorites are pretty clearly to be avoided until after I give birth: Tower of Terror, Splash Mountain, Expedition Everest, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and several more were definitely not in my repertoire for this trip. Since everyone knows I never miss the chance to ride Tower of Terror or Splash Mountain, it was pretty obvious that something was going on. Many pregnant women may have the option of feigning a stomach virus (easy to do when you’re battling all-day morning sickness anyway) or newly developed motion sickness. But for me, there was no way this was going to work. I knew when we arrived at the recently opened Toy Story Land and was unable to ride either of the new attractions, it would be a dead giveaway.
A list of all of the attractions Disney advises pregnant women to avoid is included for reference below, but there are some notable exceptions to the list that surprised me and helped me enjoy a little thrill at the parks. For example, Soarin’ does not have a warning–likely because of its lack of a lap bar and smooth movements. But somehow I expected Disney to play it safe and have a warning sign. Luckily for me, it did not. Similarly, the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon did not have a warning sign. Of course every woman is different and every pregnancy is different, but it was great to have an option aside from the lazy river at a water park!
But overall, as a big lover of non-pregnancy friendly rides, I thought I would not have as enjoyable of a trip without them. In reality, I hardly missed them. I spent more time in shows and classic dark rides than I usually am able to on a short trip, and I may have enjoyed my vacation all the more for it.
For reference, below is a list of rides Disney advises pregnant women to avoid: