Vacation with TwinsIt's that time of year again: time to plan the family vacation. But where on earth can you possibly go with young multiples? Well, members of the Twins and Supertwins List have come up with a few suggestions. Some are fairly specific, such as things to see in New York City or how to survive Disneyland. Others are more general, like how to survive a ski trip. Either way, we hope this will give you some ideas. Happy Trails! --Lisa
Twinsburg Twins Festival
- We have heard about the Twins Festival in Twinsburg Ohio and are thinking about going there for vacation. Has anyone gone? Was it fun? Would you go again?
- I went a few years ago... it was amazing to see so many people looking and dressed alike and WANTING you to stop and stare at them... there are contests for most alike and unalike in all age categories. It's held in August I believe, and is VERY hot and crowded...lots of walking and lots of strollers is mostly what I remember.... It was just kind of a weird scene.. be forewarned.
- The Resources FAQ has some information on this. One interesting site you might want to check out is ID twin John Robinson's. There are pictures from previous years, information on registration, etc. You can also try http://www.twinsburg.com -- you'll find info on travel, hotels, etc.
- We are planning a trip to Disney World in October - primarily for our 8 year old daughter. We will be taking the twins as well who will be 6 months old by then. We are seasoned travelers (international and domestic) so the trip itself doesn't scare me. It's the travel with 2 babies and Disney that are getting me worried. I would love to hear from anyone who has done the same with any tips they can offer. We will be staying on property as I expect I will be back in the hotel while DH and DD will be having all the fun. Are there many things that can be enjoyed while holding babies or pushing the stroller (our own of course)?
- While I've never travelled to Disney with kids, we have been MANY times (family in the area) and I'm a former travel agent and "Disney Specialist" (I passed the training program). So I can, hopefully, give you some tips.
- October is a GREAT time to be there - the crowds are about as low as they get! BUT, there will still be crowds at times, especially for popular attractions. So, avoid lines! If it is something you really want to do, try back at a later time. For example, when you go to EPCOT, there is ALWAYS a huge line for Spaceeship Earth in the morning (everyone heads to it first). Go past this line and enjoy just about everything else without lines! Mid- afternoon, go back to Spaceship Earth. There won't be any line as everyone else has done it in the morning!
- There are great "quiet" places in each theme park. My favorites are:
- Magic Kingdom - just in front of the castle, towards Tomorrowland, is a covered pavillion. They used to run swan boat rides from it many years ago. Now it is just quiet! There are a couple of benches and a wonderful view. You almost always see one or two people feeding babies here. But not many people know about it. It's a great place to get a "quiet" break.
- EPCOT - Behind the stores in the United Kingom pavilion there is a wonderful little garden with a topiary of Mary Poppins. Another great place to have a few "quiet" minutes.
- Studio Park - To the right of the "Tower of Terror" is a very nice formal garden area. Not many people go there, so it is another good "quiet" place, but a bit out of the way.
- Just beyond the "Honey I shrunk the kids playground" there is a display of props that is usually very calm and quiet.
- TAKE A BREAK from the sensory overload! Go to a park in the morning. Head back to your hotel (where are you staying?) around lunchtime. Take a nap, a swim (if it's warm enough) get a nice break. Head back to the parks mid- afternoon. You'll enjoy it all a LOT more!
There are plenty of things to see/do, even with twins in a stroller. There are shows, street performers, parades, gardens, fountains, . . . to see/experience without having to actually go through any attractions! And, if you pick well so you don't have too many lines, you and dh can take turns watching the twins while the other accompanies your daughter on the attractions.
I HIGHLY recommend getting Birnbaum's Guide to Disney. This way, you can decide in advance what attractions you REALLY want to see. It also offers some GREAT tips on how to do things with the least amount of stress!
- I took the kids to Disneyland last fall when the twins for 3 mo. old. It went pretty well. Disneyland has a Baby Station that is great. There are high chairs, real changing tables (as apposed to the fold-downs in the restroome), rooms for breastfeeding moms etc etc. You can also buy baby food, formula, diapers, bottles, pacifiers etc. etc. if you run low. There's also a mini-kitchen with microwave, etc. for heating up stuff. I found it was a nice clean, quite place to take care of baby business and get the kids out of the hectic crowds. I hope Disney World has the same. It was at the end of Main Street at Disneyland.
At Disneyland there are what they call baby passes for some of the major attractions. What happens is that you all get in line for a particular attraction. Take the stroller right in with you. There will be a point (of course) where the stroller cannot go any further. Usually at that point there is a Disney aid there who will give mom or dad a baby pass. What this means is that DH can take DD on the ride and you will take the babies out of line at that point with your pass. Once DH and DD are finished, DH will stay with the babies and you can take your baby pass along with a guest (DD) and go through the exit to ride the attraction. Upon presenting your pass you'll get to enjoy the attraction without waiting in line (basically DH and DD already did your line time). Its great... everyone gets to enjoy the attraction and DD will get to go twice! It seems that most major attractions have this system.
Also, be prepared to be stopped! As a twin mom I'm sure we're all used to this but at Disneyland it seemed particularly bad. I had tourists wanting to take photographs of them pushing my babies etc. Just a little warning!
- We survived the tragic kingdom!!! Definite "do's":
We thought overall, however, that the kids (2 and 4 mos twins) were obviously way too young, esp. since the hotel and passes to the parks are so expensive...its tough to tell a 2 yr old that she can't go on dumbo again 'cause the wait is an hour! We'll go back when they're more like 6 and 8.
- Character Breakfast..if you're into Pooh, do it on Wed. or Sun at Olivia's Cafe out at the Old Key West Resort...small restaurant..LOTS of contact w/Pooh and Tigger and Eeyore.. Pooh took our twin stroller and strolled the babies around the restaurant! The food is better at the Crystal Palace, but it takes a long time for the characters to come to your table (hard for 2 yr old to wait) and its a mob scene.
- DO take your own stroller..the rentals are crummy looking, no padding in seats or reclining for naps.
- Do get there as soon as, or before the rides open... Our toddler liked Dumbo, the Carosel, Its a small world, and the train to Mickey's Toon Town (she met Mickey there) and enjoyed sitting on Minnie's furniture. This is from a kid that has never seen a Disney anything except Winnie the Pooh videos!
- DO plan to only spend a few hours there if your kids are small... our toddler found the crowds overwhelming, and the travel, lack of naps, etc. left her passed out in the stoller by 11 am... we never even made it to the parades... bummer... but the hotel pool at the Disney Yacht Club (you can crash it even if you're not a guest) is AWESOME..it has sand in it, a beach in the middle, and is about 2 ft deep for much of it so the toddlers can go right in...we spent 2 whole days lounging there..plus there's a great adult water slide, a deeper pool w/current and tubes, and a nice snack bar.
The Old Key West Resort is great (condos).. w/washer dryers, kitchens, nice pools, very luxurious but not stuffy.
I packed too many diapers and too many crackers..oh well.next year its a beach vacation...
- As a long time go-er to WDW (the twins have been 5 times and they are only 4), for a Character Breakfast your best bet is Chef Mickey's at The Contemporary... (IMHO) For several reasons, buffet for one, and most of the Characters (ie Chip, Dale, Goofy, Pluto, Mickey and Minnie are there), go early enough and you can even catch the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. (The service here is FANTASTIC.)
For those who perefer Epcot, there's a Character Breakfast at the Land pavillion and the revolving resturant. I don't know about MGM but I do know that if you Do Lunch at MGM and you like Pizza and Toy Story head down to the Pizza Planet cause Buzz and Woody are there and if you get there around 10:30 theres NO ONE there to see them, also Pizza Planet is around the corner from Star Tours and at 1 PM they have the Toy Story Parade which Starts right there.
DO take your own stroller..the rentals are crummy looking, no padding in seats or reclining for naps Agreed here, though occasionally they may have 2 Duo strollers available. (I was luck enough to get one, and it was free cause they where testing them.)
Do get there as soon as, or before the rides open... Yup... And believe it or not the lines are always longets for Dumbo, try and hit that area of the park first. OH yeah for thsoe who don't know it, where 20,000 Under the Sea used to be is now a character fair where the characters are they vary as to who is there, but It is the BEST place to see Beast (for all you B&B fans).. And for those who like Duck Tails and Dark WingDuck, Launchpad McQuack is also there. (The only place I saw him.)
I packed too many diapers... And I always pack too little diapers, and lord knows to buy diapers at Disney you may as well give them your first born they are so expensive.
Other good Hotels to stay with youngsters (IMHO) are The Contemporary, it's easy (cause of the Monorail) It has a Fun center, and a baby pool as well as play area and regular pool.. Port Orleans Now they had a great pool with a Seasepant slide, a kiddie pool and a nice enclosed play area, there's a Boat to take you to the Village (I believe. we didn't take it cause the boats stopped at 10 pm)
Oh one more thing even if your not a guest at the Contemporary it's worth a visit, you can always find a character hanging out in the lobby near check in.. This past time we ran into Eyore and Max (Goofy's son)
- Well, the family went to Disneyland last week and it was a HUGE success. DH and I, Grandpa and Grandma, and our two 14 month old sons all went for the day. The boys were old enough to really enjoy many of the children's rides, especially the train rides and the merry-go-round. We had to go on every train ride in the park. The boys had such a good time they didn't whine or cry all day, way too much excitement for crying.
The baby station at the end of main street was wonderful. A great peaceful place to stop with the boys and recharge. We used the diaper changing room and the people there were very helpful. It was a nice feature about Disneyland I didn't know about before. For the smaller toddlers take advantage of the baby station's highchairs. It's nice and quiet, a great break to let the little ones wind down while they eat.
Get a large locker to keep the "extras" in ... the extra 2 - 3 changes of clothes for the kids and the never ending supply of crackers. Keep the diaper bag you carry with you light, so you can take it with you and not leave it in the stroller.
We did end up taking 2 strollers. We have a graco side by side which I love, but knew would be a problem with crowds. I'm glad we took two singles, because they fit in the shops much easier. We also brought along two bicycle locks, but with the excitement only used them half the time. We had no problems with missing or stolen things from the strollers.
Schedule Toon Town for a time during the day when the kids would need to stretch their legs, it's great for 2 year olds and up. Lots of climbing and play areas. Toon Town was a bit too old for the boys, they weren't big enough for most of the climbing things, but enjoyed watching the train and running around. Tow Sawyers Island was the best for letting them explore.
The most important thing is don't go on a weekend!! Wednesdays and Thursdays are good, it's not too busy and much more enjoyable. Also, try to avoid the summertime altogether ... fall and early spring are best. The crowds could ruin a trip to Disneylnd if you don't plan right.
We can't wait to take the boys next year and are already planning for Grandma and Grandpa to fly down again.
- We just got back from Disney World last Thursday. If anyone plans on going in the near future Magic Kingdom NOW HAS DOUBLE STROLLERS!!!!!!!
Unfortunately for us they got them in the day before we left and we didn't know it till we had already decided to just use our own umbrella strollers.
I will back track a little, I bought a book about Disney with kids. The book said it was better to take your own strollers since the Disney ones were expensive $6 per stroller per day and you get 1 Disney dollar back per returned stroller. We didn't want to bring our "good" strollers so we brought two umbrella strollers and bought the Connect two by four dee products.
Mistake #1 umbrella strollers don't recline (NAPS)
Mistake #2 our umbrella strollers don't have shades (The SUN)
The First day we went to EPCOT with our umbrella strollers and ended up watching Bill Nigh the science guy 3 times while the boys napped with the strollers tilted up so they could nap laying down instead of hunched over.
The Second Day we went to The Magic Kingdom and rented their strollers which are kind of old and clunky not to mention we had to get one replaced twice. The Third day we went to MGM and rented their strollers, which buy the way are very very nice, made by peg perego, unfortunately for us the boys had a bad day and we ended up going back to the Fort Wilderness Home early, so they didn't get the full benefit of the "nice" strollers.
The Fourth day we returned to the Magic Kingdom but decided not to rent the strollers since we already spent $20 dollars on renting strollers and frankly didn't like MK stollers. Of course by the time we realized they had brand new double strollers the line for strollers was too long and they probably didn't have any left anyway. So the boys napped tilted up in the shade.
- We went to Disney World in January of 98. My twins were 6 months old and my three sons were 8, almost 5, and 2 1/2 years old. Expect crowds. Some of the lines we waited in for up to 45 minutes, so you may want to take a back pack with some books or toys. Most of the shows and inside attractions don't allow strollers. That was inconvenient to us.
We also took snack foods and juice boxes in our backpack. We did see people carry a round home made sandwiches too. (the food is expensive) Overall it was stressful but the kids had a great time, so it was worth it. We plan to go back in a few years, when the twins are older and can enjoy it too.
New York City
- We stayed at the Doubletree Suites in Times Square--I highly recommend it! They had a "kidspace" play area stocked with toys, kids menu on room service, and the kids slept in their own room. We had a fridge and wet bar which made it easy to fix toddler meals in the room.
- We went to the Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaur bones on Friday (open to 8:30 on Friday nights). The kids were jet lagged so they weren't sleepy and the empty museum made it possible to let them run around.
- We ate at Mainstreet across from the museum on Columbus Ave. It's a family style restaurant with kid-food in huge portions that are made to be shared-- meat loaf, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, roasted chicken. There were at least 15 strollers parked in the hall!
- Twins Restaurant is currently looking for a new site. I don't know if the old one is still open during the transition:
Twins Restaurant is an eclectic downtown restaurant on the upper east side of Manhattan (1712 Second Avenue(@89th )), owned by identical twin sisters Lisa Ganz, twin sister Debbie Ganz, and actor Tom Berenger. We are the only restaurant of its kind, staffed entirely by 37 sets of identical twins who work the same shift, in the same station, in the same uniform. Twins Restaurant opened November 14, 1994. We get 10-20 sets of multiple customers each evening for dinner (ranging form newborns, sextuplets to 95 years old) and when multiples come in, they sign our twin guest book, they get their picture taken (which goes on the wall) and they get two for one drinks (triplets get three for one, quadruplets get four for one). In addition, we specialize in single malt scotches, because it is the only single thing we have!!!! It doesn't end there - we have twin towers, double door knobs, doublemint gum, double sided business cards, double light fixtures, double mirrors and of course, double bar stools. You see Double before you have a cocktail. We have reunited twins separated at birth, done twinless twin get togethers, done group threapy for twins and above all let the "single" world enjoy the fraternity of multiples we were born into.
Twins Restaurant is a restaurant first and a concept second. At a time when theme restaurants have infiltrated the food world very few are highly recognized for its great food. We have an American menu with a mediterranean influence. This is what puts Twins in a class of its own. We are open for dinner seven nights a week, beginning at 5:00pm and we are open for Sunday brunch from 11:00am - 4:00pm. We are not open for lunch, only Sunday Brunch.
Hopefully we will see you soon and you can and enjoy the "Twinergy" of Twins Restaurant.
Debra & Lisa Ganz
The Ganz Twins (1-800-RU TWINS)
- My DH got to select a day off from work recently, and suggested that we take a ski trip up to the local mountains. I checked the net to find out about the ski conditions and decided on the one which had the best coverage still as it is spring conditions which often means skiing on rocks and hence very rough on the skis. This would be the girls' first time skiing! (They're 2 1/2.)
To get ready for this trip I got my DH's skis waxed (we hadn't been skiing since I was PG with the girls). Got out our ski clothes and accesories. Scotchguarded the girls snowsuits, which by the way are for 18-24 month olds and barely fit. Got out their bike helmets, packed up the jeep and away we went.
Once we got up to the mountains we went to rent skis and boots for myself and the girls. The little boots and skis where soooooo cute. I rented slightly better than planks as the conditions didn't warrant spendng the extra money on the high performance skis that I usually rent (boy was that a good decision as I really should have rented water skis!!!)
We ate lunch at McD's before going to the slopes. Once there we got 1/2 day tickets (the girls were free as they are under 6). So off we go. First stop was the beginner area where they give lesson and put the girls in their skis and started then down the hill. They actually went all on their own. It was so cute. They where saying WEEEE all the way. (I got video :) Then after about a half an hour of that we went over to one of the beginner lifts and with help from the lift attendants we got on the chairs and away we go-- up the hill. I think the girls liked that part the best! To go down the hill we would put the girls between our skis and have them hold on to our legs or poles and we would go down the hill. WEEEEEE. We did this about a dozen times (very exhausting for mom and dad) and then we took a break at the lodge, at which time dad to a could of run down the slopes solo and then relieved me and I to do a solo trip. The temperature was in the 60's so the slopes where very, very mushy. I decided that one trip all the way down the run was enough for me. It was 4:30 by this time and they where shutting down the slopes. Yea!!!
We went to out hotel and got settled in, then went out for dinner. The motel had two porta-cribs which we set up and set the girls in and they fell asleep within 3 seconds. No one even stirred until 8AM the next morning.
We got ready and did it all over again only it was warmer and more and more slushy conditions. We did the beginner lifts about 8 times and then I got the brilliant idea to take the girls all the way to the top, eat lunch there and then go down the big, long green run with the girls. Well, we got up there and no one was hungry yet so we went on down the hill. Yikes! As it turned out the slush conditions were just as bad if not worse up the hill. That makes the skiing very difficult, plus the added "baby between the skis" that doesn't want to go to fast. It was a very exhausting trip down the hill with lots of rest stops. The girl with me didn't want to stop and would start crying everytime we did and she would point downhill saying go, go, go... Needless to say, mom needed the frequent breaks as my legs felt like they where going to burn up. We FINALLY made it to the bottom and agreed that we weren't going to try that stunt again. The conditions where getting terrible so we turning in our lift tickets for $10 vouchers for next ski season.
I did get the suggestion to get a harness and let them go on ahead of you with that - sounds like a good idea.
All in all we had a blast. The girls really loved being outdoors in the snow and dad and I got a better workout that just skiing by ourselves.
- Just wanted to plug one of our favorite vacation places, Las Vegas. We went when the kids were 2, stayed at Circus Circus & had a blast. There are theme parks - the one at Circus Circus is under a dome - yea! for air conditioning- and another at the MGM Grand. May be more by now - it's been a few years. There are water slides, Lake Mead w/ Hoover Dam, room service (another yea!), shopping and oh yeah, gambling. I don't even like to gamble. They always take my money so fast, I'd rather just have a few drinks at the bar and people watch. Or better still, go shopping - that way I have something to show for my money.
We'd usually get up relatively early and do something kid-oriented - playground, theme park, lake. Then DH and I would take turns 'babysitting'. He was happy to hang out during the afternoon nap time, when I like to go running around, and I am happy to turn in early so he could go do some nighttime gambling. We used one of the babysitting agencies the hotel recommended for a night out and had a grandmotherly woman come up to the room for a few hours. There were two babysitting agencies in town, with all the babysitters checked-out and bonded.
We're going again this May, but mainly for a wedding. But we'll be taking the kids, now 6, and staying at Excalibur (the Camelot-themed casino/hotel). Sounds pretty kid-friendly, and it'll be on the other end of the strip from where we were at Circus Circus. I can't wait!
BTW, our Vegas trip with 2 year-olds was, by far, the time that we most used the wrist to wrist leashes. Don't leave home without 'em. The walkways can be very crowded, and I got several nice comments and people asking where I'd gotten them.
- My husband had business for a few days once we arrived in France. I traveled around with one baby in a front pack that could face forwards or towards me. The other baby and our toddler were in our Kolcraft double umbrella stroller. We bought the stroller specifically for the trip and it held up well. I do have to say that things would be easier with single strollers if you have two adults to push them. We are spoiled in the US to have everything wheelchair accessible-- it is not so in France.
I could not grocery shop in just any of the stores because the stroller would not fit through. Fortunately I found a couple stores that did have wide enough doors. It was also difficult using the metro. I could never had done it on my own with three kids, but when my husband was done with his business, we used the metro quite a bit, but not without difficulty. We used a single stroller for the 2 1/2 year old and the double stroller for the twins. Since the metro is underground, there were a lot of stairs to go up and down. Once in while there was an escalator and I only saw an elevator once. My husband carried the single stroller (banana type) with my daughter in it and drug the double stroller behind when going up and down the stairs. I carried the babies -- one in each arm with them facing out. Boy, did we get a workout!!! We could just wheel the single stroller on the train, but the double stroller did not fit. So I continued to hold the babies and my husband took care of the strollers and toddler. We got a lot of smiles!
We did rent a car and carseats for part of our trip. The carseats were expensive but we figured their safety was worth it. Be sure to reserve seats ahead of time since availability is sometimes limited.
We did not realize that banks are about the only places you can cash traveler's checks. We expected it to be like it is here where they are accepted at a lot of places. One of my missions while my husband was working was to cash the checks. The banks there all had double doors to get in-- push a button on the first door, go in, when it closed, push a button on the second and go in. Problem was, the space between the two doors was small especially considering I was pushing a double stroller, had a baby in front of me and a diaper bag on my back! Just something to be aware of!
The milk in France tastes different and has a different texture to it than in the US so be prepared for your milk drinking children to not like it. Our daughter drank a lot of soda since she didn't like the milk and the water seemed to upset her stomach. We did buy a lot of bottled water also and she did okay with that. I had been warned that the jarred baby food was different than what we buy here so I took along plenty of that. (I did see jarred fruits in the stores that probably would have been fine, but I don't think my kids would have gone for the salmon that I saw in one of the stores!!)
BTW, we found the French to be very friendly and helpful. My husband got help on the stairs with the strollers, people opened doors for us, and we got a lot of great comments about *3* kids (do the French not have that many kids? :-) ) We enjoyed the trip and will go back when the kids can appreciate it too!
Taking Along a Sitter
- We are planning a vacation to the beach this summer and we plan to take along a babysitter to help with the twins (they'll be two by then). She is a college student who has done some sitting for us in the past and we have paid her $5/hour.
Has anyone ever done something like this? If so how did you compensate her. Obviously we are providing her room, board and transportation, but do we still pay her at the $5 hourly rate? Also, how does her time off work? Any hints or tips would be greatly appreciated!
- We have taken our babysitter with us on vacations to the beach since the boys were born. We give her $50 at the beginning of the vacation. If we go out to dinner, miniature golf, amusement park, etc. as a family she comes with us and we pay her way. It's worked out great.
- I haven't been here, but if you're looking for a place that will understand what it's like traveling with twins (and siblings!), here's a place in Florida not far from Disneyworld which might be just what you're looking for:
Multiple Escapes in Cocoa Beach, FL
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