During Tallulah's 1.5 years of Disney adventures so far, I've been trying out new techniques to keep her, Michael and I as healthy as possible while visiting the parks. It's no surprise that with the sheer number of guests at the parks every day, germs also come into play. With the parks reopening this week, I'm sharing our top 5 germ-prevention techniques that have made a major difference in our family's trips to the parks prior to pandemic park closures that can be incorporated into your next adventure either this week or in the months to come.
1. Ditch the Diaper Bag and Opt for Clear Ziploc Bags- This may sound crazy, but this has honestly been the most helpful step for us. I'm very thankful for Disney security's hard work to keep us safe, however the process of bag check is, in my opinion, one of the most germ-inducing elements of the park experience. Unlike Universal's x-ray belt to check bags, Disney's security hosts dig through every bag with their, albeit, gloved hands without cleaning between bags (although I'm hoping this drastically changes with new park reopening protocol). I'm very thankful they so thoroughly check to keep us safe, but the germs they're spreading from one bag to the next with this method, gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. I started incorporating the Ziploc idea when I thought of what Tallulah's clean diapers were being exposed to with this bag check method since every pocket and zippered area has to be physically touched. We then expanded this practice to all of the elements that were once in her diaper bag. Now when we go to the park, I bring a tote or reusable grocery bag with individual gallon Ziploc bags of her diapers and wipes in one, her toys in another, change(s) of clothes in another, Wet Ones, sunscreen and tissues in yet another, and lastly her bib, cup, utensils and snacks in the final bag(which honestly is kind of dreamy for someone who loves organization).
Then when we get to security, I just set the reusable bag/tote on the table and the security host or hostess lifts out each clear bag and just look through it, without needing to open it and touch the contents from inside. It's incredible! If you want to go the extra mile, you could wipe down the clear plastic bags after bag check as well.
Once they're done checking the bag, I just put the whole bag in the basket under the stroller.
(TIP - This practice doesn't need to be limited to just a diaper bag. It can totally be done with your personal bag as well. Just bring your bag as you world to the park as is, but dump the contents into a Ziploc and keep it inside of your main bag. Then no one will need to touch the contents since they can see it all through the clear bag.)
2. Use Clips to Keep Cups, Toys, Blankets and Masks Off of the Ground - As you already know, we're big fans of Ryan & Rose clips and use them a lot. They're incredibly safe for babies and most importantly keep your toddler's items all in the stroller vs on the ground. We use the double clips to attach her blanket to the stroller (if she needs one), and we use the regular clips with the loop to keep her cups off of the ground and tie the loop around a wrist or tail of any plush. I just call it Elsa's bracelet (because let's be real, Elsa is the plush of choice in our household :))
It really helps to cut back on germs since it's hard to fully clean any of those items if they drop while you're in the park. With the new mask protocol for kiddos over the age of two needing to wear them during their trip, we like clipping a part of the mask to her clothes or stroller straps so if it falls off, it won't fall on the ground.
3. Take Both Your Cup and Your Child's Cup With You After You Park the Stroller - I know this can be totally annoying to have to deal with if you don't bring your diaper bag, but after seeing how other adults and kids run their hands on other peoples strollers, I want to make sure I know where our cups are at all times.
(TIP - I like to bring a personal bag of just the important things to take with me when we park the stroller like my phone, keys and credit card/tickets. I usually try to bring a bag that has room for water cups too.)
Although I'll admit it's entertaining when you see Disney squirrels and birds bopping from parked stroller to parked stroller, I don't want them playing around with our cups either in the cup holder or under-stroller basket while we're on an adventure.
4. Always Have Wet Ones Handy - As parents, it's pretty much a safe bet that we have diaper wipes easily accessible for a myriad of reasons at any given time. But I like to also have antibacterial hand wipes, like Wet Ones, available that are soft on the skin, but tough on germs. I love using them of course before snacks and meals if a sink isn't easily accessible, and also in that five second window between when our toddler touches the ground, handrail or any other germ-y surface and then goes to put her hand directly into her mouth.
(TIP - I strongly encourage you to use a Wet One or Purell directly following entering the park. The finger scanners are another hot bed for germs, so cleaning your hands after that can be really helpful and a nice and clean start to your park day.)
I know Wet Ones can currently be tough to get our hands on during this season, but there are some great Purell and hand-washing stations throughout the park that you can use as well as well as mini Purell bottles available for purchase as merchandise locations.
5. Limit Character Interactions to Fist Bumps or High Fives - When the parks reopen character meet and greets as we know now aren’t even going to be an option, but as things start to return to normal, this tip can be really helpful to keep everyone healthy while still having fun! As you know, we're huge character fans, so this is definitely the hardest rule for us to follow, and honestly we don't follow it all the time. But when it's a particularly germ-y season, we find it best to not let our kiddo hug/kiss a character since dozens of other people have just done the same.
Honestly, this is so hard, because when Tallulah sees Mickey, it's almost impossible for her not to run to him, hug him and give him a big smooch. If that's the case, you can always do a little wipe down after the interaction, but with all of the hugs and kisses the characters are getting, it may be best to limit the engagement or just skip meet and greets all together during those times.
I know, some of these suggestions may sound a bit over the top as I explain them in writing, but in practice, they're actually pretty easy to incorporate into your park day and are really helpful tools to keep you and your family healthy so you can enjoy your park time to the fullest :)
Are any of your family's top germ-prevention tips missing from the list above? If so, I'd love to hear them in the comments section below so we can add them to our list!