About two years ago, Tad and Lily finally convinced my wife and I that they were ready to take on the responsibility of having a pet. The little fella, whom the kids fittingly named “Dragonfly,” is now part of the family and travels everywhere with us. Yes, even to Disney World.
With a little preparation, traveling with Dragonfly is usually a seamless endeavor. Granted, there have been a few bumps along the way; the time he escaped out of the open car window comes to mind. But with experience comes expertise, so I’m passing along some helpful information if your pets are going on vacation with you.
Before Your Trip
- If you are traveling by car or lily pad, make sure your pet is accustomed to riding in the car. We took Dragonfly for a few short rides before his first trip. This built his confidence and reminded him every car ride does not necessarily mean a trip to the vet. If your pet experiences carsickness, have your vet prescribe medication to help.
- Make sure all your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. If you are traveling by air, you will need a certificate of veterinary inspection within ten days prior to your trip. Lay out your pet’s vet records to bring with you.
- Purchase a portable kennel that you can use inside the hotel room and for safe car travel.
- Make a list of all important phone numbers you might need. We always bring Dragonfly’s vet’s name and phone number. We also bring information with the names and addresses of emergency vet clinics in Orlando.
- Find a hotel that is pet-friendly or make reservations for your pet at Best Friends Pet Care Resort.
Things to Bring
- Up-to-date vet records and important phone numbers
- Pet food (your pet will feel much better eating the same food he does at home)
- Familiar toys (but not his favorite in case it gets lost)
- Identification tags (bring an extra set just in case)
- Rabies vaccination tag
- An extra collar and leash
- A portable kennel
- A current photograph
- First aid kit with antiseptic, anti-diarrheal medication and any other medication your pet needs
While You’re on the Road
- We try to keep Dragonfly on his normal feeding schedule. We feed him a little less than usual in the mornings and serve his main meal at the end of the day or when we reach our destination. If your pet is prone to motion sickness, feed him 1-2 hours before you get on the road each morning.
- Stop for frequent stretch breaks; the Frog Family stops about every two hours. Offer plenty of fresh water.
- Never leave your pet alone in the car. Temperatures rise quickly inside the car; even in Florida winters.
Boarding Your Pet
Since pets are not allowed in any Walt Disney World Resort® hotels, we plan on boarding Dragonfly at the Best Friends Pet Care Resort which opened this September. I’m sure Dragonfly will feel like he is on vacation, too, as he zips around this one-of-a-kind facility comprised of more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The resort includes 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space, 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas, and a private dog park exclusively for the use of pet resort clients and their dogs. Tad and Lily are going to love taking Dragonfly for walks along the fenced trail that borders natural wetlands. I haven’t told them about the “canines only” water park yet; I wouldn’t hear the end of it.
The Best Friends Pet Care Resort is located across from the Port Orleans Resort at 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway in Lake Buena Vista. Visit www.bestfriendspetcare.com or call 877-4-WDW-PETS for pricing and other details.
If you aren’t staying at a Walt Disney World Resort® hotel, there are several pet-friendly hotels in the area. Be sure to leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door each morning when you leave. Here is a list of suitable hotels near Disney:
- The Villas of Grand Cypress
- Residence Inn Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Express Lake Buena Vista
- Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista
- Orlando Vista Hotel
- Sheraton Safari Hotel
- Countryside Inn & Suites
- Oakwood Alexandria at Lake Buena Vista