What You Need to Know About Taking Your Baby to Disney World
We're frequent Disney visitors. My kids have been making trips to the mouse since they were still touring the park on the inside (of my belly). The great thing about doing Disney with the super-young set is that they aren't an added expense – but can be added fun! There are many great pluses in the parks for parents with babies on board.
Kids are free under three.
When you're adding up the cost of tickets, hotels, food, and everything else involved in a vacation every dime counts. So there is an advantage to taking along a junior traveler. While their number counts when booking tables at dining, you won't have to pay for a meal for the two and under set. And when you look at the number that a hotel room on property can sleep, you can add in an additional child under the age of three to that number and request a crib or pack-n-play. And until the third birthday celebration, there is no charge for entry for your little one to join you in the parks. So take advantage of the savings while you can and splurge on that special meal or cocktail!
Breastfeeding? Bottle feeding? Either way, they've got you covered.
In each of the parks there is a Baby Care Center. What can you find there?
Disney shares that each one features:
- Private nursing room with rocking chairs
- Changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom
- Feeding area with highchairs
- Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
- Main room with television, table, chairs and sofa
- On-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase
We traveled to the Magic Kingdom with my older daughter for a day trip while my twins were still breastfeeding, but opted to leave them back home with grandma for the day. I simply packed a bag with a cooler and my pump and was able to hit up the nursing room for a plug for the pump and an air-conditioned space to take a break and handle my nursing mama needs.
Of course you don't have to hit up the baby care center for every feed. You can nurse or bottle feed anywhere in the parks with no problems. (But if you want a break and some air conditioning, feel free to see a show like Hall of Presidents or Finding Nemo during feeding time!)
You're not going to have to sit out for every ride and attraction.
At some theme parks a parent with a baby would end up spending the majority of the trip sitting on a bench, waiting for the rest of the family to finish their fun. Not so with the mouse. If there isn't a height requirement on the ride you'll be able to take your little one along. And if there is a ride you really want to try out, you can check out the rider switch option, which allows you to take turns riding some of the more exciting rides.
A stroller AND a method of baby-wearing are both your friend.
Even if your little one never wants to ride or nap in the stroller at home, it's a new world at Disney World. Heck, I've even seen grown adults trying to nap in strollers at the parks. You can bring your own or rent one at the parks or from a local rental service.
But you don't just want a stroller. The lines for rides and many of the restaurants and shows don't allow space for strollers. A sling or carrier can save your arms and backs on long park days.
You can take in your own snacks and drinks.
Whether you're trying to keep your picky eater happy or trying to keep that nursing mom ravenous hunger at bay, you can bring in your own snacks and drinks so that you don't have to stop and spend every twenty minutes. Just keep it reasonable. Small, soft-sided coolers you can keep in the stroller basket are fine – large, wheeled coolers are not. See the full rules here.
Schedule in down time for all of you.
It can be tempting to want to cram in every single event and character and ride. They're all amazing and fun and after spending all the money on tickets and to get there it is easy to want to do it all. But remember that you'll all enjoy it more and be happier if you take time to rest, stretch your legs, and get out of the crowds.
You can schedule in time to head back to your resort or rental each day and return to the same park later in the day at no additional charge. Some days have long hours, so you can feasibly hit the Magic Kingdom from 9 until 2, head out for rest and relaxation, then return to the park from 7 until 11 to see the fireworks and lights.
There are also opportunities for some down time in the parks. There are water areas that allow kids to cool off and play, shaded playground areas, and there is always the people mover!
Adjust your expectations and you can have a magical time.
It can be difficult to know how kids will react to all the new things at Disney. Some little ones hate the characters (it can be pretty overwhelming!), some cry on all the rides, some sleep through most of the trip. On her first trip, my daughter could have just watched the carousel all day and been perfectly content. You never know what is going to be the thing that they love.
If you go into it just hoping for a few great photo opportunities and some lasting family memories of the craziness of doing it, you'll be better prepared for whatever happens.