I’m a Disney gal. I grew up in California so going to Disneyland is in my blood. I go at least once a year and I’m actually a travel agent specializing in Disney! You can check out my post here on why you should use an agent for your vacations.
I also have a nice post that outlines some of the most important things to know and do if you’re going for the first time. You can read that here.
Don’t want to read this now? Save it for later!
Before I had kids I always knew I’d take mine to Disney as soon as possible. People scoffed and asked “how can a baby enjoy Disneyland?” and “isn’t it going to be tough toting a baby around?” Well, I scoffed right back! You can ABSOLUTELY take a baby to Disney and they can ABSOLUTELY enjoy it!
Christmas 2018 I took my then 9-month old to Disneyland and we had a blast! In this post I’ll outline how exactly we did it so that everyone was happy and nobody had a meltdown. Plus I’ll pinpoint the ONE thing you have to do if you’re going to Disney with a baby.
Please note – this is for DisneyLAND in California. Disney World is a whole different monster (4 parks vs. 2 parks at Disneyland). But we are taking our little guy in October and he’ll be 1.5 years old and we can’t wait. Stay tuned for that post!
1. Bring your own stroller (and not an umbrella stroller)
Yeah, Disney has rentals. But your own stroller is more familiar, probably more comfortable, and probably bigger. It’s so nice to have that bottom rack to hold coats (it can be chilly in the morning and evening), purchases, your baby bag, and whatever else you want to throw in there.
Don’t bring the umbrella stroller – you want your little one to be able to nap and laying down is probably the best way for that. Your stroller will preferably have the option to sit or lay – take advantage of this!
2. Use rider switch
Oh, rider switch. Such an amazing invention! Basically you get a Fastpass for your party, ride the ride (someone stays behind with baby), and then go back to the Fastpass entrance and now the person who stayed behind gets to ride it without waiting in the normal line. You can also bring up to 3 people with you so the person who originally rode it can ride again! I went with my husband and a good friend of mine, so we just rotated who stayed with Liam while we rode. Then we switched and rode again! It’s seriously amazing and most rides have the option for rider switch.
3. Research ahead of time which rides your baby can ride
Surprisingly, your little one can ride a ton of rides. There’s probably more rides they can ride than rides they can’t! Seriously! The internet is full of information [and so are travel agents ;) ] so all you need to do is a little research on which rides allow babies. But, you just park your stroller and hold them in your lap – yay everyone gets to enjoy it! Even baby! Here’s a peek at some of the rides baby can ride – some may surprise you:
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Peter Pan
- Winnie the Pooh
- Alice in Wonderland
- Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
- Snow White’s Scary Adventure
- It’s a Small World
- Jungle Cruise
4. Stay on property
This will feed into my last tip (the most important one), but staying on property will not only make you feel surrounded by magic at all times, but will also be so easy and convenient. How important is ease and convenience to parents?! The most important, am I right? Staying on property will allow you to travel back to your hotel easily, be surrounded by magic, borrow a pack and play (no cost), take advantage of early morning entrance, and more!
5. Get a babysitter
What’s this now? Get a babysitter? Yeah, you heard me. This might not be for everyone but it was a great decision for us. We got a sitter starting at 7 pm and she stayed with our little guy until 10 pm. I know, it sounds crazy. But if you stay on property, they have their own sitter companies they prefer (and trust) and you can book them ahead of time. It’s not necessarily cheap, but if you have a baby then you know their bedtime is well before 10 or 11 pm. Go back to the hotel, let them sleep (with the sitter) and you can go back to the parks and enjoy your evening baby free. This was truly a game changer for us. We got 3ish hours without baby and even though we had fun with him, we were so excited to just do what we wanted without hauling a stroller around. It was the best idea!
And finally… the most important thing you can do when traveling to Disneyland with your baby…
6. Go back to the hotel for a nap!!!
I’m SO serious, here. A stroller nap is great but nothing beats a quiet, dark nap in a crib or pack and play. And heck, you need a nap too! This is why staying on property is so helpful. You can easily go back (at Disneyland, all 3 resort hotels are walkable), take a nap, and go back to the park refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the afternoon. You will thank me later!
Disney is such a magical, fun place even for babies who may not fully understand. But Liam LOVES people watching and really enjoys all the hustle and bustle of places like Disneyland. He clearly had fun on the rides we took him and really had a smile on his face all day. Disney CAN be done with babies – and it doesn’t have to be exhausting or scary.
I will admit, planning a trip to Disney can be overwhelming - there are so many facets and thing to consider. If you’re thinking about a trip to Disneyland or Disney World, why not get the help from a professional? Oh, did I mention I don’t charge any fees? Yep! You can get personal help and recommendations and it won’t cost you a dime over your package price (that you’d already spend, anyway so you might as well have a person help you, right?!) Fill out a quote form and I’ll contact you within 24 hours! www.magicalmomentsvacations.com/quote