Do not let anyone tell you a child is too young to go to Disney. There are many opinions about the best age to experience Disney, but you cannot go wrong at any age or stage. Any day at Disney is better than a day anywhere else. These tips for visiting Disney with a baby will make your trip worthwhile.
Tips for Visiting Disney with a Baby
Your trip will look different depending on whether you have a young baby or toddler, older kids, teenagers, or only adults. There is something for everyone, even babies and toddlers – that is what is so special about Disney. If you take a baby or young toddler on a Disney vacation, they may not remember the trip, but you will.
Having a little one in tow on a Disney vacation brings an extra challenge. It can be a fun adventure with some planning and expectation setting. Read on for ten tips for surviving (and enjoying) Disney World with the littlest of vacationers.
1. Use Baby Care Centers
Each theme park has a space for caring for babies and young toddlers. Baby Care Centers are indoor facilities outfitted with nursing rooms, changing tables, high chairs, microwaves, child-sized toilets, and a little room with chairs and a TV (with Disney Junior on repeat).
There is also a store staffed with a cast member where you can purchase infant necessities you may have forgotten or run out of during your day. We have often used the Baby Care Center to take a little break from the heat. Check park maps to find out where each Baby Care Center is located.
2. Consider Buffets for Meals
There are several benefits to buffet eating when it comes to babies and toddlers. You don’t pay for children under three years old to eat, but they can technically eat as much as they would like “from your plate,” which is endless.
Most buffet meals have an extensive variety of foods with many kid-friendly options. The other benefit is that many buffet meals are character meals – an excellent way to acclimate little kids to the idea and process of meeting characters without standing in long lines.
3. Free Until Three
Don’t forget that kids play for “free until three.” Three is the age that suddenly it costs a lot more to go on a Disney vacation. Until three, little ones can enter the parks without a ticket, including hard ticketed events, such as Halloween and Christmas parties in Magic Kingdom and some special tours.
4. Use Rider Swap
Utilize rider swap for the few rides with height requirements. Rider swap lets your party split and take turns riding (while someone always stays with the baby) without making you stand in line twice.
Remember that most rides at Disney are family-friendly and have no height requirements. Take your little ones on a ride and keep them close in your lap. They will likely love the sights and sounds!
5. Baby’s First Haircut
Consider having “Baby’s First Haircut” at the Harmony Barber Shop. Located on Main Street, USA, in the Magic Kingdom, professional barbers do a fabulous job turning a haircut into a magical experience.
The “first haircut” package includes a hair clipping for parents in a little pouch, and they give you a set of Mickey ears and a certificate to commemorate the occasion. It doesn’t have to be your first haircut, either. They also have options for children and adults to get their haircut with a sprinkle of pixie dust.
6. Take Breaks
Take afternoon breaks. Days in Disney parks can be exhausting, especially during hot and crowded seasons. It is often an excellent tactic to plan to start your days early and spend mornings in the parks (before the crowds arrive), go back to your resort for an afternoon break, and then return to a park or resort for an evening activity.
Keeping little ones on somewhat of a normal routine, including regular nap times, will cut down on meltdowns caused by being overtired and overstimulated.
7. Avoid Bulky Strollers
Opt for lightweight and easy-to-fold stroller options or go the baby-wearing route. Between those options, it is a matter of preference. Strollers can be nice because they save your shoulders and give you a place to stow stuff, but strollers do have to be folded on buses/boats, which is less than ideal if the baby is sleeping (or it is full of stuff).
A comfortable and sturdy baby carrier may also be an appealing option, as it would allow you not to move the baby to get onto transportation and even lots of rides. Leave the mega stroller with all the compartments, bells, and whistles at home.
8. Consider Transportation Needs
Think about how you will get around. Will you have your own car with your own car seats? Are you renting a car and need to remember to request the addition of a car seat or bring your own? If using public/Disney transportation, you can hold your little one in your lap on buses, boats, and the monorail without needing a car seat. Just make sure you don’t end up in an unsafe situation.
Some car seats are available if you need a taxi or car service during your trip. Schedule pick up ahead of time with the car seat request to be sure. Minnie Vans provide car seats, a great space saver for your trip, especially if you’re flying!
9. Pace Yourself
Don’t worry about checking off every attraction, restaurant, and character meeting. Even with a group of able-bodied adults, it is impossible to do everything Disney offers.
You will enjoy yourself more if you take the pressure off of trying to do it all and focus on the things that will be most enjoyable to your group at their age and stage.
10. Enjoy the Little Things
Take time to enjoy the little things. Let yourself experience Disney through the youngest of eyes. Allow them to lead some of the time.
Let them chase bubbles the Cast Members are blowing, explore a play area, or ride the People Mover for the 15th time. Plenty of years are ahead to run from thrill ride to thrill ride. Your babies will only be babies once.