A close friend of mine struggled for years to have a baby, and when she finally had one, my first question was, “When are you going to Disney World?” She said she and her husband had discussed it, and they decided age five was a good age. I think I gasped. I know my mouth fell open. I thought she was joking, until she said she just didn’t see how she would have any fun at Disney with a baby in tow.
I can see how that would be a valid point. Can you have fun with a baby at Disney World? I believe so, although it may not be the most relaxing vacation you ever took. Is life ever easy with a baby? I’ve seen parents struggling at WDW with wailing infants that looked 4 days old, all the way up to those babies ready to walk to touch Goofy in Chef Mickey’s. If you spend any time at a Disney park or resort, you see it all, and some of it… is really not pretty. Baby screaming on a bus is not pretty. Baby crying through a crowded dinner is not pretty. But I assured my friend that these are minor set backs, minor blips in the baby-parenting road. Will baby cry and people stare at you? Yes. Will that baby remember the vacation? Nope. But honestly, is that really the point, that baby remembers enjoying a vacation he or she took at age 6 months?
I think you can take a baby to Disney and have a good time. I’ve taken infants in diapers to Disney, waddled through Disney when I was pregnant, and I’m here to tell you, it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Pack your diaper bag, get your camera ready, as we look at some reasons why taking a baby to Disney makes sense, and check out some plans to make taking a baby to Disney easy. Well, better make that somewhat easier. And while you’re there, go have some fun!
Great Reasons to Take a Baby to Disney World
1) No school to miss. Babies have all the time in the world, and there are no tests or work to make up. And baby is learning anyway, all about colors, shapes, and songs.
2) Food is practically free. Breast feeding a baby is free. If you are bringing formula and baby food from home, this is nowhere near the cost of a child’s Disney meal. It’s really not an additional expense, because you had to feed baby anyway.
3) Tickets are free. There is no Disney admission charge for children up until age three. A one day ticket for a three-year-old child starts at about $75, so think of the money you are saving by not buying tickets for that baby.
4) They take up very little space in a hotel room. If you didn’t bring your own Pack ‘n’ Play, many resorts offer these, and you can check that availability when you make your reservation. My babies have slept in laundry baskets before; they can’t roll out of it, and we packed up the hotel room with the basket when we left.
5) You Love Disney. Here is the part where I am talking about you having fun. This vacation isn’t really about baby, it’s about YOU! You love Disney, you love spending time with baby, so overcome your fears and combine your two loves.
Anyone who has spent time around a baby knows that life can be stressful, especially if you have ventured out of your comfort zone and onto a monorail with a stroller. Here’s a list of things that I believe can make your time with a baby at Disney a little easier.
1. Number one on my list is a nap. You need one and baby needs one, and I suggest you go back to your hotel room to take it. Everybody wakes up refreshed and happy. That said, my babies took naps on the Peoplemover, the monorail, and occasionally in a stroller. I know people worry about schedules, but altering a schedule slightly won’t cause permanent damage. You should definitely get that nap in though. I’m not going to list the number of places I personally have taken naps, because I don’t want any hate mail for snoring through your favorite ride, but I do what I need to do to get it done.
There are babies and toddlers asleep all over the Magic Kingdom. Babies can and do nap on shoulders, in strollers, on rides like the Peoplemover, and in movies like The Muppets 3D Adventure, etc. They can nap most anywhere. While baby is asleep, have some fun pushing the stroller through a gift shop.
2. For those babies old enough to eat solids, snacks can make waiting in line a little easier. So can distracting toys and the occasional song sung softly in a little ear. If baby gets fussy in line, it’s not the end of vacation if you step out and take a break. You can hop on a ride later. While you walk baby around, have some fun just looking at the Disney architecture and the other people on vacations.
3. You’ll need the essentials. Making a run to a store can be time-consuming and will be more costly than bringing these supplies from home .
Here’s a good generic packing list.
- clothes, pajamas
- bottles/extra nipples, formula, possibly a breast pump
- diapers, wipes
- medicines, hand sanitizer
- gallon size storage bags for emergencies
- shampoos, soaps, and lotions
- car seat
- baby monitor
- Pack ‘n’ Play, if you think you need your own.
What if you forget to take these items into the parks? Can you buy them there? Sure, most of it. All the theme parks and the water parks, and Downtown Disney carry baby supplies like diapers, diaper pins, formula, and sunburn treatment. If you don’t see it, you can ask for it. You will pay a lot more for these items at Disney than at home, but you are paying for convenience and paying a high price for poor planning.
4. Sunblock. I know there are rules and regulations on sunscreen use with babies of a certain age, but they can get burned out in the sun, so cover them up or bend the sunscreen rules. Sunburn is a great way to ruin a baby’s day, and thus yours as well. I know people are having a stroke to get to the parks early. I’m thinking if you make an early day of it, go back to the room for a nap and/or a swim, then head back to the park between 4 to 6 when the sun is going down.
If baby gets sick at the park, where do you go?
That would be every parents’ fear, that a baby would get sick or hurt on vacation. Colds can come on fast, little arms can get cut or scraped. Every park has a first aid center, and here’s a list of where to find them:
- Magic Kingdom- at the end of Main Street, turn left. It’s located between Casey’s Corner restaurant and the Crystal Palace.
- Epcot - It’s located on the World Showcase side of Odyssey Center.
- Hollywood Studios – You’ll find it in the Guest Relations Building inside the main Entrance.
- Animal Kingdom- It’s located in Discovery Island, on the left side before you cross the bridge to Africa. It’s basically behind Creature Comforts.
The beauty is that in all four Disney parks, the First Aid Center is located next to the Baby Care Center. You can take a baby into any of the First Aid Centers, and they can handle anything from minor cuts and scrapes to allergic reactions.
Speaking of Baby Care Centers, what can they do for me?
At a Baby Care Center, you can do the following:
- change diapers
- prepare formula
- warm bottles and baby food
- purchase supplies
- rock in rocking chairs
- nurse infants in special chairs
Dads are welcome at all the Baby Care Centers, and they can use most of the services. Many men’s restrooms now offer diaper changing tables, so the burden won’t all fall on mom’s shoulders.
So are you ready to make those reservations and bring that baby to Disney? Summer is probably not the best time for a baby to be at Disney, but you can still have a good time, even if you sweat a lot. See my above plan for taking a nap mid-day when the heat is the worst.
When is a good time of year to go to Disney? Click here for our full review.
What is one tip I would suggest to any mom going to Disney? Click here.
You’ll notice there are no photos of babies in this article today, and it’s not because my last baby was actually in a Disney park during the pre-digital camera era. It’s because when it comes right down to it, taking a Disney vacation with a baby isn’t really about the baby at all. It’s about you, and you want to see Disney, and baby will be happy just hangin’ out with you. Have some fun, and don’t hesitate to take baby along for the ride.
You may feel stressed and overwhelmed, but you can feel stress going to Wal-mart on a particularly rough baby day. You’ll forget to pack things, baby will cry, and you have a moment where you question your sanity. But then you’ll remember that Mouze Kateerz said to take a deep breath, stop and remember how much you love being at Disney World, and you’ll be just fine. For every bad moment, hopefully you’ll have 12 good ones, and some fabulous pictures to show at baby’s high school graduation party years later.
Thanks for coming along for a photographical Disney ride, and we’ll probably pass each other in a Magic Kingdom restroom as you search for the diaper changing table. I’ll be the one green with envy, as my babies are all tall enough now to ride Splash Mountain. I sure do miss a baby asleep on my shoulder on the WDW train…
See ya soon!