When my wife and I got news we were pregnant with our third child, she informed me straight away that there would be no trips to Disney World while she spent the first year nursing. All parents are different and handle these types of things in their own way, but it was just too much for her to think about spending 45 minutes-plus in a room nursing 3 (or more) times a day… To her credit, she had already done it with our boys when they were babies. I can’t blame her for not wanting to do it again.
Since we have a good bit of experience strolling babies through Disney World, I thought I’d put together a list of tips to help you prepare and experience a Disney vacation in a different way than you would without a baby. The wife had a lot of say in this blog post!
5. The STROLLER Details- Choosing the right stroller can be a much more important decision than you think. Obviously it has to be age/size appropriate.
- You can log a lot of miles in a WDW vacation. I recommend putting a priority on how easily pushable a stroller is. This usually means a bigger stroller (Usually bigger wheels with smoother ride because… physics) which also has more storage and, better yet, works well as a nap space for your baby (it’s going to happen and, trust me, you do NOT want to have to carry around a sleeping baby for long periods of time in the FL sun). The downside is having to get a big stroller on and off of buses when people are behind you trying to rush you to get on.
- Stroller Parking is everywhere at WDW. Most attractions don’t allow strollers inside and you don’t want any part of pushing one through a crowded restaurant. Be aware that Disney Cast Members usually have to continually move strollers to streamline the parking process. Your stroller will be in a different place than where you left it. That is why we recommend marking your stroller in a unique way with ribbon, etc.
- Don’t forget the sling/carrier options. They can provide a nice break from strolling for parent and baby!
4. Rider Switch- When bringing any small child to Disney World, it makes it pretty much impossible for the parents to ride an attraction together. Some very tame attactions like People Mover allow you to carry a baby on, but those are the exception.
Disney has a rider switch program where you go up to the Cast Member at a particular attraction, with your party and they give you a fastpass for 2 riders. This allows one adult to stay back with non-riders while the other adult takes whoever wants to go on. Then when the riding party is done, the adult who stayed back can now use the fastpass to go ride (and take one other person with them).
3. The Midday Break– To be honest this is not actually something we usually do in our family… but I know it is VERY common amongst a majority of Disney veterans. I think this strategy works well if your family is up early in the morning (we usually are awake early but are slow to get moving). You’ve probably heard before that getting an early start when the park opens is a timeless strategy for beating the big crowds that come in mid morning.
About the time the crowds are pouring in you can catch transportation back to your resort for lunch and rest/nap time (or pool time) during the hottest part of the day. Then , if you feel like it, you can head back to the park to enjoy the evening where each park is usually transformed and has wonderful fireworks displays, shows, etc.
2. Baby Centers– As usual, Disney has thought of everything when accomodating their guests. If you are a nursing mom, or you need to change your baby… or you just need a place to cool down, Disney has provided Baby Centers at each of it’s Theme Parks. These areas are equipped with chairs for nursing, small kitchens with microwaves, and they sell items like diapers/wipes, formula, baby-food, medicines, sunscreens, etc. The Baby Centers are easily located on park maps, but to give you a general idea:
- Magic Kingdom- In between Crystal Palace and Casey’s
- Epcot – In between Test Track and the Mexico area of World Showcase
- Hollywood Studios- In guest relations near the entrance.
- Animal Kingdom- To the left of the Tree of Life right before the bridge to Africa.
- The water parks and Disney Springs do not have Baby Centers
1. Change your pace!– It may seem obvious but you NEED this reminder. If you’ve been to Disney World without a baby, this trip will look drastically different. You really have to change your mindset and create realistic expectations ahead of time. The whole group/family needs to talk about the plan before you go.
Also make sure that it’s not just one person caring for the baby while everyone else runs around having a carefree time. This will make one person’s time unenjoyable which usually trickles to the rest of the group anyway.
SO… Taking a baby to Disney World is not impossible, despite the naysayers! It can be difficult, though, if you don’t prepare. Use what Disney has given to you and make sure to pick up baby’s first set of Mickey/Minnie ears!!