After getting pregnant, I’ll admit I was worried that visiting Disney World with a baby would prove too difficult. However, after bringing my daughter Annie at 11 weeks old, I realized that with a little more planning, we could still have an amazing time. With that said, allow me to share my tips and tricks for bringing an infant to Disney.
Top Tips for Visiting Disney with an Infant
– You can check your car seat and stroller for free with most airlines. It’s your choice if you want to check them at the desk or the gate. The employees don’t usually mind either way. It’s a good idea to put a name tag on your stroller (unless someone has a better stroller than you…then you might want to “accidentally” walk off with theirs – I did say I would give you tips and tricks, didn’t I?).
– Most airlines will let people with children board first, giving you extra time to get situated without the crowd. Take note that the airlines will not let you sit in an exit row if traveling with an infant, so keep that in mind when booking your seat.
- To avoid popping ears, nurse/feed baby when the plane takes off and lands. If baby isn’t hungry, try a pacifier. The sucking motion will prevent those ears from hurting and spare the ears of passengers next to you should baby fuss.
– A parent’s worst fear when flying is a crying baby. Try scheduling your flight during a time when your child would normally be sleeping. If that doesn’t work out, there are only so many things you can do because at the end of the day, babies cry. Think of it this way, the crying will bother you much more than it will bother fellow passengers…at least that’s what I tell myself!
– When changing baby on a plane, you have two choices:
- Make your seat a make-shift changing station (ask whoever is sitting by you if this is okay first).
- Change baby in the airplane bathroom (In this case, consider undressing your baby beforehand to make things go a bit faster).
– Be flexible. Things will not go exactly as planned and that’s okay! Annie had a blowout right when the plane started to descend. I wrapped her in a blanket and the minute we landed, all I had to say was “blowout” and people were more than happy to let me exit the plane first. (Side Bar: Even if your child doesn’t have a blowout, it might be a good way to get off the plane faster…I know, I’m terrible.)
– If you’re using Disney transportation, a car seat is not required for your child. For both the Magical Express and onsite buses, boats, and monorails, you can just hold baby on your lap. You may, however, have to fold up the stroller like we did.
– Before you pack up the portable crib, see if you can request one at your hotel. Disney hotels will provide a crib, but I would suggest bringing your own sheets.
- If your baby is sleeping in a bassinet, it may be more beneficial (sleep-wise) to just bring it along. We took the legs off ours, brought only the top part of the bassinet and just placed it in the crib. It worked beautifully.
– Start prepping baby for noise before hand. A baby who needs silence to sleep will not do well at the parks. While he or she is napping at home, make some noise! Vacuum, start the dishwasher, turn on music, etc. Get them used to noise so they’ll be more likely to sleep during your park visits.
– Think about how you’ll want to carry your baby at the parks. We brought both a stroller and a baby carrier. Annie was comfortable in the stroller but absolutely loved facing out in the baby carrier. She was in awe watching people bustling about and seeing thousands of twinkling lights during the Main Street Electrical Parade!
– Not only does each park provide several baby changing stations but also a baby care center. This center provides you with all the amenities of home, including high chairs, a kitchen, and even a microwave. In addition, baby necessities are available for purchase, though the prices are high.
– Try to limit how long you keep baby in the sun. Remember, infants can’t regulate their body temperature. Make sure to keep the baby hydrated with extra feedings and frequently check the back of his/her neck to make sure she is not getting too hot.
– You’d be surprised by how many attractions are baby-friendly. The dark, indoor rides were a great way to cool Annie off and allow her to enjoy a nice doze. She was a big fan of Mickey’s PhilharMagic!
– Take advantage of those extra hands! We went to the parks with family, and they were a LIFESAVER! Having extra help allowed my husband and I to enjoy thrill rides and have some time to explore on our own. We were so grateful to have them and they were just as grateful to have some time alone with Annie.
– Finally, here is my list of baby ‘must-haves’ when visiting the theme parks
- Sun hat
- Light-weight blanket
- Sun screen
- 2 extra pairs of clothes (You never know!)
- Plastic baggies for blow outs
- Nursing cover (Doubles as a blankie in a bind)
- Bottle of water
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra pacifiers (If your baby uses them)
- Baby jacket for night time
- Changing pad
- Wipes (So many uses for these!)
- Disney costume – Okay, so maybe this isn’t a necessity, but they provide some ridiculously cute photo ops.
How was your experience visiting Disney with an infant? Any other tips you’d recommend? If you have further questions, leave a comment or let me know on Twitter @AngelaDahlgren