Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby or Small Children
Probably one of the most daunting tasks for many parents is questioning if bringing your baby or young child is worth it and how to go about planning for it. I personally brought both of my children to a Disney park (Magic Kingdom) when they were 6 months old and even though I was a pro at going to the parks bringing a baby opened a whole different can of “magical” worms. You will hear plenty of people say “why bring them to Disney? They won’t remember” or “it’s a lot of work and you won’t be happy” I can tell you that bringing your child is your own choice, with a very good plan, supplies and a happy attitude this could be one of the most magical visits of your life. So let’s say you have decided to bring your baby/child to Walt Disney World, as with everything the first step, and most important one, is planning.
1.Don’t Over Plan
Probably the MOST important of tips. Why not try and plan your entire day at the park? You don’t know how your baby/child will behave and what their limits will be. Your baby might be a quiet, happy kid at home but bringing him into an entirely new environment where there are noises, lights, thousands of people will stimulate him and you just don’t know how he will react. Pick only a couple of things per park, use fastpasses, don’t plan on park hopping and see how he’s doing. Basically take your cues from the baby. If he’s chilling you can continue on. You must be aware of this in advance, it will help you enjoy your stay and not feel like you only did 3 things in the park so it wasn’t worth it. Again, personal choice.
- Know and Be Aware of Their Schedule
You know when they usually get up in the morning, when they nap, when they eat and go to sleep. Try and not deviate from their schedule. Kids are creatures of habit, a slight change in their day can have some very vocal consequences. Plan your fastpasses, meals around their time and not yours.
- Take Advantage of the Baby Centers
Each park has them. Not only is this a great and clean place to change your baby, they offer nursing rooms with rocking chairs, feeding rooms with high chairs, bathrooms, microwaves and sinks for bottle prepping, an area with couches, chairs and a television (playing Disney cartoons of course) for siblings to relax. If you forget anything they have a small store with diapers, wipes, formula, and medication. This is a great place to reenergize, who knows maybe after a half hour inside your baby is ready for more Disney fun.
4.Use Photopass if Possible
Your child will probably not smile, will look the other way, cry, pick their nose…in that moment you will probably be mortified because you want that perfect Castle picture and the kid is simply not cooperating. In a few years you will laugh at these moments, just take advantage of photopass as much as you can and don’t worry about your child’s pose. If you cannot use Photopass have the camera handy for those “candid” shots.
- Bring Your Own Stroller and Supplies
Yes Disney offers stroller for rent but they are hard and not baby or little kid friendly. Stick with what you know, your own stroller where they can actually take a nap. Also your own supplies for the baby since you know what doesn’t give him a rash or is gentle on their stomach.
6.Additional Things to Pack
Obviously diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, change of clothes, favorite toy, favorite snacks. In addition sun block, Ziploc bags (for when those wardrobe accidents happen) a rain cover for the stroller, if you are coming in the Summer months, a clip-on fan, before your trip go to the dollar store and get glow sticks and glow toys to distract while waiting, swimming diapers for those splash areas and a small towel.
7.Don’t expect them to Love Mickey
Or any other “fur” character for that matter. Babies and small kids might do better with “face” characters, features they know and understand. They will grow to love Mickey eventually not to worry. Again this depends on the kid, one of my nephews was terrified of characters while the other would just run up to them. That said you can always prep the kid, especially the ones a bit older, by showing them pictures of characters and explaining that they will be meeting them.
8.Take Advantage of Child Swap
No, there is not a way to swap your child at Disney. This is a service they offer so that all adults can enjoy the attractions. Basically you go up to the podium of an attraction. Let them know that you will the other person stays with the baby/child. They will give you a ticket that works like a fastpass, after the first person rides, they swap taking care of the baby and the other person can ride with minimal wait.
9.Pack Your Patience
You planned, you have all your supplies, you are working on the babies schedule and still he’s screaming bloody murder. Deep breaths. You are not the only parent in the park with a crying kid. Take a moment, find a quiet corner, access the situation. React accordingly.