A few months ago, my family went to Disneyland to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Reagan was nine months old and I scoured the internet for tips on how to have a successful Disney trip with a baby who wouldn’t remember any of it. I was worried about nap schedules, breastfeeding, and whether either of us would be able to enjoy the trip. Let me say it was a huge success! I’ve rounded up my top tips for how to have a super fun, stress-free time with babies at the happiest place on Earth.
- Be over-prepared! Bring more snacks, toys, and outfits than you think you will need. When we went, Reagan was still breastfed every three hours but she was eating solids throughout the day as well. I packed tons of pouches so I didn’t have to stop to feed her, she could just eat in the stroller as we were heading to the next attraction. If you plan on staying at the park all day, it can be much cooler in the morning and evening than during the day, so pack layers that are easy to remove as the day goes on. We had Reagan in a onesie with pants and a sweater that we adjusted throughout the day based on weather. I packed an extra onesie in case Reagan got splashed on a ride or spit up but luckily we didn’t need it! Toys might seem like a silly thing to bring, but they are good for entertaining during down time waiting in line, or while waiting for everyone else to get off the rides.
- Use the Disneyland app: You can download the DIsneyland app which shows ride wait times, when and where characters will be, and generally helpful information. My brother was in charge of finding us rides to go on and we didn’t wait longer than 15 minutes for a ride the whole weekend! This can be such a time saver and a good way to utilize every moment you have in the park. I also loved knowing when and where we could meet up with the characters because that was something Reagan could actually enjoy and we could fit it in around what rides we were doing.
- Take advantage of the baby care center: At Disneyland there is a baby care center on Main Street just off to the right before you reach the castle. Inside they have quiet rooms to breastfeed, diaper changing stations, small toilets for toddlers, and sunscreen, baby food, and formula for purchase. It’s quiet and calm and a good place to regroup and take a break before heading out into the craziness again! I stopped here to change Reagan’s diaper when it was convenient and it was really cool to see how Disney accommodates for especially young children.
- Stay at a hotel in the park or within walking distance: If you are staying for more than one day, this is absolutely critical! We were lucky enough to stay in The Grand Californian which is the only hotel actually inside the park and I am so glad we did. It was so comforting to know that if Reagan needed to nap outside of her stroller, or if I forgot something, or if she just needed some quiet time that I was a ten minute walk at most from everything we needed at the hotel. This was also especially great at bedtime–Reagan goes to sleep at 6pm so I put her down and left her with my mom while the rest of us went out and enjoyed more rides. I knew that if she woke up and needed to breastfeed it would be very easy for me to be at her side quickly.
- If at all possible, go with family: My family all being there and helping with Reagan is what made this trip so enjoyable for us. My parents were kind enough to take turns watching her so I could go on more rides, and they even took her to see some of the characters while we were riding. My mom also stayed with Reagan when she went to sleep so the rest of us could keep enjoying the park until later at night.
- Do your research about ride requirements: I was seriously surprised at how many rides have no height limit! Disneyland’s website has a list of all the attractions with height requirements, ride descriptions, and operating times so you can make a plan of what you want to do. I took Reagan on The Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc., It’s a Small World, Pirates (which was a little too scary for her), and Winnie the Pooh. I would have done much more but she was asleep a lot and the other times we were on the bigger rides. Next time, I’d like to take her on Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan, Snow White, and some of the other older traditional rides!
- Bring your good stroller: We flew in from San Antonio so I packed my light travel stroller instead of the big jogging one. This ended up working out fine because Reagan slept well in it and it was small enough to maneuver through crowds, but it is so important to have a stroller you are comfortable pushing around all day. I was really worried that there wouldn’t be enough room for my jogging stroller but so many people were pushing their double BOB stroller (or equally large ones) and having no problem at all. At bare minimum, I suggest bring a stroller that has a basket and a drink holder so you can store a diaper bag or snacks conveniently throughout the day.
We had so much fun that we are planning a trip to Disneyworld next year with the whole family! It was so magical watching Reagan take everything in and experiencing Disney for the first time. It is amazing how much more fun EVERYTHING is when you have little ones to experience it with!
Have you had a successful trip to Disneyland with your kiddos? What were some things that made your trip so special?