When you tell someone that you are traveling to Disneyland with a baby (or any vacation, honestly), you may get a few surprising reactions. Babies are messy, noisy, notoriously demanding and cranky; it’s fair that many people assume they will make a fun day at the park hectic. Honestly, bringing a baby to Disneyland is an entirely different experience than going with just adults or even older kids but it does not have to be absolute chaos! Your baby can have a nice day right alongside mom and dad with a bit of planning and precaution!
Disneyland with a Baby: Bring the Right Tools
One of the absolute best tips I have for going to the park with a baby is to park smartly. A baby carrier will be your best friend! You may look and feel a little goofy chest or back carrying your little one through Disneyland but you will be grateful to have your hands free. Pick up a carrier that is appropriate for your child’s weight and age and get them used to it before you leave for your vacation; you do not want to buy it and not test it out until your day in the park, as some kids really hate being in the carriers at first, especially if they are used to being carried around in mom and dad’s arms. Give it a few weeks of test running and let them get used to how it feels to be carried in a carrier; they will likely grow acclimated and be super comfortable in the park as they soak everything in!
A Stroller is a Must
If your child is too big for a carrier or you prefer not to use one, a stroller is a must. Even with a carrier, your back may begin to hurt. Also, during hotter months a carrier is not really practical in California; you will be drenched with sweat within the first hour or so which is no fun at all and kind of uncomfortable for you and your little one. Disneyland classifies anything with a push handle as a stroller, within reason, but does not allow wagons or anything that requires pulling due to the potential hazards associated with such products. Older kids will likely do well in a simple umbrella stroller if you want to pack light. Even if your little one does not end up riding in the stroller, you can still use it to carry diaper bags, shopping bags, and other goodies that otherwise would end up in your arms or on your back.
If you forget to pack your stroller, you can rent one directly from Disneyland or a nearby stroller rental service (which is usually a bit cheaper). A single stroller is fifteen dollars per day from Disneyland and two singles are twenty five dollars. Disneyland does not offer double or triple strollers at this time so you will have to pack your own if a tandem or larger stroller is a necessity to your little ones. Otherwise, you are all set! I highly recommend you pack your own as the Disneyland strollers are said to be uncomfortable, easy to get mixed up with other visitors, and can’t be used outside of the park.
If you want to pack extra light, I recommend the [amazon link=”B01DQ2B8UY” title=”gb Pockit Stroller” /]. This is the best stroller for Disneyland and it will save you a ton of space and hassle compared to other strollers.
Pack a Hefty Diaper Bag
When you go to Disneyland, the last thing you want to do is pay the markup on in-park baby store products like diapers and formula (more on this in a bit). Pack your diaper bag fully to avoid paying markup prices!
- Tons of diapers
- Packs of wipes
- Extra shirts, pants, socks, and a spare pair of shoes (in case LO kicks one off and we lose it)
- Tons of snacks (we went when LO was on solids so we brought lots of Puffs, Rice Rusks, and Cereal Bars); skip this one if your little one is still solely on the bottle or breast
- Beverages (be it breastmilk, whole milk, formula, or whatever else your little one needs)
- A sun hat, because even in the winter it can get bright out.
- A blanket
- A small packet of Infant Tylenol, Infant Ibuprofen, and other medications to ease any sudden teething onsets (skip this if your little one does not use these products or swap it for your preferred teething aid)
- A set of baby utensils to help make feedings easier.
One blogger also recommends bringing a portable bottle warmer if you need it and baby earmuffs to prevent over-stimulation, which may be great if you want to bring your kiddo to the firework show.
The Baby Care Center and Store
Though every bathroom in Disneyland has a changing area, it can be nice to just get away from the hustle of the park and take a moment to quietly change and feed your little one, especially if they are having a hard time dozing off or are acting particularly overstimulated. Disneyland took this into consideration in creating their complimentary Baby Care Center. Located near the First Aid Center on Main Street, the Baby Care Center has everything you need to relax for a moment with your little one and caters to everyone from toddler parents to nursing mothers with the tiniest newborns.
These Baby Care Center rooms also have a bunch of different vending machines with wares including formula, juice, baby food, over the counter medicines, snacks, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, and pacifiers. Microwaves and sinks are available, alongside comfortable chairs for nursing and a television to keep mom from occupied while baby nurses. Other things like changing tables and books are in the room as well, making it a perfect stop for a bit of relaxation while in the parks with your little one.
The prices are as follows:
- Diapers (sizes 1-6, pull ups sizes 4t and 5t): $1 per diaper
- Gerber baby food 2 packs: $2
- Gerber baby food 1 pack/single glass jars: $1
- Pacifiers: $3
- 60 count wipes: $2
- Destin Diaper Cream Tube: $4
- Baby bottles: $2 (these are basic bottles)
- Enfamil Regular Formula: $15 per can
- Enfamil Soy Formula: $15 per can
- Baby powder: $3
- Baby lotion: $3
From the First Aid Center:
- Pedialyte: $8
- Children’s Tylenol
- You can also get Bandaids and other basic first aid supplies at the center, as well.
An extra note: if your child gets lost, this is where the staff members bring the little ones for parents to collect them.
Prepare for the Rides
Going on rides is, arguably, the best part of going to Disneyland. They are all artistically crafted and absolutely incredible. One of the biggest concerns with going to Disneyland with a baby is having to be sidelined while everyone else in your group rides the rides, which is something that absolutely does not have to happen.
Disneyland takes babies into consideration; these rides allow infants in carriers or arms to come along with their parents:
- It’s a Small World
- Snow White’s Scary Adventure
- Haunted Mansion
- Disney Railroad
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- Pinocchio’s Scary Adventure
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
- Jungle Cruise
- King Arthur Carousel
- Pirate Island
- Mark Twain’s Riverboat
- Pirates of the Caribbean
Additionally, you can opt to get the Rider Switch Pass, which allows one person to ride then a second to skip the line and take their spot, which gives you the ability to pass your little one off to your partner or another member of your group for the bigger rides. Bring a large group and take turns switching things up to make it an easy trip all around! Also, fast passes are a fantastic idea to skip the lines and avoid a fussy, bored baby. Single rider lines are great too, as they let a single rider skip the wait and get to the ride faster, allowing parents and caregivers to switch out more easily on busier attractions.
Some Extra Tips and Tricks
- Bring toys that can be strapped to the stroller. Your little one will probably throw their toys if they have discovered how to do so. Help prevent frequent games of fetch by bringing toys that strap to the stroller or your little one directly. They can happily play without risking losing their favorite playthings and save you the headache of chasing after a toy over and over again. This is also great for keeping pacifiers off of the dirty ground, too!
- Check the weather before you go. Is it going to rain? Pack some ponchos. Is it going to be absurdly hot? Bring a sun hat, spray bottle of water, or stroller fan to offer the ability to cool off. California weather can be a bit fickle so be sure to pack plenty of supplies. Extra layers for cold weather and some warm blankets are fantastic, too, as they allow removable extra warmth options!
- Put sunscreen on your baby. Whether it is hot or cool, be sure to put sunscreen on your little one, especially if you are from somewhere that does not experience the same level of sun exposure as California. A sunburn or sun damage can happen at any time, even when it is cold out, so be sure to be proactive to help prevent any discomfort. It is always better to err on the side of caution and be a little overly safe, especially when it concerns your little one! You can actually buy sunscreen in the parks if you forget to pack it, too!
- Along the same general idea, bring some hand sanitizer or wet wipes in your diaper bag, especially if your little one is grabby. Disney is a magical place but also a bit germy. Bring some along to clean your hands after changings (in case the bathrooms are out of soap) and some wipes to tidy up a rental stroller or ride handle where your little one may grab on. They are also rather handy for cleaning up any baby feeding messes if your little one is on solids, too!
- Take tons of photos! Just because your little one probably is not super enthralled with everything going on does not mean you cannot get a ton of cute snaps! Ask cast members to take photos of your family together and get tons of shots of your little ones with Mickey and the gang. Kids seem to really, really love Goofy, by the way! My little one always went right for his nose!
- Remember that there is more to Disneyland than the parks. You can visit Mickey, Minnie, and the gang’s homes, watch parades and shows, spectate the fireworks, and catch several absolutely magical surprises as you venture through the park. Even if your little one is not a fan of the rides, you can still have a wonderful time!
- One of the best pieces of advice I have is to relax. You are going to miss somethings but let it go; this is your little’s first Disney adventure, go with the flow and let things be. Looking back, you will remember this day for the positives more than the negatives; there is something weird about parenthood that always makes us forget the frustrating moments after some time has passed. Be kind to yourself and be realistic about the trip when you set your expectations; you are going to do just fine!
- Last little tip: watch your kid’s reaction to things and be present. Chances are, if you keep a look at your little one’s face you will see some pretty hilarious and heartwarming reactions. The first time my kiddo saw Minnie, her entire face lit up like a Christmas tree and she immediately reached out for her big, round nose. Who cares if your baby cannot talk yet or walk around and ride rides? There will be so many special, wonderful moments that none of the rest really matters!
Questions and Answers
1. Do you have to pay for a baby to get into the park?
Nope! Children under the age of three get in free and can ride for free with their parents. You will have to pay for their food should they choose to eat in the park and souvenirs but admission is completely free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
2. Can I bring my own food/formula for my baby?
Yes, Disneyland does allow food and formula to be brought into the park. You can choose to purchase it within the Baby Care Center but you are entirely welcome to bring your own stuff from home. In fact, I encourage it considering the prices can add up pretty quickly if your little one is a big eater.
3. Is it worth going when baby will not remember the trip?
Absolutely! Just because your baby will not remember going to Disneyland does not mean the memories will not exist. You will remember every single sweet moment and silly smile from the day for the rest of your life. Your memories are just as important and if you want to take your little one to the park, do it! There is no such thing as a wasted trip to Disneyland! Take tons and tons of photos while you are there and make a cute scrapbook for your little one when they are older. We actually have an album with photos from each of my little one’s visits and hope to fill it up before she’s grown and gift it to her when she moves out one day as a little memory book along with a box of souvenirs and stuff but we are super sentimental.
4. Does Disneyland offer daycare services?
In the parks, no. Disneyland does not actually offer any babysitting or daycare services at all nor does Disney Resorts or California Adventure. You can ask the front desk of your hotel for recommendations regarding third party babysitters but other than that, nothing is offered and parents are discouraged from having babysitters take their children into the park due to liabilities.
5. Can little ones nap in the Baby Care Center?
They can but there is no designated napping area nor is there room to set up a Pack n Play or other sleeper. Plus, it would be rather discourteous to other parents hoping to use the facilities with their little ones since there would be no room at all for their kiddos if there was a giant sleeper propped up in the room. Instead, follow the advice of one Disney Parks Mom Panel member and take your baby on a nice, soothing train ride around the park. Generally, you can take as many loops as you want since the ride never fills up and the train provides some relaxing jostling that just might lull your little one to sleep. Alternatively, you can park yourself on any bench in quiet area and let them nap there.
6. Can dads come in the Baby Care Center since some moms will be nursing?
Yes, dads are welcome. These are a family friendly area so males can come in so long as they are not making a mom uncomfortable through their actions or comments. Dads play just as important of a role as moms so they are entirely welcome to come in, they should just be extra courteous to the nursing mothers and other parents in the room, too.