20 Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World with a Baby

Disney provided me with press passes to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.

Tips for Traveling to Walt Disney World with a Baby

From everything I’d heard, I was advised against doing Disney with a baby. “She won’t remember it.” “July is too hot.” “What can you even do there with a baby?” But against all “advice,” we booked our trip to Orlando the week of July 4th and marked Walt Disney World on the calendar.

But I was curious. What rides can an 11-month-old infant go on? What if I forget something? What do I do with my stroller at the park? Is it going to be easy or hard to park-hop with a baby? Do I need a car seat for Disney transportation?

So on my recent trip to the Magic Kingdom® and Epcot, I made note of all the things I pondered before packing. Here’s a list of 20 tips for traveling to Walt Disney World with a baby.

1. Accept that not everyone in your party will be awake during photo ops. I imagined that perfect family photo in front of Cinderella’s Castle. But my daughter was sleeping, or so we thought, and we didn’t want to disturb her nap. Be prepared for imperfect photos and shots at inopportune times. Not everything can go as planned.

Imperfect Photo

2. Bring your own stroller that lays flat for nap time. I felt better bringing my Britax B-Agile with us rather than an umbrella stroller or renting one from the park. My daughter is comfortable in her “everyday” stroller. Plus, it lays flat for nap time, something the rental options don’t do. A rental will run you $15 for a single and $31 for a double.

Stroller Rent

3. Get a [AD] stroller cover (and clip-on fan). I was at a garage sale a few weeks back, which I’d found our about through my mommy Facebook group, when I saw this over-sized black piece of fabric. I asked the lady what it was and she said, “a lifesaver!” She said she’d used it to get her kids to nap at amusement parts and the zoo. For $3 secondhand, I gave it a shot. It was the best. thing. ever. My daughter napped twice during her normal nap times thanks to this invention. IMPORTANT: We added a stroller fan when using this to keep her cool in the shade and to keep air circulating. We also checked on her often and opened the mesh window at the top of the stroller for additional air flow.

stroller shade

4. Don’t beat yourself up if you forget diapers. But you may want to try really, really hard to remember them. Otherwise, they’ll cost you $3.95 for 2 diapers, wipes, and ointment or $8.95 for a pack of 12 in the Baby Care Center.

Baby Care Center

5. Yes, babies can go on most rides. In fact, there is no height restriction for rides at the Magic Kingdom EXCEPT Splash Mountain®, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad®, The Brainstormer®, Tomorrowland Speedway, Space Mountain®, and Stitch’s Great Escape!™ My daughter absolutely loved Dumbo the Flying Elephant® and “it’s a small world”® because of the lights and music.

On Dumbo

6. Hopping parks isn’t as easy as it sounds. Although don’t have to worry about where you parked (I’ve spent too many times hitting my car alarm in search of my vehicle), to “hop” from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot, you have to take two monorails (or a ferry and a monorail). Strollers are welcome on the monorail and they don’t need to be folded. To get to Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom from the Magic Kingdom, you have to take the monorail or ferry and a bus, which isn’t very stroller friendly. If you take the bus with a stroller, you will most likely need to fold the stroller before boarding, which can be rather inconvenient if its nap time.

ParkHopping7. Bring a trash bag or poncho. Ever heard of stroller parking? I hadn’t either. But strollers aren’t allowed in the lines for rides and if it rains while you’re in line, your stroller WILL get wet. Plus, employees rearrange the strollers within the parking “lot.” Bring something to keep your stroller dry while in line and, of course, don’t leave valuables in your stroller. I was hesitant at first to leave my stroller unattended, but after every ride, everything was still there.

Stroller Parking

8. Don’t forget about yourself. I was so consumed with preparing my daughter and remembering her essentials that I forgot about myself. Before my daughter, I would get a pedicure before every trip – I clearly didn’t do that before this one! In fact, I didn’t even have shoes for the trip the night before our flight was due to depart. I bought new sandals the morning of since I’d forgotten I had no walking-friendly shoes since my feet grew after pregnancy. Also, don’t forget to put suntan lotion on YOURSELF. I lathered it on my daughter multiple times, but forgot to put it on ME. Bring a hair tie, sunglasses and Band-Aids too (although Band-Aids are available for free in the First Aid Center – thank God).

DontForgetMom

9. Limit character meets. As a baby, there wasn’t anyone she just had to meet. If the line is short enough, grab a photo and an autograph. Additional tip: Try to locate your autograph book from when you were a kid. It’s budget-friendly and a nice tradition to pass down.

CharacterMeet10. There’s a place called Disney’s Character Warehouse. Go there.  It’s an outlet store at Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Avenue and Orlando Premium Outlets – International Dr. Odds are your child will find something at the park stores that they want. Why not check out the outlet where a good deal of the items are 50% off AND legit Disney Park brand items? I picked up an infant tee shirt that says Walt Disney World for $3.99 and a Christmas ornament for $1.99. {Minnie and games pictured below were at a Magic Kingdom store.}

Disney Outlet11. You can’t go to Disney for the first time and not get Mickey ears. Both my husband and I got our ears during our first trip, so we had to get our daughter a pair. At $13.95 + $3 for embroidery, it really wasn’t that bad!

MickeyEars

12. Take advantage of the Fast Pass. Less wait time? No cranky baby in line? Free? I’ll take it! With each ticket, you can by pass the line and enter a separate entrance specially for Fast Pass holders. The only catch is you can only have one Fast Pass issued at a time (so you can’t go around to all the rides in the morning and get multiple Fast Passes for the whole day). I’d advise you to go the one ride you absolutely can’t miss and get that Fast Pass first. Rides offering Fast Passes are noted with an “FP” on your park map.

FASTPASS

13. Nursing? Find the hidden nooks. With only one Baby Care Center in each park, it’s hard to get to the designated nursing room for each feed. Don’t get me wrong, I am super appreciative that there IS a nursing room because I don’t feel comfortable enough to nurse openly. But I did find some private nooks at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot to nurse without eyeballs. They do exist.

NursingNook14. Buy glow sticks at the dollar store before your visit. Odds are when you are at the Main Street Electrical Parade, your child, or spouse, will want one of those glow sticks street vendors are selling. I don’t know the prices, but I image they’re high if a balloon at the park costs $10. We picked up a pack of 2 for $1 to save some cash.

glowsticks15. Bring a cooler or insulated sleeve for snacks. My daughter was at that stage during our visit where she’s just learning to eat solids, but breastmilk is still her primary source of nutrition. To keep her food cold, I brought a thermal pouch I bought at one of those thirty-one home parties (update: that pouch has since been discontinued, but here is a similar version). It was perfect for the diaper bag and kept her goodies cold with the addition of an ice pack. Additional tip: Unless you want bottled water, you can go to any restaurant with a soda fountain and ask for a cup of water for free.

cooler16. Make mommy happy. Traveling with a baby gets a little stressful. For the well-being of my family, I needed to treat myself to a double CHOCOLATE funnel cake (found in the American Experience World Showcase at Epcot).

MakemommyHappy17. Don’t spend a fortune on a vacation outfit for your baby. I picked up a cute Minnie Mouse outfit for my daughter at Kohl’s before our trip (I couldn’t remember that I needed shoes, but her outfit was all set to go) for a couple bucks thanks to Kohl’s Cash I had. I am glad I didn’t spend a fortune because she was in the top and just a diaper the majority of the day since it was so hot. Opt for light, breathable fabrics if you can, especially in the summer months.

Clothes18. Shop and eat during nap times. Since no strollers are allowed in lines, what’s left to do with a stroller is shop and eat. We headed to Epcot during her first nap and walked around the World Showcase, which is stroller friendly.

whiesleeping19. Capture the candid moments. Duh! It’s Disney! How many times do you get to experience this magic of Walt Disney World in your lifetime, let alone with your child?! Just don’t forget your phone or camera charger and clean out the memory before you arrive so you have sufficient photo and video space.

candidmoments

20. You can also ask the Disney Parks Moms Panel if you have specific questions before your trip. This group of people share their personal vacation planning advice and their Disney Parks experiences to make your vacation planning a breeze.

Or you can ask me in the comments section below if I missed anything! I had a wonderful time spending the day hopping between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot and am so happy I listened to my gut and vacationed to Disney with a baby.

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Ashley traded Prada for pacis in 2012 when she became a member of the elite club of motherhood. She is married to her high school sweetheart of nearly 15 years and together they have two toddlers - "Bear" and "Little Man." She spends her days as a marketing professional and nights writing this blog. In her [not so] spare time, she enjoys reading trashy tabloids, large glasses of buttery chardonnay, and shopping clearance racks.
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