how to do disneyland with an infant | part one.

Posted on: Monday, March 30, 2015

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

I know, I know. The thought of taking an infant to an overpriced, overcrowded, overstimulating environment makes some people break out in hives. I totally get it. But I can also confirm that despite all of those things, it is 100% WORTH it. I’m a big believer in taking Briar (almost) everywhere I go, and as a result, she’s become my laid back, highly adaptable co-pilot.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about taking an infant to Disneyland:

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Plan meals ahead of time. Briar is now at a perfect stage where I can alternate nursing with solid foods, which makes the whole day so much easier than when I had to stop and nurse her every two hours. For a half day with a seven month old, I packed one banana (along with a small bowl and a baby spoon) and a Ziploc bag of Cheerios. Both of those foods lasted quite some time and kept Briar thoroughly entertained and satiated. I also packed a sippy cup that I would fill with water so she could take a few sips (slash pour the rest all over the place) whenever she had a solid food meal or snack.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring the stroller AND the carrier (and grandma). When it comes to getting around and keeping your baby happy, you need options. Now that Briar is old enough to sit up and face forward in her stroller, it’s like a whole new world for her (and me!). We have a Britax B-Agile which I absolutely love because it’s lightweight, folds up easily, the seat can be adjusted upright or laid down with a simple pull, and the shade is huge (meaning my pale baby is safe from the sun / given privacy during naps). The stroller does the bulk of the work throughout the day, but when it comes to taking Briar on rides, nursing her on the go (it can be done!), or calming her when she’s fussy, that’s when the carrier comes in handy. I usually bring the Ergo, but I also love the Boba wrap as well. However, if I’m being honest, the best transportation of all is in the arms of Nana…always bring Nana ;)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Skip the tram and walk. If ever given the choice to walk or ride, I always walk, because, well, I just like walking. However, this is particularly handy when you have a stroller in tow. The walk from the parking structure to the park gates is approximately 10-15 minutes and is much easier (in my opinion) than waiting in line for the front seats of the tram and having to fold / unfold your stroller. Consider it your warm-up for the walking marathon you are about to embark upon.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Take advantage of the Baby Care Center. This place is amazing. There’s a private nursing area with comfy chairs, there’s a diaper changing station, there are high chairs, there’s a place to store your pump…Disney has thoroughly thought out the baby situation. I think my favorite part about it is being able to sit in a quiet, air-conditioned space with my little one, free from any distractions. Other great (semi-private) places to nurse: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the train, the back corner of Hungry Bear Restaurant, the Haunted Mansion, or any ride that you can wear your baby in a carrier.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Bring comfort items. Since Disneyland can be incredibly stimulating, it’s nice to have comfort items at the ready for when your little one needs a reprieve. I always make sure that we have several pacifiers on hand (at least half of them end up on the ground), small toys that can be attached to the stroller, and a few lightweight blankets for nap time. Whenever Briar has had enough, I’ll take her to the Baby Care Center for a little peace and quiet or I’ll lay her in her stroller and pull the shades down so some of the noise and lights are blocked.

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Ride those rides! There are SO many rides you can actually take babies on. I have had an annual pass for years and I had no idea how many rides babies could board! I’m not just talking about Fantasyland rides, I’m talking about the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and any others that do not have a height restriction. The other great feature Disneyland offers for parents of babies is a Rider Switch Pass. Let’s say you and your significant other want to ride Space Mountain: you simply request a Rider Switch Pass when you get in line and then both of you can alternate riding with watching the baby. Win win, right?

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Pack lightly. Babies require a lot of stuff; the packing list alone can be intimidating! But it’s important to keep in mind that if you bring too much into the park, you’ll spend the whole day schlepping big bags in and out of crowds and lines and tight spaces, and really, that’s a huge buzz kill. After a handful of trips to Disneyland with Briar, I think I’ve finally figured out what works best for John and me: I bring my everyday bag (similar to this) to carry all the immediate essentials (diapers, wipes, pacifiers) and John brings a bigger backpack to carry the less immediate essentials (spare clothes, the camera, a bowl + spoon for Briar). We also utilize the storage underneath the stroller for bulky items, like the Ergo or our sweatshirts. Whenever we need to park the stroller to get in a ride line, we don’t worry about leaving anything behind because we keep almost everything on our person already. If you want to carry even less, you can always rent a locker or store extras in your car for later. (Tomorrow I’ll share all the details of what I pack!)

How to Do Disneyland with an Infant | Ann-Marie Loves

Roll with it. I’ve decided that you can look at bringing babies along to Disneyland in one of two ways: you can either look at it as a major hassle OR you can choose see it as a wonderful adventure for the whole family! I choose to view it through the latter perspective. There’s a lot of prep work that goes on, but it’s always worth it in the end! (Plus, babies are free until they’re three!)

  • Heather Mason @Nutty Nutrition

    ahh, that pic with the ears is priceless! So glad you had a good trip to Dland!

  • Ann-Marie Loves: how to do disneyland with an infant | part two.

    […] I shared my best tips for bringing an infant to Disneyland and today I’m sharing the details of what I pack for my seven month […]

  • Lee

    I really admire your perspective of, “I want my daughter to come with me, so how can I make it work?”

  • Stephanie

    What a beautiful blog and such wonderful tips! Thank you, it’s very helpful! I’ll be taking my 9-month old daughter on her first Disneyland trip in a few weeks (a native Californian myself, I have many fond memories of Disneyland as a kid, so I can’t wait to share the experience!).

    My question is what do the ride attendants have you do with the baby when you go on the baby-friendly rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion? Do you just have them in your lap or do you need them in a baby-wearing device? Just wondering how strict they are about this. Thanks so much!

    • Ann-Marie Morris

      Hi Stephanie! I’m so excited for you and your family…you’re going to have so much fun! When I would get on rides with Briar when she was an infant, I would usually keep her in the Ergo, mainly so I could use both of my hands to get in and get out. However, you absolutely don’t need a carrier to ride the baby-friendly rides. You can just as easily hold your daughter in your arms without the ride attendants batting an eye. You do what feels best for you and your baby :)

  • ariana martin

    I am going to be taking my daughter to Disneyland in a few weeks and am having trouble finding tips for really young babies online. You mentioned having taken your daughter a few times so I wonder if you have any tips for a baby only 5-months old.?
    Currently, what I’m really trying to figure out is the stroller situation. She’s not sitting up on her own yet and I worry a front facing stroller could end up being hard on her for an entire day but i feel the stroller I have for her (it’s a Baby Trend travel system ) would be too bulky for the trip or would likely end up getting stolen whilst on a ride. Should I be looking to get a different stroller for the trip or do you have any tips that could help?

    • Ann-Marie Morris

      Hi Ariana! My daughter was two months old when we took her to Disneyland for the first time, so I know exactly what you mean. I would definitely recommend bringing your stroller and laying it flat (if possible) when you think your little one needs a break from sitting or during a nap. If you’re still using the car seat as part of the stroller system, you should definitely bring it in the park. In terms of size, your stroller is nothing in comparison to the herds of double BOB strollers that I see people pushing around the park! Don’t even worry. As for your stroller getting stolen, I also wouldn’t stress too much about that. I hear the very occasional story about the high-end strollers going missing, but in my own experience with a Britax and a Nuna, I never worry. If you’re still concerned, you can purchase a stroller wheel lock. Just make sure it’s a wheel lock and not a regular lock that you would tie to a rail or a pole, otherwise it will be removed by Disney employees. One thing to note about stroller parking is that your stroller will often be moved (in the same vicinity, just not in the exact spot you left it) by Disney employees for the sake of crowds or parades or what have you. Don’t panic if this happens, your stroller is still there! Ask the nearest cast member where the strollers have been placed and they will be happy to assist you. One other tip: if you have a baby carrier of any kind, I highly recommend bringing it! Not only is great for keeping your baby close or nursing on the go, but it’s perfect for taking her on rides. Have a wonderful trip!

  • Karina

    What a great post! We’re going to Disneyland this weekend and I’ve been super nervous to how the trip was going to be. This post has me definitely looking forward to the trip now!

  • Candice

    Great info ! How was Briar when you first took her ? I’m thinking of taking my 8 week old , but a little germiphobic …

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