I've been to Disneyland with each of my babies. It's not quite the same as running from ride-to-ride with older kids, but it is still magical in its own way.
When my friends ask, I am always quick to reassure them that Disneyland is totally do-able with a baby.
On our most recent visit, we had all four of our children (ages 10, 7, 4, and 3 months). Our 3-month-old was an absolute champ about being toted around from early morning to late at night.
If you are planning a trip to Disneyland with an infant, the following tips will help you maximize your moments.
Make use of the Baby Care Centers. I am so thankful that Disney welcomes babies with such warm smiles and friendly spaces. There is one Baby Care Center in Disneyland (right off Main Street, near the red corn dog wagon) and one Baby Care Center in Disney's California Adventure (right next to the Ghirardelli chocolate shop - free samples, by the way!). Each Baby Care Center has changing tables, a quiet & private spot for moms to nurse babies, and a small table/chairs if you need a bit of downtime with your toddler. High chairs, microwaves, and sinks are also available if you want to feed your little one a meal. There are even miniature toilets and sinks for preschoolers! If you find that you have forgotten diapers, wipes, baby food, or other necessities, they are available for purchase.
Bring a (baby) hat. Southern California is known for its golden sunshine and breezy weather. While it can feel delightful on your shoulders (especially in the winter), remember that sunburns can and do happen. If you have an infant, it's best to dress him in comfortable, breathable, long-sleeved clothing - with a floppy sun hat! Strollers with canopies are also a good way to go. Other baby items not to forget for a 3-month-old: diapers, wipes, diaper changing pad, nursing cover (if you use one), and several outfits. Don't forget water bottles, snacks, and a hat for you too!
Rider Switch is your friend. If you have a baby, do use the rider switch program (sometimes called "baby swap" or "child swap"). The first half of your party goes on the ride; then you can "switch" and the second half of your party can go on the ride in the fast pass lane.
Know which rides are baby-friendly. There are actually quite a few rides where babies are permitted to ride in parents' arms - including Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan's Flight, Ariel's Undersea Adventure, just to name a few. That being said, it's important to keep in mind that it is easy for babies to become overstimulated, startled, or frightened by loud noises, sudden darkness, or moving objects. We opted to keep our baby off all rides on our most recent trip, with the exception of It's A Small World (which is very tame and gentle with cheery music throughout). Even with this being the case, Tim & I still managed to ride LOTS of attractions and make plentiful memories with our older children - thanks in large part to the aforementioned rider switch program.
Be ready to call it a day and tuck in for the night early. Because the parks tend to be significantly less crowded in the early mornings, our strategy was to arrive at the parks early every single morning. Since we were staying at the Grand Californian, we were able to make use of the Extra Magic Morning (a super awesome perk!). In order to wake up bright and early each morning, we didn't stay until closing time. With a sleepy baby in tow, we opted to head back to our hotel room at 8 or 9pm instead.
Don't forget your FREE 1st Visit to Disneyland pin. You can stop by City Hall on Main Street to request one - or ask any cast member. You can tuck it away in your baby's keepsake box, along with photos from the trip. Your baby may not remember the adventure, but YOU and your older kids will.
Hope you have a marvelous time at Disneyland with your baby! Remember you can always tweet me on-the-fly for Disneyland ideas & recommendations.
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