Editor’s Note: Babble is a part of The Walt Disney Company.
I meet so many parents who think they should wait until their kids are older to visit Walt Disney World, but I can assure you there’s no better time to dish out the real Disney magic than when they are very young. I’m a self-professed “Dis-Nerd” myself, and have taken my own little family to meet the Mouse many, many times in the last few years. (Definitely more times than my husband would like to admit!)
So here’s the deal: Planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort with a baby can be easy — if you know how to plan and have a few parenting hacks up your sleeve. Here are 8 tried-and-true tips for enjoying a magical Disney vacation with your baby, but without all the stress.
1. Take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan (babies 2 and under eat free!)
If your family is hungrier than Pooh Bear, then looking into the Disney Dining Plan is a no-brainer. But did you know babies age 2 and under eat for free? They are expected to share a plate with their parents, but if you plan a buffet meal, or order a large entree, your hungry little toddler will be as happy as Lady and the Tramp on a meatball dinner date. Parents are also welcome to purchase à la carte items or kids meals for their little family members.
2. Request a complimentary travel crib.
Naps can be a saving grace in the heat of a busy day. Babies and toddlers can sleep in complimentary cribs or Pack ‘N Plays at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels, but be sure to request one when you make your room reservation. Staying in suites like those at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort mean a separate bedroom space for napping, which makes it easier to relax, play a game, or enjoy a Disney movie while little siblings sleep.
3. Leave your stroller at home, and rent one instead!
There are two great options for wheeling your brood around at Walt Disney World. Renting official Disney Strollers means you pick them up in the parks or at Disney Springs, and the longer you rent for, the more affordable it is. If you’d like to use the stroller at your Resort and between transportation options, use a Disney authorized rental service like Kingdom Strollers, which will drop them off in perfect condition, complete with a cooler and rain cover. Another bonus? The stroller will be completely set up at your Resort Concierge when you arrive. Pro Tip: Decorate your stroller with a balloon, ribbons, or a fun name tag to locate it easily within theme park stroller parking!
4. Use the Baby Care Center.
No matter the age of your young kids, the full-service Baby Care Centers in each of the four main theme parks provide a calm and clean place for changing, feeding (with highchairs!), watching a show to relax, warming food in the microwave, or nursing in a quiet room. There’s also a full supply store stocked with baby food, snacks, formula, diapers, wipes, and more, so bring your kids to unwind and renew their energy (and yours!).
5. Bring your own snacks to save money.
Did you know that Walt Disney World Resort allows food and drinks into their parks? I pack yogurt drops, crackers, and small boxes of fruit to stave off cranky moments in attraction lines or between meals. We also patronize the walk-up eateries for special snacks and complimentary cups of ice water. Pouring the water into sippy cups means we can stow them in our park backpack. Simple prep like this lets our small kids enjoy their day more!
6. Use Rider Switch and FastPass+ to save time.
No one likes to wait. Especially babies. Make your FastPass+ reservations for your must-do attractions 60 days before you check-in to your Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. You can combine FastPass+ for many of these attractions with Disney’s Rider Switch Service, which allows any non-riders (babies!) to wait with a chaperone while the rest of the party experiences a thrilling ride (Space Mountain!). The chaperone later gets to swap out and use the FastPass+ line to have their own chance to shoot through space!
7. Bring laundry detergent (just in case).
We all know babies aren’t without messes. And despite all your best efforts, you’ll most likely have to do a small load of laundry. All Walt Disney World Resorts have laundry facilities, so with a small bottle of detergent and a credit card, you can wash and dry those onesies, blankets and bibs until everything sparkles like Tinker Bell.
8. Start early in the day to maximize your time — and fun!
My little kids aren’t always up for staying up to watch the fireworks. They are sleepy little pumpkins after dark, so we have to find magic earlier in the day. Fun options like the “Move It, Shake It Parade” (which has multiple show times), Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire with fireworks, and the Festival of Fantasy Parade offer kids a chance to celebrate during the day. We also like to visit during the fall and early spring months, when the sun goes to bed early, too. That means earlier firework showings for IllumiNations or “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam!”
If your kids want to avoid the loud spectaculars, try visiting Magician Mickey (he’ll have a real conversation with your family) in Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theatre. He’ll “See Ya Real Soon!”
For more helpful tips visit the Disney Parks Moms Panel.