Today I am so excited to have Renee and Carson Durand from Disney By Age guest posting on the blog. We are huge Disney fans in this house and I love to share Disney tips, crafts, and ideas with you. However, it’s no secret that we no longer have babies and toddlers running around. My youngest is seven and quite independent. I was talking a bit with the amazing people at Disney By Age and we agreed that they would be a better fit to share how to take your baby or toddler to Disney World like a pro. I hope that you enjoy this post and hop over to see more of what they are posting after you finish reading.
How to Take Your Baby or Toddler to Disney World Like a Pro
You’ve heard it before:
Babies and toddlers are just too young for Disney World.
Babies and toddlers love Disney World. They can have a blast, and you so can their parents! The truth is, there’s no wrong age for Disney World. But, there are bad (or inadequate) plans. Bringing a very young child to Disney World requires some specialized planning. We recently asked 29 Disney World experts for their best piece of Disney World advice. They had some pretty amazing things to say, which will make a trip with your young ones fun and easy.
Here’s how to do Disney World with a baby or toddler like one of these pros, along with some web resources to help.
Ship What You Need
Every parent knows that babies and toddlers require a lot of gear to travel. Travel seat, high chair, stroller, stroller accessories, enough formula or age appropriate food for a week of meals and snacks, diapers, wipes, changing pad, diaper bag, to name a few.
Besides baby or toddler specific gear, there’s also Disney World specific gear. And having the right gear for Disney World is key to saving money and having a smooth trip. That’s why Disney World expert Melissa Pigden’s (of Child Centered Disney) best piece of advice was to ship what you can to the resort in advance.
All Disney World resorts have a mini fridge or larger, and all resorts will receive guest shipments up to 10 days before arrival. (Disney says they may charge $5 per package, but in our experience, the don’t.) So don’t haul formula, diapers and wipes in your suitcase. Use a service like Amazon Prime to ship them down ahead of time.
Use a Crowd Calendar
One of the relative advantages of taking children to Disney World while they are very young is that they are not restricted by a school schedule. This means you can plan your Disney World trip during optimal periods. Use a free Disney World crowd calendar to determine when crowd levels will be lowest.
Stay on the Property
This was expert Stuart Sternberg of WDW Fan Zone’s best piece of advice, and he is dead on. Yes, staying on property costs more, but it also adds value. A huge part of that value is added convenience, especially if you are in a Monorail resort. Staying on property means it’s easier to come and go from the parks to your room, especially if your resort is on the Monorail or within walking distance. This is extremely helpful for naps or meltdowns — for you or your little one!
Staying on property also makes travel easier. Thanks to Disney’s Magical Express, you’ll be able to check your bags when you depart, and then forget about them. They will appear in your resort room automagically! Similarly, when you head home, you can check your bags in at your resort (or a very nearby resort). If you’ve ever travelled with your baby or toddler, you know how difficult it is to haul your luggage at the same time. These conveniences make staying on-property a must with a little one, but there are lots of other benefits.
One of the other benefits is the rich theming and Disney magic of each of the resorts. Babies and toddlers are just as entertained by the experience in the resorts as in the park itself.
Know and Use the Baby Care Centers.
Did you know that Disney World has Baby Care Centers in each of its four theme parks? These quiet and are conditioned spaces are equipped with kitchens including oven, microwave, sink, changing tables, private nursing room, and family restroom.
Here’s a map of the location of each Disney World Baby Care Center (Map credit: Disney).
Plan a Low Key Schedule
Several of our Disney World experts emphasized having a low key, flexible schedule, without expectations. Just go, take it easy, and enjoy yourself. After all, it’s vacation. When touring with a baby or toddler, we recommend doing half days in the parks during the mornings. Then come back to your resort in the afternoons for naps and pool time. This keeps everyone fresh and fully charged, parents included.
Character Dining experiences are an ideal way for babies and toddlers to interact with characters. You can eat a leisurely meal with your baby, and the characters come to you. It’s low key, with no lines. A character meal in your resort with your little one is a great way to end the day after an afternoon nap and pool time. An early morning character meal in the theme park is also a great way to start your day, and get into the park before the crowds. But, be aware that character dining requires some planning, because they require reservations, called ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations). If you’re interested, here is how to make hard-to-get ADRs.
Have a Stroller Plan
Having a stroller that you and your baby or toddler are both comfortable in is key. It is away for you to more conveniently haul your baby and/or toddler gear to and through the parks, without breaking your back. It also becomes a place of safety and refuge for your little one, from the overwhelming energy of the park. That’s why recommend bringing your own stoller. Most airlines ship them free, and with Disney’s Magical Express, it will automagically arrive in your room for you.
If you don’t ship your own stroller down, we recommend renting one from a 3rd party. The strollers that Disney World rents in the park are not very nice or comfortable, and we don’t recommend them. Both you and your baby will appreciate a good stroller. Personally, we think the UppaBABY Vista is the best overall stroller for Disney World.
More Pro Disney World Advice
We’ve got Disney World cast members, bloggers, vloggers, travel specialists, Disney Mom’s panel members, DVC members and AP holders. Needless to say, they share some pretty amazing information.
Looking for more?