Why take a baby to Disney World?
To make memories worth a lifetime, of course! Sure, visiting Disney World with a baby means you probably won’t tour it entirely, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a really fun time! Remember that the key to enjoying yourself with your baby, Disney World or not, is to let go of expectations and just enjoy your little one’s wonder-filled reactions to everything that they encounter. This guide will give you plenty of tips and fun things to do with baby at Disney World. Let us know your tips in the comments!
Don’t forget to plan!
While being flexible is an important part of having a fun time with your baby at Disney World, planning isn’t something you want to completely skip either. Use online guides, Orlando apps and the Disney app, My Disney Experience, to plan what your days will look like. Some things you need to figure out beforehand include:
- Desired order of visiting the parks
- Arranging a FastPass
- Transportation options
- Scheduling where you need to be in Disney World during nap times and the hottest times during the day.
- Dining reservations
- Locations for comfortable nursing
- Arranging for baby supplies from a local baby supplies rental store if need be.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can get prepared for your exciting trip to Disney World with your baby!
The best time to visit Disney World with a baby
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Disney World is fun no matter what time of year you visit. However, the crowds and weather can certainly impact your plans when you’ve got little ones in tow. Start getting prepared ahead of time by looking up Historical Attendance levels and climate predictions for the year online.
If none of your kids are of school-going age yet, you should seriously consider making your Disney World family trip during the winter. The weeks leading up to Christmas are not only less crowded compared to usual, but are also extra stunning owing to all the Christmas decorations! Plus, don’t forget that with sunny, warm days, Florida enjoys the mildest winters in the country. What does this mean for you? A super comfortable baby at Disney World, that’s what!
The month leading up to spring break, as well as the period between October and November are also great times to plan your trip. One season to avoid, if you can, is summer. Hot, sticky, and so crowded, babies tend to have a rough time being outdoors for long hours during Florida’s summers.
What Disney rides can babies go on?
At Disney World, babies can get on any ride their parents can, barring the ones with height restriction. Simply place your baby on your lap, or if the ride allows it, wear your baby in a sling or baby carrier.
Disney World has four theme parks that offer parents with babies dozens of rides, shows, character encounter experiences, and parades to explore. Here is what you can expect from each theme park when you’ve got a baby on board:
- Magic kingdom
Many would agree that this is the best theme park for families with babies. Plus, if the quintessential Disney experience is what you’re after, Magic Kingdom is definitely where it’s at.
Out of the seventeen rides the park offers, the only rides babies are not allowed to ride are Big Thunder Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, Splash Mountain, The Barnstormer, and Space Mountain meaning there are plenty of baby rides at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!
Ride “It’s a small world” to delight your baby with some visual stimulation and repetitive audio, then visit the gentle but engaging Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Don’t forget to take your baby’s first “castle picture” before heading off to the next park!
- Animal Kingdom
With only three rides that babies and toddlers can go on, Animal Kingdom is the perfect park to visit on one of your slower days, like the day you arrive or the day you leave.
Take your baby with you on the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the TriceraTop Spin. Then, check out the advanced animatronics and bioluminescent rainforest featured in the gentle Na’vi River Journey at Pandora.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has only two rides without height restrictions, namely Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Toy Story Midway Mania. However, with the park’s show lineup, the lack of rides will barely faze your toddlers.
Let your kids experience Disney magic in real life at Mickey Shorts Theater, Muppet Vision 3D, the Disney Junior Dance Party!, and the For The First Time In Forever: The Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.
There really aren’t that many rides for babies at Epcot, apart from The Seas with Nemo & Friends, the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros in the Mexico pavilion, and Frozen Ever After.
Relatively quiet and twice as big as Magic Kingdom, Epcot is a great place to while away your baby’s nap time. If your little one is a heavy sleeper, you could even squeeze in a stroll through the fabulous World Showcase.
Rider Switch Disney World
Now that you’ve know what rides infants can go on at Disney World, you’re probably wondering about the bigger roller coasters – will you have no choice but to sit them out? Don’t worry, Disney has the perfect solution for thrill-seeking parents.
Rider Switch pass, or Child Swap is a way for groups with kids who do not meet the height requirement to avoid waiting in lines twice.
To utilize this service, the group must set up a rider switch with the My Disney Experience app before getting in line. When the first set of people in the group get on the ride, the second set of people wait with the children.
When the first set of people get off the ride, they take the place of the second set of people who had earlier been waiting. The second set of people then enter the ride through the FastPass lane without any waiting! The fun part is that each person entering the ride during the second round of rider switch gets to bring one additional guest along with them.
This means that some of the group’s older kids and enthusiastic adults that rode the ride the first time get a second chance to ride it again. Rider switch previously allowed two additional guests for every adult availing the service, but the rules have recently changed to just one.
Attractions at Disney World which offer Rider Switch
Magic Kingdom Park
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
Frozen Ever After
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Alien Swirling Saucers
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours® – The Adventures Continue
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
Avatar Flight of Passage
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain®
Kali River Rapids
Na’vi River Journey
If you have a toddler, it’s likely they’re really excited to see their favorite Disney characters. However, they might not be prepared for how big they are in real life. 6 feet tall and un-animated, who can blame them?
You can help them get prepared by showing them videos of kids meeting characters at Disney World beforehand so they have an idea of what to expect.
Most character encounters take place at Magic Kingdom. Make sure to first check how your kid reacts to the characters from a distance, and only if they seem curious and eager, bring them closer. It’s also probably best to avoid the “bad guy” characters until your tots are a bit older.
Disney World Baby Care Centers
Every guest with a baby at Disney World needs to know about Baby Care Centers. Each of the four theme parks have just one, so it’s good to know their locations beforehand by checking your park maps.
Baby centers at Disney World are quiet, air-conditioned hubs offering refuge to parents touring Disney World. They include facilities and features like multiple changing tables, comfortably spaced seating next to electric outlets for pumping and breastfeeding, a darkened seating area with a TV where the family can wait, and kitchen supplies to warm up food and bottles. These include bottle warmers and a microwave. There is a sink to wash up bottles etc in too.The Baby Centers shops are also stocked with supplies like food, formula, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and diapers to purchase.
Plan out feeding and changing your baby beforehand
Baby care centers in Disney World cannot store your baby’s food and milk, and zipping back to your hotel room every time the baby needs to eat just isn’t realistic. So, consider carrying a small portable cooler you can place under your baby’s stroller. You can also get ice from a restaurant to help keep things cool or use a frozen water bottle.
The selections of food, formula and diapers at the Disney shops are limited and marked at a high price premium, so plan ahead on where you’ll be sourcing your supplies from. You could bring enough for the whole duration of your vacation and stash it all at your hotel, or you could stock up at a grocery store in Orlando. Another option is to have groceries delivered right to you.
Breastfeeding at Disney World:
According to Florida law, breastfeeding is allowed in all public places. However, if you find yourself looking for a sequestered location to nurse and there are no Baby Care Centers in sight, opt for a slow-paced park attraction.
Pirates of the Caribbean, The Carousel of Progress at Tomorrowland, Hall of Presidents, and Country Bear Jamboree at Magic kingdom are all perfect for nursing at Disney World. Feathered Friends in Flight at the Animal Kingdom, Frozen Sing-a-long at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and American Adventure in EPCOT can all serve the same purpose. Bringing your baby carrier along can also help big time when it comes to napping and breastfeeding anytime, anywhere.
Bring your own stroller to Disney
Disney’s rental strollers are made of plastic and are fine for toddlers, but too hard and uncomfortable for infants. Furthermore, Disney’s strollers only stay in the theme parks, meaning unless you have arrangements made, you’ll be left to carry a tired, cranky baby back to your hotel at the end of the day.
If bringing your baby’s padded, reclining stroller isn’t a practical option for you, look into renting one from an off-site rental company. ScooterBug is one that Disney recommends to it’s guests. Kingdom Strollers is another that operates out of Orlando.
Strollers are not allowed in lines so consider having a baby carrier on you to make the waits less arduous. Parking your stroller in the marked stroller parking areas in the theme parks is a must. If you don’t, be prepared to search for it as a cast member may have moved it.
Protecting your baby from the Florida heat
Factoring Florida’s heat into your Disney travel plans is a must when you’re with your baby. Unlike adults, young babies can’t wear sunscreen so you’re left with UV protection umbrellas, stroller covers and light-colored, breathable clothing to shield your little one from the harsh sun.
Remember to keep your baby hydrated and make pit stops at air conditioned shops and attractions as often as possible. Also, consider buying a portable fan that you can attach to your baby’s stroller. They tend to be expensive at Disney World so try and bring one from home.
Bring extra essentials
Trust me when I tell you your baby will drop things in Disney World! Pacifiers, socks, booties, bibs, blankets, you name it – once they’re dropped, you better believe they’re gone. Best carry extras, just in case. While purchasing some items at a Baby Care Center is an option, I’d recommend considering that only during emergencies because of the high rates.
Get your baby used to the Pack n’ Play
Complimentary Graco Pack n’ Play playards are available to guests at all Disney Resort hotels. Quantities are limited so it does well to request one when making your reservation.
If your baby hasn’t slept in one before, get them used to it at home during the days leading up to your vacation. This will help avoid any discomfort and tantrums that might take place otherwise. If your little one does not like sleeping in a Pack n’ Play playard, it’s a good idea to ask the hotel if they can arrange for a real crib in your room and if not, start searching for one you can rent from a local rental company.
Disney has a number of transportation options including bus, water, monorail and the Skyliner. However, some of these options (bar the Skyliner and monorail) require your baby to sit on your lap and some babies just won’t have it. You can always opt to wear your baby in a sling or carrier, but another option to consider is renting a car or bringing your own. Of course, if you are using the Skyliner or monorail you can usually push the stroller directly on, except if the monorail is exceptionally busy.
Disney’s Car Care Center invites guests to rent a car through one of their preferred car rental partners in Orlando. Keep in mind that a car seat is mandatory, so if you can’t bring that with you from home, you’ll need to rent one of those too.
Baby Friendly Accommodation at Disney World
While all the Disney World Hotels are family friendly and offer magical stay experiences, the Walt Disney World Away From Home Resorts and Disney Vacation Club Resorts might hold some extra appeal for families with young children. These resorts feature amenities like a kitchen to cook meals, a refrigerator to store food and milk in, and large rooms in which babies and older kids can play and nap.