5 TIPS ON VISITING WALT DISNEY WORLD WITH A BABY
My Mom and I have been traveling to Disney World together since I was a little girl, and having a trip to Disney World on the calendar really gave me something to look forward to when I was taking care of an infant around the clock at home. When I found out I was pregnant, My mom and I both thought we probably wouldn’t go to Disney World until my son was older. Then, like many things this year, we decided we weren’t going to let having a baby stop us from doing the things we want to do. Did the trip look a lot different than it did before baby? Oh yeah! Did we have a blast? Oh yeah!
There was a point on the trip that I teared up (Mom hormones, I guess) that me, my Mom, and my baby son got to experience Disney World together. That is a memory I knew I could always have!
We went to Disney when Leo was just turning 6 months old, so we were just entering the starting to try food phase and he was still napping a lot. I warned everyone that we would be slow moving and operating on Leo’s schedule. On the trip was my Mom, me, 6-month old Leo, and my husband.
Here are my top tips on things to know about Visiting Walt Disney World with a baby!
1. Babies enter free at Walt Disney World!
Not only did Leo fly for free as a Lap child on Southwest Airlines, Kids under 3 years-old enter Walt Disney World Parks for FREE. I don’t know about y’all, but I love feeling like I got a deal! They can also eat at buffets for free until 3 years old! Leo wasn’t eating much more than banana when we went, so we didn’t take advantage of that perk (yet!)
2. Babies can ride LOTS OF rides at Disney World (plus a FAST PASS RIDER-SWAP HACK!)
Babies can ride anything that doesn’t have a height restriction at Magic Kingdom, so there are lots of options!
You definitely need to reserve Fast Passes! You can reserve fast passes 60 days in advance, so you want to reserve those and your dining reservations as soon as possible to have the best schedule. We did our best to make it to those fastpass reservations and our dining reservations and the rest we just went with the flow. I was nervous about the dining reservations not knowing Leo’s schedule but he often napped on me at meals.
One of the biggest tips I learned is about the Rider Swap. I will do my best to explain it, so you don’t get lost. It is a little bit tricky, but oh so Magical. First, rider swap is an option DIsney has available for one parent to ride a ride while the other stays with the baby, then when they get off the second parent can go! This really comes in handy when you have three people, so no one has to ride alone. On the swap, The person watching the baby can go on the ride through the fastpass lane with one another person with them so they don’t have to ride alone. BUT, here is the hack! If you keep the Swap in mind, then you can reserve fastpasses for just two of the three adults when a rider swap is available.
Example Schedule at Magic Kingdom for Me, My Mom, Husband
Fast Pass for me and my Mom for Splash Mountain – Rider swap with my husband and me
Fast Pass for my Mom and Husband on Big Thunder- Rider Swap for me and my Mom
Fast Pass for my husband and me Space Mountain – Rider Swap for my Mom and me
So in this example, everyone has only used two of their three fast passes but gotten to go on 3 top rides. This is great in theory but it is hard to pack in rides with a baby! This would probably work even better with four people! It would avoid the overlapping time issues with Fast Passes! This is an amazing hack, but the reality is the swap still takes extra time to go through the fastpass line two times, and babies take up a lot of extra time so good luck taking advantage of this amazing hack! Rider swap is not available on all rides either (only on the bigger-most popular rides). And I have heard there are many rides where the Disney Cast member needs to physically see the baby to give you the rider swap pass. So, keep that in mind.
3. Manage your Disney Expectations
Going to Walt Disney World with a baby will be nothing like going with teens and adults, which is what my only experience has been. Look at your schedule at home and try to match that at Disney. Expect your child to still get their naps in, and just makes sure to plan in breaks during the day. You will probably miss some things you normally would never miss. This trip we didn’t even make it to Epcot, and I love Epcot! I just recommend enjoying the process, and anything you miss will give you a reason to come back to Disney. We moved at a much more relaxed pace. Typically, our schedule would include my baby waking up for the day and me taking him down to breakfast with my Mom while my husband caught a few more Zzzzs. I would let him sit in a high chair and watch the activity while I enjoyed coffee and breakfast. Then after breakfast, Leo would take his first nap for about a half hour in the room before we head out to the park arriving in time for a ride then lunch and another nap. On previous trips to Walt Disney World, we would be there before the doors open for the early magic hours to the park.
I was so nervous about the unknown before our trip, but if all of a sudden you can tell your baby is done, you can go to a quiet place or back to your room. I told myself to expect a meltdown or multiple on this trip, but we never had one! But if we did have one, that would have been okay. Disney World is very exciting, but it is also a lot of stimulation.
4. Take Advantage of Disney’s Baby Care Centers
Disney World has Baby Care Centers at every park. These are air conditioned indoor spaces with big comfy baby changing tables and a little store to purchase extra baby supplies. They have private breastfeeding areas and equipment for pumping/preparing bottles. We used the one a Magic Kingdom a couple times, and I really enjoyed stopping in there. The parks are big so often times the Care Canters are not close to you. I often would change a diaper in a public restroom or breastfeed in a some-what quiet place (or often at lunch in a restaurant).
5. Treat Yourself (I’m looking at you Mama!)
Let’s be honest, this trip is not for the baby. It is for the Disney-loving adults, so treat yourself too!
Just being at Disney World is a treat for me, but here are a few splurges we had. We stayed at our very favorite Polynesian Resort Hotel. We bought the Photo-Pass beforehand. I knew I wanted this trip documented and I did not want to bring my “big-girl” camera this time. Anytime I saw a Disney Photographer cast member with a short line, I would grab a family photo, even if the background was nothing special! We ate at our favorite restaurants, many of which are at the Polynesian Resort. We took an Uber from the airport. Uber Carseat is available in Orlando. We took a “Minnie-Van” to Epcot. And on our last night we had room service delivered from Ohanas, because it was only $5 extra and the baby was already asleep on the bed. All of these things were things I wouldn’t have done previously, but with a baby I wanted to get the most out of my time.
Our 3 Day Disney World schedule with a BABY! ( please don’t judge )
Flew in on the EARLYYYY (too early) Flight
Uber Car Seat to Polynesian Resort
Checked into room
Monorail to Magic Kingdom
Leo slept through Daytime Parade
Dumbo (with Fast Pass but didn’t need it!)
It’s A Small World
Magic Kingdom Railroad
Ohana for Dinner
Watched Fireworks from the Polynesian
Slow relaxing Breakfast
1st Nap of the Day
Monorail to Magic Kingdom
Pirates of the Carribean – FastPass
Jungle Canteen Restaraunt – and 2nd Nap
Jungle Cruise – FastPass
Boat Ferry from Magic Kingdom
Relaxed at Polynesian Resort
Minnie Van to Hollywood Studios
Sci-fi Drive-in (Note: Cars are not good for Breastfeeding due to tight space)
Hollywood Studios Little Mermaid
Bus back (long wait for bus)
Fireworks from the Polynesian
1st Nap of the Day
Animal Kingdom Bus
Yak and Yeti Restaurant – and 2nd Nap
Finding Nemo the Musical
Wildlife Express Train and Petting Zoo
Avatar Flight of Passage + Rider Swap – With FastPass too!
Kona cafe room service