Bringing your baby to Disney World is absolutely magical… until it’s not. Sure, They get to see all the amazing sites, and you have a billion instagram worthy picture moments.
It really is fun- I promise
But it’s not perfect, far from it actually, and planning ahead will make your vacation that much more enjoyable! So prepare to cringe at my embarrassing Disney adventures that will hopefully save you time, money and your sanity!
If you’d prefer to focus on packing instead of the honest reality of babies at Disney World, do hop over to the Baby Packing Guide for Disney World.
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My Number One Recommendation…
Bring or rent a baby stroller AND bring a baby carrier AND have a mat for baby.
It is so draining on mom/dad/caregiver and baby to be in a “container” all day running around doing things.
To prevent this, have several options available to you, like a baby carrier AND a stroller.
The Strollers at Disney are not really for kids under two because of their shape, so you must bring or rent a stroller from a third party. I recommend Kingdom Strollers because of their great service and proper sanitation (plus you can rent things from them like a pack n play which is NOT guaranteed at any resort and a must have!)
For reference… here’s the strollers available for rent at Disney World OR you can buy a small umbrella stroller (for literally double the price of what it is at Target!)
AND if you have other kids with you besides baby, and they are under 9 years old, they will also need a stroller. It’s simple math, but all the kid experts say that whatever age a kid is, is how many miles they can walk. So a 5 year old can walk 5 miles a day.
But the average Disney Day is closer to 6-10 miles depending on the park. It’s a good idea to go ahead and reserve your time for a stroller rental with Kingdom Strollers instead of risking a rental and Disney World being sold out for the day.
You cannot do everything you planned on Vacation
Sorry Parents and Caregivers. You simply can’t do everything. And it’s not just you, this applies to people that don’t have a baby.
Unless you are going on a 10 day trip and using the Minnie Vans and staying within walking distance of a resort, you can’t do everything because there is SO much to do and transportation and dining take up some of your time.
Give yourself grace and pick the top 3 must see items and make a plan to do them! It will make your trip so less stressful if you aren’t pushed for time every minute of your trip. I have literally watched people have full blown arguments over the length of time it took to get food, and if the bathroom line was too long. Enjoy your trip by not overplanning! For a reference place to start, check out this list of Bucket Items to do at Disney World.
Your baby is going to cry in public and you might too
We’ve all been there.
They cry at the grocery store, they cry in the car… and yep, they cry at Disney. It’s ok. Try not to get too worked up. If someone stares, it’s likely a “I’ve been there and it sucks” pity stare. You’ll never see them again so take care of that baby! If you need helpful tips for breastfeeding, pumping or combo feeding, check out the guide.
It happens to everyone, and it’s so unfortunate
Yep. It’s a passage of parenthood. Babies poop. Throw in some travel time and upset schedules and maybe some new foods and you have a recipe for a poopy disaster.
It’s why I always recommend packing 2-3 outfits because sh*t happens!
The Baby Care Centers do carry some outfits, but they don’t always have every size… so you’d have to head to the main store with a poopy baby in tow. Pack extra!
You stood in line all this time and then…
Talk about “Santa Symptom”- sometimes kids don’t like to see the characters in person despite seeing them on TV.
I have two memorable pictures. One was with Doc McStuffins, who we took the train in Animal kingdom to see and stood in line for 25 minutes. My son promptly buried his face in my chest.
The next was Olaf- our favorite! We’ve seen Olaf a few times and my son had been asking for almost 2 months to see olaf. So we stood in line, for 45 minutes, and my son had a flipping meltdown when it was our turn. Sigh.
Your baby might not sleep
I absolutely recommend a noise maker. In fact, we bring two.
One that is battery powered for the stroller and one that plugs into the wall for the naps and nighttimes. This has saved us so many times, from sneaking to a quiet spot in the park for a nap (or the baby care center) to helping baby sleep when we are right next to the pool at the Resort.
Sure the rooms are nice, but they are far from sound proof. And then you need to consider napping at the park. Yes, baby wearing can make that a lot easier. But just keep in mind that you might totally miss a nap!
If you can, I recommend coming back to the resort during the afternoons. I know that its not always reasonable, especially if you are staying off of Disney World property.
Pro Tip: you can always just have baby nap in the car! We’ve done this a handful of times and it does work out well if we get there early enough before Baby is totally overtired.
You will forget something important
Yikes! It happens to me almost everytime- sometimes I even remember what I forgot on the way before we even get on property.
It’s ok though. If your staying awhile, you’ve got Amazon. You also have lots of delivery services and stores nearby Disney. If you don’t mind paying for it, the Resorts and Parks have an assortment of goodies. From diapers and outfits, to water bottles and over the counter medications.
Rides and Attractions might be Closed or Delayed
This is completely out of your control. And it sucks.
But Disney does a great job of keeping its guests safe, so sometimes things get shutdown for some time to get them back in working order. Sometimes they don’t shut down either. We’ve ridden frozen twice now where something was wrong (once Elsa’s arm was twisted funny and once the faces at a spot were turned off. Try explaining that to a two year old!!).
Transportation can be a Real Pain with a Baby
I really do try to prepare for this part of the vacation. But for some reason, it just really irks me how far apart everything is and the steps we have to take to get there.
We’ve done the Minnie vans (they come with car seats) and we’ve also done pickup, which seems to work well. Whatever you do, plan for DOUBLE the time so you don’t screw up your plan for the day.
So for instance, let’s say you wanted to park hop. Just going from Magic Kingdom to Epcot will take you about an Hour. And that can be a generous estimate on time.
If you are coming from one of the resorts by bus, estimate it to take 30-45 minutes. Between waiting for the bus, waiting to load and unload, waiting for traffic, then walking to the entrance. I didn’t even include getting through security or the ticket entrance.
It will all be totally worth it
When you get home you will be absolutely amazed, it was totally worth it. I promise you will laugh about the mishaps (or completely forget them) after awhile. Better yet, remember them so it doesn’t happen for next time!
So, yes, Disney will be absolutely magical. Just plan to forget something, lots of extra time and that you might not get to do everything on your super long list of Magical Moments at Disney. Take lots of pictures, it will be something you will remember forever!