This summer our little pirate was joined by a new little princess. Of course we were really excited about her first trip to Disney. We figured we probably wouldn’t get to take her until she was closer to a year old, but in an extremely quick turn of events, our family relocated to the Orlando area and we became Annual Passholders! We found ourselves in the parks with our four-year old and 6 month old baby by the end of December. I was a little nervous about doing Disney with a baby, but quickly found it wasn’t as difficult as I assumed it would be! We are weekly visitors now with both kids in tow!
Some of the questions I had before travelling with a baby revolved around how it would impact our day. Riding rides, Fast Pass selection, napping, clean areas to change diapers and of course places to feed our princess were all areas of concern for me. But of course, Disney has an answer to all of this! It is a family park after all and completely conducive to traveling with a baby.
Most rides we can easily bring the baby on with us. We can carry her on and most times I end up wearing her in my baby carrier. When we want to ride something that she cannot go on, Disney makes it easy with their Rider Swap program. We simply find the Cast Member located at the kiosk near the attraction entrance and let them know one of us is staying behind with the baby while the other one rides. They will hand a Rider Swap ticket to the parent staying behind while the parent riding gets in the Stand-By line. After the parent is done riding, the one who stayed behind heads directly to the Fast Pass line with the Rider Swap ticket. What I love is that our son can ride with each of us, so the one who stays behind first does not have to ride alone. The paper pass is good for up to three additional people – so this works well for families with multiple children.
If we have a Fast Pass for an attraction that is not baby friendly, we again utilize the Rider Swap. Just head to the kiosk near the line entrance and tell them you have Fast Passes but need to use Rider Swap. They will hand you the Rider Swap paper pass. The parent going on second will use the Fast Pass and your child will use the paper ticket. The Rider Swap option is an awesome system that allows us to pick from all of the attractions instead of only finding the ones that the baby can go on as well. Plus, our son thinks it is pretty awesome being able to go on rides two times in a row!
This may not be an issue for some babies, but finding a quiet and peaceful area for an afternoon nap may be needed for some little ones. There are plenty of shady benches, quiet corners, and air-conditioned theaters to relax in. I have been known to relax in a quick service restaurant while my husband and son ride just so our little one can get out of the sun and take a good nap. Plus, it’s also nice to kick up my feet for a little bit as well!
I absolutely despise changing diapers in a public restroom. I normally use the back-end of our Santa Fe to change diapers! However, having to leave the park every time I need to change a diaper is not a great way to maximize our time at the parks! One reason I have always loved Disney is because of how clean they keep their parks – and the bathrooms are not any different! All the bathrooms throughout the parks have changing areas that are solid stations, not the pull down plastic tables that open and close. They are also really wide and roomy making it easy to keep my bag at an arm’s reach. And even better – they are clean! Disney even has changing areas in the men’s room so Mom can get a beak every once in a while!
This was probably my biggest concern because I primarily breastfeed. I have a baby who completely hates being covered while eating. However, I really enjoy a little privacy while feeding her. I have found some great spots to nurse in that not only provide a little quiet, but also privacy for us. There have even been a few attractions that I have found that I can easily nurse on. At the end of this post, I will lay out some areas at each park that have worked out really well for us.
Oh No! I’m out of __________!
One thing I never considered until I was actually out and about at Epcot one day was what if I ran out of diapers or we lost the beloved pacifier! Disney has a solution for that scenario, too! A staffed Baby Care Center is located at each of the four parks. They carry diapers, formula, bottles, wipes, over the counter medications, pacifiers – anything you could possibly need! This a great location to get some quiet time with your little one, nurse in a cool and distraction free area, and change a diaper. A kitchen area with microwaves and high chairs make feeding easy and convenient too. They also have a little play area for your toddlers who may just need a break. They are not always nearby, though, so I encourage you to find different areas throughout the park that work for you and your little one. Even if you do not have a baby with you, it is important to know where each Baby Care Center is in case you and your child are ever separated. This is where a lost child will be taken by a cast member and cared for until they can be reunited with their parents.
In no certain order here is a list by park of some of the places that have been great areas to nurse and/or relax with our baby when we are not near the Baby Care Center.
- Ride Exit at Dinosaur (Back of the Gift Shop) – No benches here, but if you don’t mind sitting on the floor, it is nice and cool and most people are distracted by the ride photos to never even notice me nursing.
- Finding Nemo the Musical – Dark theater in a comfy seat!
- Along the nature trails – Shady benches on some quiet pathways.
- It’s Tough to Be a Bug – If your little one doesn’t mind some noise, this is a nice and cool area to feed your baby.
- Spaceship Earth – This ride lasts around 15 minutes and is cool and dark.
- Circle of Life – Located in the Land, another dark and air-conditioned theater.
- American Adventure – Air Conditioned and 30 minutes long – a perfect place for a break!
- Tangierine Café – Located in the Morocco pavilion, they have some tables that are in cozy corners, giving you and baby some privacy.
- The garden area in the United Kingdom pavilion – benches and some peace and quiet!
- Ellen’s Energy Adventure – This lasts about 45 minutes or so and is more show then ride even though you are riding on a tram. You can easily nurse, allow your baby to nap, or simply get you both out of the Florida heat!
- Back of the Tower Hotel Gift Store – benches and AC!
- Backlot Express – Quick Service restaurant with a large dining area
- The Great Movie Ride
- Any of the shows – Muppet Vision, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Frozen Sing Along, etc.
- Carousel of Progress
- People Mover
- Gaston’s Tavern
- Small World
- Haunted Mansion
- Hall of Presidents
- Country Bear Jamboree
- Tables located next to Aloha Isle
If you had any fears about traveling in the parks with a baby, I hope I have helped put your mind at ease! If there are other great areas to get away with a baby that I may have missed – please let me know! I’m always looking for a good spot that will allow both of us a little time to relax!