Disneyland with a baby isn’t all that fun, honestly. I expected to miss out on a lot of the riding, but I thought at least the baby would sleep a lot in the stroller and we would enjoy the day. I was wrong.
My baby had been taking great regular naps at home prior to our visit, and I guess he had come out of the “sleep constantly when in the stroller or car” phase and I didn’t realise it. So he got overstimulated and overtired quickly and could not fall asleep in the stroller. (He was around three months old at the time.) We tried to time the drive down with his morning nap, so he slept a little but woke up when we arrived. He took one other forty minute nap and fell asleep for twenty minutes in our Ergo carrier, but by that point he just couldn’t settle. That’s from a baby who normally napped five to six hours a day prior to that. So he was super fussy and crying a lot.
While I’m sure it was partly his age and that fussy phase around three to four months when they are growing physically and developmentally, being at Disneyland certainly didn’t help him. By the end of the day we were both in tears, and it just wasn’t worth it to me. I’m glad my older son saw me trying and knows that we all went to Disneyland to celebrate his birthday, but I’m not eager to go back with the baby.
Although I’ve only done this once, I’ve also done a lot of research and asked other friends, so I’m sharing my five tips for taking a baby to Disneyland, if you have to take a baby or really want to try.
1. Bring LOTS of nappys, a full pack of wipes, and outfit changes.
Calvin always blows out when in his car seat for a while, and our Disneyland trip was no exception. Plus, as soon as your baby senses you’re away from home for the day they’re gonna start the poo extravaganza. We used seven nappys and two outfits while we were there. FYI—the children’s care center does have this stuff for sale in a pinch.
2. Bring a wrap or baby carrier, even if you are bringing a stroller.
You can ride most of the rides while baby wearing as long as there isn’t a height restriction. Plus, wearing baby gives him a stroller break and lets him look around when awake, and may help him sleep as well (though it didn’t for me).
3. There are a couple of nursing rooms at the children’s center in each park.
But you can’t take your stroller in, even if you are alone with a baby and need stuff with you. I still need a nursing pillow to nurse Calvin, plus stuff for a nappy change, so it was a little frustrating for me to have to carry all of that by myself. This is a policy I think Disneyland should rethink. I nursed Calvin there once, but mostly just found a spot wherever we were. It was easier for me to have the stroller close by. Also, the children’s centers close at 8:00 p.m. My favourite quiet nursing spot was under the Hungry Bear Restaurant by the water in Critter Country in the Disneyland Park. It was quiet and mostly empty.
4. Park in the main Disneyland structure
…and take the tram to the park: you can ride in the last two cars without folding up your strollers. We’ve always parked in the Toy Story lot and bused over, and it didn’t occur to us until it was too late that we’d have to schlep two kids, two folded strollers, an infant seat, and all of our stuff onto the shuttle. It was a huge pain in the ass. So if you park in the Toy Story lot, try to bring as little gear as possible (yeah, right), or park in the main Disneyland structure and take the tram.
5. My husband and I found it helpful to have two strollers
…so we could split up when we needed to (which happened quite a bit). So Calvin rode in our Uppababy Vista with his infant seat attached, and Charlie rode in our Uppababy G-Luxe umbrella stroller.
Besides these (and not taking a baby to Disneyland at all) what are your favourite tips for surviving Disneyland with a baby?
More Disney Tips: