Channeling my best Reese Witherspoon a la Sweet Home Alabama…
If there are two things the DisBroads know well, it’s babies and Disney. I’ve heard plenty of reasons why some people would prefer to wait until their children are older to take them to Disney parks. Babies can’t do anything at the parks, babies can’t ride rides, babies prevent parents/caregivers from riding rides, babies won’t remember the trip, it’s too hot, it’s too busy, the list goes on. But what if you could take your baby along, and still have a perfectly wonderful trip? Many of us Broads have taken babies, and we’ve got tips for you if you’ve been thinking about taking your family, with a little one in tow.
Babies are FREE at Disney. If your child is under 3 years old, they don’t count towards your room total. As a relatively new family of 6, this has been incentive for us to visit even more with our newest addition. Many standard Disney rooms allow up to 5 adults/children, but you can have 6 people in a room if 1 of them is under 3 years old. You don’t have to pay for a park ticket if your child is under 3 and at Disney table-service restaurants, they don’t charge you for your child under 3. This means added expenses are not an issue(this is not the case on a Disney cruise though!)
Walt Disney World has convenient Baby Care Centers in all of their theme parks. These are an amazing resource, one that my family has used many times. A cool, quiet area stocked with any baby supplies you might need, changing tables, and a private room for nursing mothers, baby care centers are the perfect place to take a break. These days, even runDisney events have sent up baby care tents at the finish line. My youngest was not quite 6 months old when I ran the Princess Half Marathon this year. She was still nursing and as any nursing mother knows, going several hours without nursing can cause issues, specifically two issues. Two large, possibly painful issues, sitting right there, that need to be emptied, er, addressed ASAP. I was pleasantly surprised to find a baby care tent after we finished, giving me space and privacy to change and feed the baby.
Most babies are very go with the flow creatures. Even with my own rather temperamental baby, bringing her to Disney wasn’t an issue. Walking and moving was her thing as an infant. The constant movement of her stroller or being worn actually kept her asleep most of them time. Compared to my older kids, the ones who want to run and go and do and see, she was the easy one to deal with for once.
Babies and characters make the most adorable pictures. That’s pretty self explanatory. They also look super adorable in Mickey ears.
But one big thing that most people think of when they think of baby at Disney problems is rides. Babies can’t ride attractions. This is not true. Obviously you can’t strap on a baby and hit up the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but there are plenty of rides that are perfectly fine to bring your baby on. From Toy Story Midway Mania to the Pirates of the Caribbean, my babies have been able to sit on my lap and ride without any issues. I know from personal experience that some of these rides, like “it’s a small world” and the now defunct Maelstrom, even provide a great opportunity feed the baby while the rest of the family enjoys the ride.
Yes, there are some attractions that you can’t take the baby on. In these cases, my family usually switches off, one parent with 1-2 kids while the other sits and relaxes or goes off to another attraction, and then we switch. FastPass+ has helped us a lot with this, as we have enough time for one of us to get on the ride quickly, come back out, and take the baby while the other heads to the ride. But Disney also offers Rider Switch, perfect for parents of little ones who don’t meet certain height requirements.
Disney’s Rider Switch program keeps you from having to wait in line a second time if you have to wait in the standby line. Check that Rider Switch is offered at the attraction in question by asking a Cast Member. Let the cast member at the line queue that you are swapping. You will be given passes for the switch. The first parent is able to ride the attraction while the second parent waits. After the first parent rides, they find the other parent who waited with the baby. They switch and the second parent is then able to ride the ride without waiting in line again. If you’ve got other children who are able to ride the ride, the second rider with the switch pass is able to bring one person with them. Using a combination of FastPass+ and the Rider Switch program, it makes riding every Disney attraction possible, even with babies or young children.
There you have it. Disney…with a baby…it’s more than doable.