Disney has always been a part of my and my husband’s story. After finishing a semester in college, we went to Disney. When we graduated college, we went to Disney. Disney was our place to reconnect. Naturally, when our son came into our lives, we booked a Disney trip. We could not wait to take our son to Disney and experience the magic through his eyes. We considered ourselves Disney pros . . . until we had to plan a trip with an eight-month-old.
Disney World with a baby was a total game-changer. We were in new territory. I am here to say that we have now taken our son to Disney four times – all before he turned three. We survived and you can, too!
Best Tips for Going to Disney World with a Baby
Planning Your Disney World Trip
With four theme parks, two water parks, four forms of transportation, and over 20 resorts on Disney property, Disney is a lot. Then we factor in Genie+, park hopper, ADRs, rope dropping, and MDE. Yeah, it can get a bit overwhelming.
As a mama, our lives are already busy enough. Adding in the pressure of planning a Disney trip and researching all of Disney’s lingo does not sound “magical.” For this reason, I always recommend using a certified Disney travel agent. Disney travel agents can help you plan park days, resorts, and dining reservations. Think of your Disney travel agent as your go-to Disney expert. The best part? Disney travel agents are completely FREE. Disney adds the price of a Disney travel agent into their packages. If you book through Disney, that money just goes back into their pockets, and you just paid for a service that you are not getting to use.
Where to Stay at Disney World
On-site or off-site? That is the big question! Some believe that you can save money by staying off property. In some cases, you can. Usually, larger parties who want a house or condo will find better prices off-site. However, standard hotel rooms are comparable to on-site resorts. In our family, there is only one way to do Disney: on-site. There is nothing that compares to staying in the Disney bubble. Staying on the property comes with perks as well. You can enjoy early entry into the parks, access to Disney transportation, access to early dining reservations, and the ability to book individual lightning lanes (Genie+) early. The Disney bubble is real; there is something magical about entering a Disney property and forgetting about the outside world.
Disney resorts are put into 3 categories: value, moderate, and deluxe. Value resorts are the cheapest resorts on property, and the prices rise as you move through moderate and deluxe. Our family has stayed in every resort category, and we love each category for its own reason.
What to Consider When Choosing Where to Stay
First, determine a budget and find a resort category that fits your budget. Next, I recommend families with little ones to try to stay at a resort that offers a variety of forms of transportation to and from that resort. One thing to keep in mind when using Disney transportation is that when you get on a Disney bus, you must break your stroller down. Yes, sleeping child and all. So, our family tries to stay at a resort that offers multiple transportation options.
Next, consider the theme. Each Disney resort has its own unique theme. Some of my favorite resorts when traveling with little ones are Art of Animation (the theme there is amazing), Polynesian (you cannot beat the theme, location, and use of the monorail), and Contemporary (location, location, location — you are a 5-minute walk to Magic Kingdom).
What to Do While You’re at Disney World with Your Baby
This is the big question! Once you have planned your Disney vacation, making sure you have made park reservations for each day of your trip is important. Currently, Disney requires a park ticket and park reservation for entry. These park reservations will book up, so it’s important to make these as early as possible.
The next step in preparing is to make dining reservations. Disney allows guests to make dining reservations 60 days before arrival. All sit-down dining restaurants on Disney property require a dining reservation to enter. On our trips, we try to book a dining reservation for every other day of our trip. It is important not to overschedule your days, especially with littles. They are unpredictable, so allowing some days to remain open is helpful.
There are tons of great restaurants at Disney. If you think your little one will enjoy a character dining, I highly recommend planning one in your day. We love Topolino’s Terrace for breakfast. They have some of the best breakfasts on the property, and the character interactions are amazing.
A question I always get is, “Will my baby be able to ride anything at Disney?” One thing Disney is great at is accommodating little ones. At every theme park, there are rides that have no height requirement. This means that every park offers some sort of ride that little ones, even infants, can get on. Some of my favorites that my son has loved over the years are:
- Mickey’s Run Away Railroad
- Toy Story Mania
- Finding Nemo
- Remy’s Ratatouille
- Winnie the Pooh
- Buzz Lightyear
- Peter Pan
- Triceratops Spin
Over 20 rides at Magic Kingdom do not have a height requirement, so there are plenty of options!
What to Pack for Disney World with a Baby
I always feel like packing for Disney with a little one means packing my entire house, and on our first trip, I am pretty sure we were successful. Over the years, we have learned the necessities, what we can go without, and what Disney provides for us in our room.
Essentials to Bring
Here is a list of the essentials that we always bring to Disney World with a baby:
- Stroller fan
- Cooling towels to beat the Floridian heat
- Medical items — medications, thermometer, band-aids, etc.
- Portable phone charger — Disney has gone digital, and it is so important to have your phone
charged throughout the day
- Sunblock . . . and more sunblock
- Insulated water bottles — you can ask for free iced water in the parks and have them refilled
- Baby carrier — most rides do not allow you to bring your stroller in line, so it’s easier to wear your
baby in line and keep them secure on rides
- Snacks — ex. Goldfish, milk, cuties, peanut butter crackers, pretzels, Cliff Bars, yogurt pouches, etc.
Then we bring the obvious – we always pack multiple pairs of clothes (for accident preparedness), bottles, sippy cups, and all the hygiene items. All Disney resorts provide a pack ‘n play or crib, which is helpful when packing. We usually brought our own crib sheet and blanket to help him feel more at home.
Food, Snacks, and Drinks
Another service we take advantage of at Disney is Amazon Fresh delivery. If you have Amazon Prime, it is a free delivery service for groceries and all the necessities. Amazon Fresh offers free 2-hour delivery, so I usually place an order for all our snacks/drinks on our way down to Disney. The front desk will keep all of your groceries stored until you arrive. If you are flying in as opposed to driving, and space is limited, you can also have Amazon Fresh deliver diapers and wipes. Disney transportation is baby-friendly. So, no need to bring a car seat if you plan on staying on a Disney property and using their transportation. Disney does not require car seats on their transportation.
Stroller: To Rent or Bring?
We usually drive to Disney, so we bring our stroller. If you are not attached to the stroller you have, or if you are flying and easy packing is a priority, then I recommend renting a stroller. There are many services in the Orlando area that rent strollers to Disney guests. One service I would recommend is Kingdom Strollers. They have single or double strollers that they rent and will deliver the stroller to your resort. They also will pick it up for you upon checkout. This service is excellent because you are not dealing with turning in a stroller each night. The stroller you rent is yours for your entire trip. Read our guide for the best strollers for Disney World.
Be Selfish, Mama!
A question we always got was, “Why even go through all of that work if he won’t even remember it?” This is true. It’s a lot of packing and planning, and let’s be real, Disney is not cheap. So why do we keep going back? At Disney, under three is free, but I like to say under three is for me. The first time my son waved was to Mickey on Mainstreet. He laughed so hard when he met Daisy Duck at Topolino’s Terrace. I will never forget the look in his eyes when he rode Dumbo. These trips were for me: To watch the magic through his eyes.
I hope you feel more prepared for your Disney World trip with your baby with these tips. Is there anything that we missed? Let us know! Cheers to having a magical experience with your little one at the happiest place on earth!