Updated March 10, 2017
I’ve started at least one other post off with this same sentence and I’ll likely use it again: You know those people who tell you to wait until ‘children can remember’ Disneyland? Ignore them. I’m a big believer in taking children of all ages to Disneyland and with the proper preparation, your trip can be successful.
I’ve taken babies as young as 5 months old to the parks and am always so glad that I did. I like to have all my children with us for big events….even if their ages might not work perfectly for the outing.
Disneyland is incredibly accommodating for young children and babies are no exception. Let’s take a look at how to make this work for you.
In this article
- Know Where the Baby Care Centers Are
- Know What the Baby Care Centers Offer
- Know Which Attractions Work for your Family
- Pack Properly
- Bring – or Rent – a Good Stroller
- Follow the Basic Guidelines for a Successful Visit
- Places to Escape for Nursing or Napping
- How to Enjoy Disneyland While You’re Expecting
- Other Info & Tips
Know Where the Baby Care Centers Are
There are two – one in each park.
Disneyland: At the end of Main Street, next to First Aid.
California Adventure: Next to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop and across from the Bakery Tour in Pacific Wharf.
Know What the Baby Care Centers Offer
- Nursing room with chairs.
- Changing room with tables.
- Feeding area with highchairs.
- Kitchen with microwave and sink.
- Main room with television, table and chairs.
- On-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and pacifiers for purchase.
A full staff is on site at each Baby Care Center to help with your needs. Baby Care Centers are open during regular park hours and are kept quite clean. Besides the items offered for sale in the shop, all use of this facility is free for park guests.
They just added fancy new rockers, too. Lovely!
Know Which Attractions Work for your Family
You can use Disneyland’s resource for attractions and filter per what your needs are to review attractions by age/height requirement.
Review my list of Disneyland Attraction Guide for details on each, as well as videos to see if each is a fit for your children.
Review my California Adventure Attraction Guide for the same.
In regards to “Lands”, I recommend Fantasyland and Toontown as the top 2 spaces for babies and very young children at Disneyland. They both include the most “all ages” attractions and there’s room for little ones to run around and explore in safe places.
And, for California Adventure, I recommend it’s a bug’s life and Cars Land.
Within my stroller post, you’ll find details on how to pack your bags for your visit. I recommend taking two bags in for babies. Here is why:
Bag #1: Pack one with valuables (camera, wallet, tickets, phone) that is easy to carry on rides. I keep these items in a backpack or larger cross body bag that I wear throughout the day. No need to fumble around for everything upon getting in line. Have it all ready to go in your backpack.
Bag #2: Pack this bag with non-essentials, in case it were to get lost or stolen. For me, this bag contained sweaters, glow sticks, snacks, wipes, diapers, ponchos, blanket (for the parade) and more. Anything bulky and heavy was left at the stroller.
Bonus: Add a bag or clutch with your diaper changing routine supplies that you can carry separately from the other two bags for quick changes. Include diapers/wipes/changing mat. Carry only enough for a few changes and restock as needed throughout the day. Having this smaller supply will allow you to grab only that and depart for the restroom without having to carry a bulky bag with you.
Don’t have a diaper clutch? I love this one. If you don’t want to fuss with something so elaborate, a gallon ziploc bag will do. Just have the basics on one spot, easy to grab.
**I’ve never had anything stolen at Disneyland, but you just never know. Bring pricey items with you. For me, that also included princess dresses and Mickey ears that I would not want to replace.
Bring – or Rent – a Good Stroller
A good stroller can make all the difference in your visit. There are pros and cons to bringing your own, renting on-site and renting off-site. Take a look at my Stroller Post to review your options and to grab a code for 10% off all your baby rentals from the company I recommend.
*Soarin’ Around the World doesn’t always run a dedicated Single Rider Line, but they will often pull single riders from the standby queue to fill space.
Follow the Basic Guidelines for a Successful Visit
Babies require more care than older children – of course, they do. But, I still recommend you use the basic strategies that you would use for any other visit. You can find that in my Disneyland Rules post.
Along with babies, toddlers require extra care and a slightly different method for park touring. Check out my Toddler Post for all sorts of tips, including information on Rider Swap, Single Rider attractions and more. The Single Rider option is excellent for adults who want to enjoy an attraction with a short wait time.
Places to Escape for Nursing or Napping
In addition to the Baby Care Centers, there are small areas in each park that will be good for a quick escape – to let your crawler stretch his legs, to nurse, to feed a baby, to allow kids to nap in their strollers and more. Take a look at this map for my suggestions:
1. The little nooks and steps on Main Street – good for nursing or just to sit for a bit. The rockers and chairs are almost always taken, but the steps might give you a reprieve.
2. The “library” inside the Market House (Starbucks) on Main Street.
3. The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room is an actual attraction and has some loud noises, but it’s dark and runs for about 15 minutes. Might be a good place to nurse.
4. Tucked behind Pooh’s Corner Bakery – between it and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – is a little nook where my kids napped for years in their stroller.
5. The Hungry Bear Restaurant can be a good escape if you are able to find a table far in the back, away from the crowds.
6. To the left of the exit of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is hit or miss. If it’s not too busy, you might be able to find a quiet bench out of the way.
7. Toontown is another hit or miss area. It’s properly insane at most times, but there are corners with benches here and there that many mothers nurse in. I’ve also seen teenagers making out in this area, as it’s the furthest from the front of the park. One might think babies everywhere might deter the teenagers, but they always seem too pre-occupied to notice.
8. Mickey’s Magical Map Show – or really any show – can provide a shaded escape. And, since most people will be focused on the performance, it will provide a bit of privacy for you to nurse or let little ones nap.
9. En route to it’s a small world, there is a long patio area to the right, if you’re facing the attraction. Try this space – especially good for little ones napping, as there’s not a lot of noise in this area.
10. Star Wars Launch Bay provides opportunities galore for babies. It’s not intended for such, but I spent many hours there with sleeping kids. Find a bench and park your stroller. This was a constant escape for me when my kids were younger.
1. The Disney Junior – Live on Stage! provides a good area for little ones to crawl or sit while being entertained by a show. Plenty of moms and babies here. Noisy for nap time, but great for nursing.
2. The building that houses four attractions – Animation Academy, Sorcerer’s Workshop, Turtle Talk with Crush and the Anna & Elsa meet-n-greet has a HUGE lobby. Little ones can stretch their legs here.
3. Within that building, Turtle Talk with Crush is a show filled with little kids. It’s noisy and perfect for nursing.
4. There are benches around King Triton’s Carousel that are somewhat secluded for nursing. Possibly a good location for naptime.
5. Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta has a large patio section that is often uncrowded.
6. Silly Symphony Swings has seating underneath it that would work nicely for a nap or nursing.
7. In front of The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, you’ll find tons of space on tiered concrete steps set up for World of Color viewing. While there isn’t a lot of shade, this area is usually uncrowded during the day.
8. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is an excellent place to stop for nursing, napping or to let toddlers run around. It’s an obstacle course with big and little challenges. Benches and seating are usually easy to find and there are some shaded areas, too.
How to Enjoy Disneyland While You’re Expecting
Disneyland can absolutely be enjoyed while you’re pregnant. There are many family friendly rides that accommodate everyone. Take a look at my Disneyland Attraction Guide and my California Adventure Attraction Guide to know what works best for you.
Here are some tips on making the most of your visit while expecting:
- While planning your visit, factor in plenty of time for resting. If you have children, utilize this time for snacks or naps if possible.
- Discuss with your doctor what your limits should be so that you know going into the visit exactly what you can do. This will put your mind at ease, rather than questioning your choices. Talk about which rides work for your stage in the pregnancy, how often he or she would like you to get off your feet, your diet and more.
- Make at least one dining reservation per day if your budget allows. This escape from the busyness of the parks will feel like a mini-break if you’re not able to leave the park and get back to the hotel room for a nap. My favorite places to dine for an hour+ break are Cafe Orleans (DLR), River Belle Terrace (DLR), Blue Bayou (DLR), Carthay Circle (DCA) and Wine Country Trattoria (DCA). Disneyland Dining and California Adventure Dining both have great options.
- Also consider making a reservation for a character meal. If you have children, these meals are super fun for them and you will enjoy it, too. These meals often go a bit longer than regular dining experiences because you’re incorporating character greets into your dining time. So, you get to stay a bit longer!
- For sweet cravings, I recommend: A Matterhorn Macaroon from Jolly Holiday Bakery (DLR), Candy or Cookies from the bakery on Main Street (DLR) or Buena Vista Street (DCA), a Tigger Tail from Pooh’s Corner (DLR), an Ice Cream Sundae from Ghirardelli (DCA), a Dole Whip from the Tiki Room (DLR) or Beignets from The Mint Julep Bar (DLR).
- For salty cravings, I’m more of an expert. Try one or all of these: Popcorn (DLR or DCA), Mickey pretzel (DLR or DCA), Corn Dog (DLR or DCA), Pickle from Adventureland Market (DLR) or Mortimer’s Market (DCA), Bacon Wrapped Asparagus from Bengal BBQ (DLR) or Pomme Frites from Carnation Cafe (DLR). Know the best snack options before you go.
- Slow down and take it all in. I often visit the parks for 16 hours and never ride a ride. And, I never get bored. Just walking through the park and noticing the small details you might not notice if you were rushing from ride to ride is a treat. Take advantage of this trip to see those things because the next time you visit, you’ll likely have a baby with you, demanding all of your attention.
- Dress in comfortable, but cute clothes. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll feel better if you’re put together. (At least I do.)
- If your budget allows, indulge in Mandara Spa at the Grand Californian Hotel. It’s a quick walk from the parks and anyone can enjoy their services, regardless if you’re staying on-site or not. They have a long list of massages and treatments to help you escape.
- Know about Disneyland First Aid just in case. This will also set your mind at ease. Be prepared and have a plan in place for an emergency. I doubt you’ll have one, but it will help to know where to go just in case.
Other Info & Tips
- For ease from the airport to the hotel, hire Lansky to shuttle your crew. They provide private, high end cars (Suburbans, Mini Vans, etc), car seats/boosters, and they stop en route to your hotel for you to shop for groceries. They also monitor your flight arrival and work around your schedule, should you have delays. This provides much needed peace of mind with so much else out of your control (like crying babies on airplanes).
- If you don’t want to fly or drive with all your baby gear, consider renting it instead. (Use code DLR10 at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase.)
- Nearly every bathroom (men and women) in the park has accommodations for changing diapers. They’re usually kept quite clean.
- While babies will likely not get lost in the park, young toddlers and kids of all ages might. If they are lost, they’ll be taken to the Baby Care Centers, listed above and pictured on the maps.
- Bring a baby carrier – of any kind – if you use them. I used every one possible, I believe, from newborn days until up to age
3 45. I’m not kidding. The Ergo goes up to 40 pounds and my shrimpy daughter might still not weigh that much, but she refuses to allow me to carry her now. (The husband, too, because I look like a fool.) But, when it was (almost) socially acceptable, I had a kid attached to me in some way. It’s an easy way to walk through the park, they can see everything and it’s a nice change of pace from the stroller. Bring whatever you have – multiple options if you have them. I guarantee you’ll use one or all. And, if your children are not used to the carrier, be sure to practice prior to visiting the park.
- As with all the essentials you already pack in your diaper bag, be sure to have a good blanket. This will come in handy for parades and any other time you need to sit and take a break. Babies want to move and crawl. It’s nice to have a clean blanket for them to scoot around on. Baby gear can be bulky. Consider my favorite blanket that folds up to fit in your pocket, but can fit 4 adults when it’s spread out. You’ll use it for years.
- I recommend leaving prior to fireworks if you think your baby would not react well to them. Not only will you be avoiding a crying baby, you’ll save yourself from the mad rush of people who exit the park right after fireworks are over. Seriously. Main Street is flooded with people leaving and pushing a stroller through that madness is less than pleasant.
- Don’t miss the parades at each park. Check the entertainment schedule upon entering and work around the parades at Disneyland. They’re such a magical experience for babies and children of all ages. Take the blanket I recommended you bring earlier and set up at least an hour prior to parade time. Allow your baby to stretch out on the blanket, which will also hold your spot for the parade, and relax a bit. It’s one of my favorite times of the evening. I bring a book and love this little escape. Have a good plan in place to secure a spot. This post on parades can help with that.
- Be aware of the attractions that could scare babies and little ones. There are plenty in the parks.
- Consider bringing baby ear plugs for loud rides, shows and fireworks.
- Short on baby food? Almost every toddler or child meal includes apple sauce. Done! Very bland multi grain rice can also be found at Rancho del Zocalo in Disneyland.
- Don’t hesitate to bring in snacks. Disney policy states that outside food is not allowed in the park. (You can read more on that in this post.) Here is the short version: You can bring in snacks for the baby. No disrespect intended for Disney. Babies require food and snacks not always readily available in the parks. They understand you will be bringing in some things.
- Before each vacation, I place a big order with Amazon Prime with vacation essentials. Review my list of what I recommend to bring.
- Review companies I recommend for your Disneyland visit.
- Take a deep breath. Babies cry, spit up, throw tantrums and melt down on a minutely basis at Disneyland. Adults do, too. You’re not alone.
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