Being the proud parent of an infant or toddler and going to Walt Disney World are not mutually exclusive experiences. There’s a widespread idea out there about the “right” age to take a child to Disney World, based on everyone’s experiences, age old wisdom, and sage opinions. However, there’s really only one family that matters in this decision, and that’s yours. If you are aching to go to Disney, but you’re worried about what you hear everyone saying about taking a baby to Disney World. Often it seems that people overestimate the difficulty of taking a Disney trip with a young child. I say do it! Don’t put off your much-needed Disney vacation. Take that sweet baby to Disney, and enjoy the Disney magic!
A word of caution: We know that, at the time of this writing, that the pandemic is still an issue in the United States. This article is specifically referencing critiques about taking babies and toddlers to Disney because they will be difficult to manage or won’t remember the trip. This article does not address Covid concerns as a reason for or against taking children to Walt Disney World.
Not a parent just yet? If you’re reading this article as an expectant parent, but sure to read Should I go to Disney Pregnant? Tips for Doing Disney for Two.
Caring for Baby is More Convenient Than You Think
The Walt Disney World Resort is not as hard to navigate with an infant or toddler as you might expect. Disney provides baby care convenience that goes far beyond changing tables in restrooms (though there are lots of those, too)! The Baby Care Center is a dream. Each of the four main parks at Walt Disney World has one, and each is the perfect quiet spot to nurse or change a baby, heat up baby food, or clean baby dishes or bottles. You can even purchase baby care essentials that you may have forgotten, like formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, spare clothing, and over-the-counter medications!
Worried about naps? While some young ones are reliant on very regimented schedules, many babies sleep perfectly well when they need to in strollers. If they are strict schedule-type babies, you can of course go back to your room when it naptime rolls around. This is even easier if you’re staying at a Disney resort hotel, because you’ll have complimentary transportation all around the resort. You may even want to splurge on this trip, if you can, and stay in a resort along the monorail. There’s something extra magical about being able to wheel a stroller onto Disney transportation without folding it up, and the monorail allows for that. Some boats do, too, depending on the size of the boat. You’ll also be able to wheel a sleeping child onto the Disney Skyliner without disturbing them.
Concerned about baby gear? Be sure to request a pack n’ play at your Disney resort, so your child has a dedicated safe space in the room to rest. You can even rent single or double strollers at the Disney parks for toddlers and young children under 50 lbs. If you have an infant, or want a more cushy stroller, consider renting a stroller from Disney’s approved partner, Scooter Bug. Of course, you can always bring your own full-feature stroller or umbrella stroller!
Related: Tips & Tricks for Taking a Baby to Walt Disney World
There’s Plenty for Young Children (Even Infants & Toddlers) to Enjoy!
Before we even talk about the long list of attractions that the youngest Disney Fanatics can experience, let’s stop to think about the overall atmosphere of your Walt Disney World vacation. There’s no shortage of colors, shapes, lights, and smiling faces for your little one to see. There’s delightful music everywhere, delicious scents in the air, and lots to touch and explore! A Disney vacation is definitely a multi-sensory experience, so even the youngest member of your family can learn and enjoy there. Toddlers will love running around, splashing in any water they can find, chasing ducks, munching popcorn, dancing, climbing, and doing things that are entirely unrelated to rides and attractions.
Believe it or not, there are also many attractions that you can enjoy with even the youngest infant at each Disney park. For instance, at the Magic Kingdom, parents and infants can enjoy so many attractions together including favorites that even older kids will enjoy, like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, it’s a small world, Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. For more specifics on rides that the entire family can enjoy at each park, check out 40 Things You Can Enjoy with a Baby at Walt Disney World.
You Can Still Enjoy Thrill Rides with Rider Switch
Rider switch makes travelling with a baby (or any younger child, for that matter) really convenient. It allows parents of babies and young kids to enjoy thrill rides, even if children in the group either can’t or do not want to ride them. One parent can ride an attraction with an older child, and then the other parent (who stayed with a “too-short-to-ride” kid) can ride without waiting, and even take an older child on the ride for a second time. Disney has a more thorough explanation on their site, which we recommend checking out here.
Here’s how it works:
Source: Disney Guest Services @ https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/rider-switch/
“If a child does not meet the height requirement or a Guest does not wish to board a particular attraction, no problem! With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider (or riders) while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. When the other adult returns, they can supervise the non-riding Guests, and the waiting adult can board the attraction without having to wait in the regular line again!”
Shopping For Little Ones is Oh-So-Fun!
There are limitless possibilities when it comes to ways to spoil your little one at Walt Disney World. It’s hard to resist buying “baby’s first ears” on their first trip, especially when customization and embroidery is available!
Thinking about baby’s first Christmas? You can take some time out on your trip to pick out a special ornament. Another fun idea for holiday prep: Take your first family photo in front of the castle and use it on your holiday cards!
Who can resist an adorable bow, onesie, or other Disney-fied baby item? There’s plenty to choose from! You might even purchase what might become your child’s favorite stuffed animal.
Your Memories Matter, Too!
The notion that you shouldn’t bother taking your young child on a vacation they won’t remember has always baffled me. As if parents don’t already feel enough guilt, do we really need to discourage parents from taking a Disney vacation before their child is old enough to fully remember it?
Parents of little ones: This vacation is for you, and that’s okay! Parents deserve to make memories, and if your baby won’t remember it, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.
Along with your precious memories from a trip with your little one(s), you’ll probably also cherish the pictures you’ll take. These pictures will be priceless, and you’ll look at them and not regret that you took a young child on that vacation! Be sure to take lots of pictures all around the parks! If you plan to visit Disney regularly, consider picking a special spot that you’ll return to on every trip for an age progression picture!
A character meal is another great place to get a picture of your little sweetie. Just know that little ones are sometimes afraid of the size of characters, and may not want to get too close to them. Currently, character dining is modified due to physical distancing guidelines, so that won’t factor in as much. Make a dining reservation in advance for the character meal that has the most appeal to your family!
Make it a Family Affair.. or Not.
If you feel the need to justify the trip further, consider bringing along extended family members and make it an opportunity for grandparents and other loved ones to spend time with the little ones. Bonus: they may even watch the little guys while you go out to dinner! There’s also nothing wrong with taking a trip that’s just for you and your nuclear family.
Related: Tips & Tricks for Taking Grandchildren to Walt Disney World
If It’s Free, It’s For Me!
Kids under 3 years of age are FREE and do not need a park ticket. Enough said! In case you’re wondering, age is calculated based on the day that your trip begins, so feel free to celebrate your toddler’s 3rd birthday mid-trip and still get them into the parks at the bargain 2-year-old price of $0.00.
Related: For more tips on planning your magical vacation with young children, visit Disney’s Planning for Preschool Kids & Little Ones Page.
Related: Human moms aren’t the only ones taking care of little ones at Walt Disney World! Be sure to keep up to date on Animal Kingdom baby news, like this: Disney Reveals More Adorable Photos & Video of Baby Hippo & Baby Gorilla
Are you convinced yet that it’s totally doable to bring your littlest family member on a Disney vacation? If you’re interested in planning a trip that trip that includes small kids or even babies and want to plan out your days in more detail, stay tuned for my next article, “Attractions the Entire Family (even babies) can experience together at Walt Disney World.”