Babes in Disneyland: Part 2
July 1, 2019
You have hopefully survived your trip to the States (or elsewhere) and have settled into your hotel. Excited and exhausted as you are, you still need to make sure the little human you have in your care will be as happy as you are during your stay at Disney.
Have no fear! Rachael concludes her Babes in Disneyland two parter with her top tips for surviving the parks with a little one.
Disneyland’s Baby Centre at the end of Mainstreet is a quiet, homey little place, where you can heat bottles or meals, nurse in comfort, or change a nappy. There are also similar facilities on Buena Vista Street, in California Adventure.
All other toilets do have a nappy-change bench with a roll of toilet paper in close reach, they’re not the nicest but better than going all the way back through the park. Make sure you pack a change mat and hand sanitiser in your nappy bag. You’ll find most of the restrooms also have disposable nappy pack dispensers- one size fits all for a dollar a pop!
Note: Be aware and respectful of cultural differences when it comes to nursing children in public.
Baby Carrier or Stroller?
I’m not a baby-wearer ordinarily but it is handy to have the option. The carrier was great at nighttime when crowds are heavier and harder to negotiate with a pram. The stroller was great during the day when it’s hot and you’re walking a daily average of 15k around the park. It also means uninterrupted naps for the little one.
Stroller hire is available at guest services, but at $US15 a day you’re much better off getting a cheap one at Target before you go. Three necessary criteria: Umbrella fold, sunshade, storage basket.
There’s plenty of stroller parking available throughout the park but be careful because if cast members on stroller patrol deem that yours is in the way of crowd flow, it will be moved to a more “convenient” location. The best way to combat this is to attach something to your stroller that is easily identifiable (little flags would work).
Reduce Your Queue Times
Nobody likes queues but with Disney Parks it’s an inevitability. The good news is you can significantly reduce your wait times by combining the FastPass system with Parent Swap and the Single Rider Line. This strategy is outlined in Anthony’s Rider Switch post and allows you to do more rides with shorter wait times.
Rides that don’t have FastPass and Rider Switch capabilities are usually ones that also don’t have height or age restrictions. This means that you are allowed to take your little ones with you on about 70% of the rides and attractions in the Resort!
How Many Days?
Generally speaking you need three days to do the Disneyland Resort; with a baby make it four or five. This isn’t because you couldn’t do most of what you want to do with three but simply because it takes the pressure off.
With 5 days you have the flexibility of feeding, changing and resting without the pressure of rushing to the next ride or attraction. You can really take your time and enjoy the sites, watch some of the amazing street entertainment and prevent indigestion by not having to scoff down your food.
More importantly, the more days you spend in the park the better the value. One day in one park can cost around AUD $180 but 5 days with unlimited access to both parks ends up costing around AUD $560. Sounds expensive but it’s worth it!
Something I forgot to include in the what to pack section of the first post, is ear muffs.
With rollercoasters, fireworks and other spectacles every night, Disney Parks aren’t exactly the quietest places in the world so packing a good pair of baby ear protectors is extremely important.
Lost and Found
If you happen to drop or lose anything in the parks (baby related or not) give guest services a call. Cast Members are constantly combing the property to add to the Lost and Found.
We dropped the baby ear muffs on our last night and guest services found them and mailed them to Australia for us at no charge!
While on the topic of lost things. Children, if your parents go wandering off you can always check in at Disneyland’s City Hall to recover them.
Try to keep your days simple and structured. Young children are happiest in the mornings so plan the bulk of your activities early in the day.
This is what a typical day looked like for us:
- Arrive at opening. (Opening times vary, check your App)
- Grab a FastPass or two for the premier attractions and enjoy the park/s.
- Lunch in the park.
- Head back to hotel at around 3:00pm for everyone to have a nap.
- Grab dinner at a restaurant outside the resort. (Much Cheaper)
- Back to the Parks for a nighttime show and reduced queue times (Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain are amazing at nighttime).
Download the App
Whichever Disney Park you are going to, download the relevant App! Anthony harps on about this all the time in his posts and with good reason. It is a fantastic planning tool, with maps, wait times, entertainment options and even the ability to purchase electronic FastPasses and make dining reservations. Do this even before you think about going on your trip!
Where else to Look
While I hope this two post series was helpful be sure to do your own research too. There are some blogs out there specifically dedicated to travelling with Babies and kids. Trips with Tykes (among others) was one that I found particularly useful.