So you're planning baby's first visit to Disney World and wondering where to start. I remember visiting Disney World when Tad and Lily were younger. It was exciting but a little nerve-racking making sure we had everything we needed and hoping that everyone in our party was still going to have a great trip. (Spoiler alert: Everyone had an absolutely fantastic time!) It is toadally possible to have a wonderful time with a little planning, flexibility and pixie dust! Going to Disney World with a baby can add an extra layer of planning, but we froggies have some helpful hints on how to make it the most magical trip possible, for you and little one.
How to Pack and Prepare for Baby's First Trip to Disney World
The key to taking a baby to Disney World is planning and preparation. You may have experienced traveling to Disney World and traveling with a baby separately, but how do you combine both so your visit is as stress-free as possible (for everyone involved)?
What to Bring:
- Protection from the sun – The Florida sun can be brutal on frogs of all ages, especially sensitive tadpole skin, so it is best to plan ahead for ample protection. We recommend hats, sunscreen, extra outfits, a blanket for shade or comfort and a stroller fan. Nowadays, we even have friends who use portable white noise machines to give baby an extra quiet space to rest.
- Stroller – You can rent or bring your own stroller. Strollers must be able to fold for buses and trams. We'll get into more details about strollers later!
- Food – Formula, bottles, baby food and snacks, baby spoon (and a few extras, just in case)
- Diapers and wipes (right now, sanitizing wipes are especially hopful to pop in the diaper bag)
- Lovies or stroller/carrier toys from home
- (Optional) Carrier – It's especially helpful on transportation and rides where you have to fold up the stroller.
- (Optional) Balloons and bubbles – The easiest entertainment you can provide!
We highly recommend bringing your own stroller if you can. It's more familiar to both you and your baby. But we understand it's not always possible to transport it with you. That's where rentals may come in handy!
If you decide not to bring your own stroller, there are stroller rentals at Disney World. The stroller rental locations are at the front of each of the four theme parks and Disney Springs, offering singles ($15 daily or $13 for multi-day) or doubles ($31 daily or $27 for multi-day). However, the Disney strollers are made out of hard plastic and do not recline, so they are better suited for toddlers and up. These strollers do not leave the parks, so you will get a new one each day and they will not return to the hotel with you.
More than likely, if you're considering renting a stroller, you'll need to look into rental companies that offer strollers better suited for babies. Each company has its own policy, but you'll need to coordinate pick-up and drop-off times. As of 2019, strollers cannot be dropped off and left in advance at Bell Services at any of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
Be sure to park your stroller at the appropriate locations, or you may return to find your stroller is not where you left it (cast members will sometimes move strollers to make more room or place them in an appropriate spot). There are many labeled Stroller Parking spots throughout the theme parks. We recommend distinguishing your stroller somehow to find it more easily and to take any valuables with you.
We've just gone over the basics, but we also have many more tips on using a stroller at Disney World!
Baby Care Centers
Disney knows lots of families visit with tadpoles, so there is a Baby Care Center at each of the theme parks to help out. The Baby Care Centers offer a lot of amenities for those with infants and toddlers, such as private nursing rooms, changing rooms with tables, a feeding area with high chairs, a kitchen with a microwave and sink, and a main room with a TV and seating. All of these offerings are free of charge. There is also a shop that sells helpful items, including formula, baby food, diapers, wipes, clothing and more. We cannot recommend the centers enough! You can find Baby Care Centers in the following locations at each park:
- Magic Kingdom: Between Crystal Palace and Casey's Corner
- EPCOT: Outside of the EPCOT Experience, next to the restrooms
- Animal Kingdom: On Discovery Island, near the entrance to Africa
- Hollywood Studios: To the left of the park entrance by Guest Relations
Attractions and Entertainment for Babies at Disney World
Rides and Rider Switch
Magic Kingdom is the best park for baby-friendly rides because it has the least amount of height requirements, which means baby can safely ride in your lap for many attractions. We recommend Dumbo, not only for a classic gentle ride but also for its kid-friendly queue. There is a playground in the big top so kids can play and parents can relax for a bit. Other rides for young ones at Magic Kingdom would be "it's a small world," Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and Peter Pan's Flight.
For the rides where your tadpole isn't tall enough, don't worry! Everyone else can still enjoy the ride with Rider Switch. With this process, one adult stays with the baby while everyone else rides; then, the adult swaps and goes on the ride without having to wait in a long line. Learn more by checking out our Height Requirements and Rider Switch Guide!
More and more character opportunities are hoppening at Disney World. Some distanced indoor characters have returned to their themed locations, such as the Disney Princesses and Mickey Mouse at Magic Kingdom. There are also multiple character cavalcades, which are mini parades that happen throughout the day. This allows guests to see their favorite characters without having to stake out a spot for a parade. Perfect for little ones, we recommend the Pixar Pals Motorcade at Hollywood Studios and any of the Magic Kingdom cavalcades. And in 2022, the Festival of Fantasy parade will return for even more chances to see your favorite characters.
With more socially distanced meet-and-greets continuing to pop up throughout Disney World, we find these work well for shier tadpoles because they can see the character but not get too scared of actually meeting them up close.
There are some great shows at Disney World perfect for the little ones (and for you to rest your feet!). Our favorite shows are all at Hollywood Studios. For all ages, we recommend For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration! Enjoy all of the classic songs from "Frozen" and enjoy some jokes even the parents will laugh at.
Get your dance on at the Disney Junior Dance Party, or learn what it takes to be a champion racer at Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy. All of these shows happen multiple times throughout the day, though we'd suggest an afternoon showing to get a break in the air conditioning when the day reaches peak temperatures!
Sometimes all you need is a play area. The theme parks have some limited areas for toddler-friendly playing. At Magic Kingdom, there is a play area under Splash Mountain in addition to the Dumbo queue. At EPCOT, there is a small area inside The Seas as well as Mission: SPACE. Seasonally, EPCOT may have a play area open near the entrance to the World Showcase, depending on which festival is running. In Dinoland U.S.A. at Animal Kingdom, young ones can enjoy a large play area at the Boneyard. These are all great spots to get the wiggles out!
General Tips and Tricks for Taking a Baby to Disney World
- Schedule mini-breaks throughout the day, and consider taking a longer break in the afternoon for a nap (and we all know naps know no age limits!). We always recommend getting some rides in the morning and then returning to the hotel when it’s hottest for some nap time or pool time.
- If you're staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can request a complimentary crib, either when you make your reservation or during check-in upon arrival (though quantities are limited).
- If baby or toddler has a favorite toy or stuffy, consider leaving it in the hotel room, just to be safe. No one wants a lost friend in the parks!
- For babies, some dark rides, no matter how hoppy, can be a little scary! You may need to adjust your itinerary accordingly, but don't worry — there are plenty of bright or outdoor attractions in each park to enjoy together.
- Be flexible! Whatever works for your frog family is what's best for you.
- Take things at your own pace.
- Take lots of photos and cherish those memories!
Have you traveled to Disney World with a baby or toddler? Share your tips in the comments below!