10 Disneyland Tips: With A Baby + Preschooler

disneyland tips with baby2 10 Disneyland Tips: With A Baby + PreschoolerDisneyland is a fun place for all ages – even the ittiest bittiest babies.

There is so much to do. So much to see. So many smiling faces.

To ensure that your experience at the happiest place on earth is extra happy, here are my top 10 tips for navigating Disneyland with a baby and preschooler:

1. Stay at a Disneyland hotel – preferably the Grand Californian. The “experience” of staying at a themed hotel is magical, but the location is the best part about staying at a Disneyland hotel. Hands-down. Being able to walk right into and out of the park is priceless.

2. Wear tennis shoes. You can always tell the single people from the married people at amusement parks. And not just by looking for a ring on the left hand. I always look at the shoes. The high school and college girls will be found in flip flops, boots, and heels (ouch!). The married women, on the other hand, will be walking the parks in their cushiest tennies. This is a broad generalization, of course, but it is – by and large – quite accurate. Tennis shoes might not be the height of fashion, but they are the most sensible option for Disneyland. Period.

disneyland stroller preschooler1 10 Disneyland Tips: With A Baby + Preschooler3. Bring (or rent) a stroller. If you have kids that are four or under, you will want a stroller. Amusement parks are big; little legs are small. If you opt to not get a stroller, you will likely end up carrying your tot in your arms (which can be a bit burdensome on your back). NOTE: Renting a stroller at Disneyland will cost you $15/day. You are free to take the stroller between Disneyland and California Adventure. Double strollers are not available.

4. One word: ERGO. If you have a baby, having a carrier is paramount. I wore our 6-month-old often as we navigated the park. It was safer and more sanitary than having her in a rented stroller – and it was more comfortable than carrying her in my arms. Plus, the carrier served as built-in warmth when the sun started to set and the park began to cool off.

Screen shot 2009 09 29 at 1.25.08 PM 122x150 10 Disneyland Tips: With A Baby + Preschooler5. Slather on the sunscreen. Even if you try your hardest to stay in the shade, the sun will still sweep over your shoulders and the tips of your noses while you wait in line and wander from attraction to attraction.

6. Make use of the Baby Care Center. If you need to change a diaper, nurse your baby, or take your potty training tot to the bathroom, you can visit the Baby Care Center in Disneyland or California Adventure to take care of business in a private, air-conditioned place. There are also miniature tables, books, and a TV with cartoons for any older siblings that might need a break.

7. Bring a nursing cover. The Baby Care Center is nice, but there is only one in each park. We actually only used the Baby Care Center once. It was so much more convenient to just reach for my Bebe au Lait cover wherever we happened to be, park myself in a shady spot, and enjoy the buzz of people walking by.

Screen shot 2009 09 29 at 1.21.46 PM 127x150 10 Disneyland Tips: With A Baby + Preschooler8. Pack a Backpack. Stock it with diapers, wipes, an extra pair of clothes (including underwear) for every child, a water bottle, and snacks.

9. Go with another family. It’s fun to pitter-potter around Disneyland with just your spouse and kids, BUT it’s more fun to go with another family. That way, you can go on some of the “big rides” with other adults too. We meandered through the parks with the adorable Kelly {just Spotted and According to Kelly}, her husband, their two active little boys, and their blonde-haired baby girl.

10. Stay multiple days. If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, keep in mind that one day isn’t enough if you want to see all of the shows, go on all the rides, and rest up a bit. We spent a full day and a half in the parks and definitely could have gone at least a few more without getting bored (or doing the same things over again). For example, we completely missed Toon Town (can you believe it?), Peter Pan, and Playhouse Disney.

YOUR TURN: Have you been to Disneyland with a baby and/or preschooler? What tips would you add?

  • adrian

    These are great tips for anyone traveling with young kids. Your list is already exhaustive, just might add to remember to bring the camera for all those memorable pictures.
    Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Melinda J

    Great list!

    I love that all Disney parks have baby care centers. It’s such a nice touch! The little potties are wonderful for potty trainers and the huge, clean, changing tables are wonderful!

    I don’t completely agree with your #1. I’d re-label it “Stay within walking distance.” If you can afford to stay in the Grand Californian that would be amazing! It is the closest to the parks and is luxurious. The other two Disney-owned properties, the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier, are further from the entry gates than some of the motels on Harbor Blvd and there is a huge price difference! We always stay at motels on Harbor that are within easy walking distance and the money we save is great for souvenirs, extra days, etc.

  • http://crazydogslife.blogspot.com Blessed

    These tips are great for just about any day trip with a toddler/preschooler/infant. We went to a Children’s farm this summer and most of these things were applicable there too!

  • http://web.me.com/marcelabeatty/ Marcela

    Love and agree with all your tips. I would add to take advantage of the fast pass and baby passes.

  • http://www.girlymama.com melissa

    #1 is totally true. we stayed at a partner hotel right at the entrance – and it was a LIFESAVER.
    we left every day around 1 or 2 and let them take naps. then went back after dinner. it was perfect!

    and – the DOUBLE STROLLER was totally worth lugging across the country with us. TOTALLY worth it. I brought the girls by myself one evening when my husband had a meeting. i could never have done that without the stroller.

    the backpack filled with snacks was a lifesaver. i also went to the dollar store and target and picked up some little disney trinkets to surprise them without breaking the bank!

  • Shelly

    Great list – I second the Grand Californian. We are heading back there next week. Early open is fantastic – you can really do a lot when it is quieter and spend more time with some characters if you are lucky.

  • Michele

    Great list of tips! It looks like you and your family had a great time visiting both parks. I cannot wait until we get the chance to take our daughter there – she loves all things Disney. Our goal is to visit some time next fall during the holiday season when all of the Christmas decorations are up.

  • http://www.jinxyisms.com Jinxy

    I think those are great tips. I’ve never been to Disneyland with a baby or children but I have been multiple times. I can’t really think of anything else. Staying at the Disney hotel is so worth it.

  • http://www.just-spotted.com Kelly

    Stephanie -

    You’re tips are great! I’m so glad you had a great time at Disneyland, it’s literally one of our favorite places! Thank you for spending your day with us! My boys have been gushing over your little girls ever since we left! I’ve got some cute video of them rock’n out that I will have to send your way!

    You are too darling for words! I am so glad we got “paired” together… I don’t think the day could have been any more perfect!

    xoxo, K