Disneyland with Infants and Toddlers

After being asked a few times for tips and tricks to visiting Disneyland with an infant and toddler I thought I'd finally just write everything down in a post. My husband and I have been annual passholders since before we were married. He actually proposed right next to Snow White's wishing well. So Disneyland has always held a special place in our hearts. And it comes as no surprise to those who know us that we would frequently take our little ones to visit the park. Both kids have been going since they were newborns and we've never felt limited or held back because of them!

Here's what we do: 

Bring a small umbrella stroller -
Both kids use it and switch when the other is walking (or the youngest is in the Boba carrier). Invest in a swivel hook like these if you don't already have one. It makes carrying bags around so much easier. We have one on each side of the stroller. If you really don't want to bring your own stroller then you can easily rent one from Disneyland starting at $15 a day. Just remember you can't take it with you outside of the park (and that includes Downtown Disney).

We choose not to bring our double stroller because 1. we've heard of others getting stolen and 2. it's just too bulky to lug on and off the tram and/or busses. If you bring your double please make sure to bring a stroller or bike lock with you just in case.

Pack snacks in a lunch bag & bring a reusable water bottle or two -
That way you can snack as you go and fill up the water bottle at any restaurant or food line (just ask them to fill it up and take off the lid... we do this to save money and never buy sodas). These don't need to be stored in lockers if you don't want to. You can just hang it from your umbrella stroller or put it in the basket underneath.

Buy meals to split -
Lets face it... most places serve meals that can easily count as 2-3 servings. Why not take advantage of the big portion sizes and split your meals amongst each other? We usually buy two meals and split it between the four of us. Sometimes we get a kids meal for the kids to split (they also have toddler meals most places... just ask!)  and a meal for us to split or we get two adult entrees and share. In the end we pay about $15 for the whole meal when it could easily be $30+.

For breakfast we always get a parfait and a cinnamon twist inside the bakery to share. It's more than enough food for all of us. And I get my coffee from the coffee & tea place on the right hand side of Main Street next to the snack cart because they give you free refills all day with your receipt. If you want a nice place to sit down and eat for dinner check out Downtown Disney before you head back. Or you can eat outside the park at one of the restaurants around Anaheim.

And since we pack snacks we usually allow our children one or two treats inside the park. One of our son's favorite treats is a fresh popped box of popcorn. The whole family can enjoy it and there's more than enough to satisfy everyone. When we're leaving the park we can't help but stop for a sweet treat in the bakery or candy store. We usually buy a box of cookies for the road and a small chocolate or sucker for the kids. 

Take advantage of the baby care center -
It's located at the end of Main Street has quite a few amenities for their smallest guests. Here's what they have to offer:
  • Diaper Changing Stations - these are not your hard surfaced, bathroom changing stations. Each station is a padded, comfortable area with more than enough room for a squirming baby and your diaper bag. They have disposable liners to put under baby to insure each change is germ free. 
  • Small Toilets - right next to the changing stations there are two small toddler-friendly toilets to make going to the restroom a lot easier for our little ones. These are potties that the kids can actually touch the ground while sitting down. Makes potty training a LOT easier. 
  • Feeding Station - Need a quiet place to nurse or feed your child a bottle or are you away from baby and need to pump? This is the perfect place to do so in peace. There are comfy chairs to sit in and there's even a curtained off area for more privacy. There are also high chairs available for the babies on solids!
  • Diapers/Accessories - if you've forgotten anything at home have no fear, the Baby Center has diapers, formula, wipes, baby food and much more for sale at a reasonable price. I remember having a horrific morning at the park and going through every single diaper we had in the bag. Thank goodness for the Baby Center! No need to turn home (or to the Target down the street).

Make sure to get commemorative pins - First time at the park? Celebrating a birthday or other celebration? You can go to City Hall on Main Street when you first get in the park OR if there's a line at City Hall just ask any cashier in the stores on Main Street for a special button to make your toddler's day.

Packing Extra - We always bring a sweater or jacket for each kid but store an extra set of clothes in the back pack just in case. These are lightweight, easy to store outfits that won't take a lot of room in the bag. It does get chilly in the evenings so we always keep a pair of warm clothes in the car in case we're coming back for the evening.

Rides! -
Just about every ride at Disneyland (save for a few "big kid" rides) is toddler and infant friendly. And you'll find a ride for every age in every land. That's the magic of Disney! Some of our family favorites are the Disneyland Railroad, Casey Jr., It's a Small World, The Haunted Mansion and Astro Blasters. So don't hesitate to jump in line and enjoy the excitement!

I suggest going to Fantasyland either right when you get to the park or in the late afternoon because there'll be a lot of people rushing to the "big" rides first and it's less busy. Also, a great time to ride without lines is parade time. Everyone's lined up to get a great spot on Main Street and the lines for the rides are near non-existant.

And if you want to catch a parade, don't worry about sitting to save a spot to watch it. There's always room for more people right as the parade starts.We actually don't even look at the parade times and more likely than not we "run into" them as we're going from one attraction to the other. We also usually stumble onto other forms of entertainment around the park. There's always something exciting in the form of music, laughter and dance going on in every land.

Whether it be the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe, the marching band on Main Street (with Conductor Mickey) or the Jazz Band in New Orleans Square, there's never an end to the awesome entertainment found at Disneyland.

If you have any questions about your upcoming trip to Disneyland I'd be happy to answer them! Email me at simmworksfamily (at) gmail.com and I'll answer as best I can.

11 comment(s) with love:

Ourfamilyworld said... Reply To This Comment

This is so special: getting engaged in Disney! You will always remember it.
I've never been to Disney with a toddler but I went with a 4 month. I loved the baby center: so so useful. Thanks for sharing your tips

Jamie L. said... Reply To This Comment

Thanks for the tips! I am dying to take a trip to Disney!

LOVE MELISSA:) said... Reply To This Comment

This is a fantastic post! I know a lot of people I talk to ask how you manage with small kids going to Disney. I would love if you want to guest post this while I am away. Let me know:)

Danielle said... Reply To This Comment

Of course, Melissa :) Just send me an email!

Meagan Paullin - Sunshine and Sippy Cups said... Reply To This Comment

We don't have any Disney trips planned soon - But there are some AWESOME ideas in here that we can use on a lot of our other trips planned this year! My little one is 18 months, and I haven't traveled at all since I had her.... These tips were much needed advice, thank you!

East9thStreet said... Reply To This Comment

We have a Disney trip planned next month so these tips will come in handy - especially the small toilets! I'm sure these are somewhere at Disney World as well.

Dianne said... Reply To This Comment

Wow! What a wonderful family bonding time at WDW! We will be there next month and the kids can't wait. We made sure to bring our strollers to keep our tots comfortable and safe. Thanks for sharing.

Danielle said... Reply To This Comment

Yes, Walt Disney World also has all of these amenities in their parks. I just don't know their exact locations!

Laura said... Reply To This Comment

Brilliant tips! We will have our first trip with our little one next month. Can't wait..

Megan said... Reply To This Comment

We are headed to our first vacation with our 5 yr old in a few weeks. These wonderful tips are what we need.

Drew said... Reply To This Comment

We have a Disney trip planned un a few weeks. These tips will come in handy. Thanks!