Disneyland can be a great vacation option for families traveling with children of all ages. It can even be a great vacation for families who have babies and toddlers. Even the smallest mouseketeers will understand the magic and find joy. However, just like any other vacation when traveling with toddlers and babies you just need to plan a little more and make sure to have plenty of patience.
Here are some tips for taking a toddler or baby to Disneyland:
Stay in a nearby hotel if you prefer to take your little one back to the hotel for a real nap vs. a stroller nap. We stayed at the Howard Johnson Plaza Anaheim Resort and loved it. It was a quick 8-minute walk to the gate of Disney, offered a relaxed kid centered atmosphere, and even had their own pirate themed water park that we enjoyed.
Pack for the season. Don’t forget sunscreen, rain jackets, umbrella, sweatshirts, swimsuits and sturdy play shoes (all depending on the forecast). Don’t worry if you forget something, because the park has it all thought out for you and sells most of these things, or for a more frugal option there is always Walmart and Target nearby.
Pack lots of snacks and don’t forget the sippy cups. Disneyland food doesn’t come cheap and it’s usually not the healthiest option (although they do try as you can get apple slices instead of chips and fries in some places), so for a quick and healthy option pack your baby’s favorite snacks and even a small lunch.
Don’t be afraid for some quiet time at the baby care center. There are two Baby Care Center’s, one is located just off of Main Street in Disneyland and there is another one located in California Adventure in the Pacific Wharf Area. This will be heaven sent for anyone visiting the parks with babies or toddlers. They have an area where you can nurse a baby, plush changing tables, toddler-sized toilets, a kitchen where cast members will heat up formula or baby food for you, and high chairs. It’s also a great place to bring baby for some air conditioning and peace and quiet.
Bring or rent a good-sized stroller. I opted to bring my own stroller because I love that it has cup holders, a big basket for diaper bags and souvenirs, and it reclines almost all the way down. It also has a good-sized umbrella, which shielded the rain quite nicely (hopefully you will use it for sun). You also, for a fee, can rent strollers at the park. The downside to these strollers is they don’t recline, no storage, and no cup-holders. It is however a decent almost jogging type stroller and a great option for those who can’t bring theirs along. They also put your name on it for the day to help with confusion, so no one else accidentally snags your stroller by mistake.
Don’t expect to do it all. Set a plan ahead of time for what is most important to your group. Pick up a program and map as you enter the park to make sure you catch the characters you want to see and note the times and places where they will be. Prioritize the rides you want to go on, so you won’t be zigzagging and backtracking.
And most importantly, have fun! Don’t forget your camera so you can capture all those magical moments that you share as a family and remember them forever. Disneyland has done a great job catering to families traveling with small children, so leave your worries behind and enjoy a great trip!
SaltCityGal Hilarye Fuller currently lives in Utah with her young daughter and husband. She pens the blog Dotting The Map.