Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tips - Doing Disney with a baby

Considering doing Disney with a young baby? No problem! Here are a few tips for those wanting to have a great vacation with a young child.

1. Be flexible and adjust your expectations. Don't expect to be at the park for opening, to get on every ride or to stay until closing. Go with the flow of your child and don't push it. And when you see a character - abandon all plans and get pictures! The moments that stick out in my memory of our recent trip with a 7 month old are those of him interacting with Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell and Eeyore. He wont remember those moments, but I sure will.

2. Go with grandparents or other family. It was sure great to be able to leave our son with someone else so that we can go on rides too without having to use 'ride swap.' It also makes it a little more enjoyable and exciting to share.

3. Get a 5 day pass. I have gone with young children and without and it definitely takes alot more time to cover the park with a young child. You need those extra days if you want to see and do a decent amount of things.

4. Bring your child's comfy stroller that can recline. I know it can be a hassle and takes up lots of room, but without it our son wouldn't have been able to sleep at the park and that would have meant alot of back and forth and alot of meltdowns. Personally, I prefer to keep those to a minimum.

5. If you can - go to Disneyland vs DisneyWorld (at least when they are babies...)  I realise most people will probably just go to whatever is closer and that makes sense for them. But after our most recent trip we decided it'll be Disneyland only until our children are much older. We have done both - and Disneyworld is just so big we could never have covered it in a week with a small child. Disneyland is much more condensed and all the hotels and resorts are within a 5 minute drive. There are only two parks which means you can see alot more. And the food is better in our opinion. Plus, the bonus for us is that it is only a 2.5 hour plane ride from Vancouver. We were actually in the park the same day as getting home. Awesome!

6. Get a hotel room that is a suite and has a kitchen. So much more space for kids and its nice to have a full kitchen so that you don't have to eat out every single meal.

7. Go off season. We tend to go the same times of year. Either we go on March break, or else off season in fall or later winter. I think my favorite time is probably early fall. The park is pretty empty and the weather is still nice. After our most recent trip over Spring Break I was reminded how brutal it can be to deal with long lines. Just keep in mind that off season means shorter park hours (usually a 9am-9pm deal) and shows only on weekends.

8. The last thing to remember is that Disney is all about kids. The staff and characters were beyond wonderful with our little one. There is a baby station at each park, which has high chairs, change tables and extra baby supplies if you need them. There aer also change tables in every single washroom (both men's and woman's.) They even have a system set up in the parks called Ride Swap so that adults who are travelling with young kids can switch off without waiting in line for ride all over again.

In conclusion, if you are concerned about taking a young child, please dont be. I say as long as you are flexible and don't have super high expectations, just go for it. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

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