Disneyland is free for children under the age of three, but many people still choose not to visit the happiest place on earth simply because of their young children.
If you are one of these people, we have some tips and secrets to going to Disneyland with a baby that you can try in order to make a trip to Disneyland enjoyable for the whole family – even the little ones.
Tips to Going to Disneyland with a Baby
Go in the Middle of the Week
Disneyland will never be empty, but if you have a very young child, walking around for hours in a very busy theme park is not ideal.
This is why you should visit Disneyland on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. The park will still have quite a few people visiting it, but it will be considerably less busy than any other day of the week. For your own sake, never go to the theme park on the weekend.
Don’t Bring A Stroller
If you bring a stroller, you will constantly be having to fold it up before boarding any of the rides or trains.
The best option would be to wear your child in an Ergo or Baby Bjorn. However, if you don’t have one of these, consider bringing a smaller umbrella stroller. Avoid renting the park strollers as they often don’t work well and are quite expensive.
Use the Baby Center
Disneyland has baby centers. They are often relatively empty as not many people know about them.
These centers are quiet and can be used to change your baby’s diaper or to breastfeed. They offer basic formula, medicines, baby food, and diapers.
Before your trip, search for the location of these centers at the specific Disneyland park that you and your family will be visiting.
Download the Disneyland App and Avoid Fast Passes
You can download the Disneyland app to manage your visit. It shows you accurate waiting times of each attraction, which makes it easier for you to decide whether or not to trek around the theme park to visit a specific ride.
If it is just you and your baby visiting the park, avoid the fast passes as they are only valid for the ‘big kid’ rides, such as Space Mountain and Radiator Springs Racers.
Pick Baby-approved Disneyland Rides and Shows
Fantasyland has many different rides that are suitable for younger kids and babies. You can visit the carousel, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Dumbo the Flying Elephant is also a very popular attraction for children. However, the most popular ride in the entire theme park has to be It’s A Small World – it’s also a great way to rest your tired legs for a few minutes.
Be Sure to Meet Mickey and the Other Disney Characters
Meeting the Disney characters is what makes Disneyland for many people and, especially, young children.
Instead of the meet ‘n greets near Main Street, head towards Toontown. You will get to see Mickey, Donald, and Goofy’s houses, which are all out of the sun and air-conditioned. Once in their homes, your children will be amazed by all the detail and things to play with. They will also get a chance to see some Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts.
It is also a good idea to head over to Critter Country and the Hall of Animation in California Adventure. Here you will meet Winnie the Pooh, Elsa, and Anna.
Catch a Show
A show is a great way to get out of the sun for a while and give your feet a rest.
Be sure to check out Mickey Mouse and the Magical Map and the musical version of Frozen, which will be sure to amaze your children with the fantastic singing, dancing, and lights. Finding a seat in the back is preferable as you will be able to slip out quickly if your baby starts crying.
Find a Quiet Spot
Disneyland can get loud and chaotic. If you have a baby with you, they can easily get scared or overwhelmed by all the people and noises. So, for your benefit, be sure to find a quiet spot that you can visit when you need a break.
Tom Sawyer Island is a great spot to get away from busy rides and thick crowds. It is also the perfect place to let your baby nap, breastfeed, or have a picnic. The island has clean and empty restrooms. To get there, take the ferry near the Haunted Mansion.
Another great place to get some peace and quiet is the Hall of Animation at California Adventure. You will find a huge room that is out of the sun and usually empty. The room also has couches and benches, which can be used to give your feet a rest.
Visit California Adventure for Lunch and Entertainment
This area has many rides that the little ones can enjoy.
You can see the Turtle Talk with Crush, which many young children love. There is also a playground and adventure course area that your kid can run wild on. California Adventure also includes rides such as Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, which is slow, gentle, and perfect for the young ones.
The food in California Adventure is also generally much better than the food in Disneyland. You will have many options to choose from – some restaurants will even make your baby a healthy vegetable puree.
Leave Early and Give the Fireworks a Miss
Try leaving the park at around 2:30 pm. You will miss most of the traffic at this time as most park visitors leave much later. However, depending on your child’s bedtime, you could also wait until 7 pm before you start making your way toward the parking lot.
Either way, you should leave before the fireworks. Older children might be okay with the loud noise and explosions, but babies usually don’t appreciate them. Additionally, as soon as the firework show is over, hoards of people start moving towards the exits, which makes leaving even more of a mission.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.