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11 Things You Need to Know for an Easier Disney Trip with Very Young Kids

11 Things You Need to Know for an Easier Disney Trip with Very Young Kids | CosmosMariners.com

For Gibson's first trip, I decided to head down to Walt Disney World for a long weekend. I'd pinpointed WDW for a few reasons:

1) We've been there more times that I can count, so I was comfortable taking both a 3 month old and my 3.5 year old potentially by myself,

2) It's about as kid-friendly as it comes, so no one would give me death glares if both the infant and the preschooler had simultaneous meltdowns, and

3) It's just far enough away from home to feel like a vacation, but no so far that I'd have to take both of them on a plane (I'm building to that milestone).
After a brief moment of insanity where I considered doing the trip as the only adult, I came to my senses and invited my mom and sister along for the ride. (It was my mom's birthday, and everyone knows it's super fun to celebrate your birthday at Walt Disney World.) Even with a 3-2 adult to kid ratio, the trip ended up being exhausting, so I'm very glad I decided to enlist some help!

11 Things You Need to Know for an Easier Disney Trip with Very Young Kids | CosmosMariners.com

Now that we're back and I've had some time to process the trip, I've come away with new perspective on the tiny-kids-at-Disney experience. Since we never took Britton as an infant (her first trip was at 18 months), I definitely gained some new information on what to pack, what to leave at the house, and how to rock your time at the parks when traveling with an infant, toddler, or preschooler.

If you plan on making the trip with your little human, here's what you need to know and bring.

Orlando Discounted Theme Parks and Attractions - Florida Ticket Station

In the Room

On this last trip, we stayed at Coronado Springs in a standard room, so we had 3 adults and 2 kids in about 300 square feet, so space was at a premium. I found a couple easy ways to make that small space fit so many people, suitcases, and kid stuff.

1) Bring a small cot. For little kids who are too big for a pack and play but are too small to navigate a big bed all by themselves, a travel cot is perfect.

We've had a Regalo My Cot Deluxe for over 2 years now for our daughter, and it has been worth its weight in gold. When we travel to Walt Disney World, we like to stay on property whenever possible, however, on-property rooms tend to be much smaller than ones off property on average. Every square foot counts, so bringing a travel cot like that one means we can stick her little bed in between the two standard double/queen beds without taking up much extra room.

Plus, buying a $34 cot that we can use on all of our trips is much less expensive than upgrading to an Art of Animation family suite or a cabin at Fort Wilderness.

2) Set up your baby travel bassinet. This has been my most recent travel discovery, and I'm a little obsessed. It has completely replaced our pack and play, and is definitely on the must-travel list now that we've got two kids. We've got this one, but there are many different variations on the same idea.

While the pack and play is the standard when it comes to portable baby beds, it can be very unwieldy and heavy. It also takes up much more room than the little travel bassinet that we now swear by.

I know that Disney World and Disneyland will provide a pack and play for free if they have one available, but I've never really trusted those things--who's making sure they're really clean in between uses and who checks to make sure they're kept up to date?

You don't have to worry about any of that with the bassinet: it's very light, it's super portable, and you can set it up in about 2 seconds.

3) Pack the baby travel bathtub. We've got a full sized baby bathtub at the house, but there is no way I'd waste valuable trunk space packing it--or trying to find a place to put it once we were in Walt Disney World.

You also don't want to try and go without some kind of baby tub because the hotel bathrooms are not conducive to trying to wash a squirmy little baby.

The solution? Bring a travel bathtub! Whether you pick the blow-up one that goes in the tub or the fold-flat one that goes in the sink, you'll want to put this in your must-pack stash for your next Disney trip.

In the Parks

4) Make sure your stroller is easy to collapse. A stroller is essential when you're doing the rounds at the parks, but you want to ensure that you can quickly fold it up. If you're staying on property, the Disney buses require you to collapse your stroller before you can board.

While I understand the reasoning behind the policy, it can still be annoying when you're trying to juggle a baby, a stroller, a diaper bag, and all of the other stuff that inevitably ends up on your person. So, keep things as simple as possible and get a stroller that opens and closes very easily.

11 Things You Need to Know for an Easier Disney Trip with Very Young Kids | CosmosMariners.com
Britton is very serious about pushing her baby Pooh Bear around Magic Kingdom in the GB Pockit.
We have the GB Pockit and the Graco Click Connect, both of which have been around our house for several years at this point. While they are both easy to maneuver, the GB Pockit definitely wins because it's so small when its folded. [Read my review here.]

5) Give yourself options with a baby carrier. While I liked having a stroller for both our infant and preschooler, Gibson (the baby) was super cranky the second day in the parks because he decided he just didn't want to sleep the night before. He didn't want to stay in the stroller for more than a few minutes, and he didn't want anyone else to hold him other than me, so I am very glad I remembered to pack our baby carrier.

I have a Tula carrier and a Baby K'tan, but you'll appreciate the back support that the Tula gives you for the incredible amount of walking you'll be doing in the parks.

6) Don't forget to bring your own juice boxes/ water bottles. Did you know that the Disney parks will allow you to bring in your own food and drinks? This comes in handy when you realize that there are basically 3 options for drinks in the parks: overpriced soft drinks, expensive bottled water, and funky tasting water from the tap.

On our last few trips to Walt Disney World, we've brought in a case of Capri Sun pouches and several bottles of water. We saved money, and we made sure that we had something that our daughter would drink. (I'm not kidding when I tell you the water from the fountains is weird tasting.)

7) Pack plenty of healthy snacks. If your kid loves chicken nuggets and ice cream, he or she will love the food offerings at the Disney parks. However, if you'd rather your kid eat something on occasion during your vacation, you'll want to bring your own fruit and snacks.

There are some stands that sell fruit (bananas and apples, in particular), and you can choose to get veggies as a side on kids' meals, so that's a good start. But, your kid will likely get tired of eating just apples and green beans and will want all of those caramel apples and ice creams he or she keeps seeing. Pack those Cheddar Bunnies and apple sauce pouches as a great alternative.

8) Remember the smallest traveler's food. As far as I've seen, there aren't any options for jarred baby purees in the parks, so you'll need to bring your own. If you're skipping the purees and going for baby-led weaning, you'll still want to bring some appropriate foods as you're not going to find too much in the way of cut up avocados, cooked plain pasta, or the like.


In General

9) Utilize the Baby Centers! Each park has one of these magical places, so you should use them. They're free for anyone with park admission, and they're a quiet, peaceful oasis in the midst of the chaos. There are comfy chairs for nursing, and microwaves to heat up food. The changing tables are also a million times better than the ones in the regular bathrooms.

10) Plan ahead for your snacks and groceries. If you've got your own car, head to the Walmart on Vineland Road in Kissimmee for snacks, bottled water, and juices (and really cheap Mickey ponchos). There are other grocery stores who will deliver to your hotel if you'd rather order ahead. You can also place an order on Amazon and have it shipped to your hotel, too. Just call ahead and let your hotel know to expect an arrival.

11) The best parks for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. While I love Epcot and Hollywood Studios (and they do have options for little visitors), you'll get a lot more bang for your buck at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.

11 Things You Need to Know for an Easier Disney Trip with Very Young Kids | CosmosMariners.com

Magic Kingdom has very few rides that little kids can't go on--primarily the Mountains (Space, Splash, and Big Thunder) and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. There are also some incredible meet and greets at Magic Kingdom, including Merida, Peter Pan, Pooh Bear, Elsa and Anna, and Buzz Lightyear.

Animal Kingdom has the best of a zoo and the best of an amusement park. Your tiny ones will love seeing the tigers on the Maharaja Jungle Trek, spotting their favorite animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris (there are no age restrictions!), and watching the tamarins leap through their (fake) ruins. My kid adores the Finding Nemo musical, the Triceratops Spin, and the Boneyard dig site.

11 Things You Need to Know for an Easier Disney Trip with Very Young Kids | CosmosMariners.com

Have you visited Walt Disney World or Disneyland with little kids? What's your best tip for making the experience fun for everyone?

Orlando Discounted Theme Parks and Attractions - Florida Ticket Station

I received press passes from Walt Disney World in order to write this post. All opinions are my own. 

11 Things You Need to Know for an Easier Disney Trip with Very Young Kids | CosmosMariners.com

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. 

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