Are Babies Free at Disney World? (and other tips for Disney with an infant)
Taking an infant (or even a 1 or 2 year old) to Disney World can be a controversial issue.
This quote from Reddit sums up how some [rather grumpy] people feel about it:
You traveled all the way out there, spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars for someone that won’t remember a bit of it and is entertained by jingling car keys.
You’re not doing it for the kid, you’re doing it for your Instagram and everyone knows it. Wait until he or she is al least 6 or 7, then make those memories. Until then you’re just in everyone’s way.
I always find it curiously funny when people say not to take a 1 year old to Disney World because “they won’t remember it anyway.”
By that logic, why do anything with or for your baby? Why take them to the park or the zoo? Why talk to them or sing to them or buy them toys? They won’t remember anything anyway!
Also, you — the parents will remember the trip. Doesn’t that count for something? And what’s wrong with adults wanting to have a great time with their baby?
(I won’t even bother commenting on the “you’re just in everyone’s way” remark.)
Now, to me, the main concern about bringing a baby to Disney World is that sounds really … tiring.
Changing diapers. Worrying about naps. Worrying about feedings. Having to hold them while you stand in line …
I’ve never taken anyone younger than a potty-trained two and a half year old to Disney World, so I asked three of my blogging friends to help me with this post.
Adriane from Put On Your Party Pants.
Adriane took a family Disney trip consisting of two adults, a 1 year old boy, and a 3 year old boy. They went for 5 nights and 4 days and spent all 4 full days at the parks.
They stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and thought it was definitely worth it to stay on property.
Carly at Mommy on Purpose.
Carly made it very clear that their trip was for her and her husband, not the 4 month old, who slept 75% of the time. Their trip was 5 days long, and they went to the parks for 4 of those days.
Her family stayed in the Disney Springs area. Carly (who calls herself “sort of cheap”) thinks staying on property is never worth the extra money, but especially not worth it when you have baby, because it’s basically no hassle to drive a baby in a car seat.
Charissa West at The Wild, Wild West
Charissa has four boys and has taken many Disney trips since her oldest was 6 months old. However, for the sake of this post, she focused on a week-long trip that was two adults and three kids, ages 6 months, 2 years old, and 5 years old. The grandparents also joined them for two days.
Charissa’s family stayed at at VRBO at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek), which is within the Disney World property gates, but technically not on-property.
She thought this was the best of both worlds. It was super close and you could see the Epcot fireworks from our balcony, and there was a lot more space for less money than staying on-site. The only downside was that there was no bus from the hotel to the parks.
Are babies free at Disney World?
Yes. Children aged under 3 years get in free to all four theme parks and two water parks at Disney World. They also don’t need to purchase either Disney Genie+ or Lightning Lane access for them — they’ll just go on with you.
Also, children ages 0-2 get to eat for free at Disney buffet restaurants. (The assumption is that they’ll just eat off your plate.) However, still make sure that you include them when you make dining reservations.
How do you dress a baby for Disney?
I read advice on the Disboards saying to just dress a baby in various white onesies for the entire trip.
I thought this was brilliant: both simple and cool. Of course, be sure to protect those chubby little legs from the sun, either with sunscreen (if they’re old enough) or a lightweight blanket. I’d also make sure they wear a rel=”sponsored noopener” target=”_blank”>sun protective hat.
How do you keep a baby cool at Disney World?
I did a little research on this, and honestly, it’s very similar to the ways anyonecan keep cool at Disney, such as:
- Stay out of the parks in the middle of the day.
- Stay well-hydrated (but be sure to check with your pediatrician before giving your baby water)
- Take a dip in your hotel pool to cool off.
- Use a handheld misting fan
- Put a shade cover on your stroller.
- Have them wear the above-mentioned sun hat.
Does Disney World sell things like diapers, pacifiers, and baby powder?
Yes. (Although, not surprisingly, they will cost a lot more than if you brought that stuff yourself.)
Each park in Disney World has a Baby Care Center that is well-stocked with just about everything you could need to care for your baby, including formula, diapers, wipes, baby food, sunscreen, and even clothes.
Since I’ve never even been inside one of the Baby Care Centers, I asked Adriane, Carly, and Charissa about their experiences:
Adriane: We didn’t use the Baby Care Centers or need to purchase any baby care items while we were there.
Carly: We did not use them. Taking these things along will save you hundreds LOL.
Charissa: I used the Baby Care Center in Magic Kingdom to pump when I went with a baby I was feeding via exclusive pumping. It was well-stocked and the people were very friendly and helpful.
I also used it on a different trip to pick up an OTC medicine for my toddler another time (I think it was cortisone cream, but I can’t remember for sure, it’s been so long)– but there was an actual certified nurse there, which was nice.
Where are the Baby Care Centers located in each of the parks?
Magic Kingdom — near the First Aid Station between Casey’s and The Crystal Palace.
Epcot — in the Odyssey Center between Test Track and the Showcase Plaza.
Hollywood Studios — inside of Guest Relations near the main entrance to the park
Animal Kingdom — to the left of the Tree of Life, right before you cross the bridge into Africa
Which Disney park is the most (and least) baby-friendly?
The best park for a baby is unquestionably Magic Kingdom. They can ride quite a few things, and you can always find air conditioning without much trouble.
The worst park is a tough call, but I believe it is Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios lacks people eater-type attractions like shows and less popular, slow moving rides. These are easy places to sit in air conditioning without waiting in line. If often feels like you have to wait in a long line to do anything at all at Hollywood Studios.
At 4 months old, the baby literally did not care where we were and we were able to take her (or do rider switch) on almost everything. I don’t think there is a bad park for babies!
I think Epcot is the worst because there’s not much shade. There’s a lot of concrete and open sun. Even many of the benches around the park are in full-sun, which is challenging with a baby and the Florida heat. Many of the shops are also relatively snug/tight, especially in the World Showcase, which makes it tough to maneuver a stroller.
I think the best park for a baby is Magic Kingdom just because there’s so much to do there. There are also several rides you can use to escape the heat, like Mickey’s PhilHarmagic, Small World (which frequently has little to no line), Journey of the Little Mermaid, or Pirate’s of the Caribbean.
What are the best Disney World rides for babies?
Babies can go any any rides with no height requirement.
It’s perfectly fine to have your baby just sit on your lap. I have heard that, depending on the ride, you may have to take your baby out of its carrier if you’re “wearing” your baby.
At that time, my sons’ favorite rides were:
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- Mad Tea Party
- Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
- The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
The longer rides, like “it’s a small world”, can be hit or miss. If your baby melts down, you have nowhere to go.
There were SO many great rides that we enjoyed with the baby – I mean the baby didn’t care what we were doing, but we were able to enjoy almost all of them.
Of course, the slower moving air conditioned ones were the the best / easiest because we could all go on them together (although the rider switch option made it not prohibitive to go on other rides!).
These rides were all great with a baby!
- The Epcot Ball [aka Spaceship Earth]
- The Frozen ride
- It’s a Small World
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Jungle Cruise
- Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Ride
My favorite ride for the baby was It’s a Small World. I know a lot of people don’t like that ride, but there’s music and so much for a baby to look at. Plus, you can sit down and it’s air-conditioned. That counts for a lot in Florida in August when there’s a baby strapped to you!
The Winnie the Pooh Ride has never gone over that well with my babies. I think it’s because there’s a random thunderstorm scene near the end, plus the Elephants & Woozles scene. Other babies may like it, but not mine! [Same here, Charissa — my two and a half year old daughter got very scared at the Hefflump scene. – Jen]
What are some great Disney activities for babies other than rides?
Fireworks, of course! [In contrast, my daughters, at the ages of 2 and 4, were terrified of the sound of the fireworks and screamed bloody murder until we all ran inside the nearest restaurant. -Jen]
And parades (outside of 2020 / 2021) are always a blast too – even babies enjoy watching them go by. Watching the Lion King live show – or any of those types of attractions – was just wonderful with a baby.
We loved the character breakfasts with our baby. He was big enough to sit on his own in the high chair and appreciate the music and characters (Ohana at the Polynesian Resort was our favorite for that). He could also enjoy some of the table food, which made him happier for longer, allowing the rest of us to eat too.
We’ve also done the T-Rex restaurant at Disney Springs. One of our babies loved all the animals and moving statues, the pretend “meteor shower” etc. But another one of our babies on a different trip found it terrifying. Live and learn!
Are there nursing rooms at Disney?
According to Plan Disney, there are nursing rooms in each park, each with electrical outlets in case you need to use a breast pump.
At Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot, the nursing rooms are semi-private, with rocking chairs for four mothers at a time.
At Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, the nursing rooms are completely private, allowing for only one mother at a time.
Where can I breastfeed my baby at Disney World?
I’m a pull-my-boob-out-in-public kinda mom, so I breastfed when ever we needed, without a cover because it was SO SWEATY. You can always find a quiet corner to sit down. Disney does have great air conditioned breastfeeding rooms that I used as well, because it was nice to get out of the heat.”
I have breastfed a baby at Disney World and exclusively pumped at Disney World.
For breastfeeding, they do have a dedicated place in each park if you need the AC, privacy, and the comfort of a rocker.
For me, that wasn’t worth the inconvenience, because they’re typically only at one part of the park. I just tried to feed discreetly wherever I could find a seat or bench.
The only time I found it challenging was when we went in the summers because it was just so hot and finding a cooler place to feed can be tough if it’s near a meal time.
When I was exclusively pumping, I did bring a breast pump into the park and I utilized the special dedicated nursing rooms, because they had an outlet I could plug into. While I don’t mind breastfeeding on the go, you can’t really pump discreetly and I needed the privacy the nursing room provided.
What should you bring to Disney World with a baby?
We had a basic, Graco diaper bag at that time. Aside from the obvious things like diapers and wipes, do not forget a thermometer and Tylenol. These are things your baby may not need everyday, but you would regret not bringing if the need arose.
Try to minimize what you bring. Too much clutter in a small hotel room will just cause stress. Do not forget swim diapers. You won’t be allowed in the pool without them.
I recommend a backpack over a diaper bag! It’s good to be able to wear it, in my opinion. And I would put in AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE haha.
The only thing I always wish we had (where ever we go) is plastic bags to put wet things in.
We just brought our regular, over-the-shoulder diaper bag, but if you have a backpack diaper bag, I think that would be better just for ease of carrying.
Definitely pack more of everything in your diaper bag than you think you’ll need. I remember one time, we were sure we were going to leave the park after dinner, but my other kids were behaving so well, we decided to stay. We ended up cutting it very close on diapers. You can certainly purchase more at the park, but the costs of everything are inflated.
I’d also be sure to pack diaper cream, even if your baby doesn’t typically need it often. You’ll probably go longer between changes than you normally do, plus FL is often hot and humid — both recipes for diaper rash.
Pack a carrier (sling, Ergo, whatever), even if you don’t usually use one at home.
You have to park your stroller outside of any ride lines, so you don’t want to be stuck holding baby while you wait in lines. Even if you share the job and pass baby around to adults in your party, everyone’s arms will get tired.
I also recommend a stroller that can recline for naps.
We brought a “regular” umbrella stroller once because it’s so cheap and easy. It worked great for us until nap time, when we kept having to try to lean it back so baby could fall asleep.
There’s a type of umbrella-like stroller made by Jeep [maybe this one?] that ended up being amazing for us on subsequent trips. They’re cheap, small, and collapsible, but also have a way to recline the baby almost flat for napping (and there’s a sunshade, which is so needed in FL).
I’d also recommend packing the cheap, plastic-bag like ponchos. They only cost a dollar or two and are great to have on hand for those passing late afternoon (3-4 pm ish) storms that frequently blow through in FL.
Do you have any amusing stories about your Disney vacation with a baby?
Once, we had our two-year-old throw up in line for the Jungle Cruise. I couldn’t get over how quickly the employees responded and handled the “situation” (which they call a “Code V”). [For some reason I thought this was really funny. -Jen] T
They were so kind and so helpful. When we went back to our hotel and had to cancel the following day’s activities, they helped us rebook everything for the following day (we had a rest day built in to our trip) including dining reservations, fast passes, everything). I couldn’t believe how helpful they were in an otherwise lousy situation. They even called our room to check on us.
Another thing that surprised us on a different trip was that we spent three hours with our kids (baby, two year old, and four year old) riding the Disney Skyliners from place to place. It ended up being two of our kids’ favorite thing from the entire week. That’s great and all, but it made us laugh that at such on expensive place, their favorite activity was something that was completely free.
What’s your best advice for someone taking an infant to Disney World?
Don’t push the baby’s schedule too much. If you can stay longer and see the parks in a more leisurely fashion, you will have a better experience.
Relax! Toddlers are WAY harder at Disney than babies are!
If you’ve gone to Disney before, but never with a baby, just recognize that some things will be a little different. You probably won’t be able to get as much done as you have in trips past because you’ll be doing a lot of stroller parking and retrieving, strapping in and out, stopping for diaper changes, etc.
With all that said, it can still be a really fun family vacation. We’ve gone many times with a baby (since we have so many kids) and we’ve never regretted taking them.
Should you take a 1 year old (or even younger) baby to Disney World? Is it worth it?
If you feel ready, go for it. Kids under age 3 are free, so you don’t have much to lose. Try to build in a break day, stay longer, and move at a leisurely place. Be sure to make dining reservations to ensure you get a break from the sun and a comfortable place to rest.
I honestly wouldn’t go to Disney with a baby unless you didn’t have other kids. My whole experience was so EASY, but only because we didn’t have other kids with us that needed our attention. We’ve also taken a 3 year old and a 5 year old to Disney, and 5 is the perfect age. 3 is still a little too young!
If it’s an annual trip you always take, definitely don’t stop just because you have a baby. Definitely go!
If you’re thinking about going very rarely, and you just have one baby, I’d probably wait until they were a little older (2+) so they can really enjoy and appreciate Disney more, since it’s such a big expense to go.
If you’re planning to take your whole family, and that just happens to include a baby this time around, definitely go! We’ve done the family trip many times, and it’s included a baby as often as it hasn’t (since we have four kids). We’ve never felt like the baby required more effort than the trip was worth.
What is your experience of Disney World with a baby?
Now it’s your turn.
How you been to Disney World with a 6 month old? A one year old?
Would you recommend it?
Do you have any advice?
Let us know below in the comments!
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