Taking a baby to Disney really is easier than you might think. We took Ava when she was six months old, so I thought I’d put some things together that would help anyone else who was thinking of taking a little person too.
First things first. The most important thing really is planning. Of course, if you’re taking a baby this would probably seem obvious, but the devil really is in the detail. I think I over planned to be perfectly honest, and considered things that I never really needed to. However I tend to think that over planning is always better than under planning.
Important things to note for us in particular was that I was breastfeeding Ava when we went, so even though I did try and take note of bottle feeding facilites, I didn’t look at those specifically. Also, we were doing baby led weaning with her, which pretty much means she ate whatever we did – no purees or anything like that to deal with. To be honest, although this is easier all round anyway, we chose this method particularly because we knew it would be easier to do with a baby around as we wouldn’t have to worry about jars or warming food up.
Airport lounges: We flew from Gatwick and decided to use the V-Room. I knew there were baby changing facilities in the V-Room but I was particularly impressed with what I found. There was a large baby changing room with enough space for a couple of babies. There was also a curtained off area for breastfeeding. It was lovely in there, with a comfy chair, and not next to any nappy bins, which is always an annoyance of mine. Also, there was nice soft lighting, which if I remember right, you could actually alter yourself if you wanted to. There was also a soft play area, which Ava really loved. It did say on the door that it was for under fives (I think), and that children should be supervised, but this was not always the case. However, we never had a problem, and to be honest, Ava happily tried to climb around everything and everyone anyway! There was a wonderful food section, but what was particularly good was that there was an area that had things just for children. There was plenty that Ava could have here. They’d made up little pots of fruit and jelly, which she loved. They also made her fresh toast which went down well. There was always someone cleaning up the tables, which was good as it was always safe for babies to be crawling around, knowing they wouldn’t be messing around with any dirty pots. Also, we found the big window perfect for entertainment, watching planes take off seemed to be fascinating to Ava!
All in all, the V-Room was perfect for babies, children and adults alike, I’d definitely recommend it!
The flight: We flew with Virgin Atlantic. We booked the holiday a few months before Ava was born. I had called Virgin before I booked and they said to book it for us, and then when she was born, call again and add her to the booking. We did this, and it was easily done. We also requested a skycot, which we really hoped we would get. We actually used the Twilight check in facility at Gatwick so we could be at the front of the queue in the skycot requests. Having one was not a problem, and the lady at check in said she would have been very surprised if we didn’t get one with a baby of Ava’s age. We were called to board the plane first as we had children, but we decided against it as I hate flying. When we boarded we found we were in a group of three seats, in the bulkhead, with the space for a skycot. The skycot is basically a bassinette that sits on a fold down tray, that’s really the only way to describe it. I admit we did tell a little fib, as Ava was just over the weight limit for it, however, this really was not a problem. She did however, totally fill it!
I don’t think a baby older than six or seven months would fit in one of these, but then Ava is a pretty big baby. I did breastfeed her as we took off and landed, to prevent her ears from popping, which was easy to do, just required a bit of jiggling around with her seatbelt, not difficult though. The only problem we did have was that we had to remove her from the skycot whenever the seatbelt sign came on. If she was asleep when this happened, she wasn’t too happy about it. I do believe that in the newer airbus you don’t have to do this though.
Generally though, the flight was fine. I needn’t have worried so much about it.
You do have to be careful with the baggage allowances though. Ava was entitled to 15kg, which was fine. However, she was only allowed a buggy OR a car seat. Now, for a six month old baby, who’s family is hiring a car, both is vital, so I find this rule bizarre. Fortunately as our other child Ben was on a child ticket he had an allowance for a buggy OR a car seat. We therefore used one allowance for the buggy and the other for the carseat. As for Ben’s carseat, we bought one of these which he actually used as his hand luggage.
When we were shopping for a buggy before Ava was born we got one specially that had a UV 50 protection. However, it was one that had a chassis and a seat part. Virgin only allow you to take an umbrella fold buggy, which we didn’t realise until just before we went.
Rides: This was the easiest part really. Babies can go on anything that doesn’t have a height restriction. Whether you take them on all the rides is another matter though. Ava particularly loved it’s a small world (unsurprisingly). To be honest though, we took her on everything she was allowed to go on, and she loved them all. She did however fall asleep on Kilimanjaro Safari, must have been the rocking sensation I think! We also made good use of parent swap. This is where you all go to the ride entrance, and the CM gives you a parent swap pass. One parent rides (in this case, Ben went on too), and the other parent stays with the baby. When the first parent comes off, the second goes on, through the fast pass queue, and the first stays with the baby. The parent swap pass can be used for up to four people, so if I waited with Ava whilst Ben rode with my husband, Ben could also ride with me as well, which he loved as it meant he got two rides. We worked out that you could also combine this with fast pass, so the first parent goes down the fastpass queue, and then the second parent uses the parent swap pass to go down the fastpass queue. It also works with single rider lines. For example, we all went to get a parent swap pass at Test Track, then I rode in single rider. Once I was off, Ben and Anthony went down the fast pass queue with the parent swap pass. This did mean that Ben only got to ride once, but he didn’t mind.
Restaurants: As I said, Ava eats whatever we do, so there was always something suitable for her to eat. However, the servers in restaurants were always brilliant with her, and if they saw she was eating the bread, they’d bring a bit extra over. We did choose our restaurants very carefully, more so for Ben than Ava though, places that had plenty of things like pasta (which she can eat with her hands), and vegetables (green beans were particularly easy for her to eat). They always brought extra bowls and spoons if we needed them too. If you have a baby who can’t sit unaided, high chairs might be a problem though, as the only high chairs they have in restaurants do not have a high back support. If Ava was ever asleep when we got to a restaurant we always told them at the podium, and they allowed us to bring the buggy in with us. They always ensured we were at a table where there was plenty of room for it to go as well.
Clothes: We found taking lots of very loose fitting clothing was perfect. I decided not to take clothes made from jersey fabric, but stuck to cotton. This made life a lot easier as she didn’t get too hot and bothered. Big floaty dresses were also perfect for her. It was vital to have a hat of course, and plenty of sun cream, whatever she was wearing. We also bought a sunsuit, that had a hat with it, for the pool. It kept her totally covered which was wonderful.
Getting around: We had a buggy of course for Ava, but with her only being six months old we ensured it was as comfortable for her as possible. We had a fleecy footmuff for her, which was lovely. It was also important to have one that went back totally flat so that she could sleep. Do be careful though, don’t take an expensive buggy (I’m so pleased we didn’t take that lovely one we bought for her). The reason being that on the flight back the buggy was damaged beyond repair, and they only compensated us 50% of the purchase price. We also had a little battery operated fan, which clipped onto her buggy and was very useful. However, the best thing we bought was a ‘sunshine kids’ sun visor. This was so much better than using a parasol.
It folded away easily and since it was there all of the time she could always see what was going on and it shielded her totally from the sun. I think it was the best £8 we ever spent!
We also had a baby carrier, which we used a lot, particularly if we were queuing a long time for rides. It was also especially good for some of the areas at EPCOT like The Seas, where you can’t take a buggy in. We invested in a very sturdy one with a particularly strong back support. We’ve used it since she was born, and we still use it now, at nine months old.
The hats however, are totally optional!
We also had a ‘hippy chick’ hip carrier, which I used a lot.
We had a car, but we also used the buses a lot. The buses were very easy to get on and off, even with all the baby things we had! A lot of the time we put Ava in the carrier so we could have our hands free for everything else we needed to do. If we were in the car, we tended to arrive as early as possible, so that we would be at the front of the car park and would be able to walk to the entrance. Just made things easier if we could get everything set up on the buggy, and then not have to collapse it to take it all on a tram.
Buying things there: We didn’t take many nappies (diapers) with us, we just bought them there. Do be aware though, the sizes are different (from the UK). Ava was in size 4 Pampers, which are different in the UK and US, so just check the weights before you buy them. I’m sorry I can’t comment on the food pots really, but I did see plenty of them, which you’d expect really. There were also some available in the on site hotel shops as well, but the choices were limited.
General baby change and feeding facilities: Although the babycare centres were wonderful they weren’t always convenient to go to. There were baby changing facilities in every toilet, in both the male and female facilities. However, a lot of these were hard metal, so you’d want to make sure you had some kind of changing mat to lay your baby on or they’d get a bit chilly.
As for feeding, as I mentioned earlier all of the restaurants have good facilities for solid baby food and for bottle feeding. I also breastfed Ava a few times in the restaurants, and nobody batted an eyelid. I did chat with some other mums in the nursing rooms about attitudes to breastfeeding in America, and it seems as though they’re pretty much the same as in the UK – you can pretty much do it anywhere. I was always sure to be discreet though.
Babycare centres: These were an absolute lifeline whilst we were at WDW, just brilliant! There is one at each park, and I thought it’d be easiest if I wrote about them all separately as they are all quite different.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The babycare centre here is located just as you go through the entrance, on the left hand side. You have to go through guest services to actually get to it. They are happy for you to take buggies in there. Have to admit, this was my least favourite of all of them. As you walk in there is a small room that has a TV, high chairs, a sink and a few baby items for sale. To the right of this room there is a baby change room with a few huge baby change areas, which are lovely and padded. Just off this room is a toddler sized toilet which is very useful. Just off the main TV room there are two private curtained areas with a comfy chair for breastfeeding. These were ok, but really tiny, I found it hard to get the buggy in there and move around into the chair. I’m afraid I didn’t take any photos in here, sorry. Also, this one was not staffed, probably because you had to go through guest services to get here.
Magic Kingdom: The babycare centre here is located at the bottom of Main Street, to the left, just past Casey’s Corner. They prefer you to leave buggies outside. This one is very Victorian in style, really lovely. As you go in there are large chairs in the corridor, not that I ever saw anyone using them. As you go along the corridor there is a room on the right for breastfeeding mothers. There is a sign that this is for mothers only, but I did see some people taking people in there with them. Now, I didn’t mind this, and to be fair, the guests always asked if it was ok, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable saying no it wasn’t really. However, it was only ever women I saw in here. This room had four rocking chairs and was low lit, which was nice. There was also a few table lamps, so you could have more or less lighting if you wished. It was a nice atmosphere in here and a lovely place to chat to other breastfeeding mothers. I only ever saw all four rocking chairs in use once on the whole trip.
Further along from this room there was a room with small tables and chairs, highchairs (with high backs), a shelf of books, and a TV.
Ben and Anthony often went in here when I was feeding Ava, was just a nice room to relax in really.
There was also a kitchen, with a water cooler, baby food warming facilities and a small selection of baby items for sale. There was also a large baby changing area.
Just off the baby changing area were toilet facilities (mixed sex), with adult and child sized toilets.
The facility was always staffed and they were very helpful and chatty.
Animal Kingdom: The babycare centre here was located past Camp MinnieMickey, just before you get to the bridge to Africa. I always get lost at AK, so always had trouble finding it! This was one of the nicest of the babycare centres, and absolutely huge! You can either leave the buggy outside or take it in with you.
As you go in there is a large welcoming area with some baby items for sale, there is also a toilet here.
Off this room there is a TV room with some tables and chairs and highchairs.
There is also a massive baby changing area, which I didn’t photograph, as there was always people in there. There were probably six or seven tables in there. There was also baby food warming facilities in there.
Just off this room there were three private rooms for breastfeeding. These were wonderful!
They had the comfiest chairs of all of the centres. They were really big as well. You could alter the lights which was really useful. As you can see there was a changing table as well. Now, I hate there being changing tables in the same place as a breastfeeding area, as it feels as though your baby is eating in a toilet. However, after every time one of these rooms were used, they were cleaned and the nappy bins were emptied, so it never smelled.
Loved this babycare centre!
Epcot: Probably my second favourite of the babycare centres. It’s located on that long walkway between Test Track and the World Showcase. They prefer you to leave buggies outside here.
There’s a small playroom, with a TV and lots of toys. In fact, this was where this one was the best. There were no toys out at the other centres.
There was also a large baby changing area, again, no photo as it was always being used.
There was a large area with baby items for sale, baby food warming facilities and tables and chairs.
The breastfeeding area was again a separate room, but it was communal with several rocking chairs.
It had low lighting (the flash went off when I took that photo), and you could control the lighting and the temperature if you wanted.
The babycare centre really was lovely at EPCOT, and the staff were always very friendly.
Generally, all of the babycare centres were fantastic. They were always well managed, by friendly, helpful staff.
I hope this has been of some use to some of you, and I do apologise if it was overly long, but I know I had a lot of questions before we went to WDW, and with any luck, having some answers all in the same place might help you.
If you do have any further questions, feel free to send me a message on the main forums, my username is just ‘Vikki’.
Thanks for taking the time to read, I hope you have a wonderful time at WDW with your baby, we certainly did!
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