Taking an Infant or Young Child to Walt Disney World
By Christina Mauro
Part 1: Useful information
If you are a parent, you know that traveling anywhere with a child is a process. Babies, in particular, seem to require a disproportionately large amount of stuff to go anywhere. My husband and I have traveled to Walt Disney World many times, so we know how to pack for vacation when it is just the two of us. This year we took our nine-month-old daughter, and having never traveled to Walt Disney World with children, I had a lot of questions!
If you are planning a trip to Disney World with an infant or young child, Part 1 will provide information to answer some basic questions you may have about taking them to Disney World. Part 2 will talk more specifically about our trip, what we chose to do (or not do) and how it worked out for us overall.
Do I need to bring a car seat?
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and will be taking the Magical Express bus service from the airport to your resort, you will not need to bring a car seat. In fact, car seats are not recommended on the buses, because there is no guarantee that the available seat belts will be able to secure them properly. You will not need a car seat for the Walt Disney World Bus Service either.
If you would like to travel by car between resorts for any reason, such as a dining reservation, the (fairly new) LYFT Minnie Vans are available, each of which have two car seats on board. The Minnie Vans can also take you off property. It is worth mentioning that the Minnie Vans cost significantly more than a regular LYFT, however, if you are running late for a reservation or a FastPass, or want to travel more efficiently between parks/resorts, they would be a good option to consider. Within the LYFT app, the option for a Minnie Van will appear in the same way the app shows an available car, SUV or black car.
If you need to travel off of Disney property and would like to rent a car and car seat to do so, there are several locations on Disney property, including the Dolphin hotel and Disney Springs, where you can rent a car and a car seat.
Should I bring my own stroller, or can I rent one?
You are able to rent strollers for the day in all of the Disney world theme parks and Disney Springs. You can rent a stroller by day, or pre-pay for the number of days you will need to have a stroller in the parks. Strollers can be picked up at Guest Services when you arrive at the park, and must be returned when you leave. You cannot take the stroller out of the park. The benefit to renting a stroller in the park is that you will not have to carry one around or take it on the bus, but the downside is that you would not have one outside of the parks, should you need it.
Something worth noting is that the strollers for rent in the Disney World parks are made of plastic, and are not designed for young children or babies. They do not fold up, and are not adjustable at all. If your child is old enough that they can sit up or hold themselves in a seated position comfortably for a long time, then these strollers might work for you. That being said, my nine-month old would not have been comfortable for a long time in one of the park-provided strollers, even though she can sit on her own for a long period of time.
The daily price to rent a single stroller is $15, and a double stroller is $31. If you rent a stroller in Disney Springs, there is a $100 deposit.
There are also a number of private companies from whom you can rent strollers. Pricing varies by company, and they usually have several options to choose from. These companies will usually deliver the stroller directly to your resort, and pick it up when your trip is over.
Do I need to bring my own Pack and Play for my baby to sleep in?
If you are staying at a Disney resort, they will provide you with a Pack and Play or portable crib upon request. I recommend calling to request one from your resort before you arrive. This way it will be put into your room prior to your arrival.
Is there anywhere on Disney Property where I can buy baby necessities, such as diapers, wipes, or food?
There are a number of places where you can buy baby essentials on Disney property.
I had never paid much attention to what baby supplies were available for purchase in the resort shops. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the shops were well stocked with baby necessities such as diapers, wipes, food, snacks and medications, and the prices for those items were very reasonable, and close to what I would have paid at the drugstore.
Another place you can find baby necessities is the Baby Centers. Like the Disney World resorts, the Baby Centers also have a shop where you can purchase baby and child
necessities. In addition to what you can find at the resorts, you can also buy bottles, pacifiers, formula, food, and toys in the Baby Centers. They also have more types of medications for both babies and children than the resorts.
If you have never been into one of the Baby Centers, I highly recommend checking them out! Firstly, they are air-conditioned. This may not seem like a big deal since a lot of the rides have air conditioned queues, and the restaurants are also air conditioned, but on a really hot day in Florida, taking a short break in an air-conditioned space can make all the difference for you and your baby. Secondly, they are equipped with at least half a dozen changing tables with changing pads and hygienic liners. KoalaCare changing tables are great and all, but nothing beats a real changing pad.
Furthermore, the Baby Centers have several small rooms for nursing mothers that have locking doors, changing tables and a rocking chair. They have filtered water machines that dispense both cold and hot water for making formula, as well as microwaves for heating food or milk. There are also sinks for cleaning bottles and other baby gear.
I wish I had taken full advantage of the baby centers while we were on our trip, but I did not go into one until the fifth day of our trip. I stumbled upon the one in the Animal Kingdom while I was looking for a bathroom. That particular Baby Center happens to be next to Creature Comforts (aka Starbucks), so my baby got a break in the air conditioning while I changed and fed her, and I got a Venti Iced Chai Latte.
It is also worth mentioning that you can have items delivered directly to your resort ahead of your trip. These packages will be received at the Front Desk and delivered to your hotel room. There is a $5 package handling fee per package received before or during your stay. I looked into this as an option because I knew we would need somewhere between 30-50 diapers, several packages of wipes, and a fair amount of baby snacks and food for this trip, and I knew that would take up a lot of space in a suitcase. We did end up packing all of those items, because we checked our luggage, but if you are traveling with only a carry-on, or are staying for a long period of time, this may be a good option for you.
Rider Switch: what is it, and how does it work?
If you think that visiting Disney World with your small children means that you will have to miss out on your favorite rides, think again! Rider Switch is a service that allows one member of your party to stay with the child/children who cannot ride the attraction while the other members of the party enjoy it. Rider Switch is great because it allows everyone to be able to enjoy a ride and no one has to miss out. The best part is that the Switched member of the party can go on the ride with two additional members from your party! So two lucky friends get to ride twice. An added bonus is that the second group gets to go in via the FastPass+ line, so you will not have to wait in the queue a second time. Here is an explanation of how Rider Switch worked for us on our trip:
My in-laws joined us on our trip to Disney, so there were four adults and one baby in our party. When we went on Big Thunder Mountain, I stayed with the baby while my husband and in-laws went on the ride. Then my father-in-law stayed with the baby while my husband, my mother-in-law, and I went through the FastPass+ line to go on the ride. Rider Swap does take some extra time, since most of your party will be going on the ride twice, so you should factor that into your planning, especially for those rides that have a long introduction in their queue like Soarin’ or Avatar: Flight of Passage.
Traveling with small children can be a stressful experience, but I believe that with enough information and planning, it doesn’t have to be! I hope this information helped to answer some of your questions about taking an infant to Disney World. In Part 2, I’ll talk about our first trip with our daughter, what worked and didn’t work for us.
Hi! I’m Christina Mauro. I’m a new mom, a makeup enthusiast, a science nerd, and not so deep down, a Disney Princess… Belle, to be exact. My first trip to Disney World was in 2012, and I was immediately taken by the magic of the experience, and quickly became a Disney World fanatic. I love the atmosphere and the rides of Disney World, but my favorite part of Disney vacation is the food! I dream of eating a waffle with Nutella and fresh fruit from Sleepy Hollow in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle, and I drool when I think about the spare ribs from Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs. When I’m not at Disney World, I live in Maryland with my husband Jon, our daughter Abigail, and our rescue pup Gabbie.