7 Tips for Traveling With Small Children to Disneyland & Walt Disney World

Disneyland and Disney World are both ideal picks for vacations with small children.

The Disney magic extends to even the youngest of visitors. We’ve been to Disneyland three times and Disney World once with little ones under age two and it was delightful each time.

Our family at Disneyland - 2009

Although both places have their own charm, I prefer Disneyland and California Adventure for little ones. It’s MUCH smaller than WDW and wonderfully walkable (plus, the tickets are a little less). Oh, and did I mention the breezy, beachy California weather?

Either way though, you’re bound to have a magnificent time.

These seven tips will help ensure that your babies and toddlers stay happy at the Happiest Place on Earth:

1. Bring your own food (and water). We always think we’ll just swing by a grocery store when we arrive, but it usually ends up being more complicated than that. Try to shop ahead of time. Bring lots of snacks (fruit leathers, been jerky, granola bars, etc), plenty of water bottles, and at least 1 easy meal.

2. If you have a small child, bring a stroller. At the parks, single strollers cost $15/day or up to $31/day for a double stroller. Save by bringing your own $15 umbrella stroller. If you have two little ones and two parents, it might be worthwhile to bring 2 umbrella strollers as opposed to a massive double stroller. By the way, it’s wise to bring a stroller for kids in their early school years too. Big parks make for tired feet.

3. Pack toiletries, baby gear, & medical supplies. Here’s a basic list: feminine products, a razor, diapers, wipes, tylenol, sunscreen, hairbrush, etc. If you forget these necessities, you’ll end up in an overpriced gift shop or driving to the nearest [overpriced] Walgreens.

4. Pick up a complimentary “1st Visit” Button from Guest services. Disney cast members sometimes give perks and friendly advice to first-timers and your little ones will love wearing a button with all their favorite characters.

5. Make use of the Baby Care Centers. All Disney Parks offer baby care centers which feature a quiet (and private) curtained area for nursing your baby, changing tables, and miniature potties. Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and other baby toiletries are available for purchase.

6. Book a hotel room with a suite or rent a house/condo. If you opt for a traditional style hotel room, you’ll likely find yourself whispering in the dark post baby’s bedtime. With an extra room, you’ll be able to shut the door and have some privacy…plus, it allows for greater flexibility if certain members of the family need/want to wake up early, sleep in, stay up late, etc. If you can find a place with a full kitchen or kitchenette, that’s even better. Check Vacation Rentals for options. You’ll be surprised at how affordable renting a home can be…especially if you split the cost with friends (see the next tip!).

7. Bring along grandparents or friends. For extra fun, bring along other adults so that YOU have an opportunity to go on rides (It’s not as thrilling to ride Space Mountain by yourself, after all). This “tactic” also allows you to extend your park visit because you’ll be able to go out to enjoy the park while baby naps at the hotel or post-bedtime.

Have you been to Disneyland and/or Disney World with little ones under age two? Share your top tips!

Stephanie Sheaffer is an entrepreneur, writer, runner, and the mother of three little girls. In 2011, she traveled 20,000 miles around the USA with her family in a 300sqft RV. At the end of the trip, her 5-year-old said Disney World was her favorite stop! She now resides in Arizona and blogs at Metropolitan Mama. Follow her on Twitter @stephsday.

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