Disney with baby: Our PB&J Tips!

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from fellow Disney moms is the following: What are your tips/tricks to bringing a baby to Disney? You asked, so here it is and here we goooooo!

Okay, to be 100% honest I feel like there's about a dozen other more awesome Disney centric blogs that probably have WAY, way more information about tackling Disney with a baby. So consider this blog post our take on *tips & tricks* to doing Disney with a wee little one! It's our very own PB&J guide aka our own experiences/opinions on what we've found helpful by taking our little Ben to Disneyland twice now!

Tip #1 Don't pack up the entire house
Thirteen. That's the number of bags we brought with us during our very first Disneyland trip when Ben was 4 months old. We brought EVERYTHING, literally everything from his toys, Boppy, crib mobile, bathtub.... pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down to his nursery. When we arrived at the hotel for check in the bell hop asked "first time parents?" Yes, yes we are and yes, we were totally clueless!

Our personal tip? Pack the essentials! For our 2nd Disneyland trip with Ben we cut down on baggage drastically and made sure to only pack what we truly needed and couldn't pick up easily while down at Disney. The beauty of Disneyland is it's close proximity to stores like Target, CVS and Walgreens, literally around the corner or down the street. We knew we could pick up things like formula, diapers and wipes if we didn't have enough. Here's what our cut down packing check list consisted of:
Ben's Packing guide:
-Clothing. Enough for the X amount of days that we would be away and a few spares in case of blow outs or messes. I overpacked and brought 1/2 of Ben's wardrobe the first trip and realized he pretty much only wore one outfit per day.

-Bath essentials. Soaps, lotions, creams that he uses regularly

-Feeding supplies

*Bottles. Ben eats about every 3-4 hours, so we brought 4 bottles down with us to switch through the day. 

*Travel bottle cleaner. We love our BOON grass, so one of our absolute favorites for travel is the BOON grass travel kit which is a tiny, on to go version of the original, one dry stand and a bottle brush in one! You can find it on Amazon or most retailers like Target. Check it out HERE
*Formula, Breast Pump, baby food. Ben does mixed feedings, so we had to bring all three with us.

-Travel play pen. So this one is a personal preference. Most hotels supply a travel crib/play pen if you ask for one, but we ended up bringing our own since we stayed at my sister's place before heading to Disney.

-That's pretty much it! As nice as it'd be to bring our white noise machine, Boppy pillow, mobile, etc, we really didn't need them for our 2nd go around to Disney.

Tip #2 Stay on property or close to the Parks
Ben loving all the magic at the Disneyland Hotel!
We have been lucky enough to stay on property the two times we've brought Ben to Disney. My family are DVC members and we were able to book our stay at the Disneyland Hotel for our May trip. For our most recent trip, we were gifted a dose of *pixie dust* when it came to booking and were able to stay at the Grand Californian.
Relaxing, Grand Californian style!
Again, I stress that this is our personal preference, but we found staying on property or close to the parks is SO convenient with a little one! There was no hassle of getting to the parking lot, tramming it to the gates, all while dealing with a stroller. At the parks, Ben would need a mid day break and it was so easy to just head back to the room for a breather and nap time, then walk back into the parks later on after we were all refreshed and rested. Both times we visited the temperatures were pretty hot, so having a cool and comfortable place to head back to, walling distance to the parks was simply amazing!
There's a ton of really great hotels within walking distance to the parks. Check out Disneyland's "Good Neighbor Hotels" for some info. Some hotels we've stayed at in the past that were close to the parks, Hyatt House & Fairfield Marriott Inn to name a few!

Tip #3 Rope drop!!!
This is a tip that we've actually heard about from other really amazing Disney bloggers and finally tried for ourselves on our most recent trip, getting to the parks at opening! For PB and I, sleep is essential, so our past duo Disney days would always be off to a late start. Now with Ben, we've learned all about being "early birds". We decided to head to the parks a little before opening and boy, oh boy does it pay off!

By getting to the gates early, right before opening or "rope drop" we were some of the first few hundred guests in. Most major attractions are walk ons, the park is almost empty for amazing "solo" shots by the castle or major Disney landmarks that tend to get crowded later in the day and characters!!! Right at opening Mickey and pals are out and about greeting guests. We were able to get some great character interactions and photos without having to wait in crazy lines or feel rushed for time.
We also noticed that we were able to get a majority of what we wanted to do done, have breakfast, take photos, shop a little, all done before noon and best of all? We beat the summer heat and were back at the room and relaxing by the pool before it got too crowded. The Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we were at the parks we noticed that each morning was pretty slow until the 3rd hour the park was open. I guess what they say "the early bird gets the worm!"

Tip #4 take your time
When PB and I would head to the parks as a duo, we'd always be rushing everywhere, trying to cram as much Disney into each our days at the parks. With Ben, we learned that we really had to SLOW DOWN and just take our time. Disneyland is super overstimulating for babies and we found that Ben would be "done" after just a few hours, at most, while at the parks.
 What we found worked for us was to take our time, find a cool and comfy place to sit and eat, a shaded bench to listen to the Disney music playing in the background. Being at Disney with a baby lets you really just soak in the parks in a whole new way!

Tip #5 Stroller essentials 

Let's talk stroller essentials! It's something you see in abundance at Disney but never are fully aware of how amazing it is until you have to push one through a park! Personally, I love our stroller. It's like having a giant backpack you can push around, a lounger for your baby and a combo arm workout in one. So what do we pack in our stroller for a day at the parks?

Stroller checklist:
Stroller fan! An absolute MUST for the warmer temperatures in SoCal at the parks. We found ours on Amazon, just type in "portable stroller fan" and it should be the top rated/recommended one. We love ours because we can attach it to the stroller and take it off when needed to give some cool air to little Ben.

Antibacterial gel. Yeah, pretty self explanatory to always have on hand

Stroller caddy, handy to store water bottles, ready on hand essentials

Hyrdoflask or refillable water bottle. My sister brought her Hydroflask, a vacuum sealed, stainless steel water bottle to the parks in 90+ degree weather and let me tell you, it was amazing! She put ice in her bottle and just kept refilling her water through the day and the ice stayed frozen and kept the water cool the entire time! Bringing your own water bottle, especially an insulated one helps keep cool water on hand while at the parks! Got to stay hydrated!

Good diaper bag! I'm biased because I absolutely LOVE my Petunia Pickle Bottom, but it's great due to it's built in changing pad and tons of storage room in the pockets. A bonus? They come in fun Disney style prints and give off the cutest Disney style vibes while at the park! Check out their entire Disney line HERE
Tip #6 Kid friendly rides
Ben was able to ride a ton of rides this trip and enjoyed almost all of them except for that one infamous ride *ahem* Francis' Ladybug Boogie, I'm looking at you!
Ben did NOT like having to sit on his own (not on my lap) and the fast whirling motion of this ride.

Disney pretty much allows babies on all rides that have no heigh restrictions, but a mama tip is to really research the ride before bringing baby on. Scope out the attraction beforehand by asking a CM if they think a baby would be okay on the ride, check for seating (lap vs seated on their own), generally just checking how the ride is motion/noise wise

Baby Ben's approved rides? All the slower moving dark rides, anything colorful and music, all the upbeat music!

-Pooh
-Peter Pan
-It's a Small World
-Casey Jr. Train
-Dumbo
-Monster's Inc. at DCA
-Tiki Room. We were worried about the "angry Gods" portion of the Tiki room with the thunder and lightning. Ben just loved this attraction! He loved the music and lights!
**Attractions we haven't been on yet, but hoping to the next visit King Arthur's Carousel & the Disneyland Railroad!

Tip #7 BABY CARE CENTER!!!

As a parent, this has to be our favorite attraction at Disneyland now, the Baby Care Center!!! Located in Disneyland at the end of Main Street, nestled in the corner by the famous Corn Dog Cart you'll find the happiest place in all of Disneyland as a parent! Over at DCA the Baby center is located right next to Ghirardelli.

The Baby Care centers at the parks are a literal safe haven from the heat during the summer and the comfiest place to feed, nurse or change your baby! We love stopping by here to change Ben's diapers since you get your own changing station. It's also a wonderful place to warm up a bottle, prep any food, or wash any feeding supplies. There is also a private area or mother's to pump or nurse their children. Forget anything? On our most recent trip, we noticed the centers had installed touch screen vending machines filled with anything and everything you may have forgotten or needed. Food, check, Diapers, check, Rash cream? check!

Tip #7 Enjoy every moment!
Our best PB&J advice for traveling to Disney with a baby? Don't stress about the little things, there may be meltdowns, there may be cries, but there's just something so magical about being at Disney with your little one! It's a fresh perspective on the parks, almost like experiencing Disney for the first time, all over again. Enjoy all the little moments. I had no idea how emotional I'd be bringing Ben down Main Street for the first time. I didn't know I'd tear up with happiness on his first sail on It's a Small World. It's truly amazing, so enjoy all those magical moments at the happiest place on earth!
Again, I stress, these tips were all from our own experiences and just what we found handy on our visits. I hope to add more and update as we continue to go to the parks. Until then, thank you for reading along! 💜

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