26/05/2024

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How to do Disney World with a Baby, the Ultimate Guide by a former Cast Member

36 min read
How to do Disney World with a Baby, the Ultimate Guide by a former Cast Member
How to do Disney World with a Baby, the Ultimate Guide by a former Cast Member

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When Jeremy picked Disney World for his 35th birthday trip, I was nervous. I mean, we’ve done Disney World plenty of times – and I was there pretty much every single day when I was a Cast Member. But we’d never, EVER done Disney World with a baby. And this trip, we’d be bringing along Baby A for baby’s first Disney trip!

Would she hate it? Would we hate it?! I had no idea, but I feared the worst. We both braced ourselves for a cranky, overstimulated baby that we’d be spending 5 days straight entertaining in the parks while switching off riding our favorite Disney rides.

But to my absolute surprise, Baby A LOVED Disney World. She loved rides. She loved shows. She loved characters. She was really into birds all of a sudden, and for some reason, lamps? She loved Cast Members, she loved dancing to music as we walked through the parks. She LOVED Disney World! And we loved getting to see it through her eyes. Disney with a baby is so worth it, y’all!

In this (massive) guide, we’re sharing tips and tricks for visiting Disney with babies, including the best (and worst) parks and attractions for babies, where to stay, and a few essentials to pack. Let’s dive in!

Psst: Looking for more tips to help you plan your Disney trip? Check out some of our other Disney World posts:

Wish you could travel to Disney without leaving home? We created an immersive virtual Disney world tour so you can take a trip from the comfort of your sofa!

We also have a Podcast episode all about Disney! A futuristic utopia that’s definitely not a cult. A suicide-themed ride. Lia’s college internship. What do they all have in common? Disney World, of course! In this episode, Lia spills all the Mad Tea on the most magical place on Earth, plus insider tips from her time as a Cast Member. We also explain our tried & tested Disney Strategy (aka STRAT), because waiting in long lines for rides is some Bippity-Boppity-BS.

Listen above or just click here to launch your Podcast app! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss new episodes.

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Tips for Visiting Disney World with a Baby

Before I dive in, a small disclaimer: all babies are different, and baby needs vary wildly by age. If you read something that doesn’t apply. to you – like if your baby isn’t on solids yet, because we spend so much time thinking about feeding Baby A these days – feel free to skip it. You know your baby best!

That said: while Baby A was 10 months old during our trip, I’ve also done my best to incorporate tips from our travels with Baby A when she was younger (we started traveling with her around 3 months) in the hopes to make this a really helpful guide even for younger babies. And honestly, y’all – the younger they are, the easier they are to travel with!

One more thing: I consider us lucky that during our trip Baby A was not yet terribly mobile – she’s crawling and standing, but is not yet walking or crawling long distances. So I didn’t have to worry about chasing after her. If your baby is on that mobility life, you’ll want to think about some baby-wrangling strategies (no shame in a cute leashed backpack)!

Oh, and finally – can I just apologize for the quality of photos in this post? Normally I use a DSLR camera when I’m taking pictures for a blog post, but all I was able to manage this trip was to use my phone! Still adjusting to this whole working/mom thing, y’all. Thanks for not judging me!

OK – onto the tips for visiting Disney World with an infant:

  • Listen to Disney music before your trip, especially songs that are on rides (think “It’s a Small World” or the Tiki Room). I think this really helped Baby A get excited at the parks, because she was hearing lots of familiar songs! There is a great Disney Parks playlist on Spotify that we played for a couple of weeks before the trip.
  • Splurge on Genie +. Genie+ is a paid service that allows you to book “Lightning Lane” passes to go through a shorter line (basically a paid version of FastPass, if you’re familiar with its former incarnation). It is worth it with a baby, especially since you won’t need to actually buy one for your little one since they don’t need a park ticket. The longest we waited for a ride during our 4-day trip was 30 minutes for It’s a Small World, and that felt like an eternity – most of the time we pretty much walked on or only waited a couple of minutes. Occupying a baby in line sucks. Get the pass.
  • Bring a travel high chair for meals. This foldable high chair was a HUGE help on our trip. We used it in our hotel room for all of our meals, and if we’d had space for it in our stroller, we would have brought it into the parks too. While all Disney restaurants have high chairs, they’re not baby sized. Baby A is extremely tall, and she found herself chin-heat at most. of the tables in the parks. Not sure if the tables are weirdly high or the high chairs are weirdly low, but it made meals in the parks difficult. This portable high chair that straps on top of a chair at restaurants or can sit on the ground anywhere for snacks is the perfect solution.
  • Babysitting is available at Walt Disney World via a service called Kids Nite Out. They can watch your child while you indulge in your own inner child at the parks! Kids Nite Out can also provide you with a sitter to accompany you in the parks if you need an extra set of hands. Review: https://touringplans.com/blog/kids-nite-out-your-familys-next-vacation-win/
  • You can visit Disney World without a car seat if you stay in a Disney Resort hotel. If you fly with a lap infant, you can  take a shuttle bus  from the airport, and stick to Disney’s free transportation between the parks and resorts including buses, the Skyliner, and boats. In a pinch, you can also take Minni Vans, which come equipped with Graco 4Ever car seats. That said, we were really glad that we had a car because it made getting to and from parks pretty quick (except for Magic Kingdom, which is a schlep and a half no matter what).
Baby Care Center in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
The Baby Care Center in Magic Kingdom is really cute and well themed, but far away from most of the park with limited nursing rooms.
  • Use the baby care centers in each park for nursing, changing, snacks, cool-down time, microwave, and to buy any emergency baby supplies you may have left at home! They are usually next to the first aid centers too which are also important to know about.
  • Use Rider Switch. One parent rides while the other one hangs out with the baby. Just ask a cast member at the entrance of any ride to help get you set up.
  • Use single rider, too! Only 4 rides officially have a single-rider lane, but lots of rides will look for single rider to fill up uneven gaps, which means you’ll get to ride sooner. Keep an ear out for a cast member looking for a solo rider near the front of most thrill rides. We got to ride a lot of stuff without standing in long lines this way.
  • Minnie Vans come equipped with rear-facing Graco 4Ever seats. If you don’t have a car during your trip, this service is fantastic! Basically, Minnie Vans are Disney-owned SUVs (themed to Minnie) driven by Disney Cast Members, that you can order through the Lyft app. They come with TWO car seats! They’re fantastic for getting around Disney property, though they aren’t very cheap. To use them, open up the Lyft app, and choose Minnie Van as the ride type. Easy.
  • Swap who does bedtime so one parent gets to roam around the park solo while the other one chills in the room with baby. We switched off and each had 2 nights free out in the parks!
  • Bring hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes and do your best. We used sanitizing wipes on every lap bar and anywhere baby would put their hands on a ride, knowing that hundreds of kids had recently put their hands there, too. Combined with us wearing KN95s masks, none of us got sick during our trip. But just in case, bring infant Tylenol/Motrin with you so you have it on hand.
  • Bring your own stroller. The ones they rent at the parks aren’t good for infants. We recommend one that folds down easily, like this one, because you’ll need to fold it up on Disney transport. That said, you can’t take your strollers inside everywhere, and stroller parking isn’t always right outside of the entrance – like, if you’re going to The Land pavilion in Epcot, your stroller will have to stay at Nemo and Friends. Carriers are helpful in these situations, and so is the Tushbaby.
Dad with baby napping in a carrier at Hollywood Studios in Disney world
We brought our travel-friendly stroller to Disney World, but we wished we’d brought our regular giant stroller instead because we wanted more storage space!
  • If you make an Advance Dining Reservation at a Disney sit-down restaurant, cancellations have to be made 24 hours in advance. Otherwise, you will be charged a cancellation fee of $10 per person (3 and up). Unless you go to the restaurant in person on the same day and beg your case, in which case they waive the fee. Still, that policy is …not ideal for babies. But also, Disney food is worth the risk! So drop those expectations through the floor and do your best to just go with the flow.
  • Meltdowns at Disney are inevitable, and I’m not talking about your baby. Remember that most marital disputes at Disney can be solved by some combination of snacks, A/C, sitting quietly for a while, and/or a Mickey Bar.
  • Bring Snacks! If your infant is around 8 months or older, you’ll need snacks for them in between meals. If not, you’ll need snacks for yourself – parenting while hangry is never a good idea! Here are our favorite baby-friendly snacks for Disney:
    • Pouches! We love the organic fruit and veggie pouches from Costco. They are hydrating, fairly nutritious, and help babies practice fine motor skills like sucking through a straw and squeezing!
    • Freeze dried fruit: melt in your mouth fruit! What’s not to love? Er, except for the price. It’s expensive!
    • Yogurt melts: Baby A loves them, but they are hard to find without added sugar, they make baby’s hands very sticky, and they seem to make her spit up. And it’s always bright pink and has that sour yogurt smell. And they stain. Not our favorite snack but works in a pinch.
    • Cheerios. Classic. Easy. Always a hit. Not a choking hazard. 10/10. We have learned to always have a ziploc baggie of cheerios on us at all times!
    • Bombas or Gerbers puffs. We found some organic Gerber puffs that have a sprinkling of veggie powder in them and that made us feel good though I’m sure they offer very little actual nutrition. But they are fun to eat and help babies practice their pincer grip!
  • Don’t leave snacks out in your stroller, especially at Animal Kingdom. We saw a few uninvited critters making the rounds at stroller parking in Animal Kingdom, and nobody wants squirrels and their germs on their strollers! Clean up stray Cheerios and tuck snacks away in a bag to make sure your stroller isn’t a target.

Disney World with Babies: Which Parks Are Best?

One thing I wish we knew before our trip is which Disney World parks are best to visit with an infant. As it turns out, not every park is equal when it comes to visiting Disney with an infant. Some parks skew more toward adults, some more toward older kids. Some parks are sorely lacking in shade and air-conditioned indoor spaces to take naps or cool off.

To my surprise, there was a clear winner as the best Disney World park with an infant: Epcot! Epcot has the best balance of baby-friendly attractions

Jeremy with baby on Tushbaby in the Toy Story section of Hollywood Studios in Disney world
Psst: See that thing around Jeremy’s waist? That’s a Tushbaby and it is ESSENTIAL for bigger babies at Disney! It’ll save your back and arms in lines and on rides.

Hollywood Studios with a Baby

Hollywood Studios does one thing better than the other parks: live shows. Baby A LOVED the Beauty  and the Beast live performance. And that was … about it. The rest of the park just isn’t really designed for babies. That said, it might be worth an afternoon visit just for the few attractions it does offer – or so you and your partner can do rider switch and ride all the really good stuff.

Best attractions and rides for babies at Hollywood Studios:

  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage: Baby A lost her damn MIND singing and clapping along at this show. The dancing and songs at the beginning are fun and upbeat and really well-done, visually – think 1930’s era showcase dance numbers. But she kinda lost interest when things got sad and slow (“tale as old as time” is not a baby bop, it turns out). Luckily we sat at the end of the aisle so we could make a quick getaway. This was definitely Baby A’s favorite activity at Hollywood Studios.
  • Midway Mania: We were concerned about bringing her on this ride because it’s 3D, and we were afraid it might make her nauseous without the glasses on. But she loved going around the track and didn’t seem bothered by the blurry, non-3d images on the screen. She wanted to pull the string to shoot too! However, she didn’t like some of the loud noises, and cried and squirmed a bit during the loudest part – breaking plates – but settled when we stopped and covered her ears for a bit. This one definitely verges on overstimulating, but it’s kinda not that fun if you aren’t able to be competitive and play against your partner.

… and that’s it. Yeah: this park really wasn’t designed for babies.

Mom and Baby in Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort
Please just look at this adorable picture of me with Baby A and ignore the hand-sanitizing wipes sticking out of my pocket…

Rides to Skip in Hollywood Studios: 

  • Mickey’s Runaway Railroad: We held Baby A on our laps for this ride, but none of us enjoyed it much. The ride is very loud and a little too intense/scary for her. She got scared at most of the “conflict” parts of the story and we all hated the cars dancing – I thought she was going to fall out at one point. Overstimulating, loud, jarring – this ride is just a lot.

Tips for Hollywood Studios with a Baby

  • There’s a nice place to nap at the entrance to Galaxy’s Edge right on the border with the Toy Story section. It’s a quiet side area with ambient bird noises playing and no loud noises, and it’s off the main path so there are no crowds. There’s also a conveniently placed bench.
  • Another great nap spot is in the tunnel on the other side of Galaxy’s Edge. It’s fully shaded and has a nice breeze and ambient spa music (I guess Star Wars is all about ambient spa sounds). It’s the perfect afternoon nap/nurse spot, though you’ll see that lots of parents have the same idea – it’s not as quiet as the other spot we found.
  • The Baby Care center is at the very entrance of the park and you’ll have to cut the Guest Relations line to get to it, which is irritating and inconvenient. Not worth it, honestly.

Hollywood Studios Verdict: if you have to pick a park to skip, this is the one. It’s just not the best park for babies!

Epcot with a Baby

Ahhh, Epcot. My favorite park. And not just because this was *my* park during my time as a Cast Member, when I worked at Soarin’ in the Land Pavilion. I mean sure yes, there is a lot of happy nostalgia tied to the park for me. But also? I LOVE travel – hello, that’s my job now – and a whole half of Epcot is all about celebrating travel and letting you step foot into immersive miniature lands representing different countries. The World Showcase is like a mile of pure travel fuel, and I absolutely love it.

And on the other half of the park are lands celebrating Earth and space. And, er, the Guardians of the Galaxy, which … honestly, doesn’t fit at all, but it’s an awesome new ride so we’ll go with it.

Anway: the park is stunning, well laid out, full of interesting things to see and do, and – drumroll please – the BEST Disney World park for babies!

Why did we rank Epcot at the top? For starters, 3 words: AIR CONDITIONED PAVILIONS. There are TONS of pavilions throughout the park, and most of them are huge and air-conditioned. There’s also ample seating – like Connections Cafe, which is essentially an enormous Starbucks filled with benches and tables – both indoors and outdoors.

The Baby Center is conveniently located in the perfect center of the park, with a large, comfortable nursing room that has space for multiple families. And there is a wide variety of baby-friendly activities, from baby-friendly rides to a large playground to a fantastic aquarium. Epot makes it easy to entertain or nap a baby on a hot Florida day!

Let’s get to the tea:

Best attractions and rides for babies at Epcot:

  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends: 10/10 perfect baby ride and Baby A LOVED it. Dark! Cool! Relaxing! Fish! Songs! Nothing scary or loud or jarring. And afterward, AN AQUARIUM! Baby A lost her mind at the aquarium and we returned here again and again. One parent stayed at the aquarium with the baby while the other one rode Soarin at the Land Pavilion next door, and the Guardians of the Galaxy ride nearby. Baby A could have stayed here looking at fish all day long (and with the A/C, we were happy to stay here too). There are tons to see in here and it’s a great spot to cool off for a while. Plus, this is also where you’ll find Turtle Talk with Crush which is one of our favorites, though we sadly didn’t test it out with Baby A this time.
  • Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros: This was one of Baby A’s favorites! Lots of scenes of Mexico and upbeat music, and the end portion is basically just It’s a Small World but with more of a focus on Mexico. Plus, there is pretty much never a line, and you have to go through the Mexico pavilion to get here which is absolutely stunning.
  • Frozen: I think she wasn’t a fan of the songs switching every scene, but Baby A did enjoy this ride. She especially loved the big backward drop (it’s really not that big of a drop, but it is to a baby!) and seemed to enjoy the music too.

Rides we didn’t have time to experience but I bet Baby A would have enjoyed:

  • Spaceship Earth: I absolutely love this ride, but we worried that Baby A might find it boring since it doesn’t have much music. Still, we fully planned to try it … until we realized we’d have to walk alllll the way back to the very front of the park when we were already in the World Showcase close to the Skyliner. Too far. I’d give it a try if you enter at the big ball, though!
Dad and Baby at Aquarium in Epcot in Disney World
Baby A could have stayed at the aquarium in the Seas pavilion ALL DAY LONG. She was enchanted! We took advantage to switch off and ride Soarin’ and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Rides to Skip in Epcot 

  • Figment: This is definitely a baby-friendly ride in terms of the mechanics of the ride (nice and slow, relaxing), but the ride itself was just okay. There was a lot of talking and it all went over her head. And frankly, there wasn’t enough music to keep her interested, either. This ride is more geared toward slightly older kids.
  • Living with the Land: Another ride that Baby A just found kinda boring. There’s lots of talking about plants and the environment and such (not exciting for a baby, but very cool for the rest of us) and there’s no music. That said, a very small baby would likely enjoy this slow, relaxing ride.

Tips for Epcot with a baby

  • Make a lunch reservation at one of the restaurants in the World Showcase. Pick a cuisine from the 11 countries and book a table for lunch! The food here is phenomenal – all of the Chefs are professionally trained and from their respective countries. Your servers will be from the country you’re eating in, too.
  • Connections Cafe is a huuuge Starbucks full of tables and benches! It’s a great place to cool down and rejuvenate.
  • The fountain in Morocco – not the one at the front, the one in the Riad inside the plaza – is a great place to cool down in the shade and do some refreshing water play, or a nice shaded nap with built-in white noise.
  • Epcot has a very nice baby care center, right in between the World Showcase and the rest of the park. There’s a big comfortable nursing room with lots of chairs and footrests. It’s cool, dark, and quiet – the perfect spot for a nap. (Epcot is full of good nap spots!)
  • There’s a big playground outside of the Creations shop. Even if your little one can’t play just yet, they’ll probably enjoy watching big kids playing!

Epcot Verdict: hands down the winner of Disney World’s most baby-friendly park! From the huge air-conditioned pavilions to the ample seating to the centrally located baby care center to the baby-friendly rides and attractions, we found ourselves returning to Epcot again and again.

Baby looking at Kevin the bird from Up in Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
This trip awakened a new love of birds in Baby A. Maybe it was Kevin, or Tiki Room, or Donald Duck, or the egrets and flamingos all over Animal Kingdom. Either way, she’s a big bird fan these days.

Animal Kingdom with an Infant

Animal Kingdom is a fantastic park for babies, especially if your little one has taken an interest in animals like ours (she’s a big fan of birds, specifically). It’s lush and green and full of places to see animals – plus some fun rides, too.

For parents, there’s also my favorite ride, Everest, which happens to have a single-rider line that’ll get you on almost immediately. It’s great to ride during the baby’s nap! There are a few other great thrill rides too, but there are plenty of attractions and shows for babies.

The caveat? There aren’t many places indoors to escape from the heat – and Animal Kingdom is actually about 10 degrees hotter and more humid than the other parks by design, for the wildlife – sort of like of a tropical rainforest. So we recommend visiting Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning and leaving before or right after lunch. Here’s the tea:

Best attractions and rides for babies at Animal Kingdom:

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris: This is such a great attraction! You’ll be on a big open-air truck driving through the savannah and seeing animals up close – almost like a zoo but without any of the enclosures. Baby A LOVED Kilimanjaro and was clapping for all the animals! This ride is best early in the morning when the animals are most active and being fed, so head straight here first thing once you arrive. Each trip is different so it’s great to ride over and over again, too.
  • Na’vi River Journey: A bioluminescent treat for the eyes. Everything in this slow-moving river ride was absolutely beautiful, magical, sparkling, and nature-y. The music is calm. It’s a whole vibe. And I think this was Baby A’s FAVORITE ride in any of the parks. She was absolutely enchanted the entire time and not at all scared. This ride is definitely worth a Lightning Lane pass.
  • Festival of the Lion King Show: Baby A enjoyed the lion king show, but lost interest during the slower parts and seemed overwhelmed during some of the villain songs. We ended up nursing most of the show (it’s a long show) but could easily have left instead.

Rides we didn’t have time to experience but I bet Baby A would have enjoyed:

  • Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch: The Wildlife Express Train is a peaceful 7-minute journey – a ride in and of itself – to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, a quiet, air-conditioned pavilion dedicated to the preservation and conservation of animals. You’ll see some interesting stuff here and some animals. Most of it will probably go right over baby’s head, but hey, there’s A/C! When you’re ready, take the train back to the rest of the park.
  • Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight: Like the Tiki Room but with real birds (and less singing). I think Baby A would have really enjoyed seeing the colorful macaws soaring and swooping overhead!
  • Animal Encounters: From lions to tigers to gorillas (oh my!) there are TONS of places to see animals here! There’s even a petting zoo. I wish we took more time to walk through the other animal sections. Really, we could have happily spent multiple mornings at Animal Kingdom.
  • Drummers of Harambe: Baby A is a big fan of drumming and dancing to a beat, and this live street performance in the Africa section of the park would have been awesome for her to see. They pull up big kids to dance too which babies love to watch! I wish we’d made it a point to catch one of their show times.
  • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond: This live show is full of big colorful song and dance numbers! If your little one enjoys music and dancing too, this will be a big hit.
Family on Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom, Disney World Resort, Florida
Baby A lost her MIND on Kilimanjaro. She was so excited to point at all the animals! We sat her on the Tushbaby so she could see better.

Tips for Animal Kingdom with a baby

  • For lunch, Tusker House is great. It’s character dining with Mickey and friends (Baby A was tentatively interested in the characters once they started playing peekaboo with her) and the food is buffet style, with lots of baby-friendly foods and yummy food for everyone.
  • Napping here and being here in the afternoon is a challenge. It’s 10 degrees hotter and more humid than the other parks. And there are no big, quiet indoor places with A/C to cool off and relax (other than Rafiki’s Planet Watch). When naptime hit, it took us quite a while to find a good spot. We eventually found some picnic tables under a tree that was kinda shaded and quiet… and then some loud a** water show started up and I about lost my f***king mind.
  • The Baby Care Center is centrally located and pretty nice. It has private nursing rooms, which is helpful if your baby is easily distracted.

Animal Kingdom Verdict: This is a great baby-friendly park if your little one enjoys animals, and there are plenty of baby-friendly rides, attractions, and shows. But leave before noon or just after lunch, when the heat becomes unbearable. The animals are most active early in the morning anyway.

Mom and Baby in Magic Kingdom, Disney World
Visiting Magic Kingdom with a baby was .. a lot harder than we thought it would be. (Psst: there’s our beloved Tushbaby again! Seriously, it was SO USEFUL at the parks!)

Magic Kingdom with an Infant 

When we were planning our trip and looking into which Disney Park has the most rides without height requirements, Magic Kingdom seemed like it would be the best option for us: there are TONS of rides that are appropriate for all ages! … Well, in theory, anyway.

What we actually discovered was that the beloved Magic Kingdom was one of the WORST Disney Parks for infants. It’s crowded as hell, takes longer to get to than any other park, doesn’t have many options for cooling off, and those all-ages rides? Many of them are so outdated that they’re just not safe to ride with an infant. Most of the appeal of Magic Kingdom is all about the characters and beloved Disney properties, which frankly, babies don’t care about at all.

Here’s the tea on Magic Kingdom:

Best attractions and rides for baby at Magic Kingdom:

The winners for us in Magic Kingdom were colorful, slow-moving rides with upbeat, familiar music:

  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid: This is a dark conveyer belt ride in a moving clamshell. Baby A LOVED the Under the Sea scene, which is bright and colorful and fun. It helped that we’d been playing the song for her in the weeks leading up to our trip so she immediately recognized it. The Mad 
  • It’s a Small World: We actually waited longer for this ride than anything else during our trip – and we had a Lightning Lane pass. The ride itself is 15 minutes long, so with a 30-minute wait this ends up being quite a time suck. That said, Baby A LOVES the song (we’d been playing it for her) and was REALLY excited on this ride. She absolutely loved it! It ended up pushing her bedtime back about an hour but I think it was worth it to see her clap with glee and dance for 15 straight minutes.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: This dark ride was great! There are some small gentle up-and-down hills. The music is mostly very calm, and the colorful/trippy Huffalumps and Woozles scene was Baby A’s favorite. It’s definitely worth a lightning lane pass!
  • Tiki Room: Another attraction that we prioritized based on Baby A’s music preferences. And she was really into most of it! Plus, it’s nice and long and had wonderful A/C, so we relished the opportunity to sit in cool air for a while. And then get a Dole Whip (which we had to eat out of her sight).

Because the lines in Magic Kingdom are SO long, we didn’t get to ride everything we wanted to. We wish we could have ridden on People Mover, a slow-moving train that gently glides around Tomorrowland – perfect for babies! And we wish we’d had a chance to try Buzz Lightyear Spin since Baby A enjoyed Midway Mania (mostly).

Other rides we considered but ultimately decided to skip due to long lines and Baby A’s likelihood of enjoying them were:

  • Jungle Cruise: no music, the ride mostly consists of talking and jokes that would just go right over her head
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: frankly she might have enjoyed it because of the music, but we didn’t feel like standing in a long line
  • Haunted Mansion: Baby A is not a fan of music in a minor key – I think she can tell it’s supposed to be spooky/scary/off – and she does not like things that are chaotic and loud. I think she would have enjoyed the big graveyard music scene, and found the rest of it either boring or scary.
  • The Mad Tea Party: Baby A didn’t really seem to enjoy fast-paced spinning or moving. She’s more into the visuals, music, and slow, gentle rides. So we’ll wait on this one until she’s a little older.

Rides to Skip in Magic Kingdom

  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel

Baby A actually enjoyed the carousel. That said, this is just your standard carousel. It’s older than the parks, so it’s not terribly Disney-themed (though we did get to see the Ugly Stepsisters from Cinderella riding it and insulting onlookers) and, more importantly, there is only one baby-safe seat: a single bench amidst a sea of carousel horses that babies cannot safely ride. 

If there is no line, give it a whirl. Otherwise, save it for a county fair.

  • Do not ride Peter Pan’s Flight

For reasons that nobody quite understands, Peter Pan is the most popular ride in all of Magic Kingdom with wait times consistently topping 60 minutes. It’s a completely average ride, so my working theory is 1) nostalgia, 2) kid appeal, and 3) poor ride design that didn’t account for the demand it would be experiencing 70 freaking years after being built.

Basically, this ride has long ass lines. And Baby A was not impressed – the ride is a snooze and not worth a Lightning Lane pass.

Worst of all, it’s downright dangerous for an infant. How did we realize how unsafe Peter Pan’s Flight was? Because we were sent through the ride without a lap bar on our baby. Which was terrifying. And extremely dangerous.

You see, most flying rides are equipped with a harness for safety. The ride I used to work on, Soarin’, has a harness, multiple safety checks, and even a video camera on every seat, which Cast Members monitor continuously throughout the ride looking for any kiddos trying to wriggle out – that’s a fall risk from 50 feet. If anyone is getting too wiggly, Cast Members can hit the emergency stop button on the ride and bring it back down manually.

But Peter Pan was built in 1955, before anyone thought about safety regulations on rides, I guess. So even though your vehicle goes way up into the air, it just has a lap bar, not a harness. The lap bar automatically lowers about .5 seconds before you leave the sight of a Cast Member – which is not enough time to ensure everyone is safely seated. There’s also no lap bar check (which pretty much every other ride in the parks has). 

So, what happened to us? Baby A was seated on the Tushbaby facing me when we boarded the ride. Jeremy was wiping down the lap bar with hand sanitizer and I was getting ready to turn Baby A around and sit her on my lap, when – surprise! The lap bar closed, and we took off. Before we had a chance to get Baby A seated under the lap bar. She was just sitting on me, above the lap bar. 

We screamed for help, but the ride took off so quickly that nobody heard us. And, as we found out, there are no video cameras. So no Cast Members could see that Baby A was squirming around trying to see and pushing backward off of me with shocking strength while I clung to her with both arms for dear life, knowing that if she twisted out of my arms, she would fall. (Remember: this is a flying ride. We were up in the air. Just holding our baby. With nothing to keep her from falling.)

Honestly? It was fucking terrifying. As soon as we got off the ride I burst into panicked sobbing and it took quite a while to calm down. We made an incident report with the patient Cast Members, but other than that there wasn’t much we could do. 

The incident reports go to the higher-ups, and I hope it gets escalated to whoever makes decisions about upgrading rides, because this ride is frankly horrifyingly unsafe. There needs to be a long enough period of time between the lap bar lowering and take-off for Cast Members to do a safety check. My guess is they’ve avoided doing it because the ride already has such long wait times and that will add major time, but it’s absolutely necessary. This ride is horribly out of date.

So, until it’s updated? Do not ride Peter Pan’s Flight with an infant.

  • Also avoid the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, and its copies, if your baby is mobile.

This is another older Disney ride that takes fliers up into the air … in a car with open sides, and nothing more secure than a lap belt. A crawling, squirming baby could easily and quickly lower themselves to the floor and slip right out the side of the car. (If your baby is not yet mobile, you have nothing to worry about as long you keep a tight grip on them.)

So, yup – yet another older Magic Kindom ride that is not safe for babies! I know, I was shocked too. Disney is usually the top of the line when it comes to safety – I mean hello, I even have pictures of myself as a Cast Member in front of one of the many signs backstage that says Safe D Begins with Me (see them in this post)! WHERE IS THE SAFE D ON OUTDATED MAGIC KINGDOM RIDES, Disney!?!?!

Anyway. Since you’re avoiding Dumbo, go ahead and add the Flying Carpet ride and Astro Orbiters, too. And Triceratop Spin in Animal Kingdom. They’re literallly just the same ride with different theming.

Cinderellas Castle in Magic Kingdom  at Walt Disney World
It may not be the best park to visit with a baby, but Magic Kingdom sure is pretty.

More tips for Magic Kingdom with a baby

  • We ate lunch at Tony’s Town Square, which is right by the entrance of the park. Baby A likes pasta, we like pasta, we just figured we’d have some decent pasta. We were NOT prepared for how shockingly good it was. I mean!!! It was AMAZING. I highly recommend the Orecchiette With Spicy Italian Sausage and the Butcher’s Steak, which was some of the best steak I’ve had in a long time (and Baby A loved the crispy roasted yukon potatoes.) We also ordered a Bellini to take the edge off the whole Peter Pan fiasco, which was delicious. 
  • Storybook Circus is a whole section in Magic Kingdom filled with kid-friendly stuff (though kid-friendly does not also mean baby-friendly). You can pick up a train to ride around the park here, which is a nice relaxing ride in and of itself. But most importantly, there’s a splash ground. On hot days, a splash ground and a crawling baby are a match made in heaven. But other than that, this area is mostly for older kids.
  • Baby care center: Magic Kingdom’s Baby Care Center is by Main Street, which is … kinda far from most of the park, honestly. There are benches out front and the center itself is really cute and well-themed. It’s a great quiet place for a snack or a diaper change. It’s not as great for nursing though, because there are only 2 private nursing rooms. 

Magic Kingdom Verdict: We thought this park would be a hit because it has the most all-ages rides, but it’s crowded, the rides are a little outdated and lacking in baby-proof safety checks, and it’s heavy on the characters and movie properties which babies really don’t care about. Plus, it takes longer to get to and from MK than any other park. Worth a trip for it’s a small world and some of the shows, but not much else.  We’re looking forward to experiencing Magic Kingdom with Baby A when she’s older.

Its a Small World ride in Magic Kingdom at Disney World
We waited in line for It’s a Small World longer than any other ride, but man, it was a HIT. Baby A loved it!!

Complete List of Baby Rides at Disney World

When we were researching for our trip and looking for things for babies to do at Disney World, we struggled to find a complete list of baby-friendly, all-ages rides at Disney World. So, to save you time, here it is.

I marked the rides that we enjoyed the most with 10-month-old Baby A in bold and put the ones we recommend skipping in italics. Our two favorite parks at Disney World for babies are Epcot and Animal Kingdom, which I marked with asterisks.

Hollywood Studios

  • Sunset Boulevard
    • Lightning McQueen’s racing academy
    • Fantasmic!
    • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • Hollywood Boulevard
    • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Echo Lake
    • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
    • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Grand Avenue
  • Animation Courtyard
    • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
    • Disney Junior Dance Party!
  • Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
  • Toy Story Land

EPCOT*

  • KidCot Stops
  • Future World East
    • Spaceship Earth
    • Splash Pad outside Mission: SPACE
  • Future World West
    • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
    • Turtle Talk with Crush
    • The whole aquarium area
    • Living with the Land 
    • Journey into Imagination with Figment 
  • World Showcase
    • Gran Fiesta Tour (Mexico)
    • Frozen Ever After (Norway)
    • The American Adventure
    • Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (France)
    • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure 
    • Canada Far and Wide

Animal Kingdom*

  • Wilderness Explorers stops
  • Pandora
  • Africa
    • Kilimanjaro Safari
    • Gorilla Trail
    • The Festival of the Lion King
    • Wildlife Express Train
    • Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Discovery Island
    • Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight
    • Discovery Island Trails
    • It’s Tough to be a Bug
  • Asia
  • Dinoland
    • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!
    • TriceraTop Spin
    • The Boneyard

Magic Kingdom

  • Tomorrowland
    • Monster, Inc. Laugh Floor
    • Buzzlight Year’s Ranger Spin
    • Astro Orbiter
    • Carousel of Progress
    • People Mover
  • Storybook Circus
    • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
    • Casey Jr Splash N’ Soak Station
    • WDW Railroad
  • Fantasyland
    • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
    • Enchanted Tales with Belle
    • Mad Tea Party
    • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 
    • Prince Charming Regal Carousel 
    • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
    • Peter Pan’s Flight
    • It’s a Small World 
  • Frontierland
    • Country Bear Jamboree
    • Tom Sawyer Island
    • WDW Railroad
  • Liberty Square
    • Liberty Square Riverboat 
    • The Hall of Presidents
    • Haunted Mansion 
  • Adventureland
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • The Enchanted Tiki Room
    • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin 
    • Jungle Cruise 
    • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • Main Street USA
    • WDW Railroad
    • Shows and Parades

Where to Stay at Disney World with an Infant

I may not be a Cast Member anymore, but I still have a lot of ~opinions about all things Disney, and lots of tips for your next trip. One of my very strong opinions? You should definitely stay at a Disney World resort, even if you’re on a tight budget! It’s SO worth it.

From the $$ you’ll save on parking and a rental car (thanks to Disney’s airport pick-up service and massive free transportation network) to the incredible convenience and Extra Magic Hours, the resorts are WELL worth it. And even more so, if you can score a discounted rate 😉

There are definitely ways to score a deal at a Disney Resort, if you know where to look. Occasionally, you can find Disney World resorts listed on hotel deal sites – particularly for off-season dates! We once scored a stay at Port Orleans for under $150/night. Whee! So just in case, take a look – we saw a BUNCH of them listed recently on  Hotels.com  and  Priceline ! That’s how we once scored a stay at Port Orleans for under $150/night. Whee!

The time of year that you’re visiting and when you book matters, too. Disney quietly runs deep discounts on off-season bookings (usually January through April) around October/November, so keep an eye out and  check their special offers page frequently. 

And finally, last minute bookings can net you STEEP discounts! I’ve seen rooms hovering around $150 per night about 3 days in advance. You can usually score one through  Priceline . My recommendation is to book a good-enough hotel through  Booking.com  so you can cancel it up to the day before your trip, then keep checking  Priceline  just in case you can score a last-minute room at a steep discount.

Cars themed section at Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World with infant
The Cars themed section at Disney’s Art of Animation resort

We’re big fans of staying at at the Value resorts, which really offer the best bang for your buck. Art of Animation, one of the newest resorts, is a fantastic place to stay with a baby. There’s a huge pool – it’s actually the largest pool at any Disney World hotel –  with a baby area and a big sprayground, plus 2 other pools for good measure. There’s a wide variety of food, and the theming is pretty cute (we ended up getting upgraded to a Cars-themed suite).

And best of all, you’ll have easy walkable access to the Skyliner, which takes you in airborne pods to Epcot and Holywood Studios. Of all the Disney World transportation options, the Skyliner is by far the best: you’re seated with a nice view, it’s not crowded, and there’s a cool breeze. Baby A loved riding on the Skyliner (and so did we!)

 This resort is also considered one of Disney’s budget options – but it’s really the best of the budget options. A close second is Pop Century Resort, which is right next door and also has access to the Skyliner.


I hope you found this (massive) guide helpful for planning your trip to Disney World with a baby! Do you have questions that we can help answer? Drop us a comment below!

Psst: Looking for more tips to help you plan your Disney trip? Check out some of our other Disney World posts:

Wish you could travel to Disney without leaving home? We created an immersive virtual Disney world tour so you can take a trip from the comfort of your sofa!

We also have a Podcast episode all about Disney! A futuristic utopia that’s definitely not a cult. A suicide-themed ride. Lia’s college internship. What do they all have in common? Disney World, of course! In this episode, Lia spills all the Mad Tea on the most magical place on Earth, plus insider tips from her time as a Cast Member. We also explain our tried & tested Disney Strategy (aka STRAT), because waiting in long lines for rides is some Bippity-Boppity-BS.

Listen above or just click here to launch your Podcast app! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss new episodes.

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In this (massive) guide, we're sharing tips and tricks for visiting Disney with babies, including the best (and worst) parks and attractions for babies, where to stay, and a few essentials to pack.

Our Top Travel Tips & Resources

Here are our favorite travel tips & resources for saving money and planning travel logistics! For more tips, check out our travel tips resource page or our guide to planning a trip.

  • Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Money-saving tips: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on only on a budget airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
  • Accommodations: We usually stay in budget-friendly vacation rentals, boutique hotels or private rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to book hotels (we love their flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld to book hostels (low deposit, easy change/cancellation, and excellent reviews). For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO because they’ve got lower fees and better support than Airbnb, and we’re not fans of Airbnb’s unethical track record. You can also book vacation rentals on Expedia and Hotels.com. We also use TrustedHousesitters as both hosts (for our home and our fur-child) and travelers!
  • Travel Insurance: We always, always, ALWAYS buy travel insurance for international trips, and we STRONGLY suggest it – visit our Travel Insurance Guide to find out why. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance. SafetyWing is one of the few policies that covers Covid-19, and they have excellent monthly policies that are perfect for Digital Nomads and long term travelers!
  • Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card offers fantastic travel perks like travel insurance, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, which helps protect us on our travels. Learn more here.
  • Vaccines & Meds: We use the travel guides on the CDC website to research recommended medications and vaccines for international trips. We always recommend getting every vaccine recommended by the CDC! You can get them at your primary care doctor’s office or a walk-in pharmacy.
  • Tours: We love booking guided tours, especially food tours and walking tours, to get a local’s perspective and a history lesson while sight-seeing! We book our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
  • Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to figure out how to get from place to place, and book local transportation online using Bookaway wherever we can. When we book a rental car, we use DiscoverCars to compare rental companies and find the best deal.
  • Luggage Storage: Whenever we’re checking out early or taking advantage of a long layover, we use LuggageHero to safely store our luggage while we’re running around. Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
  • VPN Service: A VPN keeps your digital information (like website login details, bank info, etc) safe, even when you’re connected to an unsecured network while traveling. Plus, it lets you use Netflix & other streaming sites abroad! We use NordVPN. Use the code WANDERLUSTPROMO when you sign up!
  • What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we bring on every trip. We also have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and many more. Take a look at all of our packing guides!

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