When I tragically lost my partner during my pregnancy I vowed I would continue his love of travel with our precious daughter. I decided I would firstly travel to all the same locations me and her daddy did. Starting with Disneyland Paris. This trip was like therapy for me. We stayed at the same hotel, the beautiful Vienna Dream Castle Hotel, by chance ended up on the same floor we had previously stayed on together, visited the same locations and experienced the same rides. I felt so close to him on this trip and I am convinced he was watching over us. Taking an 11-week-old baby to Disney was initially a little daunting but it was such a rewarding experience. Below I share my tips and tricks and answer some commonly asked questions on taking a baby to Disneyland.
Mummy’s magic tricks and tips to visit Disneyland
1. Accept that your baby will fall asleep, even when meeting royalty!
Queueing for character meets and greets with a baby is risky business. The queues can be deceiving and one can never tell how long it will take. We noticed a small queue forming for the Queen of Hearts, Twiddle Dum and Twiddle Dee. We guesstimated it would take between 10 to 15 minutes and decided to get in line. By the time we got to meet the characters, guess who was fast asleep? (Still a cute pic though).
2. Book character dining if you want a chance of getting a decent photo op.
Character dining doesn’t come cheap (between 65-70 euros a head) but it really is going to be your best shot at capturing that perfect family photo with your little one (hopefully) awake! The characters come round between two to three times in one sitting and are generally happy to spend a little more time with you than when in the parks. So, if you miss your magic moment, it’s likely you’ll get another opportunity before your dining experience is over. We dined at Café Mickey located in the Disney Village and Inventions located inside the Disneyland Hotel, and had great experiences at both. Be sure to make reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.
3. Dress to impress!
I dressed my little one as Minnie for our first evening at Café Mickey, then as Princess Belle in Disneyland. She received so much attention from the characters and everybody really made a fuss of her which as a new mummy completely and utterly warms your heart and makes you quite literally burst with pride!
4. Make use of the Baby Care Centre.
There is a Baby Care Centre just off Main Street USA where you can privately feed and change your baby. This was a great find for me as a new mum as I was initially anxious about breastfeeding in public. The care centre had nursing chairs, changing stations and a microwave for sterilising bottles and dummies. There was also some baby products available to purchase. So if you do get caught out, don’t panic! Nappies can be purchased inside for one euro a nappy (yikes!) that’s one pricey poop.
5. Be prepared to have “It’s a small, small world” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
This ride will become your best friend. It is the world’s best baby sensory experience. Your heart will melt away as you watch your baby eyes light up in fascination as they watch the animatronic children dance and sing to it’s a small, small world. Your baby will love looking at all the pretty lights and enjoy the motion of the riverboat. The added bonus to this ride is the queue remains between 5 to 10 minutes all day long making it super baby and toddler friendly!
6. Bring your own stroller AND a baby carrier.
Strollers are available to hire but I would recommend bringing your own and one that lies flat for nap times. The ones I noticed around the park didn’t look all too comfortable and were not suitable from birth. Buggy bays can be found just outside of the rides to park your buggies. From then on you will need to carry your little one throughout the duration of the queue, which is where the baby carrier comes in handy! I did not bring a carrier and my back was in a bad way by the end of the day.
7. Download the Disneyland App.
Download the Disneyland App to check live wait times for attractions, parade schedules and more. This is a handy way to check for the rides with the lowest wait duration and head on over before everybody else cottons on! (Side note: Accurate times won’t display until you are inside the park).
8. And lastly, don’t forget your autograph book!
An autograph book makes such a lovely keepsake. It is also a great way to interact more with the characters and keep them around longer for more photo ops! Autograph books are available to purchase in the parks, but cost just shy of ten euros, so you may prefer to buy one in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Can you go on any of the rides with such a young baby?
The good news is yes! You certainly can and more than you may think. Me and my daughter enjoyed:
- It’s a Small, Small World – The world’s best baby sensory! (In my opinion);
- Snow White’s Scary Adventures, known as Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains;
- Les Voyages de Pinocchio.
You can also enjoy:
- Peter Pan’s Flight (The queue was 30 minutes, plus all day long, so I would recommend a fastpass);
- Le Carrousel de Lancelot;
- Dumbo The Flying Elephants;
- Pirates of the Caribbean (Be aware of the sudden drops!);
- Casey Jr.-Petit Train du Cirque (The circus train from Dumbo);
- Le Pays des Contes de Feés (Storybook Land Canal Boats).
2. How did you travel to Disney?
I travelled on the “Eurostar”, and it was a very easy and pleasant experience. “Eurostar” recommends arriving just 45 to 60 minutes before departure, so there is a lot less time spent waiting around. By the time we had gone through passport control and security, the train was almost ready to board. Listen out for the exciting announcement from Mickey that the Disney train is ready for departure! Once we arrived at the platform, there was lots of staff on hand ready to help passengers on with luggage and strollers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed. There was plenty of space inside the carriage to store suitcases and strollers overhead. Babies and infants under four are required to be seated on your lap throughout the duration of the journey. Keep a look out for any vacant seats around you when travelling with young children. Staff are happy for you to make use out of them.
3. What should I pack for the park?
- A change of outfit
- Muslin cloth
- Cellular blankets
- Nursing apron
- Bottle warmer
- Your Mickey/Minnie Ears!
If you are breastfeeding (and happy expressing), I would recommend bringing a few packets of expressed milk in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack (the hotel froze my ice pack for me overnight). This way you can easily and conveniently feed your baby whilst waiting in line for the attractions. To take the edge off the milk don’t forget to pack a travel bottle warmer. I highly recommend the Tommee Tippee Close to Nature. This was brought for me as a present and has been one of the most useful gifts I have ever received. If you are breastfeeding (and happy expressing), I would recommend bringing a few packets of expressed milk in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack (the hotel froze my ice pack for me overnight). This way you can easily and conveniently feed your baby whilst waiting in line for the attractions. To take the edge off the milk don’t forget to pack a travel bottle warmer. I highly recommend the Tommee Tippee Close to Nature. This was brought for me as a present and has been one of the most useful gifts I have ever received.
4. Why would you take a baby to Disney? It’s not like they will remember.
You’re right. The likelihood is that she won’t remember, but in that moment I knew my baby girl was as happy as can be showing off her gummy smiles to the world. We truly enjoyed being in the happiest place on earth together. We made and captured such precious memories that will last a lifetime. I will always have the photos to show her, when she is older and there is nothing stopping us from returning in the future!
Thank-you for reading. Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments below.
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