It’s that time of year… the time when theme parks [especially seasonal ones] are booming with business! Planning a trip? Here are our tried and true tips for doing a theme park with a baby!
Our little Sugar Plum isn’t even a year old yet and she’s already been to Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Since we’ve traveled so much with our little one, I thought I would share some tips that have helped us to have a happy time in the “happiest places on earth”
1. Stroller – I know you’ve probably thought of foregoing a stroller, because some times, they can be hard to navigate through large crowds. Don’t. Wearing your baby will only make you both hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable. Also, the stroller provides storage for the diaper bag, and cup holders for those hot days!
2. Cooler – a cooler, really? YES. Now we invested in a Baby Sherpa backpack. The lower compartment of the backpack is insulated to keep bottles and other things cool. When we’re doing a theme park, or really anything outside in the sun for more than an hour, I put ice packs in the cooler part of the back pack along with sippy cups of water and a wet washcloth that I can wipe baby down with to keep her cool. This made a world of difference for us in 80 degrees conditions with lots of that Floridian humidity.
3. Snacks – This may seem obvious, but our baby is a princess and requires a variety of snacks to stay happy for a day long journey in theme parks. I threw one of those food pouches in the cooler compartment so she would have some thing cold to suck on in the afternoon [which also saved me from splurging on a mickey shaped popsicle] I also brought a small baggie filled with puffs and animal crackers because that’s some thing easy I could give her while waiting in lines. Additionally, bringing your own snacks saves you from paying a premium price for food in the parks.
4. Protection from the sun – This is another tip that also may seem obvious, but it is the most important. Some times you can put long sleeves and pants on a baby if there is a cool breeze despite the sun being out Cool breezes don’t exist in Florida so we had to be extra careful. We had her in a bigger sized t shirt, and just a diaper and hat. Since the t-shirt was big, it was flowy and allowed for more air circulation. Also the sleeves fell longer on her than normal, also offering additional protection. We re-applied sunscreen on her ever 2-3 hours. When you’re waiting in lines for rides for up to an hour, its easy to forget, so I’d recommend setting an alarm on your phone.
5. Naps – Every Kid is different, but when we’re talking about babies? Babies need naps. Personally, our daughter takes 2, 2 hour naps a day still. So we tried to plan our trip to the parks accordingly. We headed to Disney right when we woke up, and the park opened. This gave us a couple hours to do things before nap #1. Nap #1 just so happened to occur while we were waiting in line for dumbo. Our daughter is like clockwork and falls asleep almost instantly at her nap times. This is why the stroller is a must, so you can stroll your sleeping baby around the air conditioned shops. We left around 2 pm which is when she usually takes nap #2. We all rested at the hotel for a few hours, then decided to go back into the parks around sunset.
6. Sunset – This is perhaps the best time to head to the park. When the kids have had their naps, and the sun is setting. Many people will leave the rides and start reserving spots for parades or fireworks, so the lines are also shorter. Beware though, sunset is also when we got the most mosquito bites!
7. Fastpass – take advantage of the fastpass, even for kiddie rides. If you are at Disney WORLD, there are kiosks in each section of the park that will outline what rides are in that area. Not only can you then fastpass the rides, but you can see which ones are kid-friendly or “great for little ones” ***
*** The Fastpass really only applies to Disney, and so does this tip: Disney Parks have a Baby Care Center, and it truly is a mother’s refuge. It has a full kitchen, a room full of changing tables with disposable liners, and a dark quiet room exclusively for nursing mamas. I don’t think we could have survived without the Baby Care Center. Other parks may have options like this available if you ask, but Disney went out of their way to make sure I knew where it was located when they saw we were traveling with a little one 🙂