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Disneyland Trip Planning Guide
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Brian Bennett

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Forward
Forward  |  Why Travel to Disneyland?  |  My Favorite Things at Disneyland

Resources

Disneyland Trip Planning Phone List  |  Critique of Published Disneyland Trip Guide Books  |  Other Disneyland Resources on the Web

Planning Ahead

Planning Your Trip  |  What Time of Year You Should go to Disneyland  |  How Many Days Do You Need to "See It All?"  |  Other Attractions in Southern California  |  Estimating What Your Trip Will Cost  |  Rental Car Considerations  |  What You Should Pack to Take on Your Trip

Accommodations

Should You Stay On or Off Site?  |  Off Site Accommodations  |  Disneyland Area Campgrounds  |  Disneyland's "Good Neighbor Hotels"  |  On Site Hotels  |  Grand Californian  Hotel  |  Disneyland Hotel  |  Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel

Disneyland Resort Primer
A Disneyland / WDW Comparison  |  The Ins and Outs of Disneyland Reservations  |  How to Use Disneyland's Transportation System  |  Developing a Daily "Game Plan"  |  The Daily Afternoon Break Touring the Parks With Kids  |  Touring the Parks With an Infant  |  Touring the Parks with Disabled Guests

The Parks
General Issues
  |  All About Admission Media (i.e. Tickets)  |  General Park Operating Hours  |  "Magic Mornings", the Disneyland Resort's Version of Early Entry  |  Fastpass -- Disney's New "Virtual Queue"  |  Disneyland  |  Details-at-a-Glance  |  Touring the Park  |  Attractions  |  Shopping  |  Disneyland Shows and Entertainment  |  Parade of Stars  |  Believe: There's Magic in the Sky  |  Fantasmic!  |  Disney's California Adventure  |  Details-at-a-Glance  |  Touring the Park  |  Attractions  | Shopping  |  Eureka! The California Adventure Parade

Everything Else
Downtown Disney  |  Guided Tours of Disneyland

Disneyland Restaurant Resource

First, if you couldn't find it here, I would appreciate it if you would click on this link and send me a message to tell me what's missing.  I'll do my best to "fill in the blanks" as soon as possible.

 

Touring the Parks with Infants

Hot Tip:  Disneyland's baby care center is located at the hub-end of Main Street, on the East (right as you face the castle) side, just beyond the Plaza Inn Restaurant.  California Adventures' baby care center is located near Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, in the Pacific Wharf area.  The baby care centers are great places for feeding, changings, and buying any supplies that you might need to care for you little one. 

Looking for More Information on Doing Disneyland with an Infant?

MousePlanet has a great section called "Parenting in the Parks."  Adrienne Krock provides a wealth of information on the Disneyland and California Adventure baby care centers (including pictures) as well as much more great information on taking care of your littlest ones in the park.

On our trip October 1996 to WDW we learned a great deal about how to handle a trip with an infant. Our son Allan was all of three weeks when we left for Florida. By the end of the trip, Allan had spent 2/5ths of his life with the Mouse. The following is a summary of our accumulated experience on touring Disney theme parks with an infant. Many of the following ideas came from rec.arts.disney.parks newsgroup folks before we left for our trip. I've expanded the list, though, to include the things we learned from personal experience. I also have edited the list to focus on Disneyland-specific issues.

To start, let me quote a portion of the trip report I wrote back in October, 1996:

"Taking the baby changed some things for us. We learned very early to expect the unexpected. We found out that schedules, no matter how perfectly designed, had to be flexible. Frankly, fluid plans have been a hallmark of our Walt Disney World trips for years, so the only difference on this trip was that taking care of the baby's needs, rather than our own whimsy, drove our day. We couldn't always do exactly what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it, but the baby was not an inconvenience.

"But to those who told us to not take the baby on our trip I say...phooey. I'm an old-fashioned kind-of-guy and I really think that our time together as a family will mean more to us in the long run than distant memories of vacations away from the kids. Allan was wonderful. As long as we did our job of taking care of him, he did fine. If we went too long between bottles, he let us know...and we quickly learned to stay on a reasonable schedule.

"On the other hand, having Mom and Dad on the trip was a blessing. Whenever we needed a hand, they were there. I think one of the joys on this trip was watching Grandma and Grandpa with the little one, really for the first time. Besides that, Mom and Dad's presence allowed us some flexibility to go our separate ways a few times and just relax without the parent's responsibilities weighing on our shoulders at every turn. On those occasions when we did go alone, we spent a fair amount of time wondering how the baby was. I dread the upcoming weeks at summer camp and the college years."

Traveling with an Infant:

  • Traveling with an infant, and I assume children of any age, is a team effort. Dads, don't expect Mom to do all the feedings, all the bottle washing, all the changes, and all of everything else. Raising kids is work and there's a good reason why it takes two to make a baby...it generally takes two to raise one too. Don't bombard me with any "Brian is sexist" or "Brian hates single moms" flames...that's not it at all. What I'm saying is that men can do their fair share on vacation (and at home, too) to make things go smoothly.

  • Drive, don't fly, as babies are not able to fly until they are at least six months.

  • Don't expose the baby to the sun and don't use sun block until the baby is at least 6 months old. We made sure to use the sun shade that's built into the stroller all the time.

  • Mix your own formula from powder and bottled water...ready mixed formula in cans is handy, but is too heavy for traveling. We found that taking three bottles of water with enough formula to mix (we also had a handy formula container that kept the right amount of formula for three bottles) was enough for our eight-or-less-hour stretches of park time. Usually we used two bottles for formula and one for water which Allan sometimes wanted, especially on hot days.

  • Consider taking a teen ager (a relative or just a family friend) to play nanny during the trip...if the teen is a good student, it won't even be a problem springing them from school (perhaps even as an excused absence with proper permissions). We didn't do this, but I know other folks that have, and it can be a good solution for parents.

A packing list for a newborn:

  • Bring lots of diapers (you'll use as many as 10 or more per day) and wipes.

  • Pack formula, bottled water, and feeding paraphernalia...the newer bottles that use disposable bags are more convenient for trips (and probably for at home, too).

  • Take extra clothes because changes will be frequent.

  • Throw in lots of receiving blankets (they are soft and comforting for the baby, but can also be used to protect the little one from sun...and the hands of other curious guests).

  • Bring at least one heavy blanket (restaurants are often kept very cold...too cold for the baby, usually). We realized quite quickly that the heat and humidity outside made Allan really drowsy. Then, when we went into a restaurant for a meal or perhaps into an attraction that was air conditioned, Allan almost immediately woke up from the cooler air. Wrapping him up in a blanket as soon as we entered the restaurant kept him a lot more comfortable...and less likely to fuss during our meals.

  • Pack a diaper bag with a changing pad (not all rest rooms in the park have changing facilities, so the pad comes in very handy sometimes). Ours' has a snap-up handle that allowed us to attach it to the stroller handle. That way, it was readily available, but not in the way.

  • Some medical/diaper bag items to pack include: Tylenol drops, Mylicon drops, nasal aspirator, diaper rash ointment, burp rags (cloth diapers work well), children's medical history (in case you need to visit a doctor on the trip), baby fingernail clippers, and a small can of Lysol.

  • Take a good baby carrier (again, we were given one as a shower gift), so we could easily carry the baby with us into attractions. This turned out to be a very useful piece of equipment, but it was comfortable for only an hour or so at a time. Don't plan on hauling a baby around in one of these things all morning.

  • Chose a stroller that can lay flat (so the baby can sleep comfortably)...and that has breathable cloth and plenty of ventilation. Our Combi stroller worked well and was easy to operate and handle.

  • Pack a large poncho or some such rain cover for the stroller (we took a specially made rain cover, but never used it)

Infant Considerations for Accommodations:

  • If you can swing it, a room with kitchen facilities is very handy for bottle feeders.

  • We took a "Happy Camper" Pack-N-Play kind of a unit, by Evenflo, that has a bassinet attachment. By the way, Graco makes the name brand Pack-N-Play which is a similar unit, but the bassinet doesn't support the baby's weight as well as the Evenflo one does. Also, we really like the ease of set-up of the newer design "Happy Camper". It's really quite simple for one person to set up by themselves without taking a yoga class or earning an engineering degree.

Touring the Park with an Infant:

  • When you enter an attraction, put a large poncho or rain cover over the stroller if even a hint of possible rain is showing...sudden rains can drench the thing while you are inside an attraction. Frankly, this advice comes from others because we never had rain during our entire trip.

  • Use your own stroller, but personalize it with a non-valuable personal item (to mark it as "owned" by a guest)...alternatively, be prepared to lock it with a bike lock so it won't be swiped either intentionally or inadvertently.

  • When driving the stroller in crowds...do not stop...move slowly, if necessary, but don't stop...if you stop, people will cut you off and leave you stranded. This is especially important when you're in large crowds...like when Fantasmic! has just ended and the mobs are streaming from New Orleans Square.

  • We had have no problem getting the stroller into restaurants, so the baby was able to sleep at our table during meals.

  • Also, there's a "sleeping baby" policy in which parents with a stroller can enter an attraction via the handicapped access and avoid the lines we didn't even try to take full advantage of this, since Allan was able to fall asleep just about anywhere anytime, but we were able to take the stroller just about anywhere we wanted.

  • Be aware that Disney cast members often rearrange the strollers that are parked outside of attractions in an effort to keep the area neat and safe...if you can't find your stroller when you left it, look around the area...it was probably moved by a well-meaning CM.

  • Use the baby-swap strategy for all of the wilder rides (the mountains, Star Tours, and Indiana Jones for example).

  • Keep the diaper bag light for touring...and replenish supplies when you return to the room. (This worked really well for us.)

  • Throw a couple of diapers and a pack of wipes in a fanny pack...insurance so you're always prepared.

  • Take advantage of the baby care facility in the park at the end of main street.

  • Avoid over stimulation...if the baby starts freaking out, go somewhere quiet for awhile (there's several out of the way gardens and nooks and crannies in the parks). With Allan, this was never a problem, but then again he was pretty young to be over stimulated.

  • Take a daily afternoon break... (the nap is as helpful to the parents as for the baby, by the way).

  • If you use pacifiers, get some clips and tethers so if the baby drops the pacifier, it won't be lost.

  • Skip the louder attractions, due to baby's sensitive eardrums or be prepared to protect the little one's ears.

There is additional information on doing the parks with an infant in the WDW Trip Planning Guide. It's specific to WDW, but might be of help.

 

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