Both pregnancy and babies are totally doable at the Disneyland Resort. With a little preparation you’ll be much happier as you’ll know what options and resources are available to you and baby. So today I bring you the Disneyland Prep Series–Pregnant Moms & New Babies!
Disneyland Prep Series: Pregnant Moms & New Babies
My Disneyland trips over the last five years have been different than all the others—for two trips I was pregnant (I am most definitely not pregnant now, let there be no confusion!) and the rest I’ve had small kids. Doing a Disney Park while you’re baking a little human is a lot different than my normal touring style. So is visiting the parks with an infant; my son was 7 months old for his first visit, and my daughter was 13 months for hers.
Pregnancy at the Happiest Place on Earth
So there are obviously pros and cons to being at Disneyland while you’re expecting. Pros in my world include yummy food, atmosphere, entertainment, and classic attractions. Cons might include walking, standing, waiting, hot temperatures, smell aversions, motion sickness, general queasiness, and about 1,306 other lovely pregnancy side effects. Here’s the thing—most of those cons exist whether you’re at Disneyland or not. So why not go? Your first job is to talk with your doctor about going, and what things you should pay extra attention to. Once you have the green light, it’s churro time!
But what can I do?
The big thing people usually focus on is what you can or cannot ride. Generally, anything without a height requirement is ok for someone who is pregnant. That doesn’t mean that “it’s a small world” won’t make you queasy though, so know your own limits! Skipping an attraction you love can be tough—my first trip pregnant they had just reimagined Star Tours, and I was so sad to miss it! If you’d like, you’re still welcome to go through the queue with your party and then exit before the ride. Since I was already rapidly outgrowing my pants, I often used this time to get a snack instead. Eating for two, or something like that. Or try something new, like a show you’ve never taken the time to see or a tour you’ve never taken!
There are some other ways you can make touring easier when you’re expecting. If you’re farther along in your pregnancy, you might want/need to rent a wheelchair to minimize your walking/standing time. Pregnancy support belts are helpful, too. Make sure you stay hydrated, pack snacks, and don’t hesitate to take a break in the shade. The Baby Care Centers in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure also have quiet, air conditioned spots for expecting moms to crash for a bit. We’ll come back to these spaces in a minute, they are awesome!
Ok, but is Disneyland worth it when I’m pregnant?
I may be a little biased, but I thought it was totally worth it! It was great to be in one of my favorite places, eating my favorite things, and watching my favorite shows. Sure, there was stuff I couldn’t do, but not so much that I didn’t think it was worth going. Taking my toddler when I was pregnant with my younger child was actually kind of perfect. We could do all the same rides, we both liked to take naps, and he was thrilled every time I bought a Dole Whip. We got along great!
My one regret is that I didn’t take more pictures when I was pregnant in the parks. So don’t be afraid to get in front of the camera. This is also a fun time for baby announcements and gender reveals!
Babes in Disneyland
I know, I know. They won’t remember. They sleep through half of it, at least. After being pregnant and missing out on some of my favorites, I was totally ready to take a baby to Disneyland so he could kiss Mickey on the nose and I could ride what I skipped while pregnant! Besides, under three years old they’re free. So why not? There are so many rides that have no height requirement, so you won’t spend the whole time sitting on a bench while trading off baby duty. There are also a lot of resources especially for parents with young kids in the parks!
Baby Care in the Parks
At 7 months old, my son was so easy to take to Disneyland. He slept in a stroller like a champ and was very content on everything we rode with him. We totally loved the Baby Care Centers, which are staffed by the sweetest Cast Members on the planet. We often took our son for a quiet feeding and a break from the crowds (he was an easily distracted eater).
The Baby Care Centers provide private spots for nursing moms and those needing to pump milk; the First Aid Center can store your pump for you. Nursing out in the parks is also totally fine, and some attractions like the Disneyland Railroad or Pirates of the Caribbean are great nursing spots! Basically, do what works for you and your kiddo.
While all restrooms (including the men’s) have changing tables, you can also head for the Baby Care Center to do that. This is a great place to take care of cloth diapered kiddos, too. They even have darling miniature toilets for little ones who are potty training! If you forget something, they have diapers, wipes, baby food, formula and other essentials for purchase.
While we got tons of use out of our stroller, I also wore my baby for some rides. It’s up to Cast Member discretion, but I was able to use a baby carrier or wrap (always with kiddo in front of me) on most rides that baby could go on. So if it’s getting to be nap time and you’re still going strong, wear that sweet baby and head for a ride like Pirates of the Caribbean!
Kids on the move
Taking my 13 month old daughter a few years later was a little trickier than a baby. She was walking, and needed breaks to get out and around. Not to mention our son was now four and wanted to run everywhere. Our favorite spot for getting the wiggles out is the Animation Building at California Adventure, but other great options are the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (DCA), the Paradise Park splash pad (DCA), Tarzan’s Treehouse (DL) and the area outside of “it’s a small world” (DL).
We also choose our hotels carefully, so that we can take midday breaks. Sometimes that’s a nap, but sometimes it’s swimming or wandering around the hotel grounds. We try to build time into our day for our kids to just do their own thing, so that when it’s time to stand in a line they’ve got a little bit of patience left.
With two kids who get tired, the temptation for a double stroller is pretty high. We actually prefer to take two single strollers though, so that our group can split up and go different directions if we want to. It’s also much easier to navigate crowds and find parking with single strollers. One of the biggest benefits of strollers is the storage space—we keep a light blanket, jackets, sun screen, a change of clothes, and sometimes even spare shoes tucked away in the bottom of our strollers. It’s nice to not have to worry about walking around in wet clothes when our kids hit the splash areas! We don’t leave cameras, wallets, phones, or anything else that we’d be upset about losing in the strollers.
Even when you park in the stroller parking areas, Cast Members often come along to organize or relocate the strollers. That can mean that your stroller lands in a totally different spot from where you left it, so it’s handy to be able to mark yours with something fairly visible. In the past we’ve used balloons to keep our strollers noticeable, but this trip we used a new product called a Stroller Spotter! These hook to the handle of a stroller, and you can add an antenna topper to personalize them and make your stroller easier to find. They are especially easy to see in the dark, and I had a much easier time keeping track of my husband driving the stroller in big night parade crowds.
Traveling with kids is a great time to take advantage of PhotoPass Plus, which allows us to download all of the photos taken on rides and by PhotoPass photographers. This is by far my favorite souvenir every trip! There are almost always photographers at character meet and greet spots, and I love that they snap away while I just enjoy watching my kids meet the characters. It’s also a great way to get your whole family in front of the camera! My kids love looking at the photos from our trip, and even though they don’t remember much from when they were babies they think it’s awesome to see that they were there.
I also try to take some very careful videos on a few rides, especially if it’s their first time. Remember there are NO selfie sticks allowed at Disneyland, so you’ll need either a body mounted GoPro type device or a lot of faith in your ability to hold onto your phone or camera. I found an inexpensive lanyard to attach to my phone for backup.
Why I take my kids when they’re tiny
Honestly, I love taking my kids when they’re little. I love sharing a carousel horse with them, or having them sit on my lap for “it’s a small world”. I love their excitement when they meet Mickey and slobber on his nose…germs don’t exist at Disneyland, right? I love seeing them smile in their first Ear Hat and getting their silhouette cut on Main Street USA. They might not remember, but I sure do. Those memories are totally worth changing diapers, packing bottles, and all the other logistics.
Bottom line? If you love going to Disneyland being pregnant or having a baby isn’t a reason to have to miss out! Plan ahead, be wise, pack extras of the essentials, rest when you need to, and take pictures like crazy. The memories are totally worth the work! To make your next trip easier, enter our giveaway to win your own Stroller Spotter below!