Disneyland with first baby. Questions!

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by DreamtheImpossible, Jun 19, 2017 at 2:56 PM.

  1. DreamtheImpossible

    DreamtheImpossible Mouseketeer

    Mar 17, 2011
    Hi everyone!!! I need your help! :worship:

    My husband and I are taking our first child to Disneyland for his first birthday! And mine, we are born a month apart! (Give or take 26 years. :rotfl2:)

    BUT! I've never flown with a baby, nor gone to Disneyland with a young child! I've done a lot of research on what rides he can go on, as well as some good strategies, but I need your help because y'all have more experience than me and some killer ideas that I'm not even going to think of. :disrocks:

    We are flying in to LAX and my first question is: Can we gate check his carseat? He's sitting in our lap, but obviously for transportation, we need his carseat!

    We are renting a shuttle to get to Disneyland. Do they provide a carseat or do I need to bring my own? :confused3

    Finally, please let me know your experiences with babies and Disneyland! I know it'll be magical and I have zero expectations other than to make sure my baby is comfortable. But any nifty tips? Things to do? Things to avoid?

    Thanks in advance! I'm so excited! :wizard:
  2. STLstone

    STLstone Mouseketeer

    Apr 8, 2016
    I can't answer all of your questions but I can offer some pointers:

    - you should be able to gate-check the car-seat, but your airline's website should have info on that.
    - There are shuttle services that will provide a car-seat, but you need to check. Hopefully other people on here have some suggestions. I used the SuperShuttle Non-Stop Van and was not impressed. I also tried the ExecuCar version of SuperShuttle and it was fine, but they did not provide car-seats at the time (3yrs ago). I'm using Anaheim Town Car Services next time (more expensive, but they provide car seats).
    - Are you bringing a stroller? We had a toddler and rented from City Stroller Rentals. I could not have been more pleased. I liked the stroller they provided (Baby Jogger City Mini GT Single) so much that I bought one a few months later. They deliver it to your hotel and the bell hop will have it for you when you get there. You can rent one at Disney, but you have to leave it there when you go to your hotel.
    - Find the Baby Care Center at each park. They have all kinds of things that make a parent's and baby's lives easier - especially if he happens to be nursing.
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  4. figment_jii

    figment_jii DIS Veteran

    Apr 22, 2006
    I second the recommendation to make use of hte Baby Care Centers in each park (end of Main Street in DL and near Ghiradelli's in DCA). Those are wonderful places to change the baby's diaper and nurse or feed. While any of those activities can be done elsewhere, the Baby Care Center just seemed so much calmer and easier.

    I would highly recommend taking a stroller; we had one that had a reclining back so that the little one could nap in the stroller if he wanted. We found out of the way/quiet(ish) places for him to nap, which was easier than trying to get back to the motel.
    STLstone likes this.
  5. SteveMP

    SteveMP Mouseketeer

    Jun 13, 2017
    Grab the schedule at the gate and keep track of meet and greet locations and times, etc. Make use of Photopass. Not having to deal with your own camera is one less thing to worry about.
  6. DreamtheImpossible

    DreamtheImpossible Mouseketeer

    Mar 17, 2011
    Thanks so much for the responses! We are taking a shuttle, I'm booking through Getaway today and picked whatever shuttle they use. I'll do research on whether they have carseat, otherwise gate checking sounds like the way to go.

    We are taking our stroller and have ART. It's a fast, easily folded stroller. We're staying at the Clarion hotel.

    Do you all recommend taking a diaper bag that can be packed onto the rides or a backpack? The one we have is a typical shoulder bag.

    Also, how does Rider Swap work? I'm not sure we will bother with the "adult rides" since we will only have 3 days in the park but how does it work? Do we get fast passes and go through the exit?
  7. Wahlee

    Wahlee Earning My Ears

    May 10, 2011
    For Rider Swap, take the whole party to the ride entrance and ask the CM there for Rider Swap (some CMs don't need to see the non-riding kid, but some insist on it, so it's easier just to have everyone go at once). Sometimes this CM will be the one to give you the pass, sometimes it's another one, but the CM will be able to tell you. Rider goes on the ride while parent with baby does something else (rides something nearby, goes shopping, meets a character, or just sits and waits). When rider gets off ride, other parent takes the rider swap card and goes on the ride. Sometimes the second rider goes through the exit, sometimes through the FP line or Single Rider line. The CM will let you know where to go. First parent does something else with baby while other parent rides.

    Tada! If the ride has FP, you may or may not need to do Rider Swap-- it might be just as easy to take turns using FP. Depends on how much of the line you're skipping on that second ride, I'd think. Definitely use FP combined with Rider Swap for rides that have it, unless the standby line is really short. You could also make use of Single Rider on rides that have it since it's just the two of you.
  8. Elima2015

    Elima2015 Mouseketeer

    Aug 5, 2016
    I will preface my opinion with two things: we have three young children and travel pretty frequently (i.e. I get it and the hassle of all the baby gear) and this isn't the most popular option based on my observations. I highly recommend purchasing an airline seat for your child. It is safer for both him and the car seat. Even gate checking a car seat isn't recommended. My littles actually do really well in their seats as they are used to being strapped in them. It is easier for them to nap. And it gives everyone their own (albeit still very small) space. No, nobody is safe in a catastrophic crash, but a properly secured baby is much safer in every other air travel situation.

    Ok, so now on to your questions. Definitely use your own car seat in the shuttles. You don't have any idea the history or safety of rented/borrowed car seats nor if it is properly installed or what other child has pooped through, vomitted, etc. and if that happened if the seat was properly cleaned for you and for the integrity of the seat. Car seats expire and I have seen so many car seats that look well past their expiration sitting behind the shuttle check-in counter or thrown in the bottom of the luggage compartment.

    When we were at the parks, we left our diaper bag attached to the stroller when we went on rides. I wore a cross-body bag with a small water bottle and few little snacks that the kids could have while in line, though we did avoid anything with more than a 15-20 min wait. I also carried our park tickets, credit cards, phone. We used our phone for our camera so we didn't have to deal with a separate one.

    I think you and your DH should take turns riding a few of your favorites. Mid-morning the Radiator Springs single rider line is fast. We did that and both of us had a <10 minute wait. I'm not the expert on single rider lines vs rider swap, but definitely make use of them.

    My biggest tip on traveling with littles to any destination, Disney included, are sleep and food. Make sure your little one has enough chances to rest. Even if it means you and your husband take turns taking him back to the hotel for one good nap a day and attempting to get him to bed close to his normal time. And pack a small soft sided cooler with plenty of snacks. I swear that a little snack cup with some gold fish and cut up fruit, mini boxes of raisins, apple sauce pouch, etc can do wonders!

    Not sure when you are going, but the Princess Dot Puddle Park was a HIT with my littles. Bring an extra outfit! And have so much fun!
    Glynis4 and becks59 like this.
  9. lcp9

    lcp9 Mouseketeer

    Sep 14, 2016
    We have 3 kids, 5, 3, 1, and have been maybe 5-6 times in the past few years and travel frequently with them. My personal opinion is that about 8mos-18 mos is the hardest time on an airplane because they want to be everywhere and they don't have the attention for a whole lot. Bring lots of snacks, a book/something they can play with, and hope for the best. Naptime is a good time to book flights, if you can swing it. If he takes a paci, bring it for takeoff/landing.

    DL specific: we have a double stroller with a whole cargo thing, so we bring a ton of food. Also we usually have grocery delivery to the hotel (Vons, free) so we have milk/etc we can pack and bring each day for babies. Rider swap is super easy and we try to do that during nap time and let babies nap in the stroller. Start early in the day, little kid favorite rides (Dumbo, etc) are much more tolerable than later in the afternoon.

    My kids have always loved the parades! I think it's their favorite part.

    Some shuttles (big buses) won't require a carseat. We generally add DL to beginning or end of another trip so we have to bring all of ours. We gate check, and I bought bags on amazon to put them in. I also have a big padded bag for our double stroller. Just anecdotally, my kids sleep really well in car seats but the worst flight I've ever been on was the one and only time we bought a separate seat for a 2 and under baby. My son was super mad for some reason. haha.
  10. DreamtheImpossible

    DreamtheImpossible Mouseketeer

    Mar 17, 2011
    I will specify that we are flying from Seattle so at least our flight is only two or so hours! We picked early morning and late evening to hopefully coincide with sleep time.

    Thanks so much for the info on the rider swap!
  11. SOCALMouseMommy

    SOCALMouseMommy Mouseketeer

    Apr 5, 2017
    With only a 2-hour flight having a 1-year-old lap baby isn't bad. Definitely bring and gate check your car seat (as well as your stroller). Target sells Gate Check Bags that are cheap and great to stuff your seat and stroller into (buy one bag per item) so they don't get filthy. One of the nice things about gate checking your car seat is if there is an empty seat on your flight you might be able to use it for your child and install the car seat. The airline doesn't have to allow you to do that even if there is an open seat but I've never been denied. I usually approach the gate agent early and ask very nice if maybe it's a possibility. And if not, I just ask for a gate check tag for my car seat. (Tip, consult your car seat manual ahead of time so you know how to install the car seat on the place. It's often different than installing it in your car. Also, if your car seat doesn't attach to your stroller, you can buy a folding metal luggage cart from Target for the seat. Just use a bungie cord to secure it to the cart. Cart folds up and can be placed under the seat in front of you.)

    In the park, I hang my diaper bag on my stroller and take a small cross body bag whenever I leave the stroller that has my money, credit cards, ID, tickets and phone.

    Bring LOTS of food for your baby, either in a small cooler or just bring things that don't need refrigeration. Stickers are also a great thing to have on hand. I usually tuck a few pouches or crackers in my small bag and stickers for when we are waiting in lines.

    Baby care centers (one per park) are lovely, they are quiet and huge, with changing stations, bathrooms, rocking chairs and even high chairs. Plus you can buy any baby supplies you might have forgotten.

    With a 1-year-old I highly recommend a break midday for a nice long nap unless your child is a stroller nap champ (mine never has been).

    Find and follow Magic Kingdom Mamas on Instagram or Facebook. They also have a website. They have the BEST tips for enjoying the parks with kids!

    You child can ride so many rides, it's one of the great things about Disney. The Tiki Room is also usually a big hit, plus the play areas in Toontown (Mickey and Minnie's houses, Goofy's house). (By the way, Toontown opens one hour after DL opens, and they have their own rope drop, which is supposed to be really fun. I have yet to see it myself but hope to soon!) A Bugs Land in DCA is also great, with a splash pad for hot days.

    Absolutely take advantage of rider switch! It is amazing! My husband and I will be sad when our child is too big take advantage of this amazing perk! It's super easy and the best part is you don't both need Fastpasses for a ride. One of you gets a fastpass, then the other rides on the rider switch ticket. And you don't have to ride back to back, you can hang on to your rider switch ticket and ride later in the day if you want. It's is so fast and easy and you essentially double the rides you can go on because each of you can hold a different fastpass at the same time.

    Have a blast! Disney with your child is extra magical!
  12. DreamtheImpossible

    DreamtheImpossible Mouseketeer

    Mar 17, 2011
    Great so I'll just plan on gate checking the carseat and stroller!

    What about 'Must Have' pictures?
  13. Jperiod

    Jperiod Princesses Gone Wild

    May 20, 2008
    I echo everything Elima2015 said.

    Bring your own car seat and stroller, gate check the stroller. I buy tickets for my babies, but sometimes they'll let you bring on the seat if it's not a full flight (FAA approved seat), or put it in the overhead bin. Though it's better than checking the seat through luggage, there are still things that could happen to it or get lost.

    Small crossbody bag for in line, extra set of clothes and socks for diaper bag. Sleep and food so are important. My last baby weaned herself during our first WDW vacation because it was soooo tiring, she just wanted to nap, not nurse. Still makes me sad.

    Be prepared for everything to take 2-3x longer with a baby and embrace the slower pace. It's still gonna be so much fun. My son was 10 months on his first trip and my daughter was 7 weeks her first trip to DLR. :)

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