“We should take Hayden to Disneyland for her 1st birthday!” The sentence literally made me cringe. I hate the lines and chaos of that place without a baby and you want me to go there now… ARE YOU CRAZY!?!
As I let the idea sink in, the more I realized I didn’t want my daughter to miss out on the magic and wonder I had at Disneyland as a small child and at some point I was going to have to suck it up. So reluctantly, I put on my big girl pants and started planning ways to survive the park without losing my mind.
I am still, to this day, in shock from the outcome. To my surprise, we had the best time ever! And….I can’t wait to take her again. Yah I know…. I am just as surprised as you!
Here is how I survived and actually enjoyed being at the Happiest Place on Earth with a baby!
Download the Disneyland App:
It’s free! I would highly suggest downloading the app before getting to Disneyland so you don’t have to waste precious time setting it up. Make sure to pre-purchase your tickets to avoid waiting forever in long lines before even getting into the park.
Some of the perks of the app:
- Purchase Tickets (Saves major time in line!)
- Up-to-Date Ride Wait Times
- FASTPASS Return Times
- Character Meeting – Times and Locations
- Mobile Ordering (More on this later!)
- Restaurant Reservations
- Show Times
- Park Hours
- Park Map
The Baby Care Center
This is a life saver! Disneyland has really stepped up their game by offering this small slice of heaven to moms, dads, babies and toddlers.
Not only is it private and has A/C, for some reason it was never busy. It has all the essentials and is a place to retreat to if you need to get out of the madness with your little one. My husband swears The Baby Care Center is the main reason I am willing to go to Disneyland again!
This complimentary safe haven includes:
- Changing room with tables
- Private nursing room
- Feeding area with high chairs
- Small toddler size toilets for those potty training kiddos
- Kitchen with microwave and sink to heat up and wash bottles
- Supplies you can purchase if you forgot something at home and are in a pinch (i.e. diapers, wipes, formula, baby food, and other baby basics)
Mobile Order your Food
AMEN!!!!! GAME CHANGER! Lines and babies don’t mix (unless they are sleeping). This perk, in the Disneyland app, made my day.
You can pick the restaurant or food stand of your choice and even select any pick up time throughout the day. This allows you to just show up, grab and go!
Rides Fun for Babies and Adults
Surprise…surprise! You actually can take your baby on enough rides to fill your entire day. We didn’t make it on all of the ones I mapped out so we even have some new ones for next time.
Here is the list of rides that work for you and your baby/toddler:
- It’s a Small World
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Jungle Cruise
- Disneyland Railroad
- King Arthur’s Carrousel
- Storyteller at the Royal Theatre
- Minnie’s House in Mickey’s Toontown
- Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyers Island
- The ManyAdventures of Winnie the Pooh in Critter Country
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster
- The Enchanted Tiki Room
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- Mickey and the Magical Map
- Sailing Ship Columbia
- Mark Twain Riverboat
- Main Street Vehicles
- Peter Pan’s Flight
- Storybook Land Canal Boats
- Alice in Wonderland
- Mad Tea Party
- Finding Nemo Submarine Ride
The Dreaded Nap
I wish I could say my daughter is on a strict sleep schedule, but honestly she’s not. The idea of Hayden needing a nap and us not being in the most “peaceful” environment was a stressful thing for me that I knew I would have to tackle in the moment.
Guess what ladies and gentlemen….IT WAS EASIER THAN I EXPECTED and there is a trick to it.
It’s a Small World! The gentle rocking of the boat, singing and dim lights had Hayden asleep by the end. She literally zonked out the second the ride was rounding the bend to go back outside.
I carried my sleeping baby to our stroller as she got her ZZZZZZ’s for the next almost hour or so. Mom Win!
Deck-out that Stroller
I was bombarded with stories from my mom friends warning about the nightmare of stroller parking at Disneyland. Each had their own tale about strollers getting moved and the frustration they felt navigating the endless sea of strollers to hopefully and eventually stumble across theirs.
Well I am happy to report, I had no issue with this by simply applying an awesome mom hack…DON’T BRING IT! I am just kidding! DECORATE YOUR STROLLER!!!
Hayden’s luau themed birthday was a few days prior so I grab two of the brightest leis I could find and wrapped them around the sides of the stroller.
Voila’…It was so easy to spot! I know genius, right! While others searched for their stroller, we were able to locate ours from 50 feet away. It was that simple!
HELPFUL TIP: As of May 1, 2019, all strollers entering Disneyland must be no wider than 31 inches and no longer than 52 inches.
Don’t Miss the Parade
I feel like this seems obvious especially with a little one, but I have to be honest, my husband and I contemplated skipping it.
We are so glad we didn’t! Hayden smiled, laughed and danced throughout the entire thing. Seeing her pure happiness made the entire visit to Disneyland worth it!
I danced around with Hayden like a fool, singing the songs to her while her eyes lit up with amazement. It’s by far my favorite memory from our entire day at the park.
Get their early! Main Street fills up quick and you want to get a good spot for your little one so they can see everything!
Don’t Forget your Celebration Button
We waited until the end of the day to ask for a “1st Visit” button for Hayden. Yikes….potential mom fail! Every shop on Main Street was completely out (we asked)! It seemed like it was going to be a No-Go…UNTIL…the very last stand by the gate told us to check the Disney Store in Downtown Disney.
JACKPOT….they had them! You would have thought my husband and I won the lottery.
Don’t be like us and wait until the end of the day to ask! But when in doubt, you can get one at the Downtown Disney Store….who would have thought!
Enjoy the Moments
The smile and excitement on Hayden’s face was so very special. It made me fall back in love with this magical place all over again. I got to experience Disneyland through her eyes and that simple amazement is why I can’t wait to go again!