As I’m sure it’s clear, we’re big Disney fans around here, and spend frequent time at the local parks and doing Disney Travel. We love non Disney travel as well, especially the less touristy things, but as I’ve said, Disney is still a classic family experience and has ways to break the tourist mold as well. Mr. CT and I actually met at Disneyland so we have a personal history there and our kids have grown up there. As a travel agent, I specialize in Disney and Mr. CT’s company is now owned by Disney, so we have a fair investment in them, too (bias declared! 🙂 )
Moments like these make the kids at Disney worth it 😉
In any case, once we had our kids, Disney and all theme park stuff changed drastically. Many friends think it’s crazy to try to deal with little ones at the parks until they’re old enough to appreciate it. While this is certainly true on some levels, the thing you miss out on until kids are three years old is that they’re FREE (whoo hoo!), and there’s also plenty to do for all of the family inside Disney parks, and many others like Legoland or Knott’s for that matter. (Universal I would save for older kids, but that’s another story). So how do you survive at Disney with kids? We usually go early and take breaks (if staying on property) and return in the evening. As locals, we are fortunate to go for a few hours and then head home. But regardless my advice is the same – maximize that low crowd time when the parks open, or bring pajamas and come back in the evening. There’s really nothing more magical than an empty Main Street before people arrive first thing! We’ve learned if we try to stay all day or do too much, the kiddos lose it. They really need that down time for naps or a swim in the middle of the day, especially when they are young. We bring lots of snacks on a regular basis, to keep eating on the go and in line and avoid low blood sugar meltdowns. We do sometimes splurge and eat in the parks, but save that for special occasions or to try something new. Favorite Disney snacks of the kiddos include popcorn, fruit, or treats 😉
I wanted to highlight the amazing Child Care Centers, available at all Disney parks and often at non Disney Theme Parks as well. These photos are from the one in Disney California Adventure. The care centers feature a nursing area, clean changing tables (WAY better than the public restrooms!), and toddler potties for guests under 45″. My daughter is four but she is petite, and still much prefers these bathrooms to the public ones. Plus, she gets a Mickey sticker, even though shes getting a little old for the potty training rewards 😉 They have diapers available, sinks and bottle washing equipment, high chairs, and other feeding and baby/little kid needs. They are big sanity savers for your visit!
Child Services Center Entrance
Clean changing area for babes
Private Nursing Area and Toddler Potty!
Prize sticker 😉
If you’re looking for more resources on Disney sanity with kids, I highly recommend both the app/website we run, Disneyland Inside Out, to get on your phone and check out the Resort Guide. The Magic Kingdom Mamas are also an amazing resource on all things kids at Disney. I’ll definitely be sharing more travel tips with kids in theme parks when we hit up Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris in the year ahead. 🙂 Feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need help planning your own vacation! Happy traveling!