Last Updated on May 5, 2021
We admit, we were really skeptical about what taking a one year old to Disneyland would be like. Traveling from Vancouver, BC, (though not far) we wondered if it would be worth it. After all, we were the ones that swore we would never take a kid to Disneyland until they were at least five, because then they would be able to have at least some memory of the trip. But, as Debbie’s 30th birthday was approaching, and Madison’s first birthday has just passed, we decided that the fun trip to do would be Disneyland, and to include Debbie’s twin sister, Diana.
Maybe it is Madison’s easy-going personality. She is the baby that always smiles and will attack you with endless kisses and affection. Madison made Disneyland simple and added more magic to Disneyland than I could have ever imagined. With her, Disneyland was so much more than I remembered.
When I held my beautiful girl in my arms as we soared through the air on Dumbo’s back, spun around in a tea cup and saw her excitement with meeting characters, I knew those moments mattered. She may not have any memories from this trip, but she will have photos and video clips and us adults will remember this trip and the magic for the rest of our lives. And, even though she won’t remember it, for that slice in time we were full of complete joy.
Nothing scared Madison. The chaos that is Disneyland excited her. From her first sighting of Mickey Mouse, and all the kisses that followed the first Mickey kiss, Madison was enchanted with all that surrounded her. She couldn’t meet (and kiss) enough Disney characters. She didn’t get scared when she saw them, but instead got upset when she had to walk away and wanted more time with them. Belle seemed to be the favorite princess and Madison couldn’t give her enough kisses it seemed. Fully costumed or not, Madison loved them all. And, so did we.
We were impressed with how many rides Madison could actually go on. Fantasy land had a large amount, but overall there were quite a few (See our “Top 10 Disneyland rides for babies and toddlers“). Madison seemed to love the movement, be it spinning on the Tea Cups, riding the carousel, or the movement through rides with scenes from all your favorite Disney movies.
Here are some tips and tricks about taking a baby or toddler to Disneyland:
- The Baby Care Center is wonderful. You will find one both in Disneyland and California Adventure. Complete with a private nursing area for Mommy and babe, large cushioned changing tables, and an air-conditioned break away from the chaos. The center sells all the supplies you could need – diapers, wipes, diaper cream, as well as an area to heat up baby food or meals as the restaurants won’t be able to do this for you.
- We opted to bring Madison’s stroller from home. It’s good quality, comfortable for her, she is used to it and loves it. It made napping in the stroller easy for her, which allowed us plenty of time to ride the restricted rides.
- Don’t leave valuables in the stroller when you leave it in stroller parking – bring a bag that you can put over your shoulder.
- Though Madison is great at sleeping in her stroller, we still ended up going back in the afternoon for a short swim to cool down and freshen up. We feel this really helped Madison get through the day smoothly.
- In addition to baby essentials such as diapers, wipes and diaper cream, remember to pack spare clothes for any messes. Jackets and a blanket in case it gets cool after dark. The blankets are also helpful for covering the stroller during nap time.
- We also made sure we had sippy cups and containers filled with healthy goodies and brought organic squeeze food pouches for easy and healthy baby eating. Food was accessible for her as soon as she vocalized she was hungry.
- At Disneyland, the Fantasyland dark rides can be very scary for young children. However, Madison was completely fine with them. So fine, in fact, that she didn’t even fuss or complain during Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Arrive early – you will be able to get on a handful of baby-friendly rides before the line-ups get large.
- Take advantage of Rider Switch passes. These are super helpful for guests with family members who cannot experience certain attractions. If you can combine this with a Fast Pass, it is even better. You typically ask the person who takes the Fast Pass from you, or the employee that seats you on the ride (if not using a Fast Pass) for a Switch Pass. You take the pass back to whoever is waiting for you and the pass is good for up to three people and they are able to use the Fast Pass lane, so you don’t have to wait in a long line twice. This was particularly helpful for Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Radiator Springs Racers and Grizzly River Run.
- Announce when a ride or character interaction has ended. We found it helpful to have Madison wave “bye bye”, though leaving a character interaction still upset her for a moment.
- Pin-up a button reflecting your celebration – ask for a button at guest services. To be honest, Madison never actually wore her “1st Visit” button, but it is a great keepsake.
What are some tips you have for taking a baby to Disneyland? Share your comments below!