We took Sofia to Disneyland Los Angeles at 8 months (and 10 days). SHE HAD A BLAST.
I initially thought she would be too little to enjoy, but we live so close and I wanted to make it a cute family memory to go every year... So we did, and I am so SO glad I took her at this age. She enjoyed every single minute and ride, and we enjoyed it even more because we lived the Disney Magic through her. She kept waving, smiling, dancing, clapping.... Definitely worth it for the whole family!
Here are my tips for a smooth 12h day at Disney with a baby!
1. Make sure you pack everything you need (full list to come).
2. Bring a light travel stroller (they will make you fold it when you get on a bus for example, and to move around the park: the less bulky the better). For those asking my travel stroller is JET by Silver Cross.
3. Have a little strategy and know where you are going. If you know what rides you want to ride in advanced, and know where you are going next, you will get more done. Otherwise its easy to miss a ride or wonder around (full list of baby friendly rides coming)
4. If the adults want to ride a ride that baby can't: one of you can do the line alone, while the other waits outside, and when it is the next person's turn he/she can skip it completely. Make sure to tell the person at front of the line so he/she can scan your tickets. Or, get on the single line if available.
5. You can't bring your stroller in the lines, but there are stroller parking lots in an area assigned next to each ride. Make sure it is parked where it is assigned or they will move it.
6. It's a long day out and of course, the trick to a happy baby are good naps and food! Her first nap is usually around 9:20am and we got to the park at around 9am, so obviously with all the excitement and rides, she was not going to nap straight away. She did amazing for two hours (being distracted with all the things around her) but by 11:30ish we could tell she was very tired and we put her in the carrier. She fell asleep in a second. We took that time to walk further and to grab lunch ourselves, sit down and relax, as it is a long day of walking. The second nap was also later than usual at around 3:30p, and we took advantage of her sleeping to walk from Disneyland to California Adventure, and when we got there we had another bite and relaxed our feet until she woke up. She made it perfectly until the car at 7:30p, her bed time, and slept as son as she got into the car (after some boob!).
7. Bring the carrier too! We stored it underneath the stroller basket and we used it when needed (for her two naps). The reason why she wouldn't nap on the stroller is because she was there all day while we walked, so having two options for her to be carried on a 12h day is perfect. Of course, your baby can sleep in the stroller and be carried in the carrier awake if that works best for your baby. But the two options helped us tremendously.
8. Since the travel stroller is smaller, it also has less storage space, so we brought two backpacks. Super comfortable because when you park the stroller in the "parking lot" while you are on a ride, you want to bring your bags with you, and two backpacks are super easy to carry in lines, and both your hands are free to hold the baby.
9. The only thing we left in the stroller when we left it were the carrier and the blanket. Both in the underneath basket.
10. There is a Baby Care Center where they offer a room with rocking chairs for nursing moms. There is one in each of the two Parks (the Disneyland center is just off Main Street U.S.A, near the Plaza Inn Restaurant and the Disney’s California Adventure park center is next to Ghirardelli, in the Pacific Wharf area). However, I breastfed where I could, mainly because the park is huge and to go back to where the BCC is, it's a long walk. Also, FYI only mom & baby can walk in (no, dad & other kids can't). And, there may be a wait (space/rooms limited) so don't wait until baby is super hungry to go! On a warm day this may be a good option since it is also air conditioned, a nice break from the heat (the day I went it was very nice, not hot at all, so I didn't feel I needed it for that reason either).
Tips I would give you if you want to feed wherever in the park: obviously find a shady spot but also, bring a light blanket to cover, not so much for you but for the baby, there is SO much going on they easily get distracted and don't eat much, which can make it annoying if you need to stop to breastfeed several times because they are still hungry/thirsty. Also wear a convenient top to nurse anywhere! And, you can remember to breastfeed at a show or at a dark, quiet/slow ride... I did it and it was super comfortable and, we saved time (multitasking!).
11. For diaper changes, I brought a little plastic mat to place her on (that folds super tiny), and I la changed her on the stroller (laying flat) with it. It was super quick and easy. Obviously you can also go to bathrooms (but I feel like those are way dirtier) and, they have a changing room at the Baby Care Center too (with changing rooms), but again, you won't want to go back so far out every time you need to change a diaper!
12. For solid feedings we fed her when it was time to. Lunch and dinner (breakfast was at home). And for special occasions like this, I feed her directly from the food pouches of her regular food (less of a mess,and she can eat without a high chair). So just make sure to bring enough food for all the feedings. I brought a few pouches and fed half for lunch and half for dinner. I brought a large sealed wet bag and included an ice pack in it too to keep cool. It stayed cold all day!
13. I did not bring any toys except a couple teethers for her to chew on while she was on the stroller (tied up to the stroller) and another one to have her chew on in lines (tied up to her dress). She definitely was distracted with everything around her!
14. I also brought disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, as well as kept washing my hands as much as I could.
15. I kept extra hydrated. We brought a water bottle that kept cool and refilled it at the water fountains around the park. I also made sure to keep offering the sippy cup to Sofia more often than usual and refilled hers as well. We were lucky it wasn't a very hot day, but it's always important to keep hydrated when you are out all day, more than usual.