Tips for flying to Disney World with small children

Anyone with small children knows how stressful it can be to travel with a baby or a toddler. Taking your kids out of their routine (even if it means that routine is being replaced with the magic of Disney World) can be stressful. My most recent visit was my daughter’s very first Disney trip. She was only 14 months old. Here are my tips for making that trip a little less stressful.

Flying with Baby

Flying with little ones can be rough. Normally if we are out and my daughter decides to throw a fit I just pick her up and walk outside with her until she calms down. If you are on a plane there is nowhere to go. But there are things you can do to make the trip less chaotic.

First, pick a flight that works for your child’s schedule. If you are able to fly during his or her nap time that can be a real lifesaver. Every time I have flown with my children when they were babies or toddlers, they fell asleep during takeoff. Every. Single. Time. I would try to schedule flights when I thought I might have a chance of getting them to rest. As we were starting to move for takeoff I would have a bottle or cup of milk ready to go. I’d have their favorite blanky or toy. And they’d be out when we were taking off. Having milk ready for them to drink during takeoff and landing can also help with any ear popping discomfort they might experience.

Did you know you can take milk or formula through security if it’s for your baby? Just let the TSA agent know that you have milk for your child. They will check it and let you go on your way.

You can also take your stroller or car seat through security. If you have a little one that needs to ride in a stroller or car seat through the airport, fear not! You can take all of that through with you. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pull baby out of the car seat or stroller to walk through the metal detector. You’ll also have to fold the stroller and put it up on the x-ray belt. But I’ve done it! It can be done! And when you get to your gate, let the gate agent know that you want to gate check your stroller and/or car seat. They’ll stick a tag on your items, and when you board the plane you can leave the stroller at the door. When you get off the plane your items will be there waiting for you, so you can put baby back in his or her stroller and be on your way.

Renting a Car with Baby

If you are renting a car during your Disney visit, and don’t want to lug your own car seat, I highly recommend reaching out to your car rental company to make sure they have the appropriate car seat for your child. All of the big companies offer car seat rental, but they don’t all guarantee that they will have what you need.

On a recent trip, we arrived at the airport from Chicago only to find out that our car seat was STILL IN CHICAGO! Somehow it didn’t make it on the plane. If you are worried about this happening to you, don't worry. When this happened we learned that the airlines keep car seats for just this situation. They were able to lend us the appropriately sized car seat for our daughter. They put our car seat on the next flight out from Chicago. When it arrived they delivered our car seat right to our resort.

Magical Express with Baby

Magical express is personally my favorite way to get to my Disney World Resort. If you are traveling with a baby or toddler you don’t have to worry about lugging around a car seat or renting one for your visit. Our daughter loved the Magical Express ride because the buses are large and there are televisions on board that play Disney cartoons during the ride. She was able to comfortably sit in my lap the entire time.

If you aren’t comfortable holding your little one on a bus, you can also attach your car seat to the seats on the bus. I learned this recently on a Disney World trip with my entire family. My brother’s daughter was only 4 months old at the time, and they had her in a car seat. The driver kindly offered to help them get the car seat attached to the seat of the bus.

Have Groceries Delivered

If your child is anything like my children, you’ll go through approximately 5,798 diapers a day. Ok, so maybe not THAT many. But it certainly feels like it. And no one wants to pack and carry a million diapers, plus formula, plus pureed food, and on and on and on. My point is babies and small children need some very specific items, and the thought of packing all of these items might seem overwhelming (not to mention HEAVY).

On our trips to Disney World I pack enough diapers and food items for 1-2 days. When I arrive at the resort I place an order through Amazon Prime Now. I ordered diapers for the trip, wipes, and any other items my little one might need. They can deliver in a 2-hour window, which is amazing. They will deliver to the front desk and hold either with the concierge or with the luggage hold area.

Prime Now isn’t your only option. It just happens to be my personal favorite. The delivery fee is minimal, and the order minimum is only $20. The only downside is you must be an Amazon Prime member.

If you aren’t a Prime Member you can use Garden Grocer. Their website offers delivery to Disney World Resorts for a $14 delivery fee. The order minimum is $40 for this service. A plus is that if you plan your delivery ahead of time you can get a percentage discount on your order.

Take Breaks During the Day

On our first trip to Disney with my daughter, I thought that we might be able to power through and let her nap in her stroller and we’d be fine touring the parks all day. Oh, how wrong I was. Our trip was in June and it was hot, and by the end of day 1, she was cranky and hot and MAD. So mad that she decided to throw a cup of Cranberry juice in the lobby area of the Boathouse Restaurant in Disney Springs. After that fun little incident, we learned that taking a break was necessary for everyone in our group. We decided that after our morning tour, we would have lunch and head back to the resort. The little kids can nap. The older kids can swim at the pool. And soon everyone is cooled off and rested and ready to hit the parks again. Not only will everyone feel refreshed, but you’ll miss the afternoon crowds, and the afternoon heat!

Be Flexible

I am a planner. I plan and I over plan. But the thing about kids is that they don’t care about your plans. On one of our Disney trips, I THOUGHT that I had planned everything perfectly. I got all of the fastpass+ rides I wanted. I blocked off times for naps. I got some great restaurant reservations. It was perfect. Turns out my oldest suddenly decided that rides were OK, but he was more interested in meeting characters. My middle child suddenly decided that rides were scary, but he’s too cool for characters. My youngest decided that her afternoon nap should be a 10 am morning nap instead of an afternoon nap. All of my plans were suddenly thrown out the window. We moved around rides and prioritized character meals. We changed up our break time so baby could nap. We spent a little extra time at the pool for my middle son. It wasn’t exactly what I planned, but being flexible allowed everyone to have a magical vacation. And I would not have changed a thing!

Still confused or need help?

I am happy to help! Contact me.

See you at the parks,
-Julie

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