Travelling with kids can be daunting, to say the least. I don’t know about you, but I stressed about what to bring, what to pack, when would they nap, etc. With a little bit of planning, you can sleep easy feeling prepared for your upcoming adventure. If you’d like a packing list, check out our previous blog here.
***UPDATED MARCH 28th 2019***
(New restrictions, effective May 1 2019, are listed at the end of this post.)
If you have kids four and under, bring a stroller. I am not ashamed to say, maybe even five and under. “We don’t really use a stroller”. Wrong. In Disneyland, you do. Even if you’re super committed to the bicep workout of walking 20 km with an extra 20 pound child in your arms, you need a stroller. Even if only to hold your stuff, you need a stroller. Once we were past the point we could get away with a stroller, the whole packing game changes drastically. It’s no longer “throw it into the stroller”. I miss the convenience of it! And at the end of the night popping your kids into the stroller is invaluable. Trust us. Don’t skip the stroller. For tips on packing said stroller, check out our post here.
Finding your stroller
Now, on any given day, there are probably about a million strollers in the parks. Okay, okay, so maybe only half a million. But you get the picture. It is helpful if you can quickly identify your stroller in the sea of other strollers. We like to add ribbons to the handles so that as we are scanning the abyss that is known as stroller parking, we can see where ours is (even if it is four strollers deep, and you have to individually move each and every one of those strollers until you finally get to yours). I bought a second hand stroller for our 3rd child (we no longer needed the giant double stroller) and I purposefully looked for a BOB stroller that wasn’t black. And we found one that was GREEN! Game changer. You want one that easily steers with one hand, is pretty lightweight, can hold lots of stuff (PRO TIP: try the “tipping” test… see if the stroller doesn’t tip over without a kid in it… or even worse, WITH a kid in it) and easily folds up for trams and shuttles if needed.
This is going to be my first time with a stroller in Disneyland so I’ve stocked up on some key things to accessorize and make use of the space. First off, my daughter HATES hats or sunglasses, which, considering the weather in summer, makes for some hard times. Perfect for those who are literally “fairest of them all”. Then I found this UV and bug net from Walmart! It comes with a little baggie attached at the top that you can shove it back into and clip onto your handles if you want. Also of note: a mommy clip. If you don’t have one, they are a life saver and you can even get Mickey Mouse head shaped ones. (How cute is that?)
Also, since you have the space anyways, we recommend a little cooler for all your drinks and snacks you are bringing with you. I found one at Winner’s that can hang off the handles.
Pop a wrap in your stroller. They’re great for when you’re hopping into a line and it’s nap time.
Pay attention for “stroller parking” signs. They can be fairly easily identified by the strollers parked by them. Sometimes there isn’t a designated stroller parking area, so usually you can put your stroller along a wall. I like to find a spot beside another stroller, because strength in numbers. If you return to your stroller, and you cannot find your stroller, it is most likely that a cast member has moved your stroller to a designated stroller parking area. This has only happened if I’ve parked close to a designated area, but not IN a designated area. Catch my drift? And sometimes, you WILL have parked in the designated area, but just for fun (just kidding, it’s not for fun, it’s to make space) they will move the strollers. I swear there are cast members whose sole job is to move strollers all day long. For instance, by Finding Nemo and Autopia… there is stroller parking, and all day long, there are cast members lining up strollers.
Strollers can also be moved due to parade routes and shows. Specifically Fantasmic. There is stroller parking along the Rivers of America across from Pirates of the Caribbean. Around 7:30 pm they start prepping for the 9 pm show. The strollers are then moved to the walkway that leads to Tarzan’s Treehouse, alongside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. If you plan on watching Fantasmic, it is best if you park your stroller in this area, and then watch the show. It gets incredibly hectic at this time, and there are a lot of people walking, so give yourself a little extra time to get your stroller in place before watching the show.
Little-known stroller facts
Another thing is you can’t take strollers in line-ups. There are no exceptions to this. Sleeping baby? NOPE. Cranky toddler that needs a leg break? Think again. There are still several options. You can send your group to the ride you want to go on, and then meet up with them in the line-up when said toddler/baby wakes up. I find people and cast members are really gracious with this. This is not to say that you can send Dad in the line-up and then have the four of you elbow your way to the front of the line when it’s almost your turn. EVERYONE should be in line but one adult and the child. I had an Ergo that I kept in the bottom of my stroller. Many rides allow you to get on while baby wearing, so this was a good option. If your toddler needs a break from standing, pop them in the carrier on your back. It’s much easier than holding them.
The other option is to bring your stroller to the beginning of the ride and get a riders switch pass. You DO have to show them the baby or child, they won’t just “take your word for it”. Then everyone else rides while you wait (great time to hit up shops on Main Street, get a coffee for the adults, or just people watch… totally fun), and you switch off after and go on the ride with a shorter line up. For more information on this, check out our post here.
Make sure you grab everything you need before leaving your stroller. Many a time we have had to try and exit a line to grab something that was forgotten. Usually snacks, or maybe the camera. Line-ups are a great time to feed your cranky toddler. It keeps them occupied and it’s a great time saver. Another great thing to grab for line-ups is sunscreen if it’s time to reapply (lotion, not the spray… I’m sure not everyone around you would want to be sprayed with SPF 70).
Stroller Regulation Update
If you read this post before March 28th, 2019 you would’ve seen that we recommended a wagon stroller. We had seen them become increasingly more popular in the parks. However, Disney put out a statement that they have changed the rules for strollers and a few other things that impact families.
Here are the new guidelines:
These rules come with some mixed feelings. I think we can all agree it was getting increasingly more difficult to get around the parks with over-sized strollers and wagons. I have even seen some people that were in groups that had wagons WITHOUT kids. It’s definitely a change, but I think it’s a welcome one. We are hearing that some of the more popular double strollers like City Select are no longer within the guidelines. We thought perhaps they would be loosely enforcing some of these things, but have been reading that there will be a place where you will have to measure your stroller, and if it doesn’t fit, too bad so sad. We definitely recommend knowing before you go, and double checking the size. I can’t think of anything worse than getting to the gates and being turned away!
Both Disneyland and DCA have a Baby Centre. (Centre? Center? Forgive us, we’re Canadian.) The Disneyland centre is between the end of Main Street and the entrance to Tomorrow Land. In DCA it is around the corner from Pacific Wharf beside Cars Land.
Basically anything you need baby-wise, they have. Services are complimentary (microwave use, change tables, child bathrooms, high chairs), while goods are available for purchase:
I found that they were very reasonably priced, which was really nice to see. There were also nursing areas, but due to the location of the Baby Centres, I found that it was easier to either pop into a bathroom or just feed the baby in line/wherever we were. However, the centres did have nice chairs and a quiet atmosphere. There was also a little seating area for older children to watch a movie while you’re changing bums/heating food/nursing/taking care of a human being.
Have any other tips or questions about strollers or the baby centers? Comment below!
Have a magical day!
Elisia, Erica, Danielle and Heidi