Disney Under Age 3
Traveling to Walt Disney World with a little one can be difficult, but there are tricks that will help.
When flying, check with your airline if they allow lap children. If so, this usually applies to kids under 3 and can save you the cost of an extra ticket. I don’t know about other airlines, but Southwest will also check your lap child’s carseat and stroller free of charge.
Another perk of taking your youngling with you is that while you are enjoying the parks, they can too…for free. Park admission is free for kids under 3 and so is food at Buffets.
The first thing to check when you go to the parks is the location of the Baby Care Center. This is the place where you can go to feed your child (whether you are nursing or starting baby food), change diapers, buy any baby supplies you forgot at the hotel or forgot to pack, or just relax and let the kids watch tv or a movie for a few minutes without going back to the hotel. The Baby Care Center is usually near the front of the park, but the distance varies.
At Hollywood Studios the Baby Care Center is in the guest relations building to the left as you walk through the turnstiles and you can buy the baby supplies at the kiosk next to it. At Animal Kingdom the location is near the entrance to the Africa area and there is a brightly colored signpost announcing it. At Epcot the Baby Care Center is located all the way around the back of the Discovery Building between Future World and the World Showcase. Magic Kingdom’s Baby Care Center is located off to the side at the end of Main Street, behind the Crystal Palace.
While the Baby Care Center is the best place to do diaper changes, we all know you can’t always wait to change a diaper. That’s why there are changing tables in all the Disney bathrooms. Unfortunately not all of the bathrooms have enough changing tables to accommodate the needs of the parents. As you go through the parks, you’ll get a feel for where the changing tables are. In some bathrooms they are located in the “lobby” areas near the sinks, but in others they are in the handicapped stalls, and in some they are in both locations. Some changing areas are also larger than others so more than one child can be changed at the same time, but others only fit one kid.
The busiest and smallest changing area is in the Magic Kingdom women’s bathroom set between Adventureland and Frontierland. There are tons of stalls, but only one small changing area near the sinks; nothing in any of the handicapped stalls. The line to use the changing area here can get rather long too. I’ve seen at least 4 people waiting in line to use the changing table. As we all know, that can mean anywhere from a 5-20 minute wait, or more, depending on how much time it takes to prep, clean up your little one, get them redressed, and put supplies away.
Of course if you run out of clean changes of clothes for your little one, there is no shortage of clothing locations in each of the parks for you to get extra.
Free table service and buffet dining is another benefit of being under 3 at Disney World. The easiest way to do character meet and greets is at character dining locations where the characters come to your table while you eat. This way you don’t have to stand in a long line for nothing if your kid freaks out when Mickey stands near them. Our 8-month-old wasn’t fazed by Winnie the Pooh and friends when they came to our table at the Crystal Palace, but I’ve seen other kids freak when the big costumed characters get too close. If you think your child might panic near the large plush characters like Mickey or Tigger, I suggest trying either Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom which is mostly the princesses, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot which again is the princesses, or 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian which has Mary Poppins and characters from Alice in Wonderland to ease your little one into meeting characters.