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  1. #1

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    New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Hi Guys,

    I became a new dad a month ago. As you parents know, this becomes a life-changer. There are things you were able to do before that change once you have one.

    One of those changes for me will be trips to Disneyland. As an seasoned AP, nothing was more enjoyable then going to Disneyland whenever I wanted, staying as long as I wanted, hanging out with the wife and/or friends, and riding anything I want.

    Now when I go, I'll be spending more time on the things I usually don't do at the park, i.e. kid rides and meet and greets.

    It will surely be a fun experience, as I relearn Disneyland from a new perspective. I never paid attention to what the parents do at the parks, and now I will!

    I wanted to ask you parents out there, can you give me some pointers/advice on taking little ones to DLR? Primarily, I'm looking for advice on the following:

    - How early age-wise you took your kids to the park
    - How long you typically stay
    - Things to put in the diaper bag, other than diapers
    - Getting in and out of trams (with strollers and baby) successfully
    - Wise to take your own stroller, or rent? Also, do I have to worry about theft if I bring my own?
    - Taking them to the Meet and Greets (Meeting Mickey without having them cry)
    - Places to go when they get restless/tired (especially when the park is busy)
    - How does the parent ride swap work? Does it work for every ride? Do you use the regular entrances?
    - Anything other pointers you can provide are appreciated

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    One thing about meet and greets -- don't assume all kids naturally like them. We took DIP Jr for the first time around his first birthday. It was perfect. We walked into the park and saw Mickey hanging out with no line or anything. We took him to go see him and he started screaming with fear. We were surprised as he never was one to cry too much. But he quickly calmed down once we left the area, and we had an enjoyable day. But it is interesting that now 13, he still has little interest in the characters.

  3. #3

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Congrats and welcome to the club!!!!
    It is a change but I found it very easy to take our daughter and our son, we took them for the first time at 5 months. She loved to look at all the people and characters. My son LOVED the nighttime shows. We did not do meet and greets we just would walk up to the side so they could see the characters. Now at age 3 my daughter she is still not that into meet and greets (she is not shy) but she just likes to look at the characters. She sometimes likes to hug them but it varies.
    We stay as long as we like and know they like. We start early so we can to the fantasyland rides and go until we needed a break. The baby would just nap in the carrier.
    You will love the baby center, for feeding, changing, and resting.
    I did not use a stroller until they wanted to walk. I use my Mai tai or Bjorn. I just strap her on and walk all around the park, in line and on the ride. I only take her out to change her or feed her. When she started walking, we had to deal with the stroller it became more of an issue. I have not found that easy so I will be eagerly reading other peoples advise.
    In terms of diaper bag I use a Ziploc gallon bag for the park with just diapers, wipes, and butt paste that way I just pull it out and go.
    As they get older I pack a gallon bag for feeding. With spoons, disposable bibs, table covers, High chair support (for when they are too small), snacks, and of course baby food (which you can bring glass baby food jars.
    Enjoy, I do think taking kids takes more planning and flexibility then just going as adults. But when you see them light up at Mickey or the fireworks it is worth it.




    This one time on Friends . . .

  4. #4

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Quote Originally Posted by 40 mph View Post
    - How early age-wise you took your kids to the park
    - How long you typically stay
    - Things to put in the diaper bag, other than diapers
    - Getting in and out of trams (with strollers and baby) successfully
    - Wise to take your own stroller, or rent? Also, do I have to worry about theft if I bring my own?
    - Taking them to the Meet and Greets (Meeting Mickey without having them cry)
    - Places to go when they get restless/tired (especially when the park is busy)
    - How does the parent ride swap work? Does it work for every ride? Do you use the regular entrances?
    - Anything other pointers you can provide are appreciated
    The first two go together. If you stay longer you need more in the diaper bag. Basics are a blanket for warmth or shade, sunscreen, formula/milk, extra onesie/clothes. Changing pad and wipes to go with the diapers.

    It's nice to have your own stroller to get from the car to the gates. Stroller theft is not common, few people need a stroller enough to steal one, but thiefs will eye ones with a purse of camera bag left on it. Make yours identyfiable when it's there with 100 other strollers getting sorted by CMs.

    You have to ease into ride, and character meet and greets. Figure out ther likes and dislikes, they will relapse after making progress on everything, from using a toilet, to talking and using forks.

    You will learn the quiet/shady spots like on TSI There is also the Baby Care Center at the hub end, east side of Main Street near First Aid in DL, and near at the Pacific Wharf in DCA near the Boudin Bakery.

    Rider Switch works on most attractions, ask the CM at the entrance, you cans till use FastPass with this. Party AB splits up. Part A goes in and rides and gets part B the Rider Switch ticket. Part A give the ticket to part B, then Part B enters as the ticket instructs, sometimes through an exit or the FP lines.

    Congradulations on being a new parent. Don't worry you will figure it out, our parents did.

  5. #5

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    First, congratulations - you are entering what is going to be some of the best and most memorable times of your life!

    As far as your questions go, we started taking our daughter at 4 months old, and she is almost 20 and still buys herself an annual pass every year. We used to take everything we could (extra clothes in addition to all the normal diaper bag stuff), and never had a problem with any losses from our stroller. We never rented, but that was personal preference. And our daughter loved all of the characters and never cried, but that really depends on the child - she did go through a phase where Captain Hook scared her, but then she also loved Maleficent, too! But overall, ENJOY!

  6. #6

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Quote Originally Posted by 40 mph View Post
    Hi Guys,

    I became a new dad a month ago. As you parents know, this becomes a life-changer. There are things you were able to do before that change once you have one.

    One of those changes for me will be trips to Disneyland. As an seasoned AP, nothing was more enjoyable then going to Disneyland whenever I wanted, staying as long as I wanted, hanging out with the wife and/or friends, and riding anything I want.

    Now when I go, I'll be spending more time on the things I usually don't do at the park, i.e. kid rides and meet and greets.

    It will surely be a fun experience, as I relearn Disneyland from a new perspective. I never paid attention to what the parents do at the parks, and now I will!

    I wanted to ask you parents out there, can you give me some pointers/advice on taking little ones to DLR? Primarily, I'm looking for advice on the following:

    - How early age-wise you took your kids to the park
    Our youngest was a week shy of his first birthday. he did ok... but it did present challenges.
    - How long you typically stay
    I'm assuming how long each day? We ended up syaying in the park from just after open to close each day. Of course there were moments where we had to just hang out and relax somewhere to let him wobble around so he didn't get to tired from sitting in his stroller. He ended up taking most naps in the stroller so that allowed us to stay in the park longer.
    - Things to put in the diaper bag, other than diapers
    I know Disneyland's policy is no outside food but with a small baby.... We brought ziplocks of crakers, cherios, etc... extra formula, extra bottles, extra clothes. Pack entire outfits both for warm and cold. It changes during the day and it's nice to have the right atire for the baby. Also a extra blanket for those late nights when they want to be snuggly warm. Oh yea... Ditch the diaper bag... take a backpack. much easier to carry around with you.
    - Getting in and out of trams (with strollers and baby) successfully
    We walked from our hotel so I'm not sure on this one. Make sure you know how to collapse your strolelr quickly and don't have it too full of stuff already.
    - Wise to take your own stroller, or rent? Also, do I have to worry about theft if I bring my own?
    We took our own... but we put a couple of luggage tags that we made on it so it was easy to pick out of the crowd. I have heard of strollers disappearing so don't bring a fancy one. but do bring one that your child is comfortable in. I'm not to keen on rental strollers.
    - Taking them to the Meet and Greets (Meeting Mickey without having them cry)
    This will depend on the child. Have them watch disney stuff that has the characters in it that you want them to meet. Our baby would toddle up to any character that we went to while our 4 year old was scared of almost all of them. (and he loves watching all things disney). Don't be offended if you wait in line only to have your child take one look and start screaming.
    - Places to go when they get restless/tired (especially when the park is busy)
    We found Big Thunder ranch or the area down around Pooh to be fairly dead most of the time. It was a space that he could move around in without the fear of running into other people. Other than that they have childcare facilities that are really well laid out if you need something like a place to change a diaper or have them take a break away from all the excitement.

    - How does the parent ride swap work? Does it work for every ride? Do you use the regular entrances?
    When you go up to a ride tell the CM that you are doing a ride swap. They will give you some sort of ticket that shows that you are doing this. your spouse will wait outside of the ride while you ride it. You then give them the swap pass and you stay with your child. Depending on the ride they will either send you down the exit ramp or in the fastpass line. I remember on Autopia it was go in the exit and straight onto a loading ramp. Space mountain was in the fast pass line. Indy was up the exit to a certain point then cut over into the regular line. BTMRR was in the fast pass...
    - Anything other pointers you can provide are appreciated
    Be patient, remember that they are with you, you know have to move on their time and schedule. Don't overwhelm them with trying to do to much in one day.

    And most of all... Bring your camera. Get low to the ground and take the pictures from their perspective... and HAVE FUN.

    Thanks for your help![/QUOTE]

  7. #7

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    - How early age-wise you took your kids to the park-We took our son at one, two and three.

    - How long you typically stay-Two to three days

    - Things to put in the diaper bag, other than diapers, Snacks, sippy cup, something to keep them entertained during the wait times.

    - Getting in and out of trams (with strollers and baby) successfully, Just watch others, you will find most people give you space and time to unload.

    - Wise to take your own stroller, or rent? Also, do I have to worry about theft if I bring my own? We took our own, just easier that way and you know how much stuff you can store in it.
    I have never had a problem with theft from the strollers.

    - Taking them to the Meet and Greets (Meeting Mickey without having them cry)Our son loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so he was pumped to actually go to there house and meet them all.


    - Places to go when they get restless/tired (especially when the park is busy) If your nursing there is a place on main street ( near corn dog cart) to breast feed and change them. But the best to is plan a nap and go back to the hotel. Watch your childs signs that they are tired, hungry etc.

    - How does the parent ride swap work? Does it work for every ride? Do you use the regular entrances? Works for every ride and you go through the exit.

    - Anything other pointers you can provide are appreciated REMEMBER, visisting Disneyland is NO LONGER about you or your wife. it is about everyone in the family now. So make sure you take in every ones needs. Pre plan things now.


    My wife and I have been long time Disneyland fans and since he have had our son and taking him we have had to really change the way we do the parks. It is really to special to see thir eyes light up and experiance the magic.

    Just my two cents.

  8. #8

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Thanks so far to everyone and their responses.

    One thing I forgot to mention was I'm a local. A few have mentioned resting in their hotel, of which I wouldn't qualify. But it's great to know!

  9. #9

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    My personal opinion on the matter is to NOT bring a child to Disneyland when they are an infant. They may enjoy the experience, but probably no more so than they would just getting together with familiar people and playing with their favorite toys. I actually don't think it's worth it to take a child until they are at least two, and probably more like three years old. Earlier than that, and they aren't even likely to remember the experience later on. Besides, having to repeatedly change diapers, doing bottle feedings, and having to keep the kid in the stroller the whole time, can make what should be a lot of fun a lot less fun. Also, if the kid can walk a bit on there own, or at least stand up in lines part-time, it helps a lot. I actually speak from experience, here. We tool my daughter when she was just under two years old, and it was a LOT less fun than when we went back, after she was three years old.

    As for how long to stay: As others said, it depends largely on when the kid seems to be running out of steam (cranky kids + crouds, noise, unfamiliar surroundings = ugh!) and/or when you are worn out from handling Disneyland and the kid.

    What to bring? Extras of the key stuff, but don't overload. Getting through Disneyland with a stroller, diaper bag and back-up backpack is annoying. Make sure to bring one set, each, of cold weather and warm weather clothes. You may not think it's gotten cold after then sun sets, but the little one might disagree. Also, extra snacks that are quick and easy to get to, and that are not too messy, are a must. Kids can swear that they're not hungry for a meal, then turn around and be 'starving' half and hour later.

    As for getting around with the kid and stroller, especially when sharing tight spaces with others, just realize that you have reduced mobility and take up more room around you. Don't rush as much, and take your time with things like trams. It will help avoid collisions with other guests. DO NOT use the stroller as a means to wedge your way through crowds. If you are in a thickly crowded area (like the main thoroughfare in Adventureland) I would recommend folding up the stroller and carrying the kid. Otherwise, there is too much opportunity for bruised ankled, people tripping over or into the stroller, and general aggravation with navigating through the sea of people.

    How to handle Meet and Greets is pretty much common sense: If your kid handles meeting new people really well, they aren't really shy, AND they don't tend to get upset when faced with new, out of the ordinary situations, then they will probably enjoy these experiences. Again, this also depends on their age. Little babies may be OK with being help be Mickey and friends, because they aren't aware of the bigger details around them. Then, between one and two years old, I think a lot of kids would get more easily freaked-out by being put into the clutches of the big, scary creature. How familiar they are with said characters is another important consideration.

    Places to go when they get restless/tired? Shows, slow rides with short lines (if any are available), or... home. If you have an annual pass, pick your battles, and know when everybody has had enough, then come back. It's a weakest link situation - if you feel fine, but the kid doesn't, accept that it's time to go. Also, if you have a pass, pick the slowest days to try going to the park with the kid. Slow days are the most fun for everybody, and provide for a low-stress day for everybody.

    Parent ride swap is really something that has to be figured out per-ride. If one parent is tired of pushing the stroller, holding the baby, etc, then it's their time to get onto a ride they'll enjoy. If possible, bring one or more grandparents. They ALWAYS enjoy holding the baby (well, almost always), and are less likely to be concerned with how many rides they can get on. They can take care of the baby while both parents take a ride together. (When you're a parent, a little time alone with just the partner can be a rare commodity.) And, then the grandparents can get their own rides in while the parents take the kid.

    If the kid is old enough to have an opinion on what they do/don't want to ride, you pretty much have to go with the flow. Don't get upset if you don't get to ride your favorites and have to take several of rides you could care less for. You hit the nail on the head when you said you have to enjoy the park through their eyes, and it has to be from their perspective, too.
    Last edited by BiggestDisneyFan; 01-09-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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  10. #10

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    We had our first baby back in March, so I figure I might be able to answer a couple of your questions:

    1) We took our daughter to DisneyWorld (5 straight days) when she was 10 weeks old. Were/are we the smartest parents? No. But she did great. She had baby ear plugs in case the noise got too loud, she had all her food and toys, a stroller that she could nap in, etc. She never once fussed or cried, and it was a great experience. We also went in November for three days (she was 8 months old) and she did great then, too... she seemed to like it more, as she was able to interact and react to more of what was going on.
    2)We got there every day when the park opened, and stayed until close most days. This was only possible because our baby is able to sleep and eat pretty much anywhere. We just found a bench in a quiet area of the park to feed her, or for her to nap. We paid attention to her cues to make sure she was getting everything she needed.
    3). Trams aren't too bad, it's the baggage check points that take forever. You've got your camera bag, your backpack with your food, a diaper bag, etc etc etc, and it can be a hassle. It's not so bad at Disneyland, where you only have to do it once, but at Disney World where you have to do it every time you go to a new park, it can become tedious.
    4) We took our own stroller, so I don't know anything about renting. I'm sure it's happened, but I've never heard of anything being stolen from a stroller. My sister visits the parks almost weekly with her three young boys, and leaves her cell phone, or backpack right on the handle of the stroller, and has laughed when I asked her if it's safe "IT'S DISNEYLAND! Nobody steals here!" is her reply. She may seem naive, but she's never had something stolen.
    5)We haven't done the meet and greets yet, but will probably next month when we go, as she'll probably be walking and waving and all that fun stuff. Before she would just stare
    6)One of the best places, we've found, it by the train station near the Haunted Mansion. It doesn't get a lot of crowds and stays pretty quiet.
    7) For ride swap, go to the front of the line, one parent gets in line, the other asks for a pass. Then, depending on the ride, you'll either go up the fastpass line, or through the exit when the other person is done. Combine rider switch with fastpass to save even more time.
    8) Mostly just pay attention to your baby. One of the biggest changes is that Disneyland is no longer for you, it's for them. If they're getting fussy, stop and take care of it. If they look tired and can't sleep anywhere at the park, go back to the hotel.

    Being a new dad is awesome, and it's great that you'll have something that you're passionate about to share with your kids!

    Quote Originally Posted by 40 mph View Post
    :

    - How early age-wise you took your kids to the park
    - How long you typically stay
    - Things to put in the diaper bag, other than diapers
    - Getting in and out of trams (with strollers and baby) successfully
    - Wise to take your own stroller, or rent? Also, do I have to worry about theft if I bring my own?
    - Taking them to the Meet and Greets (Meeting Mickey without having them cry)
    - Places to go when they get restless/tired (especially when the park is busy)
    - How does the parent ride swap work? Does it work for every ride? Do you use the regular entrances?
    - Anything other pointers you can provide are appreciated

    Thanks for your help!

  11. #11

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Quote Originally Posted by 40 mph View Post

    I wanted to ask you parents out there, can you give me some pointers/advice on taking little ones to DLR? Primarily, I'm looking for advice on the following:

    - How early age-wise you took your kids to the park
    - How long you typically stay
    - Things to put in the diaper bag, other than diapers
    - Getting in and out of trams (with strollers and baby) successfully
    - Wise to take your own stroller, or rent? Also, do I have to worry about theft if I bring my own?
    - Taking them to the Meet and Greets (Meeting Mickey without having them cry)
    - Places to go when they get restless/tired (especially when the park is busy)
    - How does the parent ride swap work? Does it work for every ride? Do you use the regular entrances?
    - Anything other pointers you can provide are appreciated

    Thanks for your help!
    Hi. My wife and I have a 1 year old as of the 24th of this month. We took our daughter when she was 3 mos. It was definitely a whole new experience! We stayed for three days and packed plenty. I took a backpack each day and just had the essentials, diapers, wipes, breast-feeding cover and a change of clothes for her with her ears , my wife and I's hoodies and thats it. She was only breastfed at the time which made it completely easy. We didnt take a stroller as we had the baby-backpack-frontpack-carrier-thing. We wanted to go light so the opted out the stroller.

    Since we did it that way, everything was very easy. Strollers are a terrible nuisance and we didnt want to add to strollerland as seen at every exit/entrance to all the rides. We did alot of rides that I didnt think we would be able to do ie., POTC, BLAB, HM, etc. She slept through most of them and was completely amazed with others. She was fine with meet-n-greets and wasnt afraid of the characters. We had to rest more often considering I was carrying her most of the day but we did really good. We havent been back since but we are really excited to go again.
    "Whether in his movies or in his theme parks, Disney always promised a fantasy in which one could exercise the privileges of childhood - privileges he never abandoned in his own life. This will to power took the inanimate and brought it to life, or the illusion of like. In animation one could exercise the power of a god." - Neal Gabler, writer-'Walt Disney, The Triumph of The American Imagination'

  12. #12

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    As for how long to stay: As others said, it depends largely on when the kid seems to be running out of steam (cranky kids + crouds, noise, unfamiliar surroundings = ugh!) and/or when you are worn out from handling Disneyland and the kid.
    So true! In the afternoon at WDW, it becomes obvious which parents took their kids for a nap and which ones pushed the kids too hard. - the former are having fun, and the latter are red-faced and wailing.

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Quote Originally Posted by BiggestDisneyFan View Post
    If possible, bring one or more grandparents. They ALWAYS enjoy holding the baby (well, almost always), and are less likely to be concerned with how many rides they can get on. They can take care of the baby while both parents take a ride together. (When you're a parent, a little time alone with just the partner can be a rare commodity.) And, then the grandparents can get their own rides in while the parents take the kid.
    Does anyone know if you can do the rider swap with groups of two (or more?)? So mom and dad ride while grandparents take baby, and then grandma and grandpa take the pass and ride?

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    Yes, rider swap works for one or two people. So one couple can ride, then the other couple can.

  15. #15

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    Re: New Dad needs advice (Goodbye Space Mountain, Hello Dumbo The Flying Elephant)

    We've been with young children as young as a few months old. It can be done, and a lot of people have given good advice I eon't repeat.

    I will say bring your own stroller. If you rent, you will have to leave it at the park when you leave, which means having to carry your baby (and all the stuff) to your car. After a day at Disneyland, you'll be very tired.
    Also, don't bring too nice of a stroller, and don't leave anything irreplacable in it. We had a stroller stolen at Disneyland once. It was a real nice stroller, too.

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