Disneyland with an 11-Month-Old

Thinking of bringing your baby on a trip to Disneyland? I 100 percent recommend going! We brought our son to Disneyland with us when he was exactly 11-months-old back in October 2022 and we had the most incredible trip. I feel like this was a great age to enjoy the park with a little one while they are out of the infant stage but before they become full toddler mode and wanting to explore all over the place.

Many people say things like, well the baby won’t remember the trip so what’s the point? You should wait until they are older. My response to them is, why wait? Things could come up and you never know where you will be in life in the future. So I say if you can, take the trip now! Disneyland is also very expensive but free for little ones under the age of 3. Also, babies fly free under the age 2 so this would save families a lot of money. And it doesn’t matter if your baby won’t remember because YOU will. You will have those sweet photos and experiences and treasured memories and that to me makes it beyond worth it.

So if you are thinking of planning a trip with your baby, go for it! Here are some things that helped make everything go smoothly when we experienced Disneyland with our 11-month-old.

1. Book a hotel within walking distance to the park

We stayed at Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort which was about a 10 minute walk to the park. We loved that this hotel offer suites with a kitchen/living room area to make meals for our son and a separate bedroom from where he would be sleeping if we wanted to stay up later. They also had pack n plays available and a delicious breakfast spread that we ate at every morning (which also saved us a lot of money).

2. Get Genie+

I believe they raised the price of Genie+ since we went back in October 2022 but I still think it is absolutely worth it. In fact, I would not go to Disneyland without getting Genie+. Genie+ allows you to schedule rides for a specific time and skip the main lines for the bigger attractions. We would not have been able to ride everything we wanted to without Genie+ and would have spent most of our time waiting in lines. Not all rides are offered on Genie+ so I would recommend starting in Fantasyland (most of these rides don’t have Genie+), doing those rides first thing in the morning before the lines get out of control and then using Genie+ for rides after. The wait time for rides that have Genie+ was anywhere from 5-20 minutes compared to 60-90 minutes without. Also, once you redeemed a ride, you can book the next one right away!

3. Use Rider Swap

Rider swap is amazing! Lets say you have a group of 3 adults and a baby. Two adults go on the ride while the other person waits with the baby. After the ride is over, the adults switch places, one stays with the baby while the other two go and ride the ride again. You don’t have to wait in line. All you do is go to a cast member at the start of the ride, tell them you want to use rider swap when they scan your phone, then a ticket will appear on your account. We used rider swap all throughout our trip since it was me, my husband, my mom and son. Another perk of this is one person gets to ride the ride two times in a row! You can also do this if it’s just the two of you and a baby and take turns riding rides and watching the baby.

4. Bring Your Own Food, Drinks and Snacks Inside

Since our hotel room had a full kitchen, we used Door Dash our first day in California and stocked up on a bunch of food and snacks for our son. We brought a small cooler filled with food and a picnic blanket. We found a spot in the park to each lunch each day. This helped us not only save money but also enjoy a quick meal together without having to go to a sit down restaurant. We also used the meal ordering service on the Genie+ app to make sure we weren’t wasting time waiting for food.

5. Book Out of Order/Rides Out for Maintenance on Genie+

If you see a ride is not available on the app, book that ride as soon as you can! If the ride happens to get fixed, that’s great and you can go on it during your scheduled time. But if the ride does not get fixed before your scheduled time, you will automatically be given a pass on the app where you can now skip the line for any ride that you like (not just the ride you booked)! We got about 4 or 5 of these passes because we kept booking rides that didn’t get fixed in time. We then chose a ride with a long wait time, walked up to the exit, showed a cast member the ticket and they let us on right away while skipping the normal 60+ min line.

6. Stop for the Free Photos

When you purchase Genie+ you also have access to all the professional photo locations in the park. It’s worth it to stop and have your picture taken! A photograph will scan the barcode on your app and then they will automatically be available for you to download directly to your phone. Photos from all the rides are also included for free! You just find the photo number after the ride and enter it on your account.

7. Bring a Family Member or Hire a Disneyland Nanny

We were fortunate that my mom was able to come with us on this trip. Day 1 and 2 we went to Disneyland and Day 3 we went to California Adventure. By around 6pm each day, we made our way back to our hotel to wind down and put our son to bed. Once he was in bed, my mom stayed back at the hotel while my husband and I went back to explore the parks at night. There is something so magical about seeing the park at night and even if you don’t have someone with you to watch your baby, I recommend having your child stay up late at least one night to experience this. If you don’t have a family member with you, you can hire a Disneyland Nanny (just google Disneyland Nanny and a bunch of options will come up). The nanny can help watch your baby at the park or just stay back at the hotel while they are sleeping so you can head to the park at night.

8. Purchase Toys Outside the Park

This is more of a tip for the plane ride but we purchased some toys from the dollar store, wrapped them up in wrapping paper and then gave them to our baby to occupy him on the plane ride. This meant we also had a couple of toys for him back at the hotel to play with before bedtime. You can also purchase a Disney Bubble Wand at half the price and bring it inside which kids at all ages love. Since we went around Halloween I found this adorable Dumbo Costume and he wore it the morning at the park.

Of course we did splurge on a couple souvenirs. Inside the park we purchased our son a mickey mouse ornament (one tradition we are starting is buying him one every year then giving them to him when he is older and has his own Christmas tree). We also purchased this Dumbo Stuffed Animal and that our son now sleep with it every night. Something else I recommend doing with your baby is going to Silhouette Studio and getting this special keepsake!

9. Take Advantage of the Baby Center

Although we never actually went to a baby center, I’ve read great things from this blog here if you need a quiet place to rest or to feed your baby. This might be especially important if you are a nursing/pumping mama and you’re looking for some privacy.

10. Have a blast and take your baby on as many rides you can!

There are so many rides at Disneyland with no height requirement which means you can take your baby on them! Here are some rides we took our 11-month-old on (but there are many more beyond this list!):

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Dumbo
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Jungle Cruise
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (our favorite)
  • Snow White’s Enchanted Wish
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

We enjoyed Disneyland more than California Adventure with our 11-month-old but there are also many rides in that park with no height requirement. We took our son on Golden Zephyr and The Little Mermaid and then spent a lot of our time in Animation Academy and the Sorcerer’s Workshop.

These are just a couple of tips and reasons to take your baby to Disneyland so if you are thinking about going, definitely do! I promise you will not regret it and the memories you make will be so special that you will probably want to keep going year after year. 🙂

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