As I prepare for my young daughter’s first cruise I thought it might be helpful to talk through some of the ways I’ve tried to get ready for sailing with a baby! Anyone who has traveled with a baby knows it’s not easy, but something tells me all this preparation will be very much worth it in the end.
- Think about the basics: diapers, baby food, cribs. How are you going to secure these things for your trip? First, once you’re paid in full you can call and request (or do it right online from your DCL account!) a pack and play for your stateroom, and a high chair for your dinner table. Older babies will be able to enjoy the wonderful Disney Cruise Line food, but make sure you pack some purees if that’s all your baby will eat. Kitchens on DCL cruise ships will puree vegetables for your baby in the main dining rooms and through room service, but it’s always good to have a backup! If the baby is still on formula you may want to consider carrying on or ordering bottled water for making the baby’s bottles. Diapers are available for purchase on the ship, but they are expensive so consider packing your own. Complimentary diaper disposal units, bottle warmers, and bottle sterilizers are also available through DCL guest services.
- Sign up for some time in the nursery. From your DCL account online you can sign your baby up for some time in the nursery under “My Cruise Activities”. This is a great way to ensure you still get to enjoy some of the adults only areas of the ship like Palo or Remy and the adults only pool!
- Easier said than done, I know, but try to pack light if you can. I’m still going to bring a stroller for my daughter, but a small one as space in the cabin to store things is limited.
- Excursions aren’t just for adults! Many port adventures have a minimum age of 6 months (the same age limit to sail on DCL), meaning the whole family can enjoy these activities together so make sure to plan some of these in advance.
- If you’re going to the beach at Castaway Cay there are complimentary wagons available on a first come first served basis. This will help you contain all those baby necessities, so do pack whatever you need for the beach!
Have fun! If you go into your Disney Cruise knowing there’s no way you can be prepared for all situations your baby is going to throw at you, you’re going to have a great time. What could be better!
Bringing my infant to Disney World, I learned a few things about packing the perfect park bag for babies. Every parent is different but I found these 5 things to be invaluable for my little family while we toured the parks!
- Stroller accessories. We were stopped several times by people asking where we got our stroller setup. I have a very particular baby, and was worried she wouldn’t sleep anywhere but her crib. Wrong! Here’s how we did it. I purchased this stroller canopy and this fan with foam blades, safe for baby fingers. The canopy perfectly covered the part of the stroller that the attached canopy didn’t and the fan provided cooling and white noise for the baby. She took several 2 hour naps like this! It took some walking at first but once she was settled my husband and I could sit and enjoy a Dole Whip or take turns riding Space Mountain (thank you rider swap!) FYI I used the Baby Jogger City Mini stroller, which is the same stroller rented out by many Orlando stroller rental companies.
- Bottled water, if your baby drinks formula. Your milage may vary, but I found it worthwhile to pack a bottle or 2 of room temperature water in our bag every day. To me Florida tap water has a distinct taste and my daughter noticed it too. Also having bottled water at the ready meant when baby went from zero to starving on the People Mover I didn’t have to go anywhere to make that bottle! Crisis averted.
- My husband and I made some dining reservations that weren’t character meals. This was a risk, but we found that our daughter did ok! Character meals were better because the new “friends” that came around kept her entertained but non-character meals were ok too. One thing I found helpful was a suction cup table top toy that she’d never played with before, like this. We only brought it out during eating time, and it usually bought us several minutes of grownup talk time 😉
- A camera. A REAL camera. I didn’t take it out as much as I’d hoped to, but our DSLR camera captured some pictures that will last a lifetime. Things that would have blurred on a cell phone camera (even the best ones!) are clear and priceless. Don’t forget your camera!
- This one is cheating a bit, but don’t forget to pack your patience and a sense of humor. I’ve written before about how things won’t go to plan, but that will be so much worse if you can’t just let these things roll off. Would I have loved to see the Beauty and the Beast performance at Hollywood Studios? Sure! But the baby was hot and cranky and the pool was calling our name. And you know what? That’s ok.
Do you have any tips for things to bring with you to the parks to help make a trip with your infant easier? We’d love to hear them!