Nursing at Disney

Nursing At DisneyDear readers, I have a confession: I’m one of those Disney people.

Growing up, we moved around a lot — but we always had our yearly (or more) vacation to Disney World. So for me, the House of Mouse truly feels like home. On my first trip back as an adult a few years ago, I was overwhelmed to tears by memories and nostalgia. I just love Disney. My poor husband. (Ha!)

Anyway, I just returned from my first trip to Disney World with a nursling, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that Disney is very nursing friendly, even during the high season! (We were there during Christmas week, literally the busiest week of the year. I reiterate, my poor husband.) My toddler (19 months) only nurses three times a day at home, but while at Disney he wanted to nurse a lot more, and I was happy to oblige. Luckily, I brought enough Bun tank tops to make it through the week.

So without further ado, here’s the scoop:

Nursing-Friendly Rides

I was surprised that my toddler seemed to really enjoy many of the rides at Disney World. There were a few show-type rides, though, that were dark, quiet(ish), and comfortable, and we nursed through ’em all! I got to enjoy the attractions, and baby got to relax and have a refreshment. It was perfect. Here are the rides I recommend for nursing:

Magic Kingdom

The Carousel of Progress (Tomorrowland). An oldie but a goodie. The theater rotates, but you stay in your (comfy enough) seat the whole time (about 20 minutes). Also, this attraction isn’t the most popular, so lines and crowds are not an issue.

The "line" for Carousel of Progress in the high season.

My toddler running for the “line” for Carousel of Progress in the high season.

Test Track (between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland). There is a viewer section with bleachers to the right of the entrance — a calm, shaded place to wait for your racers and hang out/nurse for as long as you please. When we were there, even at busy times, it was practically empty. The metal benches are a little cold, but there’s plenty of space.

The Tiki Room (Adventureland). This is another charming classic that rarely (maybe never?) has any wait or crowds. I had no problem nursing on the bench seating throughout the whole thing.

Country Bear Jamboree (Frontierland). Baby was rapt with attention at this wonderful show, but you could totally nurse comfortably on the bench seating while it goes (15 minutes).

The Hall of Presidents (Liberty Square). Comfortable seats and an enormous, dark, cool theater make this an ideal nursing spot. It doesn’t get too crowded, either. The show (20 minutes) is very good, and is about to get a whole lot more interesting with the addition of an animatronic version of our President-Elect! Shows are every half hour. NOTE: I just saw that this ride is closed for refurbishment 1/17 – 6/29 — the installation of DJT, I’m guessing?

Space Mountain (Tomorrowland). Kidding, kidding.

Yeah, no.

Yeah, no.

Epcot

Turtle Talk with Crush (The Seas). Baby slept in the carrier for this adorable 15 minute interactive show, and it was a bit crowded, but we could have made it work on one of the benches if needed. (BTW, I strongly recommend bringing a carrier to Disney even if you have a stroller, as strollers aren’t allowed in many lines/shows. See also, below, Nursing on the Go.)

The Land Pavilion. There are several decent wooden benches in The Land pavilion (as well as just outside the Soarin’ ride) that I nursed comfortably on.

Good Nursing Spots

Benches. Benches are everywhere, and like plenty of other moms I spotted on them, I found them perfectly comfortable for nursing. The ones outside the exits for rides (Test Track, Soarin’, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain, to name a few) tend to be empty and quiet, and you don’t even get a second glance from people exiting the ride. There are also some good quiet spots near stroller parking, and on the walkways leading up to Cinderella’s Castle.

Nursing on the go. My sister and I were amazed to see a mom power walking down a very crowded Main Street, bigger kids and husband following in military formation, with a latched-on, nursing newborn in her arms. You go, girl! But such a maneuver would be much easier with a baby carrier. If you haven’t nursed your baby in a carrier, I highly recommend it — it’s super convenient and discreet in a pinch! (It would probably work great while waiting in all the lines or watching a parade, too.) The Moby wrap is especially great for this. If you are using a more structured carrier (e.g., Ergo) you can loosen the straps until baby is at nipple level and nurse away. Practice before you go.

Baby Care Centers. Disney also provides dedicated Baby Care Centers, sponsored by Huggies. Here’s what they say about them:

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 9.34.15 AM

You can find even more details here. And when I was there, I remember seeing signs that said some had free diapers as well. Well done, Disney World!

Because I found it so easy to nurse wherever we were, and there were decent changing tables in the bathrooms, I never had the need to check one of these out. But it’s good to know they’re there, and they’re probably clutch for pumping, hot weather, or long days in the park (we take it easy and only do half days).

A Word About Little Ones & Rider Switch

Some of you may be thinking, Disney with a baby/toddler? Are you crazy, woman?! But what you may not know is that Disney has a very nice system called Rider Switch that actually turns a little one into a big advantage, especially during the high season when waits are long and Fast Passes are hard to book.

If you have a little one with you who can’t/won’t go on a particular ride, you can ask the Cast Member at the entrance for a Rider Switch pass, whether you are going in the Fast Pass or Stand By line. The Cast Member will give you a card that allows you to return to the ride via the Fast Pass line, regardless of whether you were riding Fast Pass originally. Here’s the amazing part: the card can be used for up to three guests, any time up to its expiration date, which in our case was not until the end of the week.

So this is how it worked: At the entrance to a ride that wasn’t suitable for baby (which was most of them) one of us would stay out with him. The rest of us (two adults and a 5 year old) would go on the ride. The person with the baby would hang out and walk around with baby, have a snack, maybe go on an uncrowded ride or two. The riders would come out with the Rider Switch ticket, which we would save for later, when the Stand By lines had gotten too long to wait in. Our Fast Passes became two for the price of one (with two grown ups switching off)! Using this method, we did not wait in any lines but rode a ton of rides. During Christmas week. Disney Heads will understand the gravity of this. It was awesome, and was such a nice accommodation to make visiting the park with a baby go smoothly.

You can read more about Rider Switch on my favorite Disney blog, Walt Disney World Prep School. (This site is a must-read if you’re planning a trip to Disney — and it’s where I first learned about Rider Switch.)

If you’re planning on nursing at Disney, I hope these tips help you — and have a magical time!

 For all things nursing, check out my Breastfeeding Basics section!

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