Sunday, November 28, 2010

10 best Magic Kingdom attractions to do with a baby

The first time my husband and I took a child to Disney World, our first son was 14 months old. And because Disney World is such a kid-friendly place to take a vacation, we have been back several times -- including three times before our second son (who came with us) was a year old.

Many people will debate the best age to take a child to Disney World, but even if you go at that perfect age (whatever it is), s/he might have a younger sibling who's a baby -- like our family. Some people think taking a baby to Disney World is great because babies (some of them!) tend to sleep a lot and go with the flow of whatever you're doing. And everyone under age 3 gets in free!

In any case, if you are taking a baby to Disney World's Magic Kingdom, consider these the top sights where it's easy to take a baby. You may not get to do 10 things in one day -- and that's fine! On our first trips with a baby, my husband and I found that we could do about three attractions in Disney World before it was time for a meal or a nap. Put your baby's needs first so s/he will be happy in the Happiest Place on Earth, and that will mean you'll enjoy your time in the park too.

1. Jungle Cruise (Adventureland). Hold your baby on your lap for this slow-moving cruise featuring the best corny jokes and puns.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland). If your baby doesn't mind the dark, this ride is OK. There's a short slide down once you're in the "boat," but otherwise, this is a mild ride.

3. Country Bear Jamboree (Frontierland). Singing animatronic bears? Your baby will probably love them.

4. It's a Small World (Fantasyland). This has to be the ultimate attraction for babies. For toddlers. For preschoolers. Heck, even my boys' grandma says this is her favorite ride!

5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (Fantasyland). Pooh Bear is great for babies, and this is a mild ride -- a little wiggly and bumpy at times, but nothing a baby can't handle. The waiting line area has recently been revamped to be more interactive and fun.

6. Prince Charming Regal Carousel (Fantasyland). If you can find a seat on the carousel or if you can sit your baby up on a horse, this is a great, classic ride.

7. Minnie and Mickey's Country Houses (Mickey's Toontown Fair). Walk your baby through Mickey's and Minnie's houses. Point out what you see!

8. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (Tomorrowland). This is another gentle ride, an open "car" on a conveyor belt that goes inside and outside. You get a tour of Tomorrowland from up high, and you can stay on if it's not busy -- maybe this one will put your baby to sleep!

9. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor (Tomorrowland). This is more for you as parents because it's all about the jokes. Enjoy the "stand-up" while you and your baby enjoy sitting down.

10. Walt Disney World Railroad (Main Street). Like the carousel, this is a simple, classic ride. It will take you all the way around the Magic Kingdom, with stops at Main Street, Frontierland and Mickey's Toontown Fair. You can stay on the train as long as you like! Be warned, it's not easy to take your stroller with you on this ride, so you might consider parking it and coming back to it.

Speaking of strollers, look for stroller parking areas for most of these attractions, and carry your baby in your arms or in a wrap or sling for the ride or event.

Is there an attraction you want to go on that's not good for your baby? You should know about the Rider Swap program. Wait in line while your spouse/partner/friend/relative watches the baby, and then when it's their turn, they don't have to wait in line. Check with a Cast Member at each attraction about if the Rider Swap is available and how to do it.

Your baby may also enjoy the garden areas/landscaping of the Magic Kingdom and shopping on Main Street. My second son didn't like the parades at all because they are loud -- and that scared him. You know your baby's personality best, and that is the best guide of all when choosing what to do at Disney World.

For more tips, check out the Disney World Traveling with Little Ones page.