Disneyland With A Baby


Right now I'm sitting at the table drinking a big cup of coffee, and Charlotte is taking a long nap. Charlotte and I flew home yesterday after spending four really fun days in California! My husband is working down there at the moment, so while it was a bit nerve wracking to fly alone with a baby, it was really nice to see him for a few days.

I didn't originally plan to write a post about our trip, but this morning I kept re-visiting what went well, what I would change, etc. So I decided while I'm clearly not a seasoned expert on traveling with a baby, maybe what I share can benefit someone else preparing to embark on an adventure with a little one!

Raise Expectations

As I prepared for our trip, I was mentally preparing myself to go on It's A Small World for two days straight. I had literally no idea how Charlotte would take it, and if even just being in the park would be an overload for her. She's a really easygoing baby, but you just never know! To my delight, she did WAY better than I thought! She didn't seem overwhelmed by the crowds or noises, and instead seemed to really love taking it all in! The second ride we went on was the Roger Rabbit Car Toon Spin. I didn't know that it was so jerky, and that there were so many flashing lights and huge loud bangs. During one especially intense moment, I felt her body shaking and I thought oh no, she's melting down. When I looked down at her, she was laughing! That was maybe one of my favorite moments of the whole trip - realizing that of course she's still a baby, but she was doing just fine.

baby at disneyland

Lower Expectations

Ok, so I just said above to raise expectations. Let me explain what I mean. There are all sorts of different travelers and travel "styles" if you will. Some people go on vacation and they want to vacation with sleeping late and ordering room service. Some people have an itinerary planned out to the half hour and when it doesn't go according to plan freak out. I've always tended to be somewhere in the middle - I like to accomplish as much as possible, but still want to be somewhat relaxed and go with the flow. Traveling with Charlotte though, I realized pretty quickly that I needed to take it another big step back. Even as my fingers were itching to make a tentative ride plan, I had to cool it and follow Charlotte's cues. Sometimes we would arrive at a ride, only to realize she had fallen asleep on the way there. Or when we realized that she was really dying to just move around, so we found a grassy spot at the hotel and let her play for little while (that's the picture above). Luckily I was traveling with really understanding people, and instead of trying to check rides off the list I just really enjoyed the ones we did get to experience! I was also able to really have fun just being at the park with my little family, and even in minor stressful moments (like when Charlotte's diaper was at a bad angle and she peed on me - real life, people), I never lost perspective of just how lucky we were to be there.

Ask For Help

Ok, this one really applies mostly to traveling alone with baby, and I should preface by saying I hate asking for help in general. I'm so lucky to stay home with Charlotte, and whether I'm going to a tax appointment or business meeting for the blog, she's right there with me! So in my mind I thought, if I can occupy her on my lap for a two hour meeting, a flight will be ok! Well, kind of. She actually was a great flier, but there were definitely moments where I thought Kirsten, was this the best idea? Like when I had to go to the bathroom on the plane. As I made my way up the aisle, eyes set on that teeny tiny toilet door, I thought I have literally no idea how I'm going to do this. When I got there, a flight attendant was nearby doing paperwork, and I actually asked her if she wouldn't mind holding Charlotte for a minute. I was expecting her to begrudgingly agree, but to my surprise she was thrilled and told me it's her favorite part of having babies on the plane! So Charlotte got a few minutes of peek-a-boo with someone new and exciting (I could hear her laughing on the other side of that thin plastic door), and I didn't have to figure out mommy-baby Tetris fitting us into that minuscule room. That was a big learning moment for me - that people see you're traveling alone and doing the best you can, and most people are more than willing to help.

That's about it! Not rocket science, but just a few observations. We have a big trip to Britain and France coming up this summer - luckily with my husband traveling with us! This short trip to California has really helped me begin to re-calibrate expectations, and better envision how we will all have a super fun and memorable trip like this one.

Have you traveled with kids and learned something new? I'd love to hear about your experience (and tips!) in the comments below!

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Kirsten Bell

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