While we don’t have kids of our own, we have traveled to Walt Disney World a number of times with our littlest family and friends. We’ve also witnessed enough stranger’s kids meltdowns to be able to provide some advice on do’s and don’ts in order to make your zero-waste trip go as smoothly as possible.
If you have any more suggestions or experiences, feel free to leave a comment below or drop us a note!
Those wanting to reduce waste from disposables should carry some extra inserts and a wet bag around during the day. All restrooms have changing tables, but seek out your park’s Baby Care Center for large tables and a quiet setting.
Our best advice would also be to keep diapering items in your stroller or pay for a locker rental so you don’t have to lug them around all day.
If you plan to wash dirty items during your stay, one and two-bedroom Deluxe Villa accommodations offer an in-room, private washer and dryer set. All other resort stays will need to use shared, self-service laundry rooms. Either way, only single-use detergent packets are offered to you, so bring your own detergent from home in a small bottle or pack a small bag of soap nuts sold online or in your local Bed Bath & Beyond. Find out more zero-waste packing essentials in our Packing Tips For a Zero-Waste Trip to Walt Disney World.
Pro-Tip: Before heading out to the laundry room, check LaundryView.com for a real-time view of available laundry machines at each hotel. You can also set text or e-mail alerts that will notify you when your load is done!
Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding
Breastfeeding mothers will be happy to know that Florida State Law protects you by giving you the right to “breastfeed… in any location, public or private… irrespective of whether the nipple… is uncovered”. You may choose to sit on a bench on Main Street to nourish your child or enjoy a more comfortable experience in any of the park’s air-conditioned Baby Care Centers. These offer private nursing rooms complete with rocking chairs.
Baby Care Centers are also great to keep your other smaller children busy while you take care of your baby. They have quiet entertainment rooms with activity tables and a TV playing Disney movies. All of the Centers have a water cooler, making it easy for you to fill your personal water bottles with zero-waste (and free of charge!). Find out where else to find free, filtered water in our Complete Guide to Zero-Waste Eating and Drinking at the Walt Disney World Resort.
For kids that use bottles, you’ll also find amenities like bottle warmers and microwaves available to use for free. If you need to keep milk or formula cool, you’re allowed to bring coolers into the parks as long as they’re smaller than 24″ (61 cm) long x 15″ (38 cm) wide x 18″ (46 cm) high. Loose and dry ice is not allowed, so don’t forget to pack a reusable ice pack and keep it in an ice bucket or your hotel room’s mini-fridge until you’re ready to go out for the day.
Pro-Tip: If you want to warm a bottle at a restaurant, just ask your server for a half-filled cup of hot water to put the bottle in.
If you’re a zero-waste hero then you probably make your own baby food – if you have the ability to transport and store it during your trip, that’s great!
You may want to bring a large amount with an ice pack for the trip down, then store it in your hotel’s mini-fridge. Before you head to the parks, divvy the food up into smaller jars. If using glass, just ensure that the jars are less than 4 ounces each, per Disney rules. If you run low, Baby Care Centers and hotel gift shops sell Gerber’s brand baby food (usually in glass jars).
Otherwise, do some research into what side dishes you’d be able to order at restaurants and quick-service locations that your baby might be able to eat. Check out our Complete Guide to Zero-Waste Eating and Drinking at the Walt Disney World Resort for more info.
Pro-Tip: Disney usually keeps things clean, but we recommend packing a reusable placemat to cover the table, giving your kid a clean, chemical-free surface to eat off of.
Kid’s meals are tricky for the zero-waste conscious. At table service restaurants, meals should be served on reusables but servers will typically bring a disposable paper or plastic cup with a straw for children right away to avoid spills. Get ahead of this by letting the server know that you don’t need one, then order a drink in a regular glass and pour it into their personal sippy cup, if needed.
At quick-service locations, we recommend avoiding ordering a kids’ meals as they always come with a packaged side item (though some locations now offer a single, unpackaged mandarin orange) and a packaged drink. There’s often no discount offered to leave off these items so we suggest to order a normal entree portion (take leftovers with you in your container) or aim for the dining locations with toppings bars to stretch out the amount of food you get and offer some to your children. To find out which locations offer this and more tips, check out our Complete Guide to Zero-Waste Eating and Drinking at the Walt Disney World Resort.