Helene and Dean

If there is anything that fills me with more awe than the skill with which generations of Disney animation masters used to create memorable and lovable characters that will live with us forever, it is the eternal ability of mothers to run the day-to-day operation of their own “little characters” no matter what the circumstance.

Case in point: despite the numerous challenges one might associate with taking a one-year-old to Walt Disney World®, my wife was able to plan almost exactly to the minute where and when our baby son would eat, sleep, and be diaper-changed each day we visited the four Disney World theme parks during our last trip.

“How?” you ask if you’re a perplexed father like me.

Well, aside from instinctual maternal prowess, Disney provides the answer in three short words: “Baby Care Centers®.” Yes, strategically placed in the four major theme parks, these centers provide a quiet place for families to freshen,  refuel, and otherwise regroup when travelling with the wee ones.  According to the Walt Disney World website,  these centers provide:
Sid
•Private nursing room with rocking chairs
•Changing room with tables and a unisex bathroom
•Feeding area with highchairs
•Kitchen with microwave, oven and sink
•Main room with television, table, chairs and sofa
•On-site shop offering formula, baby food, juice, diapers, wipes, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications and clothing for purchase

And we found the above-mentioned representation accurate and the amenities convenient; yes, the products for sale were most-definitely sold at premium prices,  but they were nonetheless available in a pinch, and the facilities were offered free of charge.

Now, my instinct in these posts is to wax poetic about my own experiences,  but I’m going to keep this post relatively short.  Instead of my usual wordy contributions,  I’d like to ask our readers: what experiences have you had with Walt Disney World Baby Care Centers?  We definitely had our favorite locations as a family, so I look forward to your preferences and observations; I’ll respond with my own thoughts per your posts as a whole, but this entry will be about all of you first.

I look forward to your thoughts!
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P.S. The following is a quick reference guide to the locations of these baby care centers in the four major theme parks;  if you know of any others, please, do not hesitate to share!

1. Magic Kingdom® Park: between Casey’s Corner® and the Crystal Palace®, just off of the Central Hub®
2. Epcot®: between the Odyssey Center® and the Mexico pavilion
3. Disney’s Hollywood Studios®: just outside of the main entrance and the Crossroads of the World®;  next to the old Sid Cahuenga’s truck
4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park: next to the Creature Comforts® shop on Disney’s Discovery Island®

(Photos from the author’s personal collection.  Baby image ©Disney.)

 

Richie McNanna is an 8th grade teacher from Westfield, NJ.   He has been a self-proclaimed Disney nut since the age of seven when his parents convinced him that real ghosts lived in the Haunted Mansion, and his goal in life is to retire one day and become one of the Dapper Dans.   Richie’s wife, Helene,  is the most understanding woman on the planet for putting up with his Disney obsession and owed a great deal of emotional payback.  His son is one year old and already owns several sets of Mickey ears.

6 Responses to "The Displaced Disney Dad: Pit Stops for Your Tots ; Walt Disney World’s Baby Care Centers"

  1. Diane says:

    Hi–Great article! Many years ago, when our now 28 year old son was young, we found the Baby Care Centers extremely helpful. The most essential part of the BCC for our family was the fact that it was at the same location as the First Aid Center. Our son had allergies and asthma. He often required a place to sit and use a nebulizer (which required an electrical outlet) for his breathing, and we usually had medications with us that needed to be refrigerated. All of this was provided by the combined Baby Care/First Aid Centers, in a quiet COOL environment, where there were also some toys and a TV to keep our younger son occupied for a little while. We had quite the system: experience an attraction or two and then a quick walk back to the BCC/FAC so that Nathan could use his nebulizer to ease his wheezing….and then we’d be off again! There was truly no where else that we could vacation that provided us with the peace of mind that we could manage all of these needs. It’s just one of many reasons we love Walt Disny World so much and have returned again and again. Our boys are both in there 20′s now (the son with the asthma actually did a professional internship at WDW in 2006), and occasionally they have the opportunity to join us at WDW. Otherwise it’s just my husband and myself (and my sister and brother-in-law who are also Disney enthusiasts) having a wonderful time at the World each year! Kudos to Disney for providing the Baby Care/First Aid Centers in each theme park!!

  2. Richie says:

    Hi Diane,
    Duh… how did I not mention that the BCC’s were right near the First Aid stations? And your family anecdote is very much appreciated.
    Should we also have mentioned that the BCC/FAC in the Magic Kingdom is also near a turkey leg stand? Hehe :)
    Thanks for the response!
    -Richie

  3. Courtney says:

    Thanks for the great info. No anecdotes here just yet but the info you provided is super helpful. Great job :)
    PS love the pic!

  4. Richie says:

    Thanks, Courtney :)

  5. Kendall says:

    Prior to about a year ago, I had no idea how many services were offered at the Baby Care Centers and the First Aid Stations. The way Disney has chosen to work with families in need of medication storage, first aid materials, quiet areas for children with special needs, etc. is fantastic.

    I have heard so many families with health issues, disabilities and special needs say that WDW is the only place they vacation and that they appreciate not having to worry about meeting their family members’ needs.

    Since I am currently expecting my first child, I have not made use of the Baby Care Centers, but I imagine I will in the future. I am already relieved to know they are there!

  6. Richie McNanna says:

    If you need any further info, Kendall: ask my wife :)

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