Gretchen Bossio's three children at Disney
Photo courtesy of Gretchen Bossio

Breastfeeding Behind The Scenes At Disney

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Perhaps more than other public place, breastfeeding moms feel at home all over Disneyland. On benches. In restaurants. On rides (It’s A Small World is my favorite to nurse on). There are a lot of moms at Disney with nursing-age children, so the odds are in your favor that you’ll be in good breastfeeding company.

I’ve nursed on slow-moving rides. I’ve nursed on the side of Main Street while a parade passes by. I’ve nursing in the quiet of the Baby Care Center. I rarely, if ever, use a cover, and the only glance I’ve ever received is a fellow mama giving me a silent smile and thumbs up. I’m pretty involved in the breastfeeding social media scene and incidents of Disneyland issues are few and far between. Disneyland is generally a judgement-free, happy place for moms and their nursing babes!

The Walt Disney dream was to create the ultimate family friendly space: “I felt that something should be built, some kind of family park where parents and children could have fun together,” he said, according to Animation World Magazine. Today, that means clean parks, fun rides, STARBUCKS® coffee, and, yes, the freedom and facilities to pump or nurse, possibly in mouse ears.

Disney knows that a good snack is essential to a fun day at the happiest place on Earth, so they are all about making nursing as simple as possible for their littlest mouseketeers.

My last three trips to Disneyland have been as a breastfeeding mama and through those visits I’ve definitely learned the ins and outs of breastfeeding and pumping in the parks.

For the most part, breastfeeding at a Disney Resort is really easy. The family-friendly atmosphere of Disneyland and California Adventure welcome mamas and their nurslings. So, never let your lactating status keep you from planning a trip! Disney knows that a good snack is essential to a fun day at the happiest place on Earth, so they are all about making nursing as simple as possible for their littlest mouseketeers.

Photo courtesy of Gretchen Bossio

During three separate Disney trips I've done 14-hour days at the park with an infant, 12-hour adults-only trips that required me to pump, and soon I’ll be adventuring through the Disney magic on a long multi-day jaunts with my crew of four… one of which I anticipate will be a nursing toddler. Needless to say, breastfeeding at Disneyland feels more familiar to me than not!

So, what is it like to breastfeed and pump at Disneyland?

Honestly, it’s no big deal. Disney does not have an official breastfeeding policy, but Californian and Floridian state law have established a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, and, according to many replies on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, moms are welcome to breastfeed anywhere they feel comfortable. So, you get to decide what is best for you and your child, whether that is in the Baby Care Center, or in flashing Mickey ears in front of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Just make sure to choose a non-swinging gondola! Your baby could end up with a milkshake for a snack if you accidentally get on the swinging one!

Now, I know what you’re thinking… what is the Baby Care Center? Well, these magical rooms of requirement are scattered across all Disney parks. Disneyland’s is right off Main Street near the Plaza Inn restaurant and California Adventure’s is on the Pacific Wharf near the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. You can also find them in the Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and so on. The Baby Care Center a one-stop-shop for all things baby. Here you’ll find a cool and quiet nursing and pumping space and other baby-centric amenities (like a ~rocking chair~). Why pop in here for a nursing or pump sesh? Well, sometimes (always) you might prefer a private location THAT IS NOT A RESTROOM. Other times your baby might be at an age where they’re easily distracted and you need to sneak away so they can nurse well and help you avoid engorgement (engorged boobs are not a fun Disney accessory). I’ve personally done both. I’ve snuggled my little one behind a Baby Care Center’s curtained nursing space and popped in to plug in my pump and relieve myself of some liquid gold before hitting the Incredicoaster. Whatever your reason to visit I’m thrilled that Disney has prioritized prime real estate for their breastfeeding guests.

Outside of the Baby Care Center, I’ve found a number of really fantastic places to nurse around Disneyland and California Adventure. My go-to is a quiet ride. It’s like I’m killing two birds with one stone when I can offer up a snack while enjoying a ride, and, let’s face it, I’m all about getting my money’s worth at the most expensive place on Earth so doubling up just makes sense. Pixar’s Pal-A-Round in DCA (that’s the new name of the big, big ferris wheel) is my favorite. It’s a good 15 minutes long and the only potential distraction is from fellow family members. Just make sure to choose a non-swinging gondola! Your baby could end up with a milkshake for a snack if you accidentally get on the swinging one! As I mentioned, It’s A Small World is another great breastfeeding ride and parts of Pirates of the Caribbean too.

Photo courtesy of Gretchen Bossio

Across Disney, you’ll find benches that are perfect for breastfeeding. They’re easy to miss when you’re on the go, but keep an eye out as your wander through each land so you know where to return to when your little one needs to nurse. The benches in Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in DCA are a lovely, usually shaded spot and in Disneyland’s ToonTown there are built-in benches on the backside of Donald’s Boat. That space is a nursing mama’s dream come true thanks to the calm, peaceful sound of the falling water. Love that white noise… you may even turn a snack sesh into a nap!

Other places to consider are seated shows like Mickey’s Magical Map which performs in the outdoor amphitheater across from It’s A Small World and the live princess plays in Fantasy Faire. Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln on Main Street in Disneyland is a winner too because it’s air conditioned.

Last, but not least, even if you’re not a guest at the on-site hotels like the Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian anyone can visit the lobby and spend a spell on the comfy couches… that means nursing mamas and their Mickey-lovin’ babes.

Walt Disney probably didn't specifically have boobs on his mind when he set out to design a family-friendly experience, but, having given us a safe space and the perfect nursing treat — the Dole Whip what else — he may just have created the happiest breastfeeding place on Earth.

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