When my daughter was born, I didn’t let being a new mom keep me chained to the house. I made countless trips to the store, went to a baby gear expo, walked in a 5k for charity, and attended a baseball game. All with little one in tow, and all before she was two months old. My confidence in this came partly from the fact that she was born in summer — not cold and flu season. Mostly, though, it came from the wonders of babywearing. From the first time I put her in a carrier, we were both in love. She felt safe and secure, and I was able to keep her close while still having two hands free.
With her first Walt Disney World trip quickly approaching (she was just shy of four months when we went), there was no doubt in my mind the carrier was coming with us. When the time came, we actually brought two: a ring sling and a soft structured carrier (SSC). This isn’t to say we didn’t also bring a stroller; we did. For me personally, our carrier isn’t a replacement for our stroller, but some families find they can get by with just a carrier.
Getting through TSA is never fun, and having an infant in tow certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Having her in the carrier made things more manageable for us. My husband took charge of the diaper bag and stroller while I dealt with myself and baby. Wearing her left my hands free to get my shoes off and onto the screening belt with my bag. I was able to keep her in the carrier while I went through the metal detector and had my hands swabbed at the other side. While I can’t guarantee this will always be the case, I’ve been through TSA with my daughter 14 times and I’ve never been asked to take her out.
Once in WDW, our two carriers served two different purposes. When we had the stroller with us, the SSC stayed back in the hotel room. I love it, but it is significantly bulkier, making it hard to keep in the diaper bag. The ring sling, however, is nice and compact and was easy to bring along. It was perfect for quick ups when we had to leave the stroller behind. I never had any trouble wearing her on any of the rides, and for some it was especially helpful climbing out of the cars with two free hands. As a bonus, if she fell asleep while in the carrier, I didn’t need to choose between risking putting her down or my arms falling off from holding her. I could just keep her snuggled in and walk on. It should be noted that the ability to babywear on a ride is at the discretion of the cast member. From what I’ve heard from other moms, it’s a pretty safe bet you cannot babywear on the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel unless you snag a bench seat. This is understandable, as you would not want to lose your balance and fall with your baby.
There were times when we left the stroller in the room and headed out with her in the SSC. We attended the Christmas Party without worry of disturbing her when she fell asleep. We spent half a day in Disney Springs without needing to navigate the stroller through the stores and crowds. We headed back to Hollywood Studios for Fantasmic! and we were able to just walk out afterwards without making a mad dash to the stroller parking. We even walked over to the hotel bar and had a drink while she napped.
No matter which carrier we had with us, I always wore her on the bus. Again, my husband handled the stroller while I had the baby. I was able to get on and off the bus without fear of falling because I had my hands free to hold onto the railing. On a crowded bus, I was able to stand if I really needed to and hold on to the bars.
My daughter is now 2.5 and has been to WDW four more times. We still bring both a stroller and a SSC. I now wear her mostly on my back, so she needs to come out for rides, but she can still stay in on the bus. She still needs her afternoon nap, and some days even if we head back to the room, putting her on my back is the only way to get her to fall asleep. I plan on upgrading to a larger carrier soon, and as long as we are both still comfortable it will come with us. It may even get packed after we start leaving the stroller at home.