Debate- Child backpack carrier at Disney?

We are going to Disneyland next week. My youngest is nearly 3 years old. She is at the age where she wants to do everything by herself. On previous trips we have had younger or older children than that “I have to do everything myself” age. My spouse thinks we should take a backpack carrier to “keep her contained” in addition to the stroller we always bring. I think the large backpack will be too cumbersome to take on and off and although it will keep her contained, it will be more trouble than it’s worth. What do you all think?

Let the debate begin!

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At 3? No way would I use one. Stroller, sure.

We’ve used a variety of carriers over the course of our 5 children…but once they are much older than one or so (depending on the child…basically, when they can walk fine if you hold their hand, etc) I think it is easy enough to carry them when necessary.

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She is going to quickly realise that she is being contained and then, I presume she will make her protests (loudly) known and maybe even struggle against being put in. Not an easy decision but you know her best. Won’t the person carrying her get very ( even) hotter?
I, on the otherhand, would quite like to be carried around a theme park.:wink:

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A 3 year old would be too heavy for me, but if you can do it, good for you. She might find it exciting to ride in a backpack and might be more willing to be “contained” that way. but probably only for awhile, so you could use it selectively. I agree that it would be cumbersome, so I’d think twice. Why do you feel she needs to be contained at Disneyland? Are you worried she’ll get lost?

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It is the parent that gets lost, not the children. My children reminded me of this often.:wink:

She will be 3 in December. She just wants to do everything by herself and will likely not want to be in the stroller. I just don’t want to lose her in the hustle and bustle. I think that once she walks enough, she will want to ride in the stroller. That is how the other kids were.


With how HOT & humid it has been in Anaheim this summer & this time of year tends to be some of the worst of the heat/humidity I would leave the back-pack home.

I would work to make the stroller as comfortable as possible in the heat & when she just needs a break from that, go to places that are great for little to run off the steam (Goofy’s Playground, Donald’s Boat, Mickey & Minnie’s houses & the Post Office areas of ToonTown, Tom Sawyer’s Island in Frontierland, Tarzan’s Treehouse in Adventureland, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in DCA).

We just got back from a trip with our 16 months newish to walking baby boy (only started walking at 14 months). Even though it wasn’t his first time since he started walking, it was the first time where he could really walk around stably & he wanted to test his newfound walking confidence at DL. It was hard to manage letting him walk with crowds. But with it being hot he wasn’t such a fan of being contained in anything at all so we did manage it (we have a stroller as well as a Moby wrap & everytime we pulled out the Moby wrap he protested at the extra layer of cloth on him). So we did have to make sure that he felt comfortable when we put him in the stroller, including having a clip-on fan (that was pointed at him out of his reach so he couldn’t pull it off to play with it), snacks, cooling towel & hydration.

Also, some shows that are fun & interactive that provide more breaks from the stroller & perfect for her age are Disney Jr. Live in DCA and the Royal Theater show in Fantasy Faire. At both there are areas on the ground where kids can sit.

At Disney Jr. it is an indoor (AIR CONDITIONING BLISS) theater with the majority of seating on the ground. You can sit with your little one anywhere not in an aisle. (There are a limited number of benches at the very back & sides of the theater but the area is so big that unless my kids were near my bench, I wouldn’t sit apart from them). This show encourages them to stand-up & dance & is very fun & music filled & if you watch Disney Jr will have recognizable characters.

Fantasy Faire is a smaller venue & outdoors (but shaded). The front part of the theater has a bunch of rugs where children can sit & at the back row of rugs parents can sit with their kids. There are also several rows of bench seating so if you felt comfortable with her sitting on the ground without you, you can have a seat. The theater is really small & intimate & the kids are so well entertained with the show that I’ve never had a problem with my kids sitting apart for this show & I usually sit in the benches & they on the rugs (not the baby obviously yet, but my 2 older kids who first sat here by themselves at 2 &4). I just make sure they know exactly where I am sitting so they can find me if something unexpected happens (& for the end of the show).

One last place that came to mind is the Animation Building. The lobby area is HUGE & plays a loop of all the best songs from Disney animated movies & displays not just clips of the movies on the giant surrounding screens but also TONS of the concept art/rough sketches that lead to the final product of the movie as the music is played. It’s so beautiful & sometimes when we just need a break we go into the lobby (also air-conditioned) just to get away from the heat & let the kids dance to the music. If you’re lucky they’ll be seats available as they do have couches throughout the lobby so you can watch her & take in the sights. The line for meeting Anna & Else is also in this same lobby so if she is a Frozen Fan then you’ll want to do that for sure & the wait is always enjoyable so I don’t mind waiting up to 30 min in the lobby since the view of the animation clips is so awesome.

Anyway, I could go on for days & days, but let me know if you have other questions, want any other suggestions! But bottom line- ditch the backpack, let her explore with you nearby & make the stroller heat-comfortable for the times you just need her to be contained.


I think it would depend on he type of backpack carrier. I had an ergo (soft carrier that I used at Disney) on 3 seperate trips in addition to our stroller. On the first trip my DS then 1 was in it because he was heavy to hold and would climb or escape when on his own so we used it a lot in lines because you can bring your stroller in them. The carrier could go in both front or back and when in front I didn’t even have to take him out on a lot of rides. On the back I took him out at the front of the ride and just left the carrier on like a backpack. I also used it one day on that trip when I was in the park with just DD then 3 without the stroller. (The stroller and my DH and DS1 where back at the hotel still napping). It was awesome to through her on my back and just roam through the crowds without the stroller.

The second tand third trip was with my youngest DD when she was 2 and 3. We used it on occasions when we would park the stroller and wander for awhile and also one evening when we left the stroller in the car and just put her in my back. We had no bags at all and could travel really easily with her tucked away and not getting lost. It was a glorious few hours in the park that night. When we had the stroller and we’re not using it we just put it in the bottom of the stroller, it squishes down pretty well. Sometimes I also just left it on because mine has an awesome backpack attachment so it baca me my day bag.

If you are using a framed carrier I would think that would be awkward and hard to deal with when not using it. Probably not allowed on the rides with you so then it’s use is even more limited since it would have to stay with the stroller. I used mine a lot in lines waiting for rides.

Keep in mind the weight of your child (my youngest is tiny so no problem to carry in a carrier even at 3) Also,if she likes the carrier (mine loved theirs so no crying to get in). Also, are you used to carrying her in a backpack carrier outside of Disney?

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Don’t forget that within the Animation building is also Turtle Talk with Crush!

Another place where there is AC, a kids area on the carpet, and seats for those of us who don’t bend that way anymore.

Plus the show with Crush is just great fun.

You so totally rock!



Thank you for adding this, it’s a wonderful one for kids (and adults too or anyone who appreciates air conditioning & some good Pixar Disney character interaction.

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We love Crush. We were in WDW Jan 17 and he talked about 10 kids and 3 of them were my kids. Crazy and fun.

Thanks for the advice. I have been looking at wait times today (exactly one week out) and if things are the same lines will be very manageable.

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Look at all the humans in the human tank! Totally awesome dude!


We took my very independent 3yrdd to WDW in June. I expected a fight over the stroller because she loves to be on her own, AND she is a distracted runner. Something catches her eye, she goes for it. I was pleasantly surprised that she was quite content to ride in her stroller. I think it was a little overwhelming being in the crowds for her (even holding our hands) and the stroller gave her a safe secure space. Maybe you will also be surprised by the stroller! Personally, I would not consider bringing the backpack.