Thursday, April 3, 2014

Boobs and Breastfeeding at Disney World

We just got back from a four day trip to Disney World.  If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm a huge Disney fan.  We've been twice in one year.  Yes, we're those people.

It's fake and it's commercial and it's a complete rip off but I love it.  It holds great memories for me, is super kid friendly (obviously), and I have the whole fast pass, line bypassing thing down to a science.  (Perhaps a topic for another post, I seriously think I should start a business planning Magic Kingdom itineraries for tourists.  Not to toot my own horn, but I'm damn good at it).

Notwithstanding all of this, it pains me to say that I have some issues with Disney World on two fronts.

First, the boobs:

Seriously, what is up with this????

This picture is taken from the Little Mermaid Ride, "Under the Sea."  I have seen this movie many a time.  And I have been on this ride on prior visits.  But for some reason, on this visit, the fact that Ariel is wearing practically nothing but shells on her boobs really bugs me.

Maybe it's because I have young boys now.  Or maybe it's because I'm getting older.  Or maybe it's because I'm just jealous of Ariel's rocking body?  But SINCE WHEN IS IT OKAY TO SEXUALIZE THE DISNEY CHARACTERS THAT MY KIDS IDOLIZE?  WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO MAKE ARIEL PRACTICALLY NAKED, MINUS MINI-PURPLE SEA SHELLS COVERING HER LARGELY PROPORTIONED BREASTS?

(Answer - definitely a man's).

Listen, I'm no prude.  I wear a bikini myself (though perhaps not anymore - after baby #3 it remains to be seen).  But for some reason, this didn't sit right with me.  I just wonder what kind of message it sends, at such a young age, to both boys and girls?  I tried to shake it off and tell myself that really it's no big deal - that my children will never objectify women - until this happened:

This is Princess Jasmine, from the movie Aladdin.  We are having lunch at Cinderella's castle, and she came over to say hello to the boys and pose for pictures.  Casey hugged her, and in doing so also kissed her on her stomach.  We all laughed, in an awkward, that was really weird, sort of way.

Dear God.

I'll have you know that there were no half naked princes to be found walking around the Disney parks.

Maybe I'm just getting old and super sensitive.  But I'm trying to raise boys that are enlightened. That see women as equals and not just as sexual objects.  That can see past the Super Bowl commercials and music videos and, I suppose, Disney characters.  I know (at least, I hope) that their value system will come from me and what I teach them, and not from the images that they are bombarded with on a daily basis.

But sheesh, Disney.  This isn't helping.

Second, the breastfeeding:

Though I've been to Disney World many times, this was actually my first time being there when I was breastfeeding.  I was happy to learn that the Magic Kingdom has a Baby Care Center, with a room specifically designated for nursing moms.  It's located near the entrance to the park, so I figured that if it worked out, I would breastfeed there.  Otherwise, I would just find a bench and do the deed.

As an aside, I don't know if it's because it is my third child, but I have no problem nursing ANYWHERE.  I have nursed at parks, at restaurants, in my car, on buses, in doctors office waiting rooms, etc. There really is nowhere I feel is off limits.  The fact that this is a controversial position is unfathomable to me.  I breastfeed my baby.  If my baby needs to eat, I'm going to feed him. Period.

So while I was glad there was a nursing room, it wasn't necessary per se.  I figured I would just find a seat somewhere and feed him wherever and whenever the time came.

That proved to be difficult, however.  Last week was a spring break week and the Magic Kingdom was PACKED.  More crowded than I had ever seen it.  Thus, finding a place to sit down was a constant struggle.  There simply wasn't bench space, and not even any space to just sit on the ground without being run over by a stampede of people.  So, no matter where we were in the vast Magic Kingdom park, when it came time to feed Colin, I separated from my family, and trekked to the Baby Care Center.

Now, I don't want to get picky.  But this Baby Care Center left a lot to be desired.  I would leave the sun and warmth and Disney giddy happiness for this:

It's fine, of course.  But it's dark.  And dank.  And overall a bit depressing.  And not all that big actually - there were six chairs in the room.  (And not the most comfortable, I might add - have you ever tried to nurse on a thin wooden rocking chair?  Not easy.)

Worst of all, I missed my family.  By the time I made my way there, nursed, and made my way back to them, it was a good hour.

As it so happened, during my long walks to the Baby Center, do you know what I passed? Designated smoking areas.  With nice benches.  And nice views of Cinderella's Castle.  It was quite lovely, actually.  After a little research, I realized that there were 7 designated smoking areas in the Magic Kingdom.  All outside, all well located near major rides, and most with seating available.

How ironic.

It got me thinking.

Hey Disney World, I have a proposition for you.  How about you convert your smoking areas into nursing areas?  That way we nursing moms (and I'm sure there must be a lot of us) can stay close to our families, stay outside, and sit down.

You can send the smokers to the nursing room.  (And maybe create a nice, cheery room for those women who don't want to breastfeed in public).

And speaking of breastfeeding in public, surely you don't have a problem with that, right?  I mean, with Ariel and Jasmine strutting their boobs for all to see, surely the feeding of my baby, under a nursing blanket for God's sake, is appropriate?

Just saying.


  1. Wow. After Nordstrom nursing how can go nurse in _that_. Probably Disney's way to get moms to concede to buying a Dumbo bottle, water and a sleeve of Enfamil. I'd have expected more from DW - everything I've heard is that they do it well and do it right for their guests. I think DC moms could lobby for improved nursing. If you can get a corporate sponsor :)

  2. I actually think that looks like a perfect nursing room. Typically, when my daughter was a baby, I needed to remove her from all stimulation to nurse. She simply was waaaay too alert and interested in everything to ever nurse her in public. She would constantly be looking around, etc. I am also thinking that in the warmer months, it would feel quite nice to get out of the heat to nurse in an air-conditioned spot. I think this is a MUCH better option then outside, personally.

  3. I like the look of the nursing room. After all the excitement and activity outside it'd be the only place I could get my LO to get calm down and eat. Then again, you're much more experienced at nursing than I am, so maybe you know tricks I don't. I second that the chairs aren't as comfortable as a glider or something you'd have at home, but a man probably designed the room and remembered moms typically having a rocking chair.

  4. Love this! I totally agree! When I was breast-feeding, I would do it anywhere. But sometimes, there was nowhere. And being in a dark room would never be my preference!

  5. Oy, where I agree with PP's some kids need the quiet/dark space. But if that was all I got I would be totally depressed and esp having to hike all the way back! Honestly I think even if it is quiet and dark that they would make it cuter and more nice to be in… I mean Nordstroms room is better then that! How about they change the smoking sections like you said AND added a small quiet room for the Mom's who need that private dark space…. Make the smokers hike back, plus it would be good for their lungs to get the extra fresh air.

  6. Guess what the world doesn't revolve around you and your breast feeding, you choose to breast feed - goody goody gum drops for you. You don't deserve special treatment, a special place just for you - it's your choice you deal with YOUR choice. It's easy to make a smoking area - put up a sign and a bench - boom it's done. My guess if Magic Kingdom put up a sign that said "breast feeding" and'd complain about that too.

    1. Actually, a sign and a bench would do me just fine. :) And if someone deserves a "special place" it is definitely us breastfeeders, and not the smokers!

    2. Do smokers deserve special treatment??

    3. This is so ridiculous I don't even know what to say. It's DISNEY WORLD. A place specifically intended for families with young children. So if there's anyplace in the world that really should "revolve around" the needs of mothers and little ones, this is maybe it? I think they should try a "Children Present: No Smoking in the Park" policy, and convert all those nice benches to "Infant Feeding" areas. I'm guessing the mothers with the bottles would enjoy using them as well.

    4. OK, How about we convert all the "Designated Smoking Areas" into "Designated Nursing Areas" So you have your comfy out door bench. And we allow smokers to to light up any where they choose out doors. You've already stated you don't mind nursing anywhere/anytime, you just want a place to sit. Virtually ALL smokers don't mind smoking anywhere/anytime, they're just forced into small, out of everyone else's way, nooks and crannies.You will nurse anywhere you dang well please, AND you have a comfy, indoor, climate controlled room set aside just for you. Aren't you asking just a bit much?

    5. Smoking is absolutely
      Disgusting and shouldn't be allowed in a place jam
      Packed with children. Stop being a selfish idiot. Feeding infants in a natural way vs. a
      Person choosing to
      Poison them self and everyone around them? No contest who should win....

  7. why just one nursing place? isn't the idea supposed to be that you can slip away for the feeding and then rejoin the group with minimal hassle? I agree, the room is ugly, but I'm more offended by making you walk back to the entrance every time the baby is hungry!

  8. Very good point about the designated smoking areas, but no designated nursing areas--they would be a good compromise for a family-friendly company like Disney that also has to consider the cultural differences of its vast array of guests from around the world. I've nursed my baby in every nursing center at DW (all 4 parks). They are all actually a bit different--Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom have private rooms, for example, whereas Epcot and MK have the big nursing rooms to share. Those wooden rocking chairs absolutely suck--they are uncomfortable for you and do not provide a soft place for baby. Some of the nursing facilites have more comfortable options. I think they are overall decent though--I think its necessary to have indoor space, not for privacy but because its SO HOT most of the year, those nursing areas were a blessing--getting me and baby out of the sun and into a quiet, calm place with A/C. I would like the outdoor area too, though, for those few temperate months that being outside in FL all day is really enjoyable, or those moments when baby wants to eat NOW and you have a long trek to the nursing center. Although I too will nurse anywhere, having the designated area provides the same "protection" for those people who are uncomfortable with nursing as the designated smoking area provides for those who don't want to be around smoke. Good idea!

  9. I go to Disney World 3-5 times a year, we went when my little guy was 8 days old, 6 months old, 11 months old and most recently at 13 months old.
    I enjoyed the cool dark room, especially on a hot day, i don't want to be nursing a baby when I'm all hot and sticky and so is he. I only have one child so when I was there when he was 8 days old i liked the privacy since I was still trying to figure the whole nursing thing out.
    AND, the nursing center is not at the entrance. It is at the end of main street closest to the castle which is the entrance point into each of the lands... it is very centrally located. I agree that there should be more of them but it is not at the entrance, it is right next to the Crystal Palace.
    On another side note, there are counter service restaurants EVERYWHERE at the parks, wouldn't it be just as easy to duck into one that was close to your family and grab a table?
    I totally agree that the smoking areas should be fewer and further between and there should be more nursing areas, but I think that the tone of this post is a little dramatic...
    Did you take the time to go to the guest relations counter before you left and leave a suggestion with one of the cast members? They love suggestions and I'm sure would take your comments to heart since they do have so many nursing mothers there.

  10. I don't find this post dramatic. Thank you for your thoughts as I found it very helpful as I plan my trip in a couple days! And YES! We "Chose" to Breast feed- lucky babies!!!

  11. As a single father of a girl, I've had similar issues with the "Family Restroom" at Disneyland in California. At the time of my last visit, there was only one. If my little girl had to go, I had to leave from wherever we were to make the trek, and hope that there weren't other people waiting for the single restroom.

  12. I find it strange that you have no problem with breast feeding in public, but are upset at Ariel dressing the same way she did in the movie in 1989.You obviously have no problem breast feeding in public because you see them as a non-sexual object. So why are you interpreting Ariel's outfit (the same outfit since 1989) as sexualized? Just seems a bit hypocritical...if you want the Disney females to be covered up, you may want to notify them to start imposing Sharia principles on them so they can all wear they don't offend people who are easily aroused by their showing of skin. How do you take your children to the beach considering women tend to wear much less than these 2 Disney princesses? Your reverse objectification is going to tell your children it is okay to objectify...just tell your kids to respect all women regardless of how beautiful or ugly she is. Done.

    Secondly, why are you complaining that a baby nursing room is dark? Obviously it is like that so you can be in peace and quiet while they feed, and possible nap. Smokers don't need a dark indoor room, they need to be outside...hence why their smoking area is outside. My child is easily distracted when feeding, and needs the peace and quiet that room provides. If yours doesn't need that, go to a restaurant in the park and feed your can enjoy the view while feeding.

    Lastly, Disney has no policy against breastfeeding in the open. You can do that. The nursing rooms are specifically for your child to nap, feed in a peaceful atmosphere, and pick up baby items that you may have forgotten. You are more than welcome to feed anywhere else in the 107 acres of the Magic Kingdom (or other park).

    You sound really negative and pessimistic in this post...get over the fact that the Disney princesses are drawn to be beautiful. Hiding breasts or skin from your children won't get them to respect women.

  13. Just want to note that most smoking areas are in almost full sun. The only one that I can think of that is fully shaded is in tomorrowland. In that one you can always smell the fumes from the tomorrowland speedway. I don't think those locations would be comfortable for moms or babies. It would be better to have a few designated outdoor areas that are in shade and fume free for those breastfeeding.

  14. Hello! Loved reading your blog. I recently went to Disney with my baby and was shamed twice for publicly breastfeeding! Once by a female cast member that told me I'd have to go to the baby center if I wanted to feed. Another time a patron complained that I was being "disgusting" by feeding my baby. I love your idea about making designated nursing benches. I am all about normalizing breastfeeding and wish I saw more mamas do it uncovered. There were literally thousands of people at Disney when I went, but I didn't see a single mother breastfeed. In an effort to make different places more breastfeeding friendly, it'd be great to have designated nursing areas. Wonderful idea, wonderful post!


Copyright ©2011 Small Bird Studios| All Rights Reserved |Free Blog Templates at Small Bird Studios