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Top 10 Tips for A Great Day at Disneyland With Young Children

disneyland balloonsThe husband, the Tiny Dancer and I went down to LA for 4th of July weekend and went to Disneyland on Saturday.  It was the Tiny Dancer’s first time going.  She’s only just turned 14 months – some say too young for Disneyland – but I knew she would love it even if she wouldn’t have memories of it.  Since she is so young, we took a different approach.  Usually the husband and I (yes, we would go every year together as adults) would try to go on as many rides as we could.  We’d get there super early in the morning and leave super late – well after the fire works show.  This time, we went at a much slower pace, went on fewer rides (no Space Mountain this time around :( ) and took our cues from the baby.  We had a great time and all the worrying I did – was again – for your benefit.  Here are my top 10 tips for having a great day at Disneyland with a young child…

1.  Bring Your Own Stroller - You can rent one at Disneyland for about $15/day but why spend the extra money when you already have one?  The benefits to having your own are numerous:  You can recognize your stroller faster (and not mistakenly take the wrong one) among a sea of turquoise strollers; the Disney strollers don’t recline and if your baby wants/needs to take a nap, they’ll be more comfortable in their own stroller.  You don’t need to worry about theft, but I wouldn’t leave valuables (wallet, phone, cameras) in the stroller.  Whenever we went on a ride, we left our stroller at “Stroller Parking” for that ride and took our bags with us.  We left the diapers, cups and other stuff in the stroller and it was safe.

2.  Bring Your Own Snacks – Snacks can be pricey at Disneyland – and healthy ones may be hard to come by in the land of churros, ice cream and cotton candy.  You can find fruit but it’s expensive and not organic.  The Tiny Dancer is a big fan of organic strawberries and blueberries and I knew I had no chance of finding that stuff at Disneyland – so I brought my own!  Yes, we had some ice cream too but we also had healthy snacks – and saved some money.

3.  You can Buy Milk – One thing I did not want to bring with me was a cooler filled with milk.  It’s just too hot out in July in Anaheim.  All of the food vendors sell milk so whenever it was milk time, I just bought some.  You’re paying a bit of a premium but I thought it was worth it to not have to lug around a cooler – though you can if you really want to.

4.  Change of Clothes – Anaheim has tricky weather (at least in the Summer when I’ve been there).  It starts out cool in the morning, gets unbearably hot in the afternoon and then gets cool again.  We always bring a change of clothes with us and rent a locker to store them for the day.  During the day we wear as little as possible – shorts and tanks – and then in the evening when it cools down we put on jeans, tees and a sweater or hoodie.  I’m really sensitive to heat and cold and bringing a change of clothes is something I find absolutely essential.  If you have a baby – like we did – we brought the Tiny Dancer’s pajamas and before we left we changed her into her pajamas because I knew she would fall asleep in the car.

5.  Get A Good Seat for the Parade – The parade was the Tiny Dancer’s favorite part of Disneyland.  She was dancing and clapping for the entire duration of the parade.  Just seeing her have so much fun made the whole trip for me.  The parade is something that is great for young children – they hear the music, see the dancing and some of their favorite characters.  For maximum enjoyment, get on the parade route early (30-45 minutes early) so the kids can have a good view.

6.  Parking & Buying Tickets – I prefer parking in the structure (Disneyland Resort exit on the freeway) because it’s closer to the park and it’s a quick tram ride.  The parking lot is a bit further and you have to take a bus which is a longer ride and harder to navigate with a stroller.  If you have the opportunity to buy tickets near parking (we did when we parked in the lot) it’s a good way to avoid lines later on.  We were able to buy our tickets for park entrance while waiting for the bus to take us to the park.  Don’t forget to mark the section that you parked on your ticket!

7.  Take Pictures! – This may be obvious but don’t forget to take pictures of those precious moments!

8.  Select Rides Carefully – Most rides are ok for young children since many of the rides at Disneyland are mellow boat rides.  But don’t forget who you have with you and make sure that the rides you go on are age appropriate.  Some of the Tiny Dancer’s rides/experiences were:  The Tiki Room, The Jungle Cruise, It’s A Small World, the carousel and the parade.  Fantasyland is a great place to spend most of your time with little ones and Toon Town is a great place to see characters.

9.  Don’t Forget the Sunscreen! – Not only is it really hot but you can do some serious sun damage.  I think I get a sunburn every time I go to Disneyland.  Thankfully, I was more rigorous about re-application with the Tiny Dancer and she didn’t get burned.

10.  Stay Hydrated - You won’t have any fun if you get dehydrated.  Make sure you stay hydrated and drink lots of water.

And don’t forget to have fun in the happiest place on earth!  Tell Mickey and Minnie we say hi!!

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4 Responses to “Top 10 Tips for A Great Day at Disneyland With Young Children”

  1. Geninja says:

    Great helpful hints!!! I can’t wait for my little G to go to Disneyland. Was she able to nap? Thats the one thing I am worried about.

    • GDK says:

      Hi Geninja,
      Yes, she napped. We were walking around with her in her stroller (and her belly was full) and she just fell asleep on her own. We found a cool spot in the shade and had some snacks while she slept. When she woke up she was ready for more fun :)

  2. jsica says:

    Reading this makes me miss Disneyland! Hopefully I can go again in the Winter, hehe.

    • GDK says:

      Hi Jsica,
      Yes, after dealing with the heat every time I think I want to try to start going in October rather than the summer. Not too cold, not too hot it seems like the perfect time to go.


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