So you’ve traveled. You’ve prepared. You’ve packed. And now you are at the park.
I’m not going to tell you what to do or what to see first, that’s up to you. For us, there is so much to do that it brings us back 2-3 times a year. There is something so magical about walking down main street on a crisp day, listening to Hello Dolly’s “Put on your Sunday Clothes” with you family in tow. That is my favorite day of my whole life- better than Christmas and my birthday combined.
I like to get family pictures including all members of our party. Sometimes that is four, sometimes it is 16. My best advice is to do it as SOON as you enter the park/ early in the morning when the light is nice. Take a picture right through the main gain is often horribly sunny and crowded, I recommend the castle or main street. If you say, “oh we will get one later,” you probably will not. Your party splits up. Your baby barfs on his shirt. Your toddler won’t wear shoes and also pulls out her ponytails. It gets harder and harder to get a picture. You know those disney employees that run around with cameras? Ask them to take a picture with their camera AND THEN yours. They can’t say no, it’s policy. They usually don’t mind. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a stranger..Jazz is always horrified when I flag someone down and have them snap a picture. He loves it. Jazz loves pictures. This last trip I tried to take one family picture of the four of us every day. That way, if one didn’t turn out, there were other options from the trip. For every good one, we also got these gems:
Take candids, take posed, take whatever you want. Once you get several pictures from the day, don’t worry so much about getting a picture on every ride/ in front of every character.. you don’t need that many I promise.
Because Disney is a family company, they cater to you bringing your kids. Be prepared for strollers everywhere. They have parking spots for them all over the park. To ride a ride- just park your stroller, leave it and hop in line. I often leave my stuff on the stroller, minus my wallet/camera or whatever. Sometimes I end up taking a small bag with me though because you never know when your kid is gonna have a blow out on it’s a small world. I have never had a problem leaving my stroller. Oh, my stroller, how I love thee. (Baby Jogger City Select Double) A few of my favorite features: Both seats can face forward, both can face backward, or one each way. It easily converts into a single stroller as well. The shade fits over the entire seat! Imagine that, pulls all the way down. In fact, the whole stroller folds down compactly. It was great when Linc was small and in his carseat, I just clicked it right into a bar. Both seats recline! It also tap dances and dispenses diet coke. I mean, it’s really perfect. My most favorite part is that it is only single wide- I can navigate through normal stores, tight spaces without running people down. I even took it to bath and body works once… a true test.
|How can you not want to bite him.|
My favorite part of visiting Disneyland with a baby is the Baby Care Center, located just off of Main Street. You walk in and a couple of adorable older women in costume greet you and ask what services you need! They have six semi private wicker chairs to nurse in, plus a whole room dedicated to changing tables, and another room with an outlet for private pumping. Bonus- tiny pottys for tiny kids potty training. They also have high chairs for spoon feeding, microwaves for heating stuff, diapers and milk to buy in case you run out. They have everything. When I took linc as a two-month old, I just stuck with my family and every few hours I would peace out to the baby care center to nurse, and just rejoin them after. It’s air conditioned and nice and quiet. I love this place. California Adventure also has a smaller baby care center that they have recently remodeled, making it bigger with more rooms for nursing. You will also see tons of women nursing on benches or wherever is comfortable.
ALSO. This is super important. You can do a parent swap at any ride. Just wait in line like normal (or get a fast pass.) and at the front ask for a parent pass. One person rides the ride while the other stays with the kids, then you take the pass to the front of the line and the other person gets to ride. Definitely a plus if there is a ride you just can’t miss and you don’t have a grandma around. It was really useful this last time when we wanted to try out the new Cars Land ride but neither kid could go with us. Worked great.
Our favorite place to eat is the mexican cantina right Thunder Mountain Railroad. The food is pretty good, the portions are nice, and they have diet sprite on tap. WITH ONE FREE REFILL. Save your receipt. Seriously, the only place in the park with a refill. Use it. The patio is covered and they have rotating fans to cool you off, or they have space heaters at night. It’s a nice home base.
There are tons of shows to see- particularly the fireworks over the castle, Fantasmic, and World of Color at California. All are entertaining, if I could choose one I would probably pick Fantasmic. It does have some scary elements.. we saw this show first and every time we saw a show after that Isabelle said. “But no dragons, right? no dragons!” So, just a heads up. The parades are adorable and worth waiting for so the kids can see. Find a spot, sit down, and put a blanket down to save your spot while your spouse takes the kids on a ride. Or, get ice cream. If you plan to be at Disneyland at night after the sun has set, save some money by bringing your own glow in the dark junk. Michael’s has them, and the dollar store has them- wands, necklaces, bracelets, etc. Disney sells high end glow in the dark junk for $15..I spent $3 and Isabelle was just as excited. It was fun to pull them out as a “surprise” at the end of the day, plus it kept her occupied while we were waiting for our shows.
-Target is right around the corner in case you forget anything major.
-Please, please, please, eat a corndog from the truck right by the baby care center on main street.
-Bring a pop up round hamper in your suitcase. We just kept it in the corner and filled it up as the week went on. Kept things so neat and tidy, and made it easy to find things that I needed to wash. Tip courtesy of LannyMac.
-Make sure to visit Toontown way in the back, lots for kids to do.
-Crowds tend to form up to an hour before opening time.. the earlier the better.
-Bring lots of water ($3.50 in the park, seriously.)
Most of all, relax. You will not see and do everything, things will not go perfectly! You might forget things and your kids will most definitely spill on their clothes. Lines may be long or short depending on the time of year- it may even rain on you. Be excited when your kids see their favorite characters- sing loud and clap on the It’s a Small World Ride. Point out details of the castles and the grounds, wait in line to see Mickey Mouse. Try to let go of the little things because the big things are all you will remember. Happy Traveling!