So this is how our day typical goes. The kids wake up earlier than we would all like, but we get dressed and packed for the day. Comfortable shoes, apply sunscreen, pack our lunch, extra water etc. We go down to breakfast and eat- then walk to the park. We TRY to start walking about an hour before the park opens- it takes awhile to get through security and the bag check and it’s busier every time we visit. They let you through the main gates early and then release you to the whole park at 9 or 10, whenever it officially opens.
We do different things everyday- this particular day we started at California Adventure and went right to Cars Land to ride Mater while we waited for our Max Passes for Racers to be valid. HERE’S A TIP. Usually, either Disneyland or California Adventure has a magic morning hour everyday- an extra hour before the park officially opens- if you stay in the Disney Hotel OR if you have a multi day hopper you get a magic morning. We always go to the OPPOSITE park. If Disneyland has a magic morning, we go to CA adventure. If CA adventure has the magic morning, we go to Disneyland. Magic morning is great for those who can get in early- but it does fill up the lines (#peterpan) before we can get in and makes things just a little bit busier. Anyway.
About 11:30 we find a picnic area and spread out to feed the minions. Sandwiches, chicken salad, cheese and crackers, fruit, Gogurts, stuff like that. Grandma always has treats. Maybe I’ve already said this but there isn’t a ton of variety in park food for kids- and if we are there for five days, two meals a day- that’s ten meals of chicken nuggets for my kids. Seriously they will pick that every time. Lunch is easy for us to pack and we know what they will eat and they are majorly HUNGRY by the time we sit down! We keep a soft cooler under the stroller, everything else goes in our Big A Disney Bag that hangs off of the handle bar.
After lunch we do more Disney stuff. Ride rides, meet characters, keep up on our Max passes. Sometimes we see a show in the afternoon. The kids love the Disney Junior show at DCA and the Royal Theater at Disneyland. Also, Mickey’s Magical Map is fun but only plays select days and times so check it when you plan out your week. We purposely saw that on Sunday night after our long day of driving because it wasn’t playing the rest of the week!
I force my family to take a group photo. I try for every day but it usually only happens 2-3 times per trip (which I’m totally happy with but don’t tell my husband.) I also try to get a BIG group shot with everyone but its hilarious how often someone is missing- bathroom, nursing, napping kid, on a different ride, etc. We have to divide and conquer with a group as large as we are!
|quick turn around and get a picture!|
|most of our group! Missing a few.|
|Ginger baby killin me all day everyday.|
|still clutching the disney map.|
|Aubree! With the hair!|
|definitely regret not buying this.|
|this girl is so fun.|
|Mater. The ride I can squish my kids without guilt.|
Mo and JR gave the kids these little cars- they kept them in their pockets and pulled them out in line to play. It was really fun and Lincoln loved being in charge of his own toy.
Other questions I frequently get about Disney:
Do we park hop? Yes absolutely. One day after a FULL day at DCA, we hopped over to Disneyland just to ride the train around the park before heading home.
Is one day enough? No. Unfriend me.
Should I bring my double stroller? Hell yes. Linc walked 95% of the time, needed the stroller to get home at night. It was nice to have the seat open for other kids too if we needed it. A baby carrier is so helpful- we use the solly wrap, a ring sling, and the ergo depending on size/age of baby.
Is it worth it to do character dining? It depends. If you want to see the characters quickly and efficiently, yes. Do it. I recommend Goofy’s Kitchen. Don’t expect to be blown away by the food, it’s a character experience primarily! You can see the characters for free- most of them in Toon Town, but you will have to wait for them individually.
Should we stay for the night shows? YES. Fantasmic is LOUD so plan accordingly. Isabelle is 8 and does okay, Lincoln is 6 and it’s too loud/firey/scary for him. I LOVE the fireworks but they weren’t happening during our off-season week. World of Color is a great show at DCA- plan ahead to get tickets and be early to scout a spot.
Week days are the “least” busy days- we try to go Monday-Thursday usually. Wednesday is always the best day. Bring sunscreen. We apply it in the morning and again after lunch- tops of feet, back of neck, depending on the day- we have definitely learned our lesson there. We visit during the off season- usually February and September. Summer is a no go for us.
Other tips: throw water appropriate sandals in the bag for the kids and have them change before water rides/splash areas. Stay within walking distance of the park. Breakfast included is always a bonus. (Taking the tram from the parking lot with a stroller is absolutely miserable.) Invest in a fun souvenir! My kids collect pins for their necklaces which they LOVE- autograph books are fun too and relatively cheap. Isabelle takes the same two pairs of Minnie ears every trip…Linc has a McQueen hat. Bubble wants are annoying but entertaining. Utilize the parent swap if you have a baby and can’t ride with your big kids. Mom stays with baby, Dad takes kids on ride, gets parent swap. Dad returns with kids. Mom swaps and takes kids BACK on ride without waiting in line. It’s a win/win really. Pack extra hand sanitizer and more baby wipes than you think you’ll need. Prep everything the night before- pack the snacks, lay out clothes, bathe the kids if you can- anything to cut time off of your morning routine. Max Pass is a necessity!
The question I get the most is “Why do you keep going back to Disneyland? Isn’t it boring by now? Haven’t you done everything?”
First of all LOLOL. There are still things we haven’t done at both parks. They are constantly upgrading and changing rides- right now the pier is closed at DCA to transform it into Pixar Pier with a new theme and new attractions. Also, our kids change! This trip was really fun with Isabelle- she is tall enough for any ride she is brave enough to ride. She and I were able to sneak away from the group for a little bit too and do the sketching lesson in the animation room. It was so fun! Our family is still growing- I think there are 30 of us now in my “immediate family” and there are NOT a lot of places we can all meet up and be able to entertain all ages. Disneyland is clean, family friendly, and straight up magical. Nothing compares to Main Street early in the morning or the twinkle lights at night and I’M SORRY but it’s just my favorite.