On this day last year we were hopping on a plane to Disneyland to celebrate my little guys 3rd birthday! In memory of that, I thought I would bring you my list of traveling to Disneyland with younger kids. When we went, Eyan was 3 and Emberlynn was 6 weeks.
- Umbrella strollers are easier then the giant ones…they have stroller parking, but sometimes it is hard to find a “larger” spot to park. I highly suggest a smaller stroller, also baby wearing is a lifesaver.
- Download the “Mousewait” application to your phone. It tells you line times (on rides and restaurants!) so you don’t have to walk the entire park to discover a 3 hour wait and also you can get on more rides this way. It is also free.
- Don’t try to do and see everything. Pick 4-5 things you must get done on your trip, the rest is bonus! For us it was to meet Mickey Mouse, ride the Radiator Springs Racers, ride the Buzz Lightyear ride, see the parades, watch the fireworks and see World of Color. We did all of that and TONS more. In addition to this, have a realistic plan of action to move through the park. Go online for an updated park map and study the layout as well as the height requirements for each ride. Planning to ride the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland and then jumping over to Frontierland for the Winnie the Pooh ride is not the best planning and is quite a walk. Instead have a couple attractions in each land picked out as musts and work your way through the park.
- Take advantage of the child swap option if you have little ones. Basically you wait in line only one time, you tell the cast member at the front of the ride that you would like to do the child swap and your family goes on while one waits back with the littlest member that cannot ride (due to height restrictions), then when they come back you get a fast pass to go right back on again. Bonus: your older kids get to ride the ride 2x! Now we didn’t actually use this, but I watched many people use this option and love it. I will tell you that tons of the rides are baby friendly. We took Emberlynn on most of what we rode. If it doesn’t have height restrictions, the baby is good to go!
- Do a character dining experience to meet the main characters that you want to (have to make reservations through Disney). They have tons of these, they are not cheap, but MUCH easier to eat and meet the characters instead of waiting for hours in the heat. With little ones this is crucial.
- Bring snacks…inevitably you will be in line when your oldest children decide they’ve had enough…a sugary snack usually got us through.
- If you plan on seeing the fireworks or the World of Color go into the parks later…those are LONG days! (both are awesome but the World of Color is ahhhmazing!)
- Get fast passes for the World of Color and arrive about an hour prior to the show to get even better seats. No one told us to get fast passes and it was a LONG wait to fight over the good seats, while the “fast passers” walked right to reserved seating about 30 minutes before the show.
- If you plan on riding the Cars Land ride (Radiator Springs Racers) the fast passes are notoriously gone by 11 each day so head there first. (Fast passes are free but you can only get one at a time) Also, the height requirement is 40” and they are super cautious about this. They check heights 3 different times and not all the rulers are exactly 40”.
Everything is within walking distance…we rented a car because we flew into LAX but its not necessary unless you plan on going to the ocean. I am not joking when I tell you that Disneyland and Disney’s California adventure are literally across a common area (500 ft?). Also Downtown Disney is also about 500 ft away.