Last month we went on a once in a lifetime trip to Disneyland in California with both kids. They have just opened Pixar Pier and we wanted to experience the magic for ourselves. Not only was this trip monumental because, well….it’s Disneyland after all, but it was also our first trip as a family of 4. We hadn’t taken a plane together since Aubrey was a newborn, and to be honest we were a little nervous. Everything went well besides a missed flight from TO to LA and me recreating a scene from home alone as we heard our names saying the last call for our flight on the PA. I booted it down the Airport corridors towards our gates, screaming ” THE DECOELIS ARE HERE” but we were too late. Luckily, they had already booked us on the next flight an hour later so we could relax and eat breakfast.
Once we got to Disneyland, we spent 2 and 1/2 days exploring the parks with two kids 5 and under. I would recommend 4-5 days stay as we found that would be the perfect amount of time to get to all sides and rides of the park. Now that it’s all said and done, I think we know what worked, what to do next time and advice on how to prepare for Disneyland as parents.
10 Things To know When Travelling To Disneyland with Young Kids
Bring Sippy Cups
We brought 4 sippy cups with us for the trip, two for each child. Two were kept in our bag we brought to the park, while two stayed back in the room. This allowed us to purchase bottles of water, apple juice, and milk wherever we were and not have any messes.
Bring A stroller/Double Stroller
We had brought our Travel stroller with us for Poppy, but by two hours into our first day, we realized that we should have invested in a double stroller. Although Aubrey is 5, there is lots of walking and unless you enjoy carrying one of your kids, make sure you have strollers for each of them until the oldest is 7+. Luckily, at the entrance of the parks, they have strollers available to rent for the day for $15 so we ended up doing that each day.
Eat at the restaurants
There is food everywhere at Disneyland. But, if you are like us, and need to be careful what you and your kids eat due to food sensitivities, we would recommend making sure to eat at restaurants for your main meals. The restaurants have great gluten-free options and also healthier options than you’d find at a food kiosk. You also can avoid lineups by booking your table ahead of time using the Disneyland App.
Invest in the Fast Pass
One thing about younger kids is that they have not learned about patience yet. The fast pass allows you to cut your wait for rides in more than half. And rides that you think wouldn’t have a wait, are the ones that are the longest. You can also book these rides from the App so that you know what time to line up.
Download The App
Now that I have mentioned it multiple times, the Disneyland App will make your stay so much smoother. From booking into your fast pass ride to reserving where to eat, it is your personal concierge. It even has an interactive map that shows you where you are, where the rides are, and what the wait time is at each ride. We didn’t use it until the second day and it was a game changer.
Budget for spending more than you expect
They are going to want the stuffies, the light up necklaces, the bubble makers, the cotton candy, so make sure you have enough spending money put aside for it all. The last thing you want to see in Disneyland is your child crying over the stuffy from their favorite movie because you ran out of cash. I know this is a touchy subject because we should teach our children to not be greedy. But a trip to Disney is once in a lifetime and you should let it be the best!
Map Out your top Rides before leaving the hotel
Mapping out the rides in each park that we wanted to go to prior to leaving was super efficient and allowed us fewer meltdowns and more rides. That way, we could also book our lunch restaurants depending on the area we would be in. If you love an organization like us, this will be your lifesaver.
Stay At The Grand Californian if you want to be Central to both Parks
We were so happy with this resort. It’s smack dab in the middle of the parks and depending on the entrance that you choose, you will be able to enter right into Downtown Disney, and both parks. With two kids, one of who naps, this was great if we needed to rush back to the hotel for anything. The service was impeccable, and they have a full serviced family friendly pool area where we would retreat to when the park became too hot.
Wear Hats and Sunscreen
Like I said in the last point it gets HOT. You are inland in California surrounded by steel and pavement. Make sure you have dressed appropriately, with hats and sunscreen. Also, carry water with you at all times because it gets HOT! We ended up hanging by the pool from 1pm-4pm most days because it allowed a bit of a break from the extreme heat. Did I mention it was like 40 Degrees Celcius with no wind? HOT!
Let Go Of The Little Things
Stuff happens, plans don’t go right, things get lost, especially when kids are involved. The biggest thing I would recommend is to let go of those things. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth and if you believe that, it actually is. As much as I said that planning is key to your trip, so is making sure you can go with the flow. Keep your cool and your kids will feed off that energy.
This was an amazing first trip to Disneyland as a family and I am sure it won’t be our last.