Disneyland with a Toddler
Summer is a great time to visit Disneyland and California Adventure. Since we live in SoCal, we have annual passes to both parks and visit them weekly. We usually plan our trips during the evenings, mid-week and we keep them fairly short. However, if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, you probably want to get your money’s worth, and who can blame you?
It seems like every time we visit Disneyland, I learn something new about the park. And when you have a toddler in tow, you’re going to want to know all of the tips and tricks for a smooth and successful day. Below are some fun-facts for a Disney trip with your toddler.
1. Download the App- You’re going to want to do this before you even get to the park. Do it the night before so you can plan out your day. The app is a life-safer for so many reasons. It includes everything you could possibly need to know about Disneyland in one place. It has a map that includes bathrooms and attractions, wait-times, height limits, fast pass access (we’ll discuss these later), where characters are located and show times.
2. Tattoo Your Toddler- One of the risks when visiting an extremely populated theme park is that possibility that your kiddo could slip away from you for a second. And what is scarier than losing a child or toddler, especially when they can’t talk yet?! If your child doesn’t have an identification bracelet, a great trick is to write your name and phone number on your kiddos wrist in permanent marker so it doesn’t wash off. This way if something like this does happen, you’ll be easily contacted and reunited with your little one.
3. Baby Care Center- Prior to having a kiddo, I did not know this place existed! There is one located in each park. This is a place where you can purchase baby essentials like diapers and wipes, as well as a place to breastfeed or pump. They have soft changing tables for little babies, a microwave for heating bottles, and a sink for rinsing. In Disneyland, the Baby Care Center is located near the corndog stand at the end of Main Street and there is another one located near the bakery in Pacific Warf inside of California Adventure.
4. Toon Town Playground- If your toddler is anything like mine, they’re going to want to get out of the stroller and run around. The playground located in Toon Town is the perfect place for kids to run freely and burn some energy. They have a slide, a few small tunnels and a house with a kid-size piano that makes crazy noises. When we’ve sensed that our little guy has had enough of the stroller, we head over to the playground and let him run. And it gives you a break from walking for a bit.
5. Disney Jr. Live on Stage- This is another feature I didn’t realize existed until having a toddler. It is a live dance party for kiddos of all ages and can be found inside of California Adventure. It features appearances by Minnie and Mickey as well as other characters from the Disney Channel. Parents and children gather inside the concert and take a seat on the floor. Kids are encouraged to get up and dance as the hosts put on a musical show that includes bubbles and foam! It’s a great place to escape the heat (or rain) and give yourself a break while your kiddo burns some energy.
6. FastPass- If you have a little one with you, waiting in line is not going to be an easy task so cutting down the wait time is essential. Disneyland offers fast passes that allow you to check into a ride at a specific time and wait in line for a fraction of the regular wait time. You can collect up to three Fast Passes at a time using your ticket or annual pass. You’ll want to get them early though because they run out quickly and they stop offering fast passes in the evening. You can even book them prior to your visit!
7. Parent Swap Pass- This is a feature that Disney offers to allow parents to go on rides that their little ones aren’t old enough for. One parent can wait with the child while the other parent rides the attraction. Once the ride is over, parents swap without having the wait in line again, and the second parent can ride the attraction. You can also do this with a group.
8. Adult Beverages- Lets be real for a second. You just spent hundreds of dollars taking your kiddo to an amusement park, you’ve spent all day pushing a stroller around, waiting for hours in lines, and doing everything you can to ensure your kiddo is having the time of their life. If you ask me, you deserve an adult beverage! And lucky for you, California Adventure offers a variety of adult beverages from wine to beer, even some mixed cocktails! My advice would be to start at Disneyland and work your way over to California Adventure when you’re ready for some mommy juice!
9. Coffee Break- Okay so maybe you aren’t much of a drinker, but I’m sure you’ll indulge in a nice cup of coffee. And you’re going to need all the caffeine to survive a long day at Disneyland. A fun trick that many don’t know is that you get FREE coffee refills if you keep your receipt! Yes, that’s right, I said FREE! I bet you didn’t think you could use Disneyland and free in the same sentence!
10. Dining- I’m going to be blunt for a moment. Not only is the food expensive at Disneyland, but it isn’t great food. With the exception of the restaurants inside the park, most of the fast food options are just mediocre. My advice would be to eat breakfast before arriving and depending how late you’re going to stay, eat dinner outside of the park. With that said, I would bring lots of snacks and drinks and limit your dining to one meal while inside the park. They have some great restaurants in Downtown Disney (which is attached to the parks) and most of them have a person making balloon animals for kiddos during dinner. This service is complementary, but you are expected to tip! And they can make just about any character you can think of. You can easily exit the park, grab some dinner and head back inside for some more fun!
And my last suggestion is MEET THE CHARACTERS! It makes for a cute, FREE souvenir and your kiddo with love it! :)
J A M I E L Y N N E