Planning a trip to Disneyland? That’s great, as a former employee of Disneyland I am here to offer you the best Disneyland Tips I can offer including some Disneyland Tips that you may not read or see anyplace else. These Disneyland Tips are designed to help make your stay magical.
I once lived as a west coaster, Growing up Disneyland was always one of the most anticipated places we could go. One of my earliest memories is the Big Bad Wolf stealing my Davy Crockett coonskin cap. As a young adult I worked there during college. Now for my best Disneyland tips to help you plan a magical vacation!
1. Buy discount Disneyland tickets in advance for a discount. You can save money and avoid a line at the ticket booth when you purchase your tickets in advance. Secret Disneyland Tip *Purchase Disney gift cards online and get 5% off when you use a Target Red Card. When you book in advance, not only will you save money on your tickets, you also get one Magic Morning with every three days or longer ticket. It is so worth it!
2. Stay in a hotel that is close to the parks. You can either stay at a Disney-owned on property hotel or at a partner hotel right next door to the resort. On property hotels give you access to the park an hour early every day of your visit, but are more expensive but if you want to have the maximum amount of time in the park this is a great way to go. The Disneyland partner hotels are less expensive but have many fewer amenities.
3. If on a budget there are numerous lower priced hotels in the area. But consider they are still pricey compared to staying elsewhere in Southern California and driving or taking public transportation there or use Uber or Lyft.
4. Secret Disneyland Tips * If you are being dropped off at Disneyland, get dropped off at the Grand Californian Hotel. This is much better than the Disneyland taxi stand and normal pick up area on the Harbor Boulevard side of the park. The hotel address is 1600 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802. Secret Disneyland Tip #2 The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort will store your luggage free of charge.
5. Secret Disneyland Tips * If you aren’t staying at a nearby hotel park outside the park. The neighbors may not like it much but there is off site parking in local neighborhoods. Use Google directions and park near 420 Berry Ave in Anaheim for a short walk and save on parking.
6. Take a picture when you park your car or mark its location by sending yourself the GPS coordinates or a text message. If you opt for paid parking The Mickey and Friends parking structure is one of the biggest in the world. Losing your parking spot can be quite easy. But you can make parking fun as well as this is the only place you can catch the super-cute space-age-style trams – and who want to arrive at Disneyland in a boring old bus?
7. When purchase discount tickets in advance you can then upgrade them to annual passports and save big. You can take your discounted ticket and buy an upgraded pass…and you get the full face value of your discounted ticket.
8. Take a pic of the back of your ticket/pass to use in case you lose your ticket. Using the barcode from the photo, Guest Relations is able to replace any lost ticket with very little problem.
9. While you can’t avoid crowds, especially in the summer this Secret Disneyland Tip * can help. If you do decide to go on a holiday. Christmas and Easter Sunday mornings are usually a little bit lighter as people tend to be doing the standard family oriented stuff early before going to the park. Monday thru Wednesday have the lightest attendance numbers.
10. Arrive early. Arriving at the gate 30 minutes prior to opening will get you near the front of the line in order to get on the most popular rides first. Get there early also allows you to sign up the kids for Jedi Training. Kids between 4 and 12 can participate in Jedi Training, which is a pretty fun experience where they get to pretend to be Jedi and have a personal light saber battle with Darth Vader. But spots are limited so you’ll need to get to the park before it opens and position yourself to head straight to Tomorrowland near Autopia to sign up. Your children must be with you to sign up for Jedi Training but they probably won’t be dawdleing if they know the reason why. If you can, pick an afternoon time slot (when lines for rides are longest).
11. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Shorts and t-shirts are the way to stay cool. And don’t forget hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. Visiting Disneyland can be a long day. You will be walking and moving around constantly so make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes and especially shoes.
12. If it is the winter time be sure to pack a light jacket and dress in layers. While Disneyland is located in inland Southern California, expect cool evenings and overcast mornings.
12. For fun track how far you walk. Use your fitness tracker or Phone app to track how far you have walked during your trip. An average person walks about 9 miles a day at Disneyland.
13. Download the Disney App. With it you can find restaurants and more importantly wait times for rides.
14. Booking a Disneyland vacation package can help you save money. While I am a more ala carte type traveller when you book your tickets and hotel together you will save quite a bit more.
15. Secret Disneyland Tips * to entering the park. Even though it is designed for wheelchairs and strollers anyone can use the wheelchair stroller line. Often this line is much shorter. You may get some stares doing so but most of the time others then follow. Another option and one of my favorites is to enter the parks from Monorail or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel entrance. While you don’t always have to utilize this Disneyland tip, be aware that you can enter Disneyland from the end of Downtown Disney at the Monorail station and enter Disney California Adventure from the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa private entrance. Request the front cabin on the monorail for privacy and fun views of the parks! Plus-secret tip*, this is the only place in the monorail that has air conditioning.
Running in Disneyland is not allowed so don’t think you can get in and sprint to the ride you want, but that said I’ve never had someone stop me from skipping through the parks. Letting your inner child out is kind of encouraged.
16. Best Photo OP of Sleeping Beauties Castle can be taken from the right hand side of the castle towards Tommorowland. There are fewer people from this side angle and you are surrounded by greenery rather than concrete.
17. To make your battery last longer put your phone on airplane mode when waiting in line and riding underground rides. On rides that are underground like Pirates of the Caribbean your phone battery will die much more quickly because your phone will be searching for a cell signal that may not be there and you can stretch out the juice by going into airplane mode while waiting in long lines. Of course a good portable charger can help also.
18. Secret Disneyland Tips * Consider leaving your bulky camera at home and buying the Disney PhotoPass. It’s pretty slick – there are photographers all over the park and anytime you see one you can ask for a picture, which means you don’t have to worry about lugging your camera around AND you get to be in all the pictures with your family. You can download all the photos at the end of your trip for the cost of the Photo Pass and even includes photos with “Disney magical” effects added. PhotoPass Cast Members will take photos on your camera if you want. There are PhotoPass Cast Members stationed throughout the park who will take your photo on their camera. You can purchase that professional photo or just have them take a pic on your own camera.
19. Many of the attractions take on-ride photos. These photos are displayed on a screen as you are leaving the attraction. You are welcome to take photo of these photos to avoid having to purchase them.
20. Do not attempt to use selfie sticks in Disneyland. They are totally banned from inside the parks. If you do manage to sneak one into the parks and bring it on any ride, that attraction will be shut down.
21. Find a private restroom in the Enchanted Tiki Room. The Tiki Room is one of the only attractions with its own restroom, because the attraction was originally going to be a restaurant. It usually also has very short lines.
22. Bring your own stroller for the kids. When visiting Disneyland, be sure to bring your own stroller rather than renting from the parks. This is primarily a time saving idea as you don’t have to wait to rent a stroller however it also allows you to easily carry in your normal stroller items. **While the official policy is that outside food is not allowed in Disneyland, you will not be questioned if you bring food from outside into the theme parks. If you are traveling with a baby take advantage of the baby care centers.There are fully stocked baby care centers in both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
23. As with the stroller if you need a wheelchair for someone in your group, do not rent one from the parks. Rent one from the hotel as these can be taken out of the park with you and walked back to your hotel or car.
24. Tell children to locate someone with a Disneyland name tag if they are lost. This Disneyland Cast Member who finds your child will make sure that they are protected and well taken care of until they are reunited with you. Write your name and phone number on your child somewhere in case they are lost. It happens more often than you think that a child runs off, especially if you are with a large group.
26. Secret Disneyland Tips *Cheap or Free Souvenirs- Bring a few quarters and pennies for pressed pennies. Throughout the park there are pressed penny machines that will imprint special Disneyland designs on them. To press one penny it requires two quarters and one penny. These are probably the cheapest souvenir besides your memories you can take with you. Second Disneyland Secret Tip *The Jungle Cruise gives away free maps. This makes a great souvenir and is one of the best free things in Disneyland.
27. Secret Disneyland Tips * From my wonderful days spent as a balloon seller I can tell you that if you bring a popped Disneyland balloon to any of the vendors they will give you a new one. Simply return the broken balloon to any balloon vendor. Sorry no refund for balloons that may have flown off. Just popped ones.
28. The mailboxes are real-however the postal stamp comes from Anaheim-not Disneyland 🙁
29. Gluten free items are available at almost every restaurant in the park. Just ask. There are a number of healthy food options at Disneyland. At almost every sit down restaurant there is a salad option and there are carts throughout both theme parks selling fruit.
30. Disneyland tips Secret * Free delivery or storage. If you want to buy something at a gift shop Disneyland Purchases can be sent to your hotel room at any on property Disney owned hotel. This is another nice perk for staying at any of the Disneyland hotels. Not staying at a Disney property-no problem- There are specific locations that will hold your purchases irs for you so that you can pick them up at the end of the day. These shops are the Disneyland Resort Stroller Shop, Elias & Company in Disney California Adventure Park, Pioneer Mercantile at Disneyland Park, Port Royal at Disneyland Park, and The Star Trader at Disneyland Park. Note**They will just check in items that were purchased in the parks and are not limited edition. Shops on Main Street USA and Buena Vista Street are open for 30 minutes to an hour after the official park closing time. This can be a good time to get your shopping done.
31. Another inexpensive souvenir is the silhouette cuts on Main Street. Inside a shop on Main Street you can find incredibly talented silhouette cutters who will cut your silhouette profile on black paper. These cuts are inexpensive and make a great souvenir!
32. Disneyland Tips Secret * Try the Ice Cream Nachos at the Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland Park. This is a “secret menu” item and consist of ice cream served over waffle cone “chips.”
33. Disneyland Tips Secret * Eat where the employees eat. While you won’t see them eating there, underground Disneyland has cafeterias for the cast members and maybe not so surprisingly the food is just a little bit better than the rest of the park as the cafeteria and customer restaurant above use the same kitchen. These are the Plaza Inn on Main Street and Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square.
34. Secret Disneyland Tips * Don’t miss the nightly sh-boom moment when the lights come on in Cars Land. Everynight at dusk when the lights come on in Cars Land you’ll hear the famous sh-boom song. The light show can be seen nightly two minutes after sunset.
35. Secret Disneyland Tips * For a nice view of Cars Land, enter from the Paradise Pier side of the land.This is will provide a great view of the rockwork and of Radiator Springs.
36. The Grizzly River Run lockers are free for two hours. Located on the left hand side of the entrance to the attraction, the free lockers are a perfect place to put things you don’t want to get wet during the ride.
37. Watch the parade at the very beginning of the route when it starts next to “it’s a Small World.” Watching from the beginning point means that you will be done viewing the parade while thousands of other people are still waiting to watch. Disneyland Secret Tip * Don’t stand up front for the parade. Stand Back and be the first to leave and get on a ride when the parade is over. Get in line for “it’s a Small World” right after the parade passes by. This is an especially valuable tip during the Christmas Parade when the lines for “it’s a Small World” are extremely long.
38. Watch the Disneyland Flag Retreat ceremony honoring our country. This ceremony happens daily in the late afternoon in Town Square on Main Street. All of the branches of the armed forces are recognized.
39. Disneyland Tips Secret * Character dining can be a great way to meet characters without using a lot of your park time waiting in lines for photos. It could also be the highlight for young children. Children under the age of three can eat for free in the buffets throughout the resort. Making dining reservations can help provide structure to your day. You can make reservations up to 60 days in advance and can cancel those reservations up until 24 hours before your seating. After the 24 hour mark you will be billed $10 per person of a cancelled reservation.
40. Anyone can order kid’s menu items from the restaurants. While there are recommended ages for kid’s menu items that are sold from the restaurants in Disneyland, anyone can order this lower cost food. Portions are smaller but make for great snacks and for those less hungry.
41. Disneyland Tips Secretisneyland Secret Tip * For the gamesters in your group–There is an invisible 50,000 point target on Zurg’s chest on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. This target can be hard to find, but pays off huge.
42. Get a FastPass for World of Color and Fantasmic! early in the day. The World of Color nighttime fountain and projection show is incredible. Through Disney’s FastPass system you can grab a free ShowPass to reserve a specific seating area. For World of Color, simply pick up a ticket right when you enter Disney California Adventure.
43. My favorite spot to watch the fireworks is halfway between the end of the shops on Main Street and the partners statue. You can grab a spot for the Disneyland fireworks pretty easy all the way up until the show begins.
44. Needing caffiene? There are many Starbucks located throughout Disneyland. If you think you will want Starbucks, the lines are usually much shorter at the new Downtown Disney location next to the Disneyland hotel across from the Downtown Disney Monorail station.
45. Secret Disneyland Tips * Mix up your meal times. Eat your lunch and dinner meals either early or late. When the restaurants are crowded the lines for the rides will be less.
46. Hidden Disneyland Secrets– The parks designers have hidden Mickey Mouse heads throughout the theme parks. These are called “Hidden Mickeys” and there are entire books dedicated to helping you find them. Also, if you walk by a restaurant or food cart you may notice blowers that blow the aroma out into the crowd. Also check out the design of the buildings and castle. They have bigger blocks at the bottom and smaller ones up top (the same for windows)-this gives an optical illusion of making the buildings seem larger.
47. Disneyland Secret- Be on the lookout for cats at Disneyland. At last count, there were over 200 cats wandering around Disneyland. These cats are tended to by Disneyland Cast Members and help keep the rodent population under control. Sometimes they can be spotted during the day, but mainly they are shy.
48. If you are at the Disneyland for multiple nights take the opportunity to ride a popular attraction like Big Thunder Mountain or Grizzly River Run while the fireworks are going off. This is a totally unique view of the fireworks. Both Fantasyland and Toontown are closed during the fireworks shows and for both an hour before and after. Do not plan on experiencing anything in these areas during the shows.
49. Secret Upscale Disneyland Dining Tips *The Carthay Circle Theater Lounge and Restaurant is a fantastic upscale fine dining location. You can make a reservation for dinner and take in the nighttime fountain show at the same time. No reservations during the show available? Eat there anyway and your server will likely give you a FastPass if you order off the menu and tell them you are hoping to see the show later that night. People rave about the Blue Bayou Restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean but the menu items are quite expensive. For many of the same menu items at a lower price, check out Cafe Orleans above an employee kitchen. The main attraction of the Blue Bayou is the fact that it is inside Pirates of the Caribbean, If you want to save some money but experience the ambiance of the Blue Bayou restaurant you can make a reservation and just have dessert. It is easy to just make reservations for later in the night and attempt to get a table next to the water.
50. Disneyland Tips Secret *-Casual Dining: The best counter service restaurants in Disneyland are Rancho Del Zocalo and Jolly Holly Bakery and Cafe. The best counter service restaurants in Disney California Adventure are in the Pacific Wharf area of the park.
The Earl of Sandwich is a great sandwich place in Downtown Disney near the Disneyland hotel. The food is inexpensive and you will be emailed coupons for free sides and sometimes even free sandwiches if you sign up for their email list.
The best sit down restaurants at the Disneyland Resort are outside of Disneyland park (in the hotels and Downtown Disney and in Disney California Adventure). These restaurants also have the added bonus of being able to provide a selection of alcoholic beverages. If beeris your thing seek out Ballest Point.
White Water Snacks and Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen To Go are both great places to grab breakfast if staying on a Disney property. Both of these locations provide reasonably priced breakfast entrees that are fast, filling, and tasty.
Get free chocolate and sourdough bread samples from the Pacific Wharf factory tours. A loaf of good sour dough can be purchased for around $5.
51. Feeling artistic? Secret Disneyland Tips- The Animation Building, specifically the Animation Academy is a great break to rest your feet and get inside. You can learn to draw your favorite Disney characters, meet the stars of Frozen, enjoy Turtle Talk With Crush, or take a test to see which Disney character you are.
52. There are water bottle filler locations throughout Disneyland. The spigots can be found at Tomorrowland Terrace, Rancho Del Zocalo, the French Market, and the Plaza Inn. Disney California Adventure does not have water bottle fillers. Disneyland Secret Tip * Disneyland restaurants will always give you free cups of ice water. But you must specify a large cup otherwise you will get a small cup, however there are few places that will only give you a small cup even if you ask for a large.
53. Money no problem? Secret Disneyland Tips * Disneyland offers private VIP tours and guided tours. There are a number of tour options ranging from very expensive VIP tour guides where you have free reign of the park to half day tours that center around themes like Christmas at Disneyland. Contact Guest Relations in advance.
54. Disneyland Secret Tips * Do not fear rain. Some of the best days at Disneyland have been on days when it has rained or was forecast to rain. All of the Southern California locals will be scared away and you will sometimes have the park to yourself.
55. Secret Disneyland Tips * The Haunted Mansion is transformed into the Haunted Mansion Holiday from September to January. During this period, the Haunted Mansion will have a longer line. As Halloween approaches the lines get longer so take advantage of this knowledge and go in September.
If you are planning on going to the Disneyland Mickey’s Halloween Party, do not purchase a park ticket for that day. The Halloween party is a private after hours event that happens on nights throughout September and October. The special event ticket also includes access to the park starting at 3pm or 4pm depending on when the Halloween party starts.
You can always request the ride row you want. You may have to wait a little longer, but they will always give you the seat you want. My suggestions are to ride in the front row of Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours and Space Mountain. Ride in the back row of Big Thunder Mountain and The Jungle Cruise. Choose either the very front row or very back row for Incredicoaster.
57. Secret Disneyland Tips * Do not waste your time crisscrossing the park. If you need to get a FastPass, send one person as a “FastPass Runner” to go pick up FastPass tickets for your entire group.
58. Use Disneyland’s free FastPass service to avoid the lines. The Disneyland FastPass system allows you to be able to reserve a return time for an attraction when you can ride with little to no wait.
Disneyland Travel Secret * Remember that for very popular rides, fast passes will run out for the day. This can happen pretty early on when the park is very crowded. If it’s summertime and you really want to ride Radiator Springs Racers, you’d better get fast passes first thing in the morning.
Secret Disneyland Tips &* If your fast pass return time is more than 2 hours away, you can get another fast pass in 2 hours. So if it’s 10 in the morning and your fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers says you can come back at 6:30 tonight, remember you can get another fast pass in 2 hours, at noon, and you don’t have to wait until 6:30. It’ll say so right on the fast pass.
Secret Disneyland Tips *Fastpasses have two times on them. Often you can actually go on a ride twice by attempting to return to the ride before the second time printed on your FastPass ticket expires. If you are a few minutes late do not be too worried. The Cast Members are typically generous.
59. Secret Disneyland Tips * Use the single rider line. If everyone in your party is over the age of 7 and you don’t mind splitting up for some rides, you can use the single rider line and get on certain rides much faster (or if only the teenagers want to ride something like California Screamin’). This system splits up parties and lets you jump the line so that Disneyland can fill all the empty seats from groups with odd numbers of people. This works on most rides except for Soarin’ because this line Single Rider line often takes longer than the real line. * It is usually easy to get a FastPass for Soarin’ as they rarely run out.
60. Be sure to park hop at Disneyland and California Adventures. If the park you are in take a chance and go to the other park. While there is a good chance it may be just as crowded there is always the possibility that it may not be.
61. Use the child swap system which allows one adult in the group to wait with a child while the other rides and they can switch. This system allows for both adults in the party to experience the attraction while only waiting once and prevents the child too small for a ride or who has fallen asleep from ever being alone so the parents can enjoy themselves.
62. Ride Fantasyland attractions early in the morning, immediately after the land reopens post fireworks, or right before the park closes. There is no FastPass available for any of the Fantasyland attractions. If you have small kids with you the best order would be to go in this order: Peter Pan, Dumbo, Mr. Toads Wild Ride, Storybook, Teacups, Alice in Wonderland then head over to Star Tours and Space Mountain with Fast Passes. Peter Pan has a 45 minute line that exists nearly the entire day so going early is the best option.
If you don’t have any young kids and want to skip Fantasyland the order to go in is Splash Mountain first, Indiana Jones, Jungle Cruise, and then Fastpasses for Big Thunder and Space Mountain.
63. Secret Disneyland Tips * Ride Toy Story Mania first thing in the morning or get a FastPass. Another time to ride is during World of Color as Toy Story Midway Mania is the only attraction on Paradise Pier that stays open during the shows.
64. Secret Disneyland Tips* Ride Radiator Springs Racers either first thing in the morning or by using the Single Rider line. You should not wait longer than 30 minutes for this attraction if you follow this advice. If the Single Rider line stretches back past the bridge that crosses over the line get out of line and come back to this attraction later.
65. Secret Disneyland Tips * Attractions don’t actually shut down when the park closes. Only the lines to attractions close at the listed time the parks close. You can save some of the big attractions for late at night at which point the lines will have gotten shorter and you will be able to be in the park longer. For example, if you get in an 80 minute line for Space Mountain one minute before park close, you could be in the parks an extra 80 minutes after the park officially closes.
66. If someone in your family doesn’t want to go into the park, consider sending them to the spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. Mom and Grandma need a vacation too.
67. Go to the Grand Californian Hotel lobby to chill. The Hearthstone lounge is a calming place to get a drink and have a snack. They have a limited bar menu.
68. Don’t miss Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel. The Tiki Bar we used to go to after work on top f the Disneyland Hotel is gone now but there is still a place to get your Tiki on. Located in the middle of the pool area at the Disneyland Hotel, the bar is highly themed bar with fun tropical drinks and special effects throughout and you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy its hospitality.
69. List of Fastpass attractions:
Disneyland Park FASTPASS Attractions
Disney California Adventure FASTPASS Attractions
70. The only way you benefit from the Extra Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hours (EMH) is if you actually show up early for them. Both allow one-hour early admission into the parks, a huge leap on the rest of the touring population. You want to get to the park at least a half hour before the extra hour begins. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a long line of not-quite-early-enough risers who are also waiting to get into the park! Some rides now distribute FASTPASSes during EMH and Magic Morning, but availability is not guaranteed, and the FASTPASSes’ return windows will become active once the park opens to the general public.
Unless you visit Disneyland frequently, there’s a chance you could be making some big mistakes on your Disneyland vacation.
I’ve put together five of the most common mistakes that families make when planning a Disneyland vacation to help you save time and money.
Trips With Tykes
San Francisco Bay Area Family Travel Blog
January 9, 2017 by tripswithtykes
The toddler years are great ones to experience Disneyland with your little one. I’ve been with both of my children in the 1-3 age range many times and it is truly a magical stage. That said, toddler travel comes with some challenges, even at the Happiest Place on Earth. Keep reading for my best tips from the travel trenches for making the most of a vacation at Disneyland with toddlers.
1. Look for Toddler Meals
Dining at a quick service location? Disneyland offers toddler meals at locations like Village Haus and French Quarter that are cheaper than the regular kids meals – often with toddler-friendly mac and cheese that my kids have always enjoyed.
The best way to do Disneyland with a toddler is to start early (they are up anyway!) and then plan a mid-afternoon break when lines are at their longest. Go back to your hotel (remember why I told you to book within walking distance?) and take a pool break or a nap. Then, your whole family can be recharged for evening fun and even perhaps push bedtime back a bit.
The conventional wisdom is that Disneyland park is the better fit for toddlers, but don’t miss out on California Adventure. My toddlers adored Cars Land and the new Pixar Pier has plenty of familiar characters (with even more to come soon). Plus, the Disney Junior Dance Party is in California Adventure and that is sure to be a toddler hit (see more of the best rides in California Adventure for toddlers and preschoolers). If you have more than one day, split your time between both parks.
Marching from ride to ride will wear out even the heartiest of toddlers, so give them time to engage in free play too. The best place for this is Toontown – Donald’s Boat has lots of features to explore, as does Minnie’s House when she’s not in residence.
One of the best character meet and greets for toddlers in Disneyland is in the very back of the park in Critter Country. You can meet three characters toddlers know and love – Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger – while needing to stand in only a single line that wraps through them all.
Toddlers are totally free before their third birthday at Disneyland, so be sure to schedule that trip just before your child’s big day! I’ve found that 2-3 year olds can get so much out of the park because they start to know the characters, so it’s a smart stage to plan a visit.
The non-thrill rides in Fantasyland (often called “dark rides” because they are inside) may seem like the perfect options for toddlers, but the reality is that some of them will scare some toddlers. Snow White’s Scary Adventures and Pinocchio are particularly frightening, as is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride for many. Start with Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland to see how your child reacts to being in the dark before trying the ones with scarier scenes.
Forgot diapers or wipes? Make a beeline for the baby care centers (one in each of the parks) which will have the supplies you need. They even have small toilets for potty training toddlers to use more easily.
Toddlers will get hungry (especially while you are in line and can’t get to a snack stand) so pack some healthy snacks they know and love for emergencies. It will save you money as well as prevent the Dole Whip driven sugar overload meltdown mid-day.
Toddlers will want to walk a bit and not be confined to the stroller full time, so we found the perfect compromise that also makes logistics easy. Use the stroller to get your child quickly from land to land. Then park it in one place in each land and allow your child to walk from ride-to-ride within the land.
The huge advantage of having a toddler is that you aren’t yet tied down by your child’s school schedule. Avoid school break periods when crowds are at their worst like summer, spring break, or the winter holidays. Go during low season instead for a more relaxed experience.
If you are headed to Disneyland during a warmer time of year, don’t forget a swimsuit (and swim diaper). The splash pad at Princess Dot Puddle Park in California Adventure is a great place for the little ones to cool off.
Fastpass is a great way to avoid lines for certain rides so make the most of it! Lines and toddlers don’t mix. So many people think that you have to pay to take advantage like you do at other theme parks, but Fastpass is totally free at Disney. Better yet is the new MaxPass, which does cost $15 a day, but totally allows you to get even more rides in without the walking to Fastpass kiosks to book.
Just because you have a toddler doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the thrill rides. Disneyland has a great program called Rider Switch that lets parents switch off caring for a little one and riding a one of the attractions with height restrictions. The second parent (or older children) do not have to wait in line again!
No one wants to think about losing a child in Disneyland, but it does happen. For toddler too young to memorize mom and dad’s names and phone numbers, use a sharpie or label to mark contact information in your child’s clothing or use a child ID bracelet to ID temporary tattoo.
Some rides at Disneyland have height restrictions, so measure your toddler in advance of your trip to avoid disappointment – especially if you have a toddler with a need for speed! You might be surprised how much you can ride. Our little guy was tall enough for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (32 inch minimum) by 18 months and we were amazed that my very tall daughter was able to ride Radiator Springs Racers (40 inch minimum) on a trip when she was 3.5 years old.
Southern California weather can be a bit variable even though it is usually pretty pleasant year round. You may find your toddler needs a jacket in the early morning or evening hours even if you are in shorts midday, so pack appropriately and consider layers. Bring ponchos when rain threatens. And of course, don’t forget sunscreen and water (pack your own sippy cup) for any time of year. Check out my other ideas for what to pack in your Disney parks day pack to make sure you remember the essentials.
Watch this video before your next trip to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure! An absolute must if its your first Disneyland trip trying to handle the parks for your first time! This is loaded with Disneyland hacks, Disneyland tips, and Disneyland tricks. I cover things like Disneyland Maxpass, Fastpass, Extra Magic Hours, Magic Mornings, Mobile Food Orders and much much more!