Disneyland with a Toddler
This past weekend was supposed to be another Disney Day for the Burton family.
Collin works almost every Saturday, so when he has a day off we ALWAYS try to take advantage and do something fun as a family. I was finally going to vlog our day, and take the cutest pictures with my new camera. Then, mother nature decided it was going to rain.
Don’t get me wrong - I LOVE the rain! It is actually my favorite weather (since I am so used to living in sunny Southern California). But, it has been raining so much lately, and on days when we want to go out to do things as a family. But now I am done ranting, and the post will go on! (Get it? Like the show will go on, but the post… okay, I’ll stop.)
I decided to write this blog post because I have had so many friends and family ask me what it is like taking a toddler to Disneyland, and how I manage - especially when I do it all by myself.
I have had a Disney pass since last April and Collin recently got one for Christmas. So Izzy has been going to Disney since she was about 10 months old. At first I had so many people telling me that we shouldn’t get one, that she was too young to have fun, and that it was a waste of money. And that was so wrong. Izzy has loved Disneyland since the first time we went, and every time we go she has fun.
Disneyland is exciting for babies because there are so many new sights and sounds for them. Not to mention, there are a lot of rides they can go on and a lot of shows for them to see. So if you are debating whether or not your child is old enough to have fun at Disneyland, take it from me when I say YES.
So once you have decided to go to Disneyland, there are a few things you need to consider: the cost, what time you want to go and how long you want to stay, and what to bring along with you.
The biggest issue with going to Disneyland for most people is the cost. We have a pass that includes parking, so we don’t have to pay every time we go (which is good since Izzy can only handle a few hours at a time). But if you are going make sure you try to get the best deal you can on tickets, and figure out how much parking will cost. It used to be $20.00 each visit, but last time I went it was raised to $25.00.
The other thing you need to pay for in Disneyland is the food. But my suggestion to you is to pack your own snacks and meals. I usually pack all of the food we will need for the day so we end up not spending any money when we go, unless we want to buy a special treat.
I have never had an issue with bringing food into the park, I just don’t think it can be in a cooler. So check the website (which will be linked at the end of this blog post) to see if your bag is acceptable to use. I always just use my diaper backpack!
Since we are talking about food, I want to tell you guys about my favorite place to eat lunch while we are at Disney! We like going to the Hungry Bear Restaurant which is by Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion. There are two levels, but we like to go to the top level all the way to the back by the railing. There you can watch the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia go by and you can even watch the train!
If you want to know where exactly it is, either pick up a map at Disneyland or download the Disneyland app! I totally recommend the app because it gives you wait times for rides and will tell you when rides are closed.
Occasionally, we like to take the monorail straight into the park, and go to the Galactic Grill by the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Autopia, and occasionally there will be shows there that you can watch while you eat.
And just a side note - once you have figured out that you are going, pick the best time! I go based around Izzy’s nap and traffic. But if there are specific shows you want to see, or if you want to make sure your child can get a good nap in before going, try to plan out what time would be best for you and your family.
The next thing you probably think about after costs, food, and time is what the heck you are going to bring with you!
So, my first tip is to bring a backpack so it is easier for you to carry and it can hold more stuff in it. But remember that they check every. single. pocket. in your bag at security. So be prepared if you have a bag with a ton of pockets - you are going to have to open every. single. one.
And just bring your normal essentials in the bag (wallet, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, etc.) and pack along some extra snacks, your meals if you don’t want to have to purchase food, and water. If it is summer time, make sure to bring sunscreen with you so you can reapply throughout the day.
Other than your diaper bag, you should definitely bring a stroller along with you. And if you like to carry your child in a baby carrier, definitely bring one! Those totally come in handy while you wait in the lines. I think pretty much any stroller works, but if you bring a wagon make sure it has a push-bar (Collin and I learned the hard way). But if you don’t want to use your own stroller you can always rent them from the park.
And once you are in the park, you can finally focus on having fun! There are so many ride options and shows to watch. You can use the Disneyland app to keep track of showtimes and wait times, so that way you can plan out your day as efficiently as possible.
I really recommend the parades and fireworks shows of course, but I have heard great things about the Disney Junior Dance Party and the Frozen show! We love watching the Red Car Trolley News Boys in California Adventure and the Marching Band that plays in front of the Disneyland Railroad. But they have so many show options and dance parties!
Most of the rides are safe for little ones to go on, but you can check the Height limit on the Disneyland app along with what ages the ride is geared towards, the thrill type and the hours it is running.
As you can tell, I love the Disneyland app!
Some wait times can be pretty long, so we usually distract Izzy by just talking with her, feeding her snacks and showing her our surroundings (because usually there is a lot of fun stuff you can point out to them while waiting in line). But if your child needs a little bit more entertainment while waiting in line, I suggest bringing your phone or tablet with games or videos for them!
So I hope this post was helpful for any parent wanting to bring their child to Disneyland! My biggest tip is to just focus more on having fun - don’t worry about how many rides you get to go on. Enjoy the shows, the rides, and just the atmosphere at the Happiest Place on Earth!
And make sure to check out the Disneyland website!