Friday, May 11, 2012

Some Tips for Disneyland with a Toddler

Aidan and I went to Disneyland with my mom and sisters a couple weekends ago. I thought I'd post some of the lessons I learned.

  1. Aidan was a great age at 20 months. He was able to enjoy the atmosphere and was in awe of most things. It was perfect and just how Disneyland is meant to be. He hasn't watched much TV so far in his life, but he still thought the characters and things were cool. Characters without masks are less scary. Disneyland tickets are free. Airline tickets are unnecessary.
  2. Toontown was pretty amazing for him. We went there Sunday morning and it was pretty empty. I'm not sure if it's usually like that, but I was able to let him out of his stroller and just let him run around and follow him. There are buttons on buildings that he could press and cars to sit in which he LOVED.
  3. Booking Disneyland tickets through AAA saved us quite a bit of money. You can just call up your local AAA office and order them. I think they have 3-day and 5-day tickets that you just pick up in the office. I think it was $180 for a 3 day and $220 for a 5-day. (It's $200 for a 3-day ticket online through Disneyland) AAA tickets (as well as tickets bought in the local hotels) have one magic morning. The magic morning alone makes it worth it.
  4. You don't really need a fast pass for World of Color unless you want to get wet and be super close. You can stand in the walkway and see just fine behind all of the fast pass people. It's totally worth seeing.
  5. Stay at a hotel across the street from the park. There are quite a few. Just pull up google maps and look at all of the ones on the east side. We stayed at Camelot Inn & Suites. It's themed on the outside, but don't let this scare you away. It's really nice and clean on the inside. White toilets, no mold etc. We got a Family Suite which was perfect. We booked them through and got 20% off our total stay using a coupon code.
  6. If you want, rent a car through hotwire for the first night only. You can get it at the airport and then have them pick it up at Downtown Disney the next day. That way, you can go buy groceries and stock your kitchenette. If you have a large food budget then you don't really need a rental car at all. Use a shuttle to and from the airport.
  7. Give your child naps if he/she is used to having them. Typically, toddlers sleep in the early afternoon which is when the parks are the busiest anyway. Take the time to go back to your room, enjoy a lunch, give them a nap and get a nap in yourself.
  8. Flying Jet Blue was awesome. They are SUPER family friendly. They automatically allow a carseat, stroller and diaper bag for each child. They don't charge for any carryons and allow one free checked bag per ticket. Awesome. They have a great variety of snacks and drinks for free which is helpful for a toddler. They were very eager and happy to help with Aidan and get us settled in. On the way back, I asked if there were any open seats and asked if I could bring Aidan's car seat and they gave us an entire row to ourselves so Aidan could be in his car seat.
  9. If you want to do all of the roller coasters and rides, don't bring your toddler or be prepared to switch off. You can get to the front of the line and do single rider and switch who has the kid. I just chose not to really do roller coasters (I don't really love them anyway) and it was perfect. There are plenty of rides Aidan could do with his height. Know your child's height before going. Just be prepared to have fun no matter what the trip brings. That's what parenthood is about anyway-right? ;-)
  10. Using Ridemax is great and super helpful if you want to be able to do a bunch of rides in a short amount of time and plan your day ahead. It has never let me down. Although, downloading the free MouseWait app to my phone was awesome and saved us running around a ton. People just log on and update the waiting times of rides they've gone on. So, it'll say "Indiana Jones, 43 minutes, 4:53pm" meaning the wait was 43 minutes at 4:53pm. It was cool to be standing in line for one ride and check the other wait times to plan where we wanted to go next. The app was probably almost better for us because with a toddler you never know what will come up.
  11. There is a Baby Care Center at the end of main street right across from the corn dog stand. It was awesome and quiet and relaxing. They have pumping rooms, nursing rooms, toddler toilets, microwaves, formula, wipes, bottles, diapers, nice changing tables etc. It was nice to go in there and get a break from the hustle and bustle.


Brenton and Adree Jensen said...

Thanks for these tips, Lauren! I am so looking forward to taking my kids there...

anne said...

Thanks for these useful and helpful hints. I'm sure I'll never miss to follow any single tips and guidelines to enjoy my Disney Activities.