Hi, everyone! It’s Laura from Peace But Not Quiet, here to share a few tips for heading to Disneyland with little kids.
I’m a California girl whose been going to Disneyland since I was a kid myself. I actually went to college about 20 minutes from the park…and since my roommate worked there, we would pop over, ride a few rides, watch the lights come on at night and head back. So young. So carefree. So much less stuff to carry.
1.) Discuss souvenirs ahead of time. Are you allowing everyone to pick something out while you’re there? How big and how much can they spend? With the younger kids, we were very specific (we always bought them mouse ears for their first trip). As they get older, maybe give them a price limit or have them save up spending money. And we always have a discussion about buying things in the park they might be able to find elsewhere for less.
2.) Bring water. You can’t bring food or beverages into the park, but you can bring in empty water bottles and refill them. Do it!! California is hot and (mostly) dry and you seriously need to hydrate. And wear a ridiculous amount of sunscreen. Please.
3.) Avoid peak times. Arrive early. Eat early (or late.) Be happy when it rains and stay while everyone else is leaving.
4.) Take a picture of each of the kids beforehand. Okay. My husband thinks this one is paranoid of me, but I always take a head-to-toe cell phone pic of each kid before we go into the park. That way, if someone gets lost or separated, I have a picture of them, including exactly what they’re wearing, to show around. If you do lose someone, find a cast member and let them know right away. I promise you, they deal with missing kids on a daily basis and they’re quite good at it.
5.) Plan a break. Every time we go, we end up at the Enchanted Tiki Room around 3 in the afternoon. It’s usually hot by then. The kids are dragging. We sit and have a Dole Whip and watch the show in an air-conditioned room without having to wait in hugely long lines (and yes, you can bring your Dole Whip in with you.)
6.) Know the limits. If I’ve learned nothing else, I’ve learned this: listen to the kids. I used to think I got my money’s worth by arriving when a place opened, spending all day there, and leaving when it closed. I now know I get my money’s worth by having a lovely time with my family and not pushing them to the point of misery. It’s a much better vacation to leave at 7p with happy, tired kids than to leave at 10p with over-exhausted kids having meltdowns.