Monday, June 23, 2008

Tips For Visiting Disneyland With Kids

We visit Disneyland or Disney California Adventure at least a couple of times a month. Usually we try to visit at least once a week. Through trial and error , I could easily say that I have learned what it takes to have a fun and stress free day at Disneyland. Here is what I usually bring with me to have a fun day and general tips on making the most out of your visit.

What do I bring with me??
1. You need a good backpack - I'm usually prepared with a great backpack- I never leave home without one .
2. Bring a stroller if you have small children. If you can, make sure to bring a light or umbrella stroller. They are easier to fold up and store- and this is always a plus if you have to take some sort of tram to the theme park entrance. Make sure to have some kind of labeling on you stroller to help yours stand out in the sea of strollers. If you prefer don't bring a stroller and rent one at the front of the park. I usually avoid this at costs but if you can't bring a stroller and want one this is a good alternative and trust me a stroller is indispensable.
3. Make sure to pack a jacket /sweater/blanket. - I've left home without one thinking that there was no possible way that I would be cold on a summer day. Boy was I wrong!! The nights cool off and there is nothing worse than shelling out $50.00 for a sweatshirt because your three year old is cold. Trust me on this one!!
4. If you have little ones make sure to pack a couple of snacks. I usually bring a baggie or two of
goldfish and fruit snacks. Just keep it simple.
5. If you can bring a bottle or two of water. I usually freeze mine the night before and throw them in a Ziploc bag- I pack them in at the bottom of my bag and they have been a lifesaver!!
6. Bring baby wipes. I always carry them even if I don't have my youngest with me. They are great for sticky hands and clean ups. I think they are a necessity !!
7. Make sure to pack a blanket if you plan on watching Fantasmic.
7. Last but not least I always pack my camera to make sure to capture my little one's smiling faces.

How can I make my visit stress free and as smooth as possible?
1. I think the most important thing to do is to be prepared and do a little research- Make sure to visit the park's website . There are other websites that I think are filled at the rim with information and are a must read if you plan on visiting. is a great resource.
2. Get there as early as possible. You've heard the saying "the early bird catches the bird" and this holds quite true with Disneyland. . You will be able to make the most out of your day this way.In my opinion it's the best time of day to ride your favorite attraction-you usually won't have to wait in line and if you do- you won't usually mind because it will be nice and cool.
3. Pick up a map/event guide at the front entrance- The first thing I do is try to plan out my day as soon as I have the map in my hands. Head to the most popular attractions first and plan out your day with the help of your map/event guide.
4. Avoid the lunch time rush. I would try to stay away from eating between 11am to 2pm. Usually the lines to attractions are shorter at this time because everyone is heading out to lunch. If you can , try to eat before 11 am and after 2pm.
5. Avoid attractions between 2 to 4 pm. This is usually peak time at a theme park. We usually use this time to grab a bite to eat and catch a couple of shows. Most restaurants and shows are air conditioned and it's a great time to take a break. If you have little ones- it's the perfect time to catch a snooze in the stroller.
6. Maximize your visit by taking advantage of the Fastpass system.
7.Make sure your family is well rested the night before and also well fed before you arrive at the your park of choice. There is nothing worse than dealing with cranky and hungry kids.
8. Last but not least- Enjoy yourself- Don't feel rushed. If you're visiting on a super busy day- odds are you probably wont' be able to take everything in one day and that's fine. It will give you the perfect reason to come back- or even better- upgrade your one day pass to an annual pass and come back as often as you like.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Strollers at the Disneyland Resort

Thanks to reader Stace- if you present your Disney card at the counter you will receive a free stroller rental.
If you don't plan on bringing your own stroller you can always rent one when you get to Disneyland or DCA. You can take your rented stroller back and forth between the two parks, but you cannot take the stroller into Downtown Disney.

Strollers can be found inside Disneyland's main entrance just before the east passageway under the railroad tracks or at the Star Trader located in Tomorrowland. . At Disney's California Adventure, the strollers can be rented across from Guest Relations near the Entry Plaza, or in Condor Flats at Fly 'n' Buy. They rent for $10 per day.

There are many benefits to renting a stroller. It can be difficult to get on and off the tram with your own stroller or you may not wish to bring your expensive carrier to the parks. Disneyland's strollers are very easy to maneuver and you don't have to worry about it getting stolen. If your stroller is taken, you can get a new one free of charge.

Whether you are renting or using your own stroller, mark it somehow to easily identify it in a crowd of strollers like tying a ribbon around the handle. Disney will provide you a namecard to place on the roof of your rented stroller. Since many strollers are similar, this will make yours easily visible, and also keep someone else from mistaking it as their own. We experienced this with the popular Winnie the Pooh umbrella stroller sold at Target stores.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train has to be one of my daughter's favorite rides at Disney's California Adventure. It's a fun and short train ride that takes you on Heimlich's food adventure.

Heimlich, everyone's favorite caterpillar/butterfly takes you with him on his food hunt. The ride is very short but very swet. Your kids will love everything about this ride. From the actual train cars(you ride on Heimlich's back) to the different smells you will experience on your little adventure. The ride is located inside A Bug's land- which is designed for the little ones. This ride is geared for the tiny tots , but kids of all ages will enjoy this cute little ride. The best part about this ride is that the waiting area is very shaded and the lines are usually short. I would however only ride this if the line is 5 minutes or shorter. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Playhouse Disney @ Disney's California Adventure

The Playhouse Disney Show at Disney's California Adventure is a must visit if you have little ones. Last Friday my daughter and I caught an afternoon show and boy did she love it. The show is about twenty minutes long and your kids will be jumping for joy!! Your kids will dance and sing along to their favorite characters from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Winnie the Pooh and The Little Einsteins. The stage opens up and the show begins with the planning of Minnie's Surprise Birthday party. It's followed by a revolving stage that brings your kid's favorite show to life. My daughter loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Little Einsteins. She couldn't get enough!! She danced and sang through the whole show. The Playhouse Disney show is geared for toddlers and preschoolers. It's a must if you have a toddler or preschooler.

For additional information click here

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First things, First

This is a place that might be overlooked or unknown. Those of you visiting Disneyland with babies and small children should definitely take advantage of the baby care center. It is located down a sidewalk at the end of Main Street on the right hand side just past the photo store. Inside, there are toddler sized toilets, changing tables complete with wipes and, perhaps best of all, air conditioning. They will only allow one adult per child to enter the station. There is a cast member that makes sure only a few people come in at a time to ensure this peaceful non-chaotic place remains that way. They sell about every baby necessity like bottles, pacifiers, formula, diapers and more. There are even bottle warmers if you need them. Nursing mothers can also come here for some privacy. The place is a wonderful retreat when the baby just needs to calm down from a day of over-stimulation.

If you go a bit past the baby care center, you will find the park first-aid center.

DCA also has a baby care center located directly next to their first-aide station which is found by the Mission Tortilla Factory in the Pacific Wharf area.