A couple weeks ago my family and I took our first big trip together! Of course, as a HUGE Disney fan, it had to be Disneyland. While this would be my 6th visit, it was my first time with little ones and I was pretty nervous. How would they cope with the long lines? would they be terrified of the characters? will we be able to fit in everything we wanted to see?!
Luckily, we had an amazing trip and I am here to give you some tips on how we made that happen.
1. Get The MAXPASS
If you have been to Disneyland sometime in the past few years, then you will be aware of the Fastpass system. While in the past Disneyland only used paper tickets for Fastpasses, the Maxpass allows you to do the same things but within your app! This saves you valuable time not having to walk all the way to the ride you will want to go on later in the day. The Maxpass also includes your photo pass, which is awesome since you want great quality photos but carrying around your larger, nice camera isn’t always ideal. The Maxpass will cost you $10/person per day, which isn’t bad considering all the perks that come with it!
Pro tip: Bring a backup battery! The app is known to drain your battery when walking through the parks all day. If you forget, they do have ones for purchase in the parks for a decent price ( $30). Plus, you can trade them out for fully charged batteries once yours is dead, as many times as you like! Then it’s yours to keep.
2. Make A Flexible Plan
The number of rides and attractions can be daunting, to say the least, especially with kids in tow. They have a TON of different shows, character meet and greets parades, and more. So, you will want to take a look at the schedule and see which shows you would like to see and what time they are at. From there you can see which land you will be in and make a plan for which rides you will want to go on. It is important to keep your day flexible though, for when a ride you planned to go on is shut down temporarily or the line is ridiculously long. Some shows with audience participation will require you to sign up in advance so be sure to keep that in mind!
3. Bring A Stroller
For a lot of people, this would be a no-brainer but it is an important one to address! My kids are ages 5 and 2, so of course, I had a stroller for my little guy, but I really could have used one for my daughter. Even though, yes, she is capable of walking herself there is SO much walking that even I would have liked to be pushed around. Luckily, we planned ahead and brought our Britax Skateboard attachment for her to ride on. A double stroller would have been better, so she would be able to rest her feet. But we decided to stick it out and she made it through no problem. Plus, it is handy to have somewhere to store all your bags and souvenirs while you are on rides. Disneyland does rent out strollers for $15/Day but they only come as singles.
4. Do A Minimum Of 3 Days
Both of these parks are a big undertaking, especially with kids. That is why having at least 3 days is essential ( in my opinion). We usually plan to do one park a day for the first 2 days and the 3rd day is typically spent between the 2 parks. The 3rd day is great to have to do the rides you didn’t get to do and ones that you loved and want to ride again. We also use that day to go see shows and parades as it tends to be a more relaxed day in general. Plus, when you do a minimum of 3 days in the park you are able to attend a Magic Morning! Which gets you into the park 1 hour before it opens to the general public. This is a great time to go on rides that typically have long wait times throughout the day.
5. Hit Up A Character Meal
One of our favorite memories from the trip is sitting down for lunch at Ariels Grotto. I have to admit I did have some sticker shock at the price of having a bite to eat with some princesses.This is definitely not a cheap option, but with the time you will save and the fun experience for your little ones you won’t regret it. When you arrive you get to meet and take a photo with Princess Ariel before you’re brought to your table. You will have the option later to purchase these printed photos for about $37, which we definitely did!
The meal is a flat rate per person and it comes with an appetizer, entree, dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage. I thought the food was great and when you broke it down you really weren’t paying much more than other restaurants in the parks. That day we got to meet Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Tiana! The amount of time and effort that would have gone through to stand in line and meet them in the parks makes this more than worth it. They have several different character meal options and each one will have a different set of characters for you to meet!
For more information on what both Disney parks offer, check out their website here!
* I was provided with 2 free passes to Disneyland in exchange for this blog post, as always all my opinions are my own*