Yay! Disneyland is one of my VERY FAVORITE places! I have gone so many times that I couldn’t even count. It is still so magical to me and even more now that I get to see it through my kids eyes!! This part of my blog will be a work in progress forever, as I am sure it will take me a while to write all of my favorite things, tips/tricks and more! But, there is no time like the present to get it all written down 🙂
Lets start with the planning process and my top 3 tips!
TIP #1- Start early, look at the website and download the App (Disneyland OR WDW based on where you are going)
**Make an account, save rides/shows/restaurants to your favorites. This will become helpful when you go to do fast passes (I will explain later) and reservations.
My first suggestion to you would be get yourself familiar with their website and what Disneyland/Disneyworld is. I have gone to Disneyland countless times, however, Disneyworld I have only visited about a half dozen times. Every time I know I am going to the parks I start with their website, even tho I know the parks, things are always changing! They add parades, character meet and greets and have some amazing seasonal entertainment (Christmas time is my favorite!!). Start by doing a quick overview and researching what characters your children (or you) love best!
Fastpasses–Start as early as you can, Disneyland and Disneyworld have different timelines based on if you are staying on packages or not. For example, Fastpasses at WDW (a special reserved time when you can ride an attraction with a shorter wait time) can be reserved up to 30 days in advanced* OR up to 60 days in advanced if you are staying at a WDW property. (*You have to have a ticket already purchased and have the ticket number to use this option). You are able to reserve up to 3 advanced Fastpasses in the same park, you do this through the app OR at a kiosk in the park. Fastpasses in Disneyland run different. You have 2 options in Disneyland. You can go to the attraction and obtain a fastpasses OR you can do it via the Disneyland app (which is faster and easier) but you have to pay $10/per person per day. This can add up if you have a large family and/or you are going multiple days. My suggestion if you are budget conscious is to choose 1 day where you do this and you make sure to use it from open to close to get on as many rides as possible.
There is a lot that goes into Fastpasses, if you would like additional information I suggest watching some youtube videos or clicking on the fastpass link above.
Dinning Reservation- You will thank yourself for planning your dinning options AHEAD of time! I will do another section on food in disney, however, days at Disney can be LONG and HOT! Plan a good dinner that you know you will sit down and relax/recharge before you head back out for the evening hours. We always eat dinner at the 4/5pm time slot. For us this is good just in case the kids fall asleep early plus you will be able to ride attractions with shorter than normal wait times during the normal dinner rush. This also allows for you to do a good breakfast and a quick/smaller lunch. When it comes to reservations– MORE is BETTER!! You are able to cancel/change, but reservation fill up quickly. Hold what you want early!
TIP #2- Get your kids involved!
If your kids have never been or have gone a million time, chances are they will be just as excited as you are to plan the trip! What we like to do in our house is talk about the parks and talk about our favorite things. This is a great time to take a mental note as the planner for what your kids want to do. Better yet– show them the maps and watch the rides ahead of time! This is a GREAT tip especially if you think your child may be nervous or get scared. This is also a fun way to get excited! The cool thing about youtube is that there are TONS of full ride videos that you can show your kids. Let them watch rides they haven’t gone on before to get prepared for it mentally or let them watch their favorite rides to get excited! It works for every kid 🙂
TIP #3- Pack the right things!
Packing for a day in the park can be overwhelming. Depending upon where you stay/what park you are at, transportation in WDW makes it difficult to go back and forth between the park. Couple that with the security lines and the entrance lines– you will loose a TONS of time in the park. Here are my top 10 our must haves:
- A good stroller. Even my 5 year old gets tired and like to lay down.
- A blanket. I like to pack their favorite character blankets so it is exciting to crawl in and watch the shows or take a quick nap.
- Cups with lids/Water Bottles. Waters in the parks are very expensive! One year we did the math and spent over $1,000 on water bottles for a week for a family of 5. Good news is, if you bring a cup you can typically get free ice water at restaurants/quick service location OR pack some water bottles to cut down on buying them. If you are going during the warm months you will thank yourself.
- Snack!!! I can’t tell you how many time we got into a 40+ minute line and someone in the family is hungry. Pack some easy snacks!!
- Wipes Wipes and more Wipes!! Between ice cream, sticky drinks, candy, popcorn, dips, etc. you will use these to get kids and adults clean.
- A small bag that you can carry with you on the rides and another bag that you can leave with the stroller. I like to split what I need now verses what I will need as the day goes on. Bags that zip are always better. Getting onto the buses, you will have to breakdown your strollers and it is much easier to contain your items in bags that stay closed.
- Pjs and Disposable Washcloths. I have yet to go into a park without a child falling asleep before we leave. I alway look for the tired eyes and make a quick stop in the bathroom. We use these amazing Johnson Disposable Washcloths. I am able to clean them up, get them in pj’s brush their teeth and lay them into the stroller with their favorite Cars blanket 🙂 This is HUGE! Sometimes, my favorite time is at the end of the evening with the kids asleep in the stroller, peaking in all the shops with my coffee and my kids are clean and ready to be transferred to bed!
- Jackets for all! It never fails, even if it was over 100 degrees during the day, when the sun goes down it always nice to throw on a jacket. I go a step further and switch form flip flops to tennis shoes!
- Portable Charger! This is a given for every where we go. My phone is always dead mid day and knowing I have a back up charger is so nice. Especially if we have to use it for the disney app’s or uber at the end of the night!
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