disneyland with toddlers

Ever since I had Smith I have basically been waiting for the day when he was old enough to take to and appreciate Disneyland, and that day finally came a few weeks ago! I had a lot of questions about taking my toddler, but it turned out great, so I wanted to share my tips if you are heading there this summer with a toddler too!

dinner with characters disneyland

dinner with mickey disneyland

Smith decided he was finally ready to give up his pacifiers “to the babies” and we told him when he did, we would all go see Mickey Mouse at Disneyland! I am not sure he fully grasped what this meant, but he was ready to go none-the-less! We took him a few weeks ago for spring break and even though it’s less than an hour from where we live in LA, we decided to make a little trip out of it and stay at Disneyland Resort for the night before. This was we didn’t have to beat the weekday rush hour in the morning and we could just walk 5 minutes over to the park. Plus, they have great pools at Disneyland Resorts and Smith loves the water. We headed up on a Sunday and spent the afternoon by the pool before cleaning up to head to dinner with the characters. A few friends had told me dinner with the characters was a great thing to do for the toddler age because they love Mickey and crew so much right now. We booked Dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen right at Disneyland Resort and had so much fun. Smith got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale and more! There was a huge buffet and parents could even order drinks! After dinner we headed back to our room to get a good night’s rest before waking up early to head to the park. The park opens at 8, but if you stay at the Disneyland Resorts, you can get in an hour early to either Disneyland or California Adventure depending on the day of the week, which is so awesome. We ended up not making it out of the room until 8 and after a Starbucks pit stop in downtown Disney we entered the park at 8:30 and were so excited to get the day started. It was beautiful weather and Smith was ready to ride some rides. We ended up making it at the park until 5pm and then we were ready to head home as our toddler was reaching his limits lol.

Here are a few tips for traveling to Disneyland with a toddler:

  1. Book Dinner with the Characters and lunch at Disneyland (if you want to sit down and relax, which is a great idea with a toddler) in advanced. They book up fast and it seems like they book out a week in advanced for some of the popular spots. We got on the waiting list for Dinner with Goofy and got in the day before. We were able to book the lunch rezzie 3 days in advanced for at Carnation Cafe and I’m so glad we did. It was so nice to sit in the shade and relax and the food was so good.
  2. Download the Disneyland App before you go. You can book the meal reservations in there and also see the map and wait times for rides and buy fast passes, which allows you to skip most of the line.
  3. Pick 5 rides you really want to do and map out your day in advanced, If it’s hot or lines are long, your toddler will not last long. Also they don’t let you bring strollers in the lines so you will end up holding them while you are waiting. My friends told me to really go with very little expectations.
  4. Bring a stroller that is small enough to meet the new requirements, but comfy enough for a nap. We brought our amazing Uppababy Minu that is a really compact, yet durable and comfortable stroller (it’s the only one we travel with and keep in the car) and it was perfect for strolling in the park and he even napped for an hour after lunch in it and we laid it all the way back so he could stretch out. It also has a huge canopy on it for shade. You’ll also want an area to store your things so you don’t have to carry it all.
  5. Bring a change of clothes, water and snacks because like most days, you never know what you are going to need! Also pack a hat for you and baby and sunscreen because it’s really sunny there and sometimes you are in line with no shade. Another tip is to bring a crossbody bag so you don’t have to leave your bag in your stroller or use hands to carry it.
  6. Now for a few rides, Smith loved the Jungle Cruise, Tarzan’s Treehouse, It’s A Small World, the Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat, Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo ride. We did the Pirates of the Carribean ride, but he said at the time it was too scary. Now he talks about it and wants to do it again lol, but just a warning! That was my favorite ride!
  7. Stay the night! If you can stay the night before and after that would be ideal, and Disneyland Resort is magical, but if you can only swing one night, do the night before and try to stay in a room where you can see the fireworks. We knew we probably wouldn’t make it at the park until 9pm when the fireworks show started the next day, so instead we let Smith stay up in our room the night before and we got to watch the fireworks from there, which he loved so much. It was a lot more manageable instead of trying to stay up super late after such a long and exciting day at the park.
  8. Have fun and keep your cool! It’s a lot of excitement for everyone, but try to keep cool and calm and go with the flow because it can be hectic taking a toddler anywhere for the first time, especially with expectations.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope this post helped you! Come back here tomorrow for a new post and make sure you are following along on Instagram @thestyleeditrix and subscribe at the top of my blog if you haven’t yet!

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