Thank you Disney for sponsoring today’s post.
This summer we had a family reunion in Southern California. Since we already were buying tickets to fly down for that exciting event, we decided this would be a great summer to visit “the happiest place on Earth” – Disneyland Resort. Our daughter is 5 years old and we knew she would have an amazing time. Plus, my husband and I are like two big kids. We love theme parks. Always have. Always will.
We had free nights at a local hotel chain that we redeemed and were only a few blocks away from the entrance to Disneyland Park. A fun walk through Downtown Disney the night before was necessary so we knew exactly the way to get into the Park. Going to Disneyland Park in July can be pretty warm. We brought our own reusable water bottles which we refilled numerous times in the Park with ice cold water from the restaurants and vendors.
We decided to spend two days at the Disneyland Resort. We wanted to spend the first day at Disneyland Park and the second day at Disney California Adventure Park. You really need at least two days here. We could have easily spent another day. There was so much we didn’t get to see that we would have like to. When we go back we will most likely get a 3 day park hopper.
We purchased an amazing app that allowed us to plan our day at Disneyland. Based on statistics of the time of year, wait times are calculated and your day is planned out for you. If you follow the app we purchased you won’t spend more than 20 minutes in line ever. And you know what? It worked. It was amazing. But, it was a busy day and with two young kids it wasn’t always easy to stick to the plan. If anyone personally knows my husband, then you know this app was made for people with his personality.
Our Little Man loved Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Fantasyland. He cried when we got off. Because we were a little ahead on time (based on our app) we went on Dumbo twice. He still cried the second time as well.
The night before we went to Disneyland we visited the local Walmart. We purchased an autograph book and souvenirs there at a much cheaper price. When we got to Mickey’s Toontown my Princess pulled out her autograph book and large marker (so the cast members could easily hold the pen) and excitedly visited a few characters. There were times she was more excited to get autographs in her book than ride the rides!
I had my own favorite rides at Disneyland. Besides the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride, I also loved It’s a Small World. It was a lively, colorful, and fun cruise through various cultures. The music played and was sung in different languages based on the character’s ethnic background. My Princess and I sang at the top of our lungs and had a grand time. It takes 15 minutes to go through and very much worth it. Even my Little Man loved it.
Besides the amazing rides we also loved the live shows like Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. With amazing floats and so many Disney characters, the street parades are a must see. My kids LOVED them. My daughter had the camera and sat curbside and took so many photos. Get to the curb early, they rope it off when it gets full. Pick your seat and patiently wait. We got a much needed treat while we were waiting.
Here is what worked for us at Disneyland Park:
- Take advantage of the Fast Pass (1 per hour for busy rides is necessary)
- Take advantage of the Parent Swap (when you have a baby parents can each ride with the older child without waiting in line)
- Use apps that either plan your day or show you wait times
- Bring your own water bottle
- Bring snacks
- Bring a sharpie marker so characters can sign your book
- A double stroller is necessary when you have two kids (you can rent one there)
- Bring a water bottle to spray your hot face and bare skin to cool down
- Get to shows early enough for a good seat
Things we’ll do differently on our next visit:
- Use exit lines not Fast Pass lines for the parent swap (duh!)
- Fantasmic! doesn’t entertain a 5 year old
- Get a three day park hopper
- Find more characters for autographs
- Wear tennis shoes instead of walking sandals
- Get extra maps because we kept losing ours or utilize the Disney Park Map app
Have you been to Disneyland? Do you have any tips or tricks to share?
Connect With Disneyland
Disclosure: I was sent two adult park hopper tickets in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
You can ask any park associate for a map when you’re walking through the park. Just about every stand has them 🙂 And Fantasmic is great for different ages depending on the kids. Maybe she’d prefer World of Color next door at DCA? My son and daughter LOVE Fantasmic 🙂
We should have asked for more maps. I was always losing the two we had. That diaper bag and stroller can hold to much!
I would love to know the name of the app that you purchased???
Tiffany C. (Fabulous Mom Blog) says
The last time I was at DisneyLand was when I was a kid back in the 80s. We go to DisneyWorld. I hope to one day take my family to DisneyLand. Thanks for all the tips.
I’ve only been to Disneyland on a press trip and really want to go back with my whole family. Disney World is much closer to us, so that’s where we go.
We’ve been to Magic Kingdom once but I’d love to go back to Disney World and see more. Maybe in 5 years we’ll go to Florida instead 🙂
Looks like you guys had a blast! We are planning a trip to Disney Land next year, hopefully everything pans out the way we want it to!
Have fun! It was a blast. We can’t wait to go back.
What a wonderful time.. I haven’t been for years and love that they offer the fast-pass now… thank you so much for your tips!
That fast pass and then the parent swap really saved us so much time. We didn’t wait for more than 20 minutes in lines. And the lines were LONG!
Jessica P says
Last year was our most recent trip to Disney World here in Orlando,Florida. I took my four year old daughter for the first time during their Christmas extravaganza. I wish I would have had your pointers last December! It was a lot of work keeping her entertained and all of our stuff organized throughout the day. Next time we are definitely getting the Fast Pass because long lines and kiddos don’t mix. It was way to hot to be standing outside for 20-40 minutes each time! You guys look like you had a wonderful time. Love the photos and smiles 🙂
We could not have stood in line for an 1 hour or more. The longest we stood in line was 20 minutes. That app and those fast passes and parent passes really worked well. It was hot though. That was my only real complaint. I want to go another time of year next time.
My girls loved it when we visited there when they were little! It was such a great experience. It’s been 15 yrs since we were there.
nicole Eastman says
What is the name of the app you purchased?
Nicole we purchased Ride Max. It is a bit pricey but well worth it not to wait in line more than 20 minutes at Disneyland. You have to stick to the schedule though. It only works based on the laid out schedule. You can choose 3 speeds of movement though and we picked the medium speed. So you can go slow but you must got to each ride at the set time.
I grew up in LA and spent the bulk of my younger life at Disneyland. I’m currently pregnant, and can’t wait to experience Disney again! One of my favorite things is to go during the holiday seasons. IE Fourth Of July, Christmas, Halloween, Easter… The way the park is decorated is absolutely beautiful, and such a treat. They also have special firework shows and parades.
What was the name of the App that you purchased?
Megan, it would be so fun to have a season pass to Disneyland. I purchased the Ride Max app. It was pricey but so worth it. A family friend told us all about it and we were sold! It did all the work for us and we didn’t have to wait in lines more than 10 minutes or so. You must be able to follow the plan to the T though. Our family is able to, but I understand not all families are interested in that kind of strict structure.
Sandra Caballero says
Great tips. I got to get the app to guide me around Disney. That got to really help get around Disney since it a huge theme park. The rides looks amazing and fun to ride with the kids. Most looking forward to the it a small world. I heard it’s back again. Really love to see that ride.
What was the name of the app you purchased?
Emily S says
Michelle Gray says
Thanks for sharing!
kristen S says
Great tips! Disney looks sooo magicial!
Jennifer Crowell says
Fun! It’s been a long time since I have been to Disneyland!
paula s says
Looks like so much fun! I dream of going soon and taking my daughter and nephew
alissa farias says
Get the Photopass. You don’t have to pay for it if you don’t want to but is save us when a few key photos with characters didn’t turn out on our camera!!
Catherine Siewert says
Good tips, thanks
Jaime Zielinski says
Helpful information. Thank you.
Nancy Curtis says
I know some place give free ice water too.
Thanks for sharing!
I will have to check out that app! I use touring plans!
Anita Duvall says
I love these ideas. The App will be my next way to plan. We have also bought Disney Merch. when we catch it on sald. Hide, wrap, and take with us when we go for a daily treat back at the hotel.
What was the name of the app that you purchased?
Barbara T. says
Thanks for the tip about using the exit line for child swap. That should make things even faster.
KATHRYN TEEL says
I need to look more into this parent swap I’ve never heard of it.
Thanks for sharing! I have been to Disney World but not Disneyland! I appreciate your tips!! I like the Park Hopper option. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you. Happy Spring!
Yanhua T. says
Good tips, thanks
Mary H says
We bring in snacks and waters to the park
Jason Diehl says
Shade, water, and sunblock is critical when bringing young children to either park. On peak summer days, schedule water rides earlier in the day (around 10am-11am) to avoid the rising wait times.
Chelsey smith says
My husband and I have been to Disney a lot but we have yet to take our kids. Our son is 3.5 and our daughter will be 1 next month. Great info about parent swap! I wouldn’t have thought to use the exit line.
Great advice! Yes, absolutely take advantage of the parent swap!
Stephanie V. says
We love the park hopper option at Disneyland. Fast passes are key to a stress free day. Also, taking time mid day to relax, refuel, etc makes for happier children during the evening hours.
Marcella Brazelton says
It looks like so much fun. We are excited but overwhelmed just trying to figure all of the planning process out.
M Burrell says
Take time to soak in the atmosphere. A Disney trip can be hectic and frazzling when trying to ride every important ride and keep kids happy. There is beauty, and entertainment, and fun everywhere in the parks and it’s easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. *0*
Monica McCarthy says
We go all the time since we live in AZ and can drive there. We always fill a backpack with snacks and water bottles. We also have learned to go to Walmart or some stores outside Disney to buy our merch. We get the same things for so much cheaper. And for anyone using Fast Pass, get one for Radiator Springs first thing in the morning. They go fast! The first time we went they were all gone by 11:00.
Erin G says
What I reeeeeeally need is some tips on actually getting my family to ride Peter Pan with me! lol That freaking line is always soooo long.
Emily Legendre says
Bring a backup battery for your phone! Love the Disneyland app for wait times, but it kills my battery!
Jeane Campbell says
When park people take your picture, you take a picture of the card they give you to later collect your picture. That way, if you loose the card… you really didn’t!
JennC ºoº says
Plan to have some Disney Snacks during your stay. It’s part of the experience! Mmm… DOLE WHIP!!!!
Hannah J. says
Looking forward to planning our trip with a 7 and 3yr old!
Kimberley Jansen says
Looks like you had fun!
Tony Cruz says
I love the fact i could download a app that allows me to plan our day at Disneyland.