Going to Disneyland
Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
Going to Disneyland
Planning a Trip to Disneyland
So, we are going to drive to LA to do Disneyland in Sept.
Have been researching 'packages' but they all seem pretty
expensive. We don't need all of the bells and whistles
(character dining, ESPN stuff - don't even know what some of
these things are!). Just 2 or 3 days in the parks... and
hotel stay for max of 3 nights.
Advice? How did you do it on the cheap?
Our family of five just returned from Disneyland, and it was
expensive mainly due to our inability to resist souvenirs
and snacks in the blinding Anaheim sun. We went with the
bells-and-whistles Costco package, and it worked out to
about $115 dollars a day per person. I don't know how I
would have been able to beat that on my own, but hopefully a
savvier traveler can come up with a cheaper route for you.
My oldest is over 10, so I believe that bumped her up to an
adult entry ticket. We opted not to go for the pricier
Park Hopper. Instead, our three-day pass allowed us to
visit one park each day. We visited Disneyland, then
California Adventure, and then let the children vote for
their favorite (D-land) for the third. That worked fine,
but it took us a while to get a hang of the Fast Pass
system. You need to grab them early in the day before they
stop being issued, then go to the less popular attractions
or eat, and then sail into your VIP line ahead of the others
Back to costs: as I mentioned the Mouse has his hand out at
every turn. I wouldn't be surprised if there were gift
shops in some of the restrooms. Just be firm by setting a
firm limit on gifts with the little ones before entering the
park. It's perfectly fine at the bag check to have snacks
and drinks in your backpack, but they'll only last you so
far. $5.99 was perhaps steep for the pineapple
smoothie-float at the Tiki Room, but it was sublime on a hot
day. $2.99 for a pineapple wedge seemed ridiculous. The
Character Meal in the package was worth more than $150,
as I recall, for breakfast bunch at Goofy's Kitchen in the
Disney Hotel at the other end of Downtown Disney. We met
Goofy at reception for a photo (no obligation + our own
camera shots were welcome), as well as the Mad Hatter,
Princess Jasmine, Balou [sic?], and Chip & Dale at our
table. Of course, I was there for the outrageous feast of
unlimited Eggs Benedict, Bananas Foster Crepes, omelets to
order, BBQ pizza (!), among others. The free 5x7g' photo
was nice. You get a photo pass each time a photographer
snaps you. We liked the shot across from the Ferris wheel
at California adventure. Before you leave either park at
the end of your stay, present the photo pass + voucher at
the photo shop and receive your free print. You'll see
people wearing wide, ribbon-like lanyards with character
pins attached. Your freebie' that you pick up with a
voucher at one of the big gift shops is a starter, and you
may trade any pin with a cast (i.e., staff) member, as
long as he or she hasn't already got the same one. We never
used the ESPN ($10 value) token voucher and will give it to
neighbors soon to visit Disneyland.
Staying offsite is less expensive, as you probably saw. We
chose the Sheraton Anaheim 1.5 miles away. It was okay. We
watched the fireworks from the pool. Meals are not
included, and breakfast was over $60 for the buffet for all
of us. Ouch. We learned there are plenty of cheap eats in
the area down Ball St. The shuttle to/fro Disney is
frequent and free, but we had to fight for free Internet
access, which Costco billed as included but Sheraton refused
to honor at first. It turned out to be slower than a line
to catch a ride on the Radiator Springs Racers. The
lobby has 4 speedy desktops free to use.
All in all, it was worth it, but my wife felt like it would
be a long time before our next visit. We were pretty wiped
out having arrived too late to enjoy the park the first day,
thus necessitating a last whirlwind half day. That meant a
really late arrival back in the Bay Area, so we booked a
last-minute Travelodge in Ventura (cheaper than Santa
Barbara) and took it easy on the beach, pool, and downtown
in beautifully restored Mission before a leisurely trip up
Good luck and happiest trails on earth!
Disneyland on the cheap: the only thing you can really
control is where you stay and where you eat. The tickets are
pretty much the same price no matter where you look. So,
where to stay: I recommend the Howard Johnson across the
street. There is also a Best Western there. It's walkable.
For food: try two big meals a day or pack your own. There is
a bag check going in to the park, but I bring in snacks and
water bottles, and no one cares. They also don't go digging
way down into your bag, so packing sandwiches would be
pretty simple. If you buy food in the parks, certain places
are known for bigger servings: like the food court in CA
adventure. The mexican restaurant has HUGE servings (but no
tortilla chips, go figure) and you could easily feed 2
people with one burrito unless you all are huge eaters.
Don't go to any of the sit down restaurants--they are more
expensive. Go counter service with big portions. It may be
worth your while to invest in the subscription to Touring
Plans (touringplans.com) which also has an app you can
download. They have cost saving tips that really work, and
show you how to get around the park to pack in the most
rides in the least amount of time. It's worth it! Disney
Obviously avoid buying food in the park. Get a room with at
least a fridge and microwave. We were very happy at the Park
Vue Inn. Literally across the street, big breakfast
included, fridge and microwave, pool, and it's not dirt
cheap but it's pretty reasonable. Another tip if you have a
Target red card is to buy a boatload of Disney gift
certificates at 5% off and use them for all your spending in
the park. Park tickets are hard to get at much of a
discount. We got 2 day park hoppers at maybe $5-10 off face
value from a website but that's not much. Don't buy off EBay
or Craigslist - notorious for scams. If you get one park per
day tickets they're a lot cheaper but there is a lot of
value to the park hoppers - we were definitely able to ride
more and wait less by strategizing between the two parks.
Have fun - we did our first trip this spring and I expected
it to be fun but it was even better than I expected. Cheesy
as it sounds, it really is magical
First, just to get this out there -- if you are going to
Disneyland, you have to accept that there is no way to do it
on the cheap. Sad but true. Here are some tips, though:
- You should plan on going for 3 days, as there is no
discount on 1 and 2 day tickets. Per day, that is the best
way to go.
- Skip the extras like character breakfasts - if you are
looking at packages, just look at hotel and the park.
- We just bought the tickets and went for the hotel
separately. we were able to get a hotel within walking
distance for $100 (off peak). I know people who have done
hotel/tickets packages as well and felt like they got a good
- Food - you can bring in food, so plan on doing that. The
food in the park is pricy. Also, if you stay within
walking distance of the park with a fridge, you can take a
break in the middle of the day at your hotel and eat there.
I will be interested in other people's opinions!
Just one more idea for getting a discount on the tickets:
If you happen to know someone who lives in Southern Cal,
maybe they'd do you the big favor of taking you to the park.
They will get a local resident discount for your group, I
We'll be flying to D-Land this summer and will need a taxi
from John Wayne Airport (SNA) to the hotel near Disneyland.
Since there are 5 of us, including 2 kids in boosters, and a
lot of luggage (traveling for 3 weeks right after the park)
we always seem to need a minivan these days. Can you
recommend a specific cab company to call in Anaheim to
pre-arrange, or tell us your experience? Is it easy to find
a mini-van cab at the airport? Do we need to call ahead, or
not? Supershuttle charges per person, so a cab seems like a
better deal(??) Thanks! Disney Bound
We used Zippy Shuttle from LAX and John Wayne to Disneyland
for family of four with carseats- they were fantastic: super
curteous, right on time, clean, least expensive, super
responsive, all around great. Contact Ken at Zippy Shuttle
- zippyshuttle.net - (877) 889- 4779 toll free Disney Mom
Don't write off SuperShuttle without calling them first.
The last time I had a large group (10 years ago now), I
found that for a large group with only one pickup/drop-off,
they have a charter rate. I think it was $70 to get 5 of us
from Oakland to SFO (again, 10 years ago).
I don't know if they still do it, but you can give them a
Here's the notes I took from my last trip:
Airport Transportation: Disneyland Resort Express. Direct
non-stop service from LAX and Orange County Airports to the
Anaheim Resort. Scheduled Service-no reservations required.
Look for the BIG character wrapped BUS. Call: 1-800-828-6699
for rates. $32RT from LAX, $27 RT from OC 1/2 hr fr LAX,
top from OC
I didn't actually use them because, sad to say, it turned
out to be more cost-effective to rent a car for me. (which
might be the case for you as well). But I'd bet you could
google Disneyland Taxi and come up with something reasonable
(that's how I got my taxi ride from Oakland to home!) janet
I haven't been to Disneyland in years. I'm lookind to take my family 2
adults and 4 kids to Disneyland right after shool starts. (I've been
told right after school starts is when Disneyland is less crowded.
When I looked a the admisson costs I had a heart attack, it's around
$80. I've been seeing 5 day ticket packages which brings the cost
of admission to $35.
I'm wondering if anyone has recently been to Disneyland and can give
me some advice on how to save money on admission and where to stay.
We just came back from Disneyland and had opted for the 1 day pass. Halfway
through, we realized we should have bought the 2-day pass. Our 8 and 9 year
old loved Disneyland of course. This was their 2nd trip and we still didn't
get around to seeing all of the park. If you can swing the 2-day, that would
be my suggestion. AAA members get a discount on tickets, but we were told
that the discount is not given at the ticket counter, but at AAA instead. We
thought this sounded odd because we've always been able to use our card at the
time of purchase.
Yay for your family to get to go to Disneyland! It is one of my favorite
places. There is so much advice to give but I will keep it as simple as I
1) There are a ton of sites on the web that can give you tips on traveling
there and saving money. www.mouseplanet.com is a good one.
2)I like the travel agent www.getawaytoday.com for good package deals. Their
prices include hotel, park admissions and all taxes. They charge a $20 booking
fee but the first prices you see are basically what you get. Book online for
a $10 booking fee credit (or mention that deal to a phone agent and they will
give it to you as well).
3)Your park tickets will be the majority of the cost of your vacation. There
is little you can do about this. Buy them before 8/23 when online ticket
prices go up (ticket booth prices have already gone up and are always higher
than online prices anyway). I have heard you can sometimes buy partially used
park hopper tickets on ebay but I have also heard that there is a high
potential for being scammed by that.
4)Try to save $$ on food and hotel to keep costs down(pack snacks,bring your
own water bottles, eat outside the park). As far as hotels go, there are
some great deals out there. The ones in walking distance to the park are more
expensive but worth it to me as you have more flexibility and do not have to
pay for parking or shuttles, which can add up. Getawaytoday has a great pdf
map on their site that shows where the hotels are in relation to the park.
5) try to look at/buy a copy of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland befoe you
go. I found it helpful when I first returned to Disneyland as an adult with
kids. Have a great time!
I just went to Disneyland, and last year also, I google tips for disneyland
and I found a great website with a lot of advice. But to answer one of your
questions, you need to get your tickets in AAA, get one of the package, and
maybe if you don't use you can sell. I lost two days the first time and the
last time 1 but it was better that buy the tickets per day.
Stay in a Hotel across to Disney, and go really early, come back to your hotel
around 3 and rest and swim and go back later and stay late when is less
people. Also use the fast pass.
We go to Disneyland about once a year with our now 9 year olds. We have stayed
at several different resorts including one of the Disney places.
Our favorite place to stay and I think it would work very well for your large
family is Residence Inn Maingate (Anaheim). It's an easy walk to the
park,(they also have a shuttle, it's extra $, but not expensive) they have
large family suites with kitchens and a free continental breakfast. Having a
kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave/stove will save you MAJOR $$ for
snacks and/or meals. There are several close grocery stores, and the hotel has
a grocery service as well.
As for time of year we have been in the fall, at the holidays and in the
summer. By far the best time to go is either in the early fall or before the
holidays and and after the Halloween decorations come down. For both these
times weekdays are best.
Park Hopper tickets are the only way to go. Both parks are fun and older kids
especially will enjoy California Adventure.
For meals in the park, we have found the food to be much better in California
Adventure. Our favorite is the Boudin Bakery chilli/soup bowls. They are good,
filling and reasonably priced. Cal. Adventure closes pretty early in
off-season to be sure to notice the times.
Another tip is to check the Disneyland website for park hours and closed
attractions so that you will not be disappointed if your favorite ride is
closed during your stay. The park hours are dictated by the popularity of any
particular time of year, so the days that the park stays open late are more
popular (read crowded) times to go.
My last tip is to check the Los Angeles School District website and or Orange
County school district website(s) to see if there are any random days off that
are not holidays. We've heard of people who planned for an uncrowded day only
to be surprised by crowds due to a ''teacher work day''.
love uncrowded Disneyland
My family and I would like to go to Disneyland for 2 days
and we have to watch our budget. Did you get tickets for
admission in advance or is it the same as at the gate? Has
anyone purchased admission tickets online through eBay
(since the prices appear lower)? Any suggestions about
where to stay? Any advice regarding local hotels, discount
tickets, etc would be appreciated. Meredith
We're planning our first trip to Disneyland with the kids
next week. I've found tripadvisor's Anaheim forum to be
quite helpful (go to 'more' in the top menu, click forums,
and then go to Anaheim forum). Post your budget with
numbers and there are people who will give you suggestions
on hotels and the rest. There's not much in the way of
meaningful discounts on Disneyland tickets, particularly for
less than 3 days. The best I've seen is $5 off a $200
ticket, and that has a $2/ticket convenience fee. Avoid
Craigslist/Ebay -- there is no way to verify the legitimacy
of a ticket you buy there until you arrive at the gate, and
that's not where you want to find out you've been scammed.
going to the happiest place on earth
I have a friend who has this down. First off, she did try
getting tix on craigs list - she said she would never do it
again. of the 4 she got 2 worked, 2 did not. Not worth the
stress of not knowing if you'll get in, and then not and end
up in line etc etc. And the money lost. So this is how they
do it: they stay at the Residence Inn and she brings *all*
the food. She makes a big dinner - like frozen lasagna and
another big meal, packs a big cooler, they drive down, and
they bring *all* their food and water into disney. They
bring back packs for the parents to carry the stuff. They do
'treats' like ice cream back at the hotel (pool!) because
ice cream for a family of 5 at disney can cost more than
$50. So for them its usually two or three nights at the
residence inn (full kitchen!), gas and entrance tix. Its
still not an inexpensive trip but they have a great time
when they go. Not sure of your kids ages but Legoland is
great if they are under 10. And if someone you know gets the
lego magazine there are often coupons in there - half off
admission. Something else to consider. happy travels
None of it is anything like inexpensive, the best deals
still cost a lot!
I've never tried eBay.
Last Nov. a regular admission of one day was $92 for an
Adult and only a few dollars less for 2 - 9 year olds.
Its slightly less through Costco or AAA but they give you
other goodies with the deal, and are far better for
motel/hotel deals than the listed prices but I don't think
anyone really pays them. a grandmother veteran of two, 3
Hi, We are going to Disneyland in September and have heard
that splitting park hopper passes is a great way to save
money. Has anyone actually done this? Has anyone tried to
do this and had it not work out for some reason? My husband
is worried that it is an urban legend and we are going to
end up paying for way more days than we actually want.
Thanks for any input.
Disneyland tickets are expressly non-
transferrable. ''Splitting'' your multi-day tickets with
another family may work, as long as the first family to
hold the tickets does not actually use more than the
number of days they agreed to. But if Disney catches you,
the family that did not buy the tickets directly will not
be admitted to the park. And there is no way to tell in
advance how many days, if any, are left on a given multi-
There are better ways to get a good deal on Disney
admission, if you plan to buy at least three days. If you
want only a one- or two-day pass, you may be out of luck
but occasional bargains do arise.
Check out www.mousesavers.com
My family went last spring and had a great time. We
bought only a 2 day pass (and spent a 3rd day at Legoland,
which I highly recommend) so I totally understand the
temptation -- we also considered whether we could get a
SoCal resident discount through a friend who lives in the
OC, but if you buy those tix you have to show ID at the
gate with a local address -- but we decided it is just not
a good idea -- not to mention a pretty poor example for
our children -- to try to circumvent the rules and risk
being denied entry in order to save a buck.
The info in the archives is from 2005 on this subject so I thought I'd check.
We are going to Disneyland for the first time in December. We are looking at
splitting a Disneyland Parkhopper pass with another family who is going the
week after us. Are the tickets transferrable or do they track who purchsed
Fan of the Mouse
They track who purchased them, and they explicitly say that they are
not to be shared among individuals.
Its still worth it to go...!
I have had 100% success rate at splitting our Disneyland hopper passes
and boy does it save money! I used Craigslist and the BPN to
advertise. Altough a little unsure of Craigslist I did end up
splitting the passes through Craigslist. In both cases I purchased
the passes and the other family went first - we traded the tickets
back upon their return then our family went. I was paid cash for
their half and felt very comfortable they would return with the
remaining days. I divided the pass by however many days and let the
other people know how much per person, per day was their share. The
first time we split the hoppers and decided not to use the last day of
the passes I sold them at the entrance - no problems. There was no
name or signature on the passes. We always purchase through AAA, comes
with free parking, early entry etc.
We are headed down to Disneyland with our 18 month old and 3
year old for the first time. Can I bring my Phil & Ted's double
stroller into the park or is it going to get swiped while we are
on a ride?! I am already bringing it for the convenience in the
airport and getting around the hotel area, etc. But should I
leave it at the hotel for the Disneyland day and rent one of
theirs? I read from a past post that it's kind of hard to get a
double stroller there. Please help!!
Can't afford to buy another double!
I've never been to Disneyland, but what about getting a bike lock
and locking the stroller up to something while you are on the
ride? Disneyland might have some prohibitions against that,
I don't think it will get swiped. There are millions and millions
of strollers all over Disneyland, parked and mostly unattended all
over the place, the security is also pretty tight. When Disneyland
is more crowded, however, it will be hard to manuever a
double-stroller, especially if your 3 year old wants to get out.
Have you talked to anyone who has taken kids the ages of yours to
Disneyland? It might be more trouble than it is worth -- I
recommend not taking kids there until they are 5, when they enjoy
the rides more, have more stamina, don't need a stroller or tons
-- been a few times
I can't really recall your exact query, but we took our stroller to
Disneyland when our daughter was 3. People leave their strollers
all over the place. I would say there is a much greater risk that
someone will mistake your stroller for their own than that someone
would steal your stroller. Tie a bright ribbon to it or attach a
bright name tag. Contrary to what another post said, we thought
Disneyland was fantastic with a 3-year-old. She loved it! I would
never try to go there without a stroller. I think you said
something about a double-stroller -- it may be worthwhile to buy two
cheapo umbrella strollers instead.
Bring your stroller. It's totally worth it, it's a pain in the butt
to rent one (you can't take it outside the bounds of the park), and
it's not difficult to maneuver. Just practice obvious safety
precautions (don't leave your purse or merchandise in the bottom)
and you'll be fine. You'll be glad you have your own stroller and
your kids will be more comfortable in their own stuff!
I went to Disneyland recently with a 2 year old, a 4 year old and 6
year old. Although I did not see your original post by the responses
I'd like to volunteer that no one will steal your stroller. People
pay alot of money to get into Disneyland and are very middle class
due to the high cost of tickets. The biggest problem for us was
finding our stroller in the sea of strollers outside popular rides.
I ended up tying a big red scarf on to the handles, not only to make
it easier to see after getting off the ride some 45 minutes later,
also so someone would not accidentally take the wrong stroller,
which is the bigger risk.
Of course, you wouldn't do something ill advised like leaving a
purse or an expensive camera/case in the stroller, so I am confident
in saying stroller theft will not be a problem.
During peak attendance times, a double stroller will be very
painful.....it will really slow you down navigating the substantial
crowds getting from ride to ride. Do you have a friend who would
loan you a ''Sit and Stroll'' or other narrow profile double?
Many, many people take children under age 5 to Disneyland. But like
any other outing with that age group, you'll have to head back for
naps, which makes a hotel either on property (one of the Disney
properties) or at least one of the local hotels with a free shuttle
very attractive or parking and reparking will make re-entry pretty
miserable, if not impossible.
Disneyland - When to Go/Not Go)
Does anyone have advice on going to Disneyland over the
Christmas holiday? It doesn't have to be ON Christmas Day
(we're Jewish anyway) but are we absolutely crazy to go
then? Any suggestions about when and where to stay.
Anyplace else in CA that you would go with young children in
addition or instead? Thanks Greenzebra
Good news is that you can get an amazing deal on hotels
during Christmas on priceline.com Last year we bid $25 and
stayed for 5 days at the Hyatt for $25 a night!! We did $50
the year before and the hotel clerk told us to bid $25 and
we would get it. They have a free shuttle that takes you
back and forth. If you read the archives you will see that
they actually close Disneyland during this time because it
gets packed. One time we drove in at 10 am and waited in
line for over an hour in the parking garage & then they
closed the parking, so even though we were in the parking
garage, they made us leave & we didn't get in that day. On
another days we arrived one hour before they opened and
thought we would be first in line HA! We were about 50th in
line and it still took 30 minutes to get in once they
opened. Parking is $15, so the shuttle is nice. You can
buy premium passes which provide parking & 30% discount on
everything you buy including food & souvenirs. It is good
for the whole year. Be prepared as lines are very very long
& the crowds are exhausting, but the decorations are
gorgeous. You can only get in if you go right when they
open. Prepare to pay $350 a night in the Disneyland Hotel.
Good luck & have fun!! Disney visitor at Christmas
Our family might have an opportunity to go to Disneyland
during Spring Break, but I am concerned/wondering about the
crowds. We went in January a few years ago and it was
amazing. No lines anywhere. Rode whatever we wanted,
whenever we wanted. Rode even the most popular ones
multiple times. I cannot imagine going when there are
summer-like crowds and am definitely not willing to wait an
hour or more for a ride.
Has anyone been to Disneyland during Spring Break? What
were the crowds like? --No crowds, please!
We went to Disneyland last year and it was awful. We took
our kids out of school the third week of March thinking that
we would avoid the crowds, but many schools have early
spring breaks. I was really, really, disappointed. I don't
care to pay lots of money to stand in line. Felt ripped off
To gauge how busy they expect it to be at Disneyland, look
at the opening hours. When it's going to be really busy,
they open at 8am and close at midnight. When it's not going
to be so busy, they open at 9am and close at 8pm.
If you can't deal with crowds, don't go during Spring Break
or any other time when school is out. They bring in more
staff to accommodate the extra people, but everyone is still
packed into the same small park and getting from one place
to another or finding your group becomes very tiresome.
don't do it. the crowds are unbearable!
Disneyland will be crowded in the Spring. I'm sure you
already know about the Fast Pass and the usual go early or
stay late, but really, there is no avoiding the crowds at
that time of year. anon
The very first time we went to Disneyland with our son was
in the month of November, the weekend before Thanksgiving.
The lines were short and we enjoyed every single ride.
Really, we experienced the perfect visit! The next time we
went, we (accidentally) booked a trip during spring break
(our kids were 2 and 5 and our heads were not thinking in
terms of school breaks yet).
Let me tell you that it was a waste of our time and money
and I was so disappointed seeing the crowds everywhere (I
mean crowds!). The kids didn't have fun waiting in long
lines that took about 40-60 minutes per ride. They got tired
of the crowds on the streets because it took long to get
from one attraction to the next. The lines to get into the
park, the time you wait to meet the Disney characters in
person, the large number of people who wanted to see the
parade, the lines to get drinks or food ... drove me crazy!
Thinking what a blast we had at our first visit, I can only
recommend everybody to re-think visiting Disneyland during
spring break! A Fan of the Mouse but not the crowds
My Husband and 5 year old went last year and it had long
lines. They went mid week and it was summer like. They were
only able to go on a few rides and that was splitting up
forces to stand in line. The other family we went with will
not go again during spring break or presidents weekend. If
we want to go again we will just take our girl out of school
in the winter. It was still fun but not again.
If you loved Disneyland in January, and you need it to be
like that next time you go, don't even think about spring
break. It's busy. I was there in January and it was as
lovely a time as I've ever had there in terms of lack of
crowds. I've also been there right around spring break and
it's busy. You can do ok if you're willing to get out the
door super-early for the busy rides, run around and do
fastpasses,and do the less busy attractions during the busy
times. Or wait in lines. ANd the weather will likely be
great. But it won't be January. As kind of an indicator, if
you bought annual passes you could use them on MLK birthday
but not the whole week of spring break (I think the week
after Easter). That's because they don't need your business
We have decided to have Thanksgiving without extended family this
year, and thought of going to Disneyland. Has anyone ever gone to
Disneyland on the day before and/or the day of Thanksgiving? Is
it really busy or relatively uncrowded? We went years ago without
children right after Christmas, and the lines were 1 1/2 hour
long. With 2 children under 5, we can't even think about waiting
in lines that long.
It's been a LONG TIME (12 years maybe), but I have been to Disneyland on
Thanksgiving Day and I have a feeling that the crowd patterns are similar, if not the
number of people. It was a great day to go - no family stress issues. There were
definitely lines, but not bad at all. And I remember having a great Thanksgiving Day
dinner at the Polynesian restaurant by the Tiki Room. I hope this info is helpful,
even though it's from years ago...
It has been many years -- I was a teenager -- but I have been to
Disneyland during the Thanksgiving weekend. It was not
crowded. It was, however, rainy. At Disneyland (unlike some
other theme parks) that's usually fine, because many attractions
are indoors or roofed, but do be prepared to get damp.
If the weather's better, of course, the crowds may be greater.
We are considering taking our 3 and 6 year olds to Disneyland during
winter break, between Christmas and the New Year. Has anyone done
this trip at this time in recent years? I'm mostly concerned that it may be
too crowded because of the winter holidays.
We went to Disneyland last Xmas/New Year holiday and it was great
fun. We are used to going during the peak times (summer,
holidays, etc.) as our kids are 12 and 16! It was just as
crowded as in the summer. New Year's Eve was a blast, but we
were stuck in such a crowd that we were unable to MOVE for hours.
I certainly would NOT recommend it with 3 and 6 year olds! I
would suggest that you rent one of Disneys' double strollers.
(VERY REASONABLE!) They are like jogging strollers and large
enough for a 6 year old. When our kids were younger, it gave me
peace of mind to have physical control over them in crowds. I
would also suggest that you arrive at the park early (1/2 hour
before opening time) and stay only until late afternoon or early
evening. It always seems to get more crowded after dark! If you
are staying at a nearby motel, you should still be able to view
the fireworks (in your jammies!)
I would say that it is definitely do-able! ...And it is such a
magical time of year! Hope this helps................
We went to Disneyland last year between Christmas and New Year.
This was our 5th trip to Disneyland (we have 2 kids ages 6 and
9) but our first time at this time of year and it was the most
crowded I have ever seen it. They actually closed Disneyland one
day around 1:00 pm and sent people to CA Adventure because
Disneyland was too crowded (people could come back to Disneyland
after the 5:00 pm parade when a lot of people left the park). I
discovered that one reason it's so crowded at this time is
because of the Rose Bowl. The teams playing in the Rose Bowl are
usually from other states and the teams, their families, and
fans do all the So. Cal sites. We were there for the Tournament
of Roses parade and decided to visit Disneyland while we were
there only to discover that everyone else had the same idea. If
you're going to go plan to stay the week so you don't feel
stressed about seeing everything at one time.
ITA that the first hour that Disneyland is open is the most
productive. Go on the ''big ticket'' rides like Pirates of the
Caribbean, Space Mountain (our favorite, but probably too scary
for a 4 year old - its a twisty roller coaster in the dark with
spacy music and swirling ''galaxy'' lights). Also, many internet
Disney packages will come with a ''free'' fast pass per ticket
that can be used to ''jump the line'' without waiting for your
time frame (fast pass can be obtained with your regular Disney
ticket and gives you a window of time for entry into big ticket
rides in which you can go in a separate entrance/line which is
at most a 10 minute wait - unlike the regular lines that can be
up to 1 1/2 HOURS! - but you can only get one fast pass at at
time). If you think things through you can do alot in the first
3 hours. After that take a break - I found my kids (at 6)
needed to back to the hotel and swim/maybe eat at the hotel or
something and then could go back again in the evening for a
short period of time. Disneyland is INTENSE! Two days are much
better than one for that reason. Definitely take snacks such as
fruit juice boxes, trail mix, crackers, etc. For eating out, you
can find some better bargains in Downtown Disney (just outside
the entrance of Disneyland off of the common area that also
links Disneyland to California Adventures). I think one problem
you will have is that the 8 year old will probably want to go on
more of the exciting rides which may be too intense for your 4
year old. The Jungle Ride is corny but enjoyable for everyone
(and doesn't usually have long lines)- the Tarzan tree house is
one big CLIMB of stairs up a tree and something you might even
let the kids do themselves (easily monitored egresses). Honey,
I Shrunk the Kids doesn't usually have very long lines and
relies upon 3-D glasses and special effects to make you think
that animals are leaping off the screen to get you or that mice
are crawling around your legs. Again, not sure about your 4 year
I have a Disney season pass that is blocked out for the week
between Christmas and New Years. Block out dates are
exclusively for the most crowded days of the year. So, yes, I
think it will be extremely crowded.
With that said, Disneyland is always crowded and I've been on
those overly crowded days. I still think it is worth going if
you don't have another option and if you think you can handle
the crowds. If you do go during the busy week, try getting
there early, leave for the busy middle part of the day (Downtown
Disney is fun and free!), and come back during the not as
crowded evenings. Also, most of the more crowded rides
have ''fast passes.'' Fast passes allow you to get time slotted
for rides and makes the potentially hour-long lines into 10
Have fun if you go!
DON'T DO IT - We took my then 5.5 year old to disneyland for
that week and regretted it the whole time. Twice while we were
there they had to close the entrance to the park as it was ''at
capacity''. You can just imagine what capacity is at
disneyland. huge long lines, oceans of people - it was a
disaster - go off season or during the week but not the week
between christmas and new years - you will regret it!!
never do it again
Two years ago we went to Disneyland between Christmas and New
Year's. We did it as a surprise. On Christmas after all the
family gatherings, we got in the car and told them we had to go
on a long errand. Since it was evening, they fell asleep and
woke up at Disneyland. That part was very special. It was,
however, quite crowded. We figured out after the first day to
go early when they first opened, stay until around lunch time,
go back to the hotel, swim/nap/rest, and come back in the
evening. That schedule worked really well. But from then on
we've made a point of just taking the kids out of school and
going then (sorry, teachers!). No lines! It's been better.
It is a total mob scene in Disneyland between Christmas and New
Years. That said, if you are willing to be in line at the entrance
before they open in the morning, and hit Fantasyland immediately,
you have a chance of getting on those rides before it becomes
impossible. I'm serious about being there first thing in the
morning. After you've done the rides, there's so much stuff to
look at, it can be fun for the kids to sit in strollers and check
out the scene, plus, Disneyland is all decorated that time of
year. However, sometimes around parade times, there is a gridlock
of people that can be scary for the kids and the adults. On the
other hand, the week BEFORE Christmas (except for the day when
employees can bring their guests -- you can call and check about
that) is a rather nice time to go. The best days are rainy days,
because the parks are relatively empty, but the rides still
happen.Make sure you buy your passes at CSAA (if you're a member)
before you go, so you don't have to wait in line to buy a ticket
at D-Land. Many of the hotels nearby sell the tickets, too.
A Disneyland Annual Pass Holder
Disneyland during this time is magical. Small World is
decorated with lights, lights are in the trees, there are
several Xmas parades a day, and the Haunted Mansion is done as
Nightmare Before Christmas. However, the Thanksgiving and Xmas
breaks are their busiest time. If you go, get there as early in
the day as you can, get fast passes, etc. Although it's
crowded, it is a magical time and worth experiencing.
Here's a website that shows which times of year are the
busiest at Disneyland (including the week between xmas
and new years)
Our twins have two weeks off from preschool/daycare in May
(just after their 3rd birthday) and we're trying to decide
on a fun vacation for part of that time. We had been
planning on taking them to Disneyland when they turned four,
but now we're thinking maybe we should go this year. Is
this totally crazy? Is it a waste to take 3-year-olds
there? (considering the costs, distance, etc.) Is it fun
with this age group? I'd love to hear opinions in either
direction on this issue. I should say that my kids aren't
really familiar with Disney movies yet but do know and love
Mickey Mouse and related characters (goofy, daisy, etc.)
I'd recommend Legoland in Carlsbad. It's aimed at younger
kids - much smaller but a better fit for 3yos in my
experience. We went last year with my then 5 and 2 year old
and had a blast. It's small enough that you can lap it 2x
in one day - lots of age appropriate rides for the kids.
And the food is surprisingly healthy and good. They have a
water park but we didn't go last year (too cold).
If you do decide on Disney and want to splurge, I'd
recommend the Grand Californian hotel - it has an entrance
to California Adventure. We went 2 years ago and it was
great to be able to walk back to the hotel for a nap in the
afternoon and then hit the park after dinner for some more
rides and fireworks.
amusement park mom
If you only get 1 trip, then go when the twins are 4 years
old. But they will still enjoy it as 3 year olds, but not
sure if they'll enjoy it $70 per ticket worth as
just-turned-3 year olds, legoland or just a park might be
We took our 3 1/2 year old to Disneyland last year. It was
not the magical experience that we expected. He was
overwhelmed by the noise and the crowds and hated waiting in
line. He enjoyed the break that we took at the hotel pool
better than Disneyland. In fact, his favorite ride was the
piggy back ride that he got from his cousin. If you do go,
do not go on a weekend. Stay in a hotel close to the park so
that you can take a break and have a swim/nap. We really
like the Red Lion. I have been waiting since high school to
have a kid and take him/her to Disneyland. I was very
disappointed. Will try again in a few years
I have 82 pictures in my Shutterfly account of my child at
Disneyland at age 3.5, having the time of her life. She's
been twice, once at 3.5 and once at about 7.5 and both times
were fantastic. So my feeling is yes, it's worth it. I'd
take her every year if I could afford it. Feel free to email
me directly if you want to ask me specific questions. I
would say the highlight for her at 3.5 was having an
autograph book and getting character autographs and
pictures. At 7, the rides and shows were the highlights.
We just went for the first time w our kids who just turned 8
and 6. I'm glad we didn't go when they were any younger.
Our 6 yr old had a great time but was also a bit
overwhelmed, but we still had a really fun day. I just don't
think it would have been worth it to take them much before
turning 6, unless you just really want to go there for
yourself or the expense doesn't matter to you. A year
earlier, we took them to the Knottsberry Farm amusement park
down in SoCal -- it's not nearly as great as Disney, but had
a lot of stuff for little kids and was way cheaper. If you
do go to Disneyland and are doing so for one day, don't
bother paying extra for Disney's California Adventures;
there's more than you can do in a day at the main park. A
single day at Disneyland for 2 adults and 2 kids can easily
end up costing in the $500-600 range for parking, tickets,
food, and a couple of souveniers. You can also try taking
them to Marine World in Vallejo which also has a lot of
little kid rides (plus animal shows..) to see how they hold
up to a day at that kind of park.. Goofy
I have twins too, and we first took them to Disneyland at an
older age, which I would recommend. We took them when they
were 6 and it was such a hit! At 3, they won't remember, and
you will be much poorer. I would recommend checking out
Legoland for 3 year olds. We didn't discover Legoland until
my kids were older, but they would have had much more fun
about that age. Legoland is a bit further south than Disney.
Crowds are much more manageable, rides are more suited
towards toddlers. They also have an aquarium which would be
great for that age. The water park I'd probably skip.
There's a hotel there that boasts that it has its own
entrance to the park. We didn't stay there because it was
pricey. Stayed at a Hilton which was across the street and
the parking lot. It was great there! Great pool for kids
too. It's also a time share, so if you want to sit through
the pitch, you can get some moolah too. They are also kid
oriented so they had popcorn one night when we came back.
Lemonade and chocolate chip cookies another night.
We JUST got back from disney with our 7, 4, and 2 1/2 yr old
and i would say wait. I had been wanting to go for years but
my husband kept saying the kids weren't ready and in all
honesty, he was right. My 7 yr old princess/ fairy loving
daughter was the perfect age...knew every character, was
able to handle waiting in lines and wasn't scared. Could
also be able to be out all day. My 4 yr old is a tougher
than normal girl, loved all the rides. My 2. 1/2 yr old
son was too young and was a real ball and chain...tired,
fussy, scared of rides, running through crowds. We both
left feeling that 4- 5 is really the perfect age... Its an
expensive trip, so best to really make fun for them,
otherwise, its just more for you. Give them time to learn
the characters , as they was best part of it for my
kids...it is really character driven so if they don't know
ariel or tinkerbell or alladin, seeing them just won't be as
fun. Oh, and can handle waiting in lines and staying out
all day... Survived disney!
I would wait for Disneyland. I took my 6 1/2 year old last
summer and left my 3 year old home with dad. I was so glad I
did. The lines are so long for everything and I don't think
3 year olds have the capacity to be patient all day. It is
also really big and crowded so there is no room to run and
play. My 6 year old was able to wait in lines, stay up late
for the fireworks and she appreciated that the trip was
special. I would recommend Monterey as a better
destination. My kids love the aquarium, My Museum, Dennis
the Menace park, and the beach. If you do go to Disneyland,
I recommend the Howard Johnsons. They have a great mini
water park and good rates. miranda
Well, it depends on you and your children's stamina. At over
$308 for two parents and two kids (bummer, under 3 and your
kids would have been free), it gets pretty pricey and the
park is huge - especially if you want your kids to walk.
Your kids WILL be exhausted by lunch. Pacing and moderate
weather helps. As for things to entice them, even if your
kids never step foot on a ride, there are a lot of
attractions that are kid friendly from the Nemo submarine to
the Jungle Cruise to Toon Town, Astro Blasters and Small
World. There are lots of things to look at, entertainers,
parades, and the trains around the park and the monorail are
also worth taking advantage of. We waited until our child
was 8 and they didn't last an entire day. We went for the
morning, had lunch, rode the train, went back to the hotel,
swam, and then hit the park after dark. Didn't make the
fireworks. LA is worth the drive however. Lots to do in
addition to Disneyland that would make the drive worthwhile
like the La Brea Tar Pits, and the California Science Center
in LA on your way down. But you have to do your own
calculations to determine if $300 plus gas and hotel for not
quite a full day is worth it at this age. Kiddie Koncierge
Disneyland is fun for *any* age! I'm not sure why you think
it would be a significantly different experience for a 3
year old than for a 4 year old; it's certainly a bit
different for a toddler than for a grade schooler but both
will enjoy it.
I've been with a 17-month-old, with a 19-month-old plus
almost-5-year-old, and with a 6-year-old plus a 10-year-
old. The last time was definitely easiest, in most ways,
but we had fun every time and so did the kids. And watching
my then-preschooler experience Small World as completely
magical was awesome; you don't get that with an older kid.
The things that make waiting longer easier for you, as the
parents? Giving up naps (naptime can really mess with
having enough time for the attractions), having more stamina
for walking and long days, large/tall enough and adventurous
enough to go on all the rides. Oh, and being reliably potty
trained, so you don't have to haul around a diaper bag.
The things that make going sooner easier for you, as the
parents? Hauling around a sleeping baby (in a carrier or
even in a stroller) is a lot easier than hauling around a
whiny overtired six-year-old. (Plus, for really little
babies you don't have to carry snacks! And children under 3
get in free! But yours are already past that stage.)
If Disneyland is the sort of thing you're likely to do only
once in your children's lives, I suggest waiting until they
are 8 or so. But if going now isn't going to stop you from
going again in three or five or ten years, and the trip
appeals to you now, go! Have reasonable expectations for
their stamina and interests, and your twins will love it.
And consider visiting Legoland too, while you're in
SoCal. It's definitely well worth at least one day, and
has plenty to appeal to the Duplo set.
I took my girls when they were 1 and 3 and then again at 2
and 4. They are 9 & 11 now and they remember none of it.
They were just as happy to go to Pixieland in Concord or
Fairyland in Oakland with a lot less stress. If you go, plan
to go back to a hotel for mid-day naps to keep you all more
sane and plan to take it slow. Debbie L.
I would wait til they're 4! They'll be more aware, able to
walk further, etc. Take a year and show them some Disney
movies...get them familiar with stories and more
characters...you'll all have more fun next year.
We took our almost 3 year old to D-land last summer, and he
had a blast. He hadn't really seen any movies either, but
did have some Disney characters by stuffed animals or books
We stayed at the Disney resort, which was nice, so we could
walk back (or Monorail) for afternoon naps (but were willing
to forego). There are still alot of rides they can go on at
that age, and it's not too overwhelming. We even stayed up
late and saw the fireworks show.
We didn't go to Cal Adventure Park.
He still remembers the trip and talks about it (over 6
months ago), now that he's 3.5.
Have you considered Legoland? We went over the summer with
our 2 and a half year old and he had a great time. There are
lots of other things to do in San Diego too. Have fun!
no no no no no no no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! too
loud, crowded, overstimulating. I took mine when they were 3
and 5 and it was a nightmare. No one had fun.
My friends with kids that age said Legoland was by far
I would not recommend taking 3-yr-olds to Disneyland. They
are barely going to remember the trip and they cannot ride
most of the rides. I just took my son for the first time and
he was eight. He could walk the park and ride all the rides.
It was fantastic! But we did have to stand in lines for up
to an hour (aka the â€˜Disneystandâ€™) for some attractions and
it was a long couple of days. He would not have tolerated
that at 3 years old. I went for the first time, when was
young, at age five and I remember it being a bit
Also, it can be very crowded. The stroller population at
Disneyland is insane, even the employees complain about
it. We were run over or hit more than once in a day. So
you would either have to watch you children closely or
become part of the stroller annoyance.
I know some will vehemently disagree with me, but I think
until your children can walk the park, have the patience
to stand in line, and ride the rides, it might be better
to go someplace else.
Here's some things I would consider. Find on-line the
height restrictions for rides at Disney and compare that to
your kids heights. My daughter was on the short side but
yet a daredevil. When we took her at 3 she could do quite a
bit but there were a bunch of things she couldn't do. We
took my son at 2.5 and he's super tall, he could do most
things. With that said, I think it's a great place for all
ages. My daughter didn't know the characters at all but
still loved the park. This last time we stayed at Disney's
Grand Californian. It was super pricey but so, so, so
convenient. It has it's own entrance into the park, we
didn't drive for 3 days, and we could come back and hang out
at the pool(s) in the afternoon. There were also some early
admittance days and some extra fast passes. It was really
nice. Food prices are ridiculous at the park and hotel.
So, if you do stay at a super close hotel I would make sure
you bring food, snacks, water. When we went w/ my daughter
we went during spring break which was ridiculously busy. I
would stay away from the busy times. If you stay at a non-
Disney hotel I would stay at a place very close to Disney
where you can do a shuttle and possibly a pool. We used a
Mouse Waits iPhone app and it was very helpful. We have
gotten passes where we could also go to California
Adventure. The Bug's Life area is nice for kids. I know
they have a lot of construction going on so I'd research
that if you are interested in CA adventure. CA Soaring was
a favorite for both kids.
- Disney Fan
we took our almost 3-year old to Disneyland over Xmas break
and had an amazing time. We are going back in a week, it was
so great. (gotta get in while she's free!) Given how much
negative feedback your question received, it seems like a
question that only you, who knows your family, can answer.
My husband and I are thinking of taking our two boys to
Disneyland this year. Our oldest is three years old and our
second will be two in September and that's when we plan on
going. The boys are just now beginning to appreciate Mickey
and friends but are they still too young to take to
Disneyland? If we go, would it be better to stay near or at
Disney so we can break the visit up? With cost of going
being as high as it is these days, we want to make sure that
we get the most of the trip. Any advice, pro and/or con will
be much appreciated.
We took our kids (boy-girl twins) to Disneyland when they
were 3 years old. I love Disney, so it was as much for me
as for them. My wife tolerates Disney, but admits to
having fun there.
They don't remember it now of course (they are 13), but
the way to give them the most from their experience is to
take pictures and especially video of them at Disneyland.
Our kids love watching themselves having fun at Disneyland.
It is essential to stay close enough so you can go back to
your room for a nap in the middle of the day. That way you
miss the heat and give everyone a break.
Then after you are refreshed you can go back and have some
We stayed for two nights. The first night, one of us went
out while the kids were asleep to go on the big rides the
kids can't go on. The second night we switched.
You can also do ''baby swap'' where one parent waits at the
end of the ride for the first parent to ride, and then the
other parent can ride without waiting. We didn't do that;
there is so much to go on and see with your kids.
Another key thing is to take advantage of early entry if
you are staying at a Disney hotel. This gets you into the
park 1 hour before it opens to the general public. Usually
the Fantasyland rides are open and you can get on all of
them with little wait. The more you wait in line, the more
your kids are going to get antsy.
The other important thing is to be flexible. If the kids
are getting worn out and cranky it is time to head for the
hotel and rest or play in the pool.
If you can afford it, sign up for a character meal. The
characters come to your table and interact with everyone.
This makes especially good video.
Since your kids aren't in school, you can go during the
off season when things are cheaper and it is less crowded.
I can't answer your direct question.
But I did take my 5-year-old to Legoland this spring. We all
really enjoyed it. They have a number of very basic rides,
and more ''advanced'' rides as well. There is plenty of space
for down-time, which are spots to build with legos, or
observe lego displays, or play in some water areas, or
''shoot'' soft balls in an enclosed climbing area. They also
have a ''basic'' aquarium.
For a 3-year old, I would think Disney might be an amazing
experience, or it might be overwhelming. I'm not sure how
much they would get out of it. Talked to a few families at
the hotel we stayed in at Carlsbad (near the beach) and they
figured Legoland for a few years and then graduate to
Bryan in Oakland
We waited until our eldest was four for Disneyland and are
glad we did because she was tall enough for many (but not
all) of the rides and she had a great time. Our youngest
was one that trip and along for the ride. We stayed at
the Candy Cane Inn (per recommendations from BPN) and it
was great: close to the park, free shuttle, super clean
and basic nice. It worked well for us to purchase three-
day park hoppers and then each day we took a long break (a
couple of hours) for nap and lunch or dinner; this made
the kids' spirits much better and we feel like we got a
lot out of our time there. Our stroller (baby in
stroller, kid standing on back) helped a lot to keep both
I took my daughter when she was 21 months old, and she
absolutely loved it. I mean LOVED it.
Things she liked the most: parades--all of them. Electric
Light Parade (wayy past her normal bed time) was the
absolute favorite. Small World, naturally. Loved it. Silly
things like trains, monorail, double-decker bus. And all the
characters. She didn't even know who they were... just
thought it was kind of marvelous that there were life-sized
animals wandering down the streets. Some rides (like Dumbo)
she just loved to watch, which was great, because then we
didn't have to stand in line.
I'm sure she won't have life-long memories of the trip, but
she still goes bananas now 2 1/2 months later any time we
start singing It's a Small World.
Really, the hardest part was getting over my expectation
that we see and do a lot. When I slowed it down to her pace
and didn't think we needed to get to every spot, we had a
Naps were a pain. Still worth it though.
Sold on Disney
I'd say they are too young. I would wait at least two or three years. A lot of the
characters are actually scary to little kids. I remember taking my stepson when
he was four. Sure, he loved it, but Winne-the-Pooh (his total fave) scared the
beejeebers out of him! When we went again a few years later... wow, what a
difference! And then again when he was 8 and his sister was 9 they had the
absolute best time ever! My own son went for the first time that he could
remember when he was about 3 and a half (maybe almost 4) and totally into
Peter Pan. He was still terrified of the characters and didn't want to go into the
Peter Pan pool or on any of the rides. Totally overwhelming.
Advise waiting for Disney
We just arrived back from a trip to Disneyland today, so I
can give you a current impression. There are a lot of
families with young children at Disneyland, including many
in strollers. I don't think your kids are too young to
enjoy visiting, and it is certainly a magical place. You
may want to consider though whether this is the ideal trip
for your young kids. There is a lot of travel involved
coming from the Bay Area, and your kids are probably only
good for about 5 hrs per day at the park ... unless they are
especially melt-down proof. We stayed at the Paradise Pier
hotel, and that was reasonably priced on a AAA package, and
very convenient. Personally I would not take kids that
young to Disneyland, because we have great alternatives
right here. When our kids were little, we really enjoyed
taking them to Children't Fairyland in Oakland, the Oakland
Zoo (which also has some rides), the Train in Tilden Park,
and the Little Farm in Tilden Park. For a family vacation
away, you may also want to check into Berkeley Tuolumne
Camp, which works for children of all ages.
We went to Disneyland when our kids were 5, 3 and 1. It
was terrible. They were afraid of the dark, so didn't
want to go on rides. They were afraid of the characters
and certainly didn't want pictures with them. They mostly
wanted to go back to the hotel and swim in the pool. I
know many families who had great trips at those ages, but
for my kids, it was too scary. If your kids are sensitive
about bad guys in movies or shows, then you might want to
wait. (Disney movies, in general, were always too scary.)
If your kids love that stuff, then they'll probably have a
We took our kids at ages 4 and 18 months. At 4, I felt like
my son was just barely old enough for Disneyland. Barely. It
was lost on the toddler, of course, except for 30 seconds of
glee which could have easily happened in an abandoned field.
I know people who love Disneyland with the little ones, but
we could have easily waited two more years and little would
have been lost.
Two and Three are not too young to enjoy Disneyland,
though some in this forum will tell you that. We took our
children for the first time at 6mos and 3 yrs, and once a
year thereafter. It is absolutely magical for them, but
you need to choose your activities wisely.
1. If cost is a concern stay at one of the non-Disney
hotels on S. Harbor. (the 1500 block is the best for
walking in and out) I highly recommend the Park Vue Inn as
it is directly across the street from the entrance... it
is just as close as the Disneyland Hotel but on the
opposite side of the park.
2. Plan to go in and out of the park so that your children
can get some downtime taking naps, playing in the pool,
just being with you.
3. Consider using RideMax to plan your trip in advance.
For a small fee you subscribe to their program. Before you
go to Disneyland you program when you will go in the park,
when you will take breaks and the rides/activities you
would like to do and the program will create an itenerary
you can print and follow, minimizing your walking and wait
times. We've done this every year and have been able to
get through Disneyland without a single potty training
accident or temper tantrum... our children never waited in
line for more than 15 minutes.
4. With two young children consider going with another
couple who will be willing to swap off childcare so you
can take advantage of the parent switch off pass they
offer for rides like Indiana Jones.
5. Make your first activities fun open air ones. When our
kids were little we'd go in for the first time in the
evening. We'd watch the parade, ride dumbo, the tea cups
Small World, Alice, and Peter Pan... everything was sweet
and gentle so they were absolutely happy. Casey Jr and the
Storybook Boats are also gentle. If you have sensitive
kids don't take them on Pinocchio or Snow White... those
two rides will ruin the whole trip!
I could go on, but those are the essentials that make the
trip for us.
Dizzy for Disney
Disneyland is very expensive. I'd wait until your younger
son is around 4(since most kids this age don't nap anymore).
My 13 yr old son has always loved Disneyland, but we found
that we started to make the most of it when he hit the age
of 11. Then you can enjoy the park at night too, which is
great fun! Stay walking distance to the park (we like
Howard Johnson's) and check out MouseSavers.com for the best
While toddlers might really enjoy an up-close with Mickey,
if they still take naps, you will be paying hundreds of
dollars for very few hours of hot, crowded fun.
Disneyland is SO expensive that I waited until I was sure
my kids would be able to remember how much fun they had,
and also went in the winter when it was empty. My kids
were 7,9 and 11 and we went in January. The had a
complete blast and we stayed from opening to closing --
used every minute of our three-day park hopper pass!
Disneyland is my absolute favorite family vacation but it
can be very overwhelming. We go for 4 days so that we can
move slowly, although 3 might be okay for your aged kids. If
you can swing it, I would suggest staying at one of the
Disney properties (preferably the Grand Californian because
it is the closest to the park) because you will have at
least one napping child. It's really great for one parent
to take the napping child back to the room and then you get
alone time with the other one. Also, move very slowly....
enjoy Disney at your 3 year old's pace. Don't worry if you
don't see everything. September is a lovely time to go and
if you can swing going mid-week or at least Sunday-Thursday,
that would be best. Learn about the Fast Pass system -- it's
a lifesaver. Watch the times on the tickets and use the
system. It works! Plan on getting to the park THE MINUTE it
opens in the morning so that you can beat the heat and the
lines in Fantasyland. Then, go back to your room at
lunchtime and play in the pool or sleep. The parks probably
close around 7pm. or so in september so keep that in mind
(you can check their website for that info ahead of time).
Watch the parade if you can. It's great to see their faces
amazed at the characters. Don't be disappointed if they
don't want to hug the characters...they are very large to
the kids! Keep lots of snacks on you to give the kids while
you are waiting in a line. Helps to distract them. I love
Disneyland for a 3 year old...it's so fun. Enjoy!!
Given how expensive Disneyland can be, I would wait at least another
year before taking your kids. I actually think 4 or older is the best age.
Younger kids are often terrified by the huge Disney characters walking
around. They don't find waiting in line tolerable, and most of the rides
are too scary. The wait times for the rides for really young children are
often extremely long. They won't really appreciate the ''magical'' aspects
of the place. Why rush -- you'll all have more fun later. Also, do stay in
a nearby hotel and plan on returning mid-day for a swim and sleep.
Young children are often much more interested in the swimming pool
than the amusement park. There's so much time to do all that fun stuff,
I'd say don't put yourself through it yet. It will be too stressful and the
kids won't appreciate the fun yet.
I would say it really depends upon the child. If your kids are really active and
spirited, it could drive you crazy chasing them around the park. But if they
have a good attention span and will hang with you, I think it can be a really
fun time for toddlers! (I know not everyone is a fan of Disney, but I personally
love disneyland. The place is always extremely clean and they make a huge
effort to be family friendly. Should be a ''no duh! it's a family place'' but
compared to Great America or other parks, which always have popcorn/gunk
all over the place, I really appreciate the effort they make.) We took our little
guy to Disneyland at 18 months, when some friends of ours went. i was a
little nervous that he would be way too young but he LOVED it. He was very
into trains at this point and so all the little cars and actual trains at the park
were a *huge* hit. He was very transfixed by the Parade. He had just gotten
into Pixar movies and Mickey/Minnie and was completely in awe of the
''characters''. I absolutely recommend staying near the park so you can take a
nap break. You don't have to stay at the Disney hotel, there are plenty within
walking distance that are affordable. Strollers and having your own supplies
on hand are also really key to enjoying the experience!
Fave rides for little ones: It's a Small World, Tea Cups, Dumbo, Casey Jr.
Train, Autopia, Jungle Cruise, Magic Tiki Room (singing birds are lots of fun,
the singing tiki logs can be a little scary so don't sit next to the wall where
they are!), Winnie the Pooh, Finding Nemo Submarine, Disneyland Railroad
Train. If they are braver, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan are really fun
''dark'' rides. Also, Toon Town is the ''little kid'' area with loads of fun play
The biggest advice I would say is take it slow, pace yourself, be patient and
make sure you take that nap break! The kid's tend to be so transfixed,
looking around in wide-eyed wonder that you can get caught up in
everything and might miss your usual schedule! (that happened to us!) Also,
know that you will miss out on the grown up rides. You might want to
consider going with another family. We did this and the dads watched the
kids during the parade while the moms rode a few ''big kid'' rides. Then we
took the kids to Toon Town so the dad's could ride some! It worked out
Good luck! It's a lot of fun...we've been back three times (my son is now six)
and every visit was HUGE fun!
A group of approximately 60 plus high school students with teacher and
parents are planning to travel to Los Angeles and Disneyland in June
2010. We would like to get travel tips for transportation, food, and
lodging. What were some creative alternatives that helped your group
spend less, eat well and healthfully, survive heat, and have fun? We
would like to hear your dos and don'ts, musts, and what to expect.
Recommendations for places to eat and shop for food are also welcomed.
Just came back from Disneyland for the weekend. We stayed at Desert Palms which has
suites, refrigerator in room, pool, hot tub, and free breakfast that included
scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes, pancakes, danishes, oatmeal, juice, coffee,
great deal especially for teens. However there are a lot of hotels within easy
walking distance - some right across the street.
While there I made this list,
because a lot of hotels will say they're walking distance and that can mean a lot
of different things. Close hotels are: Desert Palms (Katella Blvd), and the
following hotels on Harbor Blvd, right across from the main entrance to Disneyland:
Desert Inn & Suites, Anaheim Inn (Best Western), Alpine Inn, Anaheim Plaza, Del Sol
Inn, Park Vue Inn, Carousel. We had all our meals at Disneyland, so I can't help
you there, except that I think the food at California Adventure is better than the
food at Disneyland.
It also saves time if you buy your tickets on line. You can print them out on your
As for rides, you can use your park entry ticket to get a ''fastpass'' which allows
you to skip big lines by giving you a time window in which to return. Use them
carefully because you can only get one ''fastpass'' every 2 hours.
Be sure everyone saves their ticket. You need a handstamp AND your ticket to
re-enter the park. We got the park hopper tickets which allow you to go from
Disneyland to California Adventure in the same day. Its fun and very easy.
I've never gone with 60 kids, only 4, but here's what I recommend--Print out a map
of the streets that border Disneyland, and find the hotels that are within easy
walking distance of Disneyland's Main Gate (these are LONG blocks, but teenagers
can walk farther than 3-year-olds, so you have lots of choices. I highly recommend
staying on S. Harbor Blvd.) Go online and read reviews of the closest ones. Then
start calling and seeing if they have special group rates or deals. Get rooms with
refrigerators & microwaves (most have them).
Upon arrival, take groups of kids to
Von's (like Safeway, a short drive down S. Harbor Blvd.), where they can buy fruit,
ready-to-eat-veggies, instant oatmeal, cereal, milk, bread, cold-cuts, cheese, jam,
peanut butter, yogurt...paper plates, and plastic utensils...so they can have
snacks on hand and make sandwiches. Most of the hotels have free breakfast, and
have little shops to buy snacks, drinks, etc. Disneyland food is expensive, and
we've taken sandwiches in for our kids. They've never questioned it. Pizza places
and other restaurants deliver to the hotels; that's fun and you don't have to take
over an entire restaurant. If you want to eat out, call ahead to make sure they
can accommodate you. There are lots of restaurants within walking distance. Go
out to eat in smaller groups to make it easier.
The heat--do the outdoor
activities in the cooler morning and evening hours. Do the indoor stuff or hit the
pool during mid-day. Bring water to the park with you, and use it to douse your
hats and shirts if it's hot! A wet shirt is a great way to keep cool. It's very
kid-friendly there for kids of all ages. Be sure to watch the fireworks in the
park at night! Have a great time!
We are seriously considering taking the kids to Disneyland. It will be our first time
going anywhere with the three of them (4.5 yrs, almost 3 yrs, and 1 yr). Up until now,
going anywhere has been major WORK! Even getting the three of them in the car is
work. And it still will be work, but maybe a little less work now that they are a tiny bit
So, my question is.... do I DARE take them to Disneyland for a few days??? Is it worth
it??? MY girls are SO into princesses that I feel like they would really really love it. We
are just a little hesitant. Plus, the whole plane flight seems a little overwhelming, too.
Any advice appreciated.
We have taken our three boys to Disneyland on numerous occasions.
The first time they were 6, 3, and 4 mos; we went in August. It
was a great trip, albeit a little warm. My advice: take them
when it's not quite so hot (and crowded) if you can. When we had
just the two boys, we took them in October. The weather was
fantastic and it wasn't quite so crowded. We've also gone at
Christmas and a few weeks ago, we went for Spring break (with our
four kids). We've stayed at the resort and off-site. I
preferred being closer when the kids were smaller, but now that
they're 11, 8, 5 and 3 off-site has it's benefits. Call AAA or
Costco for special packages which include things like, 'Character
Breakfast'(get up close and personal with all of the
princesses),adults pay the same price as kids and free shuttle
service from the hotel to the park. Off-site is definitely less
expensive and some offer free breakfast. It's not a long car ride
(about 5 1/2 hours) if you prefer driving over flying. Three
days in both parks is plenty -- they'll get their fill of Snow
White and the gals. My boys and girl loved it! Good luck!
Fan of Disneyland
If you do it, make sure to have a minimum of 1 adult to each
child. So you need a grandparent or a babysitter. In my early
20s, a single mom invited me to one of these trips. She paid for
all the gas and the motel room we all shared, I paid my entryfee
and all my own food in exchange for helping with the kids.
You would be CRAZY to have two adults take three kids, with the
youngest at age 1.
Yes! My 3 kids are that exact age structure, and we went in
December. My husband and I looked at each other near the end of
the day in amazement that we'd actually had FUN together as a
family. Take it slow, drink lots of water and snack often (they
actually have great kids' snack boxes with minimally processed
foods and juices/milks/waters, etc. on sale at the park). I
have 2 boys, 1 girl (girl is in Princess mode, too) and even my
oldest loved ''Princess Land'' (near Small World--princesses tell
stories, do makeup, sell crap, all day). That was new since I
had last gone. I thought my daughter was going to explode...
the look on her face when real-life Belle bumped into her and
then leaned down to apologize was something I will never
Stay close to the park. There are many suite-hotels that are
resonably priced about a mile down the road. The kids were all
in one room, and we could stay up, drink wine, be adults, AND
see the fireworks. We drove into the park, and a parking pass
gives you in and out privelages. It's 15 bucks--cheaper than
the shuttle from the hotel for 5 people. The kids went all day--
9 am(ish) to 9 pm. Then we took them to the hotel to sleep,
husband stayed there, and I returned to do some roller coaster-
type rides with my family who was also there.
Full disclosure: I grew up in So.Cal so I am biased towards d-
Hi! We took our kids to Disneyland for the first time last month
because we have been conditioned that a visit to Disneyland is a
child's birth rite. We stood in line for hours and hours. We
stayed at the Disneyland Hotel and got the privilege of walking
about ½ mile through a mall (aka Downtown Disney) each time we
went back and forth the to park. We bought over-priced food. We
got the Disney brand imprinted to my kids' head every turn we
made. All for hundreds of dollars a day. If you want a vacation
in which you come back exhausted, you have to keep your kids
contained and supervised every second, and shell out tons of
dough, then Disney is the place for you!
Next time going to a lake
A trip to Disneyland will be fun for the 5 and 3 year old. The
one year old will surely get some fun out of it too, but it will
be mostly for the older two. It's good that you are asking this
question and thinking about the trip now! If you go, think a lot
about how much time you will spend at the park, how you want the
pace of it to go for your family and so on. Go into it knowing
that Disneyland is a fun but super-stimulating and exhausting
place for kids and adults (and did I mention that is is
expensive?) So, for kids that age it would be wise to not even
try to see or do everything in the park even if you're there a
couple of days. In fact, forget about California Adventures and
don't even try to see everything in the ''old'' Disneyland park. I
suggest getting an early start when the day is cool, staying
'till perhaps just past lunch and then heading back to the hotel
for a nap and ''down time'' and maybe even a swim in the hotel's
pool. Then, you can go back in the afternoon when it is cooling
down, you've missed the peak crowds, and enjoy a few more hours
and perhaps catch a parade. Also, if you can afford to stay at
one of the Disney hotels, do it. Or, research the hotels and
find one as physically close as possible to the entrance to
Disneyland. It is exhausting and time consuming to ''shuttle''
yourselves back and forth from the park to a hotel so the more
time and energy you can save on that, the better. Lastly, if you
do go, embrace the whole experience and do it at a humane pace
for your children. Be super-patient with them and everyone will
have a good time. It's the happiest place on earth!
friend of Mickey
I think they are too young. I went with my son when he was six? or
seven? and that was just barely old enough. I saw lots of families
dragging younger kids around who looked miserable. And do NOT go between
May and August, or during any school vacations/holidays. It can
get insanely crowded and the lines are LONG. But, I think
D-land is way overrated, and my husband refers to it as 'the
happiest hellhole on earth.' oh - and it was also the most
expensive vacation we've ever taken - more expensive than Hawaii, and
(not counting the flight) more than London, too.
As a mom of four grown children and gramma to three, here is my
suggestion. I just returned from a wonderful two-night, three-
day marathon to disneyland with my 5-yr-old grandaughter
(princess) and her mom. We had a blast! Five is the perfect
age to take them....I would not spend the money for all three
at this time....It's just not worth the effort, money,
exhaustion, and short-tempered parenting involved. If you have
a choice, don't go in the summer! P.S. you must make
reservations for the Disney Princess Lunch or Dinner at Ariel's
Grotto at California Adventures across the way...delightful!
Personally, I think Disneyland is too much for a 1yr old, and
maybe also for a 3year old.
There are limited things they can do that the 5yo can do, so
it's a lot of splitting up, waiting, etc.
Remember it's also hot and crowded.
I''d make it a special weekend for the 5yo and a parent...let
the others go later when they can appreciate.
I took my younger son when he was 9. We had a blast.
The 1 year old is definitely too young, and the three year old
could be, too. The baby will not really be able to appreciate
what he/she is seeing, and will likely need to nap in the
middle of the day. You may be tired and stressed from trying
to entertain/feed/take care of the baby, which will make the
whole trip less fun for everyone. Is there a grandparent or
sitter who could stay home with the baby? Warning: you will
need to go again when baby is older. We took our boys (7 & 8)
and our daughter (3). My daughter couldn't go on any of
the ''fun'' rides because she wasn't tall enough. I promised to
take her when she was older. (She's 26!)
At those ages, I would probably opt for Lego Land in Southern Orange/Northern San
Diego County instead. They have more rides and attractions geared to the younger
set. Furthermore, there are always promotions to help keep the costs down. Now,
even though there is more for the younger set, it doesn't mean that older kids will
be twiddling their thumbs. There is a fair amount of activities with minimum ages
(typically 4). The attractions are very hands on which is a big hit for that age
Disneyland does have some stuff for younger children, but fo rthe money, I would
recommend waiting a couple of years at least. The Legoland park size is a little
more compact as well - something to think about as you wheel or carry three kids
around. And, even though the Lego park is one big product placement, the
commercialism is pretty subdued compared to Disneyland.
Cost wise, if ALL you do is go to Disneyland, it will cost you $59 a pop up to 9. 10
years and older will run you $69 a head. Add $25 to include California Adventure.
Add $39 above that to make it a 2-day adventure. Legoland is $53 for kids 12 and
under and $63 for adults. Add $13-15 to make it a two day adventure. Now you
may think: why would I extend this ordeal over two days? It actually makes sense.
Say you are staying relatively close. You can peel your kids away before they (or
you) are completely fried. Have them chill for a bit and go back the next day fresh
as a daisy. It is a lot more civilized and you as program director, do not feel the
compulsion to cram EVERYTHING into one visit.
Hi - I definitely think Disneyland is worth it for your 3 and 5
year olds, our boy was 3 when we first went and I'll never
forget the experience -- the look of awe on his face and the
sparkle in his eyes the entire day. It really was magic (and
I'm pretty cynical in real life). We've gone each of the last
2 years since and it's been great both times. However, I would
think twice about taking your 1 year old. The last 2 times we
went we left our 10 month old (the next year she was 18 months
old) with a babysitter and were very happy we did. Actually,
we took her into the park for about 3 hours when she was 18
months, but then she really needed a nap and one of us would
have been tied to the stroller (assuming we could have gotten
her to sleep in the park). Either way it seemed like no fun.
We'll take her when she's 2.5 or 3. Anyway, definitely go,
it's exhausting but amazing and the plane ride is only an
hour. Also, you didn't ask, but we stayed at the Camelot Inn &
Suites, which is great for families and literally a 5 minute
walk to the park (and WAY cheaper than Disney hotels). Have
another princess fan
No! It is not worth it! Hugely overrated! I frankly think
Disneyland is not worth it at all for any age, as things with
equivalent costs are more fun and less annoying for the parents
(go spend a couple days at the beach), but even if you do think
Disneyland is fun for kids, I think your kids are too young to
really enjoy it. Years ago, I took my 5 yr old nephew, and the
thing he liked the best was Tom Sawyer's Island, and that's the
most low-tech part of the place (basically just a park with a
cool fort). Then I took my daughter when we were living down
there, she was about 4 yrs old, and although she had fun, she
didn't want to stay for more than a couple of hours, which is not
long considering what you pay. I stupidly felt like forcing her
to keep going so we could ''get our money's worth'' but she was
done. She liked it, but no more than she liked the little train
in Tilden Park and other much simpler (less overwhelming) places.
Its just not worth the expense and hassle, esp with kids that
age. If they love princesses, I'll bet they would get into some
other princess-like things that are not nearly as involved,
expensive, tiring. A play, Fairyland, a new princess costume, a
tea party at home...
We just went to Disneyland in March for our son's 5th
birthday. We also have an almost 2 year old daughter who is
very difficult to say the least. I have to say, our son had a
fantastic time, but we have not planned on returning until at
least our daughter's 5th birthday. With a nap being needed,
over-stimulation, lines to wait in, etc. it was a bit too much
work and not enough vacation for us. We did stay at the
Disneyland Hotel to be close to everything, but it is still a
bit of a haul to get into and out of the park. Our 2 year old
definitely had fun, but it would have been MUCH MORE worthwhile
had they both been older. I don't think I would even consider
going with 3 at the ages yours are right now. I would wait
until the youngest is at least 4 or 5 leaning on the older
side. You will have more fun as a family and it will be more
memorable overall. Not to mention the cost factor - everything
is pricey as I'm sure you know. Disneyland is great, but you
definitely miss out on a lot of it with very young ones since
they can't do certain rides, they won't be out late night, need
naps, etc. We did see a lot of very young kids and even
babies, but, for the most part, the bit older ones were having
the best time as were the parents of the older kids. Also,
it's a lot of walking even for a 5 year old. My son is very
active and energetic and he wanted to be in the 2 year old's
stroller a lot of the time which caused some arguments between
them. My recommendation is to find other special things for
your kids to do that don't require a plane trip, tons of money,
lines, crowds, etc. Also, don't feel guilty about not going if
you choose not to or that they are missing out - Disneyland
isn't going anywhere, and I promise you they will enjoy it much
more at a bit older age.
No, taking a 5,3 and 1 year old to Disneyland is so not a good
idea. A HUGE waste of time, effort and money. At that age
(especially the 3 and 1 year old!) they'd be just about as happy
with a day trips to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Oakland Zoo
or even Fairyland for the kiddie rides, petting zoo, beach,
arcade, cotton candy and other stuff. You could also consider
hiring a 'princess' that does birthday parties for their princess
fix. Kids that young can't really tell the difference between a
simple down-home type of park and Disneyland. Also they won't
have many memories at such a young age. Your 5-year old will get
more out of it, but with such small ones, most of what you're
paying for at Disneyland will be out of their reach/desire
(scary, fast rides). I'd wait 3 years at a minimum. Your 8 year
old would then be able to enjoy the 'extras' Disneyland offers,
but for your 4 year old it would still be a waste in my opinion.
Unless you have money to burn and don't care about the wasting
Also I'll share the best advice I ever got about taking the kids
to Disneyland. Simply: go in November! Our kids missed two days
of school but it was totally worth it. Cool, pleasant weather and
hardly any long lines, even on the most popular rides. Disneyland
in summer is HOT, jam-PACKED, and lines are 1 HOUR long for a few
minutes of ride. It's not that fun, especially for very young
kids. With very short lines you can take advantage of a lot more
that the park has to offer, and stand in line a lot less. A LOT less.
Timing is everything
YES! We also went to Disneyland for the first time when my daughters were 5 and 3,
and my son was 4 months. We also brought along their 4 year old cousin. The girls
had a terrific time, and the princesses were a huge hit. We spent time on rides, but
prepared to just stand in line and meet princesses, and look for princesses and take
pictures of princesses. We also had a 3rd adult there, my MIL, so my hubby and I
could ride a couple rides together, which was terrific, but the kids were the focus of
the trip, and that is a magic age, perfect for the magic kingdom. Try this--before
go, write letters ''from the princesses'' on pretty stationery for each child,
the child to Disneyland. As soon as you get to the hotel, slip the letters into a
or someplace for the kids to find. They'll be delighted.
We drove, which was a long trip, but worked fine. I think flying will be MUCH more
pleasant...quick, for sure. Anaheim really caters to families with small kids. Buy
book ''Disneyland and Southern California With Kids''. It will give you hundreds of
that will come in handy (private nursing rooms in Disneyland, where to go at what
times, to avoid crowds....) Yes, go, and ENJOY!
My advice is a definite ''no'', given what Disneyland entails, the ages of your
and your own stated stress level with the sheer logistics of managing 3 kids in
We waited until just last year when our two girls were nearly 7 and 8 and it was
fantastic. We said over and over again we had waited until just the right age. Surely,
your kids might be gleeful for a few minutes, but given their ages/heights, they
wouldn't even be allowed on the rides you might enjoy, and vice-versa. The lines
can be overwhelming even with the ''fast pass'' sort of thing they have now (which is
mostly fantastic), so imagine your 3 little ones perhaps standing or crawling in line
for even 1/2 hour. YIKES! And the rides for little ones are still horrifying for so
children because of surprises, bright lights, dark corners, noises, you name it.
Re your daughter's princess stage, I know how you feel, but to be honest, D-land is
so full of character literally and figuratively, it's hard to even locate the
aspect amidst all the others for the most part.
Find another simpler trip to take that allows all of you the time and peace for a good
time together. D-land is truly for older kids or families that have aunts and uncles
to come along and help you the whole day!
Yes, 1, 3, and 5 are too young - especially all at the same time. I just got back from
Disney World with my 10 year old and had a great time - perfect age - still doesn't
mind holding mom's hand and is excited about everything and doesn't need a stroller.
My husband and I took our children when they were young (our 10 yr. old was 3 1/2 at
the time) and while my older kids (9, 11, and 12 1/2 at the time) remember the trip,
my child who was 3 doesn't remember anything from the trip and was afraid of many
shows and rides and had several meltdowns because he was tired. I saw many families
with young children, whose children were having meltdowns and whose parents were
clearly exhausted and frustrated. I would wait till the youngest is at least 5, but if
do go, don't cram too much into one day - too hard for both parents and children.
voice of experience
I am a huge fan of Disneyland, but with your kids the ages they
are, I would not go unless you have a 3rd adult. Your 5 year old
is perfect age, the 3 year old will get a lot out of it, and your
1 year old will just complicate everything. I would suggest you
stay at one of the Disneyland resort hotels if you can (the Grand
Californian is the closest one to the park which is VERY
CONVENIENT, although expensive) so that the baby can nap. You
will need to go at a very slow pace for your kids as it will be
super stimulating. DON'T GO IN THE SUMMER...too hot and the
lines will be crazy crazy long. late september or early october
in the middle of the week is best. Enjoy!
Mickey's #1 Fan
not worth it. Definitely for the 5 year old, probably not for
the 3 year old - total waste for the one year old, and a pain for
you! Wait a few years and you'll all enjoy it more.
Please take you little ones to Disneyland! I regret that we
didn't take our son until he was 7. By that age, he had
already outgrown Fantasyland. Don't forget, a big part of the
fun is seeing it all again through the eyes of a child. You'll
remember more than they will, but they'll remember more than
you think and you'll all be talking about it for months or
years to come. To reduce the stress you are anticipating, take
along an additional helper who knows and loves your kids
(teenage relative, grandma, etc). It will be well worth the
extra expense!! Also, book one of those motels that are an
easy walk from the front gates of Disneyland. This is
especially handy if one or more need to have an afternoon break.
Before you leave, let them go on a binge of Disney movies to
reacquaint them with the costumed characters they are likely to
encounter. If you can go in the fall, the weather will be
better and the park less crowded.
If the girls are really into the princesses it can be fun, but remember that you will
be standing in line for hours to meet the characters and that you have to carefully
the day if that is the goal (which can make it more stressful than relaxing and fun).
If you do it plan to be very mellow and only try to do a couple of things each day
otherwise it is hectic and overwhelming.
Also - the likelihood that the girls will remember the trip at the ages they are is
When we go now (ages 11 and 8) the kids get there are say ''oh I remember...'' and
can call up elements but nothing that is a life-long memory from the trips when they
were under 5...
I have a 13 year old and an 8 year old. Our most fun times at
Disneyland have been in the last 2-3 years. We went much
earlier, but you need to have strollers for all three kids in
your case and the 1 + hour wait for most rides is enough to try
even the more patient parent. Plus, there will be a number of
things you can't take them on, so then is one parent going to
watch the two littlest while the 5 year old goes with the other
I would save your money at this point. With the younger ones,
the biggest hit was staying at a motel with a swimming pool.
They could have stayed there the whole time. So, a much less
expensive vacation would be to go to a nearby motel with a pool
for a couple days!
You will have a lot more fun with your kids at Disneyland when
they are older. We take each of ours on their 10th birthday and
they can bring one friend. Then, I gave them walkie talkies and
turned them loose with frequent check ins.
If you go with two adults, agree to split up depending on the
kids' needs, go when most school-age kids are in school, and
don't try to do too much, it will probably be OK. You might try
driving down and spending a night somewhere in the middle.
But what really might work best is make it a special 6-year-old
birthday present -- when each kid turns 6, that kid only gets to
fly down with one parent while the other parent stays home with
the other kids.
-- a mom whose done disneyland with just one kid and it was great
Your kids will LOVE Disneyland, and the princesses stuff will be
a bonus. At the moment, your 1 yr old is free, and AAA (and
others) have 3-day passes for $149, children & adults (till
5/2?). You CAN fill 3 days (and you should go California
Adventure too). You can stay in one of the nearby hotels and
walk or you can do the shuttle (it is nice to go back to the
hotel for nap/swim time, though I never did it with my
hyper-stimulated daughter). The most important things you can
learn are: use your Magic Morning pass (gets you into the park
an hour early on a Tu Th or Sat) and get there BEFORE the time to
go on popular rides. On the other days, arrive before the gates
open, and have a plan. For the middle of the day, you can do
shows, which are great: the Aladdin show at Calif Adventure is
even entertaining for grownups, princess storytimes are great for
kids, etc. Go to the princess place to meet them (it gets less
busy in the afternoon, or at least that's what I saw). Bugs Life
rides and water stuff at Calif Adventure, and the Redwood Creek
challenge trail is really nice for time off, as is Pirates Lair
in DL (formerly Tom Sawyer Island). There's plenty to do, really,
and they'd love all of it, except for the waiting in line part.
And you need to balance DL noise w/ quiet time. But you can also
trade off w/ two parents, and if you're so inclined, you can get
''switch'' passes at some of the rides so you don't have to both
wait if the smaller kids can't go, and there are some ''single
rider'' rides at Cal Adventure--so you can ride California
Screamin, for example, quickly, while the other spouse takes the
kids to something easier. Get a book from the library to get a
sense of what is a good strategy to avoid lines (fast passes,
etc). Although keep in mind that some of the newer rides may not
be in the older books (e.g., Nemo, which is not as interesting as
I'd like it to be but is very popular). The good news is that
with 5 people and only 2 grownups, you could just blast through
the fun grownup rides w/ fast passes... There are a bunch of
other really fun rdes for little kids too, but you should look at
a book or ask your friends. I could go on, having just returned
It is only worth it if YOU will enjoy it. Yes, of course they
will love it (at least the 5 and 3 yr olds will) but they will
love Oakland's Fairyland almost as much, and it is a lot less
work for you. We took our children to Disneyland when each was 3,
and it was totally worth it but only because we, the parents,
really love amusement parks and such, and we made sure to take
turns going on the fun rides we wanted (ask about the parent swap
pass). Go to Disneyland if you will enjoy it, but if you would
enjoy somewhere else more (like San Diego beaches or Yosemite or
camping) then do that. (I finally figured out that the kids will
have fun almost no matter where we go, so the main person the
vacation should please is ME.)
--if Mommy is happy, everyone will be happy
I would skip Disneyland if I were you! It is not a restful
place to go with little kids. If you want to do an amusement
park go to Legoland in Carlsbad or, closer by, Gilroy Gardens.
These places are designed for smaller kids and have mellow
playgrounds and water play areas to hang out in. My experience
with Disneyland is that it's crowded, there are long lines for
rides (which is enough to try anyone's patience), and the only
place to take a break is at food concessions. The fantasy is
way better than the reality.
NOOOOO! I took my 3 & 6 year old for two days a few years ago-
it was nightmarish, too loud, over whelming-really expensive-we
drove, stayed two nights in this icky hotel, ate one meal a day
in the park, bought one sovenir and it was almost $1200.
let the girls play princess-watch the movies or even have a
'princess birthday'' at superfranks in Pleasanton or hire a
princess to come to your home through Western Onion but
disneyland is too much for the little folks-
not a fan of the house of mouse
My family just took my 7-year-old son on a huge SoCal excursion. When
home, I asked him what he had liked best. He told me, in order, how he
everywhere we went:
1) Wild Animal Park in San Diego (best by far)
2) Beach in San Diego
4) The water squirting station in Universal Studios (didn't like any of
the rest of it
5) Disneyland (least favorite)
My son's an outdoor kind of kid, doesn't care much for rollercoasters
(though he did
like the Matterhorn and Indiana Jones), loves hands-on kind of stuff. I
guess you have
to think about what kinds of stuff your kid likes.
I'm planning a day at disneyland in January of 2008 with my 2
and 4 year olds.
I have only been there a couple of times and I remember that it
involved a lot of walking and lines. Should I bring my double
stroller - mostly I think only my two year-old will use it and
I'll put stuff in it but it is pretty big and I'm wondering if
it will be more trouble than it's worth. I can bring a back pack
to carry my youngest but that really limits the amount of other
stuff I can take for them. I think I will have another adult
along to help out.
Also I'm wondering if there is a specific part of the park we
could aim for for that has lots of activities for this age group.
My sister-in-law buys an annual pass to Disneyland every year and she's
taught us a few things about how to do the park:
1) Definitely bring the stroller, or at least a single stroller.
Disneyland is stroller friendly and there's stroller parking outside of
every ride. It's a big park and kids get tired walking around, and you'll
get tired carrying everything on your back.
2) It's hard to do everything in one day, so plan ahead. Is there one ride
or area that you don't want to miss? Depending on how popular it is (the
new Nemo submarine ride, for instance) you might want to get to the park
as soon as it opens to get in line. Or, you can get one ''fastpass''
ticket for a ride that allows you priority entry at a certain time, but
you can only get one fastpass at a time.
3) The California park is much quieter and has fewer lines than
4) Two areas that would be great for two and four year olds: Toon Town in
Disneyland and A Bug's Life (or A Bug's Land? or something) in California
Adventure. Toon Town is a bit like a cartoon jungle gym while Bug's has
fun, mellow rides for little ones.
5) If you can, bring in food and water. It's really expensive inside the
parks. The least expensive food I've found is a McDonald's near Paradise
Pier in California Adventure.
6) The shows are really pretty cool -- fireworks, electic parades, 3-D
shows. If you can schedule one in, it would be worth it. The California
park closes at 9pm and then everyone heads over to DL to see the
7) My brother taught me this: put a piece of paper with your name and
phone number on it in your kid's pocket. DL is really crowded and it's
easy for kids and parents to get separated.
8) The Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland is also good for younger kids
-- and adults like it too.
You'll have a great time! Have fun...
Hurray for Disneyland! I went several times last year due to a season
pass. I would say definitely skip the backpack. The double stroller
should be fine, especially if you are not going on a peak day (after
Thanksgiving, Christmastime; check their website). You will have to park
it (lots of places) and take the kids out to wait in lines anyway. They
can rest or nap in it when you go place to place, a must if you plan to
stay all day. If you're still not sure, you can just bring a single
stroller and then rent another one there if you decide you need one (if
you have another adult helping out). The only places where the stroller
might be cumbersome are some stores and restaurants, but I think they all
can accommodate it.
The best spot for children's rides is Fantasyland. However, my daughter
at age 2 enjoyed all the rides that didn't have a height requirement, even
Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion (might be scary for some
kids). Don't forget the rides on Main Street (old cars, horse-drawn
carriage) and the railroad if your kids like that; less waiting there,
too. Again, check out the website - lots of information there - and the
I've heard some people mock Disneyland, saying, ''Why are people there so
happy/nice all the time?!'' Well, that is the best thing about it!
Disneyland is extremely child-friendly. If you are holding a tray of food
and trying to push a stroller at the same time, just ask someone for help.
If you have another adult, even better to save a table and leave the kids
there while the other adult orders.
A few more tips: Skip California Adventure (unless you're there for
several days). As for Disneyland, there is a nice children's room at the
end of Main Street for miniature toilets, changing tables, eating area
w/microwaves, etc. Disneyland doesn't allow you to bring your own meals
but allow children's snacks - they've never questioned our lunchbox. Get
there EARLY (even an hour or more before opening, if you can) because you
have to jump through lots of hoops just to get in (line in parking lot,
line for tram, line for security check). It sounds bad, but after you're
in, it's great. Granted, I've never gone at a super-busy time and am
generally patient with lines if I know to expect them. Food is not very
good and is expensive; some restaurants have better selection/quality than
others. Try Plaza Inn or specialty carts.
Have a great time! Wish we were going, too.
I Love Disneyland
Double stroller is essential for 2- and 4-year-old if you're the only
adult, and if there are 2 or more adults, then a double or two jogger
strollers or other very smooth-riding strollers are a must. We went this
spring with 2, 2.5, and 5-year-old, a Graco Metrolite, and a MacClaren and
were shocked that 5-year-old was EXHAUSTED from all the walking so we
rented a THIRD stroller since we had not brought a double. Double would
have been easier even with all the adults we had. Also, my lousy Graco
really bothered my wrists after a couple of hours. The single strollers
they rent there are joggers and are very smooth. They don't rent doubles.
Rental of a double can be arranged, but must be done well in advance.
Tried same day or day before through our hotel, and no dice.
We just came back from Disneyland and had so much fun (with a 3 yo). You
can rent strollers there for the day (or multiple days) for $10 a day
which is worth it if you are flying down there so you don't have to lug
your own stroller around (and they're kind of like jog strollers and can
store stuff underneath). We also timed it so that we were there on a
Thursday and so the lines weren't bad at all - if there were any lines at
all. We really only had to wait in one line that was pretty long and that
was for the new Nemo Submarine ride (which was worth it) but it still
moved pretty quickly. I would suggest making sure you have snacks and/or
small little entertainment things (e.g. small pad of paper and crayons) if
you do hit a long line. If you can, I would plan your trip for during the
week versus the weekend (or at least try to get a Thursday in there so you
can do the more popular rides then before the weekend (including Friday)
crowds hit. On the Disneyland website, there is a section with recommendations about what rides are most suitable
for little kids. Some rides you can get a fast pass for (it's only
available for a few rides though) so you just come at a designated time.
We loved the Nemo ride, Its a Small World, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh Ride
and Alice in Wonderland but I felt like overall, the park was very
friendly to younger ones without relegating you to one section of the
I'm a huge Disney fan and visit the park on a regular basis. I have taken
my daughter to Hong Kong Disneyland when she was 17 months old and we just
celebrated her second birthday at Disneyland in July.
If your kids won't be sitting in the stroller, I'd recommend not taking
it. Depending on the time of the year when you go, trying to push a
stroller through the crowd will be far slower than walking.
There are plenty of rides that your 2 and 4 year olds will enjoy.
Everything in Fantasy Land will work. Although my 2 year old did not like
the dark rides (Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White...) However,
Dumbo, the Carousel, Storybook Land (boat ride), Casey Jr.'s circus train
were all hits with her. Then there's Toon town where they can meet
Mickey, Minnie inside their respective houses. The characters will also
hang out at various sites throughout the park, marked on the map. You'll
always find Mickey on Main Street. Winnie the Pooh ride is over in
Frontierland next to Splash Mountain. You can find the princesses next to
the castle. Fantasmic is one show not to be missed when it is scheduled
(evenings, worth staying up for, my 2 year old did not blink once through
the 9pm show).
California Adventure has It's a Bug's Life play area for kids. The
fountain is a great hit with kids during the summer. There's Heimlick's
train. And lots of opportunities to meet the characters. This park has
fewer rides overall for young kids. Your 4 year old might like Turtle
Talk in the backlot.
As for supplies, they do have lockers inside the park if you need to stow
some stuff. I would recommend bringing as little as possible to make it
easier to get on rides. If you make purchases through out the park have
your packages sent to your hotel if you are staying on the Disney property
or have it sent to the front gate to be picked up when you leave the park.
Give them 2 hours to transport your package to the front or hotel.
If you are going in the next couple of months, the Haunted Mansion will be
decorated for Holloween and It's a Small World will have Christmas
Feel free to e-mail me with more questions.
One happy Disney fan.
I recommend just taking a single stroller as a double may be too bulky to
lug around (although the park is very stroller friendly).
There is plenty to do for that age group (Toon Town, Fantasy Land, etc).
If you can, it also helps very much to stay in a hotel close to the park
such as the Grand Californian or Disneyland Hotel. Then you can leave the
park for nap time and easily return later.
We just got back from our first trip to Disneyland with my 4YO and 2 YO.
I'd put it off this long with my first one b/c I just wasn't up for the
challenge of it all. You'll be happy to know it was FAR easier than I ever
could've imagined! Yes, bring the stroller! There are many stroller
parking areas and the park employees will help you park it (ie. we were
able to keep the baby in the stroller through the entire line for Nemo,
and then they parked it for us when we reached the front).
My best advice is to invest $15 in purchasing the RideMax software
(www.ridemax.com). Based on historical data from the park, this program
allows you to choose which rides you want to go on (and does provide some
age recommendations), at what pace you will be exploring the park (slow v.
fast), and what day you are going on. It will produce an itinerary for you
of what rides to go on when, and how long you can expect to wait in line.
I can't tell you how accurate it was: we gt off one ride, looked at our
schedule, saw ''Peter Pan ride @ 10:07'', we'd look at our watch, see it
was 10:07 and that we were right next to Peter Pan. Scary! We're not big
planners by nature, but this took such a burden off of figuring out what
to do next and managing our expectations that we were able to have fun.
If you are considering staying at a Disneyland hotel, the benefit is you
get Early Entry depending on what day of the week you are going. We went
on an Early Entry day, and got in line at 7:20 as recommended by RideMax,
and were first in line at our gate for the 8:00 opening. Withink 5
minutes, there were probably 50 families behind us.
As for parts of the park, ToonTown is great for little ones - there are
even play structures for the kids. It is close to Small World, which is
always fun with kids, and close to some new Princess/Fairyland area(my
older one is a boy, so we didn't go in, but if your older is a girl, she
might like it). We went on a few rides in Fantasyland; Dumbo is there and
the carousel. My older was periodically scared as some Fantasyland rides
(Peter Pan, Snow White, Pinocchio) as they get very dark and the rides are
jerky. We pretty much skipped FrontierLand, but ''Critter Country'' is
close by with the Pooh bear ride. The Jungle Cruise is a must; we missed
Tom Sawyer's island which is our one regret. Unless you do have another
adult with you, you'll probably want to skip the Buzz Lightyear ride (I
think it's probably too stimulating for an infant) and you'll want to do
Nemo first (longest lines). We didn't do any rollercoaster rides, but did
do Pirates (a little scary for the 4YO; 2YO !
was unfazed) and we had to leave the Haunted Mansion.
Lots of info; but check out Ridemax - it's a great help!
I went to Disneyland with my husband, 1 yr old and 4 yr old this May for 3
days, had a great time but it's tons of work. First off, get the book
''Disneyland and S. Cal with Kids''. LOTS of good advice on what to do,
bring, etc. I brought 2 strollers but the double would have been fine, we
were never separated. Just make sure you have a sun shade on your
stroller. My 4 yr old rode in the stroller EVERYWHERE. Forget the
backpack, too cumbersome. take it slow and rest. Plan your day in
advance, bring food and water with you. Spend lots of time in Fantasyland.
Prepare the kids that although they won't get to do EVERYTHING, you can
always go back. Email me if you want to talk more!
love the mouse
We've done Disneyland every year since my now five year old was 6mos old
and his older brother was 3yo... this last trip (5yo and 8yo) was the
first time we didn't use strollers. It is a lot of walking. We are big on
going in early, leaving in the afternoon, going back in the evening and
staying late so we always took two strollers so the boys could doze in the
strollers on the way out. (Even when our oldest was 7 we used the stroller
for this purpose!) One time we took our double umbrella stroller. It was
harder to maneuver with the crowds in summer, but doable. If there will be
two adults, I recommend using two (cheap) umbrella strollers so that you
can get around better. This is not as much of an issue if you are
travelling at a non peak time of year.
Areas that are best for little ones: Fantasyland... hands down. You can't
beat Dumbo. Toontown also has some toddler/smaller kid fun areas. If you
get the parkhopper tickets I recommend the Its a Bug Life area of
California adventure as well. One nice thing about Disneyland... if your
kids are into carrousels and it isn't a busy time of year they won't make
you get off after the ride. (I think we went 6 rounds without getting back
in line...) There is a princess meet and greet area near the Small World
ride that has tables with coloring which is a nice, mellow break from the
Also... if you walk all the way around to critter country, across from
splash mountain where the country bears jamboree used to be is the winnie
the pooh ride. My five yo can spend all day on that ride. It is a ''dark
ride'' like Alice and PeterPan and takes you through the events of the
movie... it is one of my favorite rides too.
If your kids really want to meet charachters we have found the all you can
eat breakfast buffet at the Plaza Inn (inside Disneyland) to be an
expensive, but fun, meal (it is hard to mess up breakfast.) The characters
come right up to the table to talk to the kids. My kids like it, but some
kids do get freaked out by the characters being alive.
The Finding Nemo ride should by all rights be a great ride for small
ones... very gentle, not scary, mellow music. BUT the line is
prohibitively long (or was all summer) here are my suggestions for Nemo.
1. If it is a non early entry day get in line early so you can be one of
the first people in the park and head straight to Nemo. The ride will have
an hour long wait within 15 minutes of park openning. 2.If you stay in a
Disney hotel or buy your ticket through AAA you will have the opportunity
to get in early (1 hr before park opening... only on 1 day for AAA,) on an
early entry day you want to go in early and head straight to the Nemo ride
again. 3.The other way you can get on with a relatively short line is to
get in line just before the park closes as Disney doesnt' shut the ride
down on the people in line at closing.
The #1 best thing about Nemo is that because everyone is heading there
first, you can walk on to almost every ride in the park with almost no
line for the first hour or two each day... even Peter Pan which has
traditionally had a 45 minute wait all day long.
That is probably more than enough info... have fun. Disneyland is IMO very
kid friendly and not too hard to figure out. Some kids do get freaked out
by all the stimuli.
Is it possible to visit Disneyland and stay nearby in a
hotel that isn't surrounded by chain stores and restaurants?
I could tolerate a chain hotel, but is it possible to just
even find nearby restaurants with nice dark, leafy, green
salads or interesting vegetarian choices on the menu? Some
healthy, organic choices?
Or am I fooling myself into thinking that I could find a
nice hotel close to Disneyland that either has nice food or
is close to a nice restaurant that isn't a chain?
I'm just not into that kind of stuff and have gotten too
used to the Brk-Oak-SF tasty restaurant and quick bite
scene. I know I sound like a snob, but I just feel like the
choices at TGIFs & what not are just not my style.
We're heading down there mostly because some overseas
relatives are going to be visiting the U.S. and Orange
County-Santa Ana area. We thought we'd take our 6 year old
daughter to Disneyland while we're there. Now we're all
thinking we'll stay in a hotel near Disneyland. From what I
hear, however, most of the choices are across the street
from malls, PF Changs, Best Buys, etc.
Afraid of So Cal
OK, I'm a food snob also. It comes out whenever I get away
from the Bay Area... Anyway, I was in Disneyland last year
and stumbled across a McCormicks in an upscale mall right
next to Disneyland. You can probably google it to figure
out where it is because I am not sure of an address. We
stayed at a Doubletree near Disneyland last year. It was a
'suite' hotel, or at least the room we stayed in was a
suite, i.e. bedroom and living room which is a little nicer
for spreading out and having some privacy.
One issue, fyi,
is transportation to the park. Last year we tried to drive
to Disneyland and park. It took forever to get into the
parking lot. On another trip, we stayed at a hilton hotel a
little far away from the park and tried taking the shuttle
bus that picks up at various hotels in the area. It was
crowded and slow, and I was only offered a seat because I
was trying to keep my balance and hold onto a sleeping 3
year old (nightmare). If I could afford it, I would stay at
one of the Disney properties to avoid the transportation
issues. Otherwise, we stayed one time at the Sheraton which
provides it's own shuttle to Disney. I found it dated and a
little smelly (musty) and would ony go back there because of
the convenience of the shuttle to Disneyland. But hey, you
don't really end up spending much time in your hotel room
anyway... yes, I try to go to Disney once a year
Sorry to say that So Cal is pretty much that - chain stores
and strip malls. I grew up in OC and still have family and
friends all over So Cal that we visit regularly. You can
always order a salad and most places will have vegetarian
burgers, but you are not going to get the kind of food there
that you do here. Prepare your body for a bit of a shock.
Newport Beach has a wonderful place called Mother's that
serves vegetarian fare. It's about 15-20 minutes from
Anaheim. Really close to the beach if you want to get some
beach time in. Newport is pretty kid friendly - Balboa
Island is very SoCal, but also very easy with kids. be
afraid, be very afraid :)
Believe it or not, your best bet in Anaheim for non-chain
restaurants and hotels is at Disneyland or Downtown Disney.
Unless you want to stay at one of the gorgeous OC beaches
and drive into Disneyland, it's best at Disneyland. Yes,
it's all man-made, but at least it is nicely landscaped,
while the rest of Anaheim is concrete and strip malls. None
of the Disneyland hotels (Grand Californian, Disneyland
Hotel, Paradise Pier) are chains, but they are all pricier
than the chains surrounding Disney.
Your best bet for food
is in Downtown Disney or on property. There are chains
(like RainForest Cafe) but you can get very good salads at
Storyteller's Cafe in the Grand, and terrific sandwiches on
artisanal bread (you can also pick up a loaf or muffins) at
La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney. Catal/Uva also has
terrific Mediterranean small plates, lots of vegie options.
They sell lots of fruit in the park itself now (again,
pricey, it's worth a grocery store run for snacks), and
there are some decent Mexican places too. Guest services is
VERY helpful with dietary needs -- they will give you a list
of vegie options, gluten-free options, etc. -- and most of
the sit-down places will make stuff to order. A lot of
families with food allergic kids love Disney for this
reason. I'm not saying it's Bay Area food -- it's not --
but it's good for a theme park. And the food IN the parks
or Downtown Disney is definitely better than in Anaheim.
And if you really want to splurge and treat your out-of-
town relatives to a Bay Area type meal, go to Napa Rose in
the Grand California. The chef is from Auberge in Napa, and
all the waiters are sommeliers. It's one of the best
restaurants in So. Cal. and it has an exhibition kitchen
where you can sit at the chef's counter, talk to them, and
watch them cook. Check out Disney restaurants from one of
the guideboooks and hopefully you'll find something that
Remember in the summer you will want to make
reservations for the restaurants in the hotels or on
property (called Priority seating or something like that) -
- you can make them 60 days in advance. Berkeley Mom
This is a tough one...you have to realize that Disneyland is
in the middle of what is really not a very nice
neighborhood. It is not an affluent area and local patronage
does not support the type of foodie culture that it sounds
like you want. The 'nicer' restaurants cater to tourists and
are mostly chain restaurants. Now some are very nice chains:
Morton's & Ruth's Chris steakhouses (sorry, I gathered that
you were a vegetarian, but these are examples), Roy's
Restaurant (hawaiian fusion), etc.
We usually stay at the Residence Inn Anaheim Maingate (yes a
chain hotel), which is an all-suite hotel which can be very
cost-effective for large groups. The rooms have a full
kitchen, which allows you eat some meals (if you want) and
organize your own snacks. The hotel serves a pretty nice
buffet breakfast. It's about a mile from the park, so
walkable. It used to be pretty isolated, but now you walk
past a mall on the way to the park (sorry).
Downtown Disney has a bunch of restaurants, many not chain
restaurants and some are very good, especially Catal. The
other option would be to find an are that suits your tastes,
but put up with a longer drive to Disneyland. It might be
logistically difficult, though, if you want to maximize your
time at the park. Carrie
Best recipe for DL success is to chill a bit, and see what
you find. You certainly can find hotels that aren't
surrounded by chains, and they'll probably even be cheaper.
The reason all the hotels are surrounded by those types of
restaurants is that people are coming from all over and they
tend to flock to places that are familar and quick. Now, if
you're looking for more diverse or upscale selections, you
might want to try going to Little Saigon for Vietnamese
food-not far, and very good (check yelp or chowhound), or
check yelp/chowhound for other options (can't remember off
the top of my head), or go down to Newport Beach--Roys, for
example, is very yummy and quite pricey, but there are other
options in between--or just not go. It is Orange County, by
the way. It's not Berkeley. I will also mention, however, a
couple of options that might also work for you that are a
little more convenient.
In Disneyland itself, there's an
upscale restaurant or two. One is dark and quiet and
overlooks the quiet, interior portion of the Pirates of the
Caribbean. I've never been there but hear it's nice.
Another is near there and is more upscale and requires other
My personal favorite in the park is
the salad that you can get at the Plaza Cafe at the top of
Main St in DL. It's quite filling, and if you skip the
cheese, it's relatively healthy and comes with bread on the
side. And it's cheap.
Another option that I was pleasantly
surprised by was Mimi's, which is on Harbor Blvd just a
block north of the park entrance. I had an inexpensive,
reasonable, healthy & tasty dinner that included a good
salad, and it was quiet and not at all DL- like.
w/ a 6-yr old, I'd recommend you bite the bullet and do the
character dinner at the DL Hotel, and you can just fill up
at the salad bar. Your guests would enjoy it too. And for a
quick bite in the parks that is NOT healthy but IS
delicious, try the hand-dipped corn dogs at the red wagon
near the plaza cafe, or the place at Cal Adventure (can't
remember the name). THere are also some good salads in Cal
Adventure-one at the bread place, and a chinese chicken
salad at the place near there (right next to the bread &
Lower your expectations, take a deep
breath, remember it's temporary, and focus on your kid and
your guests, and you'll have agreat time.
I was looking at the responces with interest because I
haven't been to Anaheim in years and wanted current tips
myself. I also like nice, well recommended places to feel
absolutely safe when taking my kids but by the responces, I
have to add this perspective: There are tons of cheaper than
Motel 6, one of, places along Katella and Brookhurst
Avenues. They are all pretty much fine I think.
The only name I absolutely know at least was OK 5 years ago,
is The Pater Pan Motel..a lot of these places don't have a
strong internet presence and you can still telephone around
for rates. (remember the phone book?)
OK, for food, they don't call Anaheim 'Little Saigon' for
nothing! There are tons of absolutely fantastic restaurants
all over the area. A short (1 mile radius) drive out any
street away from Disney proper will expose a huge variety of
South Asian and Palestinian markets, shops, and restaurants.
Did I mention Mex? Fabulous Liquado stands....anyway, the
particulars come and go but Anaheim is funky!
Drive around a bit and enjoy the topiary garden shops over
by the Chrystal Palace! Yes Disney goes green, Amazing!
And what about Knotts Berry Farm? Kitch lives Y'all! Check
out the Bowling Alley on Brookhurst!
We are heading to D-Land in two weeks (me, hubby, 3.5 year old boy and 13 year old
girl). Airline, hotel, transportation and tickets are all taken care of.
Now, I am wondering about places to eat while we are there. Our breakfast is included in
our hotel, but where can we eat for lunch and dinner that won't run us 50+ bucks at each
I am a Disney veteran many times over, but I have never been with my son, hubby and
sister, and I want to find decent food near the hotels that won't require a small loan
and that will appeal to the finicky teenager and preschool contingency.
Any ideas? I checked the archives and other than the ''bring in your own snacks'' I
didn't see much as far as cost savings once you are there. I want to have fun but don't
want to owe Mickey my second born.
Thanks for any suggestions!
There are a lot of different options for food obviously. Here are some of the things we have done
to plan eating.
Within the parks:
There are a variety of different food options within each park that range in price. Check out the
following website to see prices and menus for the various dining locations inside the parks.
You can call Disneyland in advance and make reservations at many of the dining locations that
offer table service. We do this for one meal per trip... usually a character meal. The breakfast
buffet at the Plaza Inn is a little expensive, but is all you can eat (good for teens) and has
MANY characters who come to see you at the table (good for little ones).
Outside the Park, but on Disney property:
There are many places to eat in the Downtown Disney area. These are not necessarily any cheaper
than in the park, but do have a different ''taste''.
One way we balance the meals is to eat a breakfast item purchased in the park over in tomorrowland
(cheapest meal of the day) at around eleven and then have an early dinner at the Rain Forrest Cafe
at around four. (You cannot reserve Rain Forest Cafe in advance through Disneyland, but they will
give you the phone number so you can call yourself. If you don't have a reservation be prepared to
wait unless you are eating at 2 or 3 in the afternoon.)That may not be what you had in mind, but I
find dinner in Disneyland to be the least pleasant so I always try to find a place to eat outside
of the park if possible.
Off Property Food
Along S. Harbor Blvd. there are MANY places to eat including but not limited to IHOP, Denny's,
Tony Roma, Mimi's Cafe, and McDonalds. Also, the Tropicana Hotel on S.Harbor has a mini market
that sells bread, fruit, milk and cereal, etc. The prices are inflated, but cheaper than in the
We've had good luck ordering pizza to our hotel room. (We don't stay in Disney hotels, so I don't
know how they feel about that.) In fact the hotels we've stayed in have usually got a list of
delivery places in the room that include more than just pizza.
I know you said you were flying down, I don't know if you are planning on renting a car. If you
are, ask directions to the local grocery store and pick up food there. When we do this I pick up
sandwich stuff but flip the meals... we eat hot food in the park for lunch (cheaper prices at some
locations) and sandwiches in the room for dinner before we go back to the park after our afternoon
Have fun... we're going down later in the summer and just can't wait!
We will be in Disneyland for a couple of days and would like to
drive our kids to Legoland for the day. Mapquest tells me it
should take 1 hour (164 miles), but it doesn't take into account
LA traffic. Any input from someone that is more familiar with the
We flew into Long Beach last year and drove to San Diego, and it was just an hour or two,
including a brief stop at the beach on the way. That was mid-day on a weekday. And Legoland
is a good bit north of San Diego, so closer to LA. Unless you're trying to do it at rush
hour, I think the 1 hour estimate is pretty accurate.
I-5 All the Way
Disneyland to Legoland isn't LA, it's mostly Orange County. This is an important distinction,
because Orange County has carpool lanes, which it sounds like you will qualify for (2 parents
+kids, right?). So it won't be as bad as you are probably
imagining. The carpool lanes will disappear when you go from Orange to San Diego County,
though, but at that point commute traffic should be less of an issue.
Traffic betw Anaheim and Carlsband is pretty heavy, I'd give yourself at least 90 minutes.
Fortunately, Legoland, which I
think is a great park, is not far from the freeway. Try to
be there when it opens and start at the far end of the park --
we always start at the Dragon, which is a roller coaster.
Typically there's congestion and lines at the rides and attractions near the Legoland
Good luck and have fun.
Tax refund! My husband and I are planning a roadtrip to
Disneyland with our 4 year old son and 12 month old daughter.
We're planning on going in May for a few days, I liked the look
of one of the 3 day Disneyland resort packages, but would like
some helpful advice from parents who have made the trip before
We want to go in comfort, but not too over the top. Does
anyone have advice on # of days to spend in the park, where to
stay, gear to bring, food, events to not miss, and anything
else you'd like to share? Thanks!
We've been to Disneyland tons of times. And we took our three year old
There is a great guide book called Dineyland with Kids. It's the best.
schedules, tips, secrets. I basically followed what the book suggested
and we had
the best time ever. The best tip is to break up your day by staying at a
hotel. Since small children get overstimulated fast there, you should go
early in the
morning when it opens. Stay until about 11:30am. Then head back to your
for lunch (cheaper that way), naps, play in the pool. This way you also
hottest part of the day. Then around 4:00pm, you go back to the park.
there and watch the parade until 8:30pm. Then go back to the hotel and
kids in bed. Then you two take turns going down to the hot tub. After
lots of different hotels there, we found our favorite to be Candy Cane
Inn. It's next
door to the entrance so it's easy to walk to the park, but you still feel
like you have
left the insanity of the park when you are there. It has lots of
and plants, and the rooms are clean. For a deluxe room you get
breakfast delivered to your room every morning and free video rentals
(great for the
kids). Also, always take a stroller to the park so you can stow all your
I visited Disneyland in June last year with my 10 mos. old
baby, and my brother's 4 children, 10,9,5 & 3. I was
pleasantly surprised how many rides my 10 mos old could go on
(while sitting on my lap). I was also happy that she expressed
curiosity, but no fear of the rides. It may be a different
story with your 4 year old on some of the more adult rides
(such as haunted mansion). My strongest advise is, save the
Peter Pan, Mr. Toad's wild ride, etc (can't think
which ''kingdom'' they are in) for early evening. By this time,
the other parents will be exhausted and gone and you can
practically walk on to the rides with no wait. Take advantage
of the set ticket times you can pick up at many rides (Buzz
Lightyear for example)which will also save you waiting in
line. Go a little later in the day instead of showing up when
the park opens so your 4 year old can last into early evening
when it will be quieter, less crowded, and you can see a
nightime parade. My 10 mos old just took a nap in her aunt's
arms instead of us leaving the park for ''nap time'', but be also
just planned one day in Disneyland.
I have an almost 3 year old daughter, and we took her to
Disneyland at 16 months, 23 months, and soon again at almost 3.
I usually do multi-day trips to Disneyland even when it's only
adults. With kids, I definitely think that multiple shorter,
lower-pressure days is better. I think a 3-day parkhopper is a
I highly recommend focusing on shows and parades while you are
there. Even the 12-month old can enjoy these. You can get a
schedule on-line. Things not to miss: the Bug's Life ride area
in the California Adventure park is great for little kids.
Playhouse Disney and Turtle Talk with Crush would be great for
your 4 year old, and probably with your 1 year old as well.
Disney characters can be very intimidating up close; my daughter
was totally excited from a distance but panicked when they got
up close. That said, we did do a character breakfast at the
Plaza Inn in Disneyland and had a good time. My daughter
followed Minnie Mouse around for quite a while (little stalker).
At one, your youngest probably won't be afraid of some of
the ''scary'' things at Disneyland (like Pirates of the Carribean:
dark, skeletons, etc.), but your 4-yr-old might be. We did well
with open air rides like the carousels, Casey Jr., Storybookland
Canal Boats, Dumbo, etc. Not so great with the dark, scary Snow
White and Pinocchio rides (or Peter Pan for that matter). Toon
Town's interactive stuff (talking mailboxes, etc) are great for
kids. The horse that pulls the trolley down main street was a
big hit, as was the Disneyland band. So it's not necessarily the
things you would think that will capture the kids' attention.
The last time we went we stayed at the Residence Inn Anaheim
Maingate, which is a suite hotel with full kitchens. This gives
you a room for the kids to nap (or go to bed early) while you
hang out in the living area. Others swear by the convenience and
comfortable beds of the Grand Californian, but we find it
We just went in March. 8 and 5 year old. Perfect ages. Your
children are a bit young, as they won't be able to do the
majority of the rides given height limits or fear/interest
levels. But, if you're committed to doing the trip now, just
know you probably have another one in your future!
MAJOR advice points:
Book through Disneyland.com. There are no discounts for their
hotels (there are three) to be had outside of their site and you
do get some savings on Super Shuttle and air travel if you
Stay at a Disney property. The benefits are HUGE: Within
walking distance to either California Adv. or DL. Also, on
certain days of the week, as a DL property guest, you get ''early
entry'' to DL and hour before the park opens to the general
public. This is limited to Fantasy land, but it's perfect for
younger children. The crowd difference is HUGE. You actually
can SEE main street walking down. It does mean for early
mornings, but you're probably already having those with an
infant. It's nice to also be able to walk back to your hotel
mid day for naps and pool time and then go back for an evening
parade or fireworks. If you're driving, you won't need a car
once you park.
The site also offers some ticket deals; we got a 3 day park
hopper pass at ''the kids price!'' that was pretty good deal.
Check out RIDEMAX a web site not affiliated with DL. If you are
limited to ''only'' rides suitable to small children, it may have
less value for you. But we found the program totally worked,
saved us TONS of ride line time (we rode everything in DL and
never waited longer than 20 minutes). Totally worth the $12 or
so it costs.
If you have any questions, email me!
My wife and I are taking our 3 yo daughter to Disneyland next month and are looking for any
We've been twice with 2 kids under five and both times we all had a great time. My best advice: get to
the park EARLY!! Do any rides that might have long lines (like Jungle Cruise) first. Fortunately, a lot
of the rides for younger kids aren't as popular so the lines are likely to not be so bad. But by 10:30 in
the morning, even in the off season, Disneyland is jammed (even if the lines for particular rides are not
long). Be prepared to go to California Adventure (which has some great rides for little ones) or back to
your hotel during the day when Disneyland is too crowded. Be really conservative about rides that might
frighten your daughter. A number of the really tame rides, like Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland,
are quite dark and could be too much for her. If an adult wants to ride a ''big'' ride, definitely use the
Fast Pass system. It will likely save you A LOT of time waiting on line. Finally, if like many people in
the Bay Area you can imagine returning to Disneyland one or more times in the future, don't worry about
''doing everything''. Go at your daughter's pace and remember you can always come back and do more, and do
bigger rides, as
she gets older.
We brought our son to Disneyland for his 3rd birthday. We stayed at the California Adventure Hotel. Is
was great because you can walk easily into and out of the park, no waiting for shuttles. So napping was
easy. You can good rates on Expedia.
They also let you in the park an hour earlier and you can get a lot of rides in during that hour. Visit
all the ones that typically have a line. I suggest you read the schedules the night before and plan your
day a little. This way you can see some of the parades. I also suggest you don't take a hungry or tired
child into the Disney shopping area. If you can, avoid it as much as possible(we had a melt down there).
Our son had a blast and so did we. Good luck and have fun.
Mom of a 3 1/2 year old
I wouldn't take your 3 year old to Disneyland at all. In my opinion she is way too young and would be
scared by a lot of what's there. It really isn't designed for little kids, even though it seems that way.
I love Disneyland with all my heart, grew up down there, but didn't take my kids til they were 6 and
8 and I felt that was perfect.
I would however take her to Legoland, near Carlsbad. You can stay near the beach and have a grand ol'
time. You can spend at least two days at Legoland, plus you could take the train down to San Diego, or go
to the S.D. Zoo, etc.
Anyway if you insist on going to Disneyland I highly recommend the book ''Unofficial Guide to Disneyland''
and follow exactly what he says in there. We followed it to the letter, went off season, and never waited
more than 5 minutes in any line.
We have the opportunity to take our 3 year old son to Disneyland
with some of my family members at the end of August. I'm going to
be around 31 weeks pregnant, and I know that means there are
several rides I won't be able to go on. That's fine, because I
figure a 3 year old is gonna wanna take it kinda mellow and slow
throughout the day. I'm wondering if anyone else has done
Disneyland while pregnant (particularly if past the 6 month
mark), and if you had any survival tips? Also, were there any
rides you went on that in hindsight you might not recommend to a
pregnant woman? (ie: I read online somewhere that the Peter Pan
ride has a 'bump' at the end when you land - I couldn't tell if
the person was overreacting or if I was being naive).
- Thanks very much!
Planning to spend a lot of time at Small World
I went to Disneyland with my two children and husband when I was 38 weeks pregnant and I
didn't have any trouble. Disneyland is so geared toward children that there are always
places to sit down, always places to get food easily, always a bathroom nearby. I didn't
have any problems at all. My kids too didn't want to ride fast rides but they went on the
cars, peter pan ( I don't remember any bump), the merry go round, storybook boats and train,
mostly they just wanted to be there, see the characters and soak in the atmostphere. There
are all the buses, carriages, cars etc on main street too. There are just a few rides that
they don't let you go on while pregnant, you can see a list online. It is such a great place
to go when you kids are little.
I did Disneyland when I was about 6 months pregnant. I think that
unless you have had problems with the pregnancy or your Dr.
advises otherwise, you can do virtually everything a 3-year-old
is allowed to do at Disneyland (a few exceptions are that if he's
35 inches tall he can do Gadget's Go-Coaster and the Matterhorn,
and you can't). Roger Rabbit and the teacups are spinny but the
spin is under your control. The ''bump'' on Peter Pan sounds like
an unnecessary worry--unless you've been confined to bed rest, you get
bumps at least that big in your day-to-day activities.
I am a DL season passholder and a nurse-midwife. There is plenty for you to do in both
Disneyland and California Adventure. Be sure to get a Parkhopper Pass so you can go into
both parks. Peter Pan will be fine. The signage is clear at the rides that you should avoid,
but your little one would not be able to go on those either. Indiana Jones, Matterhorn,
Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Spash Mountain, Mr Toad's Wild Ride are the turbulent
rides in DL. California Screamin', Tower of Terror, Mullholland Madness, the Grizzley River
Run- there are a couple more in Calif Adventure to avoid. It sounds like a lot but there are
many rides and attractions for little ones that are safe for you. Go to Bug's Life! You both
will love it.
Stay hydrated! 8 to 10 glasses when it's not hot, more when it is, or you may have an
increase in the normal (4 times an hour) contractions. Take frequent breaks in cool spots.
August can be very hot in the park. A good plan is to leave the park midday when it is most
obnoxiously crowded and the temp is highest. Head back to your hotel and take a nap (this is
very easy if you stay at one of the 3 hotels on site). Also, take advantage of Fast Passes
when possible- they give you a window of time to return to a ride and enter through a
little-to-no waiting line. A related tip: if you miss the time window, you can still use the
Fast Pass anytime the rest of the day. Pick the passes up as you are permitted throughout
the morning (you pick up one at a time, can not pick up another until the beginning of the
time window has been reached for the last pass picked up). Use them when it cools again
later in the day. Unfortunately, there are few little people/pregnancy OK rides with Fast
Passes. Enter the park ASAP in the morning for smallest crowds and cooler weather. Buy your
tickets in advance to skip the ticket purchase lines- the DL hotels (if a guest), grocery
stores (gift card racks) and AAA (discounted rates). Pace yourself and stay cool by taking
advantage of inside attractions, parades and shows, and you will have a great time. Enjoy!
I'm 7 months pregnant and just returned from a trip to Disneyland
with my 4 year old daughter. There were a number of rides that I
couldn't go on, but they were the same ones that my daughter
couldn't ride on. My husband took her on the few rides I
couldn't do, but she could (like the bumper cars). Peter Pan and
the Pirates rides were fine for all of us, though the latter was
scary for our daughter. We mostly spent our time in Fantasyland.
I recommend you try and get to the parks as close to opening
time (8am) as possible, go back to your hotel in the afternoon
for rest, naps and/or swims, and then return to the park for the
evening stuff. We avoided any meltdowns (child and adults), long
lines and the hottest part of the day and were well-rested enough
to stay up late. Being pregnant made me less tolerant of the
heat, so if the heat gets to you, try to hit some ''cool'' shows,
like the ''Enchanted Tiki Room.'' Another big plus was staying at
a hotel within easy walking distance from the main entrance, so
you don't have to deal with parking, trams, etc. It doesn't have
to be one of the expensive Disney resort hotels; there are many
on Harbor Blvd, just outside of the main entrance. Have fun!
I haven't been there pregnant; we went last spring with our then 5 & 3 year olds, and
6-month old. I would recommend you buy a book called ''Disneyland and Southern California
With Kids''. It's put out by Fodor's, and I found it SOOOO helpful in deciding which rides,
and which general areas would best suit our family, and our needs for mellow rides, places
to hang out, etc.
There are a lot of tips that you otherwise wouldn't know about, being a visitor to
Disneyland--like they had well-equipped, quiet, peaceful nursing rooms for moms & babies.
Have a wonderful time, and take it easy--I bet it will be hot! A tip: wear a hat, and get it
wet every once in a while--it'll cool you down
We are finally getting around to a Disneyland trip and would like
some more specifics / any updates on the great info already
posted on the web.
1. Does the Character breakfast allow us to meet Buzz Lightyear?
If not, how can we arrange for breakfast with Buzz?
2. The Portofino Inn and the Fairfield Inn by Marriott are
mentioned as being across the street from DL. Are there others,
and are they actually across the street from the entrance? How
long a walk is it with a 4.5 year old? (we can bring the
stroller) Are they reasonably close to go back for an afternoon
rest and then return? Do they have free shuttles or do we pay for
3. How are ways we can make it more affordable - in terms of
We are planning our trip for june, and frankly the ''packages''
offered online are daunting in terms of price, so I am trying to
put it together by ourselves so that we can have a reasonable
price to save for.
4. Is it ridiculous to try and tack on a day trip to Legoland as
Thanks for your help! We want to go to ''Buzz's house'' but need to
start saving now.
I look forward to hearing the answers you get as we're going for the
first time next month with a five year old and a 1 1/2 year old. Along
with all the good tips we'll get from folks here, I'd suggest a trip to
your local AAA office - if you're a member. I hear they have a wealth of
Disney info/discounts, etc. Haven't gone yet myself, so I'm not certain.
We spent 3 days in Disneyland in Feb. with our 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 year olds.
We stayed at the Portofino Inn and Suites. It is not exactly across the
street from the entrance, but it is kind of around the corner. It really
isn't far-- it was about a 10 minute walk with the kids walking. A
couple days we did walk back to the hotel for a swimming break in the
late afternoon and then walked back to Disneyland in the evening, and our
kids did fine. They walked all day all around the park too. We had no
strollers with us, and we never needed one. Sometimes we had to give
shoulder rides for the last couple of blocks on the last trip home. But
it was amazing to me how much they walked without complaining! I know if
we were hiking that same distance in a park, they wouldn't have it. They
were so excited about the whole experience that they didn't even think
about it. The hotel does offer shuttles-- they cost something, I'm not
sure what. But we didn't use them at all. The hotel worked out nicely
because there was a sliding door between their part of the room (which
had bunk beds) and our part. So at night we could put them to bed and
have our own space. The pool was not huge, but it was fine, and it felt
great to rejuvenate there. One thing I would recommend if you're trying
to save money (and be more health conscious) is to bring your own food
into the park. Signs say you can't, but everyone does. Tammy
We just spent spring break at Disneyland. I will try to answer as many of
your questions as I can.
1) Meeting Buzz- Buzz hangs out at Club Buzz which is in the restaurant
closest to Autopia in Tomorrowland. We bought breakfast (French toast
sticks and fruit and yogurt cups as well as other fastfood breakfast
sandwiches were available) there two mornings and he was there pretty
much full time. (I think he had a 10 minute break during the 45 minutes
we were there.) He stands in the dance floor and kids line up to get
autographs and photos.
2) Closest Motels - The closest two are the ParkVue Inn and the Best
Western Park Inn and Suites. The second closest two are the Desert Inn &
Suites and the Tropicana Inn. All of these are motels and are across S.
Harbor Drive from Disneyland. Having walked the whole area we believe
they are closer than the Disneyland Hotel.
3) We were in the Disney area from Monday afternoon through Saturday
morning. We had a 4 day park hopper and were able to ride everything we
wanted in CA Adventure once and Disneyland one to two times with long nap
breaks as well as hours of sitting to get good viewing for the fireworks
and parades. In addition we spent one day at Legoland. It was enough time
to ride what we wanted, and we were only there from 10:30 to 4. Legoland
is kind of like Bonfante Gardens... lost of rides for the 40 in set.
There is a lot of Lego merchandise being sold all over, and the prices
aren't discounted. Legoland is about 60 miles from Disneyland... that
took us two hours of driving each way.
4)Cutting food costs - Here is what we did. I like to get in line 30-45
minutes before the park opens so that you get right on the rides during
the first two hours when the park is the least crowded. I bring food from
home for my kids to eat while they are waiting in line (fruit and
muffins). At 10:30-11 we give them a meal, ie: split the breakfast item
at Club Buzz... Ride a couple more rides and head back to the hotel. I
give them a little snack we nap and do the pool, and then eat an early
dinner around 4 at one of the restaurants outside of the park, (IHOP,
Denny's, Tony Roma's, Mimi's Cafe are all in walking distance on S.
Harboard. There are other more expensive but good restaurants in the
Downtown Disney Mall... we did one dinner at the RainForest Cafe. I then
brought in or bought a snack for them in the park (popcorn for the whole
family to share) while we watched the parade or fireworks. It kept the
cost down quite a bit.
5) Character dining - The all you can eat breakfast buffet at the Plaza
Inn on main street is the best. We had about 10 characters stop by our
table and visit with the kids, plus we got to eat so much we were all
able to skip lunch. All of the princesses are supposed to be in Ariel's
Grotto in CA Adventure this year, but we didn't go as we were not
impressed with the fix-price-menu offered.
Hope that helps.
We just took a trip to Disneyland with our 2.5 and 4.5 girls and had the
same questions as you, which I wish I would have asked before I went.
The Portofino and Fairfield are the closest and I would probably stay
there next time. They would be close enough to come home for a rest
mid-day. We stayed down the street at the Holiday Inn and it really was
too far to walk for little legs and the shuttle was very inconvenient and
adds up in cost. Although the two hotels you mention are across the
street, it is still a long walk to the park entrance, especially after a
long day at Disneyland, but the shuttles won't do you any good. We ended
up renting strollers at Disneyland (they have great comfortable strollers
that you don't have to worry about being taken or losing when you're on
rides) and just carrying our kids on our shoulders to and from
Disneyland. The other option would be to bring your own stroller, but I
would make sure it's an old one that you wouldn't be sad to lose, just in
case. Food is very expensive and not that great, so bringing your own is
a good option. Also, take advantage of the Fast pass and the parent swap
passes to get on the best rides. We had an awesome time and can't wait
to go again. Have fun!
We just took our kids to Disneyland a few months ago and here are my
responses to some of your questions:
3) lowering costs: I brought groceries and bottled water from home! We
had a refrig in our room so we had bagels and cream cheese or cereal for
breakfast, and I made sandwiches and fruit to take for lunch every day.
It was really a great thing to have a bag lunch because the food in the
park is really expensive, junky, and you have to wait in long lines. 4)
San Diego is not close, especially in traffic. It might be doable but it
would be a LONG day, and many hours in the car.
You didn't specifically ask this, but we stayed in the Paradise Pier
hotel (we got a package at AAA). At first I thought we should look for
something cheaper outside the park complex, but I actually appreciated
the following things about the Paradise Pier: a) hotel access to the CA
Adventure Park. You can enter into a side of the park (through one of
the other hotels) where lots of rides are and you can get there early,
ride lots of rides and then see the other end of the park later.
b) I really liked being able to walk back to the hotel. It was so nice
to NOT have to pack the kids back into a car after a long day at the
c) This sounds really silly, but at night we had a view of the CA
Adventure park and it was really beautiful all lit up. After the kids
were asleep and my husband and I were stuck in the dark hotel room, we
opened the curtains and had the park lights as a background. Very nice.
We could also see the Disneyland fireworks from the hotel balcony. Have
Did Disneyland and loved it
We just returned from Disneyland. 6 adults & 2 kids. Our daughter is 4
3/4 & our niece is 4. We purchased thru AAA, stayed at the Fairfield Inn
by Marriott. The AAA brochure has many hotels & packages to choose from.
We wanted to walk to the Disneyland (5 minute walk), heated pool, mini
refrig without paying too much. The price included hotel & taxes, 3 day
park hopper ticket, early entry to Toontown & Fantasyland. For my
husband, daughter & myself $624. I believe April is considered off
season.We would all stay at the Fairfield again. There are a couple
hotels closer Carousel Inn, ParkVue. I suggest reading the reviews of the
hotels on Hotel.com or like website.
You would think 8+ hours in the park you can see everything & then some,
but with waiting in line, bathroom breaks & eating, we didn't get to do
everything in both parks. We were pretty efficient using the FasPas &
while kids were riding on one ride with parent & grandparents, another
adult in another line. Except on the early entry days, you really wait
about 1/2 hr to 40 min a ride.
Disneyland is great. You can rent a stroller or locker. You can bring in
your own water, snacks, lunch to save some money. Downtown Disney has a
lot of ''fancier'' restaurants.
Eventhough our walk was only 5 minutes from the park, if you go to
Downtown Disney the walk is father. (where the Character Breakfast,
shops and other restaurants are) after an 8 hr day in the park, adults &
kids are exhausted.
Getting autographs from the different characters is great & the kids love
it, but you can be in line a long time and sometimes they take a break
right before you get there. Get a Time Schedule to see when they are
going to be at their designated spot & have someone stand in line. All
the stores there have autograph books.
All in All we loved it.
We've been to Disneyland twice - the first time we stayed ''on property''
and last month, we stayed at the Embassy Suites in Anaheim. It's about a
20 min. drive to the park, but there's a free shuttle that takes you
right to the gate. When we stayed on property (much more expensive) it
was a 20 min. WALK(easily) to get to the gate. Not only was the room at
the E.S. much larger than the Disneyland Hotel (a true suite, with a door
between the living room and bedroom), and MUCH less expensive, the E.S.
including a free cooked-to-order breakfast & buffet (saving us at least
$40) AND --- happy hour with free yes FREE cocktails, beer/wine, soda,
and appetizers. Did I say there were FREE drinks? There's an indoor pool
and the typical Embassy Suites atrium with koi pond, which included
turtles and ducks. My son (7) reported that it was the nicest hotel he's
ever stayed at. Only caveat- lots of families, and pretty noisy and
chaotic (the atrium channels sound) although we had no trouble sleeping
at night because the bedrooms are away from the hallway. Fran
I am taking my 4-yr-old to Disneyland on Saturday in early May. I
bought the RideMax software package online, which lets you input
the rides you want, the day and hours you'll be there, and it
gives you a realistic, supposedly well-planned itinerary for the
rides we think we want to go on.
Can anyone tell me if they have used RideMax and whether it was
accurate and reduced waiting times? Any tips?
I have used Ridemax the last three times I have gone to Disneyland and
will never go without it again. When using the software my family has
never had to wait in a line for longer than 20 minutes. I am not kidding.
We just got back from springbreak at Disneyland and used ridemax, again.
This time I found that it wasn't as accurate with the wait times as it
has been over the past two summers. I believe this is because the weather
for the prior month was so bad that the stats weren't accurate. However,
we were still able to stick to the schedule and moved only a few things
around due to ride closures.
While it is possible to just punch in rides and go with the first
schedule that comes up, I would definitely play with it until you get a
configuration that you like with breaks in the best places. I have played
with it a LOT and got so comfortable that I could get our family around
off schedule when we showed up at the park a day early.
Here is the one warning... to make best use of Ridemax you need to be
realistic about your start times. We always get in line 30-
45 minutes before the park opens to really maximize the number of rides
we can get through before the park gets crowded. If you can't do that,
you will need a totally different schedule. Print schedules with
different start times if you aren't sure if you can make it in at
OK, well here is a second warning. Make sure that everyone you are
travelling with is willing to follow the schedule. My husband and kids
have totally bought into it because they love the short lines. However,
when we travel with other people they don't seem to ''get it'' and don't
stick to the schedule as well which causes problems and means you have to
skip over stuff to get back on schedule. Rose
I'm taking two girls, 8 and 11, to Disneyland in January. Being
from the east coast (Disneyworld country), I've never been to
Disneyland. I'm overwhelmed by the options and unsure of the best
approach. Advice on what tickets to buy, where to stay, what to
see, how to survive, tricks, tips, what not to miss, etc., etc.,
would be greatly appreciated.
I highly recommend you buy a book called ''Disneyland and Southern California With Kids''. It's put out by Fodors. We bought it, read it, and brought it along when we went this past April and it was a lifesaver. It gives you the lowdown on every section, ride and event at the park (as well as California Adventure), and the appropriate ages, scare-factors, etc. for each attraction. We stayed at the Howard Johnson's--a short walk to the park, and next to a terrific, family friendly restaurant. If you stay at the HoJo, ask for the 4th floor or higher, facing the park, so you can see the Disneyland fireworks at night from your room. I recommend a Park Hopper pass too--you can go back and forth between California Adventure and Disneyland. Have a great time!!!
It all depends on how much $$$ you have. Best accomodations: Grand California Hotel. You're ''in-park'', get on the rides earlier than anyone else, wonderful rooms, great food, etc. Second best: Disneyland Hotel. In-park also, a little less expensive, still feel immersed in Disneyland. More affordable: the Candy Cane Inn across the street. Cute, immaculately clean, shuttle to the park.
before we went on our Disney trip, I read through several websites that offered tips for dealing with the crowds, the lines, and so on. Of the tips I read, the most useful were a) arrive *early* (at opening time), and b) walk directly to the back of the park, passing up everything you walk by, until you get to the very back. Start your fun there. This is because a) nearly everyone arrives either just before lunch or just after lunch, so if you're there first you'll miss a lot of the crowd, and b) nearly everyone starts with the rides and activities closest to the entrance, working their way back, so if you start early and at the back, no one else will have gotten that far back yet. That means there will be no lines or very short lines. Also, if you work your way from back to front, you'll find yourself already at the exit when you're done. That alone makes a world of difference. If you wind up at the front gate, it will be a lot easier to exit without your kids asking for on!
e more thing, and another, and ano
Good luck and have fun
We stayed at the Sheraton Anaheim. It is near disney, and they have a reliable (free) shuttle to and from the park so you don't have to worry about driving. Not the most exciting hotel (dated) but the disney properties were out of our budget. Belong to AAA? They usually sell tickets and hotel packages. Costco sometimes has Disney tickets also. anon
Where to stay depends on your budget. If you can afford it, you
can't beat the location of the Grand Californian, with the
Disneyland Hotel a close second. When I go on the cheap, though,
I stay at the Ramada Saga Inn, which is easy walking distance to
the park and very affordable, but pretty bare bones (it's fine if
you plan to spend most of your time at the parks and your
expectations aren't excessive).
I like the California Adventure Park as well as Disneyland, so I
would recommend park hopper tickets for as many days as you have
to stay (if you'll only be there one day, you'll probably only
have time for one park).
My strategy is to get to the park when it opens, hit as many
rides as possible before it gets crowded, then slow down and take
in shows, parades and other more sedentary activities during the
afternoon. Or, head back to the hotel and take a nap in
preparation for the evening.
Don't miss: the fireworks, Fantasmic, the parade. Catch the
Aladdin stage show in Cal. Adventure. The Muppet and Bug's Life
theaters are fun in Cal. Adventure. Disneyland has a lot of the
same stuff as Disneyworld, so much of it is probably familiar.
Lots of dining in Downtown Disney, but if you like Japanese,
Yamabuki at the Paradise Pier Hotel was pretty fabulous.
There are many inexpensive hotels right near the entrance to the park (I found one through the AAA book) in fact many are suites. Then you can do without a car and walk to the entrance or take a bus. I've gone a few times for one day and just done Disneyland. I hear California adventures is mainly big rides which are better for teenagers. There's an excellent book that describes all the rides and attractions and gives you strategies for getting the most out of your time. I take one kid at a time because their interests are so different but yours are close in age so in may work better for you with both. I strongly recommend going on a week day so the lines aren't too bad.
Last time I went we spent a day in Disneyland and a day at Universal Studios which I enjoyed even more than Disneyland. Fewer rides and more shows and virtual adventures. It's possilbe to get there on public transporation.
The two times I've taken my son to Disneyland we start out when the park opens, spend about 4 or 5 hours, go back to the hotel to swim and chill out, and return to Disneyland in the evening for about 2-3 hours (see the parade, go on some more rides.)
I've read on the BPN website about folks brining their own food
into Disneyland, but I've read on the Disneyland website that
outside food is not allowed. I'm wondering, is this a new rule
or just one that doesn't get enforced? Do they search your
stuff? Can you not even bring in water bottles or snacks for a
I took my children (ages 3 and 5) to Disneyland in June. We
brought in milk in insulated bags, fruit, nuts, crackers etc. No
one inspected our stroller. A friend, who goes there often with
her 3-year-old does the same, and hasn't had any problems.
You can most definitely bring your own water, which is a good
thing if you don't want to pay $3 a bottle.
We found the food to be disappointing, though better on the
California Adventure side.
It's confusing isn't it?
First, you can't bring hard-sided coolers in, nor hard ice (like
Blue Ice). You can put them into lockers outside the gate, and
once you pay for a locker, you can go in & out as much as you
want during the day (which is nice). I was able to put 2 small
coolers into one small locker (but it was a challenge). I think
that was $5/day. You get (and keep!) a slip that gives you the
locker # and the electronic ''combo.''
Second, you technically can't bring food into the parks. Really,
though, we brought it in several times. I usually had it in a
small zippered cooler bag (with a Ziploc of ice) in the basket of
the stroller. Not an issue (and great to have a snack to head off
the Uglies in your kid!).
Third, there are picnic tables at which to eat (kinda hidden to
the left of the Disneyland entrance), but we enjoyed eating out
on the plaza, people watching and planning the rest of our day.
Hope this helps.
I've taken food into Disneyland (snackey stuff, not full meals...) and never had a
problem. I grew up in OC, and my mom ALWAYS took in sandwhiches, although we
usually finagled burgers, fries and churros out of her anyway. The last time I went
was about a year ago, and I just took in a diaper bag which they peeked into and let
We like to take the monorail to downtown disney to eat (more options for your $$)
and stay really close, that way we can leave the park to rest. So you could always
leave food in your room and catch a shuttle back to the hotel/motel to munch on it.
Good Luck, and Have Fun!
I've been going to Disneyland for almost 30 years now. I've
never ever had a problem bringing in food. I definitely don't
think it would be a problem to bring kid-related snacks. They
do check your bags now, but they're looking for dangerous items,
not whether or not you're packing Goldfish.
The no outside food rule at Disneyland has been around a long
time (at least since my first visit in 1990). However, it is not
vigorously enforced--particularly for something like toddler
snacks. I think you would have to lay out a tablecloth and a full
picnic spread before anyone would notice, much less call you on
it. I always bring water bottles at the very least, and last time
had lunch box full of bottles and snacks for baby, and had no
problem at all.
There is a picnic area located outside the entrance to the park,
if you want to follow the letter of the law.
Been there, done that
We went to Disneyland last Christmas with our 2 and 4 year old
and brought all of their food in practically (there is very
little food there that my kids are used to) We just carried in
our little soft sided cooler pack filled with PBJ, fruit, sippy
cups, snacks, sat on a bench whenever they needed some
nourishment and didn't think twice about it. If there is a
rule, it is definately not enforced. We really saved a ton of
money that way, in fact, our Disney vacation was really
reasonable as we didn't spend much beyond the admission
ticket. The one big splurge was the character dinner at
Califonria Adventure which was more for the characters as my
kids didn't eat the meal. But the primary reason we brought
the food was so we didn't have to wait in line, take a chance
they wouldn't eat what we bought, and could feed them at a
moments notice, it worked great.
A healthier, less expensive vacation for all!
We were in Disneyland a month ago and it was no problem
bringing food in. I brought a soft cooler that fit in my pack
and even though they thoroughly check everything, they never
once questioned the food or drinks. I brought plenty in -
enough for lunch and snacks so it wasn't just a few items.
Even with bringing food we still spent some money on treats, so
Disneyland is definitely not losing out. If you have any other
questions please feel free to email me. We had a great time in
both California Adventure and Disneyland.
We brought in sandwiches, chips, fruit and snacks for the kids
in a soft-sided cooler. I don't remember anyone checking for
anything other than cans or bottles. Of course we had diaper
bags and lots of other gear, too. It was definitely worth it
to avoid the outrageous food prices in the park, other than
We're considering taking our 3 kids (5, 3 and will be 5 months)
to Disneyland in May for the first time. We plan to stay at a
hotel on or near the premises, and we're basically clueless about
the whole trip. The older 2 kids are girls and really into the
Disney Princesses; any advice on which areas to look for, what to
avoid, etc.? We're thinking we'll be focusing on things other
than the big rides...Thanks.
Our daughter at 3 1/2 (then) was not fully immersed in the
Disney Princess obsession (as now). Several recommendations re
Princess stuff: there was a Snow White musical and an Alladin
show when we were there; the Princesses parade around with
their handlers to give autographs and photos with child. You
can buy a special Princess autograph book for the occasion.
There are usually lines for this; there is a story time about
the Princess stories in the gift shop in the Fantasyland
castle - a nice respite on a hot day; Ariel's Grotto is a
restaurant where Ariel is wheeled around by a handler. You get
to meet other Disney characters wandering around, too. We
stayed at the Portofino Suites Inn across the street. The
great thing (and good for you with the 2 older girls) is that
they have a separate room from the adult/main room divided with
french doors that allows the girls to have bunk beds and their
own table and chairs in their own section. I think you will
have heaps of fun!
I suggest you spend a whole day at Disneyland, and then take your lovely family to
the beach or the zoo for as much time as you have. Even if the girls are into the
Princess stuff, Disneyland is rather commercial and the stimuli is almost
overwhelming. Yes of course everybody does it and nobody dies from the stimuli.
One day there can be presented as the norm. The beaches in the area are fabulous
and while the water is cool to cold, the weather is warm! You might appreciate
downtime with your children in a place that allows you to enjoy each other's
Wish I had this advice years ago
We went to Disneyland last October with a 4 year old and a 5
year old. We had a great time. I would recommend staying
somewhere nearby so you can walk to and from the park. We
stayed at the Ramada maingate. It's not the snazziest place,
but it was a 10 minute or so walk to the park and it worked out
really well. One thing I would recommend, since your girls are
really into the princesses, is to get an autograph book for the
characters to sign. My son loved it. I took pictures of him
with the characters and then put the pictures and the
autographs in a small photo album. Another thing that my
sister-in-law did that I thought was fabulous was, she bought
some special pajamas (very ''Princessy'') for her daughter. When
they checked into the hotel she put the pajamas on the bed with
a note she had made (on beautiful vellum paper with gold
writing). The note said the pajamas were from the ''princesses''
and that they were so excited she was able to visit them, etc.
It was adorable and her daughter (8) absolutely loved it.
Whenever she saw one of the princesses in the park, she would
thank them for the note and pajamas and they went right along
with it (''Oh, I'm so glad you got them, I hope they fit...'').
You can also attend a ''character breakfast'' where all of the
characters attend. We didn't do this because it was a bit
pricey, and it might be too much for your young one, but check
it out. One other word of advice, bring in your own food!
It's so expensive to eat there. We brought our food/water in
under the strollers, so that we only needed to buy ''fun'' snack
foods. Have a wonderful time!!
We go about 2 x a year and just got back from DLand last month.
I highly recommend the Fairfield Inn by Marriott. Really
inexpensive, nice pool, newish. Ask for a room facing the pool,
not the back part of the hotel though. It is across the street
from the park and about a 5 minute walk. You can also catch the
trolley that takes you to the front of the park. Buy park
tickets at the front desk. Buy park hoppers to save money and
get you into the CA Adventure park too. Another good hotel is
the Howard Johnson, next to the Fairfield. I would allow 3 days
to see everything and have time for the pool and naps. There
are great restaurants in Dowtown Disney (outside the park) and
near the hotel (Mimi's is good and kid friendly). If your girls
are princess crazy, treat yourselves to a character bfast at
the Disney Hotel's Goofy's Kitchen. Make a reservation. It is
worth it. Hopefully you have nice weather but if you don't, the
bright side is that there will be much shorter lines. We tend
to go during the week rather than weekends to avoid the larger
crowds. Have fun!
We went to Disneyland this past November with our 2 kids, ages 4 1/2
and 1 1/2. We had a GREAT time. We managed to stay 10 hours (we
only went one day and wanted to maximize the day); the toddler slept in
his stroller and in our arms for 2 naps (and had the best night's sleep of
his life that night).
Here is my advice, based on our experiences. (We did not go to the
California Adventure at all, just because time didn't permit):
- Get there early: the park really fills up as the day goes on. We got
there when it opened.
- The princesses were the highlight of my 4 1/2 y.o. daughter's YEAR.
Basically, different princesses appear hourly (every hour on the hour)
around/near the Disneyland castle (Sleeping Beauty's Castle). They
stand around to talk to children, pose for pictures, and sign autographs
(children buy these autograph books for that purpose! Weird to me, but
there you go. We actually didn't buy one, so my daughter just talked to
each princess and posed for a picture that we took ourselves). They can
also be found roaming around and talking to children, at seemingly
random times. But the place to be for maximum princess time is Fantasy
Land. We tried to return every hour, or every other hour.
- All the Fantasy land indoor rides (Peter Pan, Mr. Toad, etc), with the
exception of the Carousel, were too dark and scary for my toddler (my
daughter loved them).
- Our toddler loved: Small World, Tom Sawyer's Island (it's like a park),
Winnie the Pooh ride, and everything in Toon Town. I find Toon Town
exceedingly boring, but it is perfect for small children. It's toward the
back of the park--past Small World. You might spend the majority of
your time there!
- Our adventurous 4 1/2 yr old loved: Thunder Mountain, Pirate's of the
Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, the rollercoaster in Toon Town, all the
Fantasy Land rides, and pretty much everything we did. She is tall (45
inches) and was tall enough for pretty much every roller coaster, though
both Matterhorn and Space Mountain were closed.
- We missed the light parade and fire works, because we left at 6:30 pm
after a long and tiring day. However, I'm sure my kids would have loved
- Food is expensive in the park ($5 for a HOT DOG). I noticed many
parents brought their own food--probably locals! We couldn't be
botherred grocery shopping, making lunches, etc., but if you can, you
might want to bring at least some food to offset the costs.
- You can rent a stroller (don't know if it costs $$ or not). I noticed people
ran toward the stroller rental area after they entered the park--I guess
the strollers go fast!
- For accommodations, we stayed at a very cheap Howard Johnson's
across the street. I found it on the web. You can go to certain sites that
show you cheap hotels and where they are in relation to Disneyland! I
think our room rate was $79/night for a room with 2 double beds. We
walked to and from the park, but it was just far enough away that we
didn't want to return for naps. You will be doing a TON of walking just in
the park, so even hotels right across the street can seem too far away for
''in and out'' experiences.
I love Disneyland more than my kids
I'm sure you'll get more knowledgeable answers, but I have a few
tips. I just took my 5-year old and her 5-year old cousin to
Disneyland recently, and this is my advice:
1. Let them get autograph books (and pens) and stalk the
characters. This was the highlight of the whole thing for my
kids. There are characters in Main Street at opening, at Toon
Town throughout the day, etc. I think there's even a schedule.
You wait in line for the autographs, and the kids get a little
chat time with the character (if they speak).
2. Speaking of characters, consider a character breakfast. We
all loved the one we went to, at the Grand Californian hotel.
You reserve ahead of time (there's a special number somewhere),
and the breakfast is more or less hotel-priced, but there are
usually 4-6 characters going from table to table and spending
some quality time with the kids. The Grand Californian
breakfast is apparently unique (?), in that we could order a la
carte or do the buffet, which cut down costs a bit (we spent
under $35 including tip for breakfast for two kids and one
adult - hotel prices). Each breakfast has its own cast of
characters. You might want to consider the Princess breakfast,
which is inside Disneyland on Main Street. The drawback to this
is just that it makes you spend the emptiest hour of the day
indoors, rather than out in the park, but it might be worth it
for Princess fans.
3. Take a break in the afternoon.
4. Pack in healthy snacks - they didn't even blink at our
sandwiches, fruit/veggies, and yogurt going in. It helped us
maintain our stamina and avoid lines for meals (and save
Take it easy, and have fun!
Regarding hotels, there are several that can claim to be ''across
the street'' from Disneyland, but the more relevant question is:
is the hotel close to the park entrance? Good luck and have fun!
Congrats on your first trip to the ''Big D''. We're a huge Disney Fan
Family and have been going for years. If the girls are into the Princess
thing that's the best place on earth. They'll be out giving autographs all
day long near the Wishing Well at Sleeping Beauty's Castle. They come
and go all day long. You will have to wait in lines but the Princesses are
lovely and will pose for pictures and give autographs. If you're aren't
interested in the big rides Fantasy Land is the place to hang. There's
the carousel and all the rids aimed at the younger set. Be sure to over
on Tom Sawyer's Island in Frontier Land, there are caves to explore and
rocking bridges to cross.
Have a fabulous trip!
Has anyone split a Disneyland Park Hopper pass lately? I bought
five day passes for our family when we went to Disneyland two
years ago and split the cost with some other people. I'm just
wondering if they are still loose about checking the passes.
Technically I think you are supposed to sign the back of the pass
but we didn't and they never checked. We want to go to Disneyland
again this Spring Break. I think the only way we can affort it is
if we go with the 5-day Park Hopper passes again and split them
with another family. We are going the week of Marck 28. If you
are interested in splitting the pass with us drop an email. (2
adults and 1 child) We plan on using two days so you could use
three days the week of April 4th.
We visited Disneyland last March, with the 5 day passes. All of
the grownups had to show ID (we used our driver's licences)to
match the name on the pass.
Here's an idea for you:
I have purchased and sold partial Disneyland Park Hopper
Tickets on Ebay. I've not encountered any difficulties with
park entry for either my family when I purchased used Park
Hoppers with days left, or for the buyer of my used Park
Hoppers. And I saved an incredible amount of money!!
None of the tix were ever signed and no one ever checked.
Check out Ebay...there are many, many Park Hoppers for sale--
both kids and adults tickets, for varying number of days. As
long as there's enough time for you to get the tix (or many
will offer to meet you at a convenient location to pass off the
We bought a 5 day park hopper for our trip to Disneyland in
October of last year. We used 3 days and sold the other 2 days
on E-bay. They did not check our signature and it all went
As early as last August we did ''split'' a Park Hopper pass and it worked
just fine. In fact the family that had the second set of days went on to
purchase an annual pass. Since they had the 5 day pass already the
annual pass was much cheaper. I doubt they've changed their policy
drastically in the past 6 months.
Have a great time!
My husband and I will be taking our very active, won't-stay-
still 23-month old daughter to Disneyworld in about two months.
I'm sure many of you have done the Mouse House with little ones
like this. What worked for you in keeping your toddler occupied
while waiting in line? Does anyone have any suggestions on how
we can carry her without straining ourselves too much while
waiting in the lines (I'm sure she won't stand for any length of
time)? We don't have an umbrella stroller which I understand
can fit in the queues?
We just recently returned from the House of Mouse. We
deliberately waited until school started and found that Tues,
Wednesday and Thursday are the least crowded. The lines were
very short, no more than a couple of minute wait and in some
cases no wait. You can rent a stroller there, you see them
parked just outside every ride entrance. I have a 3.5 year old
who I thought would never make it standing in line, but he
surprised us and was fairly calm and patient. I think he was
taking it all in while we were in line. I think seeing other
kids waiting their turn helped too. You may be surprised, you
child may do better than your anticipating. Good Luck!
You would be amazed at how many toddlers are patient and
willing to wait and hour for a 90 second ride on Dumbo. They
know the waiting is for something they want. With kids and
cousins and yearly trips to Disneyworld while visiting Grandpa,
I've yet to see a 2-3 y.o. demand to leave a line for a ride
they want to go on. My kids have a hard time waiting 10 min. on
line at the grocery store, but even at 2 they definitely seemed
to understand the difference. (But once they are potty-trianed
long line do represent another issue- you have to insist on
going to potty every chance you can.) A little fanny pack with a
few small toys and treats is great, too, but doesn't seem to be
necessary. My kids hadn't seen alot of Disney when they first
started going, but still understood that Mickey must be
something worth waiting for if all the other kids were doing it
too. I've seen more rude adults in line than screaming kids!
I read through the archives about Disneyland, but didn't see any
information about how/where you can get discount tickets. I
understand that UC no longer offers discount tickets. It also
appears that if you get one of their 3, 4, 5, or 7 days passes,
these never expire. Perhaps some of you have some of these
passes that you would be willing to sell?
I did some looking a couple of months ago and the best deal I was
able to find on Disneyland tickets was 5 days for the price of 3
through AAA (for park-hopper tickets good for Disney's California
Adventure as well as Disneyland). However, these tickets expired
13 days after the first use. According to the Unofficial Guide
to Disneyland (highly recommended on this site in the past), some
multi-day tickets expire soon and some don't, depending on where
you buy them: If you buy them at the park or on the phone,
they're good for two years; if you buy through the Disneyland
internet site they expire in 13 days. You can probably find
better deals through friends or family who work for large
If you only need three days and don't find a better deal, you
might consider going through AAA and getting the 5-day pass
anyway. We did that and gave the remaining two days to our son's
preschool teacher, who used it to take her family on a vacation
that wouldn't have fit into the budget otherwise. Just don't sign
the back of the tickets (we didn't even notice that there was a
place to sign and no one asked us about it) and there should be
no problem. If you don't know anyone who could use the days, I'm
sure a posting on this list would find some grateful takers,
especially if you could give some advance notice. Or contact
me--there are other teachers at the school who'd be glad to go.
You can get discounted Disneyland Tickets at AAA if you are a
member. Also once you get down there many of the hotels offer
Go to the website mousesavers.com for all kinds of info on
discounts for anything ''Disney''. Link to ''Disneyland'' then to
''tickets/passes''. There are offers currently available for multi-
day park hopper passes, such as ''5-days for the price of 3''. We
have frequently bought our multi-day tickets at AAA (CSAA), which
also gives you free parking in the Disneyland lot (which you might
not need if you're staying right by the park).
Multiple day passes at Disneyland DO have an expiration date once
you start using them. I've heard that multiple day passes from
Disney World do not expire and can be used at the parks in
California, but not vice versa.
We recently did our own research on discounted Disneyland
tickets and found that the best deal was getting the Southern
California Seasonal Pass for $109. It was even better than any
two-three day discounted passes we were going to get from our
employer and through our friends. With this pass you can go to
both parks for the whole year. The best part is you don't have
to be a Southern Califonia resident to get the deal. While
there are black-out dates, you can plan your vacation around
them. You probably wouldn't want to go during their black-out
dates anyways, they tend to be the most crowded during those
times. We used the pass two weeks ago and spent two days at
Disneyland and California Disney. Those two days paid off for
itself. Since we go every year, we plan to go again next year
a week before the pass expires.
If you have any questions, please email me
We got our discounted tickets at AAA. They sell a three-day pass
that gets you into both parks and it cost the same price as
buying two separate day tickets that are good for only one park.
I think these tickets also cover parking. Have fun.
One piece of advice about the AAA discount tickets. Buy them up
here in Northern California. Southern California is not part of
CSAA and doesn't offer the same deal. We found this out the hard
way... we didn't stop to get the tickets until we got to Anaheim
(instead of stopping at AAA in the morning when we left.) It
turns out they only offer 5 for 3 up here. Down there it is 5
for 4. We ended up buying tickets through our hotel near the
park instead. It was 5 for 4 (I think it was $110) but also
included a 10-30% discount on all purchases in the park over
$100. (The % off depended on which employee happened to be
ringing us up... they were all quite confused.)
we were there in November
I just wanted to mention that I think the information given in
last week's newsletter about sharing Disney passes is not legal.
It may say on the pass that its transferable, but the fact that
they have you sign it before entering the park indicates to me
that its not.
Does anyone have a packing list for Disneyland, or any specific recommendations
they would like to share?
I have checked the website, but none of the posts had a pack list, and addressed
things we have already accounted for. We will be taking a four day trip to southern
California, spending two days at Disneyland. I have secured a motel room nearby at
the Candy Cane Inn, so we will be able to take naps, have lunch, and play in the pool
during the middle of the day.I am taking an umbrella stroller for my newly five year-
Take a cheap umbrella stroller if you're not going to rent one.
You won't be able to take them everywhere and we didn't feel
comfortable leaving our $50 stroller when we could have bought a
$10 one for the trip.
The one thing we didn't bring enough of for our Disney trip
last summer was healthy snacks and drinks. There is not too
much healthy food at the park. You can load up your stroller -
no glass bottles I believe - and save money, too.
Also prepare your toy-buying rules before you go. There are
souvenirs and toys everywhere . . .
We are going to Disneyland for the first time with our 4 and 8 year old. I would love any
thoughts and recommendations about spending a day
there. We are planning only one day. Is that enough?
We are a Disneyland family so we go at least once a year. If
possible get a map (program) before you go in. If you arrive the
day before, you can get one at one of the information kiosks
outside the parks. Check off rides and sights that you might
want to do. Arrive at the park about half an hour before it
opens. You will be able to do as much in the first hour as the
rest of the day. Plan to have lunch at the Golden Horseshoe in
Frontierland. They have a sit-down show at about 11 or 11:30
(check your program and arrive 1/2 hour before). This is a good
time to rest, eat, and be entertained. 4- and 8-year-olds will
enjoy Fantasyland and Toontown the most.
Jungle Cruise (Silly, but fun.)
Splash Mountain (One big drop, but great fun!)
Pirates of the Caribbean (A Disney classic!)
Autopia (Let the child drive, but have an adult in the car to
push the gas pedal--it's really hard!)
Tom Sawyer Island is good for children that like to climb and
''Honey, I Shrunk the Audience''--3D movie is OK, if your children
are not overly sensitive. (My 12-yr-old does not like the
Haunted Mansion--the same. My children were older than yours
before they began to like this one.
Indiana Jones is one to go on early in the morning before the
lines are too much, but it may be too ''Herky-Jerky'' and scary for
your children, especially the 4-yr-old.
Winnie the Pooh ride was totally boring and because it is new,
has a really long line. Get a fast pass if you must go on.
Take advantage of the ''Fast Passes''. Many of the big-ticket
rides have this option. After going on a ride in the morning, if
you all really like it and want to go again, you might want to
get a ''fast pass''. This allows you to go on later, after a
certain time, and bypass the long standby line. The down-side is
unless you have a special unlimited park ticket, you can only get
one fast pass at a time (per ticket) or until the posted time on
the fast pass.
If you have any specific questions, email me
I haven't done it yet with my own child (2nd on the way) but I
remember my own experiences as a kid, adult, and with families
with kids. One day did not seem like enough with the kids
because they (especially the 4 year old) may get over-excited,
over-tired, over-whelmed, etc...and need to have a break midway
through, possibly for several hours. If you have two days you
won't feel pressured to see it all in one day to get your
money's worth. You'll feel more relaxed and be able to go at
your kid's pace which may mean taking a break, leaving early,
moving slower, spending 1/2 the day in one part, etc.... Also
with two kids so far apart they will have different interests.
The older one may feel resentful to have to waste part of his
one day doing ''baby'' stuff but if you have two days he will be
more relaxed about this too.
Oh yea, although the junk food is part of the experience I would
take at least some provisions of your own if you can (check the
rules) like water/juice, fruit, sliced cheese, etc... so you're
not relient on the outragiously priced stuff for your every need.
Just my thoughts. I'll be interested to hear what the parents
have to say who've been there since I'll be in a similar boat in
several years (not so far away).
hi i am a single mum of a 4 year old. he is going through some
insecurities ( just realized he doesn`t have a dad-my husband
left when i was pregnant) anyway i promised him a trip to
disneyland. i was thinking of going by car from albany since
the fares are so expensive but everyone thinks i`m crazy. any
ideas on stopovers on route or where to stay on route to break
the journey? i believe its about 6-7 hours and i feel i can do
it, but i`ve lost my confidence a bit now, in case something
In the Grapevine (when I-5 climbs steeply into the mountains
between the Central Valley and Los Angeles) there is Fort Tejon
State Park, which might be great to stop at to let your kid run
around a bit. It was a Civil War era army fort, so might have
some historical interest for you if you are into that sort of
thing, plus there are picnic benches and lots of open space.
Most of I-5 up until that point consists of farmland and roadside
restaurants with bad food, so last time I drove that distance
with my 2 year old, I was very happy to stop at the state park.
Just go!! You will have the best time. We drove in march and
it was great. It took about 7 hours and we stopped for a long
lunch. The park will be crowded this time of the year so be
forwarned. It is expensive so I suggest staying in one of the
hotels that have little mini suites that have kitchens so you
can eat in. Our son (3 1/2) had agreat time. Be careful with
some of the rides. Our son was very traumatized by Snow
whites scary adventure. He still talks about it.
It is an fairly easy drive, about 410 miles. It takes about 7
hours, including stops at rest areas and a stop to eat. The key
is to get on the road either in the early morning (best of all
between 6 and 7 am) to get to LA before the afternoon rush hour
(580 towards I-5 is not a problem in the morning), or around
after 2 pm to avoid heavy afternoon traffic on 580 and get to LA
after their rush hour. I-5 is an easy freeway to drive, it has
several rest areas along the way, plenty of restaurants, so I
guess everything depends on how long a trip your son can survive
before he gets nuts from riding in a car.
Since Anaheim is on the southern side of LA, you could also take
your son to Legoland which is less than 2 hours away, people say
it is not a bad place for little kids.
Go for it. We do it all the time, the last time was last month with my 3
year old and my 6 week old. I stop over in Bakersfield for the night,
somewhere with a pool to hang out and burn off some of the calories he
was storing sitting still. They another 2 1/2 hours and we are there, and
in time for the openings usually. Bakersfield is about 4 hours away, so
the big part I do in the morning, stop on the way for lunch at a stop with
a playground (mcDonalds, etc) and then on the road til about 3, then hang
at the pool til dark. It is a great adventure for all ages.
Check Southwest airfares. My husband and I are taking our 4.5
year old at the end of June. We are flying from Oakland and into
Aneheim for $29.00 each way. If you drive, it is about a six
hour trip. I have driven solo with my son a handful of times to
visit a friend in LA and did not find it terrible. My son is a
good traveler, so you need to take that into account. We took
some fun car toys and stopped a couple of times along the way.
We also did the Interstate 101 and US1 route which takes much
longer but is beautiful...you can stop along the way and stay on
I give you a lot of credit to tackle the trip to Disneyland with
your son. We did the same road trip and stuck with Route 5. It
has plenty of chain restaurants and rest stops to help break up
the trip. To boost your confidence, I would bring the car in for
servicing before the trip, have AAA road service (and they can
help plan your trip) and a cell phone. If you leave in the
morning, you'll do all the driving in daylight. And we got a
bunch of books on tape from the library for our kids. Good luck.
Take 101 and stop in San Luis Obisbo -- that's about the halfway
point and there are some decent motels there, and a nice
walkable downtown with restaurants. You can also take a break
for a walk or lunch the next day in Santa Barbara. Then it's
about a 1-1/2 hour drive to the west side of LA or 2 hours to
Orange County. 101 is much nicer than 5, especially in hot
weather, and there are places to stop along the way -- the down
side is that depending on where you are going it takes an extra
hour or so. I think you should consider the drive down as part
of the vacation. However, you don't want to drive for a trip of
less than 4 or 5 days; the ratio between driving time and
being ''there'' is too great.
I have a daughter who is almost three, and wev'e been
driving down to L.A. several times a year since she was
born. I don't like to fly, and I like to have my car when I'm
visiting friends and family. Anyway, I use to worry a bit, but
we always seem to manage just fine. Some trips were
easier than others. I always chose going down the 5
because it is the quickest, but very boring. It all depends on
how many stops you take and how fast you drive. When I
use to go down the 5 without child, it took me on average
about 51/2 - 6 hours at an average speed of 75 (One stop
for a quick picnic lunch at a rest stop and bathroom, and
maybe one more brief stop at a gas station for fuel and
snacks a cold drink). With child it took anywhere between 6-
10 hours depending on what we did during those stops and
how old she was. Lots of toys, books, snacks, and music
for the drive is a must. Getting an early start always seems
to work best. I did the trip alone with just my daughter three
times and found the easiest trip to be the one where we
stopped and stayed at a hotel half way down.This was great
because it eliminated the need to get an earlier start, and
made the trip more relaxing, but a bit more expensive. The
nicest hotel that is right off the 5 at the half way point is
Harris Ranch. Take the Coalinga exit. You can't miss it. It is
a rather large two story complex surrounded by lots palm
trees. They have a swimming pool with several jacuzzis, two
restaurants, and a nice outdoor garden area with room to
walk around. It was an experiment that I found to be
successful. I would definitely do it again if I had the extra
time. There are probably other decent hotels around there. If
you are a AAA member just ask for their California hotel
guide. I believe it is in the northern California book. Look up
Coalinga, the town that Harris Ranch is listed under, or just
look at a map and pick another town that is close to the half
way point near the 5 and then look for hotels listed in that
An important note if you drive the 5. It can get extremely hot
during the summer, so a car with working air conditioning is
strongly advised. Also, it is important to make sure your car
doesn't have problems with overheating, as this can be a
real problem when trying to get over the Grapevine during
three digit temperatures. Turn off air conditioning if you are
not sure when going over it. Don't worry, most cars make it
just fine. I've never had problems. You'll do just fine.
Don't let your friends tell you that you are crazy. They
probably never did it themselves. You'll have a good time.
Just take your time, stop at a hotel half way, and relax. And
have fun at Disneyland!
you might want to rethink flying only b/c fares on Southwest can
be cheap. $29 each way from Oakland to Orange County (closest to
Disneyland) You might also check out AAA website for vacation
packages. if you fly, you could stay at a hotel that has shuttles
to/from airport as well as to/from Disneyland.
If you decided to drive, which really could be fun (but the price
of gas = the air fair, no?) it depends in the route you take. If
you go by way of 5, there is really nothing from here to there
that sparks any interest--but it is much faster, cuts at least an
hour off the trip. If you go 101, you could stop in many places.
there are lots of beaches on the way--Pismo, San Luis, Santa
Barbara is more than half way but gorgeous. Just check out a map,
there's a lot along the way.....I wouldn't worry, it's a nice
drive, it's only a matter of whether or not your kid likes being
in the car. One suggestion, if you can drive at night, you might
try that and he could sleep on the way, and no traffic for you.
Finally, I know you promised Disneyland but have you thought of
Knotts Berry Farm? We found it was much more kid (under 6)
friendly, smaller--so less tiring, and bathrooms everywhere! not
to mention less expensive. The characters at Knotts are the
Peanuts (Charlie Brown and Snoopy, etc.) We took are then 4 year
old there and she loved it....good luck.
We leave at 4.30am in the morning, drive until the kids wake up
(usually 3 hours later) stop for breakfast (Denny's) then drive
some more before we hit LA. It makes for a quicker trip - less
traffic and less whining from the cheap seats AND less need for
We just drove our daughters down to Disneyland for a long
weekend. What worked well for us was leaving at about
6pm. We fed them dinner in the car, let them watch a video
and read, then told them it was ''sleeptime''. They slept most
of the way to LA! While I wouldn't recommend this for you
alone, maybe a friend could travel along? The trip took us 5
hours since we didn't have to stop for them to stetch their
legs and potty breaks (1 quick one for us!). It was great and
very manageable with 2 drivers. Saved a lot of $$ in airfare,
too! On the way, home, it took a bit longer, but we left with
plenty of time and let them stop to play tag at a rest area
once in a while. Good luck!
My husband & I drove last year (in a civic hatchback) w/ our 3 &
5 year old (from Berk to Disneyland). We put them still sleeping
in the car @3am & drove as fast as we could. They woke up when
we gassed up ~6:30 or so. It is pretty much a wasteland all the
way down but you could stop when they got the fidgets.
We had packed activities for them (books & drawing stuff & small
plastic figures for them to do play activities). They did fine.
We stayed inexpensively (~$75/day) within a few blocks on the
strip across from Disneyland.
The best advice we got was to go as soon as it opened in the
morning, go back to the hotel & rest during the day, and then go
back in the evening until closing time. This way we avoided the
crowds to some extent. Our young-uns got a chance to rest & swim
which they need as a result of the over-stimulation.
Our kids still talk about it - it was a highlight of their young
lives! Have fun & don't worry - it's very doable.
I drove from Richmond to San Diego when my daughter was 21 mos
old, and it was fine! It took 8 hours, but I did not opt for
any significant stops. I left the house at 4 am to get a few
hours of driving in with her asleep. I bought a tray that
straps to her car seat to make eating and drawing easier and it
kept her pretty busy (the One Step Ahead catalog has them). I
also had some tapes of favorite music, as well as books on tape
for me for when she was asleep.
If you want to make a stop, you might want to consider driving
down the coast instead of the I-5, as it's prettier and the
stops would be more interesting. If you & he like camping,
there's a lot of camping along the coast.
I'm not sure if a road trip with a 4 yr old is easier or harder
than with a 21 mo old, but I found she seemed to know we had a
long way to go, so she might as well relax. You can do it!
Good luck & have a great trip!
It is 6 hours with minimum stops, light traffic,
at 80 mph (speed limit is 75 mph on I-5), if you take
I-580 to I-5. It is the flattest, straightest, most
monotonous drive imaginable. I hope you have cruise
control and air conditioning. That said, there are
gas and food stops every half-hour to an hour from
here to around Bakersfield. I recall a 2 hour gap
somewhere between there and Valencia. We take
an hour long restroom, fuel and meal break twice along
the way, including breakfast at McDonald's and later
a Happy Meal (with an entertaining new toy) lunch.
Bring taped audio books and music (from the library?).
Pack everything in the car the day before, save your
energy for the road trip. Keep snacks and drinks
within arms reach of your son so he can help himself.
Use safety pins to attach a snack bag to his car seat
Disneyland has fireworks only on Fridays and weekends
before 6/15, and every night after that in the summer.
When school is out on weekends and the summer, the
park is very crowded. So try to attend on a Friday
before school is out. It means travelling on a weekday.
To avoid commute hours along I-580 and in L.A., start
out at dawn expecting to arrive around noon.
By the way, they allow you to bring your own stroller,
if you want to try and save on the rental. They have
locker rentals and do airport-style security checks at
It's an easy road trip to Anaheim--as long as your car is in good
condition. And since you are a single woman travelling with a
child, I'd make sure you have a cell phone with you, for safety.
There's an In-and-Out Burger in Kettleman City which is always
crowded so if you are driving at night, I'd stop there for a
bathroom stop. It should take you about 7 hours -- but think
about what time you'll be hitting LA. If you hit LA during rush
hour, it will take you longer (potentially adding 2+ hours).
I am a single mama who just rediscovered the joy of a road trip!
My three year old son and I just went on a week long road trip
to southern California and we had a terrific time! In terms of
places to stay, we used the Extendedstay America hotel chain -
it's inexpensive (relatively speaking!)and the rooms have
kitchenettes, so you don't have to eat out for every meal! They
have a website, so you can check out all of their locations. As
for stops along the way, just look at the map and pick a couple
of pit stops a few hours apart, and be sure to leave at a time
that works with your child's schedule...we left at about 11 a.m.
drove for about 2 1/2 hours, stopped for lunch, ran around and
played, then hopped back in the car for the rest of the
drive...brought books, toys (not too many), but really just
talked a lot and enjoyed the drive! Just remember to plan it
out and be prepared and you will have a blast!
have a fabulous trip!
Take your cell phone, make sure you have some sort of road
service in case of emergency, and GO! Do you have a friend
(with or without kid) who might like to go along? Did the trip
when my daughter was 3 and we had a blast. Of course, she slept
most of the ride. It's a boring drive, but if you're willing to
stop at the likes of McDonald's, many of them have play areas.
There's lot of stuff to do en route, but we preferred to just
drive and get it over with.
I've drive to San Diego and back by myself with a 1 month old and
3 year old. I wouldn't do two again, but one child I would do!
You can too! An easy rest stop or overnight stop is the Harris
Ranch & Hotel. It's half way between Berkeley and LA. The hotel
is beautiful and has a lovely swimming pool. It you're going
this summer, it does get hot! If you don't want to break up the
trip, just stop a couple of times and expect them to be a little
long. You're not crazy, got for it!
We have driven down to Disneyland at least once a year since our
now 16-year-old was a couple of months old. (I know, we're
''spoilers'', but my husband and I love it even more than the
kids!) We have stopped and stayed at Santa Nella (?) where the
Anderson Pea Soup place is. I believe it is about half way
there. We take a little TV/video combo to watch movies along the
way. If you have a lap-top that plays DVDs that would also work.
We usually stop at all of the rest-stops along I-5. They are
spaced about an hour apart. Everyone gets out to stretch and use
the facilities. When the kids were a little younger, we would
play tag or ''keep the beach ball up'' type games to expend some
energy. Have plenty of snacks and water in the car, but there
are also tons of fast food options along the way. Be careful to
time your trip so that you don't get into the LA basin at commute
time. That is no fun! Also, once you get over the Grape Vine
and into LA area there is really no stopping! Getting off of the
freeway to find a restroom or food is really inconvenient (but
not impossible.) Some people I know have started their trip in
the middle of the night so that their kids sleep most of the way,
but we haven't tried that. (I personally need MY sleep!) It is
not a bad car trip and Disneyland is so fun! Just relax and you
and your child will have a great time!
We have driven to Disneyland twice in the last year so I wanted
to give you my thoughts on it. We took our 4 and 7-year old.
Many people recommended waiting until 6 years old and I would
recommend the same. I took our 4 year old because I wanted to
take my 7 year old. There are fewer rides available to that
age and it takes alot out of a kid walking/strolling, waiting
in lines, etc. I discourage going in June, July, August
because the heat is very hard on children. We first went in
August and many children were miserable and therefore many
parents were miserable (alot of money and little fun). Go
after September (we went in late January). It is far more
manageable and fun. When you do drive, leave really early in
the morning and take I-5 down. There are a lot of little towns
on the way with restaurants, etc. There are fairly inexpensive
hotel/motels across the street from Disneyland. For a little
more money you can get tickets to the California Theme Park (go
if you are staying more than 2 days). It sounds like you made a
promise to your child during this challenging time. If you
feel like your child can manage the ride, etc. go for it.
Otherwise, wait so that you really can have a great time.
There are plenty of things to see on the way down to Disneyland.
I think the San Luis Obispo area is a great place to visit with
kids.Stay in Paso Robles for cheaper motels though, and then you
can drive in to SLO and Moro Bay. It's a good half way point as
well. Also, We just moved to Albany (just from Oakland) and I
have a 4 year old daughter. I was a single mom for 2 years.Write
me if you want to meet at a playground or something. Jess
I did not see your original post, so excuse me if my post is off
from your question.
We just came back from Disney land yesterday. We took our 4
year-old son, and 6 month old baby. Since we did not know how
our baby will be in a car trip, we decided to stay one night at
Pismo Beach, near San Luis Obispo, then drove to Anaheim the
next day. Both trip is around 200 ~ 230 miles, and it was
managable for both kids. On the way back from Anaheim to the
Bay Area, we took a chance, and drove I-5. We said that if kids
could not bear with long drive, we just stop at a motel off the
highway, and stay overnight. Well,, we left Disneyland area at
10 am. By 6pm we were eating dinner at Tachibana, Japanese
restaurant on College Ave. Luckily our baby slept 3 hours and a
half straight during a trip, and older one also napped for 1
hours and a half. We just kept going until kids finally became
fussy. I know we were lucky that our kids slept in a car. We
thought our little one could not bear with this long drive, but
now we know it is sometimes possible.
About Disneyland, we took our days easy. We went there for 4
days from 10am to 2pm. My 4 year-old son enjoyed easy rides such
as ''It's a small world'', ''Autopia'', Casey Jr. Circus Train'',
''King Arthur Carrousel'', ''Mad Tea Party'', and most of Mickey's
Toontown attractions. He was a bit scared of new ''Winnie the
Pooh and Friends'', ''Alice in Wonderland'', and any ride which
goes inside of buildings. Actually most of such rides are dark
and loud, which can be scary to little kids. I took my baby in
a sling, and rode to most of attractions together. He had great
time looking at people and being in my arm all the time.
Afterall my sons enjoyed Disneyland, but I felt I could have
been able to wait to go there until he reaches 6 years old. By
then he will be able to enjoy more rides.
Dining there can be very costly. We bought healthy fruits and
snacks here and brought them there, and it helped.
Last advice, if you are going to Disney's California Adventure,
be warned for ''It's tough to be a bug'', 3D movie type
entertaiment. It was way too scary for my son that we needed to
get out of the theater immediately when a huge spider run toward
us (visually) with a huge sound and a blast of air toward us.
Too sensational for a little one. In fact, I am going to write
a complainment to Disney. I do not understand why it is located
in a ''district'' for small children.
If you want to know more about our experience, e-mail me. Good
We drove to Disneyland from Richmond in November with our almost
4yo and 7mo sons. We left in the morning around 8am (bad timing
for the commute, but we just didn't make it out of the house as
early as planned. We were able to use the carpool lane though so
it wasn't bad.) And were in Anaheim by 5pm... yup, just in time
for the eveining commute down there. Despite the unfortunate
timing, the trip was easy. We packed books and the magna doodle
for car seat entertainment. We also brought all the sing-a-long
CDs. The baby slept. The 4yo... well he ate and slept, which was
good because it kept him happy. It rained the whole way down so
rest breaks to burn off steam consisted mostly of jumping around
puddles in parking lots.
I have noticed that a couple of posters felt that their kids
were too young, small or overwhelmed by Disneyland. It is funny
how different kids react. My son loved it. His cousin went a few
months later... at around the same age, and didn't have as much
fun. Some of it I think you can tell before you go though... my
neice gets nightmares more easily so the rides will be scarier
to her. My son was tall enough to ride every ride in the
Disneyland park except Indiana Jones and Autotopia. He LOVED it
all. We felt he was just the right age to really experience the
park. Since we got there late his first experience of the park
was the parade with all of the princesses and characters. He
just stood with his mouth gaping in awe. We rode the train and
Dumbo and Peter Pan that night... all very fun and non-
threatening. He had seen all the movies that went with the
scarier rides like Pinocchio and Snow White and while we were on
them we just whispered reminders of all the happy, fairytale
ending parts of the story to help him place the images. He
wasn't frieghtened at all.
California Adventure was a little less fun. It was raining
pretty bad the night we went, and there wasn't much we could do
except over in bug land. (The park is more spread out but with
the rain we weren't to up on exploring.) My son LOVED all of
those rides though. He also really liked the Tough to be a Bug
3D movie and the 3D Muppet Movie (both were very simillar... the
Honey I Shrunk the Audience movie in the Disneyland park was
more of the same). He didn't keep the 3d glasses on the whole
time, but really didn't seem to notice the physical tricks. He
was small enough that the air and water jets didn't hit him in
the face as they did me. He also loved getting to see the
characters from the movies. I have to say that the thing he
liked best at Adventure was the Electric Light Parade. We had
found a seat right by the fence where the characters emerge
(across the street from the Hollywood area) so he got a really
great view of them all. It was really fun to see him enjoying it
The ride back we did all during the day as well. Both kids were
so tired from the whole trip that they slept all the way from LA
to Harris Ranch, (which really isn't half way in our opinion...
it just seems that way because it takes so long to go through
the Bay Area.) If you are looking for a good place to stop close
to the middle I recommend Split Pea Andersons. They have a huge
parking lot, as well as a huge front yard area where we could
all stretch our legs. The restrooms were huge and clean. If you
feel like stopping to eat the food is pretty good too.
It has been several months and recently he has started to ask
when we can go again. He says he misses Mickey Mouse. I would
love to go again while he is still young enough to be excited by
the ''baby stuff'', but the baby is toddling now and won't be so
good about sitting in the stroller as he was at 7 mos.
Mom is missing Mickey too.
We are thinking of taking our 3 1/2 year old daughter to
Disneyland for the first time. The trip would include her 5
month old sister. Has anyone had experience with an infant at
Disneyland? If so, are there rides or attractions that the baby
could participate in (maybe on the order of It's a Small World?)
or will my husband and I spend the entire time trading the baby
back and forth while the other rides with our older daughter?
There are quite a few rides you could take your infant on.
There of course is Small World, there are a few train rides,
there is a boat ride through a miniature town, Pirates of the
Carribean, Haunted House (maybe too scary for the older one),
the Tikki Room, the Jungle Cruise, Dumbo, etc. Fantasy land is
designed for kids so that might be where you spend most of your
time. I think you can take your infant even on rides like
Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland too, though I'd ask
before you wait in line (or do fast-trak... make sure to get
informed about that). My son went for the first time at about
20 months and he sat on my lap through all the rides anyway.
I'm sure an infant on your lap or in a snuggly would be about
the same thing. Disneyland with a toddler! can take a while
getting from place to place so I'm sure you can keep yourselves
busy on rides all day long.
Have a great time! We're going again next month. Can't wait.
There are lots of rides that you can go on with a baby. The
jungle cruise, it's a small world, any of the rides in the
children's area where peter pan is, pirates of the caribbean,
even the haunted mansion! We were just there with a 11 month old
and a 4 year old and had a lot of fun. I used a hip carrier for
the baby sometimes and he actually slept through a couple of
We went to Disneyland with a young child about 2 years ago, and
it was fine. There were a number of rides that are fine for
young children - when in doubt, ask one of the ride attendants,
and they can describe the experience to you. Another very
important thing to know, that Disney doesn't advertise: There
is something called a ''parent transfer pass'' or some such name -
- basically, it's for folks in your situation. When you get to
the front of the line, let the attendant know you have 2 kids,
one who can go on the ride w/ one parent; another who is too
young to ride. They'll hand you a special pass, and when the
parent who went on the ride first w/ the older child gets off
the ride, they hand you the pass - this allows you (and your
older kid) to go to the front of the line! on that ride again -
so one parent isn't always stuck w/ baby duty. It worked
really well for us, and our older son loved it, since he got to
ride everything 2x in a row!
I just had two friends bail on me for this trip we had planned for
Disneyland with our kids. I have a 14 yo and a 10 yo --both
girls--who are both EXTREMELY hormonal right now, and exhaust me with
crying, nagging, whining, bickering, you name it, night and day. the
only way I agreed to this trip was because my good buds were going to
drive down with me, and one of them has a 16 yo daughter who's very
mature and could influence/distract/amuse my girls (or at least shame
them if they got too unruly). Now I'm looking at either flying or
driving by myself with these two, and I feel like I do enough
self-sacrificing already!! They've never been to Disneyland--I was
planning on taking them 5 years ago with my mother and she died
suddenly. I must admit I'm fearful with all the kidnappings and stuff
on the news--how Stainer was stalking the one family-- two daughters
and a mom, and switched to the Pelosi family. It starts to get to
you! I also had to put this on a credit card--I've already charged
$800, and one of my friends was going to get a limo to drive down in,
saving us about $200-$300 in airfare or car rental. Now I have to add
that to the tab, and my husband and I just refinanced to get out of
debt and prepare for a long overdue divorce. I need to either decide
to take them and plunk out the bucks and pluck up my courage and maybe
spend five days of hormonal hell, or call the travel service and
cancel TODAY before I rack up any more cancellation fees (I will
already lose $50).
Does anyone have any ideas? I'm stuck!! Does anyone want to drive to
Distraught Single Mom
We just returned from a very successful and satisfying trip to
Disneyland with our 10yr and 12.5 yr old daughters. They thoroughly
enjoyed both parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) and I would
recommend a park "hopper" pass, which allows you to bounce back and forth
between parks. The twelve year old brought a friend and this can help to
diffuse whiny or argumentative behaviors. Your girls are close enough in
age that you should be able to stay together and go on the same rides
together. The girls were in the park until closing every night. There are
fireworks and shows every night. My usually late-sleeping daughters asked
to be awakened by 8:30 so they wouldn't miss any time in the park.
You can save money by buying your park passes here at AAA. The 3-day
passes are $25 cheaper at AAA than they were at the park or hotels in
The drive was long but do-able. You might want to consider flying if 8
hours in a car will put you all over the top. Please feel free to contact
me directly if you want to ask more questions. I think your daughters are
at a great age for this trip. Also, it will be something positive to
remember about this summer, especially if a divorce is part of your summer
To Distraught Mom about Disneyland plans: Simplify your life; take
care of yourself first; CANCEL the trip - the aggravation you will
have saved yourself will be well worth $50. Your daughters frankly
don't sound like they need that expensive treat, can't or won't really
appreciate it, and should learn the consequences of your friends
bailing equals no trip. Don't agonize over this any longer.
Don't go!! Driving several hours and trying to keep track of two
hormonal girls by yourself would make any sane person rethink why they
were doing this. I can't imagine that they would meekly follow you
around and it doesn't sound like you see them as ready to "solo" at
Disneyland and just check in with you from time to time. Seems to me
you may be trying to compensate for your divorce by giving the girls a
special treat but it doesn't sound like their overall behavior
warrants such a treat and if you're just getting out of debt, why
spend all that money --- for a lousy, stressed out time at that? You
seem to have more than enough on your plate. Let the $50 go.
You poor thing! You seem completely stressed out. It also seems that you
actually may not be able to afford this trip (or at least not be willing to
pay for it) and that you don't look forward to it. Why not postpone it until
your lives have stabilized a bit and you can really afford it? Could it be
that the girls are less hormonal than upset by the divorce? Also after
refinancing your house to get out of debt, does it make sense to start the
credit card cycle all over again? From your description it sounds like
exactly NOT the time to go with your girls to Disneyland. It also sounds
like you need a shoulder to have a good cry on. Best wishes.
To Disneyland parent:
Don't go! You and the girls need a low stress, low cost trip together. Go
camping somewhere close and quiet and have a few laughs with each other.
the girls of all the positive aspects of themselves and you will all feel
We are planning our first trip to Disneyland this summer
(July!), and would be very interested to hear any
recommendations for places to stay (we are a family of
four) that are near the park, and not quite as expensive
as the Disneyland Hotel. I checked the web site, and
all recommendations are for 1999 or prior. Has anyone
been recently who has a hotel recommendation? Any other
tips that might ease the way? Thank you!
my last trip to orlando was in'91, we stayed at the Peabody hotel,
it is sisters with a famous place in memphis or somewhere like that, and
sports a huge neon duck on the roof. live ducks ceremoniously marched on
red carpet from the lobby, down the elevator, to the pool for the day,
back. very silly and fun. there is a classic diner as well. have a ball
your sun Block
I am going to Disneyland next week (that's why the newsletter will be on
I'll report when I get back on specifics.
has tons of great advice including a good section on hotels. We are
at the Anaheim Marriot, because that's the place I got for $35 on
Priceline. It's supposed to be three star, but who knows. Last time we
there we stayed at the Castle Inn and Suites directly across the street
from Disneyland, and while it was a little run down, the kids liked the
theme atmosphere, and I liked the microwave and fridge. There's a new
called "passport" which allows you avoid lines (you still have to wait,
not in the line). Other news we needed to tell our kids ahead of time...
Cinderella's Castle is being remodeled and Splash Mountain is closed.
In any case, I'll know more when I get back and I'll no doubt be
death and singing "It's a small world" to everyone I know.
If you can stand one more piece of advice on Disneyland, my sister and
family went there last year, and she said the ''Unofficial Guide to
Disneyland'' book was absolutely terrific for making your visit fun
My just turned 7 year old and I are going on April 20. We got a package
through Disneyland.com and chose one of their lower priced "Good
hotels. Its the Red Roof Inn right across from the park - supposedly its
been newly renovated so we'll see. What I liked about the Disneyland
package is that with one step I booked airfare, airport shuttle, hotel,
tickets, fast pass, extra goodies, etc. I think the whole package, 2
in hotel, airfare/shuttle, 3-day Disneyland/California Adventures
pass, and goodies like a Breakfast with Mickey, arcade coupons,
preferential seating at certain events, etc. cost $620 for the two of us.
By the way, from April 15 thru I think September, Disneyland is offering
"buy 1 adult ticket - get 1 child's ticket free" promotion.
We just returned from Disneyland with our three children (9, 5 1/2 and 20
months). We had a good time, though in the case of my five year old she
may very well have had a better time renting a room at the Marriot in San
Francisco (she *loved* the hotel!).
We stayed at the Anaheim Convention Marriot. We got the
hotel via priceline, for $35 a night and it was really a
good deal, in our opinion.We rented two rooms and got adjoining
rooms on the bottom floor, on the same wing as the pool. The Marriot
was *full* of families, most using priceline and I think we paid the
least of anyone I heard. The hotel has a very prompt shuttle that runs
every half hour to Disneyland, and you should definitely use it instead
of driving your car to Disneyland... You end up walking a little less
from the shuttle than the parking lot. The hotel had refrigerators which
we made liberal use of... We brought cereal for breakfast, juice boxes,
milk and some snacks so we didn't end up spending a huge amounts on
low-impact meals. The pool was lovely, the hot tub great.
In terms of Disneyland, we got a three day ''Park Hopper'' pass which
would have been less expensive had we gotten them through AAA. If you
plan ahead, that's the best deal or the deal through U-Hall or many
other benefits offices. FastPass works great, but you may end up getting
a FastPass for five hours later for some of the big rides (Indiana Jones,
Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad) which may or may not work with
little kids. We were there on some VERY busy days, and lines were
interminable in most attractions. If you arrive EARLY (At opening) you
will get more rides in the first hour and a half than you will for the
My toddler was afraid of any dark rides but liked most of the outside
(Dumbo, the teacups and It's a small world), My five year old liked most
the rides she was able to go on, but we didn't try any of the really wild
rides with her. My nine year old loved the big rides, but was a little
on the little kid rides. We got a guidebook called the Unofficial Guide
Disneyland, which was mildly useful. In general, what it says is, arrive
and go on the big rides first. If you want to borrow this, let me know.
We found it worth it to go to a character breakfast so the girls could
the characters. The one at Goofy's Kitchen was actually pretty good,
expensive. Book ahead or come early. Folks who arrived after 10 were told
that there would be a two hour wait.
Disney's California Adventure is lousy for little kids with the exception
''pretend Yosemite'' playground, which the girls really liked. The flume
ride was really fun for everyone. California Screaming is a big, bad
coaster and very fun for those who love them. Soaring over California is
just as amazing as everyone says. Use a fastpass for it, or go RIGHT in
morning. You only need a half a day for DCA, and it costs the same as a
ticket to Disneyland(not worth it, in other words).
Leave the park for the middle of the day... the lines are SO long, and
will be happier... We were at the park from 8-11 (roughly) went back to
hotel from 11-4 or so, and went back for great fireworks and parades and
few rides. New annoyance I hadn't anticipated was teenagers renting
wheelchairs so they'd get ''disabled'' access to the rides... They were
very wild with them.
We also went to Universal Studios. Great for older kids, but not toddlers
or more reserved younger children. The studio ride was fun, and the
Jurassic Park flume ride was really fun. They had a discount running with
Coke, so if you brought a coke can in they'd discount the ticket $4 each.
We drove there and back. Total time back: 5 hours 45 minutes to our door
Oakland, but folks who don't drive with a professional commuter may want
budget more time based on a more reasonable 75 mph pace.
In the Wall Street Journal from Tuesday, April 9, on page D16, there is a
section entitled ''Desktop Traveler /Conquering the Magic Kingdom.''
the focus is mainly Disney World, the websites they list could be
extremely helpful in planning your trip and probably include Disneyland,
well (that's my guess).
I wanted to thank those who gave recommendations about Disneyland a few
I've since been there and wanted to give a strong recommendation for
visiting the new
"Disneyland Resort." Disney has added a whole new theme park to its
(so now they call it Disneyland Resort) called California Adventure. We
visited for three
days over President's Weekend and we absolutely loved it. It wasn't too
once more people learn about the new park I bet this will change) and the
rides, attractions, food and ambiance are wonderful. We stayed in a very
nice and clean hotel literally steps from the entrances to both Disneyland
and CA Adventure (closer even than the Disney hotels) called the Best
Western Park Place. We made our reservations through AAA, but the prices
would be the same directly through Disney's website. The Park Place is
one of the "Good Neighbor" hotels affiliated with Disney but is
considerably cheaper than
the Disney hotels. We splurged on a mini-suite (2 queens and a pull-out
three-day flex passes to the parks, a "character breakfast" in the
Disneyland hotel (equal
to $16.95/adult) - with two adults and a 2-yr-old for $550 for three days.
It would have
been cheaper if we'd gone with a smaller room. Compared to the $900-1100 it
have cost to stay in any of the Disney hotels for the same time it was
quite a bargain. And
since we spent the majority of our time in the park(s) it didn't really
matter what kind of
room we had, anyway. Disneyland is still Disneyland, more oriented toward
kids. CA Adventure is definitely more geared for older kids and adults, but
there are still
several attractions appropriate for youngsters. The Paradise Pier (sort of
a copy of the
Santa Cruz Boardwalk, only better) is really fun, the restaurants are
interesting with a
range of prices. GREAT food, even at the lower end of price. Plus, the best
part of both
parks is Disney's relatively new FASTPASS system where you can go to any of
rides and get an assigned window of time to come back and get directly on
the ride without
waiting in line. You know what the return time will be before you get the
reservation, so you can plan things out. We never waited in line for a ride
more than 5-10 minutes - even Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, the new
rollercoaster, etc. We simply had a wonderful time (so did my 9-year-old
neice) and I recommend visiting soon before the summer crowds arrive!
Recommendations from 1999
I got back Saturday from a week in Southern California (3 days
at Disneyland, 2 days at Legoland, and a couple of "rest" days)
with my husband, almost-3-year-old daughter, and just-turned-5 son.
I saw a lot of people who brought their own strollers
and a lot of rental ones. We carried both kids at
Disneyland when they got tired (in arms or on shoulders)
and ended up renting a double stroller for both of them
when we went to Legoland. Disneyland does rent double
strollers, and although they don't recline, if your kids
are tired enough (as mine were) they'll probably sleep
in *any* position!
As for the rides, my kids liked the merry-go-round, the Dumbo
ride, and "It's a Small World" in Fantasyland. All the
rides like Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland
where you ride a car around in a dark place were too scary
for my almost-3 year old. In fact, other than the merry-go-round
their favorite place in the entire park was "Goofy's boat" --
a two-story stationery boat for climbing and make-believe
that is in "Mickey's Toon Town". Even my 5 year old liked
playing in the completely stationery model of a car next
to the "Autopia race track" more than actually driving the moving
car on the track!
Please note that this type of thing (which rides and activities
your children will prefer) is so varied. My best friend's 5-year-old
son loves wild rides and would be bored with rides like Dumbo.
My kids thought the tram ride between the parking lot and
the Disneyland entrance was fun!
One other note, I bought a copy of the "Unofficial Guide to
Disneyland" from amazon.com and found it tremendously useful.
This message is getting long, but I want to include what they
said about strollers since that was your main concern:
"Strollers: They are available for a modest rental fee just inside
the main entrance and to the right. The rental covers the entire day.
If you rent a stroller and later decide to go back to your hotel
for lunch, a swim, or a nap, turn in your stroller but hang on to
your rental receipt. When you return to the park later in
the day, present your receipt. You will be issued another stroller
without an additional charge.
Strollers at Disneyland are large, sturdy models with sun
canopies and cargo baskets. We have seen families load as many
as three children on one of these strollers at the same time.
The rental procedure is fast and efficient. Likewise, returning
the stroller is a breeze. Even in the evening when several hundred
strollers are turned in following the laser and fireworks show,
there is no wait and hassle.
For infants and toddlers the strollers are a must, but we have
observed many sharp parents renting strollers for somewhat older
children (up to age five or six years). The stroller prevents
parents from having to carry children when they run out of steam
and provides an easy, convenient way to carry water, snacks,
diaper bags, etc."
They also mentioned that one of their readers brought a fancy
$300 stroller of her own to Disneyland and just brought a
bike lock to secure it while they were on rides. That may
be an option for you if have an expensive stroller and
are worried about theft, although I haven't heard that it's
a problem. Also note, the double strollers for rent put both kids
in side-by-side and they share one seatbeat over both their laps.
Good luck and have fun!!
Kathy, June 1999
We just completed a 2 day trip 2 weeks ago with a 4 year old and an 11 month
old. We were in the park for 7 hours the first day. We used an umbrella
stroller for the 11 month old which I find to be the easiest to deal with in
the park. They're small enough that you can actually stand in line with
one, eg Dumbo was 45 minutes long, I kept the baby in the stroller all the
way until the end and then just collapsed it and set it over the final
railing before we got on the ride. The line areas are too narrow to fit a
standard size stroller. The 4 year old did fine w/o a stroller. Whenever
she was tired we would just carry the baby for awhile and let her ride. It
seems like they get enough rest when they're actually on the rides to do OK
walking between them. An umbrella stroller also collapses for easy riding
on the train when you don't want to do a round trip or when taking the tram.
We stayed at a wonderful hotel in Orange County last weekend, the
Embassy Suites in Santa Ana, 7 miles from Disneyland and 5 from Newport
Beach. Only $89. a night for 2 queen size beds and a separate living
room with a fold out sofa bed. Two TV's, 3 sinks, a mini-kitchen with
fridge and microwave, a full "hot" breakfast, pool and hot tub. The
center of the hotel has an Atrium that goes up 10 floors, open to the
skylight top. It is sort of a Disney type mix of Rococo/
Mexico/Italy/Hawaii, but it works! The staff is great (many of them),
it is new and well run. A great place for the family.
From: Andrea (6/98)
It looks as though I will be taking my 7 year old boy to Dizy - I mean -
Disneyland sometime soon and need support and suggestions for this trek.
When I was a kid I imagined that being in Disneyland was about as close as
one could get to experiencing what it is like in Heaven. As an adult I
imagine that it is more like Hell. Any suggestions or support for how to
make this enjoyable would be greatly appreciated. People do tell me that it
is alot of fun. I am ready to go beyond a reasonable budget to make the
adventure less stressful. I don't mean that I would consider helicoptering
in ( I know they must have a Mickey copter that lands at the heliport in
the Apocalypse Now theme ride --- please excuse my sarcasm. It is just that
I feel that our society is Disney infested. Hey, I'm anti junk food but
Ronald Mc Donald at least does some good with him money. Has Michael Eisner
ever........ OK , I'll stop. Obviously, I need support here guys) but I
hear that the Disneyland Hotel is very convenient and you can go back and
forth with ease to avoid melt down. Help!
From: See-Ming (6/98)
While I am not thrilled with the way Disney squeezes every cent they can
from you, I do enjoy Disney and have been a Disney fan most of my life. We
have been annual pass holders for years and my husband and I recently, as
in two weeks ago, visited Disneyland (DL) with our 2 1/4 year daughter. It
can be a hectic place, but if you plan your trip, it shouldn't wipe you
out. I just gave the following advice to my sister who is visiting DL with
her two kids next week.
Disneyland is undergoing major construction and is not as easily accessible
as it used to be. You definitely want to stay at a hotel near the Park
that offers free transportation to and from the Park (my friend who went
this morning said it took 20 minutes to get from the off-ramp to the
hotel), but you may not need to spend mucho bucks to stay at the DL hotel
as the really convenient feature, the monorail, is closed Monday -Friday
until 6:00p due to the street construction below it. There is a shuttle
between the Park and the DL hotel and Pan Pacific Hotel (also owned by
Disney) every 20-30 minutes. You should check out the other hotels in the
area since you will have to take a shuttle to and from the Park anyway.
I think the best way to enjoy the Park is to not *expect* to go on every
ride and to not feel like you have to squeeze in every ride because you
paid a ton of money to get into the Park. You can purchase a 5-day Flex
pass for the price of a 2-day pass at any Disney Store (you cannot
purchase this pass at the gate): price is $68/adult and $51/child (3-11)
here at UCSF; I think it costs $75/adult at the Disney Stores. This
includes the "Early Entry" feature which allows admission to the Park 1
hour before the regular hours (take advantage of this!!). There is an
attractions board at the end of Main Street, near the Carnation food area,
which lists the attractions and the waiting times for the rides.
The best times to go on rides is early in the morning and late in the
evening. The most popular rides currently are Astro Orbiter, Rocket Rods,
Indiana Jones, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Star Tours and Splash Mountain.
Of course, the perennial favorites like Dumbo, Jungle Cruise, Space
Mountain, Matter Horn, and Thunder RR also attract long lines. Plan to go
on 2 or 3 popular rides as early as possible to avoid waiting in long
lines. The lines are also quite short an hour or so before the Park
closes. *OR* pick a morning, and visit the popular-but-not-new rides like
Pirates of the Carribean, Haunted Mansion, Small World, Mr. Toad, etc.
first thing -- we did this and *walked* on the first 4-5 rides. Watch out
for the lines in Tomorrowland as that section of the Park just reopened
5/22 and the lines are incredible! Visit the Disney site:
http://www.disneyland.com/ and check out the rides. You can get an idea of
what rides you want to go on and an idea of the Park layout before you get
When the lines are long and you're feeling a little tired, have lunch
outside the Park, play in the water areas -- they just opened a new water
area in Tomorrowland that children love (but bring extra clothes or have
them wear swim clothes underneath), visit the new Innoventions area (I
personally like this a lot and it's air-conditioned!) in Tomorrowland, see
the shows in the afternoon (Disneyland Presents Animazement - The Musical
is great), go on rides with short(er) lines like the Carousel, Pinocchio,
Snow White ...
There is just something about the magic of Disneyland that brings joy to
every child. I hope you have a great time.
From: Donna (7/98)
My husband and I took our 5 year old daughter to Disneyland just this past
May. We purchased one of those Magic Kingdom Club packages (available
through UC Visitors Center) which included hotel and Disneyland passes
(also has airfare if needed). If you have the time, I highly suggest getting
the 5-day passport for Disneyland. It's very tiring trying to see all of
Disneyland in one day. We also stayed at a very reasonable and clean hotel,
Park Inn International, which is right across the street from the main
entrance to Disneyland....about a ten minute walk. We often took breaks
throughout the day and headed to the hotel for a swim and rest.
I also suggest to first time Disneyland visitors, this book " Unofficial
Guide to Disneyland". Can't think of the authors name but I got my copy from
Barnes and Noble. It's a great guide for parents and gives wonderful hints
so your visit is less stressful. There is a section in the book where each
ride is critiqued and rated for its fright factor for each age group.
From: Noah (7/98)
Took the kids (ages 4 & 6) to Disneyland to celebrate my graduation (yeah!) in
May. Had a terrific time with a minimum of planning. Went on a weekday which
made for somewhat lighter crowds. As I refuse to pay $2.50 for a small bottle
of water, we carried in a backpack with a few water bottles in it. We also
brought in some orange juice. This small effort saved us from having to buy
sodas/water and hunt for drinking fountains. We also carried in some
acceptable (acceptable to me, that is) treats like granola bars, fruit
roll-ups, licorice, and a couple pieces of chocolate. I also brought in some
cut-up apples. Thus we were able to snack while waiting in some of the longer
lines. This saved time, gave us something to do while in line, and kept me
from having fits about overpriced foods/snacks. The backpack was not a burden
mostly because we hung it on the ancient, el-cheapo umbrella stroller that we
brought from home. My daughter hasn't used it in quite awhile, but it made
all the difference for us because it gave her a chance to sit while waiting in
lines. She even napped in it in the Matterhorn line! (Strollers in general
are not a burden because every other family there has one and there are huge
parking areas outside of almost every ride.) Anyway, we had only one day and
we went like crazy from noon until the park closing at midnight. (We nearly
slept away the next day!) Our motel was the Best Western Park Place Inn which
straddles the crosswalk that leads to the park entrance. I think only the
shuttle buses can park closer than that motel. We couldn't have been closer
if we tried to get the best Disney parking place. It was a blast and we have
no regrets except that we couldn't have afforded to stay longer. I hope you
have lots of fun and go with a positive attitude. (Just close your eyes to
all of the gift shops attached to the ride exits!) Our kids thoroughly
enjoyed themselves as did the two overgrown-kids they have for parents. As
proof I can say that our 6-year-old only whined once during the entire day
and that was because he thought we were walking too fast in the Swiss Family
Robinson Tree house. I think it also helped that we kept the trip a secret
until the last minute. This avoided the "build-up" that sometimes messes with
kids' expectations. I guess it also gave us as parents a thrill to know we
were surprising our kids with something they were going to love. (P.S. don't
forget lightweight windbreakers if you plan to stay late into the night.)
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 13:36:01 -0700
Hi all, We recently took our two-year old to Disneyland, and checked out
the information on the UCB parents website before our trip. We all
(Grandma was there too) had a really great time watching the Lion King
Parade, and we never would have gone to it without reading about it at the
website. Thank you all for passing on your suggestions. I actually have
a few suggestions (maybe these can be added to the site):
1) Get there when it opens, and call Disneyland to find out the exact
hours before you go. We found out the night before we went that they were
opening at 8am. The hours listed on Disney's website were 9-midnight, and
weren't up-to-date. We did have to wait in line for our entrance ticket,
but once we got in we had the rides to ourselves.
2) If there are lots of crowds, and the waits are overwhelming at the cool
rides, go on the Jungle Cruise ride. The tourguides give a really silly
talk, because the ride is so campy and outdated. We all enjoyed it much
more than we expected to.
3) If your kid(s) likes to climb and run around, visit Tom Sawyer's Island.
OK, here's my Disneyland advice.
1. Find out what time it opens the day you're there and arrive at
opening time. (Opening time varies; call)
2. Get a locker first thing. Right by the main entrance. You can stash
jackets (it will get cool later) and other supplies and lockers may fill
up by the afternoon so get one early.
3. Will your kid consider riding in a stroller? They are very handy
by mid-day when they're tired and don't want to walk/stand anymore.
Strollers are right by the main entrance too.
4. Plan out which 2 of the most popular rides you want most to see and
go there first, or wait until after 9pm to go there.
For example, Indiana Jones is new, and lines will be long, but the
wait will be quicker in the morning.
5. My faves are Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted House and Star Wars.
The first two are a lot of fun for nighttime. They all 3 had long lines
last summer but not at night.
6. If you're staying at a motel with a pool, consider leaving the big D
around noon to go swimming, eat lunch, maybe even TAKE A NAP. Then you
can go back in the afternoon when it starts cooling off. Disneyland is
really fun at night, and they're open till midnight, if the little one
doesn't wear out.
7. Don't miss the night-time show, which people will start lining up
for in an obvious way. The one last year was a totally cool laser show
on the big pond in the middle. It's true that you can easily get on any
ride while the shows are going on, but the show itself is better than
getting a short wait for a popular ride.
I don't think there is a MacDonald's. There is plenty of kid-oriented
food around and it does tend to be expensive, about what you'd expect.
But I did find plain pasta for pretty cheap, hot dogs, stuff like that.
Also I took in snacks in a backpack, which I ended up stashing in the
locker. However, be forewarned that unless the snack is really good,
your child will probably prefer one of the ever-present goody stands.
By the way, from a mom's perspective on food, there was no beer anywhere
to be had, I can tell you that. And it gets hot down there!
We took our 2-1/2 year old over Memorial Day weekend, and of course
it was packed! But I get the impression it's always like that during
the summer. One day we arrived at the gate at about 7:15; the park
had opened at 7:00. But when we got to Dumbo, there was already a
long line (not long compared to the lines for Indiana Jones, but long
for a 2-year-old to be patient). There is no McDonald's within the
park, but there is one on Harbor Blvd. right across from the entrance.
The food within the park is pretty expensive for "fast food," but
not excessively so.
Have fun! My boy keeps talking about going back.
We took our 5.5 year old son in April and it was a great time.
If you are going for just one day, get ahold of the map/brochure
in advance (at your hotel or at the monorail station in the Disneyland Hotel
-- you don't have to be a guest at the hotel to use the station).
Pick out the things you want to do most so that you don't waste time
in the a.m., when the kids are too excited to study the map. It's
crowded even at 8 am, but zip off the the "big wait" rides
early. With any luck, your son is too young/short for
Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain, and waiting in a 2-hour
line won't be an issue!
There are McDonald-like places all over D-land, more
expensive, but not that bad. For a healthier item, the
hamburger place in Bear Country makes a great tuna sandwich.
We filled a backpack with snackss, and it kept the price of
impulse food buying down. Don't miss the parades (the Lion
King parade and the nighttime Electric Parade). The crowds
are big, but it is easy to find a spot to see since the
parade routes are so long you might have to sit on a curb
for 30 mins., but it's a good time for a rest and a snack.
Hope you have a great time!
We took our kids 2 years ago with that Safeway program.
We were in the park by 8:00 in the morning for breakfast
with the characters along with at 500-1000 other people!
No matter how early you go it will be crowded!
Yes the food was very expenisive. If my memeory serves me right
I bought the kids a lunch box juice for 1.00. When ever we go
to the movies or out for the day, I freeze the kids their own
personal water bottle that I keep in my bag. I also pack them
fruit snacks, jello etc. This worked well when we went to universal
studios last month. The kids want to eat until dinner time. We bought
them 1 drink & we took breaks...they pulled out a snack and enjoyed
the freedom of having their own stuff. Since we were on the move & there
was so much to see they worry about what was in there bag.
I also saw a women with lots of fruit in her bag!
Hope this info is helpful!
I don't recall a McD's but would imagine the cost is the same. My advice
is to get a package deal and stay at the Disneyland Hotel. I took my now
15 year old and 3 year old a couple of years ago and boy did it make things
convenient. I could go back on the train with the baby when she got tired
and the rest of the family could continue to enjoy the park. Food varied
in prices so look around.
Disneyland is one of those places that costs money, plain and simple. Beyond
the tickets for admission, it's real easy to spend $50-$100, even though the
rides are free. Plan your day so that at least one meal (lunch or dinner) is
eaten outside the park and you'll save dough. Also, try to buy your Disney
souvenirs at a mall Disney store before you get there instead of at
Disneyland, where they are much more expensive.
the food is expensive, I was in Disneyland recently but I didn't spot McDonalds
in there, what we did, is packed some sandwiches, fruits, drinks ( I had a
cooler in my van so I had cold drinks) and didn't spend so much money on
I do recomend to show up early, if you pick up the discount package from
U-hall, you may pick some special packages and be able to have breakfast with
the characters! : these packages include combinations of Universal studios
tour, hotels, etc.
I took my 13 and 16 year olds to Disneyland the end of June and don't
remember seeing _anything_ not trademarked by Disney. Food is expensive
there, especially with the two bottomless pits that I hang out with;-)
It sounds like you are only planning on spending one day at Disneyland...
we stumbled onto a great deal that took the pressure off of trying to do
it all in one day. Local campgrounds (including KOA) and motels have a
5 day pass that sells for about the same price as a two day pass....
Plan on spending lots of time standing in line (my legs hurt by the 3rd
day and my youngest kept stepping on my toes:( ), especially for the
more exciting rides-none of which go upside down.
this page was last updated: Nov 26, 2014
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network