The countdown is on for our Disneyland vacation! This is the first time we are taking the boys, ages 6 and 3.5, and if their excitement at changing the countdown each day is any indication of how magical this vacation will be, I am all in. We didn’t have strong opinions about waiting until they were older to go to Disneyland, it kind of just worked out this way with life and finances. I do have to say though, I’m stoked we won’t have to worry about nap times during our time there!
Heather and her family have visited the park many times and while she is my main source of information, I wanted to put together a comprehensive guide of all the amazing tips and tricks that are shared from other Disney experts around the blogosphere. There’s so much to learn! Some of the tidbits that I was glad to find include:
- Almost every single expert Disney blogger says to bring a stroller. I knew our 3 year old would need a place to rest but my real dilemma was whether or not to bring the single stroller or the double so the 6-year-old would have a place to rest too. We will definitely be bringing the double after reading all of these tips!
- Learning there is free ice water at any place that serves soda puts my mind at ease, no one likes cranky, dehydrated kids (or parents!)
- Where to find coffee because, ya know, caffeine intake is imperative.
- If you have character dining vouchers, you can redeem the value at any Disney restaurant
Heather has also shared her tips from last summer in 10 ways to survive Disneyland with toddlers. I’m all over numbers 1 and 2. 😉
Prepping for Your Vacation
We went back and forth about when we wanted to take our vacation and ultimately, it came down to wanting to go during a “less busy” time (I say that knowing full well it’s always freaking busy of course). Simply Darrling’s tips for Disney post suggests using Is It Packed? crowd forecaster to at least give you an idea of what you’re up against.
We bought our vacation package through Costco and thanks to Thrifty and Thriving’s post, we learned that if you read the fine print on the back of the character dining vouchers, it says you can redeem the value of the character dining voucher at ANY Disney restaurant. That’s $49 for an adult and $29 per kid! So instead of using all 4 vouchers on one meal we can use one per meal, pay the difference and get more for our money.
I love Meg’s tips for first timers at Disney World and I think most are applicable to Disneyland as well. I am definitely a more go with the flow type of person so I’m glad to see that attitude still allows for an enjoyable Disney experience.
What to Pack
I’m stoked I don’t have to put together a packing list because Simply Bessy already did it for me!
I don’t think I would have thought to bring a change of clothes until Love, Joleen’s post convinced me. Better to be safe than sorry!
For even more packing help, check out Exploring Domesticity’s post about the most overlooked items to pack for Disney.
Hair ties and wireless charger! Would have totally forgotten these things if it weren’t for Carly at Lipgloss and Crayons’ post about what to pack.
Ridin’ Dirty: Rides Tips + Tricks
The only thing I’m kiiiind of worried about is waiting in line with two impatient kids. These tips, by Sunshine & Munchkins, to keep kids busy while in line are so great and I’m going to utilize every single one.
I am not a huge planner so I haven’t really thought about which rides the boys will or won’t be able to go on. This guide to the kid-friendly rides by Christina of The Patricios for Brea Getting Fit is going to be super helpful.
I had no clue about the rider swap passes! My kids are definitely at an age where Harrison will be able to go on everything while Sullivan is still a bit too small. Lovestalgia’s tips for Disney with small children relieved my fear that Tyler and I would be switching off with him.
Discovering Parenthood has a great graphic for the best toddler-friendly rides at Disneyland. Screenshot-ing that for sure.
Food + Drink
I am SO happy to learn you can get free ice water anywhere in the park. Our trip is early April so I don’t anticipate scorching temps but it’s nice to know we don’t have to pack 800 water bottles to survive the day.
While no one in my family has nut allergies, I have many friends whose kids do. It makes me happy to know that navigating Disney with nut allergies is not just doable, but easy. Thanks for sharing your tips, M.O.B. Truths.
In the Park
As far as overall Disneyland guides go, this one from How We Do is clutch. I will be saving to my phone and referencing A LOT. I especially love the food and ride suggestions section.
I love this must-have photo list from Lipgloss and Crayons. I’m all about those photos!
I had heard this pin trading game existed but was unsure how it works–this Beginners Guide to Pin Trading by Wit and Wander is so helpful. I’m a pin collector in my regular life and I think this will be super fun for both me and the boys!
Money Saving Tips
Disney is freaking expensive. I am looking for all the money-saving tips out there and Mama Cheaps has great tips and 14 things you should buy at the Dollar Store before you leave!
I’m all about these money-saving tips from Thrifty and Thriving, too. I already bought our trading pins ahead of time (see below)!
Must-Have Disney-Inspired Items From Small Shops
Like I said above, we are going to partake in the Disney pin trading with cast members. One tip said to buy your own in bulk before you leave to save money. I found this shop on Etsy and bought an assortment. I can’t wait for them to arrive!
For autographs, I knew I wanted to get something that we could display. I happened upon this banner by GlamBanners and I am OBSESSED. It came packaged adorably, attached to a clipboard and with a sharpie–ready for it’s journey through Disney. I love it!
I also had to snag myself a tee from It’s A Magical Adventure because, duh.
After reading through all of these amazing tips, I am feeling so ready for our vacation! I can’t wait to come back with some of my own tips, follow us on Instagram if you want to follow along on our trip to Disney!
Do you have any Disney tips? Let us know in the comments below!