I always loved Disneyland as a kid. I always dreamt of taking my family one day. Mike and I have been twice when we were dating. I forget how much fun disneyland can be as an adult! We ran around all the rides and went into downtown disney to drink and came back again. It was so fun! We were also crazy and young and decided we could do disneyland in one day. No way I could do that now. HIs family has a condo in dowtown san diego so we would just take the Amtrak to Anaheim for the day. It is a great cheap option if you don’t have a car!
Once we decided we were going to try to fit in a Disneyland trip before Landon turned 3 (so he would be free) I started mass researching and planning. I got the best deal from Get Away Today with adults at kids prices. I liked that company because they were first of all, legit disney distributor, and you received the physical tickets in the mail. They were also valid for the whole year. Also if you bundle with hotels you can get an even better deal. We didn’t end up doing a deal with a hotel because we had some hotel points that we needed to use anyway. We stayed at the Sheraton by Disneyland. The hotel worked out great! It was a 15 minute walk to disneyland and surrounded by a ton of restuarants, so we didn’t have to worry about transportation. We also sprang for the club floor upgrade. If the hotel your staying at has this option, BUY IT! Ours included breakfast every morning (either in the club or buffet downstairs). This made it so easy to get out in the morning and we also grabbed snacks and water to take with us in the park. Also from 5-7pm they have a happy hour with drinks and food. Honestly, you could have eaten it for dinner! Great to stop there before the night in the park.
I also wanted to take into account the best time of year to go to Disneyland. Being it would be the first time with our kid, I wanted it to be as less busy as possible. First tip I learned was to go during the week. We opted to go monday-wednesday which was perfect. It can get much busier on the weekends with locals and people out of school and such. The best times of year to go are Jan/Feb and September. The only downside to Jan/feb time is they sometimes close some attractions for maitenance so make sure to check to make sure your favorite ride is still open. This didn’t really affect us. Also, sometimes you can get rain around this time. We were prepared for rain, but didn’t get any thankfully! It did reach almost 90 one day though! The great thing about going in september is you might catch all the fun Halloween festivities starting without the crowds.
We started our vacation at the end of January, and it was great. Since we had our toddler, and were planning on finishing off the week in San Diego we decided to drive. It was actually really fun! I haven’t driven to anaheim since I was a kid, so it was really fun to stop at the Cabazon Dinosaurs when we got into california. Though it was not as spectacular as I remember it as a kid, Landon loved it! I mean, it was dinosaurs so we couldn’t go wrong. There isn’t really much to do there unless you want to go in the museum for $15 (no thanks). We did go in the gift shop and got Landon a little dinosaur to remember his first visit. It took us about 8 hours with stops from Tucson to Anaheim. We got to the hotel, dropped our stuff off and went for a quick dinner at cheesecake factory and rested up for a fun filled day at disneyland.
Here is a list of what we brought into disneyland with us:
– Umbrella stroller equipped with a drink/snack carrier. I also saw a lot of people who put lights or something recognizable on their strollers. So genius since there are a lot of strollers and it makes it easier to find in a crowd. I had a bright purple water bottle which is how we spotted ours.
– SNACKS. I cannot stress this enough. We all know toddlers love to snack and they will be needing a lot of energy to get through their long play filled days. Just keep in mind only restrictions are no glass containers. Even pack lunch if you don’t want to splurge on pricey Disney lunches.
– Sunblock and hats. Its sunny california and you have to be prepared and protected.
– Change of clothes. This was necessary for us because our toddler just got done potty training so we knew there was a possibility for accidents. You might want to bring some even if your kids are fully potty trained as other accidents happen, or they could get wet in one of the rides
– Refillable water bottle. Save money on expensive water bottles by packing some of your own. You can fill it up in the restaurants or at the drinking fountains around disney.
– Disney apparel that we previously bought. One of my best money saving tips would be to buy as much disney products BEFORE you go to Disneyland! Disney stuff is super marked up in disneyland. I found a lot of great shirts from Target and Old Navy and bought enough for all of us to wear throughout our 3 days. Since I was 23 weeks pregnant, it was hard to find maternity disney clothes. I tried the Lularoe Disney line to be perfect! I just sized up from my normal size and it fit perfect. Super stretchy and comfortable. Also if you want disney ears to wear around the park, search easy for super cute ones before hand or borrow some from a friend. You will save yourself $25 on a pair!
– Comfy Shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking! Make sure you and your kids are in comfy shoes that they can wear the whole day.
– IPAD or iPhone. I do not condone electronics at all (though I’m super guilty of over using), but one thing I saw people doing while waiting in the long lines was they were playing heads up! I thought what a great idea to get the whole family occupied.
Overall we had an amazing time! It was actually a great time to go, with me being pregnant and landon being little. Most of the rides I couldn’t go on, neither could he. I thought it would suck for my husband to not being able to ride our usual favorite rides, but we didn’t feel like we were missing out at all. Landon was so in love with interacting with his favorite disney characters. I think he liked it more than actually riding rides. For reference Landon was a little more than 36″ tall when we went and could ride most rides accept, the super fast, roller coaster ones.
Have questions or advice about Disneyland? Drop them in the comments below!