Let me add to the title here a little bit (writing from a MOMS perspective) ‘How to Disneyland in 1 Day, also with toddlers’.
This is ones more of an excuse to look back on some amazing memories we made last year while going to Disney. We went once with my sister and brother in law (who were incredibly gracious and handy baby sitter for us) and a second time by ourselves. Sharing some cute pictures along with tips of what to do and see.
I think Disney sells itself really well with A L L the draw and hype around it. But I have heard lots of friends who still have never been.
(You guys I was born in Anaheim literally blocks away from Disneyland, I think they need to send me some lifetime passes yooo. Anyways…)
Its been fun seeing lots of friends come visit SoCal and others who have moved into the area. And when I ask many of them “Have you been to Disneyland?” most answered no and then had a series of questions and objections about going there.
Whats so special about it? Is it worth the $$$? Its crowded. Last but not least How did you do it with small kids & how do you do Disneyland in one day?
I think there is a common miss perception about Disneyland that its ONLY for kids & families.
On the contrary its THE perfect place to go on a date & if anything its very Romantic especially at night!
Lets just put aside all the prep, the checklists of things to do & see, ‘will we see enough?’, Mickey Mouse, the nursing, snacks, naps, too hot/ too cold weather (yes cold happens here), crowds & lines…pheww. You may ask “WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO YOU, your kids & to Disneyland?”
On the drive to the park, on the tram that takes you to the park, at the ticketing line ‘$$$’, at the photo stop before entering the park & lastly to the first melt down 20ft into the park when Naomi wanted to take her socks off. haha . Lol. Cry face emoji. ‘I asked myself how are we going to do this?’
But, putting aside THE ANXIOUS pessimist inside of me, I put on the pragmatic/optimist hat for this particular adventure. We loaded up the double stroller and had two separate trips to Disneyland in 2017 both for one day. Both were great but came better prepared and equipped the second time with a few tricks up our sleeve.
There is really something magical in the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH there is a way to make the most of your time even with little ones in one Day.
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS ON HOW TO DO DISNEYLAND TO THE MAX IN A DAY! No Raagrets! (inside joke)
1.Buy your tickets in advance + MAXpass
I highly recommend this because you skip the LONG line & get the Maxpass. For $20 more you get to cut the wait time in lines by reserving your place in line using the Disney MAXpass app. This allows you to plan out your day, make an itinerary and move smoother through the rides & lands within the park.
It was so easy and WORTH the little extra you pay to save TIME to get on more rides.
We took turns on some rides that were not for little kids which were only 2 of them and the rest are FAMILY FRIENDLY. Chloe at 9 months went on Pirates of the Caribbean! So you get to experience all the fun together!
It feels sooo VIP. Enough said.
2. Devise a game plan
You got maxpass. G R E A T. Now what? Start booking your rides and they give you an hour window to make the reservation. You can reserve two rides at a time. Pick which one in your proximety and still go on rides while waiting for your reservation.
IN GENRERAL THOUGH. While you are loading up your maxpass, we decided to do Disney clockwise.
Now Disney consists of a main alley that takes you straight to the castle with lots of shopping along the way with multiple themed “lands” to explore, taste, ride & see all around on your left & right. SAVE THE MAIN ALLEY SHOPS FOR LATER. (They are sooo smart at Disney. Although the park is closed the shops stay open an extra hour while you get those magnets & trinkets.$$)
Your eye is just wondering all directions pulling into the marvel of it all upon entering. It’s truly a wonderland! Its overwhelming especially to even take it all in. But, try to stick to the plan as much as possible & just get lost in the magic.
So again, what do I mean by clockwise? In example, the farthest area from the entrance is Toontown behind the castle. Its at the ’12 o’clock’ hour if I were to point to it on a clock.
I start there because that’s were you can meet the main characters, parades begin (they go all day) & end there. There are LOTS of fun places to explore all ages and a tot-lot too.. That way they can get to experience Disneyland with Mickey & friends in the adorable back drop of the characters very own homes!
Grab some of the essential photos & autographs & by the time morning starts its nap time.
3. Avoiding the crowds
I don’t think there really is a time or special pocket in the week that has no crowds.
Maybe less crowds like after Christmas season & New Year? We went on a Tuesday and on a Monday and both were PACKED. So can’t help you there. I feel like every time I drive by there are swarms of people coming into the park! Try not to go on a weekend that’s basically all to it.
4. Eats & Must haves
Definitely come to feast with your eyes, its like sensory ooooverload but I will highlight what I’ve tried and some yummy goodies to try.
I loooove the world-famous turkey legs in the kiosks, the churro is always the first treat I get with my cappuccino & please get the beignets in the New Orleans corridor.
If you are going without the kiddos. I highly recommend getting a reservation at ‘Blue Bayou’. SO ROMANTIC. Its magically located inside a ride which is under a star lit sky (all day) with tasty creole creations & American classics. Quite the experience.
Dole whip. Just try it.
Fresh kettle corn is everywhere.
You can bring your own food and drinks! I brought a lot of snacks & toddler friendly food that wasn’t easy to find or purchase at the park. (There are also bottle warming stations and nursing rooms around the park. aka lots of benches)
During one of our trips SoCal was having one of the biggest wind storms had seen all year. The fireworks even had to be canceled and after the sun went down in the winter there was a VERY brisk strong wind that carried into the evening.
We were down on snacks, gold fish, pouches and even water. Desperate for shelter & food lol. (Its hard to find indoor seating & eating in the park as its mostly designed to keep you outdoors.)
- This indoor indoor pizzeria/cafeteria came up with a salad bar located in Tomorrow-land. We took to our seats not expecting much from the food coming there for convience. I got the Chicken Cesar and we got slices of pizza to share.
- IT WAS FANTASTIC!
This leads me to my next point.
5. Expect quality & cleanliness!!
This isn’t a tip but its my recommendation/stamp of approval to say again GO TO DISNEYLAND.
(Especially if you get a chance during Christmas, more magic EVERYWHERE)
They set a high standard and it comes through EVERYWHERE in the park. Its clean, accessible, making it stroller city & the food is not a let down. Everyone is so friendly and helpful.
6. Disneyland during Christmas
If you get a chance to go during the Christmas season, go! It REALLY adds to the magic you get of the park but the benefit of the million dollar lights, shows, decor & Christmas on steroids experience you get!
The weather is comfortable, light jackets, not too hot. I mean Santa & Mickey mouse on one float? I’m in.
Imagine this. To top off our Christmas visit to the park we got some hot chocolate as we strolled the open shops topping off the night with snow fall, twinkling lights EVERYWHERE with a 100 foot real Christmas & castle for the backdrop. Romantic much? Oh, and we had two sleeping babies so we got to take turns and ride Space Mountain a few more times.
We stayed to the closing of the park both times. Straying from the schedules and routines and just got transported and lost in all the M A G I C.
(Fun fact, I have performed at Disneyland with my Chorale back in school days. I got to see the tunnels and the back stage of the park which is just as big or bigger than the park. WOW.)
So no, you will not see me there on stage lol. But, I really believe in the magic and its what you make of the time and day you have there. I believe there is some planning and with a few tips you can make some amazing memories.
Hope you get a chance to visit soon! Ill write my thoughts and review of our Disney Cruise when we go in 2019!