TIPS FOR DOING DISNEYLAND WITH A TODDLER
With our recent trip to Disneyland, I wanted to share with you some of my tips for tackling Disneyland with a toddler! Let me start by saying you know your child best. These are just tips and tricks that worked for us, but each child is different. These tips are pretty similar to my Disneyland with a Baby post, but slightly updated since little man is mobile! It’s a lot of work, but I loved it!
- Stroller- I know strollers can be annoying because they take up space and it’s just another thing to worry about, but they are so useful. Especially when you have a tired child! Sometimes little man had no interest in being in the stroller (I don’t blame him!), but when he was tired or it was too busy for him to walk, it was a necessity. Nap times were usually done in the stroller while we walked back to the hotel. Most of the time, snack time took place while lounging in the stroller. It was definitely a comfort thing for him because he goes in the stroller almost everyday and it’s familiar.
- Snacks/food- Disneyland allows you to bring your own food into the park. I usually brought him some apple sauce or fruit and veggie mixtures in a squeeze pouch, veggie straws, yogurt melts and z-bars. Caden really likes all of these snacks so I made sure to have some at all times. This way he can munch on them in the park. Snacks also kept him occupied while we waited in lines. I always had a water bottle with me too. I used this one. I filled it up with ice before adding water and it stayed cold all day long. If it got empty, I just asked a near by restaurant to fill it up. This way we didn’t have to pay for water. When it came time for meals, I usually just ordered something for myself (with him in mind) so we could just share.
- Backpack/ diaper bag- I decided to use this backpack. It’s a lot smaller than the diaper bag I have, but I didn’t need too much stuff in it. I made sure to pack the basics: diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, snacks, water, a pair of pants for little man, sunscreen and his sunglasses. The stroller had a basket at the bottom, so I could store things there too. Disneyland also has security checks. The less stuff you pack to take into the park, the quicker your security check is.
- Toys/ souvenirs- Target is the best place to find Disney clothes for great prices!! Most clothes and toys from the park can get pretty pricey. I did buy him the Mickey bubble machine. He saw another child playing with one while we were at dinner. The two kids played together, chasing bubbles everywhere. I figured why not get him the bubble machine, he loves bubbles and he can use it at home. He actually loved sitting in the stroller just holding his bubble machine while the bubbles flew around him. Honestly, it was a great purchase— and since we’ve been home, he uses it almost everyday! INSIDER TIP: the batteries that come with the machine are very cheap. Our machine started dying the next day. I stopped by the shop and they replaced my batteries with new and better ones. You could hear the difference when you turned it on.
- Space to run and play: Now that Caden is running everywhere, I knew this was going to be struggle. It can be very crowded at Disneyland and he is all about walking everywhere and being mr. independent. For the most part he was pretty good about it. At times he knew the stroller was the better choice and was content in the stroller. When he did want to walk, I tried to make sure it was his traffic areas. Toontown is a great spot for a toddler to get some energy out. It’s got plenty of space for children to move around. Caden enjoyed going to areas that were less crowded so he could play with his bubble machine. This usually attracted other children too! They would all play together, popping bubbles and running around. California Adventure also has some Disney Jr. shows that would be entertainment for your child. We didn’t make it to them, but will next time! Also he wasn’t a fan of character meet and greets. Some children love them, some absolutely do not. If your child does, you can easily get times and places from the Disneyland app or at the park.
- Baby center- I love changing his diaper here! It’s not crowded like all the bathrooms. They have plenty of changing tables. There is a sink to wash hands too. Once he starts potty training, this will be a great place to go to. They have child size toilets, perfect for children who want to be independent or still learning.
- Rides- We went on a few rides like “It’s a Small World” and “Winnie the Pooh”. He seemed like he enjoyed them. He didn’t freak out, so thats a plus! Going on rides is also a way to cool down. “It’s a Small World” is long and has plenty of air conditioning to cool you down while you rest your feet.
- Stick to your child’s routine- I knew when Caden was due for a nap. When nap time was near, we headed back to the hotel. He would usually fall asleep walking back and would get a good nap in at the hotel. At night he still got tired around his usual bedtime. I didn’t want to over do it and push him past his limits. So if you can, try to stick to your child’s normal schedule.
- Be flexible- Even though I just mentioned sticking to your child’s routine, you should be flexible too. Disneyland is a busy place. Lots of people, sounds, and stimulation. A child can easily become overstimulated, which can be very hard for them to deal with. If your child is ready to nap earlier than usual, then help them out by making that possible. Maybe your child wants to nap later, don’t force them to go down when you know it will be a struggle for both of you. It’s all about going with the flow and adjusting as needed.
- Have fun!- You’re at Disneyland so go make some memories!