I was used to doing Disneyland as an adult. Riding Splash Mountain and Matterhorn, grabbing a cocktail at Carthay Circle at California Adventure, wandering around with no care in the world. Let me tell ya, visiting the magic kingdom with two kids under two is a little different, but totally "magical" in a different way. Nothing beats their faces and excitement on your first trip to Disneyland. Here are some quick pointers and tips that helped me survive my first trip with two kids.
WHAT TO PACK
Water - we brought water bottles for the family because there are a ton of places to refill around Disney and California Adventure- from water fountains to filtered water spouts. If you are looking for filtered water there are a few locations:
The Mint Julep Bar has a filtered water spout next to the order window.
Rancho del Zocalo has one as well in the courtyard seating area.
Galactic Grill near the order windows
The Baby Care Center at the end of Main Street at Disney and near Ghirardelli at California Adventure also have filtered water
Comfortable shoes — please, please wear and pack comfy shoes. I almost made the mistake of having my son wear his brand new Disney Vans, but my husband reminded me that they weren't broken in. After the day we had, I could only imagine what his feet would have been like in brand new shoes. Go with whatever is tried and true for both you and the kids.
Stroller with a big storage basket and/or bag clips — with two kids we needed to bring our stroller. Disneyland is stroller heaven so be prepared to navigate around them all over the park. If you can the best thing to bring is a light umbrella stroller, but because I had two I had to bring my hunk of a double stroller. Luckily it had a huge under carriage basket where I could store my diaper bag, blankets, hats, shopping bags , etc. We also had bag clips for the handle bar for additional storage. That way we didn't have to lug anything around on our backs.
Bandana or Bright Color Ribbon - We tied a bright colored bandana around our stroller so we could easily distinguish it from the others when parking them in the massive stroller parking areas in front of the rides. Luckily our stroller is already a bright blue, but for others who have common strollers, this trick comes in handy.
Baby Carrier - I brought my Ergo baby to carry my little around in, especially while we waited in the lines. It was a total lifesaver.
Snacks - I have very picky eaters so I packed a ton of snacks — cheez-its (don't judge), string cheese, hot dog, etc. Park food can be expensive and since my boy doesn't eat a lot, it helped save us some money.
Thermos Lunch Box - we packed the snacks and milk for my son in a thermos lunch box to keep everything cold and for it to not spoil.
Pacifier Clip - If your kids use a paci, its imperative you bring a clip. From the excitement and them just being kids, they paci will get thrown and you will never find it. Even with the clip we lost ours because my son was so wild he must have thrown it in a fit of excitement.
Blankets - Pack blankies for nap time and night time. It can get cold at night during the Fall and Winter months so you need to keep them cozy.
Pajama's - If you plan on staying late for the parades it may be easiest to change them into their PJ's so they can fall asleep and you can just transfer them into their bed when you get home or at the hotel. One less thing for you to worry about.
Autograph Book - I always thought it was cheesy to get character autographs, but man it sure put a big smile on my face seeing how happy my son got when Eeyore signed his book. Worth it.
WHAT TO Do
Buttons - you can get special celebration buttons from a few places in the park like the park entrance, information booth, some food locations, city hall, etc. We got 1st Visit buttons for both Jagger and Layla.
City Hall - I've heard if you are at City Hall you can ask to talk to a Disney character on the phone. I wasn't able to try this, but is definitely on my list for my next visit.
Character Breakfast - The breakfast at the Plaza Inn is a good place to meet a lot of characters, but dont sit outside on a hot day because the characters try to stay away from heat.
Fantasyland - this is where most of the attractions for toddler and babies live. You can ride Dumbo, the Tea Cups, the Carousel and It's a Small World.
Mickey's Toontown - here you get to meet Mickey and Minnie in their own house, plus there is a lot of room to run and places to climb to keep your kids entertained.
Cars Land - we had to go to DCA and visit Cars Land because my son is obsessed with the movie. You can meet Lightning McQueen and Mater in front of the Cozy Cone Motel. The lines sometimes get long, but it's so worth it. The cars will talk with you and you can get a ton of photos. We also got to ride Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. He spun around loved every second of it. Cars Land was the highlight of Jagger's trip.
Disneyland California Adventure - we were able to ride Monsters Inc, Ariel's Undersea Adventure, hung out at Bugs Land and also partied it up and danced with the cool kids at the Mad T Party.
Parades - The Pixar parade at 5pm at DCA was a must for us since my son loves all the Pixar movies. Seeing Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Nemo, Crush, Lightning McQueen and Mater dancing around had him all in a tizzy.
Baby Care Centers - the most important tip for any mommy visiting Disneyland and DCA is the nurseries. There is one at Disneyland at the North end of Main Street right behind the Plaza Inn and another at DCA near Ghirardelli in Pacific Wharf. These baby care centers are super clean and have areas to nurse, change diapers, small potties for toddler and a kitchen area where you can get filtered water for bottles, microwave food and purchase any necessities like formula that you may have forgotten. I literally used the nursery at least five times during my visit. I never changed a diaper in the regular bathroom. Just planned out all my diaper changes around the nursery and it was well worth it!
There is so much to do at Disneyland and DCA but you can't accomplish it all in one day. The key to it all is pacing yourself and planning it out or else you and your family will go nuts.
Would love to hear about your family adventure's to Disney. Leave any tips or fun things to do in the comments below.