Doing Disney

Taking Toddlers and Babies To Disneyland | Your Must Do’s!

Thinking of taking toddlers and babies to Disneyland?

Forget those who tell you children that age won’t enjoy themselves or that it’s not worth it because they won’t remember it. I cannot stress enough how much fun my kids had in the Parks at that age! If you go with the proper mindset, information, and preparation, there is no reason why you can’t have a completely magical vacation with your toddlers and babies! In fact, I’d say our two year old was the ideal age for Disney!

MUST DO’s For Taking Toddlers and Babies to Disneyland

Babies in Disneyland Must Do's

1. Get a 5 day pass (or as many days possible)
Before children we could see everything we wanted in about three days and then do repeats the rest of the trip, but when it comes to taking toddlers and babies to Disneyland, even with a five day pass there are things we never got to. Sometimes they are resting, sometimes they are cranky and sometimes you miss a show or parade because someone has a diaper explosion that needs cleaning! A five day pass is the biggest you can get in Disneyland Resort and it’s something we always opt for. Oh and on a side note, a three day pass isn’t much cheaper than a five day, so you are getting a lot more for your money by adding those two extra days!

Happy boy meeting Buzz!
Happy boy meeting Buzz!
Hanging out with Woody
Hanging out with Woody

2. Meet characters
I’m a firm believer in dropping all plans to meet characters! My oldest loves pretty much anyone in costume and was quite happy to get autographs and pose for pictures. You will have to wait in line to meet one, but a cast member will usually ‘cut off’ the line once it hits about 15-20 minutes (at least off season.) If you want an easy way to get in several characters at once, book a character breakfast! We did Mickeys Surfs Up at Paradise Pier Hotel and enjoyed a yummy buffet while Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, Pluto and Daisy came over to our table. You’ll pay a pretty penny to eat there, but if your kids are under three they get to eat for free. I also highly recommend getting or making some kind of autograph book for your toddler. It gives the littles something to do when they approach a character and helps those who may be fearful. I wasn’t sure ours would get use, but our toddler loved his and loves to go through it now that we’re home. Great souvenir!

Noah after waiting 40 minutes in extreme heat to see Tinkerbell.
Noah after waiting 40 minutes in extreme heat to see Tinkerbell.
Kisses for Mickey Mouse (in his special Newsies outfit!)
Kisses for Mickey Mouse (in his special Newsies outfit!)

3. Watch the Parades & Disney Junior Live
My sons were obsessed with the parades! We saw them in both parks twice and every single time they were dancing, clapping and waving to everyone. You need to find a spot about 45 minutes before it starts, so one of us would sit while the other would stick the kids in the stroller and go for a walk. Disney Junior LIVE in California Adventure is also wonderful. I don’t want to give anything away, but my toddler loved all the things that came down from the ceiling. And of course you get to hear all your favorite songs from Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Jake & the Neverland Pirates and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!

Dory came over to say HI during the Pixar Parade.
Dory came over to say HI during the Pixar Parade.
The Toy Story Float during the Pixar Parade.
The Toy Story Float during the Pixar Parade.

4. Take breaks
We saw a lot of meltdowns from other toddlers and babies in the parks. We were able to avoid them for the most part by going with the flow of our children and stopping when they needed a rest. Plan to take breaks – Don’t push! If the park hours are longer, head back to your hotel for a nap and some pool time and return early evening. If the park hours are shorter then try to get them to nap in their strollers or even on you for a while. It’ll recharge them (and you) and then you’ll be good to go for another couple of hours. And speaking of strollers, make sure you bring one that is comfortable for your child. We considered using the ones that were on hand are our condo, but I think familiarity is better for kids and I was glad we had brought our own.

PS – There is a baby center in both parks that has private nursing areas, change tables, high chairs and space for kids to rest. In Disneyland it’s right next to the Photo Center on Main Street and in California Adventure it’s in the corner next to Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate shop. I used it several times for some quiet and it was lovely!

Relaxing in our double stroller.
Relaxing in our double stroller.
Our boys were great about napping in their stroller when tired!
Our boys were great about napping in their stroller when tired!

5. Capture the Magic!
I cannot stress enough the importance of documenting your trip. Because your kids are so young there is a good chance they won’t remember much of the trip, so having pictures and video to show them will help keep the memories alive! I took several hundred images on our DSLR camera, we had our video camera and we also bought PhotoPass+ One Week to make sure we got family shots that included all of us (and some of just my husband and I!) PhotoPass+ also included any ride photos and images captured at our character breakfast. I always put a video montage with music together from our vacations and our family really enjoys watching them.

I hope these tips are helpful and that you have a wonderful time taking your toddlers and babies to Disneyland Resort! It’s our favorite place to go with the kids and we are already counting down to the next trip!

Do you have any tips to add on taking toddlers and babies to Disneyland? Feel free to leave them or any questions you may have for me in the comment section below.

Comments

comments

5 Comments

  • Kara

    Great post! We are going in the fall and these tips are great to keep in mind! The 5 day pass and taking it slow sounds like a great plan!

  • Tina

    This is great information to use. And you are so right, I hear people say all the time that kids do not benefit from Disney parks until they are around three or four years old. Glad you are able to say otherwise. The tip about dining with the Characters is a great tip for those that wish to bypass the long lines and even better way to get in more characters. Love the post and tips.

  • Tamara

    Re-reading all of your tips as we gear up to go back to Disneyland with a baby and preschooler. I’m nervous, but know it is do-able thanks to your posts!

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