Okay so we made our second trip to Disneyland with the girls and I got a lot of you asking for tips so here I am! I’m going to recap our time and compare some things to our first time going, what I recommend and so on! I hope you find this helpful and leave any tips you have in the comments!
So we first brought the girls in February and made it a two day trip. We spent two nights at CA Grand and two days at Disneyland. I feel like there is way more to do with little kids at Disneyland vs CA Adventure. Andrew and I had season passes for a year pre-kids, so we have really done it all at both parks! Both trips with the girls we spent most of the time in Fantasy Land, Toon Town and Critter Country. California Adventure is super fun, but I feel like it’s better for adults or older kids. I haven’t been since all the new Toy Story stuff has opened though and I’m sure the girls would love that.
When we went for the weekend it definitely was nice having the hotel room to use during the day for the girls’ naptime. We would hang at the park, go back to the room and rest while the girls napped, then head back out to the park for round two. We brought 2 pack n plays with us but I think Disney has cribs you can use. Our girls are really used to their pack n plays so they are just convenient for us at this point. I also brought their sound machine and blankets we use at home so it didn’t feel too unfamiliar for them. We had an adjoining room with the rest of Andrew’s family that weekend which worked out really nice. We were able to hang on the other side while the girls had the other room all nice and quiet to sleep in.
This time, since we just went up for the day I assumed the girls wouldn’t nap because they really never nap anywhere but their cribs. I think that has been the one downfall of having them so sleep-trained. They are so used to sleeping in their room, with their set up and routine, so when we are in different circumstances things are a little difficult.
What we ended up doing once they started getting really tired was turn their seats on the stroller towards each other and lean both back so they could rest. We all sat down for a little bit, people got food, used the bathroom, and we just took a little break. I think if we kept walking for a while they may have fallen asleep but we were all super tired so we wanted to sit down too haha. (These 8 month preggo feet needed a break!) So they did get a little rest, but they never actually fell asleep. **Which made for an interesting rest of the day! The girls rarely go a day without a nap (I could count the amount of missed naps on one hand!) so I knew they’d be really tired which means really cranky… If your kids are good at napping on the go, I’d just say to put them in the stroller with a snack or something to hold, start walking and pray they fall asleep.
If it was just me and Andrew with them, I may have tried a little harder to get them to fall asleep, but since we had his parents with us, the girls wanted to hang with them and were a little harder to keep contained in the stroller. Our girls aren’t huge fans of the stroller anymore so we’d have to tell them they couldn’t get so and so unless they sat in the stroller. Or we’d give them their snack once they sat down kinda thing. We have to be very sneaky with them these days.
Let me backtrack a little now! So we left our house at 6:30 am and hit so much traffic. We ended up getting into the park at 9:00 on the dot. Even though the park says it opens at a certain time, you do have 30 extra minutes to go inside the park and walk down mainstreet before the actual rides open. And boy was it packed when we got there. If you are looking for the best month to go, definitely Jan or Feb are your best bet. Now, it is just always so crowded at the parks unfortunately.
I gave the girls milk and a bar in the car on the drive up so they had something in their tummies when we got there. We didn't really eat at all until it was lunch time and I was starving! But I would definitely recommend getting to the park right when it opens. Your kids will be the happiest then and you’ll be more likely to get on rides quicker. We went on Dumbo first, then Pinocchio and Small World before we ate lunch.
For lunch we ate over in Critter Country and it was really good. Then we went on Pooh right after. I love the sweets in the gift shop right outside the Pooh ride. We always get something there. I went with a chocolate covered rice crispy treat! We also waited in a looooong line to meet all the Pooh characters. The second it was our turn the girls freaked out. They wouldn’t even get near Tiger. We somehow managed to get a picture with Rabbit and Eeyore!
Something that was kinda nice about just going for the day, was it seemed like we almost had more time. Instead of going back and forth between the park and the hotel, we were just in one spot. And the girls really just like to walk around, take in all the sights and check out the characters, so we don’t feel pressured to ride all the rides. And between them being so little and me being pregnant it’s not like we can ride all of them anyways! But if you are wondering what rides you can take your little ones on here are some we have been on with them!
small world (their fav)
storybook land canal boats
peter pan (line was too long this trip but we took them on it the first time)
pinocchio (they LOVE pinocchio but do get a little scared with how dark the ride is)
dumbo (ok maybe this is their favorite)
casey jr. circus train
disneyland railroad (love taking this to give your feet a break and get to other areas of the park)
mark twain riverboat (another good one for a little break)
winnie the pooh ride
The girls love Toon Town. I would definitely go there if you have little kids. Our first time bringing them, we waited in line to meet Mickey and I think one time was enough! This time we played in Goofy's yard and Donald’s little boat that you can explore in and that alone was super fun for the girls. Toon Town is a toddler’s idealistic “Disney” area I feel like. Everything looks like it does on tv so it’s super cute to watch.
I wanted to note something about double strollers! Disney has a new rule for strollers that are brought into the park. They have to be between 31 in wide and 52 in long. Our Baby Jogger Summit X3 is too big but we were able to still bring our Baby Jogger City Select double stroller. I folded the front seat foot rest all the way down and then it fit in the box on the ground which you can roll your stroller over to see if it fits inside. I’m sure if we had the seats facing each other like we switched them to mid-day it would be too long, but facing both seats forward was fine. Andrew carried the diaper bag for the most part and we would just throw our jackets in the bottom of the stroller but nothing else. Since you have to fold up your stroller to get on the tram and ride the train inside the park, it’s a lot easier if you don’t leave much in your actual stroller. I would take the second seat off and hold it while Andrew folded the stroller and carried it on.
Another thing that is a must if your littles like princesses is to to head over to the Tangled Tower area and wait in line to meet the princesses. They always have two that they show on the board and one surprise princess. We have done this both times and each time the girls have LOVED every minute of it. What I like is that the princesses spend a lot of time with you and talk to your kids for a while before you even take photos. You are with them privately so it feels more intimate too. Highly recommend! So stinking cute to watch!
Alright, shall we talk meltdowns??? So like I said, the girls never slept. They take a 2 hour nap every day, so if they don’t nap they get a liiiiitle cranky. Around 4 we had some serious freakouts. This is when we changed their diapers and had to figure out a game plan. We knew we wanted to get seats for the parade but had some time to kill before that. We ended up going on the Mark Twain River Boat and I sat down with the girls and gave them some lots and lots of fruit snacks. Here is a list of some essentials that were in my diaper bag:
jelly beans (to bribe with)
trail mix and protein bars for myself
stickers (to help when we were in line)
2 coloring pads with magic markers
Andrew saved us a spot for the parade about an hour before it started. We went to grab some dinner in the meantime and gave the girls some ice cream to keep them entertained for a little in their strollers. His sister and I pushed the girls around while his mom got everyone corn chowder in New Orleans Square. One of our favorites there, and then we took our food over to where we were sitting for the parade. Another wave of tantrums hit around this point for the girls and those coloring pads were a saving grace (along with stickers). They really did love the parade though. We always watch Disney parades on YouTube so it was pretty magical to see them watch it with their own eyes. Not going to lie, I got a little teary-eyed watching them. (see picture below! that face!)
We left after the parade and made it home before 8:00 which was amazing. The girls crashed so fast in the car, they were exhausted! I hope this post was helpful for you all! Let me know some of your tips for taking your kids to Disney in the comments! And on a side note, I thought being 8 months pregnant at the park would be awful but it really wasn’t bad! Aside from my feet hurting, the weather was cool so that was lovely! Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to you all soon!