Yes, you read that title right. How do parents survive a day at Disneyland with kids? This would have made me laugh had we not taken trips to Disneyland. Now, that we have two trips under our belt I am itching to go with just adults! So yes, How To Survive Disneyland With Kids is a valid question! Ready to hear my thoughts and tips on this subject?
Okay, now that I have your attention, let’s start talking Disneyland. Like I said, we have done this trip only two times so we are not experts but I know there are a lot of parents out there wondering about these magical vacations to Disneyland so I want to make sure people are prepared and ready for the meltdowns, the arguments, the junk food, the whining and all of the FUN! Okay, seriously, Disneyland is the best and the most magical place ever but to be honest, it can also be super stressful for parents.
Tips On How To Survive Disneyland With Kids
My kids are 8 and 6 so we are out of the “small kids” season but I believe all of these tips are perfect for all ages. Maybe even some adults.
Pack Some Snacks From Home
There is no shortage of food you will want to experience while visiting Disneyland but there will be moments that having some easy to travel with snacks on hand could save your trip. For our most recent trip we brought a gallon size zip-lock bag packed with snack-sized items that we all enjoy eating. Trail mix, cheese crackers, granola bars and animal crackers. Some sweet, some salty. We kept that snack bag in our backpack for those moments that one of us just needed a little something while we waited in line or took a break but didn’t want to wait in a food line or spoil dinner with a bigger treat.
Buy An Activity/Autograph Book
You can buy an autograph book at Disneyland or you can find some great ones on Amazon as well. We purchased this one and it really came in handy, not only for the fun autographs but also for the activities that are in the book. Jude and Teagan sat down one morning as we waited for the gates to open and filled theirs out together. It helped them not be bored and the book has so many pages for them to draw on or fill in questions all about their experience at Disney.
Go With A Plan
I am usually a person that has to have a plan for everything. I am a planner addict so having a plan for a vacation is not a big issue for me at all. That being said, when on vacation I am not one that wants every second mapped out but to be honest, I found that having a good idea of what your few days in the park might look like really does help with kids. For us that includes having meal reservations and an idea of which of the two parks we are planning on being in for most of the day.
This might look different for each family. We personally do not stay on Disney property so we do not walk back to the hotel for naps or rests. I do know that some families do this but for us the extra walks back and forth and the time away from the parks were not worth it for us. BUT we do make sure to take time to just sit and enjoy the space we are in. This does not include meal time, take breaks from all the walking, the people and the excitement to just take a breather. It is important to remember that while this experience is magical for kids it is also a very busy and tiring time too.
MaxPass For The Win!
I am so happy we opted to do the MaxPass every day we visited. Yes, it is an additional cost but it allowed us to enjoy so many more attractions without waiting in line. This was a blessing on our rainy day as well. We basically went from ride to ride which allowed us to get out of the downpour! Disney MaxPass is an optional, paid program. It allows guests to book Disney FASTPASS reservations through the Disneyland Resort Mobile App and allows unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads for the day. The price for Disney MaxPass is $15 per person, per ticket, per day.
That extra cost was so worth it in my opinion – less whining and fighting!
Ask The Kids
I know, it might seem weird to let the kids take charge but hey this is for them right?! Every morning we asked Jude and Teagan “what is the one ride you have to get on today?” This allowed us to make sure that each of them felt like they were able to enjoy their time on their favorite rides. This is a really good idea on a busy day too. We were at Disneyland on a Saturday and it was BUSY, we knew it wouldn’t be a day that we would get to go on a ton of rides so we made sure to hit the ones that they really wanted to do first.
Enjoy The Magic
Think about what those little brains must be thinking. The most magical place on earth! The characters, the rides, the park itself. So much of it is so magically. We found that the kids just really wanted to take it all in sometimes and feel the magic. The parades are perfect for this too. They eat that up! And guess what? Even as an adult, you feel that magic! So enjoy it!
Everywhere you look there will be something to buy. Before we hit the parks we made it clear to the kids about a budget. They knew what their budget was and we made sure to remind them when they picked up the very first thing they saw. This is something we also did for food treats in the park. We listed the yummy and fun items to enjoy and they each picked out one special treat a day. Again, the expectations were set from the beginning and it kept us on budget.
Let It Go!
I am the mom that wants everyone to be happy and everything to go perfectly. For such a big experience like a trip to Disneyland you have to let it go! Things will go wrong, the picture won’t turn out and the kids will throw fits. Why you ask? Because it is life and just because you are in the most magical place on earth life still goes on!
Well there you have it. I am sure after a few more visits, yes I am already thinking of planning another trip, we will have some other ideas especially as the kids grow older. The experience of going to Disneyland is super exciting and magical but can also be so overwhelming and stressful. By practicing these tips I feel like the experience is even more magical.
What tips would you add to this Disneyland survival guide for parents?
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Jana Leah says
I especially like the “ask the kids” tip. Great idea.
How fun! I’ve actually never been to Disneyland before. I would really love to go though!