August 16, 2014

How to do Disneyland with kids

The “Happiest Place on Earth” can be full of tired tantrums and frazzled parents (and believe me, you’ll see it all).

But follow these simple tips and you and your little princess will come home with (happy) memories to last a lifetime!

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Minnie Mouse

I love this little girl riding in the teacups!

I spent time picking the brains of a mummy blogger who is a Disney pro and I have included her suggestions as well as mine in this post.

1. How long do we need at Disneyland?

Plan to spend at least two days in the magical world of Walt Disney. Three would be better if you also plan to visit California Adventure across the courtyard. There is so much to see and do, and a lot of ground to cover, let alone time spent lining up for rides and a night in each park to watch the World of Colour water and light show at one and the fireworks with Tinkerbell in the other.

World of Color

Scenes set to music are projected onto the dancing fountains at World of Color

2. Where is best to stay?

If you stay in one of the three Disneyland hotels you are allowed into the gates an hour before the hoi polloi. It may not sound that big a deal, but you could get three of the most popular rides done in that time with no queues. It also means you can nip out during the day to your room for lunch, a swim, or a nap with no hassle. These hotels are more expensive than ones that are just across the road (about a 15-minute walk away), so you can decide which is more of a priority.

3. What are Fast Passes?

This tip is for everyone: Fast Passes are tickets you can grab at many of the rides (not all of them) and are timed to a half-hour window when you need to return, at which time you whizz through the Fast Pass line and get on ahead of the masses. Note: passes are scanned against your Disney ticket barcode and are not issued for duplicate times, so be picky.

4. Book a Character Breakfast

Your little prince and princess will never forget the day they had Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles for breakfast and Ariel gave her a hug. Book the family in but don’t expect healthy eating. Peanut butter pizza anyone? Or worms and mud – a tasty cup of chewy worm lollies in a pile of crushed Oreo cookies. But it’s all about the shock on their faces when Goofy wanders up and Donald Duck poses for a pic. Have your camera ready!

5. Beware of the Food

In a nutshell, the food sold in the park is pricey and unhealthy – unless you want a banana from the fruit stall – but what kid would choose that? Instead head out to Downtown Disney, the street of shops and restaurants at the entrance. Here, you will find loads of places, from bakeries to the kid-friendly and very cool Rainforest Cafe. Have a breather and a Corona-rita (a Margarita with a mini bottle of Corona headfirst into a huge glass) to brace yourself for the afternoon assault. Or better yet, take your own food in from your hotel if you prefer.

Peanut Butter Pizza

Peanut Butter pizza at the Disney character breakfast.

Disneyland fruit stall

Proof that there is healthy food at Disneyland. Not that anyone buys it…

Rainforest cafe Coronarita

The perfect end to a crazy Disney day: a CoronaRita from Rainforest Cafe!

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About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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