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Travel Tips for Disney

Ever Google “Travel Tips for Disney”?? 🙂 There are TONS of tips and tricks available, whether you’re heading to Walt Disney World or Disneyland & California Adventure. Our family lives near Disneyland and recently traveled to Walt Disney World, so we’re definitely “Mouse lovers.” Speaking from first-hand experience…here are a couple tips for each location to get you started, from the POV of a Mom with a 5yo boy, 2yo girl and Husband-who’s-terrified-of-Disney-parks. Also, don’t forget to check out all of the Disney Baby by J.L. Childress products available for your upcoming Disney adventures…we’re here to help you have the BEST time!

 

Walt Disney World:

  • PLAN. PLAN. PLAN. Like 6 months in advance. Do your research for this one. Find out how early you can confirm your FastPasses, and then do it. Familiarize yourself with WDW’s website and App, so you know how to work everything from getting more and multiple FastPasses, to Mobile Ordering food. Get books on WDW. CALL the WDW Customer Service people and ask them tons of questions. Follow Influencers like @brbgoingtodisney as they share a wealth of information and tips about the parks, especially for young kids. We pre-planned like crazy and had the best time. So many people asked how we go to do certain rides, etc…and it was all because of the far in advance, so much pre-planning. It seems overwhelming (and I even like planning!) but it was 100% worth it when we got there.
  • A few things we LOVED (took a trip with 10 total people, incl. 4 kids under 6):
    • Minnie Vans (Lyft): Really helped getting to and from our hotel when we just couldn’t wait for the Busses. Busses were great, and super timely. It was nice to have two options for transportation.
    • Animal Kingdom: The atmosphere of this park is just too cool. Not to miss.
    • Character Dining: We went to Tusker House at Animal Kingdom and the food was amazing, as well as getting to see all the characters. I had never done a character dining experience before and it was incredible. We were also able to get reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom. It was a little hectic getting in, but once again the food was really good and the kids absolutely loved all of the Princesses. I would definitely book a character dining experience of some kind for your trip!
  • Newsflash…it rains in FL, like almost every day no matter when you go. So prepare with a Stroller Rain Cover (we have one! and a special Disney one coming soon!) and ponchos. Since it’s still warm when it rains and usually stops quickly, you’ll stay in the parks waiting for the rain to pass but will definitely need protection so you don’t get soaked!
  • Car Seats & Strollers: to bring or not to bring?
    • Car Seat: If you take Disney transportation (buses, Minnie Vans, etc) everywhere (including to and from the airport) you don’t need car seats, which is amazing. You MIGHT, however, need your car seat on the plane (we like to strap our 2 year old into her car seat for plane flights). We brought our 2 year olds car seat on the plane and then used the J.L. Childress Wheelie Car Seat Travel Bag for getting it to and from the hotel, along with the rest of our luggage. My 4 year old didn’t need a car seat or booster seat, which was incredibly helpful.
    • Stroller: Some people bring their own, and some rent when they arrive. Personally, I want “my” stroller with me so my kids feel comfortable in it (for rests/naps) and so I could plan for a Rain Cover for it, know how much storage I had, etc. It’s a personal preference. I also like to use the stroller through the airport so the kids don’t have to walk aka slow us down 😉 We got the Zoe Double Stroller specifically for this trip, and it’s thin enough to fit through a doorway but sturdy enough for a 2 and 4 year old.
    • J.L. Childress has a full line of Car Seat and Stroller Travel Bags (and now our collaboration with Disney Baby!) that make traveling with your car seat and stroller much easier. I also love using our 3-IN-1 Toddler Travel Tray and Tablet Holder for both of my kids on the plane and in longer car rides, so would definitely recommend that as well.
  • Shipping To & From the Resort: We shipped a few larger things to our Disney Resort ahead of time, and also shipped some purchases back. That way, we weren’t traveling with even MORE stuff than we already needed to. Ask your Resort for the correct address to ship to, as it can be a bit tricky and you won’t want anything lost in the mail.
  • Grocery Delivery: Many Resorts offer grocery delivery, which I would take advantage of. We ate breakfast in our room every day before heading out, and it made things a bit easier, less expensive and less stressful in the mornings.
  • Final note regarding planning…it was really helpful to set up our daily plans/itinerary around our FastPasses, and then what other rides/attractions/etc in each land we wanted to see. We planned out our day by area of each park, so we weren’t going from one end to the other all day. This was our MUST DO list. I then made a separate list that was “if we have time” so that we immediately knew where to go when the available moments presented themselves. I also had a short list of restaurants/quick eat locations that were near where our activities were at the time of meals, so we also already had selections and didn’t have to think/debate/select when we were at the parks. The more pre-planning you do, the less thinking you have to do when you’re there 🙂

 

Disneyland:

  • Since we live close to Disneyland, we’re at the Parks quite often and have more of a Pass-Holder perspective on what’s good, what’s not to miss, etc. Disneyland and California Adventure are much more quaint than Walt Disney World, and much less intimidating (though definitely more crowded!). Less planning is necessary, and much less far in advance as you can’t get Fast Passes until the day of your park visit. WDW vacations tend to be for a longer period of time as there are so many Parks to visit, but Disneyland and California Adventure can definitely be accomplished in 2 days (3 max), making for a shorter and easier trip. For AMAZING tips and tricks, we highly recommend following @magical_kinda_mama as she’s the BEST for info on Disneyland and California Adventure.
  • Definitely get the Disneyland app…they now have Mobile Ordering for many restaurants, it’ll be a huge help with your Fast Passes (if you get the MaxPass) and generally orienting yourself within the park. Photos you take with characters are free from Disneyland (you must purchase them at WDW) and they can be loaded onto your app as well. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the app before your visit, and you’ll be a pro!
  • A few things we LOVE (best for kids ages 1-6):
    • Disneyland (all of it! jk…but really…all of it)
      • Characters: Some kids love characters, others are frightened. Mine are in the love category, so we spend half our time at the park visiting with the characters. Disneyland and WDW are very different from a character perspective…characters roam around at Disneyland and can be seen all over the park. The app is great for checking when a character will be available to meet, and where. I recommend getting to the location at the VERY start of the character meet & greet so you can be 1st in line as sometimes lines get to be 20-30 mins long.
      • Musical Shows: My kids love watching bands, and Disneyland has lots of great ones popping up all over. Again, check the app for show times and locations.
      • Fantasyland: Full of rides for the little ones, it’s an easy area to check multiple rides off your list. Peter Pan is always the most crowded, then Dumbo…so tackle those first. Mr. Toads is crazy scary for little ones, so I’d pass on that one. Small World is a MUST!
      • Disneyland Railroad: It seems simple, but my little ones love going on the big steam engine. Grab a churro or some of Disney’s delicious popcorn and hop on board for a ride around the Happiest Place on Earth!
    • California Adventure
      • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area: This is a beautiful, off-the-beaten-path area where kids can run around. There are fun obstacle courses for older kids, and little play areas for younger kids. It’s usually shaded and feels like an oasis within the park.
      • Frozen @ the Hyperion Theater: AMAZING! Strongly recommend.
      • Animation Academy: Another oasis within the park, though gets very busy in the afternoon. I could sit in there and listen to the music and watch the HUGE movie screens all day. PS this is where you can meet Anna & Elsa too…they’re only in California Adventure!
      • Radiator Springs (all of it…the ambiance is INSANE) and eating at Flo’s V8 Café: I love taking my kids here for dinner. We mobile order and then sit outside, listening to the 50s/60s music and it truly feels like you’re in Radiator Springs!
  • Car Seats & Strollers: to bring or not to bring?
    • Car Seat: Disneyland doesn’t have the same transportation services that Walt Disney World does, so getting to and from the airport you’ll kind of be on your own. Car seats are more recommended for Disneyland trips. If you’re staying at a Resort hotel, everything is within easy walking distance and you won’t need to hop in a car during your stay.
    • Stroller: Some people bring their own, and some rent when they arrive. Personally, I want “my” stroller with me so my kids feel comfortable in it (for rests/naps) and so I could know how much storage I had, etc. Also, the Resort hotels are a decent walk from the park entrances, and a stroller is helpful. If you’re staying at an off-site hotel, you’ll also need a stroller to walk to the Parks. I also like to use the stroller through the airport so the kids don’t have to walk aka slow us down 😉
    • J.L. Childress has a full line of Car Seat and Stroller Travel Bags (and now our collaboration with Disney Baby!) that make traveling with your car seat and stroller much easier. I also love using our 3-IN-1 Toddler Travel Tray and Tablet Holder for both of my kids on the plane and in longer car rides, so would definitely recommend that as well.
  • Enjoy your time in this most magical place J. Walt built Disneyland as a place for families to adventure together and have fun. Where adults could be a kid for a day, playing and imagining with their kids. Embrace that philosophy and truly be in the moment…we know you’ve love it if you do!!

 

Happy travels!

Sarah

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