The Happiest Place on Earth
We Celebrated our First trip to Disney Land with the boys last week. It was fabulous. We were really able to unplug, which is why you haven’t heard from me in awhile! Here is a sampling of my Top 10 Things To Do at Disney Land With Young Kids. Come back soon for my Top 10 Things To Do at Disney’s California Adventure and our highlights from Downtown Disney. Here you will find everything you need for your vacation, as well as tips to make your trip easier. Using this guide, you can make the most out of your stay at Disneyland.
Disney’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Friends of ours said this ride was a must…and it was our first ride at the park. We returned to ride Astro Blasters 5 times during our four days at Disneyland. I must say, I was just as excited to go back each time as my kids. It was so fun!! You ride through the maze “blasting” targets with an ultimate mission to defeat The Evil Emperor Zurg. The best thing about this ride, is it’s fast moving, there were never lines and we could get off and jump right back on again.
(Any height, Tomorrowland)
Jedi Training Academy
My son, who really had no idea what Star Wars was before this trip, insisted on doing the Jedi Training Academy. It was only because he was persistent that we made it back 30 minutes before the show to wait and hope he got into the academy. It’s totally random, we were so thankful the Jedi Master selected him. This could be a real bummer if a kid had their heart set on it and wasn’t selected. It was 10 times better than I ever expected. Each child got one on one time fighting Darth Vader and a certificate of completion at the end. This was so cool!! Hint: wear a Star Wars shirt for a better chance of getting selected.
(Any height, Tomorrowland)
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride opened in 1967. This goes to show you how popular this ride is. We went back for seconds and both my kids (age 2 and 4) loved this ride. There is a little bit of a drop through the water and a very small chance of getting wet. The characters throughout this ride are amazing!! This ride is definitely a top 10 in my book! If fact, the first night we got home we watched the movie again.
(Any height, New Orleans Square)
The Blue Bayou Restaurant
After riding the Pirates of the Caribbean, I wanted to eat at this restaurant for two reasons…it looked great and it was underground where it was nice and cool!! I overheard people saying the restaurant was the same food as throughout the park, just more expensive. This didn’t seem very “Disney” to me…so we went to check it out. I am sooo glad we did. You get to watch the boats pass by and the food was fabulous. This place is pricey, I am not gonna lie. The cheapest thing on the menu is a $22 Monte Cristo Sandwich, but it is huge and my husband and I shared it. I honestly felt like I got a full sandwich. The Gumbo is to die for!! They also serve steak house type food. Delicious. The boys got cool cubes that lit up and changed colors in their drinks, which made for a fun atmosphere. When you get off the ride, the entrance to this restaurant is on your immediate right. They do take reservations, but our wait was only 5 minutes.
(Casual, Air conditioned, $$$, New Orleans Square)
I did not get the luxury of riding on Space Mountain since I had to stay back with my 2 year old who was not tall enough. According to my 4 year old: “You have to put your hat and glasses in the basket. Then it goes really fast and upside down!! It’s a ride and it’s so fun because it is so fast, it’s dark and you can’t see anything except blinking lights.” There you have it. It must have been fabulous because he talked about it being his favorite for most of the trip. We went back for a second trip and a turn for Mom the next day, but unfortunately they had temporarily grounded the ride.
(Height 40″, Tomorrowland)
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade
In my opinion, one of the best things about Disneyland are the parades. Be sure to grab a parade schedule at the entrance of the park. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade was fabulous. If you want a front row seat in the shade, find your spot 30 minutes prior to the start of the parade. Hint: look for spots at the “end of the parade route,” they fill up last.
Here you will see almost every character from the park. All the princesses are in this parade
The music is fabulous!
And dancers on the street in between each float come up to the kids and give high fives and are also fun to watch.
(Disneyland Park, check schedule and map)
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
I heard someone tell me not to wait more than 15 minutes for this ride because it wasn’t worth it. I have to say, for little kids this ride is great. You go down into a real submarine and each seat has it’s own porthole to look through. You see a combination of props and movie clips throughout this ride. My boys loved it, we went back for a second ride on this one as well.
(Any height, Tomorrowland)
Autographs of Characters
As you spend more and more time at the park, you will come to realize just how brilliant Disneyland really is. The first day my older son didn’t want much to do with the characters. Problem is, this is what my 2 year old wanted to do. As soon as my older son realized they gave autographs, we found ourselves being those crazy parents trying to get every character in the park to sign his book. He loved it, which meant for easier waiting in line, better pictures and a nice break from all the rides for us. Also made for a happy little brother too. I don’t know how these characters endure the heat, but they are generally in the same locations and trade out every 20-30 minutes with someone else. I also love that Disney cuts off the lines after so many people, so the wait is never more than about 5 minutes. Hint: Buy a notepad and fun pen before you get to the park and save yourself $20/kid. My son was happy with an 80 cent notebook and batman pen I found prior to our trip.
(Throughout Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Parks)
This is a fun, mellow and easy ride, especially for the little ones. The tour guides try really hard to be funny, and I must say they do a pretty good job. It was a nice break from walking as well. Take those when you can get them!! This is another oldie but goodie, the original opened in 1955!
(Any height, Adventureland)
Remember when I said take all the little breaks from walking that you can? Yes, well here is another. This is a great way to get from one end of the park to the next. Trains run every 5 minutes. When we were there, they allowed us to throw our stroller on (this might not be the case if the park is super busy). The kids loved riding on the train and again, this is a great option when you need something mellow.
(Any height, various stops throughout the park)
Other Great Pointers and Disneyland Tips
To the right of the Mickey–Walt Disney Statue (above picture) are changing stations, little potties, extra baby stuff etc. This is near the castle and you can’t miss it.
You can bring any food or drink into the park. Yes, ANYTHING!! This can be a huge cost saver. Only exceptions are no glass and no alcohol. Also great to have snacks while waiting in lines.
Buy small trinkets or toys for each day to avoid buying marked up toys inside the park.
Immediately upon entering the park on the right hand side of main street, there is a shop called the Mad Hatter. If you go first thing when park opens, we didn’t have to wait in line and they embroidered the boys names on their Mickey Ears right there.
Fastpass: Definitely worth it for some rides. You can only have one fastpass active at a time. One person in your party can scan tickets for everyone as long as they are scanned into the park.
Research best times to go. We went at the end of August after some schools were back in session. Made for less waiting in line and definitely worth it. It was still warm, well HOT! Winter months might be better, just avoid the rainy season or school Holidays to beat the crowds.
Stay nearby for an easy walk back and forth (great if your kids still nap). We got rates at the Best Western Plus Inn and Suites for 100-125 per night with AAA discount.
Other rides/things to do worth mentioning
Toontown–you can go into the characters homes to meet them. I found the lines to be longer here than we wanted
Matterhorn–this ride was closed for maintenance during our visit
Teacups, Dumbo, Peter Pan, Casey Jr. Circus Train
Riverboat (another nice break)
Winnie the Pooh
Tarzans Tree House
My body is back to the real world, but my heart is still in Disneyland