Tag Archives: Disneyland

Today’s Tip: Disneyland With Toddlers

Full disclosure: my first trip to Disneyland with a toddler was mostly a bust. My son was three years old when I decided we were ready for our first trip to Disneyland. He walked through the turnstiles, saw the hordes of people, heard the Disney band marching towards us-trombones blaring-and he cried. He covered his ears, asked to be picked up, and declared his trip to Disneyland was over.

So it was, that our first trip to Disneyland together involved a lot more tears and bribery through Mickey-shaped ice cream sandwiches, than the magical memories I’d hoped for. Here are the lessons I learned. Don’t laugh, I was a rookie mom.

1. Just because all the other toddlers are doing it, doesn’t mean mine will. I saw plenty of  bouncing, laughing toddlers float by me on the Pirate of Caribbean boats. They were apparently not the least bit bothered by the realistic pirates, skulls, and the cannon battles. So off we went  into the pirate’s lair. My son hated me the whole day after. In fact, he refused to go on almost all other rides-even the harmless Heimlich’s Chew Chew train (a green caterpillar cruising at 2 mph through giant fruit and yelling in a bad German accent) was too suspect for him to even attempt. I knew my child was super sensitive to most of the Disney movies at that age, why did I think going on the rides would be any different? I let peer pressure get the better of me. Just say no.

2. You will travel 7 hours, spend hundreds of dollars, and your child will want to ride the Monorail 5 times (and the Jungle Cruise 6 times). I quickly found that my very active three-year-old boy was not captivated by most of the Fantasyland rides, he would rather run around Tom Sawyer Island, ride the train, and pretend he was an explorer in the Jungle. I altered our ride plans after our first horrid day, and went with his natural interest in trains, dirt, and running like crazy through jets of water. Our day was a lot less filled with princesses and pirates, but a whole lot easier. You may not like where your toddler will take you, but just go with it.

3. There are crowds and then there are holiday crowds. I didn’t realize that the crowds during Easter week would make our visit three times harder. The seas of people, umbrella strollers, and noise were too much for sensitive little guy to handle. I wasn’t too fond of it either. If you don’t get to visit Disneyland often and have invested a lot of money into your trip, you don’t want to spend your precious time standing in line for the parking tram.

4. Plan or perish. I made a lot of mistakes on that first trip, but my lack of planning is what really did me in. The extent of my planning involved printing out a Disneyland map and checking out some of the ride descriptions on their website. I didn’t give too much thought to making a plan for our day. Because of our ill-fated first trip, I have learned a whole lot more about the best ways to enjoy Disneyland (at any age). Do your research, there are a lot of resources online to help you.

5. Nobody took my Mother of the Year award away from me. Sure, I made mistakes on my first trip, but there were things I couldn’t have foreseen. My son’s reaction was all his own, and maybe no amount of planning and preparation would have prevented it. Toddlers are lovable but unpredictable little anarchists. Do what you can to make your toddler’s first trip to Disneyland enjoyable, and if else fails buy him a Mickey-shaped popsicle. Then find yourself a shady bench.

Today’s Tip: On Riding Disney’s Monorail

It’s hard to make the monorail at Disneyland even more exciting for a train-loving boy, but it is possible. How? Just ask for the VIP seating in the front engineer’s car. It seems more exclusive than it really is. All you have to do is inform one of the monorail attendants on the platform and they’ll direct you to a special waiting area. They don’t let more than 5- 6 people at a time in the front car, so you may have to wait a bit longer. We went during the off-season and only had to wait about 5 more minutes, if another group was ahead of us.

It’s worth the wait if you’re with a young child and you want to make the trip more of a “ride” than a mode of transport. You’ll get an 180 degree view of the park as you cruise along, and your child will feel super special. 


Today’s Tip: Disneyland During Spring Break

thumbs-upEvery time I hear one of my friends say they’re going to Disneyland for Spring Break, I wince and tell them: DON’T!

As many of you already know, I’m a teacher so my vacation schedule has been tied to school calendars even before my own kid was in school. So when my son was a wee toddler, I decided to take him to Disneyland the week after Easter. I had thought that this was the perfect time to take him: I had a whole week off, and the weather had turned warm and beautiful after a month of miserable storms. Besides, it had to be better than going during the blistering and busy summer months. Right?

Uh, the answer is no.

Disneyland is just as busy during Spring Break as it is during summer vacation. There will be over an hour wait for Dumbo, you will have to karate-chop somebody with your umbrella stroller to get on the parking tram, and the price tag for all this family fun will still be the same.

If you want to visit Disneyland in Spring, and don’t want to pull your kids out of school, you will have better luck if:

1. You go during the middle of the week, rather than on a weekend.

2. Your kids’ Spring Break is not the week after Easter. Most southern California districts have this week off every year.

3. Go on the Thursday or Friday before Memorial Day.

4. Adjust your expectations. You may not get to go on as many rides, but with a little planning, you can still have a good vacation.

Taking a Break in the Tiki Room

Tiki Room Dole WhipI love Dole Whips. So I did a little research on Dole Whips, and found that there are plenty of people out there who share my love for this pineapple-flavored frozen delicacy. There are even videos on how to make this ice cream at home. I’m not even going to make fun of it, because I’m very likely to buy a Dole Whip kit. 

I wrote about one place where they have a magical soft-serve machine that whips them out: the Dole Plantation. But where else can you get one? Please refer to the photo evidence: Dole Whip Float inside the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

This is as close to paradise as Disneyland gets. In the Tiki Room, you will not only get treated to air-conditioning, a seat, and vintage tropical birds that sing catchy tunes, but you will also get a cup with an umbrella in it. The only thing the Disney imagineers need to add is a sandy floor, because I like sand between my toes when I sip my umbrella drinks.  

While I’m waiting for the UPS guy to bring me my Dole Whip kit, I’m going over to Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday to check out the other photos linked up there this week. See you there. DOLE whip