Tips for Bringing a Toddler to Disneyland & California Adventure

Tips for Bringing a Toddler to Disneyland & California Adventure

Tips for Bringing a Toddler to Disneyland & California Adventure

We’ve taken our little man to Disneyland and California Adventure twice now. Through our experiences we have complied our top tips to surviving the parks with a toddler.

Tip #1: Rent a Stroller 

Lots of places near the park rent Rascal Scooter type transportations and wheel chairs but did you know a lot of them also rent single and double strollers? I believe we paid somewhere around $10 a day for ours and it was well worth it. We didn’t have to check our on to an airplane or take up a ton of space in the car bringing our own.  

Tip #2: Glow Sticks

Whether you are bringing you own stroller or renting one make sure you can easily identify it. A ribbon during the day will do just fine but when the park goes dark, every stroller looks the same and employees tend to move parked strollers if a gap is created in the “parking” area. Head over to The Dollar Store and pick up some glow sticks. Make sure you can tie them on to the stroller or get ones that have the bracelet or necklace ones to connect it to the stroller. You’ll be able to narrow your stroller search down quickly and with a screaming, tired kiddo, every parent knows those few extra minutes not searching can be a life saver.

Tip #3: Bring Your Own Food

Bringing snacks is pretty obvious thing to bring anywhere with kids but did you know Disneyland will let you bring just about anything into the park? Whether its fresh fruit, juice boxes, Goldfish, or a Camelback filled with water, you can bring it in. Food in the park is fun and a Mickey soft pretzel is one of our favorites but it adds up quickly.

Tip #4: Get There Early

Getting to the park early is essential. Did you know the gates generally open before the set time? Main Street USA opens first so you can grab a cup of coffee and maybe see a character or two. The rest of the park however is still roped off. That leads us to our next tip…

Tip #5: Before Anything Else, Peter Pan

Believe me, this Fantasy Land ride can have a line that is over and hour long. Go there first then relax and hit any other ride. Fantasy Land isn’t open during the fireworks so they cut off the line entrance before they start. If you’ve missed the morning short line, head over to the back of the castle near the Tea Cups entrance before the fireworks start. They restart the line before the show ends which will be the next best option to avoiding the long line.

Tip #6: Radiator Springs Racers

If you’re headed to California Adventure first thing in the morning make sure the Radiator Springs Racers is your first stop if you aren’t planning on getting a Fast Pass. The line for this can take hours! If you do want a Fast Pass, note that they aren’t at the ride like most others are. You can find them at the “It’s Tough To Be A Bug”.

Tip #7: Single Rider Line

If you are there with just your partner and kids, waiting in a long line for a ride the kiddos aren’t tall enough for can be daunting. Most rides however off a “Single Rider Line”. This is basically the Fast Pass line but you won’t be sitting with anyone you know. This applies in both Disneyland and California Adventure. With a group of people have no fear, there’s a tip for that too.

Tip #8: Rider Switch Pass

Like the single rider, but better. Say you are in a group and someone in your party(under 14 years old) doesn’t meet the height requirement so someone has to stay back with them and not go on the ride. Go to the attendant at the front of the line and ask for the Rider Switch Pass. They will give your party a pass to hold while they wait in line. Once at the front of the line, another attendant will trade the pass you have for another. This new pass allows the person that missed the ride and 3 others to go through the Fast Pass line so they don’t have to wait! It’s genius.

Tip #9: Save Shopping Until the End of the Day

Unless you are planning to go back to your hotel right after purchasing anything it really doesn’t make sense to carry something around all day long. The stores on Main Street generally stay open a bit passed closing so you can shop and bring everything back with you. Staying at a Disney Hotel? Buy whenever you want! The stores will gladly bring everything to you hotel room or to the front desk of your hotel.

Tip #10: Stay Close

If you have the means to stay at a Disney Resort, do it! There are so many extra benefits to stay there. However, if you are like most(ourselves included) that isn’t likely to happen. So we stay close. When it comes to the end of the day and everyone is tired its best to get back to the hotel quickly so you can get to bed and do it all over again. Some hotels even offer shuttles to and from the park if you’re stay with them.

Tip #11: The Mother’s Room

Plan on being there with a baby? Whether you want a quiet, clean place to breastfeed or somewhere to hang with a baby for a bit away from the crowds, this is the place to go. The Mother’s Room has diapers, wipes, comfy seating and a nice environment for a little one and mom, or dad for that matter. Of course every bathroom has a fairly clean changing station for a baby, including in the men’s rooms.

Tip #12: Get a Fast Pass for World of Color

The night time show in California Adventure is definitely worth seeing at least once. The best way to do it is with a Fast Pass. The shows seating is “assigned” in colored sections. Head to the White Water Rapids ride first thing. That’s where you’ll find the World of Color Fast Passes. Getting this Fast Pass will not effect your ability to get other Fast Passes. Pro Tip: Have one person from your party go to get these. One person going through the crowds is much easier, especially with little ones.

Tip #13: Watch a Parade

Finding a seat and sitting and waiting for a parade to begin may sound awful but if you are there a few days take the time to do it. Seriously, buy an ice cream, have the kids eat while you wait for the parade to start, then enjoy. The kids will love seeing all the characters, some of which you don’t see everyday in the park except during parades and shows.

Tip #14: Plan Appropriately for Weather

Those Disneyland ponchos are cute but a small fortune to wear. If there is a possibility of rain bring your own poncho. The park will stay open if its raining. Will it be hot? Sunscreen and hats are a must it is. Having a sunburn is a quick way for anyone to be cranky.

Tip #15: Relax

Traveling anywhere with little ones can be a challenge. Adding an over simulating environment can result in even more meltdowns. Waiting in lines might be new, characters might be scary and sleep will probably be limited. Hotels, am I right? Try and enjoy the little moments, take pictures and remember they serve alcohol in California Adventure!