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My husband and I took our two small children to Disneyland and we lived to tell about it! My son was 3 ½ and my daughter was 8 months old (7 months during our trip if you do the math).
Is she crazy!? Why would you take a 7 month old to Disneyland?!
Hear me out! My daughter cannot yet move on her own. Therefore, it was like bringing an 18 lb doll with us that needed to be nursed and changed every few hours. We figured it was either go now or wait another few years until our daughter was a bit older and we really wanted our son to experience it while he was still small.
ALSO, I had help! My brother, his fiancé and my mom all came along for the chaos/fun. This meant we got the chance to take turns actually going on some of the big kid rides.
Two days, two parks and 49,000 steps later (yes, I wore a pedometer!) I learned a few things that will be helpful for you should you make the adventure to the happiest place on earth.
Baby Centers – Disneyland & California Adventure each have a baby center. This consists of a quiet/private area to nurse or pump, changing tables, high chairs and small potties for the little ones. I did end up nursing a couple times on the bench outside of the Jungle Cruise. But, most the time, I utilized this designated area.
It’s not a fashion show – I texted my friends while packing, “Help! What do I wear?” And here’s the thing… Mickey doesn’t care what you wear. You will walk into that park and immediately realize putting comfort first is a good idea. Running shoes, yoga pants and hair up. I kept lip gloss handy so I could look presentable in family pictures. Or you can always hide behind Goofy’s hat in pics too.
Photo Pass– There are photographers stationed at the main photo attractions like the castle, the Walt Disney statue, with ALL the characters, etc. Carry around a photo pass card and hand it to the photographer for each picture. Then, for $70, you can get all the digital images. This means no lugging around an expensive camera. Prints are cheap at places like Costco. TIP, there is a promo code you can get online so it brings it to about $62. Worth it! TIP #2- The photographers will take pictures with your personal phone/camera too!
Fast Pass – For those not familiar, a “fast pass” is basically a ticket you get to come back to popular rides at a later time. You then get to enter the “fast pass” line which is a huge time saver. Plan your ride route accordingly.
Ride Max – I did not utilize this but I have heard great things. It’s an app you can buy and it will help you plan your whole day with the goal being to spend the shortest amount of time possible for the rides you want to go on. Might be worth checking out!
Characters – Our son was more excited for the characters than the rides. Many of the “top” characters such as Minnie and Mickey hang out at the beginning part of Main Street. My tip is to start your day off there to get those character meetings out of the way so you aren’t frantically dashing towards Mickey later in the day…only to then find it’s actually just a person wearing a Mickey hat (ok, yes I fell for this several times!).
Bring Food and Drinks – Money saver! We stayed almost a mile from the park so we stopped at a grocery store the day before we hit the parks. Our daughter eats free from me #nursing and we saved a ton by bringing food for us. We did spend some money on necessities like churros and coffee, of course!
Kids don’t know what they don’t know– It is basically impossible to do it all (especially if you only go for 2 days like we did). Little kids don’t know EVERY single ride so don’t worry about missing what you think they would have enjoyed. You just took your kid to Disneyland! This equals no parent guilt because basically you are amazing!
These are just some of the tips/things I learned on our trip. Have you made the Disney trip? What did you learn? Any tips?