Disneyland California with toddlers

Posted on Jun 28, 2015

Disneyland California with toddlers

Disneyland advertises as being the happiest place on earth and thus we added it to our list of must-do’s for our trip to experience this for ourselves. Disneyland in California was the first Disney park created in 1955 and is the only one that was designed and build under the direct supervision of Walt Disney himself. Since 1955 more than 650 million visitors have visited this park, making this one of the world’s most populair theme parks ever.

IMG_20150614_092611971We had booked a hotel in Anaheim for a week and decided to buy a three day park ticket. This ticket would allow us to take a day rest after each day in the park and gives access to both the Disneyland park and the newer addition Adventure Land. We spent two days in Disneyland and one day in Adventure Land, which  gave us enough time to see and visit almost everything that we wanted to do.

Disney is a busy place and waiting lines for attractions can and will be very long. So it pays off to do your research in advance and have a plan for what you want to do and how you can optimise your time. There is lots of information on this on the web, so we will not repeat it in this post, but make sure you know all about Fastpasses, Magic Mornings and Rider Switches and also make sure you get the daily IMG_20150612_081708279entertainment schedule with all the times for shows, meet&greets and the parades. For us the best advice was to start early and be at the park gates before it opens. Waiting lines are much shorter in the first two or three hours of the morning and by noon it gets crowded everywhere. For example, our first ride was “It’s a small world” a boat ride through a tunnel system showing over 300 dolls dressed as children from many countries singing a song together. When we arrived in the morning there was no line and we had a boat for ourselves and if we had wanted we could have gone twice. But when we walked by half a day later there was a long queue and a 45 minutes waiting time.

We travel with a 2 and a 4 year old toddler so we had no intention of doing some of the most populair thrilling rides like the Grizzley river run, California Screamin or the Matterhorn bobsleds. But luckily there is also much to see and do for younger kids. So what were the things that our kids really enjoyed? In no particular order but Fantasy Land is great and has many rides for younger kids; we liked It’s a small world, King Arthur Carrousel, Flying Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Tea Party. Other great attractions in IMG_20150612_090712693Disneyland that we liked were Autopia, visiting the Mickey and Minnie houses in Toon Town, the enchanted Tikki Room, the Tarzan House and the Jungle Cruise. On the other side, in Adventure land, a must-see is Cars Land. It looks like a replica of the Radiator Springs movie set and it has two great attractions. We loved Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Radiator Springs Racer and did both two times. Also in this park the whole area of “a Bugs Land” is a hidden gem and great for toddlers with easy attractions and no long lines. We also liked Ariel’s Underwater world near the pier.

What surprised and entertained us most where the shows and parades. We really liked Mickey and the Magical Map, in fact some of us even went twice to see this show. Also we would not have wanted to miss Mickey’s Soundsational Parade or the Paint the Night nighttime parade. Both parades are about 45 minutes filled IMG_20150612_164850312_HDRwith music, dance, gliding floats with Disney Characters and lights. Also in Adventure land there are great shows and we watched with great pleasure Disney Jr on stage, the Aladin musical, Frozen sing-a-long and the World of Color, the new water and light evening show. And then there is fireworks, every night a great spectacle. We could see the fireworks from our hotel window, so we have seen it several times, but it is so much more impressive to see it from the park as you are much closer to the action and Disney also adds a light show on the castle during the fireworks. Well worth for staying late and keeping the kids awake.

A special reason for visiting Disneyland is to meet the Disney characters and we met many of them. Some are scheduled and you need to wait in a long line to meet for example Mickey or Anna & Elsa from Frozen, while others just pop-up on the streets and you can quickly get a picture with them. Our favourites werIMG_20150616_090539640e Olaf, Tinkerbell and Doc McStuffins. Another way to meet your favourites is to book a character dining. One evening we went for a dinner buffet in Goofy’s Kitchen where Gofy was having a party with Chip, Dale, Minnie and Pluto.

So, was it worth going there and spending lots of money? Yes absolutely. It is truly a magical place and well organised and set-up. It’s almost addictive. Once you are there you don’t want to leave and you always stay longer than originally planned. And when you are out of the park you wonder if you should go back for a few hours. We are already discussing about a possible next Disney adventure. Maybe Disneyland Paris, maybe a Disney cruise, maybe…. the future wil tell.