I realize it has been almost a week since we’ve been home from Disneyland and I’ve complained about our trip home, but never really mentioned the trip in general. The trusty husband and I have made many trips to Disneyland in the past and this was our second as a family of 3. Let’s not discuss the first one. I didn’t really write about it to begin with.
So, our first trip to Disneyland as a family…
First I have to say that if you ever have the chance to visit Disneyland at Halloween time please do so. The weather may be slightly iffy, but it is worth it. I won’t say it is less crowded. It’s not. I’m convinced that Disneyland is never not crowded.
They dress the park up for the season and the Haunted House like the Nightmare Before Christmas. It is a hoot. It is also one of the only times you’ll get to see the villain characters. If you are a big villain fan, like me, you’ll love it. Besides, you get wonderful photos.
Gideon was one of my favorite characters at the park. He interacted with us as opposed to just posing for a photo. The child was less certain about the villains, but we loved it. (We missed Cruella, Frollo and Honest John, but did see The Queen and Gideon)
The other fun part is that the main characters are dressed up in their Halloween finest. Mickey was a (not so scary) vampire, Minnie was a witch, Goofy was a skeleton and Donald was a pumpkin. This was the best photo I could get of the boy and Donald. The duck was more interested in eating the ballon.
So tips and tricks about navigating Disneyland with little ones in tow. It depends on if you like to plan or not. We are not big planners. We basically buy plane tickets, show up and do whatever feels good at the moment. This trip was no exception. So here goes.
1. Don’t go to Disneyland 3 days after your mother-in-law has brain surgery. While our family was ok with the situation and we had siblings at home to take care of things the stress caused a momentary lapse of reason thus resulting in me forgetting to pack important things. The good news is that if you forget something there is a Target somewhat nearby that you can pick up what you left behind.
2. You will notice at Target that they sell wine. You may think to yourself that you will save some money by purchasing wine at said Target and forgo your evening drink at a restaurant. This sounds like a great plan. However, at the end of a long day of walking and potential child meltdowns you will pay the $45 for a glass of wine at the restaurant and then go back to your hotel and drink the wine there and spend a week of a family vacation in a drunken stupor. It totally wouldn’t know about that.
3. If you think the wine thing sounds like a great tip, bring your own corkscrew or be prepared to purchase one at Target. There are exactly 2 bottles of screw top wine available at the Target. I tried both. Neither are great.
4. Carry an umbrella with you at all times. If you don’t it will rain. If you carry the umbrella you will ensure that the weather will be perfect.
5. A hotel within walking distance (right across the street from the park) is a great idea… in theory. The nicer hotels are a short bus ride away, which will cost you a little more in hotel prices and bus fare. The trade-off is that you aren’t right. across. the. street. Where they do fireworks. You can still hear the fireworks from the further away hotels. It just won’t wake you up from your drunken stupor.
6. While you are at Target contemplating between screw top #1 and screw top #2 (go with #2) pick up some snacks. You can bring food into the park and you will need emergency granola bars to stave off the cranky unless you like to pay $2 for a banana.
7. You might think your 6 year old child would enjoy Space Mountain all duded up for Halloween… I assure you he will not.
8. It’s A Small World still makes you stabby. Only now it makes you stabby in bright neon colors.
9. Don’t expect to pay under $30 for any meal. And by all means don’t expect that meal to be hot… or taste good.
10. Don’t visit one of those “ride planner” websites. That’s just silly. Have fun and go with the flow. It is great in theory to plan out every moment of your Disneyland experience, but you might miss something like a show put on by the fire brigade or listening to the strolling pirates while having lunch outdoors at Cafe Orleans.
If you want real tips on Disneyland email me. I have many of them including what not to miss and what to skip.
Here’s another one for you: allocate each child a fixed amount of spending money per day, say $20. Whatever they don’t spend goes over to the next day. it’s a good way to encourage budgeting while forestalling relentless begging.
Totally agree. We did Disney World last year. We had the experience. No need to repeat it. The kids remember it fondly, the parents – not so much. But, I am still glad they have the memories.