Disneyland Vacations For The Whole Family

Disneyland Vacations For The Whole Family

Tips For The Best Disneyland Family Vacation

Tips For The Best Disneyland Family Vacation

Disneyland is a GREAT kid friendly destination! For the Little and the Big kids! I had a blast, I couldn’t stop smiling the whole trip. My husband went on Ever Single Ride, even the kid and baby ones, “because someone had to take the little ones on…” hahaha. We purchased a 3 day park hopper tickets at our hotel when we arrived. The hopper was for Disneyland and California Adventure park, which are right beside each other. Then we did one full day at Universal Studios, a day in LA to look for the star walk and the Hollywood sign and 2 days at the beaches around LA. We went to Long beach and Venice beach, both Beautiful!!

The Best Hotel

We stayed at the Marriott Maingate Hotel. It wasn’t super fancy, but we had a kitchenette suite with a room that we could close the doors if mom and dad wanted privacy!  It had a pull out couch in the living room area where all 3 children slept(we only had 3 then) and we slept on one of the queens in the room, it had two queen beds, but the kids wanted to squish together. The hotel had a rectangle pool with a small diving board, a baby pool and a hot tub. We went in the pool once I think. We were so busy out and about we never really spent much time at the hotel other than eating breakfast or sleeping.


The Residence Inn by Marriott Anaheim Maingate has a GREAT hot buffet breakfast every morning from 6am-10am. It is filled with scrambled eggs, french toast, sausages, bacon, fresh fruits, pancakes, cereals, and a waffle maker area, juices, coffee and teas. All FREE and included in your stay. That saved us a ton of money for all 5 of us. Every morning we would go for breakfast around 7am and I’d grab a couple bananas and oranges to bring for the kids snack where ever we were going. Then we’d head out to catch the bus to Disneyland or drive to our fun planned adventure.


If you want a great kid friendly, nicely priced Disneyland family vacation hotel this is it!! For 7 nights it only cost us $1100. It was also only about 4-5 blocks to Disneyland Park and we walked the first day, but wouldn’t recommend that! After walking there, then walking allllll day, then walking back with 3 very tired and cranky kids, makes for sore feet and legs! We took the bus the other two days! lol it only cost for the bus was $3 per adult and $1 child. But oh so worth it as it took you right to your hotel and then right to the Disneyland gate.


The Marriott Maingate is also centrally located around some great restaurants and shopping areas! We walked to Bubba Gumps 2 times and the Cheese Cake Cafe twice. Both SO Yummy! Omg the Cheese Cake Cafe had HUGE ceilings and massive columns and fairly good prices. The food portions were huge, like I gained 10 pounds in one week huge!


Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure with Transport from Los Angeles

Even MORE Tips For The Best Disneyland Family Vacation


  • Always take the hotel bus/trolly to and from Disneyland.
  • Pick a hotel close to Disneyland with free breakfast, as this will save money.
  • Try bring snacks with you, the food at the park is expensive, also bring water bottles!
  • Bring a coloring book, DS or something to keep them entertained as the lines can get pretty long sometimes. This will save you tears and lots of “is it my turn yet?” in lines.
  • USE your Fastpass on the really popular lines! You get them free with entry, its your ticket. (If you dont know how to use them ask one of the park dudes walking around or at the ticket counter!) Saves you lots of time and whining and makes for a better Disneyland family vacation!
  • Wear really good runners or very comfy sandles…. not high heels or crappy sandles because there is hours and hours of walking.
  • Shop around at Disneyland and shops outside of Disneyland park, prices vary greatly! Don’t blow all your family vacation money on items. We allowed the kids to pick out one item worth $25, that was all they got the whole trip. So they shopped and compared prices at Disneyland.
  • Plan to do one section at a time…. Our first day we went all over the place totally unorganized which wasted so much time and made for WAY more walking! Pre-plan with the map.
  • TAKE Advantage of the Magic Morning ticket!! (Magic Morning admission allows admission into selected attractions to Disneyland Park before the park opens to the general public on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Each Guest must have valid park ticket) This was so helpful and we got through a ton of rides before it got busy! We went as soon as the Magic Morning gate opened.
  • Take a stroller… For kids 4 and under, even a simple small umbrella stroller with a backpack or under storage area! The ones you can rent at the park kinda suck!
  • Disneyland is good for kids age 10 and under, but California Adventure Park was better for the 10+ age and all the kids liked it better than the actual Disneyland! There is little kid rides at California Adventure park too.
  • Make sure to at least go to the Disneyland Fireworks celebration one of your nights AND the World of Color one night. This made for great Disneyland family vacation memories!
  • World of Color Tip…. go super early and have someone save the spots for you, we thought we were getting there early enough but still way back and could hardly see, the kids couldn’t see much of anything. It’s standing the whole time so prepare for that. ITS Awesome though!
  • Book/Reserve a Disneyland Character breakfast!! Look online and book one a couple months before your trip! We went to Goofy’s Kitchen and the kids LOVED it! The characters came right to the table and signed the autograph books we bought them at the gift shop in Disneyland! So awesome!
  • Take hand sanitizer in your pack or purse because 10,000 people touch the same thing, and you don’t want your kids or you getting sick on your Disneyland family vacation! I’d use it after every ride!


Disney 365 “New Fantasyland”


 For The Toddlers

Disneyland was designed for kids of all ages – and toddlers are no exception! There are many things that you can enjoy with your toddler – so many things in fact, that unless you will be staying for several days, you won’t have time to do them all.


Start with Toon Town. Here is where you will find your toddler’s favorite Disney Characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse. All of the Characters have homes in Toon Town, full of things that will amaze your toddler, and make them laugh.


Your toddler will definitely enjoy the Disneyland Railroad. This is a great way to get around the park, because there are stations in New Orleans Square, Toon Town, Tomorrowland, and on Main Street. This will amuse your toddler, and give you a chance to see some sights and rest a bit.


Its A Small World is very appropriate for toddlers. Music and colors will keep your child mesmerized while you enjoy a relaxing ride across the water. The Storybook Land Canal Boats is another good choice, as it will take you through the miniature villages that your child will be quite familiar with from their story books.


Rides that you and your toddler must not miss include all of the rides in Fantasyland, King Arthur’s Carousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Circus Train, and the Mad Tea Party. Rides that are appropriate for youngsters, but that may cause a little fear are the rides that are dark. These include Peter Pan’s Flight, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Alice in Wonderland, and Snow White’s Scary Adventure. Buzz Lightyear is a popular ride for all toddlers.


Disneyland Resort Character Dining


There are other areas of the park that have attractions and rides that are appropriate for toddlers. Remember that Disneyland is a place for kids of all ages. Pay attention to the height and age requirements for each attraction, and avoid taking your toddler to rides that they will not be able to enjoy. This will only cause your child disappointment.


Stick to the areas where the toddler appropriate attractions are located as much as possible. As an adult, you realize that some rides are simply not safe for small people – but your small person will not comprehend this! Your Disneyland vacation should be enjoyable for everyone, and Disneyland has made sure that there is something for everyone at the park. It is up to you to keep your child happy, and to keep them interested in the rides and attractions that they are meant to enjoy.


Disneyland Baby Centers

Disneyland is a place for everyone, and at Disneyland, they have thought of everything –including the babies. The Disneyland Baby Center is located on Main Street, behind the Plaza Inn. This is not a babysitting service. Instead, it is a place where you can attend to your babies needs. There are several characters present in this area, and their purpose there is not only to amuse your baby, but also to help you attend to your baby’s needs. This area has rockers, where you can rock and breast feed your baby. No men are allowed in this room, but they are allowed in other rooms within the Baby Center. You can warm a bottle or a jar of food, and clean bottles as necessary. Baby changing tables are available, and the entire center is very clean and comfortable. There are even smaller toilets for children who are being potty trained.You can also purchase emergency baby supplies at the Baby Center. Diapers cost about a dollar each, and several different types of formula and baby food are kept in supply, although the selections are limited. This is Disneyland’s way of making sure that the needs of every guest – no matter how small they may be – are attended to.


Special Needs

I didn’t realize how accommodating Walt Disney World (and likely other theme parks) are for special needs. My nephew has some social anxiety, and my sister in law had heard that she could go to Guest Relations and mention his need, and got a pass that would help make it more manageable in some lines/rides. This goes for children with Autism, Downs Syndrome, ADD, etc. I thought that was wonderful. My mom also had a bum knee, and got to ride around in a wheelchair pushed by my dad. On many attractions, they (plus 6 guests respectively) got to join in the fast pass line, or often go to the front.


Meeting CharactersTips For The Best Disneyland Family Vacation2

There are characters all over all of the parks. I was shocked and amazed at all of the characters we saw (since we only saw Goofy in our one day of Disneyland a few years ago).  When I wasn’t sure how it would all work, I wanted to MAKE SURE that my girls met, got to chat, and photograph princesses, so I researched Character Meals. I knew they’d be a bit pricey, but I figured I’d just do one, just with my girls. I’ll go into more detail of that on the day we went, but I worried I also wouldn’t be able to book a character meal because everyone said they book so far in advance. They were pretty booked up, but I called 2 weeks before and got a time slot, then changed it another week before. They get last minute cancellations and changes a lot, even the day before. In my mind, moments (and pictures) with the princesses were priceless.



There are a million things to buy around Disney World, but were were there for the memories (and accompanying pictures taken). I told each of my kids that they could have $20 and find one thing all week that they could take home to enjoy. I didn’t tell them, but I was a bit flexible on that amount (went up to $34 for my son and a unique wand) but encouraged them to find something fun (not food) that would remind them of our trip. My girls got Micky Jewelry/princesses and my other son got a zipper pouch.



 Every Role a Starring Role – Disney PhotoPass Photographer at the Disneyland Resort


Speaking of pictures, there are Disney photographers EVERYWHERE taking pictures with Disney Photopass system. As with many roller coasters snapping pictures of crazy faces, you can buy one image. But they also sell a package for $200 ($150 if you pre pay online before you go) that you can get EVERY SINGLE image taken by photographers, and that could be up to 200 pictures. I didn’t realize what this was til the last day, so we didn’t have photographers take our pictures, but if I were to do this again (even though I’m a photographer and I know how to use my fancy camera) I’d do this. A week of memories captured for $200 is pretty fabulous, in my opinion. Since I didn’t do that, I’d hand off my camera to my family members or strangers. I am passionate about moms getting out from behind the camera and IN pictures with their children.



Though I rarely take my almost 4 year old out in a stroller at home, I made sure we hauled it to Florida for this week. Not only does it help her when her little legs are tired, but it carried all of our bags and jackets all day long. I think I may just take a stroller even when she is 12. There are lots of stroller parking spots all over the park, people just leave their junk in the strollers and get on rides.


2-Day Disneyland Resort Ticket


Early Park Hours

Staying on Disney property granted us early admission to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Though some say to avoid the parks on early days because it will be more crowded, that first hour is GOLDEN time to get in the rides that you really want to ride first. No matter when the park opens get. there. early.


Fast Pass

This seemed to be quite the complicated system before I got to the park (only at Disney, Not Universal). Fast Passes allow you to not have to wait in long lines for your most favorite attractions. I found out ahead of time what was popular, and we planned to do those first or get a fast pass for them. The tricky part is that you can only have one fast pass at a time. So we’d get to a park and my brother and I would grab everyone’s park ticket (see above, also a credit card) and run to the ride that we knew we wanted to go on and grab a fast pass. One person (in our case two) can get fast passes for as many park tickets as you have in your hand. You then get a paper ticket that tells you what time to come back (between 10:30-11:30) as an hour window, and you get in the fast pass line instead of the longer line. That generally was a 20 minute line and GREAT! The trick is that you can’t get another fast pass ride until 10:31 (in the case above). So we’d go to our other favorite ride while waiting. The tough part is that by NOON, the fast pass times are so filled up that popular rides are having windows like 9-10pm and if you get that time slot, you pretty much can’t get any other ride time slots til after that. So you have to really plan and map out to go to your top 2-3 favorite rides first thing in the day, or have a long line later.



Waiting in line for the shuttle, riding the shuttle, unloading the shuttle, waiting in the park line to check backpacks, line to get in the gates, then lines for food and rides. Plan on it, then maybe it won’t annoy you so much. Walt Disney World is going to be busy with lines all year long. Maybe slightly better in off season,but it’s DISNEY WORLD, it’s going to be busy, period.


Make New Friends

I like to talk to strangers, I like to offer to take strangers pictures when I see a mom snapping a shot of her husband and kids at Disney World. I didn’t have to mention that I take lots of pictures and post them on my blog…they didn’t care, all they cared about was a family shot. Offer to do that for strangers. Ask questions, find out where people are from, what rides their kids liked. I found out lots of great information by just chatting with people in line near me.


There’s An App For That

If you have a smart phone, uploading Disney apps are really helpful. They have maps of the park, and estimated wait times on varying rides if you don’t have a fast pass. Sometimes we’d be across the park and see that a certain ride had a lower wait time, and run over there!  Mine is called My Disney Experience, but there are others as well.


Happiest Place On Earth

Sometimes people get cranky when tired or hungry. Kids are being dragged from here to there and everywhere, and adults are stressed at all of the dragging. Have expectations to have fun, but also expect some of the grumpiness that comes along with running ragged and be patient with everyone–including yourself!  I saw some cranky faces on parents, stern “talkin’ to’s” as well. Just have fun and relax, and make memories!



OK that’s all the Disneyland tips I can think of. I’d LOVE it if you would share some of YOUR Disneyland tips for a Family Vacation or other traveling destination tips so PLEASE COMMENT below and tell me of a kid friendly place that may be great for our family!

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