Hey Mom and Dad, I have heard you telling your friends that you are waiting to take me to Disneyland until I am older so I will enjoy it. But, Disneyland is a great place for toddlers! Just print this handy guide and remember that taking me will require a little more planning. However, it will turn out to be a special trip that we will both enjoy.
Even if you have been to Disneyland before you will need to prepare and learn a few new things before taking a toddler to the park.
Tell me what to expect – Before we go and during the trip tell me what to expect. This is a big experience for me and I will probably ask lots of questions. Be patient with me.
Bring my comfort items – I will be sleeping in a new place and doing and seeing new things. I will feel better if I have things from home like my favorite blankie to sleep with. Try and keep my night time rituals the same.
Know where the potties are – Now is not the time to be too strict about potty training. I am going to be excited about things and not paying attention to my body. Bring Pull-Up style underwear. Pick up a park map that has all the bathrooms marked on it. If I tell you I have to go you will want to know where you can take me easily and quickly. My favorite bathroom will be the one on Mainstreet in the Carnation Baby Care Center. They have little potties just my size and high chairs for feeding (although I am a little big for that now). Check out the website “The Happiest Potties on Earth” for a complete listing and reviews of each bathroom in the park. http://www.mouseplanet.com/potties/
Find out my limits – Some rides are quite scary. Start me out on something tame. I will probably love Dumbo, Storybook Canal, It’s a Small World, and the Mad Tea Party (otherwise known as the Teacups), King Arthur’s Carousel, Casey Jr. Circus Train, and the Jungle Cruise (cover my ears before they shoot at the hippo, it’s loud). If I handle all those rides well I will probably be fine riding Alice in Wonderland. If the dark enclosed parts of Alice don’t bother me I will probably love Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. They are all dark but the rides themselves are tame. I will like the transportation rides on Main Street, the Monorail and the different ships on the Rivers of America. I will probably get upset in Snow White’s Scary Adventure and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The rides have intense scenes and loud noises. Most of the bigger rides have height restrictions so they probably won’t be an issue.
Watch what I eat – Before leaving home print out the menus from each of the restaurants within the park and close by. Most places have a kids menu. Keep in mind that many options aren’t healthy. While you may be tempted to let me eat poorly because we are on vacation it can make my little tummy sick. I am probably not used to fast food for every meal. Try to keep my diet similar to what I usually eat. Plan on getting a hotel room with a small refrigerator so you can store items from a grocery store for breakfast and snacks.
Get a stroller – You can rent strollers at the entrance to the park or at the Star Trader in Tomorrowland. I am a big kid that likes to walk but my little legs get tired and Disneyland is huge. Even if I am not riding in it all day a stroller is handy to wheel things around in. Don’t leave anything of value or my security blankie in the stroller unattended. All the rental strollers look the same and someone may accidentally take ours. If we lose the stroller it’s not a big deal. We can just take our receipt back to either rental area and pick up another one at no additional charge.
Make It Magical
Know what’s going on – When you enter the park get a map. It will have the times for the different shows and parades. I will especially like the parades.
Prepare me to meet the characters – While watching my favorite Disney movies on the television I won’t have an idea that the characters are so huge in real life. They may frighten me at first. It is helpful if someone I know and trust like mommy or daddy approaches a character first and gives them a hug. I may be shy so don’t force me to interact with the characters. Also warn me that some of the characters won’t talk. Mickey, Minnie, Winnie the Pooh, as well as other characters are silent. The princesses and other “face characters” (as the Disneyland cast members call them) will talk to me and even ask me questions. Get me an autograph book. You can buy one or bring one from home. All the characters are happy to sign the book and it makes a great memento that I will love to flip through later. Make sure you have a pen on hand; preferable a big one that Mickey’s gloved hand can hold easily. Be aware that I may get so excited about collecting autographs that I will stop us from doing anything if I see a character anywhere in the park.
Take lots of pictures – Don’t ever leave your camera in the hotel room. Bring it with us wherever we go. Disneyland is full of great opportunities for pictures. I will easily remember our trip if there are lots of pictures for me to look at when we get home. I will especially want to see pictures of me on my favorite rides and with the Disney characters. If I have something special to eat like a Mickey Mouse waffle – take a picture of it. I will get so excited reliving my trip to Disneyland by looking at all the fun things we did and all the details that make Disneyland so magical.