11 of the Best Disneyland Tips With Toddlers
As we all know, traveling with toddlers is no easy task and navigating through theme parks can be gruesome.
In this guide, we will cover our best Disneyland tips with toddlers to ensure that you arrive to the park extremely prepared, and know all of the 'hacks' to maximize your time and money.
Table of Contents
- Start the Day Early
- Stay at a Hotel Within Walking Distance
- Bring Your Own Stroller
- Mobile Ordering
- 3 and Under get Free Tickets
- Rider Switch
- Baby Care Center
- What to Pack
- Dress up
- Go at the Right Time of the Year
- Pick Low Crowd Days
1. Start the Day Early
For the most part, kiddos are early risers. Especially with the anticipation of a magical day and experience ahead of them. Starting the day early nearly ensures you will get the most out of your trip to Disneyland.
During the first hour of opening, the park lines are without a doubt shorter. As children are a huge chunk of the population that visit theme parks, starting your day first thing in the morning is essentially the only time the ride lines will be manageable.
This gives you and your little ones the best shot of being able to experience all the park has to offer!
2. Stay At a Hotel Within Walking Distance
This is excellent for so many reasons!
- Time Efficiency: Wake up, get ready, head down to the main lobby to grab a quick breakfast and you are on your way!
- Money Savings: No need to pay for transportation!
- Adventure Time With Your Little’s: Sometimes, even the simple task of walking outside and exploring new scenery is exciting!
- WONDERFUL for Breaks: Kiddos getting tired, cranky and hot? Taking a mid-day break to walk back up to your hotel room and refresh/reset is great not just for the kids, but for the adults as well!
There are numerous hotels that work well for traveling families with little ones that are also within walking distance.
Be on the lookout for hotels that include amenities such as complimentary breakfast, on property activities like a pool and splash pad, and key room features like kitchenettes.
Best Hotels Nearby
Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort:
4 Star Rating on Tripadvisor, with standard hotel rooms that include two queens or 1 kind and oftentimes a sleeper sofa. Making it easier for larger families to sleep all under one roof. Families can also upgrade to Disney themed rooms for added excitement and enjoyment!
Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance:
4.5 Star Rating on TripAdvisor, with an amazing waterpark on property to take breaks from the hot sun at the parks. Rooms include a bathroom with a separate tub and shower, making it easy to bathe your younger ones after a long adventurous day!
Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort and Convention Center:4.5 Star Rating on Tripadvisor, rooms include both a kitchen and relaxing den area for easy way to store pre-purchased snacks, small meals, and excellent for breast feedings mamas to store milk supply safely! Breakfast is also included in room price and is served hot right downstairs on your way to the parks!
3. Bring Your Own Stroller
If you're looking for reliable means of transportation with kiddos, bring your stroller!
As adults, we get tired covering the massive walking distance of the park. Giving breaks to your toddlers little legs and feet is a must.
While Disneyland does rent strollers, pricing is costly and you are not able to travel with the strollers back to the hotels.
This might make it difficult when your tyke is sound asleep from a long day of excitement!
Keep in mind that as of 2019, Disney now has a new stroller size restriction for both single and double.
Make sure you go over new restrictions prior to packing a stroller to ensure yours works well for the new requirements of Disneyland.
4. Mobile Ordering Is a Must
While you should still pack a decent amount of snacks and bring in some extra food for your kiddos to munch on throughout the day of exploration, mobile ordering is a neat and convenient hack to avoid long lines and place orders ahead of time.
Through the Disneyland App on your smart device, you are able to place a mobile order earlier in the day and through push notifications, you'll be notified when your order window is open and your order is ready.
The other neat thing about mobile ordering through your Disneyland App is the capability to add special requests such as dietary restrictions and modifications to your individual food orders.
This is a great feature for your picky eaters as well as those with more sensitive tummies!
5. Did You Know.. Under 3, Their Ticket is FREE?!
Yes, you read that correctly.
Planning a trip before your child’s third birthday is an excellent idea! Not only are they free to enter the park, but this is a great age for children to first visit and experience the magic that Disneyland has to offer.
As you know, this is the age where curiosity really starts and their overall recognition of characters and themes starts to pick up.
Definitely a fun way to spark your kiddos interests and enjoy time as a family, all for the cost of nothing!
6. Rider Switch
Take advantage of this amazing Disneyland feature! Even if you have a toddler (or two or three or four), this does not mean you are out of luck for thrill rides they can’t go on due to height restrictions.
Rider Switch allows parents or caregivers the opportunity to switch off caring for the little ones who aren't able to get on the ride.
Parent A and eligible children can wait in line and get on the ride, while Parent B waits at the rider switch.
This allows the second parent and other children who meet height restrictions the opportunity to get on the ride directly after the initial riders without having to wait in line all over again.
7. Baby Care Centers
This specific amenity that Disneyland offers complimentary with park entry, is more than just privacy.
Baby Care Centers are open during regular park hours and are fully equipped with
- Kitchen that hosts a sink, microwave and baby bottle warmer
- Feeding area with highchairs
- Changing room with tables
- Nursing room with chairs for mom
- Toddler-size toilets (excellent for potty training moms!)
- Vending machines that offer all inclusive baby necessities like wipes, diapers, sunscreen, formula, baby food and more
The facilities are also fully staffed in the event that there is a need for help or questions. Baby Care Centers can be found
- Disney California Adventure Park: Across from The Bakery Tour in Pacific Wharf and next to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop
- Disneyland Park: Right next to First Aid and at the very end of Main Street, U.S.A
8. Pack Appropriately
As mentioned earlier, a stroller is an absolute must, even if your children don't necessarily require one on the daily anymore. Aside from the stroller you will want to be fully equipped and ready for anything to make your day trip most enjoyable.
Just as it is important for us adults to keep our skin protected from harmful sun rays and long sun exposure, we want to do the same for our kids!
Pack things like a fun hat, groovy sunglasses, sunscreen and a handheld portable fan/water spritzer for easy cool downs.
Snacks and Hydration
Easy things to nibble on are best when packing snacks and drinks for the park. Think about finger food items: gummy snacks, crackers, applesauce pouches, and granola bars and easy to drink water bottles and juice boxes!
Full on Outfit Changes
Kids get messy, have accidents, and are likely to get wet on rides that involve splashing and water. Packing a full outfit change that consists of shirts, pants, undergarments, and socks can ensure smooth transitions from accidents and fun to comfort.
We recommend in the fall and spring, packing a hoodie, sweater or pullover. While the day might start off hot and become progressively warmer, nights can bring a brisk breeze.
9. Make it Magical & Play Dress Up
We can't think of a better way to add excitement to a trip than playing dress up for the park! Let your kiddos explore their inner Disney Character and dress up for an overall magical experience!
It also makes for great pictures, wonderful memories, and allows your kiddos the chance to express their inner Disney! Rules for character photos have changed and continue changing with COVID. Be sure to check current Disney protocols on character meet & greets.
10. Go at the Right Time of Year
While visiting Disneyland is joyous any time of year, there are better times to go than others!
Visiting the parks from March to May and from September to October ensures decent weather- not too cold and not too hot.
This is also when most states have school in session, so you won't necessarily have to worry about overcrowding. Although it may be more fun with added seasonal activities, going during summertime and major holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the parks tend to be most full.
11. Pick Low Crowd Days
Going at the right time of year, coincides with picking low crowd days. Using our Disneyland Crowd Calendar will show days of heavy crowds, above average crowds, average, below average and light crowd days.
Accessing this calendar is easy, simple and a great way to determine what day or days might be best to visit during your planned vacation!