By D’land Diva
Toddlers are at an amazing stage in life. I do mean stage by the way. The world is their stage. They are into exploring, through touching and tasting and don’t do anything half way. This is a wonderful stage in which to take your child to Disneyland! Many kids LOVE the characters at this age, they LOVE the movement and visuals in the rides and they LOVE all the things they can see and touch around the park. This, of course, can also present some challenges for parents. It can be hard to get a toddler on a dark ride without screaming. It can be hard to keep a toddler in the stroller since they want to walk everywhere. It can be hard to keep a toddler from melting down every two seconds from all the emotions of the exciting day.
Don’t fear! The good outweighs the bad and you will have a magical trip with your toddler at Disneyland. Here are some helpful hints to make your trip more enjoyable:
1) Pack the essentials. For a toddler, this means a change of clothes, snacks and drinks. It’s been my experience that kids at this age have their favorite foods and drinks. Disneyland may not have these favorites. Diva Tip: Whole milk is available at the Jolly Holiday Bakery on Main Street. We have found that one milk in a cup fills two bottles.
2) Let it go. Sometimes kids are too scared to go on certain dark rides. Just let it go. Sometimes toddlers do not want to follow the same schedule for the day that you would like to follow. It is a lot easier for you to adapt than for your toddler to. Now, I am not saying to totally cater to your child. I am saying that some things you just have to let go. If it is on your schedule to have a snack at 10 a.m. and by 9 a.m. your toddler is hot mess, go take a break and get a snack early. Let it go.
3) Find Toddler Friendly Rides. Some rides that toddlers might enjoy: Dumbo, the Carousal, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Alice in Wonderland, Mad Tea Party, It’s a Small World, the Jungle Cruise and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Most of these rides are outside (except It’s a Small World and Winnie the Pooh), but they are pretty low key and not too loud. My son had some issues getting used to the Buzz Lightyear ride because it was so LOUD.
4) Utilize the Baby Care Center. If your toddler needs a high chair, a clean sippy or a clean diaper, this is the place to do it. The Baby Care Center is located at the end of Main Street across from the Red Wagon Corn Dog cart.
5) Take a play break. Toon Town is one big giant playground. There are tons of things to touch and places to run around. There is even a small playground in an enclosed area to let your toddler run free. This is great place for you to sit and catch your breath and maybe enjoy a snack.
6) Bring a stroller or rent one. Disneyland can be tiring, and even if you think your little one will not stay in a stroller, chances are they will need one at some point. Strollers also make for good storage places and can serve as a great place for your toddler to nap.
7) Eat at entertaining places. So many times, the D’land Diva hubby and I have expressed the need to sit down and eat dinner just to take a mental and physical break. This is hard to do with toddlers. Your best bet is to eat at either Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland or the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country. At Rancho del Zocalo your toddler can be endlessly amused by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride next door. At Hungry Bear, there are ducks and boats that pass by.
8) Go see the characters. For many toddlers, it is a magical thing to see their favorite character. Some of my favorite pictures taken of my kids over the past few years have been pictures with characters. For some other toddlers, the characters may be a frightening experience. If you toddler is scared, just go with it. Maybe the next trip they will feel differently. My son went through a stage when he was about three where we could not get him to go see any of the characters. It passed fairly quickly.
Enjoy seeing the magic in your toddler’s eyes! Have a wonderful trip!