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Preparing Your Family for a Day at Disneyland


Disneyland! You and your family have been saving, planning, and anticipating the trip for months now. However, a trip with this much anticipation attached rarely goes as planned. Whether it’s longer-than-expected lines, kids’ tantrums, or someone going missing, Disneyland actually throws parents for a loop more often than not. Happiest Place on Earth or not, a day at Disneyland can be an exhausting ordeal.

However, as with most things, a little preparation can help things run smoother. Here are some tips for things that you can do to prepare for your trip effectively, and get the most out of your Disney day.



Prepare for a Road Trip: Pack up your car with all the essentials. Even if you don’t end up having too much of a drive, everyone knows that LA traffic can be a nightmare during peak hours.

Be in Good Shape: A day at the parks will contain a lot of hours on your feet. While standing, walking, and bracing yourself in the rides’ seats doesn’t seem like something that will be particularly strenuous at first, it will wear on you after a while. Make sure that you have strong circulation and good cardio strength before your trip, as this will make the whole day a lot less painful.


Pack Smart: There are some essentials that you’ll want to keep in that mom-bag of yours, but all things considered, a large bag can end up being more burden than blessing during a long day. By all means, keep some snacks and a water bottle handy. Keep sunscreen and even bug spray on hand. But you’ll probably want to reconsider the backup poncho and your voluminous first aid kit.

Dress Smart: Sure, there’ll be a lot of pictures, but a Disney day is no time for a fashion show. Wear light, cool clothes, and put priority on comfortable shoes. You’ll be regretting those kitten heels within an hour. Make sure that your kids are similarly equipped with comfortable clothes and shoes.


Download the App: Disneyland’s app gives you wait times, character locations, and show schedules all at a glance. This will help you navigate the park in the most efficient way possible.

Budget for Extra Costs: Remember that although the tickets have been paid for, there are still incidental expenses that can ruin your mood if you’re not expecting them. Plan ahead for parking costs, food prices, and souvenirs. Disneyland is famous for its markups, so it’s important to plan and budget with reasonable expectations ahead of time.


Set Up an Emergency Meet-up Place: It’s easy to get lost in the crowds, especially if pieces of your family are splitting off to go to a different ride, and mom is waiting with the baby somewhere else. Plan for an emergency meet-up place ahead of time: somewhere all the kids can find easily, and somewhere where it’ll be easy to find each other. Sure, cell phones often eliminate the need for previous plans, but you never know what will happen, and nothing is scarier than losing a kid at Disneyland. Speaking of safety measures, you might want to consider dressing all your kids in a distinctive way that will make them easy to spot in the crowd. My mom would always put us in the same color shirts.

Bring some Games for the Lines: You might be envisioning nonstop action and entertainment for your day at Disney. But the truth is, you’ll be spending the majority of your time in line, even if you go in the off-season and plan smart. So bring something to keep you and your children occupied during the hour-plus waits. Heads Up is a great app that makes the time fly by, and you’ll see a lot of other people in line playing.


Plan Your Day: Now, we’re not saying that you should plan your day from beginning to end, minute by minute. Leave room for spontaneity, and for unplanned impediments. However, you’ll want to give yourself an outline to work with, especially if someone will be crushed if they miss seeing Mickey, and someone else wants, above all, to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. Plan out which Fast Passes you want to use, the attractions that you most want to see, and any eating reservations or plans. Consider height requirements for the rides, and check the construction schedule ahead of time. Especially during the off season, odds are good that at least one ride will be closed for repairs and updates.

Stay for the Fireworks: The fireworks are amazing and the highlight of Disneyland and something that you will not want to miss. The best viewing spot is in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle or right on Main Street. However, the fireworks are all dependent on the weather so be sure to check the weather before you go, if the fireworks are a must see on your list.


Let's discuss: What has your experience been like at Disneyland? 

Annmarie John
70 Comments
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70 comments:

  1. My husband and I enjoyed Disney without kids, but reading this, I can imagine it is quite something especially with young ones in tow. It is exhausting and a bit of preparation can go a long way to making it a happy memory.

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    1. I have never been to Disney without the kids and would love to one of these days, but I really don't see that happening. :)

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  2. Oooh how much fun!
    Unfortunately our closest Disneyland is in Hong Kong. Quite far from where we live but it is on my bucket list to take my son there. Your tips will comes in handy!

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    1. Oh that one is on my bucket list to visit as well. Hopefully one day soon.

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  3. Comfortable shoes and clothing is always a priority when I visit Disney. There's so much walking and standing and comfort is key.

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    1. Oh it most definitely is. I always make sure to pack my most comfortable shoes when I visit.

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  4. Your right it is important to have stamina as walking through the park or waiting in queues is physically demanding.

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    1. After a long day you're going to need that energy for sure.

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  5. Disneyland takes lots of effort so everyone needs to be physically ready to walk around. It also help to wear something comfy and have food and drinks ready.

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    1. Oh it sure does and while I might not say "food" per se, you should definitely have water, if nothing else.

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  6. I cannot wait to take my son to Disneyland. I've got a remember all these tips. I know I got a really good tip, where they said go and buy one bottle of water for each person and then just continue to fill it in the water fountains. It will save me tons of money.

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    1. That is true although sometimes the fountains can be warm so I usually just buy them.

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  7. Thank you for sharing your tips. Its been a while since we have been there. I am looking forward to visiting again soon.

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    1. Oh you have to go back soon. I was there in August and we had a blast.

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  8. You thought of everything, wow! I like your blogging style very much too, it's very vivid :)

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    1. Thank you Marta and thank you for stopping by.

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  9. Never went to Disneyland but so many friends shared with me their story so I know isn't the same but maybe in the future I will go, who knows. Not for me, probably for my family I am not a kid anymore :P

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    1. Oh you don't have to be a kid to enjoy Disney, you'll be surprised at all the adults you'll see there.

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  10. This is certainly a great post to share with others heading to Disneyland with the family. I love your tips and how easy they are!

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    1. Than you Sarah and while Disneyland is perfect for families, it's great for couples too.

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  11. I like your advice! Having an emergency meetup place is a good idea. I think bringing something to do in the lines is pretty smart too.

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    1. Oh trust me, having that meet up place is perfection. If we didn't have that this summer, we might still be looking for my son.

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  12. one place i have never been but have promised myself i will go there in the future....

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    1. And that's a promise you most certainly should keep.

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  13. Great tips, we haven't been to Disney in five years. I'm waiting for my youngest to get a bit older so we can all have a great time. I will keep these tips in mind for sure. I don't like leaving home without snacks.

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    1. We go yearly and have a blast. We already have our hotel booked for 2 weeks next year in FL and can't wait for July to get here.

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  14. Theme park planning always reminds me of growing up. Each year we'd go to our local theme park once and we had to make the most out of the day. My mom would also make me wear clothing that I hated (hats, gym shoes) and lathered on the sunblock. But looking back it was fun.

    Nina
    aworldofdresses.com

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    1. We love theme parks and we go to one at least once a year. They are a ton of fun and memories.

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  15. I can't wait to have a family of my own to take to Disney Land. How blessed your family is to get to enjoy such a magical place! Your family sounds very organized for the trip too! Thank you for sharing your wonderful tips for hopefully my near future! lol

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    1. And thank you for stopping by with your input Megan. Hopefully you'll make it there soon and also share your own tips with us.

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  16. This is a great list! We haven't done Disneyland yet but have done Disney world. Your list would probably work for both.

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    1. Oh it most certainly work for both. We've done both Disney World and Disneyland and they're both amazing but Disney World is still my favorite.

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  17. this is a perfectly timed post-we are going to Walt Disney World next month and these tips especailly about bringing games to keep us occuiped in line are so valuable! thanks!

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    1. You're welcome Kathleen. Enjoy Disney, it should be cool then. We usually go in the summer and it's super hot then.

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  18. Those are all good tips, but especially dressing smart. I have seen so many people in their fashion show clothes getting blisters and looking miserable.

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    1. Oh we dress as comfortable as we can, no need to dress up for Disney, unless its in Disney shirts.

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  19. Helpful tips especially for first timers. If there is anything that parenting has taught me, it's to be prepared for the unexpected and you can definitely apply that when going to Disney! I love that they have an app, that's going to help a lot.

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    1. Oh the app is very invaluable. It has keep us abreast of wait times so we're not wasting time.

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  20. These are some really great tips to prepare for a family day at Disneyland. I love the idea of having game apps for the long wait times in the lines which makes the time seem shorter. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips.

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    1. You're welcome Rebecca. Sometimes you can be in a line for more than an hour so you definitely need something to occupy your time.

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  21. I have never been to Disneyland although we have been to Disney World. I have always wondered what the differences are and would like to visit both!

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    1. Disney World is 4 parks in one while Disneyland is only 2. Besides that big difference they're both a lot of fun.

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  22. Oh Disneyland! I haven't been there yet but I hear that you really need 2 days to really experience it. I want to do Disney World first though. I'm so jealous by the way. You guys did Disney Paris earlier this year and now Disneyland. You're Disney fanatics. :)

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    1. That I would have to say you do. You really can't enjoy both parks in just 1 day.

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  23. I love these tips! I know my kids would love to be able to go to Disneyland, I hope to be able to take them some day.

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    1. I hope you are as well. Your kids, and you, will enjoy yourselves immensely.

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  24. I wonder how much more seasonable it is there! Disney World is awesome, but so hot and humid except for a few months. We go during those few months!
    Being in good shape is kinda key for 13 hour theme park days!

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    1. Oh Disneyland is hot as well, but I didn't find it as humid. We usually go to Disney World around July while we went to Disneyland in August.

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  25. I've never been to Disney and we are planning to take our son soon. I'm glad I saw this post. I'll be reading a lot before heading there

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    1. Which Disney are you going to? Depending on the age of your son, may I recommend Disney World as your first trip?

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  26. My husband and I love to travel and Disney is also in our bucket list. Hopefully by that time we already have a kid or kids :)

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    1. I would recommend doing it by yourselves as well. Disney is perfect for couples.

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  27. That is a place full of fun! Not just for kids but for adults as well. Great tips! It's always good to plan and be prepared, especilly when travelling with kids.

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    1. I agree, a lot of people seem to think that you need a family to enjoy Disney, but that is very far from the truth.

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  28. These are essential tips! Can you bring food and water into the park? I thought they banned that so you're forced to buy their 5 dollar water :P Still I love Disneyland. It is really a place where children's dreams come true.

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    1. You can bring water into the park and you can also bring snacks as well. I don't because I don't want to carry around anything heavy and I just buy my food there.

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  29. These are awesome tips! I haven't been to Disneyland, but I know that a day at an amusement park can definitely be strenuous and take a lot out of you. Being physically and mentally prepared is key!

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    1. That is very true indeed. Even when I go to our small parks here it can be draining.

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  30. I've only been to Disneyland once but I have been to DisneyWorld several times. These are great tips! They are both so much fun if you are prepared.

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    1. We're in the same both. I've been to Disneyland only once, unless you count in Disneyland Paris, then twice, but I've been to Disney World quite a few times and we LOVE them all. You most certainly have to be prepared.

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  31. I have never visited Disneyland. It is definitely on my bucket list. However, I have been to Disney World multiple times and I know your tips are very smart.

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    1. Disneyland or Disney World, the tips will work for both theme parks.

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  32. My daughter is only 10 months, so a little too young to enjoy Disneyland - But I cannot wait for the day where we get to plan a dream trip for her <3

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    1. Oh I've seen younger than her at Disney. You're never too young or too old. :)

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  33. I think it'll be a couple more years before we go back to Disneyland but thanks for the tips!!

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    1. Guess what? These tips can work for Disney World too!

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  34. It is always good to be prepared, no matter where you go on a trip with your kids! It has been a while since we have been to Disneyland, but I am looking forward to returning, always a lot of fun, even now that the kids are older, it is still special, blessings!

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    1. Oh you should always be prepared. I love visiting Disney with the kids but can't wait to do it by myself one of these days.

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  35. I would love to go to Disneyland one day. Is so good that you thought of everything. It requires a good stamina as it will be a lot of standing and walking.

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    1. Oh yes you'll certainly be doing a lot of standing and walking, and waiting, especially at the more popular rides.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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