Have You Been to Disneyland?

In a few short weeks, my family and I will venture off to California for a visit with the Mouse. I have spent hours online Googling my face off. I've read so much of the Disney site that i'm now seeing mouse ears everywhere! I've even read the 2012 Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and I am still overwhelmed and unsure.

Sometimes, doing too much research can be bad thing...

My head swirls with all of the things we *might* want to do. Then things like NO FIREWORKS on the night I wanted to stay late throw a wrench into the plans. With kids 4 and 5 years old, we can't be silly and stay up late every night! Days after would be horrible for all of us and I kinda like it when my kids aren't grouchy-- call me selfish.

I'd like to hear what others have to say about their experiences at Disneyland.  What are the must-see, must-do rides? What things should we take to the park with us to enjoy our day more??

So far, the only thing i've actually mustered up and bought in preparation are little autograph books for the kiddos.   (Hardcovered, plain paper notebooks from the DollarStore.)  That's it! I also know that we will be bringing a packed lunch with us every day and trying to avoid huge food costs.

Aside from that, I am a researched out Disneyland newbie!   Help!


My advice is to bring refillable water bottles or juice boxes and snacks for all. The food and drinks are so expensive it's sickening! Pace your self and plan for lines....if you can get in early one day do it's worth it. I haven't been in years but I loved the Indiana Jones one, not sure if your kids are tall enough. If you go to California adventure the ride Soaring over California was really neat. You will have a great time your kids are perfect age.
Rebecca said…
We have Walt Disney World With Kids 2011 and the books is a MUST read because it is organized really well and has lists for each age group. (Preschool, young school age, older school age)

It then goes on to say what kids usually like about certain rides and what kids don't like about certain rides.

Since every single ride is listed in the book, I went to youtube and searched things like "Test Track Full Ride" Splash Mountain Full Ride" along with all the other rides and I knew by watching them what rides would work out and what ones wouldn't.

Also, I wouldn't fret too much about sleep. Both of my kids woke up every morning around 6am (would have been 5am in the time zone where we live) and didn't go to bed until around 10pm. They slept in the car a little on the way there and back (where we stayed was about a 30 minute drive to and from the Disney parking lot)

Anyway, both of my kids did phenomenally well.
Rebecca said…
...also with food I didn't find it to be too expensive. The kids did share a kids meal anytime we ate (the meals were large enough for them to share and have some left over) and Kevin and I shared a meal a few times too.
I haven't been to Disneyland since I was 17. So.......
Melani said…
We just went last summer. I agree with Formerly known as Frau, be sure to bring water bottles you can fill up. It depends on when you are going and you say in a few short weeks, so I would think it is the off season and it won't be so packed. We got the 2 day park hopper tickets so we could go to Disneyland and California Adventure whenever we wanted and our hotel was within walking distance. Oh and the fireworks are on around 9 ish or 9:30 and you can see them from everywhere, so if you just go outside and your hotel is close by, you can be sure to see them! I love Disneyland and I want to go back for sure. I am only like 2 hours from there. Have a blast and totally pace yourself!
starnes family said…
We go once a month, as we live in San Diego.

Don't miss:

Haunted Mansion
It's a Small World
Tom Sawyer's Island
the old school rides beyond the castle (Fantasy Land)

Bring in snacks and drinks.

Don't miss the parade.

Buy the Mickey ears and have them monogrammed. Great souvenir.

We do a "vacation fairy" that gives kids all their snacks and treats for the day.......when they wake in the hotel......that gets them excited and off the focus of usual souvenirs.

Mickey and Minnie and other characters are stationed around the main circle as you enter the gates, just beyond the train station. Cruise around there to get the obligatory pic with Mickey.

The train ride around the park is fun and allows you to see a lot.

Stay late. It's magical at night.

Try California Adventure if you get the Park Hopper pass and DON'T MISS Sourin' Over California. Best ride in both parks.


Email me for more info.


Unknown said…
Wow! Sounds like you got some good info there.... You'll be able to help others once you've "been there, done that". Anticipation is half the fun.
Dana said…
I haven't been with kids (yet) but I've seen plenty of parents who just kept their kids out past when they were having fun. It may work to keep your kids up (and if it does, great!) but know when to call it quits. Everyone will have a better time.

We never found the meals to be too bad and the portion size is usually pretty good, but the snacks and drinks are a bit of a killer.
Heather said…
I don't have any advice, but I do remember getting autographs when I was a kid and LOVING it so good job on the books :)
Misty said…
When I was little Tinkerbell flew out of the sky during the fireworks. If that is still part of the show, I'm not sure if you would catch that from your hotel.
erin said…
If the weather is nice and you have time you should go down to Huntington Beach, its only about 30minutes away! I live 30 mins from Disneyland and have not been in years, have a great trip!!
momto8 said…
5 of my kids have gone with friends.....they all gave a thumbs up!!! 5 for 5 is pretty good!
Have fun!
I've never been ... I'm jealous! Enjoy!!

Happy Valentine's Day!
Anne said…
My family and I are planning to have a Disney World Vacation on May and I have the same concern as you. I'm so thankful for the comments that I've read from here, It gives me more idea on what to do and where to go in my Disney adventure.

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