Disney + Travel Tips || Part Three - Disneyland

So excited about today's post covering all things Disneyland travel!

Part One - How to Fly for Free Click Here.
Part Two - Hotels, When to Book and Budgeting Click Here.
Part Four - Flying with Kids Click Here. 

Tickets
We usually buy our tickets through Getawaytoday.com. I have used some other vendors before but I always go back to GAT. If you don't want to drop a grand or more all at once, you can just purchase your tickets and use the layaway plan through them which is amazing!

Character / Dining
I love doing Character Dining every trip we take to Disney. It's so magical and the food is always amazing! The first time we did a Character Dining was at the Aulani resort in Hawaii. Copeland was 2 and he loved it! At the Disneyland parks we LOVE Minnie & Friends breakfast buffet at The Plaza Inn. It is inside the park, which I personally love. You can make reservations up to 60 days in advance, which I recommend doing. They have a few characters that come around to the tables and interact with you. You can take pictures, get autographs, etc. It's really fun! Not to mention, Mickey shaped waffles and all you can eat bacon ;)

This next trip we've decided to splurge (since it will be our last Disney trip for the next couple years) and also make reservations at The Lamplight Lounge over at Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure. We've heard awesome things about the Lobster Nachos and the Infinity Fizz drink. But again, make sure you get your reservations set up in advance.

Themed Outfits
Okay, I'm that person that has an outfit planned for the entire family for each day we're at Disney. I don't do matching outfits, necessarily, but I definitely have a color scheme, a theme or something of the sorts. Our next visit I bought the boys some Childhood Clothing outfits in "vintage" Disneyland colors. I'm also going to have them Disney Bound as 101 Dalmatians. Spotted tees, black pants, red converse and custom dalmatian ears. I definitely like to splurge on fun Disney outfits. I think it adds to the magic. Showing Disney pride is my favorite thing to do at Disney! You can find some amazing custom ears and tees on Etsy.

Packing
I always pack two bags to bring into the parks. One bag is just a tote style bag, I love these $10 reusable ones from Amazon

I pack blankets,a change of clothes for the boys (including a new pair of undies, just in case!), sweatshirts or jackets depending on weather, diapers, wipes, and anything else I don't need on my person at all times into this tote bag. The second bag (a comfortable backpack) is filled with things I would take on every ride. This included my phone, camera, a couple snacks/little toys for the boys to keep them busy while in line, hand sanitizer, small package of wipes and a diaper, etc. 

Having two bags makes it easy to just grab the backpack (or Josh will usually just wear it throughout the park) without having to lug around a huge and heavy bag filled with everything we brought to the park. 

- Vinyl Lined Bags. You guys I LOVE my vinyl lined bags from Dragonfly Sis Boutique. They are perfect for putting the boys snacks into, makeup, making little first aid kids to throw in the backpack, etc. So many uses for them! And the fact that they are almost entirely vinyl is amazing. She can make custom Disney characters so just shoot her a message! 

- Baby Carrier. This was a must for us when Finn was smaller. Unlike Copeland, Finley wasn't a huge fan of the stroller when he starts to get tired. He becomes very needy and extra whiny. Having a baby carrier was great! We were able to get him to sleep on us while waiting in line and being hands free was a plus. 

- Bring lots of healthy snacks! 
I mentioned this in the last post but seriously... If you're anything like me, I love my high calorie and fatty snacks from Disneyland. It's one of the things I look forward to most when going there. Copeland definitely shares my sweet tooth so with all the unhealthy things we're buying at the park it's good to have healthy and filling snacks on hand. We packed grapes, string cheese, nuts, peanut butter and celery, and wheat thins, along with frozen water bottles instead of using ice packs to save on space. Just make sure everything you pack is in a soft cooler so you can bring it in the park with you.

- Don't forget the extra change of clothes and sweatshirts.
As mentioned above don't forget some extra clothes for the kids! Accidents happen no matter how potty trained you think your kids are. With all the excitement of Disneyland, it can happen so come prepared. Also it does get chilly at night (depending on when you go). Somehow I forgot to bring Finn his sweatshirt and it was FREEZING. We ended up spending nearly $40 on a Disney hoodie for him when if I had just planned better, we would have had him covered. Blankets are a must for us as well. Who doesn't love cuddling a blanket while being pushed around in a stroller? ;) We always bring a fleece blanket. 

- Bring a full size stroller!! Bonus if it lays flat
Okay so Josh and I argued about this before our last trip with both boys. He wanted to bring an umbrella stroller and I said no way! His complaint was packing the double full size stroller through the airport and to the hotel. I finally convinced him it needed to come along and we are both glad we had it! Not only did it do the obvious, but it held all of the stuff you need to bring into the park with you. Yes you can get lockers for your things, but when you have a toddler and baby, it's so nice to have everything in the basket under the stroller. Diapers, snacks, blankets, sweatshirts, souvenirs, change of clothes, etc, etc, etc. Also before when Josh wanted to bring only one umbrella stroller, he was thinking Copeland would just want to walk and if not walk, Josh was planning on toting him around. Holy smokes was he glad we had a double stroller. Copeland sat in the stroller more times then not. He took naps in the stroller during the day as well! Trust me you'll want the full size double stroller :) Josh and I got a tandem opposed to a side by side and it was great! I think a side by side would have been way too wide, especially with the crowds. 

Souvenirs
It can be so fun and easy to get caught up in the Disney magic and just want to buy all the things. Trust me, even I at one point was asking Josh for just one more pair of mickey ears. When he told me that as soon as we got back to Utah, the $25 pair of ears were just going to be sitting in a box for years on end. I snapped out of my Disneyland trance and realized he was right. It's easy to spend money at Disney. Set a limit for the kids (and yourself haha!). This year since Copeland is now 5(!) we will be getting him is very own Disney gift card of a set amount. He can get whatever he wants, but when the gift card is out, that's it. So whether he chooses to buy one big toy or a few little ones, it's totally up to him :) He's extremely excited about this!

Rider Swap
Rider Swap is great when you have a little one who isn't quite tall enough for the bigger rides. Let's say Josh and Copeland want to go on Indy. Josh would get a rider swap and I'd hang back with Finn until they came back, then I would be able to get back into the Fast Pass lane with Copeland and go with him again while Josh now stayed with Finn. This next time we go we're crossing our fingers Finn will hit 40" and we can all go the rides together! 

Take Breaks
The Disneyland hustle and bustle is fun! But remember to take breaks. One of my most favorite things about Disneyland is sitting under a tree or parking the stroller by a bench, grabbing a box of popcorn or an ice cream cone and just enjoying the atmosphere that is Disneyland. It's honestly so magical! Let the kids run around for a bit and take a break from waiting in line. The entrance to Toon Town is a great place to do this. We also love to sit in New Orleans Square across from The Haunted Mansion. Or hop on the Mark Twain Riverboat. 

MaxPass
We are definitely doing this next time! It costs $10 extra per ticket per day but worth it! It's basically like a mobile fastpass. You can grab a "fastpass" for your favorite ride over in DCA while you're waiting in the Peter Pan line over at Disneyland all via the app. We're excited to try it out! It also comes with unlimited Disney PhotoPass photo downloads. 

Rough Itinerary
I always make a rough itinerary for each day. I like knowing somewhat what we're doing so that we can hit as many rides as possible. We sometimes will follow the plan and sometimes just see where the day takes us. I'm a list person though, so it makes me happy to have one :)

I'll be sharing my FAVORITE Amazon finds for Disney travel in a post coming up!




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