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Baby’s First Disney Trip
Do you remember the first time you visited Disneyland? I know you have been wanting to take your baby to Disneyland. I have taken each one of my children there before they were one. Yes, it’s cute to bring them. Yes, it is more for you and not the baby. Yes, you will still have fun with your baby in tow.
You may dread the hot day, the time to stand in line and the rider switch, but it can be all worth it. You have been daydreaming about taking your baby to Disneyland before he or she was born. You may have fond memories of it as a child or you are a superfan. Whatever the case may be, I will help navigate your trip to Disneyland in California the best it can be.
Disneyland in California
Disneyland is truly “The Happiest Place on Earth” to me. When I talk about it, I light up and I can talk about it for hours. Disneyland California opened on July 17th, 1955. I know someone who actually met Walt Disney the week it opened. He was a little boy back then and his mother didn’t have the camera with her. His father had the camera so they missed out on the photo op. The only thing he remembered was they were standing on the bridge in front of the castle and Walt Disney saying “No autographs please”. I still think about that story from time to time. Over the years, I have been a season pass holder for seven years (not consecutively). On the years I am not a season pass holder, I typically will go one to two times a year with my family.
Attractions Near Disneyland
The weather is typically pretty mild all year around. There are days when it can get very cold or hot. There is a lot to do around the resort such as nearby malls and baseball. There are a lot of cool bakeries around the area such as: 85 Degrees, Porto’s (my favorite for the Potato Balls and the Dulce De Leche Besito Cookies) and Cream Pan. It’s worth the drive. I also want to mention Great Wolf Lodge at this point. Great Wolf Lodge is a resort destination all by itself very close to the California Disneyland Resort. It is a fantastic vacation spot for families who love water parks. My friend’s daughter wants to include it in their family travels every year. The City Pass Southern California is a good choice to enjoy a variety of attractions. For your little dinosaur lover, the La Brea Tar Pits is not to be missed.
Disneyland Area Hotels and Accommodations
When we travel, I create my own vacation package as I was a certified travel agent in the past. I enjoy having a kitchen or kitchenette and a space for the kids to lounge. I prefer having a pool as well. It allows us to unwind and relax better than just a small hotel space. I have used Home Away and Airbnb in the past. Extended Stay America is nice because it is roomy enough for a family. I like staying close to the resort especially with babies. The Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel are within the resort at the end of Downtown Disney. The monorail brings you pretty close to the Disney Hotel from Tomorrow Land at Disneyland. Guests at the Grand Californian have direct access into California Adventure as well as some fantastic views of the park. All of these hotels have beautiful surroundings. You could also experience RVShare.com by renting an RV. Close to Disneyland RV Resorts include: Anaheim RV Park, Anaheim Harbor RV Park or Orangeland RV Park.
Disneyland has a lot of attractions that are baby friendly. Iconic favorites for little ones include: It’s a Small World, Alice in Wonderland, Autopia, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Disney Monorail, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Haunted Mansion, The Little Mermaid- Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Mad Tea Party, Mark Twain Riverboat, Minnie’s House (where you can meet Minnie), Peter Pan’s Fight and more.
Disney on a Budget
I’m all about finding a deal for Disneyland Vacations! For park entry, there are a few ways to save. If you or your spouse or someone in your party is in the Military, you can get tickets for a deal. The military member must be with you when you enter the park. If you have a Target Red Card (Credit or Debit) you will receive 5% off your purchase. Once a year, if you are a Target Red Card holder, you will receive a 10% off coupon that is valid for 1 month. If you can time it right, you take advantage of this special deal for your gift card and Target spending for the year. I like to purchase Disney Gift Cards here to purchase Disney Tickets online.
Baby Care Centers
Kids need gear, stroller parking, naps and snacks. Luckily, there is stroller parking galore. Bring your own snacks, lunch and dinner if possible. There is a picnic area with tables and lockers located outside of Disneyland going towards Downtown Disney on the right. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy your lunch or dinner if you planned ahead. You may bring snacks into the park. They don’t allow glass bottles, so don’t bring them in. Disneyland and California Adventure both have Baby Care Centers. They offer baby food, nursing spaces for breastfeeding and comfortable baby changing areas. I love this breastfeeding coverup that allows you to see baby easily with a built in plastic “C” for easy viewing of your little angel. They also have the cutest tiny toilets for your little ones.
It If your child can sleep in a stroller, then you will be able to stay in the park. If not, you may need a trip back to your accommodations. Luckily, the ART (bus line) is awesome and well organized. You can either walk, take the ART, or drive and park in the parking lot. It’s always nice to go back to put your kids down for a nap before going back to the park for more. I like taking a baby carrier. Babies sleep so much, it’s so easy to wear your baby all day. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen and to wear a wide brimmed hat. This is my favorite hat, The Scrunchie from the Wallaroo Hat Company.
My First Disneyland Trip
Don’t forget to stop by the office at Main Street to pick up your free “My First Trip to Disneyland” pin. It will become a cherished memory. You will more than likely spend lots of time standing in line to meet characters and have an autograph signed. I highly suggest booking a Character Dining experience well ahead of your trip to maximize the number of characters your children can interact with while getting to have breakfast or brunch at the same time. I love the one at The Disney Hotel. We have been going there for over 25 years.
There are height requirements for attractions. Make sure the kids are tall enough for what they want to ride on. Take advantage of the Fast Pass. Our technique is to wake up early, get there when the gates open and RUN to whatever ride (usually Hyperspace Mountain) then hop on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. If you need to, there are many rides that will do a parent switch pass, you would just need to stand in line until you get to the attendant and ask for a pass, that way when you are watching baby, your partner could ride then you switch without having to wait as long.
Disney Photo Ops with Cast Members
Magnificent backdrops are everywhere. The place is magical. It’s my happy place. Around Christmas time, they make “Snow” on Main Street, the parades are colorful and vibrant. Babies will be enchanted with all of the motion and excitement. At night, there are fantastic fireworks that can be seen for miles around. If you stay in a near by high rise hotel, ask for a fireworks view. The bakery and sweet shops inside the park and in Downtown Disney have beautifully crafted treats.
We took our thrid child to Disney World when he was two months old, this included four trips on an airplane. Like I said, babies are easy to take along because they sleep so much. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s even easier. Take your baby to Disneyland. It’s easy, fun and manageable. It will be a memorable trip for you filled with fabulous and adorable baby pictures to cherish for a lifetime. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding areas as well. In another post, I will review the Disney Cruise Line