Lessons Learned at Disneyland

We spent the last week at Disneyland.  I hadn’t been there in some fifteen years, and my husband hadn’t been there in over twenty.  We enjoyed it, but we’re exhausted and need that proverbial vacation from the vacation.  Here are some of the things we learned on this maiden voyage that will make our next family trip to the Magic Kingdom more relaxing.

  1.  Do not ride Space Mountain directly after breakfast.
  2. If you’re traveling with a two-year-old, be prepared to be a spectacle.  I can’t tell you how many stares we got for her screaming, how many raised eyebrows we got during her tantrums, or how many exclamations of “Wow!” I heard from people awestruck by our double stroller packed with a cooler, diapers, wipes, blankets, and the like.  I began muttering at these people under my breath.
  3. Grown women in Minnie Mouse ears look ridiculous. (And they are EVERYWHERE in the park.)
  4. People tend to stop and consult each other or their maps right in the middle of a walkway.  Please move to the side of the traffic flow if you need to stop.
  5. California Pizza Kitchen at the Gardenwalk in Anaheim is not as good as the one near my home.
  6. My husband will always score the most points on the Buzz Lightyear ride.  I rode that thing three times before he did, and he still scored a hundred thousand more points than I did.
  7. A churro and a bottle of water will cost you an arm and a leg.
  8. Fast passes are the greatest feature of Disneyland since Captain Eo.
  9. Captain Eo is even more awesome now than it was when I last saw it in the early 1990s.
  10. Change all diapers in the restroom.  I thought I did a quick, efficient change on a blanket in the stroller, but a few hours later my husband’s lap and my toddler’s pants were soaking wet.
  11. The Haunted Mansion is too scary for my children, ages seven and two.  The seven-year-old hid her face the entire time, and the two-year-old tearfully proclaimed at the end, “All done!  All done!”
  12. The Hollywood Tower of Terror is anything but terrifying.  I walked out crying tears of joy because I laughed so hard.

The best resource we found is The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.  The book details every aspect of the park and even has plans outlining which attractions you should visit in what order and when to get fast passes for the more popular rides.  There are one- and two-day plans that direct you against the flow of traffic and guarantee to have you waiting in line 2.6 hours less than people who just wander.  However, because we visited in April, we found that wandering worked out just fine.  We rode almost everything twice without waiting more than ten minutes in any line.

Now, because of some of the temper tantrums and tears, I am officially instituting baby boot camp this week at my house.  Time out is going to be my two-year-old’s best friend, and hitting, screaming for no reason, and pulling hair are officially banned and will be punished swiftly and decisively.  Once that is conquered?  Potty training boot camp!

What have you learned in your travels to Disneyland?  Or in your travels with children?


14 thoughts on “Lessons Learned at Disneyland

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  1. Cannot believe you got stares and whispers from people at DISNEYLAND about your rambuctious two-year-old. If a kid can’t be a kid at Disneyland, where can they? People are rude.

  2. We were there for three days the weekend before and had a wonderful time with a 3 and 4 year old grand girls. The crowds on Saturday were pressing but on Thursday and Friday not so bad. We were beyond the diaper changing days so didn’t have to worry about that.

    Agree that the Haunted House is too scary for little ones. We did it and wished we hadn’t although they loved Pirates of the Caribbean and had to do it twice. Small World was their favorite and after five trips through that place that song is still bouncing around in my head.

    Breakfast with Mickey was great. Actually, it was all great and worth all the money.

    The churro and water (I had some outside the a Winne the Poh ride) is expensive but oh so good.

    Another boon was the Disneyland aps you can download to your iPhone that give waiting times and height restrictions on the rides.

    1. Ooh, I didn’t know about the apps. Of course, I don’t have an iphone, so I guess it wouldn’t have mattered! But I did like how each ride had an approximate wait time listed outside and the times listed for Fast Pass return. Very slick! I’m glad you had a good trip. 🙂

  3. #1 Duh (sarcastic teenage tone).
    #2 At least you didn’t get the stares because your 2-year old saw the first down syndrome child in their life and pointed and screamed like they were a monster. Yes, this did happen to me. Twice. 10 minutes apart.
    #3 Everyone looks stupid in mouse ears… The goofy ear hats are the bomb though.
    #4 You should be used to this… For you live in Utah.
    #5 Yes, but pizza is like sex. Even when it’s not that good… It’s still pretty damn great! (Maybe that’s just a dude thing).
    #6 That’s because he has to prove he’s better than a femi-Nazi!
    #7 I won’t even say what it costs for a hot dog.
    #8 Yes, but you must be a master of organization and time management.
    #9 Girls…
    #10 I got a number 2 blowout on my linen pants, so he got off easily.
    #11 For some weird reason (my genes) my kids laugh at scary things. They find them ridiculous or the special effects interesting – even when they were very little. They’re no fun. I couldn’t even get my son to cry when I wanted him to get me out of a church meeting.
    #12 no comment

    Seriously. It’s a grueling thing but it’s worth it to see that excitement in the kids faces. The first time I took my kids, we packed up the car and the kids stuff while they were at school. When they got home (this was a Tuesday) we “decided” to go get something to eat and 3.5 hours later (we lived in California then) we were at Disneyland. The look on their faces was amazing.

    I had some friends do this from Utah and they “decided” to just hope on a plane and none of their 4 daughters had any idea.

      1. I meant female-persuaded meritocratic.

        I was wearing linen pants because it was over 100 degrees. Only time I ever wore them. You could never get the wrinkles out of them; let alone the baby poop. I try not to wear shorts because my legs are fluorescent white and nobody wants to see that. Now they’re covered in tattoos so I’m not too worried about showing them.

  4. Every one I totally agree with, except I do get scared (and thrilled) on Tower of Terror. BTW – 3 year olds do NOT like that ride 😉

    1. and to answer your question, I find that traveling with children is easier if you pack 4 times the amount of food you think you need…and portable DVD players

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