We just got back from Disneyland for the twins second birthday. Many people say it’s a waste of money to take babies to the magical kingdom, but I say you can’t afford not too! They are FREE until they hit 3, so for us that cuts the price of admission in half, and they really really love their day. Plus did you know there are major benefits to visiting with a baby? I’m talking shorter lines…read on friends!
There are so many little tips and tricks to maximize your time and money, here are what we like best:
One Pass, One Day, One Park: We say one fully packed day is better value that spending triple time taking it slower. Plus Disneyland is exhausting, a nice day on the beach the day after is both free and relaxing! There’s way too much to see and do trying to jump between parks, so we feel picking a park and getting as much done in one day is the best approach.
Baby Swap Pass: The magical thing about Disneyland is that babies and parents can enjoy rides together, having said that many of the popular rides have a height limit and babies/toddlers can’t ride. This can be to your advantage if you do the baby swap system while they nap! One person stands in line like usual and gets a pass for the person with babies to then skip the line. This works really, really well when you’re with a bigger group. We were with a group of 10, so we fast pasted 5 tickets and the first group rode, then the second group did after with baby pass. No one then has to stand in line more than 10 minutes or so. We only fast passed half the tickets because you can only do one fast pass at a time per ticket, so we fast passed half the tickets on one ride and half on another, there’s no need to spend all the fast passes on one ride when you have babies with you. Hope that makes sense!
Food: We never enter the park empty handed when it comes to food and water. Water bottles are a must, as they can be refilled for free anywhere in the park. We also like to bring in snacks and treats, nothing to heavy to lug around (strollers are so handy). We eat a good breakfast, and then have a later lunch around 2 to avoid bigger crowds. Rancho del Zocalo we think is the best value for money (menu HERE) and fills us for the whole day. Dole Whips are our favorite treat to enjoy in the cool Enchanted Tiki Room that has been one of the girlies favorite attractions!
Souvenirs: They have amazing shops at Disney, but if I’m there one day that’s not how I want to spend my time! I always hit the Dollar Tree before our trip and get lots of little Disney bits and bobs like coloring books, pencils, little characters, story books…these come in handy for the whole trip and nice to bring some into the park. The Glow in the Dark Wands were a real hit once the sun goes down, and for $1 they really can’t be beaten.
We also got the girls a Mini soft toy before their first visit. I think we paid about $10 for it at Hobby Lobby where as in the park they go for $30. We attach their toy to a binky clip so it stays with us the whole day. We put them away when we got home and pulled them out again for this trip, they are such a novelty, but they don’t miss them when they go back into storage!
Our favorite souvenirs are these adorable silhouettes. They are hand cut and are just the cutest! For $10 you get two copies of the same portrait so I write on the back of one about our day at Disney to save for the girls and frame one for me.
Clothes: I love seeing all the little princesses around the park, and other creative ways people dress up. For us, I stick the the classic Mickey and Mini look. I pull some black and white clothes from our closets, somethings that can layer easily and are comfy. Add a pop of red and ears and we’re there!
Baby Lounge: The first time we took the girls they were 9 months old and I was still pumping full time and was panicked about being out the whole day. Then I found out about the baby lounge….sooooo dreamy! It’s at the top of main street by the corn dog stand and it’s basically a baby heaven. Nice and cool, quiet and has everything a baby and mummy needs. Feeding/pumping booths, high chairs, microwave, changing stations. It’s really all the comforts of home, I’d highly recommend taking a ‘time out’ in there with your little one to regroup, change and feed. Plus the decor in there is charming!
Our favorite part of the day is the light parade and fireworks. The girls were loving every second and it’s fun for them now to begin to recognize characters and point them out. The 60th celebration firework show was fantastic and worth the $99 entrance fee alone!
We hope we’ve inspired you to visit Disneyland, to make wonderful memories and to save a few bucks here and there. We’ve just had the best experiences there WITH BABIES, and now young toddlers…I’m wondering if it actually gets harder once the kids are older, or if it will be even more fun since they can enjoy even more. Either way, we’ll be going back soon!