These toddler tips will help you enjoy the Disneyland magic and avoid the 2-year-old meltdown.
It's a Small World is very soothing
- Adults with kids don't have to stand in line if the ride is only for the adult.
If Mom wants to ride Space Mountain but Dad and kids do not, tell the
guy working the ride and show him your family. He will let Mom go in a
special, shorter line.
Example 2: Mom and Dad both want
to ride Space Mountain but they have an infant who can't. All 3 wait in
line and when they get to the front, tell the staff you want to trade
off. Mom rides first while Dad and baby wait; when Mom is done, Dad
takes her seat and rides immediately.
- The best rides for the toddler crowd are ... (Parents will need to go with their kids on these rides.)
- It's a Small World
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- The Monorail
- The Railroad
Chip-n-Dale's Treehouse: Kids will love it. Adults will bonk their heads.
- Let your toddler run wild. If your little one doesn’t like being strapped into rides of any kind, go to:
- ToonTown. It has play areas where they can run around on their own. This area is least crowded immediately after park opening.
- Tom Sawyer's Island.. An island where everyone walks around on their own. Do keep a close eye on your children here though.
- Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at California Adventure. Lots of room to run and climb but also requires supervision.
- Playhouse Disney Live,
also at California Adventure. It's not a place to play per se but it's
a wonderful show for kids familiar with Disney channel characters.
It's about 20 minutes long and really cute. I wish I had a picture of
the look on my toddler's face when his favorite character first came out
and said hi "in person". His jaw just dropped.
- There's a Baby Center on Main Street, U.S.A.
It's got rocking chairs, hot water, diaper changing supplies, and
more. Note: They do have diapers for sale but not all sizes.
Not everyone enjoys the Meet-n-Greets
- I like to dress my kids alike if possible, so if one starts to wander off, it's more apparent to everyone around us. I need all the help I can get.
- Who Gets in Free? Children under 3.
- Bring or rent a stroller
for any child small enough to fit in one, regardless of age. You won't
believe how much you'll be walking. Letting your kids rest while you
walk is good for everyone, plus they're easier to keep track of. Take
your own, buy one at the Target on Harbor Blvd., or rent one at the
park, right near the main entrance.
- Tie a ribbon around your stroller handle. It will be easier to identify amid the sea of strollers.
- Rental strollers aren't allowed
in Downtown Disney. You can wheel them out of Disneyland and into
California Adventure and vice-versa, but not out of the turnstiles into
- Wagons aren't allowed into the park.
- Don't panic if your stroller was stolen--
it probably just got moved a few feet away. Disneyland employees
sometimes have to rearrange them due to lines or parades or to make room
for more strollers.
- Two umbrella strollers are better than one double-stroller. They are more nimble and, assuming there are 2 people to push them, lighter.
- Changing tables are in both women's and men's restrooms. That reminds me of one of the best Disneyland tips for toddler dads: Don’t make mom do all the diaper changes.
- Know your child's height and the rides' height restrictions before you go. They will be enforced.
- Matt from Arizona sent one of the best toddler tips: "My
wife went to the Disney store prior to our trip and found a bunch of
'souvenirs' on clearance. We took them with us and gave them to the
kids during the trip so they spent less time (and money) wanting
everything they see." I love it!!
- Label your toddler.
to lose a child but what if one wandered away for a second? Those
crowds are huge and never stop moving. Your child should have some
identification, just in case. Include your child's name, your name,
and your cell phone number. Write directly on them with a Sharpie
(somewhere it won't wash off immediately) or on a luggage tag that you
attach to their clothing.
- Take a digital photo of your child. Surely you have your digital camera with you? Snap a quick pic of your kids each morning
of your park adventure. That way you’ll have an instant record of
exactly what they were wearing to show security if necessary. Which
brings me to...
- If your child disappears, tell Disney security. They are there to help you find them. And show them the picture you took!
- California Adventure has toddler rides.
Quite a few in fact, in A Bug’s Land. California Adventure seems more
geared to older guests, so this part of the park is usually pretty
empty. None of the rides are "dark"; they’re all open-air, which my
- Bathroom lines are usually smaller at the facilities behind the Carnation Cafe on Main Street.
- For a special thrill your children won't soon forget,
secretly purchase a postcard depicting their favorite Disney character.
Compose a message from the character and mail it to your home before
you return. (Thanks to DisneyFamily.com for that cute tip!)
To distract your little ones while waiting in line, bring a little jar
of bubbles and blow them as necessary. (I also once saw a mom hand out
those little Dum-Dum lollipops and that sure seemed to do the trick.)