Our First Trip to Disneyland

You guys, we did it! We survived our first family trip to Disneyland and I'm here to report on all the tips and tricks that we learned along the way!

I grew up 20 minutes from Disneyland {crazy right?} so I never really realized, or appreciated, all the logistics that go into planning a Disney trip. Disneyland is expensive, and therefore worthy of really planning it out to maximize your time there.

First things first, check out Is It Packed? to see when the park is predicted to be less busy. We planned for a "ghost town" day and it was updated to "hey, it's alright" about a week before our trip, which was a bummer but still good to know!

We also checked out Magic Kingdom Mamas website for TONS of great tips and tricks. If you're going when it's hot, I definitely recommend bringing your stroller so your tots have a place to sit out of the sun. We brought our double stroller which was a blessing. Also bring a spray bottle with a fan and LOTS of sunscreen.

Another great recommendation is to download the Disneyland app. Not only can you pre-purchase your tickets, but you can see the waiting times for every attraction, scout out the nearest bathroom and restaurant and also get a great map of the park.

We decided to just do one day and one park for our first experience, but believe me, we maxed out the day. We got there right after 9 and stayed until after the Main Street Electrical Parade which started at 8:30pm.

Ethan's favorite part of the day were the parades...that's the best chance to see all of the characters and take a little break. I definitely recommend going to both parades! And get there about a half hour early to save seats along the street. Bonus if you can get some ice cream too!

Other tips:

+ Buy the damn bubble wands and thank me later. Yes, they're expensive but they are the best entertainment for waiting in line and BONUS, they double as light-up wands during the parade!

+ Keep an eye on the line for Peter Pan...it's always super long but there are times during the day when it will lighten up. Go if the waiting time goes below 40 minutes, it's a fun one!

+ Surprisingly, most rides don't have a height limit, including Pirates of the Caribbean. For those that do, like Star Tours, you can do a rider switch at the Fast Pass line so both parents can ride. Ethan LOVED riding Star Tours twice! We also got a Fast Pass for Buzz Lightyear's ride.

+ Skip Toon Town...it's ok, but not worth the crowds. Though they do have a hot dog place inside there that is great {and cheap!} for the kiddos.

+ Bring ID bracelets for the kids...Disneyland is CROWDED and kids can go missing in a blink of an eye. Also, word to the wise, don't leave your backpack with your phone in the stroller during a rider switch because you may just lose the rest of your party and be forced to borrow a stranger's cell phone to track down your husband. Not that it happened to me or anything...

 + Last, kids under three are free, so take advantage of the savings!

I will say that both boys really enjoyed the day, especially Wyatt which surprised us! Ethan got a little hot and irritable about halfway through the day {and told us he would rather swim in the pool than be there} but we kept him going with sweets and rides...bribing at its best! ;)

Here are the rides and attractions we went on to give you a sense of what can be accomplished in a day:

+ Storybook Land Canal Boats {aka The Whale Mouth Ride}
+ It's a Small World
+Pirates of the Caribbean
+ Star Tours {Fast Pass + Ride Switch}

Lunch at Galactic Grill

+ Peter Pan's Flight
+ Jungle Cruise
+Haunted Mansion {just Ethan}

Mickey's Soundsational Parade at 4:30pm

+ Astro Orbitor
+ Walked around Toon Town and got the kids hot dogs
+ Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters {Fast Pass}

Main Street Electrical Parade at 8:30pm

I think we may be good for a couple more years until Wyatt is a little older and can appreciate being there, but I'm so glad we did it!

Have you been to Disneyland yet? What are your best tips and tricks?

xo natasha


  1. I can't wait to take Emerson! I really want to go once it's decorated for Christmas!

  2. Are they still free at 3 years old?

    1. I believe it's free under three so once they turn three, you pay!

  3. Omg we are going for the day when we come out to California in June, so this got me excited! I'm bookmarking these tips and will definitely be taking your advice on the stroller and bubble wand!

  4. Im the crazy park-mapper when we go but spending that time beforehand to gather info and must-do activities seriously saves time! Glad you had a great trip!

  5. great tips! Im glad you guys had a good time! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  6. looks like so much fun! I'd love to take our kids to disneyland one day!

  7. We plan on taking our crew of three littles in the fall (ages 5, 3 and 1). Two girls who adore all things princess and a little brother who just loves to be loved on. I cannot wait!

  8. We've only ever been to Disney in Florida and we went as newlyweds which was so much fun! We cannot wait to take our girls back one day - but when it is worth it as we are so far away x