Disneyland Trip + Tips

Fact: Social media is a lot prettier than real life and this goes for allll of us. I like to keep this space my virtual happy place, but I also like to keep it real. So, on that note, let’s talk about what four full days in Disney does to a person (6 visits in total).

First off, how are my feet still attached to my legs?

Second off, why does everyone and their mom, dad, sister, grandmother, second cousin, uncle and each of their prized mouse ears show up at Disneyland the weekend before Thanksgiving?

Third, nothing makes you more insecure about your intelligence than navigating a theme park in a “parental brain fog.”

And fourth, what day is it right now and what am I supposed to be doing?

If you’re getting my drift, we need a vacation from our vacation. That being said, we are blessed to have access to unlimited Disney + have a daddy who gets unlimited vacation time to do fun stuff like this as a family. And God bless the folks who installed the hot tub at our hotel, because holy crap. The kids swam in the pool while Zac and I tried to bring ourselves back to life in this warm dream machine.

 

The highlight of the trip was watching Breckin scream with excitement + throw his hands in the air (like all the bigger people) as we zipped around on the Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster. He’s a 4 year old party animal. It was also adorable to watch him make heart eyes at Minnie Mouse + Elsa, as he met them for the first time. He watched Minnie walk by several times before meeting and taking a picture with her and each time he would say, “I want to hug her and give her a big kiss!”

 

Addison continues to amaze/confuse us, as she loves the big, thrilling rides. Her favorite is still the Matterhorn (the “Snow monster” ride, as she calls it). I guess there’s something about being chased by a demonized snow monster that really lights her up. It’s nice that she can scale from the Matterhorn + Hyperspace Mountain down to frolicking in Goofy’s rubber playhouse and remain content. We’ll be back to do it all again next year.

 

Here’s some insider info (but not an overload) that will help you if you’re planning a visit to the park!

 

Tips for doing Disney with l̶u̶n̶a̶t̶i̶c̶s kids:

•When to go if you want to experience the holiday feel: This year the holiday season started 11/10. This means Christmas music, seasonal parades and events, cool decorations + holiday versions of all their swag. Plan to hit the park during the week right when this season kicks off or the week to follow Thanksgiving to avoid insane crowds. We put in full days 11/15-11/18 (Wed-Sat) and those first three days were not overly crowded. It got nuts after that. You will spend *all of your time* waiting in lines + fighting crowds over the weekends (and eventually everyday) as the holidays get closer. Don’t do it.

•What to wear: Comfort is key. I sported my Free Runs with everything. Judge away, judge mcjudgersons. Ha. Throw in some black details if you want to coordinate more than you clash. Beyond shoes, think high-waisted shorts and cute yoga pants, and cozy sweatshirts to tie around your waist. I put both of our kids in bright colors so they’d be easy to spot in the crowds. I scored a hot pink Zara Minnie jacket for Addison + a bright green sweatshirt for Breckin at our kids consignment store right before we left and they were perfect.

•What to pack into the parks: This one is easy. Stroller, backpack, phones, camera, ID/credit card, sunglasses all-around, sweatshirts all-around (I like to do one hoodie to go under one coat for the kids), full water bottles (I fill these up at breakfast and keep reusing them), suntan lotion, costumes to go over outfits for the day (I try and coordinate these details with the characters we will seek out that day), multiple snacks, germ spray for hands, I recommend diapers for kids under 5 for emergencies (I speak from experience I wish I didn’t have), brush/hair tie, lip stuff for me and a partridge in a pear tree.

Our kids are 6 and 4 and we still pack a stroller for when they get tired of walking. The stroller basket holds our overflow of stuff + we bring a backpack to hold valuables and that goes on all the rides with us.

•Where to go first: We have two favorite things, one in each park, that we always try to hit first. As it turns out, they are also everyone else’s favorite things. In California Adventure, we love the Cars ride (think joyriding, but you don’t have to drive). Head over to Radiator Springs and grab a fast pass for this one first thing. The fast pass allows you to come back during a one hour block that the pass will specify to wait in an expedited line. By about 11am you’ll be lucky to get a fast pass to ride by dinnertime. By noon they’re usually gone for the day. As for this + all the rides, grab a baby swap pass at the front of the line if you have kids too small to ride and your bigger kid can go again!
In Disneyland, we head straight to sign our kids up to be Jedi’s. Ask any employee to find out where to go for that. You basically get someone to babysit your child for a short time, well-chaperoned, so they can gear up in a robe, grab a light saber + become trained in the moves they will need to fight off Darth. They are then led to a venue where the parents/audience are waiting to participate in a show and use the force. Just like the Cars ride, you’re out of luck if you’re not signed up by late morning, but they take alternates if you want to come back before each show and wait for someone’s spot.

•Disney-inspired gear for your trip + where to stay + even more tips: Check out modernmousedesign.com! This is a fresh brand that was just rolled out with Disney gear + the founders are even available for hire to plan your dream vacation! These are some of the shirts + they are available for the whole family + one of my favorite things is the free shipping! Two of my favorites are the butter soft Meet Me on Main Street sweatshirt (it has long, cozy sleeves) + the soft grey SEA -> DSY tee (it’s available in all major cities, not just Seattle).

PS: Kid clothing is (an automatic) 20% off until Tuesday! Accessories are 20% off Wed + Thurs! Adult apparel is 20% off Fri + Sat!

 

Here are a few more vacation highlights:

Happy Holidays + go get your fill of Mickey. I can definitely say I’m all topped off. 😉

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