We had the opportunity to go to Disneyland last month, and even though it was mid week and my husband couldn’t go, we knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. My daughter hadn’t been since she turned 3 and didn’t remember much of it at all, and my son had never been. So needless to say, we were all very excited and because leaving our 9 month old baby at home wasn’t an option, I was determined to try and make the most of our short day trip to the Happiest Place On Earth. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your trip to Disneyland if you’ll be going with both big kids and babies.
Tip #1 – Bring Help If You Can!
Since my husband was working the day we were able to go, I invited my parents along since they are both retired, so that they could help to watch the baby while I went on rides with the big kids. If you don’t have grandparents around, try to team up with a fellow mom so that you can take turns watching the little babes while the other attends to the big kid’s fun. This was my sanity saver for the day, as it allowed the big kids to feel like they weren’t missing out on anything.
Tip #2 – Plan Ahead By Knowing Ride Restrictions
Try to familiarize yourself ahead of time with the various ride size restrictions. For instance, my daughter was tall enough to ride the Matterhorn alone, while my son needed to ride with an adult. If you don’t have enough adults to ride with the children, know in advance so you can avoid those rides all together, because nothing is more disappointing, and leads to sad faces, than getting to the front of the line and realizing a child can’t ride.
Tip #3 – Take Advantage Of The Baby Care Center On Main Street
During the middle of our day, I could tell Hayden needed to just escape a bit from the noise, and feed in a quiet place. The Baby Care Center on Main Street is the perfect place to change and feed baby, in a nice quiet atmosphere, as well as allow young children to go potty in perfectly sized kid toilets and sinks. This little place was a nice, and much needed break for both of us to decompress and get recharged to face the rest of the day in the park.
Tip #4 – Take Advantage Of Shows For a Break
Disneyland has no shortage of fun and entertaining shows for the whole family! While we visited, we took a little break from walking around and rides to sit down and relax, and take in a show at Rapunzel’s new tower in Fantasyland. The kids loved the show, and Hayden loved being out of the stroller and in my lap. It was a good, entertaining break for all of us, that allowed us to feel like we were still making the most of our park experience.
Tip #5 – Remind The Big Kids That Baby Is Part Of the Family Too
Intermittently throughout the day the big kids would make a little remark or complain that baby was slowing us down. I gently reminded them that he is just an important part of the family as they were and that we need to make sure the needs of the whole family were being met, not just theirs. I simply said Disneyland with baby is better than no Disneyland at all!
Tip #6 – Make Sure To Include Some Lap Time For Baby
Getting pushed around a busy amusement park all day can get overwhelming for baby, especially if he/she is used to being at home most of the day, free to go in mom’s arms at any given time. So when possible, get baby out of the stroller, even if he’s not really fussing, just to spend some time holding and cuddling together. This cuddle time will hopefully help get him through the times when you can’t hold him and he needs to wait patiently in the stroller.
Tip #7 – Bring Along The Comforts Of Home
I made sure to pack his blankie, lots of treats and a couple of sippy cups so that Hayden could feel as at home as possible. Since I knew we would be gone all day, I also packed a bottle in case I couldn’t get away to nurse him, plenty of changes of clothes, and a large blanket to cover the stroller so he could nap. This was crucial since there was no way he would have napped with all the busy surroundings, had I not been able to block out the stimulation.
Tip #8 – Rules Don’t Apply
This probably goes without saying, but plan to be flexible, especially with the big kids, when it comes to the everyday rules. Throw them out the window, with regards to meals and snacks, and don’t be afraid to indulge in a few extra treats, and even a treat to “encourage” good behavior. In our last stretch of the day, I caved and got each kid their own cotton candy to allow me some extra time to feed and change Hayden.
Tip #9 – Document Your Trip
With the digital age it’s so easy now to document fun firsts, like baby’s first trip to Disneyland. I took about 50 pictures of our day together and I’m so glad I stopped and made the kids pause to take pictures, as well as ask strangers to take pictures for us. We’ll now be able to look back and reminisce on our special day forever!
Tip #10 – Don’t Try To Do It All
You can’t go to Disneyland with the expectation that you’ll be able to conquer the whole park with 3 kids in tow. It’s just impossible. So make a mental list in advance, then get feedback and input once you’re there, and just do what you can. We are Southern California natives and don’t have passes, so I at first put a bit of pressure on myself to try and hit as many rides as possible. But all my rushing and pushing of the kids the first couple of hours made us all tired and cranky. Once I realized we could only do so much, I relaxed a lot. This made for a much better experience in the end.