Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

CHOC Children’s began as a regional hospital in 1964. Today, it has grown to be a regional healthcare leader that treats patients from throughout with United States and around the world. CHOC Children’s is now made up of two hospitals, as well as more than 30 specialty clinics and programs, and four renowned centers of excellence – the CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience Orthopaedic, and Hyundai Cancer Institutes. Moreover, CHOC Orange offers the only pediatric emergency department in the region and, in 2014, began operating a Level II pediatric-focused trauma center.

Walt Disney was a champion for CHOC right from the start. In fact, he was even on the hospital’s first board of directors more than 50 years ago. Today, the Disneyland Resort continues to stay very involved with CHOC through the Disneyland Resort Patient and Family Lobby featuring the Disney California Adventure Park attraction Turtle Talk With Crush twice daily for patients and their siblings, frequent character visits, and of course, presenting CHOC “Walk in the Park”—the largest and most unique pediatric walk event in the nation. In addition, the Disney-led Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders team is on track to be the highest fundraising groups for this year’s event.

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

The 2016 walk covers three miles through Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park where “CHOC walkers” get a special peek at the magic of the Disneyland Resort before the parks open to the general public. At the end of the 5k walk, the event continues in the resort’s Downtown Disney District at the CHOC Walk Festival where event sponsors, hospital support groups, shops and restaurants have special offers for participants.

Those who want to walk in the event can register at  chocwalk.org and join a team or walk as an individual. All funds raised through the CHOC Walk benefit the hospital’s KidsCare Fund. This special fund provides support to the programs and services in the greatest need—from mental health services to an expanded neonatal intensive care unit to providing healthcare for children and families who cannot afford to pay.

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

There are many great reasons to take part in the CHOC Walk, in addition to the huge impact the funds that are donated and raised make on the health and wellbeing of Southern California’s children. Here are three reasons that Disney-loving families will really like.

  1. Participating in the CHOC Walk and supporting CHOC Children’s is an opportunity to carry on Walt Disney’s passion for supporting the health and wellness of the children in the community surrounding the Disneyland Resort and the advancement of pediatric medicine. Raising money for CHOC Children’s provides parents the opportunity to teach their children about the importance of helping others—even children—in their community. It can be particularly powerful for children to learn that their fundraising can help other, less fortunate kids.
  2. By raising money for the CHOC Walk, walkers can earn prizes, including free Disneyland Resort tickets that can provide a cost-saving option for families planning a Disneyland Resort vacation. Participants who raise between $375 and $599 earn one 1-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket. Participants who raise $600 or more earn two 1-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Tickets.
  3. By participating in the walk, families are not only helping to further CHOC’s mission, they are also able to gain a unique look at the Disneyland Resort through the Walk experience, purchase reduced-rate group ticket admission for the parks as part of the perks of participating in the CHOC Walk and enjoy special discounts in the Downtown Disney District the day of the walk. Together, all of these make the CHOC Walk an ideal time to plan a family getaway or staycation to the Disneyland Resort.

Love Disney? Support the CHOC Walk & Earn a Free Disneyland Day!

In order to purchase the reduced-rate group tickets, walkers must present their CHOC Walk In the Park wristband at a Disneyland Resort Ticket Booth to purchase a special CHOC-Tober Disneyland Resort 1-Day Park Hopper ticket for $83 or a 1-Day 1-Park Ticket for $55 for use on the day of the walk or another visit to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. A maximum of five tickets may be purchased per wristband. The offer is valid on October 30, 2016 only. Tickets expire November 30, 2016 and are blocked out November 19-23, 2016.

Event and registration information can be found at www.chocwalk.org and real-time event information can also be found on  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This year’s hashtag is #chocwalk.

Expectant Mom’s Complete Disney Packing List of Important Needs

Pregnant at Disney? Expectant Mom's Complete Disney Packing List of Important Needs

Disney vacations are often planned a year in advance or more! Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you find out that you’ll be pregnant during your vacation. No need to cancel your travel plans in most cases, but it’s a good idea to know exactly what to expect when you’re expecting at the Happiest Place on Earth! I recently traveled to Disneyland in my 35th week of pregnancy and am here to tell you what essentials you need to pack in your day bag. Here is a Disney packing list for the most enjoyable (and comfortable) day an expectant mom can have at the Parks.

Pregnant Mom’s Disney Packing List

Stretchy Pants & Panties

You do not want to be wearing pants or panties that are too tight on your burgeoning belly. Panties that are pinching your thighs or bunching up underneath your stomach aren’t going to work. And if the waistband on your pants is too-snug you’re going to be miserable. Do a test-run on your clothes before your trip and choose only the most comfortable.

Comfy Shoes and Foot Care First Aid

Now is not the time to break in a pair of new shoes. Make sure you are wearing your most comfortable pair, one that allows good flexibility. Pregnant feet are known to swell, in particular with all the time standing in queue and walking. Bring good socks, moleskin, bandages and anything else that will help make all the walking and standing more comfortable for you. Pack an extra pair of socks to switch into mid-day, especially if your feet are sweaty or get wet. I also highly recommend packing a second pair of shoes in your day bag (something open-toed, like supportive sandals) so that if your feet swell in your shoes, you can switch to the second pair.

Pregnant at Disney? Expectant Mom's Complete Disney Packing List of Important Needs

Water

To help keep you hydrated and to prevent swelling, you’ll need to be drinking a lot of water. If you have a place to store pre-filled water bottles (like in a stroller or locker) bring them with you. Or you can bring a refillable water bottle and fill at the fountains. You can also always ask for complimentary ice water at any quick service restaurant.

Battery Operated Fan

Your pregnant body is a mini-incubator and you might find that even in pleasant weather, you are easily overheated. Having a small fan that you can keep in your bag is handy, especially if you start to feel light-headed when you’re too warm.

Lotion

Growing bellies can be itchy, especially in the second trimester. Instead of standing in line scratching your tummy all day, be sure to pack a travel sized bottle of lotion or a balm to soothe your skin.

Maxi Pads/Bladder Protection

Wear one all day and pack extras. Yes, really. Even if you don’t currently experience “bladder incontinence”. Getting in and out of rides can *ahem* cause a little leak (take it from one who knows!) One errant sneeze on a full bladder and you’ll be in big trouble so it’s better to be well protected in the first place.

Pregnant at Disney? Expectant Mom's Complete Disney Packing List of Important Needs

Getting into the Astro Orbitor while 35 weeks pregnant was no easy feat!

Change of Clothes

Accidents happen and if you’re in your third trimester, you might find it challenging to find clothes that fit you in the Park gift shops. I find that my clumsiness increases with each week and I’m constantly dropping food on my belly en route to my mouth. It’s best to just pack yourself an extra outfit in your day bag.

Antacids

If you’re like me in the third trimester, even water gives you heartburn. Pack a good number of antacid tablets that you can chew on during the day when indigestion flares up.

Fiber and Fruit

On the flip-side of taking antacids, the added calcium in the antacids can cause constipation. You might also be eating differently than you do at home with heavier full-service dining meals. Consider fiber capsules (ask your doctor what they recommend) and up your fruit intake to help keep you regular. We packed dried plums and apples in our snack bag which helped with regularity.

Vitamins and Medicines

Keep up your good prenatal habits and pack all your important vitamins. “Safe” medications are limited while pregnant so ask your doctor what you might need during illness and pack those in with you. I always try to carry at least acetaminophen with me to help ease round ligament pain, headache and achy joints.

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Sunscreen and a Hat

Not everyone gets that “pregnant glow”. Some of us get pimples, dry patches or dark spots instead! Even if the weather is less than sunny, slather on sunscreen and slap on a hat to protect your skin.

Healthy Snacks

Pregnant women need a few extra calories than usual and with the additional miles you walk in the Parks, you’ll need to keep your body well nourished. Pack yourself some healthy snacks that you can nibble on throughout the day. Foods like almonds, apples, sturdy crackers and dried plums are easy to keep in a backpack and won’t melt or spoil in warm weather.

Maternity Support Belt

A belly belt will gently support your bump and may help ease back ache. Consider purchasing one ahead of time and “test driving” at home it to see if it helps.

What to Do in the Parks (and what to Skip)

Naturally, as a pregnant woman you will be unable to ride or experience certain attractions at the risk of your unborn baby. These warnings are posted at all Disney rides that discourage pregnant women from participating.

For more pregnancy Disney vacation tips, please take a look at my post on TravelingMom, Pregnant at Disneyland? Top Tips on What to Do (and What to Skip)


Have you ever been to Disneyland while pregnant? What was your must-have item on your Disney packing list that made your vacation better?

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5 Helpful Tips for Calming Scared and Anxious Kids at Disney

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

You’re so hyped to take the kids to Disney! Perhaps this is your first visit there or maybe you’ve been before. What do you do if they’re scared at Disney and your child is terrified of the attractions? Or refuses to get on a ride, even if he’s been on it a dozen times before? Your kid is “too-scared-to-ride” but that doesn’t mean your vacation is doomed. This is my helpful guide for kids who are scared at Disney with my tried-and-tested tips.

Scared at Disney?

When I took my son (who is now 12) to Disneyland for the first time, he was 14 months old. He loved toddling at Disneyland, getting wet at Dot’s Puddle Park and climbing stairs and rocks on Tom Sawyer Island. What he didn’t like were the rides. At all. Not even a LITTLE BIT!

He simply was unfamiliar with the quick and unpredictable movements of the rides and there was nothing we could do or say that would help him to relax on the ride. So what can you do if your child refuses to ride, or worse bursts into tears at the very thought? You don’t want your kid having bad memories about his Disney vacation, right?

Please note that this post includes affiliate links. Clicking through and purchasing helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

My formerly “too-scared-to-ride” big kid comforting his little brother who was nervous his first time on Flik’s Flyers.

1. Plan Ahead

You know your child and if there is any doubt in your mind that you might have some issues at the Park, do everything you can before the trip to prepare them. Show them videos online about the rides. Get a Disney Vacation Planning DVD and watch it over and over so they can be comfortable with more of the aspects of the place. Check out my post on TravelingMomHow to Encourage Shy Kids to Be Brave at Disney for lots of tried-and-true advice on encouraging reluctant children.

I’d also advise against setting huge expectations. Don’t expect that you’re going to jump right on Space Mountain with a nervous kid! Plan your day intentionally with a slow start. Don’t expect that your kid is going to run into Mickey’s arms to give him a huge hug if he’s never seen these larger-than-life Characters. As your children become more comfortable in the Park throughout the day, you might be able to get them to try new experiences.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

No need to be scared at Disney. And no pressure during character meet n’ greets…Mickey’s cool!

SCARED KIT TIP: Read up about the rides, attractions and shows in advance so you’ll have an idea if your child would want to ride them or skip them. The The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2017 and The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2017 offers tips on the possible “scare factor” of certain attractions at the Disney parks.

   

2. Tried and True…Maybe Not So Much

Even if they loved a particular ride in the past, that doesn’t guarantee that they’ll still enjoy it on this trip. My son rode the Pirates of the Caribbean dozens of times but one day (at age four) he got in the boat and screamed until we took him out! For whatever reason something scared him and he refused to get on the ride for years. And then one day, just like that that, he was fine! You just never know.

Your kids might be fine with the spooky Haunted Mansion but suddenly be terrified of Dumbo. And they might be 10 years old…just sayin’. There’s not much you can do about this issue, just let it go and move on to the next attraction.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

Too scared at Disney to ride the Silly Symphony Swings (which has now become his favorite!)

SCARED KID TIP: Ask your child in advance which rides they most want to go on and which rides they’d rather skip. Let them keep a journal (like the Kid’s Travel Journal -Disney Edition) with their top 10 attractions where they can take notes or draw a picture of their favorite experiences. Allowing your child to document their happy memories might encourage them to try something new or more adventurous.

3. Backing Out

You’ve waited in line for Space Mountain for 90 minutes and finally reach the end…and that’s when your child decides they just don’t want to ride. We’ve had to back out at the last minutes of several rides with my daughter when she decided at the last minute she didn’t want to ride. Just go with the flow and don’t get upset. Let the Cast Member know that you need to step aside. Wait for a bit. You know your child and whether they’d prefer to collect them self alone or need a hug. Let your child know that they can make the next move, whether it be to leave the attraction or try to ride.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

Taking a swim break mid-day is one way to take the pressure off kids scared at Disney.

SCARED KID TIP: A stressful situation may escalate so don’t let one blow-out ruin the day. Move on and don’t dwell upon it. Offer a drink or a snack to relieve some of the tension. When we’ve had a particularly upsetting moment with one of our kids, we take that as a cue to get a treat or go back to the hotel for a swim. You could also try resting for a bit in one of the quiet Park areas (read my post Avoid the Disneyland Meltdown for more ideas).

Looking for ways to save on your Disney vacation?  I recommend Park Savers for discount Disney tickets!

Park Savers affiliate link

4. Use Rider Switch

Just because your kid meets the height requirement doesn’t mean they’ll want to ride! Make good use out of Rider Switch and that way anyone in your group can take turns on a ride and one of the grown-ups can wait with the child that doesn’t want to go on. My friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes breaks down the Rider Switch process on her website.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

While other family members are on a ride, we take the time for some fun photo ops in the park.

5. Switch Gears

So, despite your best efforts your kid is still too scared to ride. It’s time to switch gears and find things that your child will appreciate. Fortunately Disney is packed with entertainment that will occupy you for days. The Parks are full of entertaining attractions other than the rides.

The parades and shows are top-notch and appeal to a wide audience so everyone from your toddler to great-grandma can appreciate them. Make sure to grab a Times Guide when you enter the Park so you’ll know what events are happening that day along with the time schedule.

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

An ice cream break usually fixes everything!

Even things as simple as waving at the Characters as they pass in the parade (because your child is too nervous for an up-close meet ‘n greet) can be quality vacation memories for them. While other people in your group are on rides, take fun photos of your child in the Park and capture those memories. There are a bunch of great non-ride ideas in my post What Else is There to Do at Disneyland?

Kids are scared at Disney? Check out these 5 tested tips to help kids who are nervous, anxious or scared at Disney enjoy their vacation.

Waving at Characters from afar might be preferential to a face-to-face Meet n’ Greet for kids scared at Disney.

What tips do you have for easing the tension for your kids when they’re scared at Disney? Share with us in the comments!

Support CHOC with a “Walk in the Park” through Disneyland…even from home!

Support CHOC with a "Walk in the Park" through Disneyland...even from home!

This year the CHOC Walk commemorates its 25th silver anniversary while the Disneyland Resort celebrates its Diamond 50th!

CHOC “Walk in the Park” is the largest single pediatric walk event in the nation. It’s also the most unique, with a 5K that takes you through the Disney Resort in Anaheim. Money that is raised through supporting the CHOC Walk helps to support research and care provided by CHOC Children’s. CHOC Children’s is a regional pediatric health care system that includes two hospitals, many primary and specialty care clinics, and four clinical centers of excellence, the CHOC ChildrenHeartNeuroscienceOrthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes. Walt Disney championed for CHOC and was even on the hospital’s first board of directors 50+ years ago.

There are two ways to participate in the CHOC Walk. Those who want to walk in the event can register at chocwalk.org to join a team or walk as an individual. Those who cannot make it to the walk, can register as a Sleeping Bear. This special designation is for participants who want to raise money and earn CHOC Walk prizes but won’t be at the walk. See, you can still help CHOC and raise money, even from home! “Sleeping Bears” receive a CHOC Walk T-shirt and are eligible to earn prizes from their fundraising efforts.

Support CHOC with a "Walk in the Park" through Disneyland...even from home!

Participants who raise between $375 and $599 earn one Disneyland Resort 1-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket. Participants who raise $600 or more earn two Disneyland Resort 1-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Tickets.

You can learn more about the event at www.chocwalk.org and follow on Facebook, Instagram and TwitterThis year’s hashtag is #chocwalk.


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Don’t Let Motion Sickness Ruin Your Disney Day – Top Tips for Avoiding Nausea

Simulators, long drops, upside-down loops, spinning, bobbing on water, 3-D, bumps and jiggles. Does all that twirl make you…well, hurl? Any one of these motions (or all of the above) might make you dizzy or sick to your stomach. If you’re prone to motion sickness just the smallest movements might result in vertigo, migraine headache or vomiting. Certainly not what you want to experience on your magical day at Disney! As a longtime motion sickness sufferer I’ve come up with my list of top tips for avoiding motion sickness at Disney.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Roller Coasters Make You Queasy? Check out these Top Tips to Avoid Motion Sickness at Disneyland

Attractions to Be Aware Of

Have issues with the following movements? Consider these rides & attractions:

Spinning you dizzy in a circle – Astro Orbitor, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Flik’s Flyers, Francis’ Ladybug Boogie, Golden Zephyr, King Arthur Carrousel, King Triton’s Carousel, Mad Tea Party, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, Silly Symphony Swings, Grizzly River Run

Hurky-jerky stops  – Autopia, Indiana Jones Adventure, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Tuck & Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies

3-D glasses required – Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania, It’s Tough to Be a Bug!

Up and down, up and down – Jumpin’ Jellyfish, Soarin’ Over California

Tummy tickling drops & dips -Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, California Screamin’, Gadget’s Go Coaster, Goofy’s Sky School, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!

Roller Coasters Make You Queasy? Check out these Top Tips to Avoid Motion Sickness at Disneyland

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz


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Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).


Compensate with These Tricks

If you really want to ride, try all of these tricks to compensate and help to avoid that nauseated feeling.

  • Do not ride backwards if you can prevent it. Find a seat that faces forward on the Monorail and Mark Twain River Boat. Even the buses and trams coming to and from the parking lot have backwards and sideways facing seats, so always choose the option that faces forward.
  • Keep fresh air on your face. Though the Finding Nemo Subs have tiny fans in front of the windows, the still air, close-quarters and water-motion in this ride might make you lightheaded. Consider bringing in your own battery-operated fan to keep the cool air on your face.
Roller Coasters Make You Queasy? Check out these Top Tips to Avoid Motion Sickness at Disneyland

Inside the tiny confines of the Finding Nemo Submarines

  • Avoid reading. Put down the map or guide book! Reading while riding is a sure bet to bring on nausea. Keep your head up and look outwards.
  • Adjust your gaze and focus on the horizon. I find that if I’m looking at something inside the ride (like focusing on my son’s face on the carrousel, for example) then the blur of anything outside of the ride catches in my peripheral vision, making me dizzy. If I look outward when I’m riding on Dumbo, for instance, and focus on the Matterhorn in the distance then I’m less likely to feel nauseous.

Roller Coasters Make You Queasy? Check out these Top Tips to Avoid Motion Sickness at Disneyland

Medicate

I like scopolamine (Transderm-Scop) which is a patch worn behind the ear. It slowly delivers medication over the course of three days. I’ve found it’s the only motion sickness medication that doesn’t make me drowsy and that fully works for my symptoms. The last time I used the patch was on my trip to Europe. I was able to travel by plane, bus, van and bicycle without any nausea and fully enjoyed my vacation!

Always “test” out medications before your trip to see how the dosage affects you. Keep caution that some medications can cause extreme drowsiness. The last time I took Dramamine was on a fishing trip. I was so sleepy that while my family was fishing, I was asleep on the bottom of the row boat!

Roller Coasters Make You Queasy? Check out these Top Tips to Avoid Motion Sickness at Disneyland

The Transderm-Scop patch lets me ride the coasters without nausea…yes!

Pressure Points

According to a study in Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, those who performed acupressure on their wrists reported reduced motion sickness. Use your thumb to press your inner arm three finger widths (about two inches) down from your wrist crease. Hold for a few minutes, until symptoms subside. Some swear by SeaBands, which are wrist bands with small buttons that rest on pressure points on the wrist. I haven’t tried them to know for sure but it’s worth a try!


Watch What You Eat and Drink

Foods with strong odors, heavy, spicy, or fatty foods may worsen symptoms in some people. Unfortunately that is a large part of Park food so choose lighter fare when you can and considering bringing in your own snacks. If you’re an adult, you should also avoid alcohol.

 

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Talk Yourself Out of It

Positive self-talk has been shown to aid in preventing motion sickness symptoms. Repeat to yourself, “I will not get sick” or “I will feel fine on this ride”. Breathe deeply (without hyperventilating) and aim to relax. Take breaks as needed before or after high-movement rides to self-affirm.

Visit First Aid

Okay, so you tried it all and you still feel sick to your stomach? Visit First Aid inside the Parks and the nurses here can help.


Worried about motion sickness at Disney? Check out these top tips for avoiding nausea on your Disney vacation.

Here’s to a happy and healthy visit! What are your feel-good tips for avoiding nausea? Share below in the comments.

 

 

 

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Considering a trip to Disneyland but you’d have a baby on board? You might be asking yourself, “What can babies DO at Disneyland?” No need to cancel your travel plans, babies are quite welcome at the Happiest Place on Earth! There are a few things you should know first and I have the answers to the top four questions most parents ask themselves before bringing a baby to Disneyland.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

If you are planning on bringing a baby to Disneyland

  • What can babies do at Disney?
  • Can babies go on any rides at Disneyland?
  • What should we bring with us?
  • Should we just hold off any Disney vacation plans until our baby is older?

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

We took my son at 8 months old and I can attest that we all had a wonderful Disney day. Certainly it’s not the same kind of day you’d have with just older kids but it’s still fun all the same! The most important thing is to be prepared in advance so everyone in your group knows what to expect. Know that you might have to take more frequent breaks for diaper changes and feedings but Disneyland is quite well equipped to handle all Guests, babies included!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

He has his Attraction Guide and he’s ready to go!


What can babies do at Disneyland?

Depending up on the age of your baby, you can do a lot together at Disneyland! Many babies love the character engagement, as my little one did. Dillon laughed when he met Goofy at 8 months old, giggling and waving at him!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

He adored Minnie Mouse (and her nose!) And when he met Pluto at 11 months old, he toddled over and Pluto jumped around on his paws to make Dillon laugh.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Parades are fun and colorful and can be quite entertaining for babies who can sit up and watch from their stroller. Keep in mind that some rides and attractions have loud noises that might frighten your baby (Jungle Cruise gun shot, anyone?!) Just ask a Cast Member at the entrance if you have any question that the ride or show might not be appropriate. Use ear protection for your baby if you need to.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

He loved the silly glasses at Toy Story Midway Mania


Can babies go on any rides at Disneyland?

Babies can ride nearly everything in both Parks, give or take about 20 rides with height requirements. I recommend taking both a stroller and a front carrier as you can hold baby in a front carrier on most rides. My little ones loved it’s a small world, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. The Disney Junior: Live on Stage show is fun for little ones too. Anything relatively slow moving, musical and colorful will likely be enjoyed by babies.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

King Arthur’s Carrousel

For rides that baby can’t go on, take advantage of Rider Switch Pass, a free service. This allows those who meet height requirements to ride while one person stays behind with the baby. Then the riders “switch” places so the person left behind can ride too. The Disney Parks Moms Panel covers the topic of Rider Switch Pass in detail.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Loving the shiny tires in Cars Land

While we waited for the big kids and Dad when they were on faster rides, I let Dillon free of the stroller to explore and stretch his legs. There are some play areas for young ones but babies might get trampled by preschoolers so take note before you let your baby down to crawl or explore.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Exploring Goofy’s Playhouse in Toontown

 


What should we bring with us for the baby?

Kids two-years old and under do not need a Park ticket, so your baby has free admission. I recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time through Park Savers (affiliate link). You’ll save a few dollars off the cost as well as save time standing in line at the gate.

Park Savers affiliate link

If you can, bring your own stroller to the Parks. The walk to the car or hotel after a long day can be hard, especially if you are lugging a sleeping baby, diaper bag and souvenirs! The basket under the stroller will be great for storage. If you’d rather rent a stroller, Disneyland Parks do have rentals but they are suited more for toddlers than small babies. Also you cannot remove the strollers from the Parks.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Slowing down for a nap

Pack your diaper bag with everything you would for a normal outing including food and snacks and plenty of diapers and wipes. You can buy some things in the Parks but the price will be at a premium.

I highly recommend visiting the Disneyland Baby Care Center. There are rocking chairs, microwaves for heating jarred food, high chairs and changing tables. If you’ve run out of diapers (like we did once) you can purchase them here and clean up baby after a nasty blow out (like we did!) The cast members here are sweeter than sweet about helping you!

Out and about in the Parks, there are quiet rest areas and benches where you can sit and feed or nurse your baby. Bathrooms have ample diaper changing stations but they aren’t padded, so be sure to bring your own changing pad that you can wipe down after each use.

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

Messy? Who, Me?

If baby is eating solids, bring your own spoons and baby food jars. I also bring disposable bibs because I’d rather not have messy clothes or food-crusted bibs to tote around. To hold snacks and formula, I recommend the Munchkin formula dispenser. It holds one bottle’s worth of formula in each section but it’s also a good size for shaking out bite-sized snacks like puffs and Cheerios.

Bring a lightweight blanket to drape over your baby to protect them from the sun or to hang over the stroller to block sun from hitting their tender skin while they nap. Read more about what I pack in my Disney diaper bag.


Should we just hold off any Disney vacation plans until our baby is older?

Absolutely not! There is no reason to wait for a certain age because Disneyland is a place for all ages. Going to Disney with a baby is going to be a different experience but not one to miss! Especially when you see them in Mouse Ears for the first time or take them on their first it’s a small world boat ride!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions


Have you traveled to Disneyland with your baby? What other tips or advice do you have to share? Please comment below, thanks!

What Can Babies Do at Disneyland? -Answers to the Top 4 Questions

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A Spur of the Moment Disneyland Weekend – Trip Report

Bandleader Mickey at Disneyland!

Mornin’ Mickey!

I run a tight ship when it comes to my Disneyland vacations but well, sometimes life gets in the way and things don’t always go on schedule. It’s best to be flexible! Turns out that pretty much any day spent at Disney is a magical day, no matter how you slice it!

We got up up just after 6am to get ready for the drive. Fortunately we’d packed up mostly the night before so after a quick breakfast we were in the car and on our way. We did have to pick up the stroller from Grandma’s house and fill up the gas tank which added time to my already 20 minutes late time schedule! We live in San Diego, around 90 minutes drive from Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort. This day however would prove to be about 2 hours though, since we ran into a bit of traffic on the way up. The Santa Ana winds that blow in from the desert were warming up the air, which was nice (it was near 80 degrees on this January day!) However we were also getting the crazy fast winds that blow dust and tumbleweeds across the freeway!

About an hour into the drive it dawned on us that we’d forgotten our preschooler’s shoes at home! Ugh…so, after a quick side trip to Target for new kicks, we were soon pulling into the Woody parking lot. To be totally honest, I had no idea that there was a Disney resort parking lot in this area. I knew about the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and had parked at one of the other “off-site” lots but didn’t realize that there was this lot until we passed it on the way to the Target. Parking was so much easier here than at the Parking Structure! We simply boarded one of the Toy Story buses that drove a few miles down the road and dropped us off right in front of the esplanade. There was no waiting for the trams and no long walks, I loved it!

Taking the Disneyland shuttle from "off-site" parking lots

We picked up my daughter’s Disability Access Service (DAS) card at Guest Services and found out that the system has changed even since our recent visit in October. I’ve outlined the system here. Guest still visit the special kiosks scattered through out the Park to receive their designated return time for a particular attraction. However now instead of receiving a small paper log with a return time, guests are now instructed to turn over their Park tickets at the return/Fastpass line of each ride.

New Disability Access Service (DAS)

Cast Members have scanners which scan each ticket and a photo pops up on their screen with the number of people in the party and the designated return time for verification. My daughter wasn’t cooperating that morning and refused to pose for the photo inside City Hall but the Cast Member was kind enough to take a photo of a photo from my husband’s camera phone so there would be an image for the scanner. The new update to the system worked out nicely and the process was much quicker without the Cast Members having to log rides and times on a piece of paper!

New scanners at Disneyland for the Disability Access Service

After receiving the DAS, my daughter was moody and upset and didn’t want to ride anything at first. I took the boys on the King Arthur Carrousel so my husband could get her relaxed and acclimated to the Park atmosphere.

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The entrance bridge through Sleeping Beauty Castle is currently closed, presumably in preparation for the big Diamond Celebration, Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary! Snow White’s Grotto and the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through are also currently off exhibit.

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After a snack and a rest in the shade, Alonna was ready to join us for a ride. We kick started the day with a bang…Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! Dillon just turned three only two months ago, but at 40″ high we were ready to have him try a few of the Disneyland coasters. He’d wet his feet on a few of the coasters at Legoland a few weeks ago but we weren’t sure how well these more “high speed adventures” would go over! We needn’t be worried…while he’d  scream throughout the rides and grip onto the bars tightly, afterwards he was all smiles and excitement. He kept saying, “That was AWESOME!” And so we marched on!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Disneyland CA

After riding a few more favorites, we made our way across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure Park. As Disney Chase Visa members, we receive a personal Character meet n’ greet and a free 5″ x 7″ photo! We met up with Minnie, who was greeted warmly with a big hug from Dillon like they were old pals!

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In the same area (Hollywoodland), FROZEN FUN is currently taking place! It’s a highly popular (and highly populated!) new area that features a meet n’ greet with Anna and/or Elsa, a sing-a-long theater show, real snow play, specialty foods and snacks, shopping (naturally) and warm hugs from Olaf himself. My kids love the movie but none wanted to participate in the activities since it was quite busy in this area. They were anxious to get on more rides, so we drove ourselves over to Carsland!

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It was my son’s first time riding the Radiator Springs Racers and he was so excited! At each ride that had a 40″ height requirement, Dillon was checked several times through the ride (first at the entrance and then again, usually half-way through the line). This is such a wonderful ride, we were so glad he was able to join us on it this time. And he, of course, loved it! More, “This is AWESOME!!” greeted us through the exit line!

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We took a spin on Tow Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree before jogging through the underpass and onto the Pacific Wharf for lunch.

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I’d not eaten at the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill before and it did not disappoint. Large portions that we shared between the five of us, vibrant flavors and we were accompanied by the darling Mariachi Divas. My husband loved the spicy pasilla-tomatillo sauce that came with the tamales. My Hacienda chicken Caesar salad with pepita dressing was enormous and really hit the spot! Total bill for this meal was $35 and it fed all five of us (we didn’t purchase drinks but brought in Gatorade and water bottles). You receive 10% with your Disney Chase Visa or Disney Redemption Card from the Disney Chase Visa program.

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One of my favorite parts of a Disney day is the Character interaction. We happened upon Donald alongside Paradise Pier looking so dapper in his nautical get-up! He was delighted to see himself not only on my son’s t-shirt but featured on his hat too! Donald even tried to put the hat on and danced about a bit, to the joy of my son.

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The big kids went with Dad on California Screamin’ while Dillon and I watched the riders whizzing by! A spin on King Triton’s Carousel, Toy Story Mania and the Jumpin’ Jellyfish followed.

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We hit up Bug’s Land and then headed back over to Disneyland Park for ice creams and more adventure. While in line for waffle cones, nap time happened and Dillon missed the special treat. It’s okay, we splurged and got ice cream again after dinner too!

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The little guy woke up ready for more! We rode Star Tours as well as Space Mountain! I wasn’t sure how he’d like being in the dark with all that spinning but he did great and again, it was “AWESOME!”

As evening came we headed for our favorite dinner spot, the French Market in New Orleans Square. We ordered the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, veggies and a roll, the grilled chicken with double-veggies and a roll and a bread bowl overflowing with steaming hot corn chowder. Again, we received 10% off for being Disney Chase Visa card holders and the total bill was $35. It was all so delicious (but too dark for photos at this point).

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My eldest son, who suffers from occasional migraine headaches was starting to develop one, so after dinner we stopped off at First Aid for children’s acetaminophen and an ice pack. We took things easy for a bit, allowing the medication to work and walked slowly over to It’s a Small World, which was still decorated for the holidays. Somewhat odd, it being a month since Christmas to still have the holiday overlay but I believe it comes down this week. We hummed along to “Jingle Shells” with the mermaids all the same!

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While using the restroom, we happened upon the beginning of Mickey and the Magical Map, a newer show that I’d not yet seen. The show had just begun and Cast Members had already roped off the entrances. I’m not sure what my husband said to him but we were escorted through the ropes and down into a special area with padded bench seats and an amazing view! So bright and fun with wonderful dancing and costumes. And the live singing was fantastic, we absolutely loved this show!

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Earlier in the day I’d picked up Fastpass tickets for the 8:45 Fantasmic! show. With the new viewing areas we were going to be able to stand in specific sections to watch the show. Unfortunately the crazy wild Santa Ana winds that had been plaguing us all day reared up again and the show was “delayed”. With my son still not feeling well, we decided to call it a night and beat the crowds by leaving a bit early. Within ten minutes we were boarded on the bus to take us back to the truck. I have the feeling the Fantastic! show as well as the fireworks display must have been fully cancelled because the winds never did die down.

In any case, even with the abbreviated evening, we still had a magical day. So much fun being able to ride so many things with my preschooler for the first time. It was nice not to have to wait at the stroller with him too. It will definitely be a new phase in our Disney vacations from now on, with all of us being able to ride together! Even though our day didn’t go exactly as planned, it paid to be flexible and we still had a wonderful Disney day!

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As a blogger, I received two complimentary 1 day Park Hopper passes from Disney; all thoughts and views are my own.

Avoid the Disneyland Meltdown! – List of Quiet Spots in the Parks

Top tips on avoiding the Disneyland Meltdown including quiet spots in the park and helpful advice.

Think that the Disneyland “meltdown” is unavoidable? You can potentially avoid the Disneyland meltdown, with just a little pre-planning, these tried-and-tested tips and some visits to the quiet areas throughout the Disneyland Parks.

With a 12-year old child on the Autism spectrum (as well as another 12-year old, a four-year old and a newborn), our family goal when going to amusement parks is to completely eliminate the dreaded “meltdown”. We’ve done pretty well with this plan!

Avoiding the Disneyland Meltdown

A quiet spot of seats at the entrance to bug’s land

Take it easy

Take the day at an easy pace and by adding in plenty of breaks. This might mean that you leave the Parks mid-day to recoup at the hotel for a swim or a nap. If you have kids that are prone to meltdown you need to go at their pace and not the schedule you have set for the day. You just can’t cram too much activity into the day because that is a recipe for meltdown.

Tired Legs

If your child gets cranky with excessive walking consider bringing your stroller or renting one at the Park. Even big kids (who don’t usually nap) might find they appreciate reserving their energy or will take a cat nap if they are able to ride in a stroller.

Feed me

Snacks and drinks should be kept at close hand. Pack a bag with healthy snacks (like nuts and fruit) and hand them out frequently to keep blood-sugars level.

Don’t Skip Naps

If your child always takes a nap mid-day, be sure to make a point of sticking to that schedule. If you don’t want to leave the Park, head for one of the quiet resting spots so they can sleep. Naps in an amusement park are never quite as refreshing as one in a bed though, so you might want to get them back to the hotel for a more restful sleep.

Be aware

There tends to be a build up of bad moods before the big meltdown occurs. Stopping and redirecting immediately if we see a change in attitude or if we sense that a meltdown is developing is crucial. There is no attempt to try and squeeze in “one more” event; We immediately head for one of these quiet spots at the Disneyland Resort for a little decompressing. These would also be great places to sit with a child who is sleeping in their stroller!

Spots to Rest and Recollect

How to Avoid the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown! - A List of Quiet Spots in the Parks {Saving Up for Disney}

DISNEYLAND

-Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island has many shaded areas to sit, relax and people-watch from across the Rivers of America.

-On the right hand side of Sleeping Beauty Castle is Snow White’s Grotto. The water-feature with the twirling fish is rather hypnotic! Toss some change into the Wishing Well.

-Our daughter wanted to meet Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow. We requested an alternative waiting area (instead of the noisy line in the sun). We waited as long as everyone else (about 30 minutes that day) but were given a shaded area where she could spread out and not have the noise or crowd.

How to Avoid the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown! - A List of Quiet Spots in the Parks {Saving Up for Disney}

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

-The waiting areas at each Train Station have covered seating. Except for when the train pulls in, these are fairly quiet places to rest. The train is also a great distraction!

-At the exit to the Jungle Cruise, just outside of Aladdin’s Oasis is a quiet spot to sit and have a snack. I like to pick up a beef skewer from Bengal Barbeque and sit here to enjoy it.

-On the lower deck of the Hungry Bear Restaurant, tucked all the way in the back is a sweetly shaded resting spot overlooking the Rivers of America. It’s also where the ducks gather so toss them a few bread crumbs!

How to Avoid the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown! - A List of Quiet Spots in the Parks {Saving Up for Disney}

-Next to the entrance of Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante is a covered walkway with tiled seating and a restroom nearby. It’s particularly pretty here in the evenings.

-Take a slow walk inside the coolness of Sleeping Beauty. If your child doesn’t like tight quarters or can’t handle the stairs, there is an accessible space to view the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough on a high-definition screen. It’s a quiet location with little trinkets on display.

-Take a trip around the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Riverboat. Lots of benches in the shade and you’ll get a cool breeze across the water.

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Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

-Around the side of Harbour Galley is a quiet and shady dining area.

-Between “it’s a small world” and the Matterhorn (next to Edelweiss Snacks) is a quiet boat pier overlooking a lovely water feature. It has a covered awning and bench seating and is a perfect place to rest between rides.


DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK

-In Hollywood Land, just outside of Monsters Inc. are benches under shade. Arrive before dark, when the very loud and rambunctious Mad T Party starts!

-Stop over at Sonoma Terrace for a snack in the covered patio that overlooks the Pier.

How to Avoid the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown! - A List of Quiet Spots in the Parks {Saving Up for Disney}

-The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail offers not only busy-body activities like rope swings and rock climbing walls but a few restful benches under the trees.

-Rest yourself on one of the benches around the covered promenade underneath the Silly Symphony Swings. You’ll get a nice overview of Paradise Pier (though this area isn’t exactly the most quiet it does not have much foot-traffic).

How to Avoid the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown! - A List of Quiet Spots in the Parks {Saving Up for Disney}

-In front of the Tower of Terror there are places to sit in the shade. Even better, in front of the shop by the exit of  the ride there is an out of the way bench. After a while, you won’t even notice the screams!

-Walk Grizzly Trail behind Grizzly River Run for a quiet and cool pace and perhaps a refreshing mist from the water ride!

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Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

-The umbrella-covered tables in Paradise Garden Grill are an out-of-the-way locale for lunch.

-There is a relatively quiet path between Cars Land and “a bug’s land”. It’s a peaceful walk and transition between Lands.

How to Avoid the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown! - A List of Quiet Spots in the Parks {Saving Up for Disney}

-Likewise, just as you pass under the rock formation in Cars Land into the Pacific Wharf area there is a quiet shady space. You can rest here against the guard rails but technically, there is no seating.


BEST LAID PLANS

Sometimes despite our best efforts our kids sometimes do have a mini-meltdown. Fortunately we’ve been able to avoid anything catastrophic at the Happiest Place on Earth but we live and learn through each situation.

Tips for avoiding the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown

The last time we had anyone in our group upset was because we didn’t plan our fireworks viewing area properly. When the lights went out and Guests rushed into our area to see the show, our daughter was pushed out of her spot and under a tree where she completely missed seeing Tinker Bell fly across the sky. She didn’t appreciate the tight quarters, the jostling or the blocked view. As you can see in the photo above she was very upset and had been crying. After the show, we were able to stay tight in our spot until the crowd cleared and we regrouped. After a rest she was ready for a few more rides before we ended our evening.

Having learned our lesson on that trip, we were able to choose a better fireworks location on our last visit where she had more space around her and an open view. Making your Disney day enjoyable is as much about doing your Park research as it is about knowing, listening and watching your child for potential break-down.

How to Avoid the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown! - A List of Quiet Spots in the Parks {Saving Up for Disney}

Keep in mind that if you have a special needs child, the DAS (Disability Access Service) is available. More about that program in my post, Disneyland’s Disability Access Service (DAS).

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I also recommend minimizing line waits by purchasing your park tickets ahead of time on Park Savers (affiliate link). You’ll also save yourself a few dollars.

Park Savers affiliate link

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Top Tips on What to Do When You’re Pregnant at Disneyland

I’ve been to Disneyland three times while pregnant, once with each of my children. The first time I was 34 weeks along (around 7 1/2 months). The second time I was pregnant 12 weeks (around 3 months). The last baby (twelve years between the first and the last), I was 35 weeks! Each visit offered it’s own unique challenges. Don’t think you can’t have a magical time at Disneyland, just because you’re pregnant. There is plenty to do, see, eat and enjoy even while pregnant at Disneyland!

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Pregnant at Disneyland – What Can I Ride?

On my last trip to Disneyland while 35 weeks pregnant there was another pregnant mama visiting with her family. However instead of standing in line, she was waiting at the exit for them. We struck up a conversation and I let her know that she could safely go on just about any ride in Disneyland, save for just a few. She was so happy to hear since she’d already spent most of the day waiting outside the rides for her family.

There are very few rides that offer the restriction for expectant moms; these include mostly vigorous thrill rides or rides that may be jerky or jarring to the body (rides like Indiana Jones or California Screamin’). Do not ignore those warnings, even if you are still in your first trimester. The sharp stops and G-force pressure of certain rides can injure your delicate cargo so it’s not worth the risk. Signs posted outside each attraction will detail if pregnant moms should skip.

Pregnant at Disneyland? This guide gives the tips on what to ride & what to skip at the California theme park.

Check these signs posted at each attraction -There will be notes here if expectant moms should not ride.

What to Bring?

In addition to packing your usual Disney Parks day bag, I’ve compiled a list of expectant mom must-haves. Check out this post about what pregnant moms should bring to Disney.

Feeling Nauseated?

That first trimester is a doozy. Throw in a few too many spins on the Mad Tea Party and you might be feeling nauseated. Check out my post about dealing with motion sickness at Disney.

These Rides Might Be Awkward

Even if a ride or attraction is okay for expectant moms, you might find that navigating your 8-month pregnant belly into some of these might be a challenge.

  • The Finding Nemo Submarines are a smooth ride that is safe for expectant moms. However you’ll have to climb down and up a steep spiral staircase and sit in a narrow flip-down chair in a tight space.
  • Over in Fantasyland there are many dark rides that are just fine for expectant moms but several have small vehicles that may prove challenging to get into. If riding Casey Jr. Circus Train, opt for an open car instead of a caged vehicle. With the Storybook Land Canal Boats you might have difficulty balancing to get in and out of the boat.
  • Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes may also offer challenges getting in and out of the canoe. Be careful exerting yourself rowing the oar. Plus you’ll be un-shaded and it gets hot out there on the water.
  • The Astro Orbitor is safe to ride but the high sides and low seats are touch to get in and out of without help.

Pregnant at Disneyland? This guide gives the tips on what to ride & what to skip at the California theme park.

Keep Up the Healthy Eating

Continue to eat plenty of fruits and veggies (don’t forget to pack your prenatal vitamins!) Limit your sodium intake and stay well hydrated to reduce swelling in your feet and legs. You can also bring in your own water bottles and snacks to make sure you are getting the healthy and nutritious food you (and your baby) need.


Save money on Your Disney Vacation!

Purchase discount Disneyland and Walt Disney World tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).


Relax and Rest

When I visited Disneyland in the later months of my pregnancy, I did a bit more resting in the shade with my feet on a bench instead of standing in queues.  There are plenty of places you can rest your swollen feet and still enjoy the Parks.

  • Find a shady spot and a bench to yourself. Consider bringing a small pillow to set at your back or to sit on to make yourself more comfortable.
  • Stake out a great seat on the parade route ahead of time and save places for your family to join you later.
  • A grand circle tour on the Disneyland Railroad offers almost 20 minutes of rest and fresh air along with a relaxing tour around Disneyland Park.
  • Pull up a chair and enjoy the cool air that blows across the waters of the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Riverboat.
  • Sit in the shade of Tomorrowland Terrace to eat lunch, watch a show and possibly have your young ones participate at the Jedi Training Academy show.
  • Mickey and the Magical Map offers bench seating in the shade and a live musical stage show.
  • I enjoyed resting on a bench on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail while the kids climbed the ropes and rock climbed.

Pregnant at Disneyland? This guide gives the tips on what to ride & what to skip at the California theme park.

Dress For Your Growing Body

  • Wear comfortable shoes and consider taking a second pair to switch into if you are prone to swelling. I like to start off with tennis shoes and switch over to well-cushioned sandals in the evening.
  • Dress in layers so if you get hot or chilled you can add or remove layers as needed.
  • Ditch the heavy purse and pack light with a small backpack or tote that you can put on and take off easily. Or consider renting a locker to store your items until you need them.


Seek Air conditioned Attractions

Keep rested inside by finding attractions that combine sitting along with cool air.

  • Soak in a little history (and air conditioning) inside The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room is a whimsical place with cushioned benches…and you can bring in a snack!
  • Oh yes, the looping music is worth 15-minutes inside It’s a Small World! You might want to ride it twice!
  • If you have little ones, get there early for the Disney Junior – Live on Stage! show. There are benches across the back of the theater (otherwise you’ll have to sit on the carpet).
  • 60-minutes of pure amazement in cushy theater chairs – Frozen – Live at the Hyperion is a can’t miss show.
  • Plenty of sit-down restaurants have both outdoor and indoor dining that gives you both a break and a healthy meal.
What can you do at Disneyland when you're pregnant?

Skip the Autopia, you don’t want to get rear-ended.

Bathroom Breaks

If little miss or mister is frequently doing the hot-diggety-dog dance on your bladder, consider reviewing a Park map online before your trip. Always take a potty break before getting on a ride (you don’t want to get stuck when the urge strikes!)


Listen To Your Body

Now is not the time to push your vacation to the limits. Pregnancy can be very hard on your body and with exhaustion and discomfort already at the max, there is no need to exacerbate any issues.

  • Take a break inside the First Aid station if you feel uncomfortable or in pain. First Aid can help you out and offer a place to lay down for a while.
  • If you’re exhausted, go back to your hotel room for a refreshing swim or to take a nap.
  • Get plenty of sleep even if that means going to bed while everyone else in your group is still up late watching the fireworks.
  • If you are truly miserable and can’t walk, consider renting a wheelchair or motorized scooter in the Park to minimize the amount of time you are on your feet.
  • Look forward to your next trip when your little one will be with you to enjoy it!

If you are new to my blog, please consider subscribing to my newsletter so you don’t miss any posts. Thanks for stopping by!

Read more about being pregnant at Disneyland on my posts at Traveling Mom.

Pregnant at Disneyland? This guide gives the tips on what to ride & what to skip at the California theme park.

 

Disneyland’s Disability Access Service (DAS) – Tips on Making It Work for You

Disneyland's Disability Access Service (DAS) - Tips on Making It Work for You and Your Family

Nobody wants to spend time at what is supposed to be the “Happiest Place on Earth” managing meltdowns but it’s the life of parents who have children with special needs. Prolonged exposure to bright lights, long lines, loud noises and the  over-exuberance that is Disney can be trying for any child, but especially one with sensitivities. Proper use of Disneyland’s Disability Access Service (also known as DAS) can be wonderful, if you know these tips on how to make it work for you and your family.

DAS for special needs children at Disneyland

Riding King Triton’s Carousel

Disneyland offers a Disability Access Service (DAS) for guest with special needs. This was previously called a Guest Assistance Card (GAC). We have been able to use the GAC on several trips and it worked out nicely for us. In the past with the GAC we would show it to the Cast Member at the front of each ride and they would then instruct us where to go, which was either through the Fast Pass line or through the exit. Sometimes the Cast Member would give us an alternate waiting area where she had a bit more room instead of being held in a tight line. We used Fastpass when we could but when the line was quite long, in the bright sun or was a tight space we used the GAC. We allowed time in the day to go back to the hotel and take a break in the pool. We used the GAC on three trips and each time our daughter was tantrum and melt-down free!

With the newly introduced Disability Access Service (DAS) we were nervous to try this new system. The old system had worked out well for us and I’d heard not-so-good things about the DAS. I completely understand the need for change. The GAC system was being abused. Some visitors felt it offered “front of the line” privileges that were unfair. It’s definitely a hot-button subject.

DAS for special needs children at Disneyland

Finding Nemo Submarines make some special needs kids nervous because of the tight quarters & lack of fresh air.

I recommend purchasing your Park tickets ahead of time from Park Savers and avoid the long lines to buy at the front gates. You’ll also save a few dollars off the price so that’s a plus.

The Disability Access Service (DAS) system has morphed a bit with several notable changes.

Inside City Hall, you will be asked to explain to the Cast Member what the possible issues might be (in our case, it’s anything from a full-blown tantrum with hitting and screaming to laying down on the sidewalk and refusing to move). The Cast Member will take a picture and print out a card that shows the dates you are visiting, the number in your party and instructions of use. My daughter wasn’t cooperating that morning and refused to pose for the photo inside City Hall but the Cast Member was kind enough to take a photo of a photo from my husband’s camera phone so there would be an image for the scanner. The Cast Member even told us where we could get free ear plugs (at First Aid) in case any of the attractions were too loud.

Disneyland's Disability Access Service (DAS) - Tips on Making It Work for You

Start here at City Hall

From this point, guests  visit special kiosks scattered through out the Park (they are marked on the Park maps) to receive a designated return time for a particular attraction. Once there a Cast Member will look at your DAS and ask you which ride you’d like it for. You can choose any ride or attraction in the park, not just one in that “Land”. Then the Cast Member will refer to the wait times on their laptop computer and tell you a check-in time  to get on that specific ride.  You are expected to keep note of this time yourself. Also, you can show up anytime after this point and there is no “window” of time (like with Fastpass).

Disneyland's Disability Access Service (DAS) - Tips on Making It Work for You

Handheld scanner at Fastpass entrances

Cast Members can only assign one ride at a time on your DAS. When your check-in time rolls around you’ll show the DAS and Park tickets to a Cast Member at the entrance/Fastpass line of that ride.  Cast Members have scanners which scan each ticket and the photo of the Guest pops up on their screen with the number of people in the party and the designated return time for verification.

DAS for special needs children at Disneyland

We were allowed a separate waiting space in the shade to wait for Tinkerbell.


On the plus side:

  • I will greatly admit that having a special needs child is a challenge in itself because you never know what you might get one day (or moment) to the next. Having the DAS that eased on the line waits or allowed us to stand in a less-stressful waiting area make a huge difference in the enjoyment level for her (and actually for all of us).
  • There were no less than six times that she got to the front of the line and then decide she did NOT want to ride after all. A few times she got back in line again after bailing out and would go on the ride. I think being able to have that ability (for her to think it over and then try again) was very helpful. I know that if we’d been standing in a 30-minute…60-minute…or goodness, a 90-minute line only to have her say she didn’t want to ride would have been very frustrating for everyone. And Cast Members were very patient about letting us get in and out of line!
  • The assigned wait time that the Cast Members gave us was never terribly long. It allowed us time to either walk to the ride and have a snack in the shade first or we rode on something else in the area with a short line wait.
  • The DAS can be used in conjunction with Fastpass.
First time on Autopia cars. She will not ride anymore...doesn't like the noise or the smell of gasoline!

First time on Autopia cars. She will not ride anymore…doesn’t like the noise or the smell of gasoline!

Not so good:

  • Some of the kiosks are really spread far away from each other. In Fantasyland the rides are close together so there isn’t as much walking back and forth. For example after getting a DAS for Peter Pan, my husband took back the DAS to get an entry time for Matterhorn while I took the kids on Snow White. In other areas of the park the kiosks are a bit more spread out and there is a considerable amount of walking back and forth (sometimes through very congested areas) if you want to use the DAS.
  • This would be very challenging to accomplish with only one adult in your group. We tried the system on a busy Saturday in early summer. Lines were long and the park was packed. It was helpful that my husband and I were able to trek back and forth between the rides and the DAS while one of us stayed in a ride line. Having to take the kids back to the kiosk each time would be hard if you were the only adult and also dealing with a special needs child.
Paradise Pier

Sunglasses are helpful to ease the annoyance of sun in her eyes. Earplugs were good for loud attractions.


Bottom Line: The DAS did work for us but it’s definitely work. Having to go back and forth to the kiosk each time really dragged down the day. It took a bit more planning than usual. Trying to do the DAS for a child with more severe disabilities would be a challenge because there is much more back and forth and lots more waiting.

For more information, see Disney’s FAQ about the Disability Access Service.

Disneyland's Disability Access Service (DAS) - Tips on Making It Work for You


 

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