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Holidays at Disneyland – Visiting Tips For Busy Days

Disneyland during the holidays is simply so magical! Sleeping Beauty Castle is dusted with the magic of snow! Parades and shows have a holiday theme. Several rides and attractions have holiday overlays. There are stunning themed winter decorations in both Parks. There are even special winter treats, like peppermint bark and limited hand-crafted candy canes. Naturally all this extra pixie dust also brings in extra crowds! And for many families, the holiday season is the only time they are able to visit the Disneyland Resort. So what do you do on busy holidays at Disneyland? Here are tons of tested tips for visiting Disneyland during the holidays!

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!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle glistens with snow-topped turrets, holiday garland and shimmering icicles.

Holidays at Disneyland – When Are You Going to Visit?

Some days will be more crowded than others during the holiday at Disneyland season.

Thanksgiving Day – crowded in the morning with slightly lighter crowds in the evening (when some families leave for Thanksgiving dinner)

Christmas Eve & Day – extremely crowded

New Years Eve – the Parks will reach capacity – over-the-top packed!

Other busy times include the entire week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas all the way through to New Years.

Want to experience the holiday season but with lighter crowds? Consider early November (before the week of Thanksgiving). Or the week after Thanksgiving all the way to the week before Christmas. Weekdays (in particular, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday) will be less crowded than weekends, Monday and Friday during this time period.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Love the auto-themed holiday decor in Radiator Springs, Cars Land

Buy Your Tickets in Advance

On busy days, you might be standing in line to get your ticket upwards of an hour! Consider pre-purchasing your tickets to save time. Even better, purchase a package (I recommend Get Away Today). You’ll have the assistance of a dedicated travel agent (at no additional cost to you) and your package will help you to save both time and money.


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Advance Dining Reservations

While you might not normally need Advance Dining Reservations (ADR) at Disneyland, during the holidays, you should make them. The wait will be very long for a table service meal during busy times. Best to have the ADR, especially for coveted Character dining, special holiday meals and favorite restaurants like Carthay Circle and Blue Bayou.

If dining full service isn’t important, you’ll be able to eat at quick service locations. No ADR necessary! Check out this post about dining at Disney without Advance Dining Reservations.

Download the Disneyland App

The Disneyland Resort now offers WiFi, though it’s still sketchy at times. However the app is extremely helpful so be sure to download it pre-visit. You’ll be able to see live where characters are greeting guests, attraction wait times, view PhotoPass pictures, read restaurant menus and access your FastPass return times (with purchase of MaxPass).

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Extra Magic Hour

Stay on Disneyland Resort property and guests are allowed early entry on certain days. Extra Magic Hour allows registered Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests with (their valid theme park admission), entry one hour prior to the official Park opening. Here’s the schedule: Disneyland Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Disney California Adventure Park on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Always Rope Drop

Not an Extra Magic Hour day for the Park you want to visit? While others are sleeping in on vacation, you should be arriving to the Park gates at least 30 minutes early for “rope drop”. Even better? 45-60 minutes before the Park opens officially. Early birds may have the opportunity to walk on Main Street U.S.A. and line up at the “rope” when the Park opens.

We met Pluto during rope drop – the Park wasn’t even officially open yet but he was meeting guests on Main Street U.S.A.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Pluto is one of the characters dressed in winter finest inside the Disneyland Resort

Have a Plan

You can’t just show up on a busy day and expect to be able to see and do everything. Have a plan in place on your top 5 essentials for the day, whether it be a ride, attraction, show or parade. Make those things happen first and anything else that happens after that will just be extra special fun!

Use MaxPass

This new Disneyland app feature allows guests to schedule their FastPass reservations remotely via their mobile device. On a busy day, this will save you SO much time from having to walk physically to the attraction on order to grab your FastPass. MaxPass is an additional charge to your Park ticket. Given that MaxPass also includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads, the extra cost is well worth it.


Seasonal Overlays

The holiday season takes over several Disneyland Park attractions, adding to the seasonal magic! These attractions are ALWAYS popular during the holidays. Grab your FastPass ticket for the World of Color – Season of Light first thing in the day. Book your FastPass asap for Haunted Mansion Holiday because this is a beloved seasonal favorite and the wait can be very long. it’s a small world Holiday is delightful! Don’t miss the beautiful light display on the building outside too.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

it’s a small world Holiday

What to Do In Line?

Lines are gonna be LOOOONNNNGGG. Some lines can be avoided via strategic use of Extra Magic Hours, rope drop and MaxPass. If a stand-by line is longer than 30 minutes you might be better off skipping it. Otherwise you’ll be using up a lot of your Park time in queue. Consider only visiting those most popular rides during the early hours or very late at night when the crowds have thinned.

Other lines, like those for the bathroom or quick service dining can’t be helped. Keep fidgety kids busy with the strategies on this post about standing in line at Disney.

My kids enjoy the World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game. It’s small, requires no batteries or charger and young children can play too.

Rest in the Park, Not at the Hotel

Usually I recommend to vacationers that they leave the Parks mid-day and return to their hotel for a swim and nap. Then, once recharged, to return back to the Disneyland Resort for evening fun. However…if the Parks are at max capacity on very busy days, if you leave the Park you may not be allowed back in. Even if you have your Park ticket! Instead of leaving the Parks on these days, consider resting inside the Park by finding a dining location or bench to relax on.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Decked out with whimsy in Toontown

Meeting Santa

Guests can meet and greet with Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail inside Disney California Adventure park. He’s also been spotted inside all three of the Disneyland Resort hotels (I’ve personally seen him in the lobby of the Grand Californian with a very short line!) Times haven’t been released yet.

If meeting Santa at Disney is high on your list, make that top priority of the day. We waited until about 8 pm, thinking the lines would slow. We STILL waited 45 minutes! I’d recommend meeting Santa first thing in the day if possible (before your kids meltdown or fall asleep!)

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Meeting Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Shows and Entertainment

A Christmas Fantasy Parade is absolutely delightful, with charming seasonal spirit including dancing reindeer, gingerbread and lots of Disney characters in their holiday best. We like to watch from the it’s a small world mall. Considerably less crowded than Main Street U.S.A (but you should still find a place to sit about 45 minutes early).

Disney California Adventure park offers the Viva Navidad Street Party. The Three Caballeros host dancers, musicians and traditional puppets in a South American holiday fiesta.

At night, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle twinkles to life with beautiful lights, icicles and snow-capped turrets.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Viva Navidad!

Stay After Fireworks

The Believe…In Holiday Magic fireworks spectacular should not be missed.  If you want to see it from the front (to view the castle projections), you should stake out a spot on Main Street U.S.A. several hours before the show. However you can totally watch the fireworks from other locations, including the Rivers of America or the it’s a small world mall.

After the fireworks, massive crowds will rush out of the park, tiny tots in tow! Try not to get hung up in the crowds (that’s why we watch the fireworks from the it’s a small world area). Fantasyland will be closed for a while after the show but other areas will remain open for fun. We were able to stay until closing and my kids rode The Matterhorn Bobsleds twice in a row without any wait!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Seasonal treats at Marcelline’s in Downtown Disney District

Other Holiday Things at the Disneyland Resort

Because you know that lines will be long for everything, take advantage of what you can as it comes! When we visited last holiday, we arrived to Disney California Adventure park around 2 pm and there weren’t any lines at all for the Festive Foods Marketplace. However by 6 pm, lines were 20 guests deep! If you see something with a short queue, go for it right then and there because crowds do build as the day goes on.

Festive Foods Marketplace serves up multicultural food and drink at Disney California Adventure park during the holiday season. Each of the kiosks offers something different including gourmet appetizers, comfort food, draft beers, and fancy drinks (alcoholic and non). The holiday desserts (mocha yule log!) are not to be missed!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Festive Marketplace kiosk with yuletide offerings

I absolutely adore just admiring the gorgeous holiday decor that’s all over the Disney parks. From the enormous tree on Main Street U.S.A., the auto-themed holiday decor in Cars Land and even the whimsical holiday spirit in Toontown, almost every area is decked out! Be sure to take the time to look at the decorations and take plenty of photos.

If the Parks are overcrowded, consider taking a stroll over at the Downtown Disney District. Guests can dine and shop amidst holiday decor, seasonal touches and live music. Grab a seasonal treat from Marcelline’s and just wander, soaking up the holiday magic!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland


For more Disney Holiday fun,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


One Day Itinerary – Insider Tips for Disneyland with a Toddler

I’ve been taking my little ones to Disneyland since they were babies. I’ll admit that vacationing with a toddler at Disneyland can be a challenge. There are definite considerations and adjustments that need to be made in your trip when you have a toddler in tow! Check out my ideal one-day Disneyland itinerary with a toddler.

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

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Toddler at Disneyland

Before your trip, here are a few ideas and additional posts about what you should plan ahead of time.


Disneyland Itinerary with a Toddler

This is a one-day Disneyland itinerary with a toddler. I’ll outline what things you can see, do and eat in a single day at the Disneyland park with your toddler. You won’t be able to do EVERYTHING (you’d need more than a single day for that!). But these are the essentials that your toddler will enjoy!


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529


Extra Magic Hour and Rope Drop

Most toddlers are early birds, which will make it easy for you to get to the Park before opening. Have a quick breakfast at the hotel or do what I do with my toddler – Give her a granola bar or dry cereal and a cup of milk, and let her nibble in the stroller while we’re walking to the gates!

Guests staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel can enter the Parks one hour before official opening. Not all attractions are open but Fantasyland is! And Fantasyland is the perfect place to start with your toddler! Note that there are specific days that the Disneyland Park is available for Extra Magic Hour so check at the hotel for the schedule.

If you aren’t staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, you’ll want to take advantage of “Rope drop”. This happens in the 30 minutes before the Park opens officially. If you arrive during this time, you may be able to enter onto Main Street U.S.A. before the rest of the Park opens. There are often character greetings and the shops are open for browsing.

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Character Greetings

Toddlers are fickle little people. Some toddlers LOVE the characters. And some toddlers HATE the characters! I recommend letting your toddler watch from afar at first and judge from there if you really want to do the character meet n’ greets. There are plenty of characters around the entrance and hub of Main Street U.S.A. and if you’re there right at rope drop, you’ll be able to meet with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and more.

Check out this TravelingMom post with tons of tips on how to meet characters (with practical advice from a mom whose toddler is scared of Mickey!)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Fantasyland

The first two hours inside Disneyland are important to maximize! Many vacationers will sleep in and arrive to the Park later in the day. It’s good to be an early bird and take advantage of the lighter crowds during those first few hours. I recommend hitting Fantasyland first with your toddler. Walk straight down Main Street U.S.A., across the Sleeping Beauty Castle drawbridge and into Fantasyland!

Most of the rides and attractions in the Fantasyland area are toddler appropriate (save for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which have a 42″ minimum height requirement). I’ve included all of the attractions here with key notes for taking your toddler –

  • Alice in Wonderland -Most toddlers enjoy this ride
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train- MUST DO
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – MUST DO
  • “it’s a small world”- MUST DO
  • King Arthur Carrousel- MUST DO
  • Mad Tea Party-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (fast moving)
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight-Most toddlers enjoy this ride, however it is dark inside
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (lots of stairs to climb, which toddlers usually enjoy!)
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (slow boat ride, storytelling & miniatures)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Lunch with Littles

Most dining locations offer toddler meals on their menus. And of course you can always request an extra plate and feed your toddler from your own meal. Feeding your under 2 year old at a buffet location is free. I have more dining tips for little ones at Disney on this post.

I’m not a fan of full-service dining with a fidgety toddler. When toddlers are hungry they want to eat NOW! Also, my toddler tends to eat quickly and then clamor to get out of her highchair. This means I’m usually having to rush my meal or take it to-go!

Character dining can be hit or miss with a toddler. If your little one loves the characters, then yes, by all means book Goofy’s Kitchen, Disney’s PCH Grill or the Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie and Friends. But if your toddler doesn’t like the characters, I’d definitely skip the pricey character dining experiences.

Here are my favorite places to eat for lunch with my toddler at Disneyland:

  • French Market in New Orleans Square- outdoor covered patio dining with roast chicken, meatloaf and corn chowder. The restaurant often offers live jazz music.
  • Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland-indoor dining. My toddler liked sharing the flatbread and fries.
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country-outdoor covered patio dining with chicken nuggets on the kid’s menu.


Play Time

Toddlers can only take so much of being strapped into a stroller. They need to get out, run around and play a bit (best to do right before their regular nap time).

There are places for you to let your toddler walk (like Main Street U.S.A. and the plaza near “it’s a small world”) that aren’t too congested. Other areas like New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland tend to be very crowded and it’s easy to get separated. Here are a few places to let your toddler out for free play (for more details and more locations, check out this DisneyBaby post about play areas at Disneyland).

  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse
  • Toontown Play Areas including Donald’s Boat, Goofy’s Playhouse, Minnie’s House and Mickey’s House

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Nap Time

Do NOT skip the nap! I repeat, do not attempt to skip sleep with your toddler! It’s tempting to want to power through your Disneyland day but you’ll pay for that skipped nap with tantrums and meltdowns!

You have several options for nap time, whether it be returning to the hotel, finding a quiet location or letting your toddler stroller sleep (my personal choice). Read more on this DisneyBaby post about ways to encourage naps at Disneyland.


Toddlers Love a Parade

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade is an absolute delight! Toddlers will love the vibrant colors, familiar characters and dance-able tunes. I keep my toddler in her stroller and roll it right up to the curb during the parade. This allows her a front row view to the show!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Dinner at Disneyland

As dark falls on the Park, thoughts turn to dinner. As I noted at lunch, I recommend sticking to quick service locations. These are my favorites:

  • Plaza Inn on Main Street U.S.A.- Both indoor and outdoor dining. The fried chicken, veggies and mashed potatoes can’t be beat and the large platters are perfect for sharing.
  • Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland – Outdoor dining. I love the atmosphere here at night, with the beautiful colored lanterns that hang over the dimly lit patio. The Mexican food offerings are good. Just be sure to check the menu before sharing because some of the items are on the spicy side.

Other Must-Do Toddler Attractions

Any ride or attraction that does not have a height restriction is a-okay for your toddler! Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion do not have a height restriction but use your best judgement before bringing your toddler aboard. Skittish little ones who do not enjoy the dark aspects or “spooky” elements likely will not enjoy these attractions!

I’ve noted the following attractions that are must-do with your toddler-

  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Enchanted Tiki Room (snacks are allowed inside!)
  • Jungle Cruise (there is a loud gunshot during the ride; the Cast Member “Skipper” will alert you to cover your ears)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (let her wield her own “blast” gun!)
  • Finding Nemo Submarines
This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Inside Finding Nemo Submarines – Toddlers can stand and look out the porthole.

Nighttime Entertainment

If your toddler doesn’t mind the noise and can stay up late, the fireworks spectaculars at Disneyland are amazing. Another excellent nighttime show is Fantasmic! I recently viewed this show with my toddler and have a few pointers. You’ll need to collect a FastPass ticket for Fantasmic! early in the day to have standing room viewing. Note that you’ll be arriving to your designated location about an hour early and standing to wait for the show. That’s a LONG time to hold a squirmy toddler. By the time the show came my arms were spent!

I highly recommend booking a Fantasmic! Dining Package in advance. You’ll receive a meal at one of the designated locations and a seat to watch the show front and center. I’m totally doing this next Disneyland trip!

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

For more Disney itinerary ideas,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming To Disneyland?

So much exciting news has been developing at the Disneyland Resort this summer! From the Marvel-inspired Summer of Heroes, new and updated rides and attractions, the release of MaxPass and the building anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s tons to explore! Find out what’s new, what’s returning and what’s coming to Disneyland Parks.

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

I received complimentary Park Hopper tickets and MaxPass for myself and my children to attend a Family Media Day event at Disneyland. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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

#SummerofHeroes

As you enter Disney California Adventure Park, you can’t miss the huge Marvel-style signage above the entrance. It’s the Summer of Heroes at Disneyland and there are several new things going on in the Parks. Some of these events will be ending when Halloween Time arrives. Other attractions are here to stay!

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

Entrance to Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure park for Summer of Heroes event.

Check out this video from Disney Parks Blog that outlines what’s happening at Disney California Adventure park for the Summer of Heroes event:

Super Hero-Style Dining

There are some super bites for guests to enjoy representative of Summer of Heroes! I’m mean, how cool is that Groot Bread! I had the chance to try several dishes. The yummy Obviously Nachos are made with fried blue corn tortillas and topped with red pepper cheese sauce, mojo-marinated chicken, chipotle crèma and green onions. Multiverse Parfait was rich and delicious (Chocolate cake layered with white and dark chocolate mousse and cherry jelly, topped with chocolate ganache).

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT

The jewel of the Summer of Heroes is the most grand attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT. This ride opened to guests earlier this summer. While my three kids rode, I stayed behind with the baby. I thought since this new ride had previously been The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror there might be some similarities. As my eldest explained, “It’s nothing like The Tower of Terror!” I’m looking forward to visiting again soon so I can ride and see for myself!

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

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT attraction remade over the Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park.

MaxPass

I’ll admit that I was a little fuzzy on the details of MaxPass up to our recent visit. This new feature had debuted about a week before my trip and I’d not done much research. Fortunately it’s a very easy program to use and saved us immense amounts of time!

Here’s an outline video from the Disney Parks Blog on how MaxPass works:

A few of my own thoughts about MaxPass. At a cost of $10 per ticket, per day (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads) I found this to be a good value. My family and I were able to experience 24 rides on our single day visit (over the course of 13 hours). This was on a summer Saturday in July!

While we were leaving one attraction, I was able to arrange a MaxPass reservation for our next ride. I appreciated being able to access the app to see which times were available next. This allowed me to pick and choose the next available time for an attraction that was nearby. This allowed us to maximize time and eliminated unnecessary running around.

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

I also liked that I could quickly scan all available open MaxPass and pick and choose which attraction I wanted. This meant I didn’t have to physically go to the attraction to see the return time before choosing that reservation.

I even found that I was able to hold several MaxPass at the same time, something that didn’t happen for me when using the old FastPass system.

MaxPass Tips!

  • Start the day with a fully charged mobile device battery and bring an external charger as well. Using MaxPass all day really drains the battery! I brought my external charger and even after a full charge, my phone battery still died before the end of the night.
  • Before “locking in” on a MaxPass reservation, scroll through all the available options. Some attractions had several hour waits before we’d have been able to redeem our MaxPass reservation. Other times we were able to find some attractions with only a 5 minute wait!
  • MaxPass works between the Parks. This means you can book a Disneyland Parks MaxPass even while at Disney California Adventure. This was an awesome feature, being able to book a reservation for the opposite Park just before Park Hopping!
  • FASTPASS tickets that are printed are only your reminder of the return time. With MaxPass you won’t be printing anything so you’ll need to view your return time on your mobile device.
  • You can use either your Park tickets or your mobile device as the proof of your reservation. I used my Park tickets each time (simply to save phone battery). This meant I was pulling my tickets out to show them to Cast Members over and over throughout the day. I can see how easily this would mean losing them (in fact, my daughter DID lose her ticket, about an hour before closing). Keep your tickets in a safe place. I’d recommend a water proof lanyard.

I feel that MaxPass truly did maximize our visit and streamlined our time spent in queue. We never spent longer than 20 minutes in any one line all day, even for the E-Ticket rides like Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain and Guardians of the Galaxy. Here is my video review of how MaxPass worked for my family:

New FASTPASS Opportunities

Two new FASTPASS locations means that lines will be moving more swiftly! For the first time guests can book a FASTPASS for Toy Story Midway Mania and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. These two attractions are also available on the MaxPass system. FASTPASS continues to be complimentary to any ticket holders for the duration of your visit. MaxPass costs $10 per ticket, per day.

Another change is that the FASTPASS ticket that is printed is only a reminder of the time. You’ll need your actual Park ticket to redeem the reservation. The only exceptions are for special shows like Fantasmic! and World of Color, as you’ll still need the actual FASTPASS ticket to redeem when arriving for your reserved time.

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

Paper FASTPASS is only a reminder. You’ll need your park ticket to redeem FASTPASS.

 

Rivers of America

The Rivers of America re-routing and Railroad track construction is complete. This means that the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes are back on the water! And Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island has reopened as well.

Here is a video from Disney Parks Blog that celebrates their return.

Disneyland Railroad

After being closed for a year, the Disneyland Railroad reopened on the day of our visit (July 29th, 2017). Several elevated trestles have been installed along the tracks and for the first time the train makes a left turn along the route.

What's new & what's coming to Dis

This new view of the Mark Twain is taken from atop the bridge for the Disneyland Railroad

With the Railroad reopening another often-forgotten attraction has been rejuvenated as well. Just after leaving the Tomorrowland Station, the train enters The Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas. This attraction has always been one of my favorites and the new updates don’t disappoint! The dioramas look refreshed and have been updated with projections that add even more interest to the dramatic scenes.

Entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

With the reopening of the pathway between Frontierland and Fantasyland, guests can now access the path that will lead to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Though this new Land won’t be opening until 2019, the excitement is already building for what will be an amazing new addition to Disneyland Park.

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

This is to be the entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The pathway leads under a new bridge for the Disneyland Railroad.

Here’s a “fly-through” of the model that will be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the Disney Parks Blog:

Red Rose Taverne

This new restaurant opened to guests earlier this year, in celebration of the feature film Beauty and the Beast. The Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland has been transformed into a French chateau, the Red Rose Taverne.

I dined on the Beast’s Burger, which was over-the-top yummy. A Gray Stuff Gateau (white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a sweet raspberry center) is offered here for dessert. We’ve heard mixed reviews so we skipped it this time.

This restaurant is being called a “limited time offering” but it’s still going strong several months later and I’m not sure when it will be ending.

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

Fantasmic!

This long-running nighttime spectacular returned to Disneyland Park mid-June with updated technology. Guests who wish to watch Fantasmic! should grab a FastPass early in the day. This will allow you entrance into a reserved viewing area (you are unable to watch the show with this ticket).

There is a Fantasmic! Dining Package available, which offers you a meal along with that reserved FastPass ticket. Choose from Blue Bayou, River Belle Terrace or Hungry Bear Restaurant. The dishes look delicious and the desserts are even more amazing.

(Image: Disney Parks Blog)

Check out this Sorcerer Mickey “Fantasmic!” Dessert, with milk chocolate mousse, bananas foster sauce, milk chocolate pound cake and a chocolate glaze…wow!!!

Here’s a sneak peek video of Fantasmic! from Disney Parks Blog:

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland 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). 

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

 

Is it Worth it to Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel vs Off-Site?

When considering a Disneyland vacation, you really have some outstanding options when it comes to accommodations! With Disneyland located in the middle of city there are a bounty of “off-site” hotels to choose from. So why would anyone choose to stay at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotel when there are hundreds of other lodging options surrounding the Parks? I’ll break it down and determine whether it’s worth it to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel…or not.

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


Should You Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel or Off-Site Location?

My family and I have stayed at all three of the Disneyland Resort Hotels over the course of many years. We’ve also stayed at dozens of the off-site locations and found some of them to be nicely accommodating!

So which one should you choose – A Disneyland Resort Hotel or an Off-Site Hotel? I’ll be giving you many discussion points to review before you book your Disneyland-area vacation hotel.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

What are the Disneyland Resort Hotels?

The Disneyland Resort area is smaller than Walt Disney World and includes only three resort hotels – Disney’s Paradise Pier, The Disneyland Hotel and Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Each of the Disneyland Resort hotels have themed rooms and pool areas that offer a full day of entertainment. Each hotel offers a unique Character meal. The hotels are located within walking distance of the Parks. Some of the hotel areas are more “Disney” than others. Each of them offers great customer service and that feeling of being inside the “Disney Bubble” while on vacation.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

Disney’s Paradise Pier is always the lowest cost of the three resort hotels (but still not “inexpensive” by any means!) The hotel has a whimsical beach theme with a rooftop water slide and great views of Disney California Adventure park.

The Disneyland Hotel is a classic – The entire hotel is heavy on the Disney theming, from the Mad Tea Party teacups in the lobby to the imaginative light-up musical headboards in each room. A fantastic pool area with Monorail-themed water slides make this a magical place to stay.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

Disney fans will appreciate the nods to Walt inside the Disneyland Hotel.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the closest hotel to the Park and hosts it’s own Resort guest-exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure park. The dramatic lobby and more sophisticated style with subtle Disney details add to the upscale nature of this beautiful hotel.

What are Good Neighbor Hotels?

Good Neighbor Hotels are off-site Anaheim area hotels that Disney promotes on their website. Not sure if these are actually hand-picked and approved hotels by Disney or if the hotels pay to be listed under the “Good Neighbor” umbrella?

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

Castle-themed room at Anaheim Majestic Gardens

I’ve stayed at over a dozen and there is a vast range in quality, from low budget basic rooms to elegant family suites. Bottom line is that some of these hotels are better than others. Some of them are downright lousy, if I’m being honest!

Do your research – Read Yelp reviews. Take a look at the area map. Do a Google search. Ask a friend.

Two of my favorite off-site Disneyland area hotels:

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

A suite with a view! Watch fireworks from this window at the Holiday Inn & Suites.

Why Should I Consider an Off-Site Accommodation?

Cost

Far and away the best reason for booking off-site are the more reasonable low costs for a room. Hotel accommodations can be the major expense of any vacation and with Disneyland resort hotel rooms at $300+ per night, you might want to consider off-site lodging that is considerably less cost.

Walkable

Many very good off-site hotels are within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort. In fact, some are even closer to the front gates than the Disneyland Resort hotels!

Be sure to look at a map of the area before booking though. Some off-site locations boast that they’re across the street from Disneyland only to find out that you’ll still have a long walk to get to the entrance!

More Dining Options

There are restaurants and fast food places located all around the Disneyland area, many of them inside off-site hotels. Many of the off-site accommodations also have a complimentary breakfast – sweet!

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

Free breakfast at the Holiday Inn is awesome!

Shuttles or Public Transportation

Even if the off-site hotel is a mile away, many of them offer free or low cost shuttles to the park entrance. Public transportation (like the ART) stops near other hotels for a nominal fee (definitely cheaper than parking your vehicle at the Disneyland parking lot!)

Variety of Room Options

The rooms at the Disneyland Resort are all pretty standard sized. If you need something with more space or a suite on a budget, looking off-site will give you what you need.


What are the Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel?

Extra Magic Hour

Want to get inside the Park early and avoid extra long queues? Disneyland Resort hotel guests can take advantage of Extra Magic Hour for each day of their stay.

Staying in the Magic

If you prefer to avoid the “outside world” while enjoying a Disney vacation, you’ll love the Disneyland Resort hotels. You’ll never have to leave the area or step outside of the Disney bubble!

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

Wall of historical photos inside the Disneyland Hotel.

Special Guest-Only Offerings

When you check in, the Cast Member will give you a calendar of items that are happening at the Resort during your stay. This may include pool-side activities, Disney movies under the stars, early access to shops in the Downtown Disney District or free tours.

A History Like No Other

When you take a look at this wall of photos in the Disneyland Hotel you can see the rich history of the resort and what it has meant to so many. That’s a history that many Disney fans will love to soak in!

If you want to know more check out these valuable reasons to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation.

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 


 For more opinions on what is & isn’t worth the splurge at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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Best Books to Buy When Planning a Disney Trip

I’m all for doing my online research ahead of time. I search Google for everything far and wide so I can get the most information when planning a Disney trip. But there’s just something about having all the tips in one place – A book! To have a book in hand is invaluable; to be able to flip the page, see photos, tab and highlight favorite sections – That’s one of my favorite parts of Disney vacation research! See my recommendations for the best books to purchase when planning a Disney trip.

Planning a Disney Trip? Pick up a Book

Whether you’re just in the research stages, getting the kids familiar with Disney or looking for some background and history there is a Disney book for everyone in your family! You can even take some of these books along with you for the trip.

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

Planning a Disney trip? Pick up one of these recommended Walt Disney World or Disneyland books for everyone in your group!

 

Research Books to Help You Plan & Stay Organized

If you read this blog at all you’ll know that doing your pre-vacation research is an important way to save money and time on your trip! These Disney vacation research books will help you properly plan and be prepared. The Unofficial Guide was my go-to research book when planning my first vacation to Walt Disney World.

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017

Birnbaum’s 2017 Disneyland Resort: The Official Guide (Birnbaum Guides)

PassPorter’s Walt Disney World 2016

    

The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World Planner: A Complete Organizer, Journal, and Keepsake for Your Unforgettable Vacation

Frommer’s EasyGuide to Disney World, Universal and Orlando 2017 (Easy Guides)

102 Ways to Save Money For and At Walt Disney World: Bonus! 40 Free Things to Enjoy, Eat, Do and Collect!

  

Books for Kids to Get them in a Disney Mood

Get the kids on board by supplying them with a few Disney themed titles. They can help with vacation planning or just get in the Disney mood with a few storybooks. My son owns several of these Disney Storybook Collections and they are a bedtime favorite leading up to our vacation day whenever we’re planning a Disney trip. My older kids have read and loved the Kingdom Keepers series.

Birnbaum’s 2017 Walt Disney World For Kids: The Official Guide (Birnbaum Guides)

Going To Disneyland – A Guide for Kids & Kids at Heart

Disney*Pixar Storybook Collection

    

Kingdom Keepers Boxed Set: Featuring Kingdom Keepers I, II, and III

The Mystery at Walt Disney World (Real Kids, Real Places)

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2018

    

Books for Little Ones

If this is baby’s first Disney trip you’ll want to make them familiar with characters. These sweet books are ideal. The encyclopedia is great for acquainting kids with the characters and you can take it with you on the trip to have each character sign inside!

Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters

Disney® Mickey Mouse “My First Books” (Set of 4 Shaped Board Books)

Disney Classics Little Golden Book Library (Disney Classic)

Disney Baby My First Colors

     

Books with a History and Background

Ready to dig a little deeper into Disney lore? You want a book with a bit of history or that gives you some background into the Disney experience?
I’m wanting The Disney Book for myself, it looks like an amazing read!

Disney A to Z (Fifth Edition): The Official Encyclopedia

Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making More Magic Real

  

The Disneyland Encyclopedia: The Unofficial, Unauthorized, and Unprecedented History of Every Land, Attraction, Restaurant, Shop, and Major Event in the Original Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Disney Institute Book, A)

       

Books to Use When on the Trip

Once you’re on vacation, there are a few books that you can bring with you to maximize your Park experience. They also help alleviate boredom when standing in line or waiting in restaurants! I think my preschooler would get a kick out of finding Hidden Mickeys on our next visit!

Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland® Resort’s Best Kept Secrets

The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World Trivia Book: Secrets, History & Fun Facts Behind the Magic (Volume 1)

The Disney World Queue Line Scavenger Hunt: The Game You Play While Waiting In Line

    

What are your favorite Disney books? Share in the comments!

20 Trusted Tips for Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney

Traveling with a baby has many challenges. Traveling by yourself with a baby? Even more to consider! How about traveling alone with a baby to Disney? I’m here to tell you it can be done! I’ve done it twice in the last year. With some advance planning and knowledge, traveling alone with a baby doesn’t have to be vacation-doom. Read on for my 20 tips for traveling alone with a baby.

Traveling Alone with a Baby

Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Walt Disney World for a conference with the TravelingMoms. With a 6 month old at home, I knew that I’d need to bring her with me for the 4 days I’d be out of town. I was feeling confident and excited. First of all, I was going to Disney World! Second, with only a baby in tow, it was going to be almost like a solo vacation (hmm, almost but not quite!)

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Starstruck by Chip

I had a lot to learn, it seems! I’ve outlined all the details you’ll need to consider when traveling alone with a baby, with special considerations given for Disney vacation travel.

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

1. Travel Times

When considering booking your flight, take a look at your baby’s schedule. I chose to fly in the morning, which would fall during my daughter’s first nap of the day. She’s also in a much better mood in the morning than in the evening so I knew she’d be happier during the flight. I was flying from San Diego to Orlando which clocks in at just around 5 hours. I lucked out and she was able to sleep for about 2 hours on the plane while I wore her in the front carrier.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Choose a non-stop flight whenever possible. Getting on and off the plane with all your stuff and a baby is less daunting if you know you only have to do it once each way.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

2. Checked Luggage

One of the best things about a Walt Disney World vacation is that luggage is handled for you when you stay on-site. Check it curbside at the airport and the next time you’ll see it will be inside your Disney World resort hotel room! Yes, they take care of getting your luggage from the airlines and then deliver it directly to your room. One less thing to worry about for sure!

What do you need to pack with you for a Disney vacation? Be sure to check out these two handy printable lists, a list for mom and a list for baby! I’ll mention that I underestimated the number of wipes I’d need and had to buy more on the last day. Fortunately they sold them inside the Baby Care center at Epcot!

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: You’ll be lugging your luggage to the front of the hotel on check-out day so make sure you have one that rolls well and isn’t so impossibly heavy that you can’t handle it yourself.

3. Carry-On Bags

In addition to what you’d normally pack in a carry-on bag for yourself, you’re also going to need to carry everything for baby as well. This would include plenty of diapers and wipes, changing table pad, baby snacks, blanket, bottle or cup and at least 1 change of clothes (some babies have intestinal issues during air travel because of the increased pressure, so you might want to bring 2+ outfits!)

The baby’s #Disneyland outfits are done, we can officially go on vacation! #Disney #sewing #babyclothes

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Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Consider making your carry-on bag a backpack. Not only will it be easier to carry through the airport, you’ll also be able to access your supplies easier when you can compartmentalize in a backpack rather than a cavernous tote bag.


4. Navigating the Airport

From checking your luggage, passing through security checks and making the long walk to your gate, you’re going to need free hands. Holding a baby and juggling these other tasks is tricky so make it easy on yourself and wear the baby so your hands are free. On my flight to Disney World I was allowed to pass through security while baby-wearing and didn’t have to take her off my body. I use a Boba Air Baby Carrier and wore it through my entire trip. Invaluable!

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Wear shoes that slip on and off easily without your hands so you won’t have sit and bend over to tie them.


5. On the Flight

My daughter sat on my lap during the flight, mostly held in her front carrier. I opted not to purchase a seat for her or bring her car seat because I knew that I would not be able to carry it on the travels by myself. Once in my plane seat, I used a sanitizing wipe to clean down any surface that my baby might touch (windowsill, arm rests and tray table).

Ready for takeoff! SAN to MCO #waltdisneyworld here we come #tmomdisney #Tmom

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I was blessed to have an empty seat next to me on the flight there and a completely empty row on the flight home! This allowed me to spread out a bit and use the empty seat to hold my carry-on backpack. You might not be so lucky and of course, space is tight on a plane. Pack your carry-on bag judiciously so you can reach in for what you need quickly when it’s at your feet.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Forget pulling out the laptop on the plane; with a lap-sitting baby you probably won’t have the space for it on the tray table. Bring a good book or magazine for when baby naps (or heck, take a nap yourself!)

6. Bathroom Breaks

When you gotta go, you gotta go! What do you do when you have to use the bathroom? Because I wasn’t going to have a stranger on the plane hold my baby, I placed her inside the front carrier and still had my hands free to do my business and properly wash my hands. When in the Disney parks, I’d simply roll her inside the bathroom in her stroller and use one of the large stalls. Take the changing pad with you and take care of baby’s needs while you’re in the bathroom too.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: Changing diapers on the plane has it’s own challenges! Be sure to read this post with tips for changing a diaper on a plane from my friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes.


7. Using a Stroller

Since I was using the front carrier to tote my baby through the airport, I opted to leave our regular stroller at home. I had used Amusement Park Rentals in the past for my son and contacted them once again for a stroller on this trip with the baby. It was so convenient to meet them in the lobby, have the rental stroller for the trip and then have them pick it up at the end of the visit. They even included a rain cover for the stroller in case of showers.

Solo with a Baby Traveling Tip: If you choose to bring a stroller with you, roll it right up to the entrance of the plane and the stewards will store it for you.

Heavy sleeper. @disneyland #disneybaby #Rollercoaster #Disney #Disneyland

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8. Take the Magical Express

One of the fabulous benefits of staying at a Disney World resort hotel is complimentary use of Magical Express. This is bus transportation that will take you from Orlando Airport directly to the front entrance of your Disney World resort. Babies can lap sit just like on the plane. If you have a car seat they will not allow it on the bus, it will be stored underneath the bus with carry on luggage.

Solo Traveling Tip: If staying off-site at a non-Disney resort hotel and unable to use Magical Express, bring a car seat from home for baby. Services like Uber and Lyft do offer car seats in some vehicles but they aren’t rear-facing seats for babies under 2.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

9. Transportation on Disney Property

Once on Disney property you’ll be able to get to and from your hotel to the parks and Disney Springs via transportation buses, monorail system and friendship boats. You’ll be in charge of carrying your baby, folding and carrying your own stroller and handling your own bags so consider this when packing for a day in the parks.

If you find yourself in need of help, ask someone standing in line with you for assistance. In my case, I always had someone asking me if I would like help or they’d even swoop in and grab my stroller to put it on the bus for me!

Solo Traveling Tip: During peak season and when mass groups are entering or leaving the parks, seating can be very limited. There were several times I had to stand on the bus and hold onto the rail. Wear baby in a front carrier so you can hold on to the rails. You do NOT want to take a tumble when the bus turns or stops.

10. Hotel Choice

The rooms at All-Star Music and Sports were on the small side but adequately suited for just the two of us. It had enough space for me to park the stroller in the doorway and the second bed allowed me to spread out luggage and use it as a changing table for the baby.

I was co-sleeping with my daughter so we simply shared one of the queen sized beds. However resort guests can request a pack ‘n’ play portable crib when booking your reservation. It would have been a very tight fit for a crib in the All-Star rooms so keep that in mind when looking at the resort hotel square footage.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

All-Star resort hotel room

Solo Traveling Tip: Getting back and forth from the hotel room to the bus pick-up, the time it took to travel and then the walking from the bus depot into the parks really takes a great effort when alone with a baby! Consider booking a hotel on the monorail line to cut transportation time and struggles.

11. Room Location Requests

On my visit, I stayed in three different hotels. Certainly not ideal but I was padding my stay at the conference hotel on each end of the visit with a Disney Resort hotel. Unfortunately the two Disney Resorts were All-Star Music and Sports, which are both very large resorts. The rooms I was given at each hotel were the furthest walk to and from the front entrance. It would seriously take me 15 minutes of brisk walking to get from my room to the bus each day. It took even longer on check-out day when I was trying to push a baby in a stroller, carry a diaper bag and wheel my luggage at the same time!

Solo Traveling Tip: If you’re traveling alone with a baby put in a request when booking the room for a location that isn’t such a long distance away.

Thankful for this sweet girl, who has been the best travel companion I could have asked for! #TMOM #TBaby #WaltDisneyWorld

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12. Consider Renting a Locker

If you’re packing in everything you’ll need for a Disney day including diapers, wipes, a change of clothes and baby food, consider renting a locker in the Park to hold items until you need them. No need lugging around all the diapers and food for the day if you can store some of them in a locker that allows in and out privileges.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

13. Dining at Disney

If your baby is big enough to sit inside a highchair you’ll find that they are plentiful inside restaurants, including quick service locations. I decided not to pack the highchair cover because it was just so big to lug around with me inside the parks. All of the highchairs I used were quite clean and had functioning buckles. I simply wiped the chair down with a sanitizing wipe before putting my baby inside.

Although children under 2 are free to eat at the buffet with a paying adult, I chose to skip the buffets. It’s next to impossible to hold two trays of food on your own as well as handle your baby! I also opted out of full-service dining on my trip as my baby wasn’t eating table food yet.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Definitely ask for help if you need it. Navigating inside the quick service lines with a stroller and balancing a tray of food through crowded seating areas is hard when you’re alone. I requested help from the server when I ordered, asking if I could have assistance with getting my tray to the table.

Solo Traveling Tip: Check out this post about feeding your baby at Disney, including what to pack (disposable bibs and stick-on place mats are a must!)

14. Taking on the Rides

There are so many rides and attractions to experience, even with a baby on board. Since you won’t be able to use Rider Swap on this trip if you want to go on a ride, you’ll have to take baby with you!

Pre-trip, check out the height restrictions on the Disney parks website. If there are no restrictions, you can bring baby with you onto the ride. At both Walt Disney World and Disneyland I’ve been able to ride dozens of things with my baby on my lap, even Pirates of the Caribbean, Mad Tea Party teacups and the Haunted Mansion.

PeopleMover for the first time! #Tmom #MickeysNotSoScaryHalloweenParty #WaltDisneyWorld

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Sleeping baby in a front carrier? Ask the Cast Member at the front of the attraction if you can ride. I was able to hop on Dumbo the Flying Elephant while my daughter napped and she never woke up. At Walt Disney World on the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh I was instructed by the Cast Member to remove her from the carrier and turn her forward facing with her legs under the bar. Keep baby in the front carrier through the queue waits…your tired arms will thank you!

Solo Traveling Tip: Use FastPass when you can to keep the line waits down. You’ll find that getting a FastPass for the non-thrill rides is pretty easy. I even used my choices for character meet n’ greets.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

My very cool travel companion.

15. Shows for All Ages

Certain shows (like Mickey’s PhilharMagic and It’s Tough to Be a Bug!) have extremely high volumes and may contain some frightening elements. Things like the fireworks spectacular may frighten your baby. If you’re far enough away from the action, she may be fine with the show (mine wasn’t fazed by the noise).

Other shows are very calm, like Enchanted Tales with Belle and The American Adventure. Some shows feature lively music or bright colors (like Finding Nemo-The Musical, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room or Country Bear Jamboree) that baby may enjoy watching the action. Of course the parades are all very fun for baby to watch as well. All of the indoor shows I saw requested that you leave your stroller outside.

Solo Traveling Tip: Read up on what show elements will be appropriate for baby in the books The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2017 and The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017. There are details on the scare-factor of each attraction.

    

16. Quiet Areas

Baby’s overstimulated? Or do you just need a quiet place to rest and recoup? Check out the Baby Care Centers. There is one located in each Disney Park and it’s a clean place to nurse, feed, diaper change, rock or just relax quietly with your baby. The nursing rooms are dimmed and some have rocking chairs. For more breastfeeding tips at Disney parks see my post on DisneyBaby blog.

Solo Traveling Tip: Bring your cell phone and charging cord inside with you. I found outlets inside the nursing rooms (for plugging in a breast pump) but you can use it to recharge your phone while feeding your little one (so long as someone with a breast pump doesn’t need it).

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Each Disney Park has a Baby Care Center.

17. Naptime Needs

Babies tend to sleep wherever and whenever, which is a great thing! However over-stimulation may result in naps that are delayed or skipped and shortened sleep schedules. Rested babies are happier babies so take time to make sure baby gets the rest she needs, even if it means returning to the hotel. I was able to get my daughter to fall asleep in the parks, usually after a feeding and then placing her inside the front carrier.

There were times when my daughter was napping in her stroller. I took that time to browse the shops, stand in line for character meet n’ greets, eat a meal or simply rest and people-watch from a bench.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

My sleepy girl “meeting” Jessie & Woody at Magic Kingdom

18. Capture the Moments

You NEED memories of this trip so be sure to take a camera with you! Take selfies. Hand over your camera to Disney PhotoPass photographers. Get in line with the characters for a sweet meet n’ greet. Make sure to get in the pictures yourself, too! Take pictures of it all, you’re going to love looking back at your baby’s first Disney trip!

Solo Traveling Tip: Don’t forget to collect a “First Visit” button to document your baby’s first day at Disney!

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

19. Accept Help

I was checking out of the hotel on the last day and struggling under all my bags. I had acquired a few souvenirs for the kids back home and my bags were overflowing. I was wearing the sleeping baby in her front carrier, pushing a stroller loaded down with one bag and pulling a suitcase behind me. Suddenly someone came up from behind me and started pushing my luggage for me, a teacher from Minnesota who was on the trip with students. She’d seen me lunking that suitcase across the sidewalk and happily pushed it for me as we chatted on the way to the front of the hotel.

Sure, there are sometimes you really can do it alone but if someone wants to help, let them! It makes them feel good to help you out. I can still remember the conversations I had on the transportation bus with the dad of the adopted children from Africa who carried my stroller on board. And the smile from the Cast Member who carried my food tray to my table.

20. Go With the Flow

For sure, traveling alone with a baby is sure to be a vacation that’s different than any other. You’ll be dealing with diapers, tears and feedings all by yourself. Baby’s having a meltdown at the sight of Mickey? Believe me, it won’t be the first time a baby has cried in a character’s face! Don’t stress, just laugh about it.

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

She woke up and the first thing she saw was Mickey’s face. She was not amused.

And just because you aren’t riding coasters and are going by baby’s schedule instead of your own, doesn’t mean you can’t have a magical time! Think of traveling alone with your baby as the perfect opportunity to do things on this trip that you wouldn’t consider otherwise because you’re at a slower pace. Before you know it, your baby will be joining you on the coasters!

Traveling Alone with a Baby to Disney? Check out these 20 trusted tips for solo travel with a baby.

Save money at DISNEY WORLD!

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


 For more ideas for traveling solo to Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Traveling Solo to Disney Loop:

Have you ever considered traveling alone with a baby to Disney? I’d love to hear your comments!

 

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Where to Cut Costs)

Disneyland splurges can really add a certain magic to your vacation. From tiny sweets to full-blown boutique make-overs, there’s a Disneyland splurge to fit every kid (and every budget)! With four kids in our family we don’t tend to go “all out” but it certainly adds joy to our trip to surprise the kids with a few little splurges. I have some suggestions of Disneyland splurges for the kids, plus some money saving ideas that still allow for special treats!

Disneyland Splurges for the Kids

Yes, Disneyland is already a magical place. Throwing in a few splurges here and there on your trip will really put a twinkle in your child’s eye! These are some of the Disneyland splurges that kids will enjoy, with a range to fit any budget.

Please note that I include affiliate links in this post. Clicking the link and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Sweet Treats

When I think of Disneyland splurges, I think dessert! All those sweet treats to indulge in, with many of them perfectly designed for the delight of children. There are character-themed marshmallows on a stick sold all over the Park, sundaes from Gibson Girl, milk shakes from Flo’s V-8 Cafe and adorable cookies we found at Jolly Holiday Bakery & Cafe (check out the Cheshire Cat cookie! It matched my daughter’s leggings!)

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

And of course there are some amazing caramel apples sold throughout the Parks. We love watching them create the apples at Marceline’s in Downtown Disney District. Each apple is painstakingly dipped and decorated by hand.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

1. *Money Saving Splurge* – Buy a caramel apple and request to have it cut into slices. Then everyone can indulge and share the treat!

Watch the video of how caramel apples are made at Disneyland on my YouTube channel.

Portrait Drawing

Older kids may appreciate this more than youngers but having your portrait done (in the streets of New Orleans Square, just down from the exit of Pirates of the Caribbean) is a souvenir worth framing. Choose from silly caricatures or more serious pastel drawings.

A Splurge in Hand

Handheld goodies will put a smile on a child’s face! Items like balloons, light-up toys, spinners, Princess wands, swords and bubble blowers add to the Disney joy and are a nice souvenir too.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

2. *Money Saving Splurge* – If you buy a balloon and it pops, return the remnants to any balloon vendor in the Park for a replacement.

A Special Meal

Looking for a dining splurge you’ll never forget? Consider a meal at The Blue Bayou Restaurant. Not only do they have a location to die for inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction (it’s the only restaurant at Disneyland inside of an attraction!) but they have a menu that’s kid-friendly.

There are simple dishes like mac and cheese with veggies or more sophisticated options like salmon and beef strip loin. Kids will get a kick out of watching the ride boats float by and in the decor, which looks like you’re dining outside (complete with chirping crickets!) Just be sure to a get an Advance Dining Reservation because this is a very popular dining location.

3. *Money Saving Splurge* – Dine for lunch instead of dinner to save on the cost of adult meals.

Splurge-Worthy Special Event

There are several special events and packages available at Disneyland if you’re wanting to splurge! Check out the World of Color Dessert Party that gives guests reserved seating as well as dessert and drinks.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Visiting Disneyland during the fall? A ticket to Mickey’s Halloween Party is a must so that kids can dress in costume and trick or treat through the Park at night!

Stay On-Site

From the themed rooms, Extra Magic Hour, and the amazing pools, staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is a splurge worth making. I’ve stayed in all three of the Disneyland Resort hotels and each offers their own magic.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

4. *Money Saving Splurge* – Naturally weekends, holidays and peak season dates will have higher prices. Stay mid-week and in the off-season to save on a Resort room. Sign up for offers and you may be sent a discount code in the mail or via email.

In-Room Decor

Want to give your kids a magical impression from the moment they enter the hotel room? Contact Disney Floral & Gifts for an in-room celebration that includes decorations, goodies, treats and personalized souvenirs laid out for them when they arrive.

5. *Money Saving Splurge* – Bring your own store-bought treats like bubbles and glow necklaces. Put them on your kid’s pillows and say that Tinker Bell delivered them!

Character Dining

Do your littles have a hearty appetite? Consider a character dining experience with an unlimited buffet. You’ll not only meet n’ greet with characters who come to your table for one-on-one time (photos and autographs too), you’ll also have some great options for dining that will please everyone in your group. Goofy’s Kitchen is a favorite, with an expansive buffet that includes pb & j pizza as well as freshly carved meats.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

Donald nabbing a strawberry at Minnie’s Breakfast at the Plaza Inn

Disney’s PCH Grill is our breakfast go-to with made-to-order omelettes. The Plaza Inn hosts Minnie in the mornings with a vast breakfast spread that kids will love (in between photo ops with a wide range of characters).

6. *Money Saving Splurge* – Choose breakfast instead of lunch or dinner to save on the cost.

Take a Tour

Older kids may enjoy the in-depth tour like “Walk in Walt’s Footsteps”. For a major splurge, reserve a “Plaid” for a VIP tour that will allow you priority access, reserved seating and a personal guide for the day.

Splurge-Worthy Souvenirs

Build-your-own light saber inside The Star Trader. There’s a large station with bits and parts to make it your own design. This area is usually crowded and you’ll be carrying around a big light saber so consider this a late stop in the day. If your kiddo is more the soft and cuddly type, they might prefer a Disney-themed teddy created at the Build-a-Bear Workshop in Downtown Disney District. Start your daughter’s first Pandora charm bracelet and purchase a Disney themed charm.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

7. *Money Saving Splurge* – Have a teddy at home? Shop the a la carte teddy bear outfits instead of making a bear.

Afternoon Tea

Do you have a sophisticated little lady who would enjoy an elegant snack of scones, tiny sandwiches and sips of tea? The afternoon tea held at the Disneyland Hotel has three options (classic, premium or kid’s tea party) and takes place in the elegant Steakhouse 55 restaurant. Dress to impress!

8. *Money Saving Splurge* – If this upscale experience is too much, consider a stop at the more casual Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe inside Disneyland. You can still indulge in treats, sandwiches and Very Berry Diamond Tea. You might even see Mary Poppins and Bert!

Sip and Splurge

Yes, even your beverages can be a splurge when you indulge in some of the fun that Disney offers. There are souvenir sippers, glow ice cubes and silly straws that can “upgrade” your drink. Check out the restaurant menu for other child-friendly beverage treats like mint julep at French Market, Louisiana Lemonade at Blue Bayou or Red’s Apple Freeze at the Cozy Cone Motel.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

A cool Olaf sipper

9. *Money Saving Splurge* – Ask for a “Shirley Temple” at some full-service restaurants. We were able to get this sweet drink (Sprite mixed with cherry juice) at the same cost as a fountain drink at the River Belle Terrace Restaurant.

Birthday Celebrations

No better time to splurge than for a birthday! Parents can pre-order a custom birthday cake to be served at select Disneyland Resort restaurants. Contact Disney Floral & Gifts for a birthday themed in-room celebration that includes room decoration and special gifts. The Build-a-Bear Workshop hosts birthday parties as well.

10. *Money Saving Splurge* – Pick up a complimentary personalized birthday button from guest services when you enter either of the Parks.

A Snack & a Splurge

Many of the snacks sold throughout the Disneyland Resort have an upgrade option. Choose to have your popcorn sold in a regular carton or splurge on a whimsical souvenir bucket. When ordering a kid’s meal at Flo’s V-8 Cafe you can opt for a Lightning McQueen keepsake. Order the “Kitchen Sink” like we did at Clarabelle’s and receive a souvenir Mickey-themed sink (mine holds desk supplies at home!)

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

11. *Money Saving Splurge* – The Kitchen Sink is definitely big enough to share. Order ice cream cones separately if you want to fill them with the sundae from the “sink”.

A Magical Make-Over

What little princess wouldn’t love a head-to-toe fairy tale make-over from Bibbidi Bobbidy Boutique? Sparkling new gown, glittered up-do, make-up, nail polish and more! Even your little prince can get in on the action with a Knight’s Package. For the over-the-top splurge, Disney PhotoPass photographers will capture the moment for you with a customized portrait package.

Disneyland Splurges for Kids (and Money-Saving Splurges You MUST make!)

BONUS TIP- *Money Saving Splurge* – Purchase your own princess costume from DisneyStore online before your trip and wear it into the Park. Instead of going for the full-out make-over, you can still choose the hairstyle and make-up but save on the (very expensive) dress.

What are YOUR favorite Disneyland splurges? Share them in the comments (and be sure to check out the other Blogorail posts!)

Disneyland Splurges for kids (and Money-Saving tips that still feel like a splurge!)

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 


For ways to splurge at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Disney Splurges Loop:

 

Disney Souvenirs To Buy BEFORE Your Disney Vacation

Disney souvenirs bought in the Disney parks can be expensive! Yes, there are sometimes exclusive Disney souvenirs that can only be found in the parks, but more often than not you can purchase them at home for a reasonable price. There are also some souvenirs that you can purchase ahead of your trip and take them with you on vacation to use in the Disney parks! Keep reading for my list of Disney souvenirs to buy BEFORE you go on vacation.

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

Buy Disney souvenirs before your vacation? Here are the practical reasons why you should buy these things ahead of your Disney trip.

Why Buy Disney Souvenirs Ahead of Time?

Why should you consider buying your Disney souvenirs before your vacation?

#1 is the cost benefit – You’ll save a great percentage buying items at home and bringing them with you versus purchasing them in the Parks.

#2 is that you’ll have more choices – Rather than be “stuck” with the limited choices available in the Parks, you’ll have the option of picking from the entire world wide web if you order them before you leave home!

#3 is that you’ll save precious vacation time – Why spend your vacation shopping for trinkets when you could be maximizing your Park time, swimming in the resort pool or sipping another Dole Whip float?!

No need to fill up your suitcases before your trip. You can certainly have souvenirs shipped to you at home or have them sent directly to meet you at your Disney Resort hotel.

Buy Disney souvenirs before your vacation? Here are the practical reasons why you should buy these things ahead of your Disney trip.

From the Walt Disney World website:

If you intend to receive mail during your vacation, be sure the letter or package:

  • Includes the mailing address of your Disney Resort Hotel
  • Clearly features the word “Guest” on the front and the date of your arrival

Please note that a $5 per package handling fee will apply to all packages that are received through the Front Desk or are delivered to your Disney Resort hotel room.

Souvenirs to Cover Your Head

Did you know you can get Mouse Ear hats before your Disney trip? And adorable Ear headbands too! Or choose a ball cap to shield the sun from your eyes or a warm Disney cap to keep you toasty. Wear your hat on the plane to save on luggage space.


Pins for Trading

Some of these souvenir pins are PRICEY! Purchase ahead of time and shop for individual Disney Parks authentic trading pins from Disney Store. You can also purchase bulk lots of authentic pins on Amazon (like this Disney Trading Pins Lot) if you don’t have a specific pin in mind and don’t mind a few obscure pins. This is a great gift to give a child before your trip to get them started on pin trading.

If you must buy them in the Parks, choose only those pins that can’t be purchased elsewhere or that are limited edition specials.


Misting Fan

It can get hot at Disney and as the sweat rolls down your back you’ll be eyeing these misting fans that many of the guests buy in the Parks. You can find a Disney Misting Fan on Amazon for a lot less than you’ll pay in the Parks.


Lanyards

Lanyards can serve multiple purposes from holding trading pins, paper tickets & FastPass cards at Disneyland or your medical identification. You can purchase these in the Parks or find them online. Some even have a coin purse or pouch to hold cash.

Disney Store has Park Authentic lanyards. I like the Disney Mickey Mouse Lanyard with Coin Purse from Amazon.


Souvenir T-Shirts

I saw a souvenir t-shirt at Walt Disney World that I was considering for my baby girl on my last visit…until I saw the price tag of $30! Yikes! You can get three for the price of one if you shop wisely beforehand.

Target, Disney Store and Amazon all have fantastic authentic Disney designs and you won’t be paying more than you should for one tee.


Souvenir Plush

Cute little stuffed animals in the Parks come at a premium price. Why not buy them upfront and take advantage of frequent sales and special offers, like the Disney Store online often has. You can still get Mickey and Minnie but you’ll likely get them for a steal when you buy them beforehand.


Snacks

Unless you’re using up your Disney Dining Plan snack credits, don’t use your souvenir money to buy pricey snacks. Tote in your usual snacks and if you must “Disney” them, pack them in a Disney-themed container.


Pretty Baubles

Okay, I’ll admit it, I can’t seem to stay out of the Pandora shop! I’ve purchased myself Pandora charms at both the tiny shop in New Orleans Square in Disneyland and the dreamy Main Street U.S.A. shop at Walt Disney World. Okay…and at the World of Disney too! These are the three charms that I have on my Pandora bracelet.

Pandora seems to have a set price on their charms so you won’t find that the price higher or lower by much. They do sometimes put them on sale at the Disney Store online (including the Disneyland 60th Anniversary charm).

Souvenirs to Light Up the Night

I’m a big fan of the Target Dollar Spot glow jewelry. Makes it easy to spot my kids after sunset. I use a few to wrap on the handle of the stroller so I can spot it in the crowd in the dark.

As soon as the sun is setting, the Disney Parks crew will pull out the carts stocked full with fun toys that glow and spin. Come prepared with your own light-up souvenirs for the kids, like the Mickey Mouse Glow Spinner.

For the Pool

Resist the urge to buy the new bathing suit, sandals, sunglasses or towel in the Disney Resort gift shop. I’ll admit that I bought my two older kids each a Disney-themed towel when I went to Walt Disney World and they cost me upwards of $20 a piece!

Get two for the price of one by purchasing Disney swimwear and towels before you leave home.


Souvenirs to Keep You Warm

Yes, I have several “souvenir” sweatshirts from day trips to Disneyland when the weather was chillier than expected! $50 later I wasn’t cold anymore but wow, I could certainly buy a nice sweatshirt or jacket for much less at home. Don’t forget to pack rain ponchos if showers are in the forecast!


Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland 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). 

Buy Disney souvenirs before your vacation? Here are the practical reasons why you should buy these things ahead of your Disney trip.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland

If you love Disney what better place to spend Valentine’s Day than at the Happiest Place on Earth! What can you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland? Whether it’s just the two sweethearts or you’ve got the whole family with you, there are some very lovable ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland. Keep reading for sweet ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland from morning to night!

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

Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Disneyland

Love is in the Air – Photo Credit: Disney Store

1. Breakfast

Start off the day on either a sweet or a savory note. Since you may indulge in some sweet treats through the day, might be best to have some protein in your tummy first! We like to grab breakfast inside Downtown Disney District and eat while we wait for rope drop. There are hearty (and low-priced) breakfast sandwiches at either Earl of Sandwich or La Brea Bakery. Or sip and go with a fruit smoothie from Jamba Juice.

Sweet Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

Inside the parks if you’re prefer a leisurely breakfast with your sweetie-pie, you can dine on Mickey waffles, eggs, bacon and fruit at Carnation Cafe and watch the crowds rushing by. And if you want to start the day with something sweet, swing into Jolly Holly Bakery and Cafe for a cinnamon roll or muffin.

2. A Fresh Bouquet

If you’re staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, consider a call to Disney Floral & Gift for the delivery of a magical floral arrangement. They can also go all out with romantic in-room decor like rose petals on the bed, spa robes and chocolate covered strawberries! If you’re celebrating the love with the whole family, they even have collections that include something for everyone, like red roses for Mom and sweet treats for the kids.

3. A Sweet Souvenir

Keep your eyes open for adorable love-inspired souvenirs in the Disneyland shops, including this Mickey & Minnie boutique lace-trimmed bag!

Image Credit: Disney Store

If you like to purchase your souvenirs online and have them arrive to you at home, shop the Disney Store online. They have dozens of precious Valentine’s Day themed items that will delight everyone.

4. Sweet Sips and Snacks

Enjoy a classic afternoon tea at Steakhouse 55 inside the Disneyland Hotel. As a special treat for Valentine’s (available Feb. 3-5, 10-12 and Feb. 14), the Classic Afternoon Tea will feature Shanghai Rose black tea, specialty tea sandwiches, a chocolate raspberry scone with vanilla glaze, chocolate cupcakes with ganache, pink velvet cupcakes with champagne mousse, a chocolate ganache cupcake, chocolate-dipped strawberries and a heart-shaped macaron.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

Image Credit: Disney Parks

5. Very Sweet Treat

Only available on Feb 14th, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park will offer Valentine’s Day cherry-vanilla flavored cotton candy for sale at their street vendor carts.

6. A Valentine’s Day Gift

Pop into the Pandora shop in New Orleans Square for a Valentine’s Day gift she’ll never forget (or buy it early online via Disney Store and have it ready for gifting at the parks!)

Image Credit: Disney Store

7. Dinner for Two

Perhaps your Valentine’s Day at Disney will be spent with just the two of you? A romantic dinner is in order then and Disneyland has some special meals planned.

On Valentine’s Day The Blue Bayou will feature a special menu item: Lobster A L’Americaine, a rich blend of lobster sauce, roasted lobster tail, snow crab, sautéed mahi and potatoes in a creamy lobster-cognac sauce with onions, celery and peas.

If you’re looking for an amazing splurge the ultra upscale Napa Rose inside Disney’s Grand Californian has a 4-course meal that includes a wine flight. Be sure to book your Advance Dining Reservations early for these meals!

8. Watch the Sunset

Finding a lovely spot to watch the setting sun at the Disney resort is a perfect way to close out the day. The sun will set behind Mickey’s Fun Wheel so catch a ride on this Ferris wheel for a panoramic view. Or grab a drink at Wine Country Trattoria and take a seat on the steps in Paradise Park (located in front of the Little Mermaid ride, where World of Color is shown). Or dine on the patio at Carthay Circle for a view over the crowds.

Planning a Disneyland Vacation? These are the Dates to Avoid!

Sun setting over Cars Land

9. Dinner for the Family

Several other Disney restaurant locations will be offering Valentine’s Day dinners that are inclusive of the entire family. Carnation Cafe will be serving up Surf & Turf featuring sirloin steak, shrimp skewer, mashed potatoes, sautéed broccoli, sun-dried tomato butter and herb beurre blanc sauce.

The Disneyland Resort hotels will also be offering special dinners. On February 14th, Storytellers Cafe a prix-fixe, three-course meal will be available, featuring farmer’s market field greens, New York strip loin and lobster tail with sun-dried tomato risotto and asparagus, vanilla crème brûlée with berry compote. At Goofy’s Kitchen, Valentine’s Day-themed desserts will be available on the buffet.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

For an elegant meal, Steakhouse 55 will have a three-course dinner that wine pairings, featuring chipotle-spiced Ahi tartare, bacon-wrapped filet of beef with Mascarpone whipped potatoes, vegetables and a cognac cream sauce and white chocolate crunch cake with dark chocolate ganache and raspberry ice cream (hello!)

10. Special Desserts

The Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland Park will have a heart-shaped strawberry macaron, how delightful! Over at Disney California Adventure life is sweet with three special Valentine’s desserts. At Clarabelle’s pick the Valentine Sundae, featuring strawberry and vanilla ice cream in a waffle bowl topped with strawberry sauce, graham cracker, pink whipped cream, Valentine’s Day sprinkles and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

Image Credit: Disney Parks

If you’re a simple gal, perhaps you’d enjoy the chocolate-strawberry swirl soft-serve ice cream at Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company. Or sip your way to bliss at Schmoozies with a decadent chocolate-strawberry smoothie with frozen fresh strawberries, strawberry juice, chocolate syrup, ice cream and milk blended with ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount Disneyland 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). 

Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day at Disneyland

 

 

MORE Ways to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks

If you know me via this blog, you know that one of the BIG ways my family saves money at Disney Parks is at meal time. I’ve written about saving money on food at Disney on my popular post, 7 Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks. I’m back with MORE ways to save money on food at Disney parks…keep reading for my tips!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Save Money on Food at Disney

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

1. Customize Your Order

Even if the menu only shows “meal deals” that include a main dish, side dish and a beverage, you can (in most cases) request only the main dish at a reduced cost. So if you only want the burger but the deal comes with fries and a soda, request only the burger and ask about the cost (it should be lower).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

2. Be Choosy at Special Events

Special dishes can be found in the kiosks at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Festival of the Arts and Flower & Garden Festival and Disney California Adventure Parks Festival of Holidays. These plates of food are of high-quality and can’t be found outside of the event. And for that, you’ll pay a premium price!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

At the kiosks for these events you’ll be able to order fancy appetizers, small servings of a top-notch dish and alcoholic sips. And each one of these mini-delights could be almost the same cost as a full-sized quick service meal!  If you’re wanting to indulge in a few of these kiosk treats, stick to a set amount and choose wisely or else your meal budget could be eaten up very quickly.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Very expensive little dishes bought in Italy at the Flower & Garden Festival

3 & 4. Two Tips About Kids Meals

Kids meals sizes and prices are smaller than full-sized meals. And that can be a both a positive and a negative, depending upon your needs!

When I last went to Walt Disney World, I arrived to my hotel late. I was hungry but didn’t want to eat an enormous meal. I opted to order a kids meal burger that came with a smaller amount of fries and chocolate milk. It was the perfect size meal for me and came at a much smaller cost than the full-sized adult meal ($6.50 versus $14). I was traveling solo, so ordering this made sense (both portion and price wise).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

A kids meal burger ordered by an adult to save on cost and portion

However on the flip side of this, when it comes to ordering meals for my kids I very rarely order them kids meals. I have two kids who are almost the same age so we’ve always purchased them one full-size meal to split between them. Now that we have more kids, we tend to just order several plates of food and then share between us. This offers us a good portion for each person and a greater variety of food as well, as the menu for kids is often limited.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

A full sized burger meal to be shared (avocado on the side!)

5. This is Where You Should Eat Dessert

If you’re dining at a full-service restaurant, skip ordering dessert off the menu. The dessert prices are going to be considerably higher in the sit-down restaurants. Consider picking up dessert at a walk-up location that only serves sweets. There you’ll have a wider variety to choose from. Also the portions are often more generous as well, so you can share between two or more (but only if you want to share!)

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

These Lemon Meringue and The Master’s Cupcakes served inside Be Our Guest Restaurant are an astonishing $5.00 each! I can’t believe I spent $10 on these two (quite small) cupcakes! Especially when you can head over to the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and get two huge chocolate chip cookies with generous scoops of ice cream for only a little over $5.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

6. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner…in That Order

If you’d like to eat one meal full-service but are still trying to be budget conscious, consider sit-down dining for breakfast. The prices of the dishes will increase at lunch and raise even higher for dinner.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

The cost difference between breakfast and dinner is significant

7. Beware the Souvenir Cup, Straw or Ice Cube

Just about every dining location offers some sort of upgrade to your beverage in the form of souvenir cups, twisty straws shaped like Mickey’s silhouette or flashy glowing colored ice cubes. Naturally these add-on’s come at a steep price! Disney seems to hit pretty hard on the kids menu in this category.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

While a standard pineapple Dole Whip in a cup is priced at just over $4.00, the same soft serve in a souvenir tiki sipper will cost you over $10. I bought the sipper in this case for my brother, who collects tiki items. Make sure you work these add-on items into your souvenir budget!

8. Leave the Park

No reason to feel trapped with your park-only choices! You can leave the parks and head over a Disney Resort hotel for dozens of more options. Rather than eat inside Magic Kingdom, I hopped the Monorail and had dinner at Capt. Cooks in the Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The Pulled Pork Nachos plate was huge and just over $9. I couldn’t eat it by myself it was a very generous portion. There is also a Dole Whip location here, so that was a plus!

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.

Downtown Disney and Disney Springs also have loads of dining options with budgets that fit everyone. There’s an Earl of Sandwich at each location and you can pick up a sandwich for a great price (they have delicious breakfast sandwiches as well).

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney!

9. Eat with Discounted Gift Cards

Purchase Disney gift cards at Target to use when purchasing your meals. When you use your Target Red Card to purchase the cards, you’ll receive 5% off! That may seem like small savings but if you’re eating a lot of meals in the parks and paying for them solely with these Disney gift cards, you’ll be saving good money! Sounds pretty sweet to me!

Image Credit: Target


More Ways to Save at Disney!

Be sure to check out my other posts about how to save money on food at Disney!  7 Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks and What are the Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland?

Purchase discount Disneyland 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). 

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney! Save money on dining at Disneyland and Walt Disney World with these dining tips.


For more ways to save money at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Saving Money at Disney Loop:

How do you save money on food at Disney? Share your tips with me in the comments!