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Dates to Avoid Disneyland When Planning Your Vacation

It’s a new year and there is a wide open calendar before us, just waiting to be filled with adventures! Perhaps planning a Disneyland vacation is part of your travel plans? Choosing a vacation date when the stars align and weather, crowds and park hours are optimal is ideal. But that might seem a bit like finding a needle in a haystack! However, there are some tips for choosing the best dates when planning a Disneyland vacation. Here are a few dates I’d recommend avoiding when scheduling your trip.

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!

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

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

January

Avoid January 13-15th

Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is on that Monday and kids will be out of school. Any time there’s a school holiday and a three-day weekend, you can be sure that the parks will be more crowded. Other than these few days, January should be fairly quiet in the parks. The chillier weather and frequent rain will keep crowds low.

February

Avoid February 4th

Contrary to popular belief, Super Bowl Sunday is not a good day to go to Disneyland! In fact, the park crowds are usually very heavy with people who thought the same thing and skipped watching the game.

Avoid February 10-12th and February 17-19th.

Lincoln & Washington’s birthdays mean 3-day weekends and more crowds.

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

March

Other than possible rain showers, March is a pretty good month to visit. However, keep in mind that many schools celebrate their Spring Breaks starting in March. Keep in mind that especially late in the month, the park crowds may increase. Even with the rain, you can still have a great Disneyland vacation. Check out my 10 Tips for Surviving a Disneyland Rainy Day.

These ten tips will help you to survive a rainy day at Disneyland in California.

April

Avoid Spring Break

Spring Break dates vary depending upon where you live. My Southern California kids have their break from March 24th-April 8th. Spring Break is traditionally a very busy time in the parks becasue the weather is generally agreeable.


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).


May

Avoid May 10-13th

May 13th is Mother’s Day and lots of moms like to spend their day at Disneyland!

Avoid May 28th

Two weeks later is Memorial Day. Don’t forget the rule about avoiding the 3 day weekends!

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

June

Avoid June 15-30th

School’s out! Which means Disneyland is going to be more crowded than ever. Early June is usually a better time to visit if you can make it.

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

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

July

Avoid the entire month! Or at the least, July 4th.

Okay, I know it’s not fair to say not to plan a Disneyland vacation in July but if you can avoid it, I’d recommend it! Crowds are traditionally heavy in the summer months.

August

Avoid August 1st-10th with possible weekday surges after August 20th

Once local kids return back to school in late August, the park crowds will lessen considerably. Keep in mind that August is one of the hottest months! Annual pass blockout for the SoCal Pass will be lifted on August 20th, making crowds a bit heavier than usual.

Also note that in 2017, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates began in late August. Guests who don’t have tickets to the Halloween Party will have to leave the park earlier than usual.

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

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

September

Avoid September 1st-3rd

Labor Day on September 3rd is traditionally packed with local annual pass holders. The rest of the month is usually one of the best times to visit in terms of crowds and warm weather (though it can still be extremely hot with temperatures over 100 degrees in September).

Avoid any day that hosts a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Guests who don’t have tickets to the Halloween Party will have to leave the park earlier than usual. Don’t buy a regular park ticket that day, especially if you plan on attending the Party and have a hard ticket to that event.


October

Avoid October 5-8th

Gay Days is an “unofficial” Disneyland event that brings in large crowds. It also falls over the Columbus Day 3-day weekend. However Disneyland does offer special things during the event, like multi-layer rainbow cake!

Avoid any day that hosts a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

The operating hours will be shorter than on days without a party. Also guests with the hard ticket for the Party will be allowed into the Parks 3 hours before the event, making the Parks busier than usual.

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

November

 

Avoid November 16th-25th

Many people get their Thanksgiving turkey dinner at Disneyland!  The weekend leading into Thanksgiving, the entire week of Thanksgiving and the weekend after the holiday will be packed. I’ve been to Disneyland on Thanksgiving Day itself and for sure the mornings and afternoons had very heavy crowds. However the crowds seemed to lessen (a bit) into the evening as locals left.

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

December

Avoid December 14th – 31st

While the first few weeks of December have reasonable crowds, the second two weeks are the busiest of the year! Avoid those dates or at least go into them with a steady game plan and know that you may only experience a small handful of things on your visit because of heavy crowds.


Check out these additional posts on planning a Disneyland vacation, choosing a date for the trip and dealing with heavy crowds.

Best Times of the Year to Visit Disneyland (and Why) and Crowded Disneyland Day? Top Tips on What to Do!

Best times   crowded-day-at

What month do YOU are you planning a Disneyland vacation? Share in the comments!

Planning a Disneyland vacation but not sure when to go? Check out this list of dates to avoid Disneyland before you plan anything!

 

Taking Special Holiday Photos at Disneyland Resort

While visiting the Disneyland Resort over the holiday season, there’s just so much to see, do and eat to celebrate the season! Whether you want to share them on social media, use them for a Christmas card or save them in a memory album, there are lots of sweet places and things to photograph at Disneyland during the holidays. Capture those memories with these must-do tips for taking holiday photos at Disneyland.

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!

Taking Holiday Photos at Disneyland

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Christmas Trees

The Disneyland Christmas tree towers over Main Street U.S.A. and is decorated with over-sized ornaments that look like classic toys. Take a full shot of it and then move closer to capture individual ornaments on the tree.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

A photo with the family is a must and there are many PhotoPass photographers standing here to snap a shot. This line moves quickly since they pose families around the entire circumference of the tree. We were able to use this photo for our Christmas card this year!

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

The Holiday Treats

Eat all the treats! But first…take a photo of them. Capture the moment just before you bite into that soft gingerbread cookie or take a sip from your holiday eggnog. Unwrap your treat and take a snap of it in front of a favorite attraction (much better than a photo of it laying on the plate). Or hand it over to your child and photograph them nibbling, even cuter! Don’t want to indulge? Snap a photo of the sweet treats in the case or shop windows.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort   Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Draped in icicles and snow, the iconic castle is dressed up for winter. Take a few photos of the castle alone and also with your family posed in front. I like to take photos with the family from the pathway on the right-hand side. Foot traffic is lighter than directly in front and you won’t have anyone else in the background.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort


Favorite Characters

Even the characters get into the seasonal spirit with costumes that reflect the holidays. I recommend arriving at rope drop to catch the “Fab 5” in the hub of Main Street U.S.A. and catch photos with them all. We took this one with Donald a few years ago next to the Cove Bar (don’t you love the snowflakes on his outfit?)

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Seasonal Landscapes

I adore the care and thoughtfulness of the landscaping and flowers that are updated with the seasons. Christmas at Disneyland brings amazing arrangements like these bright poinsettias on Main Street U.S.A.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Themed Land Decor

Christmas in New Orleans? A wacky holiday in Toontown? A bright splash of Latin American festivities? Even Cars Land revs up the holiday decor! Take a wide angle shot of the decorations and then capture close ups to see the thoughtful detail that goes into keeping the theme of each area.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

Seasonal Ride Overlays

Haunted Mansion Holiday, it’s a small world – Holiday and Jingle Cruise have seasonal overlays that disappear shortly after the new year. The details in each attraction are fantastic so don’t miss photographing everything both inside and out.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Christmas Fantasy Parade

This classic parade is chockful of sweet holiday memories you’ll want to capture. Dancing reindeer, gingerbread cookies and of course, Santa and Mickey as well. We stood in the it’s a small world – holiday area and it was an ideal backdrop for taking pictures of this colorful parade.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Hotel Lobby Decor

Take a walk over to the hotels of the Disneyland resort and be rewarded with decor galore! We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel several years ago and walked inside each of the towers to check out the themed trees inside the lobbies.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

A stop inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is both a visual and aromatic treat; a larger-than-life replica of the hotel in gingerbread is set up here and it smells delicious! Take a shot of the towering Christmas tree in the lobby and the rustic garlands hung throughout. Ride up the elevator to the second floor and capture an overhead view of the lobby in full holiday dress.

Snapshots with Santa

Naturally our favorite elf is greeting guests at the Happiest Place and there are several spots to find him. In Disney California Adventure park, we had a visit in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. Santa will also be visiting at the hotels of the Disneyland resort hotels at special times over the winter season.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

During our recent visit, there was a “Nice List” book set up on a table where my son wrote in the names of our entire family. What a precious memory I was able to capture as he carefully noted each of us in Santa’s special book! Lines for Santa are often very long – be sure to read this post on the Holidays at Disneyland on Busy Days for all the crowded day tips.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Save Those Memories

Don’t let those beautiful holiday pictures sit unseen in your camera or computer; get them printed out so everyone can see. I love Shutterfly for the versatility of their products as well as their great prices. I’ve been purchasing from Shutterfly for a very long time and am happy to have them as an affiliate partner. They are always having great sales and offer coupons as well.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Consider adding your Disneyland holiday photos to a calendar, ornament or a seasonal canvas that you display along with your decorations each winter. I’ve already ordered my Shutterfly Christmas cards, featuring our family photo in front of the Disneyland Christmas tree!

If you want to capture crisp and clean images but the budget isn’t ready for the investment of a new camera, consider renting your gear pre-vacation from my affiliate BorrowLenses. You can rent just a lens, camera or the entire kit to take with you on vacation. I borrowed a lens before my trip to Europe several years ago and was thrilled with the images I captured on a lens I wouldn’t have been able to purchase outright.


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). 


Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

For Disney Parks Christmas must dos,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Christmas Must Dos at Disney Loop:

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel Disneyland Vacation Giveaway!

Disneyland Vacation Giveaway at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

I’m already a fan of the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel near the Disneyland Resort. My family and I stayed here in early 2016 and found it to be a great fit for our large family. How would YOU like to win their Disneyland vacation giveaway? Read on for how to enter!

Disneyland Vacation Giveaway at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Disneyland Vacation Giveaway at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

The Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel, the castle themed property on Disneyland Drive, is offering a vacation “fit for royalty” with the launch of the “Anaheim Majestic Family Giveaway.” The online contest includes a four-night stay for four, daily breakfast, four 2-Day Disney Resort Park Hopper® Passes — redeemable at both Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure®, four tickets to the Medieval Times Dinner at Buena Park, a $400 Visa gift card, and free parking at the resort. 

Disneyland Vacation Giveaway at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Wow!! What a fantastic prize! Not only a stay at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel but dinner at nearby Medieval Times too! I wrote about both for Traveling Mom (click the links to read the reviews). Every entry will also receive a promo code for $20 off per night for a future stay at the hotel.

Disneyland Vacation Giveaway at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Medieval Times Dinner Show

Enter on the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel website giveaway link HERE!

The contest runs Nov. 3 – Jan. 17, 2017, entrants must be 21 and older and only one entry per person. The winner will be chosen on Jan. 18, 2016. Rules for the giveaway are available on the site. 

I am not sponsoring this giveaway, just sharing! Good luck 🙂

Julie-signature

 

Celebrating Christmas at Disneyland Resort

The Christmas season is a beautiful time of year and no better place in my opinion, to celebrate it than at Disneyland! From the dazzling holiday decor, spectacular entertainment, special holiday rides and attractions, wow! Christmas at Disneyland is pure magic. And you can still have all the usual Christmas fun, from presents to Santa!

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!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Practical Pre-Vacation Christmas at Disneyland Advice

Planning a visit to Disneyland during the holiday season requires a certain amount of preparation that you might not need other times of the year. Normally you can just “wing it” at Disneyland but during the holidays you’ll definitely need to plan a bit more in regards to full-service dining, FastPasses and viewing shows.

Please read my post on TravelingMom, 11 Tips for Navigating Holiday Crowds at Disneyland. You’ll learn lots of holiday hacks on having the best visit despite the extra crowds.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

The ocean-themed Christmas tree at Paradise Pier inside California Adventure park.

Park and Resort Decor for Christmas at Disneyland

My most favorite part of visiting the Disneyland Resort during Christmas is seeing the detailed decorations that cover every corner! The resort hotels have special decor that’s worth checking out, including themed Christmas trees inside each of the Disneyland Hotel towers.

As you walk from your Disneyland resort hotel through the Downtown Disney District, there are more holiday decorations to get you in the mood.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Retro themed Christmas trees inside the Disneyland Hotel lobby

Inside Disney’s Grand California Hotel & Spa, the lobby is totally decked out for the holidays. On our Christmas at Disneyland vacation last year, we were in awe of the larger-than-life gingerbread replica of the hotel!  You can even purchase a small version right there in the lobby to nibble on yourself.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas at Disneyland Park

Start off the day at Disneyland Park by posing in front of the huge Christmas tree in the Main Street U.S.A. square. Each Land has its own holiday themed decor, from rustic in Frontierland to tropical in Adventureland. Even Toontown gets an appropriate holiday splash of color that’s bright and festive, with lots of large ornaments and over-sized bows!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas comes to Toontown at Disneyland!

My favorite seasonal attraction is it’s a small world Holiday, when the facade is bejeweled with tiny colorful lights and our favorite clock dons a Santa hat! Even the ride inside receives an amazing holiday makeover with songs of the season and an entirely new look that celebrates the holidays in each country represented.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Be sure to return after dark: More than 300,000 lights glitter and every 15-minutes, the façade of the attraction is transformed with advanced 3D-projection technology.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Grab a FASTPASS for Haunted Mansion Holiday which receives new effects every year! It’s a holiday season can’t-miss and you should grab a FASTPASS early in the day. Be sure to look for the gingerbread design inside the ballroom scene. It changes every year (and you can smell the gingerbread!)

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

2017 Editor’s note: Jingle Cruise is not available this year: Another Christmas at Disneyland overlay is the transformation of the Jungle Cruise into the Jingle Cruise. Story goes that a shipment of Christmas decorations was mistakenly dropped over the jungle. You just have to see what the animals and natives have done with the plethora of garland, ugly Christmas sweaters, ornaments and fruitcakes!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas at Disney California Adventure Park

At Disney California Adventure Park, the buildings around Buena Vista Street are decorated with 1920s-approprate garland and vintage-style ornaments. “a bug’s land” is decorated with giant Christmas lights and over-sized ornaments. This is a fun area any time of year but even more whimsical with the wildly-large decor!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Festival of Holidays offers flavors of the season at a variety of kiosks in the Park. Southern Home Holidays served up sweet potato pie, Mistletoe Morsels offered Swedish dishes and Treats for Santa had traditional cookies and punch. There is also beer and non-alcoholic drinks. We found the lines to be reasonable mid-day and very crowded in the evening. Get your fill of these appetizer-sized dishes during lunch to maximize your time.

Cars Land is amazing during the holidays with auto filter garlands, white-wall tire wreaths and a Christmas tree decked out in shiny hubcaps! Be sure have your picture taken with the “snowcar” complete with top hat and pylon nose!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

!Viva Navidad!

Several times a day The Three Caballeros (Donald Duck, Panchito  and José Carioca host a dance party and Latin celebration. I’d suggest watching during the day time hours when it’s still light enough to see clearly. We arrived after dark and the area was poorly lit so it was hard to see the action.

Send Your Holiday Presents & Gifts Ahead of Your Trip

Save space in your luggage by having gifts sent ahead to your hotel. Pre-order presents on Amazon and have them sent to you so they’re waiting at the hotel! Just make sure the address includes the word “Guest” on the front and the date of your arrival at the resort hotel. You’ll be able to pick up your boxes at mail services upon arrival.

While staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel, you can also have packages delivered back to your hotel so you don’t have to tote them around the parks all day.

If you have family that will be at Disneyland and you want to send them a special something, contact Disney Floral & Gifts to order stockings stuffed with Disney goodies, delicious treats, or even a full “in-room celebration” with a bounty of gifts and delights. It’s a great way to show the kids that Santa didn’t forget them, even when they’re away from home!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Christmas at Disneyland Entertainment & Shows

Be sure to check out the beautiful Disney California Adventure Park World of Color – Season of Light! This nighttime water show features classic Disney movie moments and holiday favorites.

The ever popular “A Christmas Fantasy” parade will return to Disneyland, with 100+ performers in the parade including Mickey,  Minnie and a special guest from the North Pole…Santa Claus!

Stay in the parks until dark and be rewarded with entertainment that lights up the night! Believe…In Holiday Magic, the fireworks spectacular will include more than 80,000 twinkling lights illuminating Sleeping Beauty Castle and a magical snowfall as well!

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

Meeting Santa and Other Characters

Greet the characters dressed up in their holiday finest on Main Street U.S.A. We always make a point to take pictures with our favorites first thing in the morning because this is a very popular feature during the holidays.

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.

Meeting Santa is a magical part of Christmas and no more so than at Disneyland! This year Santa Claus will be meeting children at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney California Adventure Park and in Critter Country at Disneyland Park. My son even had the opportunity to sign Santa’s “Nice List” guest book!

Celebrating Christmas at the Disneyland Resort is simply magical! Here are a few tips on maximizing your Christmas at Disneyland vacation.


Save Money on a DISNEYLAND Vacation!

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).



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

Preschoolers Guide to Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland

Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland is a preschooler’s dream come true! From the bright colors, whimsical buildings and playful attractions this fun area is great for everyone, but especially for kids aged 2-5.

My tweens can take it or leave it and they don’t ever really ask to go to Toontown. My preschooler on the other hand loves this quirky area and would enjoy spending a good chunk of the day exploring Toontown. So here’s my preschoolers guide to Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland, including where to visit, what to ride, where to play and what to eat!

Please note that I include affiliate links in this post. If you click and purchase through the links it helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers

Toontown can be easy to miss unless you’re looking for it. It’s located all the way to the very back of Disneyland Park, past Fantasyland. The entrance to Toontown is located just under the train tracks to the left side of it’s a small world. Be sure to check out the Toontown population sign!

You’ll dip below the tracks and then rise up into an entirely new Land, complete with rolling hills in the distance, Toontown sign (a la Hollywood!) and off-kilter buildings.

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Roger Rabbit’s Car-Toon Spin

Walk straight forward and you’ll find Roger Rabbit’s Car-Toon Spin. Though this ride does offer a FastPass, this ride has a very cool interactive queue that is not to be missed. It’s worth the walk-through if you get a chance because the queue sets the stage for the ride and can help explain the movie to preschoolers who probably aren’t familiar with the plot (ie: “The Dip”!)

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is silly fun for everyone as there is no height requirement. This is combination dark ride (kind of like Monsters Inc Mike & Sully to the Rescue over at Disney California Adventure Park) and Mad Tea Party because you’ll be able to spin your vehicle freely as you move through the action. If you suffer from motion sickness, you probably want to avoid spinning your car!

I was able to ride this with my 10-month old sitting between my preschooler and I (she didn’t like the darkness or the spinning though).

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

All these years of trying and still can’t get the barbell off the ground!

Gag Factory

Just as you exit the ride, you’ll be deposited in an alley with a few interactive scenes that preschoolers will enjoy. “Lock ’em up” in the jail, see if they can lift the barbell out of the concrete, press and pull the handles on the boxes at the Fireworks Factory and check out the door at the Power House. It’s all good fun!


At the end of the alley, you’ll find the Gag Factory Toontown Five & Dime for shopping. In the courtyard just outside are quick service dining locations where you can grab a bite. Daisy’s Diner offers basic personal-sized pizzas and Pluto’s Dog House has hot dogs and turkey sandwiches. After a meal you can hit Clarabelle’s for soft serve. I’ve found that these locations aren’t always open during the off-season, however.

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Vroom-Vroom!

There is one set of restrooms in Toontown, located in the center of “town”. Be sure to have your preschoolers check out the gas station “fish” inside the tanks! There’s also a car to sit in for a photo op. There are several cartoonish vehicles around Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland including a firetruck that kids can climb on and sit in.

Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

The “fish” in the gas tanks just outside the Toontown restrooms.

When Toontown first opened the Jolly Trolley actually transported guests from one end of the area to the other on the cute, bobbing trolley car. But Toontown isn’t particular big and there were always so many guests wandering in front of the trolley, they stopped operating it long ago. It now sits on the tracks for photos.

Meet Minnie & Mickey

Minnie’s House is a preschooler’s delight! Sit at her kitchen table, see the cake baking in the oven and open her fridge to see what’s inside. Be sure to stop at the wishing well out back. Minnie often greets guests in front of her house.

Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Cooking up fun inside Minnie’s kitchen

Step inside Mickey’s House and check out all the hands-on surprises. Preschoolers can hop in Pluto’s dog bed, watch a vintage cartoon on Mickey’s TV and giggle at the pest who’s invading his garden. Keep walking back into the barn and you’ll encounter movie props through the queue and you’ll get to meet Mickey himself in a private meet n’ greet room. So much better than standing in the hot sun for a regular character meeting, you’ll be able to wait in the air conditioned screening room while watching cartoons on a big screen.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Playtime in Toontown

I’ve actually never traveled up into Chip n’ Dale Treehouse because it’s never been open on any of my visits. According to the Disneyland website you can climb a staircase inside the tree for a great view of Toontown.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

The next two playhouses are great for preschoolers to just run around and burn off extra energy. Donald’s Boat is called the “Miss Daisy” and is a double-decker playhouse where kids can spin the Captain’s wheel and pull the ship’s whistle.

Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Goofy’s House, decorated for the holidays

Next door at Goofy’s Playhouse there’s a playground in the garden that includes a slide. Inside the house, kids love to play the “goofy” piano! There are waiting areas in both play areas for parents to sit and relax.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Gadget’s Go Coaster

The other ride in Mickey’s Toontown is Gadget’s Go Coaster, a preschooler’s perfect first roller coaster. This ride is based on the animated show Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers (which parents may be more familiar with than kids). I appreciate all the quirky details here to look at in the queue.

There are lots of fun “found objects” that create the coaster like beach blankets, “Tinkertoys” and office supplies. It’s a great way to pass the time, spotting these items while you’re waiting in line.

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

Gadget’s Go Coaster

There is only one coaster so the line tends to move slowly. But kids will excite at having the coaster whizzing by overhead while they wait! The ride itself is only one-minute long so it’s really a great place to start if your preschooler is interested in faster rides.

Say Hello to a ‘Toon Friend!

Occasionally characters are out to meet n’ greet including Pluto and Goofy and we’ve found the lines are generally shorter than elsewhere in the park.

Read more about taking preschoolers to Disneyland on my TravelingMom post!

Mickey's Toontown for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

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). 

What’s your favorite thing in Mickey’s Toontown? Share with me in the comments!

Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland for Preschoolers - A Guide on What to Do, See & Eat!

 

 

 

5 Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

The area around the Disneyland resort is packed with hotels, many that are within a quick walking distance to the park gates. If staying at one of the Disneyland resort hotels is beyond your budget, these tried and tested hotels in the Anaheim area are highly recommended. While there are many hotels, I’m only going to suggest hotels that I’ve actually stayed in. This is my list of my five favorite off-site Disneyland area hotels.

Please note that I received compensated stays at some of these locations, which in no way swayed my opinion. This post contains affiliate links.

Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels – Criteria

Must be reasonably priced and clean. We’ve stayed at plenty of the “cheap” hotels but you sometimes get what you pay for in that sense. The hotels we stay at offer great amenities and are close to the Disneyland resort.

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Holiday Inn Express Anaheim Penthouse Suite

Holiday Inn Express Anaheim

Located about half a mile away from the Disneyland park front gates, this newer hotel has plenty of perks. From the clean and chic design, complimentary hot breakfast and options for roomy family suites this is a great location if you don’t mind a little walk at the end of the night.

See the full review on Traveling Mom.

Anaheim Residence Inn

Oh yeah, another one with a free breakfast buffet! What a great money saver for a big family. Located about a half mile from the park gates, the Anaheim Residence Inn resembles town homes. And with full kitchens and roomy suites these can totally be a home away from home, making this a great place to stay for a longer vacation.

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel

This newly refurbished gem is ideal for families who like a lot of space. The standard rooms are large and the grounds of the hotel are spacious. Kids will like the elegant castle theming throughout and grown-ups will like the decent price! Guests can also watch the fireworks from Disneyland from the hotel pool area.

Read the full review on Traveling Mom.

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This photo was taken from the parking lot of the Park Vue Inn, facing the front entrance of the Disneyland Resort

Park Vue Inn

You can’t get much closer to the park entrance than this! It’s located directly across the street from the main entrance. This is a no-frills hotel but it was clean and offered a continental breakfast, which is always a plus. And there’s a Coldstone Creamery right there, bonus!

Check out this list of my Favorite Off-Site Disneyland Area Hotels

Anaheim Marriott Hotel

Anaheim Marriott Hotel

This classy hotel is several long blocks away from the park, but they do offer a shuttle to the gates (nominal fee). I’m all for a comfy bed and linens and this location delivered.

On or Off Site?

If you’re on the fence about staying on-site at a Disneyland Resort hotel or off-site, be sure to check out these posts outlining the pros and cons about staying off-site and the benefits of staying on-site.

disneyland-resort  hotel-pin

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels

Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

When it comes to booking, if you aren’t particular about the hotel, I highly recommend making your reservation through Priceline. We’ve been able to get a superior room for $60 (even on a weekend!) Click the Priceline link via Ebates and you’ll save a few dollars cash back that way too (every little bit helps!)

Though many of these off-site hotels do have a “Disney Desk” that offers sales of Disneyland tickets, I still recommend that you purchase tickets ahead of time.

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

 

 

 

 

7 Top Tips to Save Money on Food at Disney Parks

Dining is an important part of a Disney vacation. You can certainly include all the fun restaurants and character dining experiences into part of your entertainment for the day, at a cost of course. But if you’d rather spend your money on something else, keep reading. Eating inside the Disney parks can be expensive! So how can you save money on food at Disney parks? Check out my expert tips how budgeting food, packing your own and even what to order that will help you save a lot!

Save Money on Food at Disney

These are my 7 top tips for how to save money on food at Disney. Try one or try them all, you will be shocked to know you could save hundreds off the cost of your vacation implementing just a few of these ideas. I’ve included tips for both budgeting at Disneyland and frugal at Disney World tips. Be sure to check out the other links I’ve included with other money saving Disney vacation ideas.

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!

These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas


1. Stay Off the Disney Dining Plan

Contrary to what Disney will have you believe, the Disney Dining Plan available at Walt Disney World isn’t the best bargain. True, it’s convenient to pay for meals upfront and not have to worry about paying the bill each time you eat. But unless you are eating at the most expensive locations and ordering the most expensive dishes every time, you won’t be getting the best value.

You’ll also be receiving a lot of food, including dessert. Depending upon your appetite it might be too much food. Also, everyone in your group has to be included in the Plan so there’s not opportunity to share. Here’s more about why to skip on the Disney Dining Plan on TravelingMom.

These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas

Flatbread at Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

2. Skip a Meal

I know, sounds odd that I would suggest that you DON’T EAT as a way to save money! But hear me out…here are several ways you can opt out of purchasing another meal and save yourself a chunk of money.

MONEY SAVING IDEA #1 – Instead of buying a restaurant breakfast, have your family eat a meal to go that you prepare in your hotel room. Run hot water through the coffee maker to make oatmeal with store-bought packs. Nibble fresh fruit while waiting for the bus. Tote crunchy granola bars or trail mix to munch on while you walk to the parks. Provide just enough breakfast to fill tummies before you purchase an early lunch in the parks.

MONEY SAVING IDEA #2 – Or consider this second way of meal skipping; Eat a large breakfast (perhaps indulging in a buffet at a character experience) that will stave you off until late afternoon. Enjoy a snack or two mid-day (something that you pack in), skip lunch completely and then eat dinner early.

MONEY SAVING IDEA #3 -We’ve also done this: Early breakfast that we packed in, eaten while waiting for rope drop. Several decent snacks throughout the day that you brought with you. Big lunch purchased in the park, something hearty that will fill you up, eaten past your usual lunch time (this is a great way to avoid the usual crowds during the lunch rush too). Then when you get hungry late in the evening for your usual dinner meal, enjoy a special treat instead like ice cream! Ice cream for dinner is one of our favorite ways to celebrate at Disney.

These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas

Ice cream at Disney’s California Adventure park – Dinner is served!

3. Disney Dining for Breakfast

If you really want to enjoy a Character Dining Experience, consider booking one for breakfast instead of lunch or dinner. The breakfasts are considerable less pricey and no less enjoyable. Sure you won’t get freshly carved meats but you’ll still get a hearty breakfast buffet and the same fun character interactions you’d find at dinner.

We’ve enjoyed the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at the Paradise Pier Hotel and Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn.

At Walt Disney World you can even find a character breakfast at a non-Disney resort hotel (the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista) near Disney Springs for half the price of Disney parks character meals – Check out this review on Traveling Mom, Save Half the Cost on Disney Character Meal.

These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas

Mickey waffles at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista for half the price of usual Disney character dining

4. Make Water Your Beverage of Choice

Skip the soda and ditch the juice. Water is your budget-friendly beverage option! Feel free to bring in your own bottled water or an empty bottle that you can refill at the fountains. Ask for complimentary ice water at any quick service restaurant. That’s a savings of at least $2 per person, per meal to just drink water instead of soda.


5. Share a Plate

If each person in your group orders their own dish, you’ll not only be stuck with a large bill you also may be stuck with leftovers! Since leftover food is unpractical (and depending upon the food, it could require refrigeration to keep it safe to eat), so it’s better to order just enough to enjoy fresh. Many of the platters in the Disney parks are large enough to share between two or more people.

These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas

We shared these generous platters of food in Epcot’s Morocco pavillion

You can find large platters at full-service and quick-service dining locations. Full-service restaurants may charge a plate-splitting fee. If you’re eating quick-service, request extra plates to divvy up the meal. One place you will be unable to share is at the buffet (unless you have a child 2 and under).

Be sure to read this post for exact recommendations on what to order at the Disneyland resort, What are the Best Meals for Sharing at the Disneyland Resort?

Sharing is a great idea when it comes to park purchased snacks and treats as well. Did you know that if you buy one of those enormous candied apples, they will slice it up for you to make it easier to share? And buying the Kitchen Sink dessert sundae is less expensive than purchasing individual ice creams. You can even buy cones separately if you want to take some of the sundae and put it in a cone (which is what I did for my kid!)

These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas

6. Get Groceries

Getting groceries is a practical way of stretching the food budget while at the Disney parks. This will allow you to keep food in the hotel fridge. Things like milk with cereal for breakfast, fresh fruits and veggies for snacking or even frozen dinners that can be microwaved (if your hotel room has a microwave) are all great ways to save on the cost of restaurant dining.

If you’re visiting Disneyland, a grocery store or Target is just a few miles away so you can easily drive your rental car or take Uber to the store to supply whatever you need.

At Walt Disney World, there are many grocers that can deliver foods directly to your resort hotel. Local places like Garden Grocer and WeGoShop will deliver for a relatively low fee. You could also use Amazon or Amazon Prime Pantry for your grocery needs and have them delivered to your resort (there may be a nominal fee for delivery from the resort).

I used Garden Grocer on my last trip. I ordered mini boxes of cereal, a bottle of milk, fresh cut melon and a case of bottled water. The cost of buying groceries was significantly less than if I’d purchased meals in the Park.


7. Pack Snacks (or a Full Meal)

Yes, you can take in your own food to the Disney parks, just use common sense when packing in snacks or meals. Certain foods will require they be kept cool, (like lunch meat) so pack them in a soft sided cooler with a chill pack. We packed in a full tray of sandwiches from Costco on our last trip; we kept it in a cool bag underneath the stroller and it was good until lunchtime!

Bag up precut veggies or fruit. Pack items that won’t get crushed or broken in your bag (nobody wants that mushy banana, do they?) Crunchy granola bars, sturdy crackers, nuts and dried fruit are also good choices that will keep in your bag all day. That’s my kid, eating the Costco sandwiches and carrots we toted in!


Save money on Your Disney Vacation!

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

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


These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas

More Ways to Save at Disney!

Disney vacations don’t have to be over-the-top expensive. There are lots of ways to have a cheap Disneyland vacation or a frugal Disney World trip! I have several other posts that outline how to eat cheap at Disney parks and other ways to save money at Disney during your trip.


These 7 tips for saving money at Disney will spare you hundreds on the cost of your next vacation! There are tons of budget tips for Disneyland as well as frugal at Disney World ideas.


 

Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road…at Disneyland! #DisneySMMCDLR

Disney Social Media Moms

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference. The “on-the-road” events have been held three times this year, earlier in New York, Puerto Rico and this time at the Disneyland Resort. Last year, I attended an On-the-Road conference in Portland and was thrilled to receive the invite to this year’s event, held at the Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Resort. 

Find out more about Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event that took place at Disneyland including up-coming Disney events & the new film Moana #DisneySMMCDLR

 

Find out more about Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event that took place at Disneyland including up-coming Disney events & the new film Moana #DisneySMMCDLR

A glowing breakfast!

I actually gasped when directed into the conference room as there were Made with Magic Mouse Ears and Paint Brushes on the tables for each conference attendee. The rainbow of glowing colors was just beautiful! These special Ears glow right along with the nighttime entertainment and the brush can be used to change the colors of your Ears (or the Ears of other guests!)

After breakfast and mingling with my fellow bloggers (around 50 of us), Leanne O’Regan, (director of public relations at the Walt Disney World Resort) introduced each of the speakers and kept the conference moving at an enthusiastic pace.

Find out more about Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event that took place at Disneyland including up-coming Disney events & the new film Moana #DisneySMMCDLR

Michele Himmelberg talks about what’s new at the park, including the new Frozen live stage show

Michele Himmelberg (Public Relations Director at the Disneyland Resort) shared with us the new developments coming to the Disneyland resort, including changing over the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror into Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission: BREAKOUT! in Summer 2017. I’ve yet to ride on the Tower of Terror, so I definitely need to ride this on my next visit before it’s gone in early January. She also hinted that there will soon be exciting news coming from Aulani resort in Hawaii (another bucket list location for me!)

Find out more about Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event that took place at Disneyland including up-coming Disney events & the new film Moana #DisneySMMCDLR

Erin Glover explaining how the Disney Blog comes up with story ideas

Erin Glover (Editorial Content Director at Disneyland Resort) and Victoria Lim (Managing Editor, Content & Public Relations at Walt Disney World) spoke at the conference I’d attended in Portland 2015 so some of the content was familiar. It was all still relevant and a helpful reminder that I need to jump in with video more often to share with my readers (despite my nerves about being in front of the camera!)

I was able to quickly create this video from Magisto during Victoria’s presentation. I’m going to have to do these more often!

Learning about the Magisto app from Victoria Lim at #DisneySMMCDLR #DisneySMMC

A video posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

Amy Smeed, the head of animation for Disney Animation Studios shared some not-yet-seen clips of the highly anticipated movie, Moana.  The film is scheduled for release Nov. 23, 2016. Amy’s excitement about this project absolutely bubbled over. You can truly feel how invested she is in the characters she’s helped to develop.

MOANA - (Pictured) Amy Smeed. Photo by Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

MOANA – (Pictured) Amy Smeed. Photo by Alex Kang. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Amy talked a bit about how the animators were able to travel to various Pacific Island locations, scouting ideas for characters and theme. She also shared how they chose the voice actress for Moana. We watched footage that showed how animators took the scenes from storyboard all the way through finished scene.

MOANA’S MISSION — Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) may be a demigod—half god, half mortal, all awesome—but he’s no match for Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho), who’s determined to sail out on a daring mission to save her people. Moana's first challenge is convincing Maui to join her. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, produced by Osnat Shurer, and featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i, “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

As you can see from these stills from the movie, the art is breathtaking and the characters are deeply unique.

From Disney: Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) may be a demigod—half god, half mortal, all awesome—but he’s no match for Moana (voice of Auli‘i Cravalho), an adventurous, tenacious and compassionate 16-year-old who’s determined to sail out on a daring mission to save her people. Moana’s first challenge is convincing Maui to join her. Along the way, she discovers the one thing she’s always sought: her own identity. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “The Princess & the Frog”), produced by Osnat Shurer, and featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i.

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes watching the opening scene as the art was beautiful and the music was incredibly touching. Though I’m not able to share the details of the film clips we watched, I will say there were laughs, gasps and yes, even a few tears from those of us in the viewing group! I can’t WAIT to see the entire film.

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The conference offered two surprise guests who both discussed how they balance motherhood and work life. Tiffani Theissen (Saved by the Bell & Dinner at Tiffani’s) and Ginger Zee (Good Morning America meteorologist & Dancing with the Stars) could not be more different it seems, but both have the challenge of raising their children and also keeping their own work identities.

Though each of these ladies have completely different paths, they both shared a common theme of balancing work and home. Their talks gave me pause, as a new SAHM raising 4 kids but also keeping up with my personal need to write and share via social media and also wanting to contribute to my family finances. They were both quite inspirational to me and I’m so glad I was able to hear them speak.

Mom talk about balancing work, travel and being a mother with @Ginger_Zee from @GoodMorningAmerica #DisneySMMCDLR #DisneySMMC

A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

After the conference ended and I’d had a chance to take a few pictures with my fellow Blogorail and TravelingMom friends, I was able to meet up with my family who was already inside the park.

Find out more about Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event that took place at Disneyland including up-coming Disney events & the new film Moana #DisneySMMCDLR

Some of my Traveling Mom #TMOM crew

It was the perfect chance to see the Disneyland Resort sparkling one last time for the Diamond Celebration. We were also able to watch Soarin’ Around the World, with a new film that takes you on adventure far and wide! So glad that I was able to catch Paint the Night one more time before it ends it’s run as well.

Find out more about Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event that took place at Disneyland including up-coming Disney events & the new film Moana #DisneySMMCDLR

Me and my pal Mickey

I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference. I received breakfast during the conference, complimentary park hopper tickets for me and my family, FastPass tickets to view Soarin’ Around the World and a bag of gifts from Disney. Travel expenses were paid by me. As always, opinions are my own.

This post may contain affiliate links

Mom’s Disney Packing List – FREE Printable!

As the main packer for my entire family when we vacation, it’s easy to forget my own things! While I’ve carefully coordinated the kids outfits in zip bags I tend to forget that I need to pack for myself and end up tossing things in the suitcase willy-nilly at the last moment (yes, I’ve forgotten my pajamas and my toothbrush before!) I created this free printable packing list so Mom can quickly remember all she’ll need for a Disney trip. Here are a few tips before you stuff your suitcase (keep reading for the free Mom’s Disney packing list printable).

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

Day Bag

I love using a crossbody bag like my Baggallini Everything Travel Crossbody Bag when I’m at Disney. You’ll have everything you need handy and be hands-free. You’d be surprised what you can fit inside one of these compact purses. In addition to your usual wallet, pack your bag with a few things you’ll need for the day like lip balm with an SPF, a small nail file and hand sanitizer.

I dole out a squirt of hand sanitizer to each person in my family after each ride when we can’t get to the bathroom to properly wash our hands. If you don’t have a baby and therefore aren’t carrying a diaper bag with baby wipes, pack a small clutch with hand wipes when napkins aren’t enough to clean sticky fingers and faces.

Check the Forecast

Contrary to popular belief it does rain in California and it is occasionally very cold in Florida. Don’t assume that the weather will be in the 70s for your trip: Be sure to take a look at the forecast and pack accordingly.

If the weather is expected to be cool, I like the option of layers. A short sleeve shirt topped with a long sleeved tee. Add a sweatshirt and you can always tie it around your waist if you’re too warm mid-day. A scarf and fleece hat are good options on chilly days. And both are small enough that you can stuff them in a bag if you don’t need them.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Me and the boys with my Baggallini Crossbody Bagg

Hot and humid? Leave the layers at home and choose lightweight and breathable fabrics. Pack several shirts for each day so you can bring an extra into the park and change mid-day when you’ve turned into a sweaty mess.

Also, take a look at your outfit head-to-toe before you wear it under the hot sun all day. I bought a lightweight top a few days before my last trip and didn’t realize that it had a keyhole opening in the back. Yes, I applied sunscreen to my shoulders, arms and neck. But not knowing about the keyhole opening, I was left to cook and the result was a very strange sunburn!

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Block it Out

Sunscreen at Disney is a no-brainer, but consider the type you’ll need for a day in the Parks. I don’t like the misty spray-on types because the coverage just isn’t great and most of your sunscreen gets blown away in the breeze. For my face, I like a matte sunscreen that’s non-comedogenic otherwise I just feel oily and that dust is just sticking to my face (it probably is).

While we’re on the subject of blocking rays from your skin, let’s discuss blocking the sun from your eyes as well. A pair of comfortable sunglasses is a must. Bring a case or a protective sleeve to put them in when you’re on a ride. And don’t wear them on top of your head because that almost guarantees that they’ll fall off!


Cover Your Head

Nothing like having the sun bake on the top of your head all day to make you grouchy. How about a sunburn on your hairline part? That’s fun the next day, right? Try out several styles of hats pre-trip to find out what will work best for you.

If you plan on riding anything remotely fast, you’ll be taking your hat off and on throughout the day so keep that in mind. If I have a multi-day trip planned, I’ll bring at least two hat options so I can change them out from one day to the next. Baseball hat one day and giant wide-brim sun hat the next!

2015-05-11 10.42.43-7  2015-05-11 10.42.38-4

Don’t Forget Your Hair

Bring hair ties. Several of them, because you never know when one will snap or slip off the end of your braid while you’re riding Space Mountain! And bobby pins or something to pin back your bangs. I decided one Disneyland trip to wear my hair down and it was just about the windiest day EVER! My hair was a tangled mess by noon. Pack a small brush in your bag to detangle if you wear your hair down. My recommendations? A ball cap with a ponytail looped through the back and bangs pinned back underneath the brim. Or a big sun hat with your hair in a braid.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

This was the last time I wore my hair down at Disneyland…it was a tangled mess from the rides and the wind!

Keep It Cool

Though it does rain quite a bit in Florida and it can get chilly on both coasts, the general weather at Disney parks is on the warm side. Consider also that many of the ride lines will have you waiting in the sun and you’ll be ready to head indoors for A/C by 9 am! Pack a few items in your day pack that will help keep you comfortable. A squirt bottle or misting fan that you can refill at the drinking fountains can be wonderful on a scorching day.

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

We like to bring a travel size shaker of Gold Bond Ultimate Comfort Body Powder. It soaks up excess sweat and helps prevent chafing. A cooling towel that you wet and then shake to chill is just perfect for wrapping around your neck. Something like the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel really helps to bring down your body temperature (and this works better than wet paper towels from the bathroom!)

Don’t forget a water bottle to stay hydrated. You can request ice water at any counter service restaurant and then pour it into your bottle.

*ahem* Feminine Needs

Did you know that stress can cause your “monthly visit” to start unexpectedly? Even if you’ve checked the calendar and aren’t expecting to start, you might want to pack feminine hygiene products just in case. Disney does sell these items in the bathrooms (about 50 cents each) and you can also purchase them at the Baby Care Centers and in some hotel gift shops.

Pack an Alternate

It’s a good idea to bring in a second pair of socks to change into if you get them wet or they’re just sweaty. Or have a pair of waterproof sandals that you can wear on wet rides instead. I like to bring in a second t-shirt with me too so that when I’m sweaty or I spill something on it, I have a fresh shirt to change in to. Though you could always buy one in the gift shop and call it a souvenir (I’ve done that too!)

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!

Break ’em In

Don’t even think about heading to Disney wearing brand new shoes! For the love of all things, break your shoes in before you spend 15 hours wearing them through the parks. And I recommend taking in a second pair to switch into when your feet start to ache. I’d also say you should give your outfits a “trial run” at home. You’d hate to be wearing something that was uncomfortable all day.

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

Crocs Womens Women’s A-Leigh Floral Flip Flop (Amazon)

Keep in Touch

A phone charger and cord is a must. Not only do you want to be able to reach others in your group, there are also Disney park apps that will allow you to check wait times and book dining reservations. Besides you also want to be able to take pictures and share them to social media throughout the day!

EasyAcc Monster Power Bank (Amazon)

Be Prepared

Blisters are a Disney nightmare. Though you can get basic items like bandages at the park First Aid, you should consider adding a few things to your personal first aid kit. I swear by New-Skin Liquid Bandage because it’s waterproof and stays on all day. My kit also includes ibuprofen, headache reliever and antacids. Just make sure you store all the meds in a place where little hands won’t get to them (or keep them in child-proof containers).

Back at the Hotel

I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the parks I sweat like crazy under the sun. And that means that my bra is usually saturated by the end of the day…yuck! Make sure to pack at least 2 bras to alternate every other day. Bring a sample packet or a travel size bottle filled up with laundry detergent. Give your bra a quick wash in the sink and then hang it to dry so you’ll have a fresh one to wear each day.

Make sure you give your bathroom a top to bottom when packing to make sure you don’t miss packing any essential toiletries. You’ll want to remember to bring your make-up remover, hair brush and products, contact lens solution and case, etc. If you prefer to use your own shampoo and soaps pack travel size varieties, though they do offer very nice complimentary products at the Disney resorts.

Don’t forget your swimsuit! You won’t need to bring a towel if you’re staying at a Disney resort hotel, they have them at the pool. A pair of flip-flops and a cover-up are a good idea too.

Here’s the FREE PRINTABLE –  Mom’s Disney Packing List

Don't forget the essentials on your next Disney vacation! Mom's Disney Packing List with FREE Printable!


All packed up, Mom? Here are more Disney packing lists!

Disney Trip Free Printable – Packing List for Kids

Packing List for a Baby in Diapers

Expectant Mom’s Disney Packing List

What’s In My Disney Parks Diaper Bag?

Disney Trip FREE Printable - Packing List for Kids    Traveling With a Baby in Diapers - FREE Baby Packing List Printable! #Ad #SuperAbsorbantPregnant at Disney? Expectant Mom's Complete Disney Packing List of Important NeedsThese are the baby travel essentials you should bring in your travel diaper bag.

For more Disney packing printables,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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

 

12 Things to Do Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

I’d venture to say that not too many people enjoy standing in line. That’s why they invented the Disney FastPass, right? If you have to wait in queue though, there are some constructive ways you can spend the time. There are things you can do while waiting in line at an amusement park. In particular, you probably want to know how to keep kids busy in line! Here are my 12 ideas for the best use of waiting in line at Disney parks.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

A quick pic in line at Autopia

Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Disney parks tend to have a “hurry up and wait” kind of feel. There can be a lot of rushing around, getting to the parks. Then you’re hurrying to the next attraction. And then, suddenly you’re all stopped at the end of a long queue with a lengthy wait ahead of you. Kids especially can get really bored with the standing. Here I’ve included ways to keep kids and toddlers entertained while waiting in line at Disney. In addition to some practical things, there are also games you can play while waiting in line at Disney parks! I also include ideas on the best handheld toys for waiting in line. Hopefully these tips will help to ease the “Are we at the front of the line, yet?” comments!

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


1. Apply Sunscreen

Outdoor queues can make you feel like you’re cooking under the sun! Waiting in line is a great time to reapply another coat of sunscreen. If you’re sweating, pat off the sweat with a napkin and then apply.

Skip using spray-on sunscreen while standing in line though. The quarters in queue are a bit tight for that (and not everyone wants your sunscreen mist in their eyes!)

2. Study the Map

Where are you headed next and how will you get there? Now’s the time to pull out the map and plot your course. The map key will let you know where the nearest bathroom is too, in case that’s your next stop. Or try a little game with younger kids and see if they can find certain icons, like “Where’s the carrousel?”

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Board with wait times at Disneyland. You can get these times on the free mobile app too.

3. Have a snack

Did you know you can bring your own food into Disney parks? This is an ideal budget tip for Disney and another way to spend the time while waiting in line. Dry goods that you pre-package into snack-sized bags are perfect. Things like nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, chopped veggies or sturdy crackers work well.

If you finish the snack, you can dispose of the baggie (there are always trash cans in the queue for this). Or if you reach the end before your snack is done, just seal up the bag and put it in your pocket.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Heimlich never misses a meal – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz


4. Play a Disney-Inspired Game

Pictionary – Keep a small spiral-bound notebook and pen handy for quick games of Pictionary. The artist can come up with the idea (Disney movies!) and everyone in the group can try to guess.

Who Am I? – This is our family favorite in the car too. One person chooses a Disney movie character and the others have to ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no answer (ie: “Does this character have fur?” or “Does this character sing in their movie?”)

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

In line for Star Tours – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Disney Travel Games – There are also Disney travel games that you can tote through the line and they’ll easily fit in your day pack. Games like World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game are quick to pull out and play while in queue.

5. Disney Mobile App

Thinking about hitting up Splash Mountain but want to know the wait time before traipsing across the Lands? Need to know where Mickey is meeting & greeting? Have to get a dining reservation on the fly? Check out the free Disney Mobile Apps for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Waiting in line at Disney can't always be avoided but here are 12 constructive ways to spend the time in queue that will entertain and occupy your family (lots of ideas for keeping toddlers and kids busy in line at Disney parks!)

Waiting in line at Disneyland for “it’s a small world”.

6. Plan Your Next Meal

If you didn’t make any Advanced Dining Reservations (and you don’t really need ADR at Disneyland), you can figure out where you’ll be dining next. If you already have a restaurant decided on, I highly recommend figuring out what you’re going to order. It really saves you time that would be spent in the restaurant perusing the menu if you plan your meals ahead of time.

I like to print out the restaurant menus so we can look them over in line and have everyone decide ahead of time. This way one adult is in charge of ordering for the group and it expedites the process.


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7. Journal Your Memories

A small hard-backed spiral-bound notebook is perfect for jotting down special memories throughout your trip. This is also a great activity for when you’re waiting for a meal to arrive at the table service restaurant. Pass the journal to a new family member to write in for each queue. For little ones that can’t write yet, have them draw a little picture of their memories.


8. Look for Hidden Mickeys

They’re everywhere! You’ll probably be able to find a few on your own (Imagineers hid them in plain sight in many of the line queues!) but if you need help, check out this book Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets or the Disneyland version, Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland® Resort’s Best Kept Secrets.

    

9. Take Pictures

No better time when you’re smooshed together in a queue than to snap a full-family selfie! Some line queue have interesting props to pose with along the way, so get out your camera and capture the moments.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

Taking a photo of the kids in glasses from Toy Story: Midway Mania is a must!

10. Take a Nap?

Well, if you’re a baby, maybe! Pop your little one in the front carrier and let them nap while you wait. You can always grab a Rider Switch pass too so that the grown ups can take turns with the sleeping child. Here are more tips about traveling to Disney with a baby.

11. Play with a Toy

Young kids tend to get pretty squirrelly waiting in line so give them something to occupy little hands (so they’ll resist climbing on the rows of bars, squabbling or hanging all over each other!). A small action figure, doll or race car can keep an imaginative child busy. Handheld light-up spinners are always fun (especially at night).

Hold a small bottle of bubbles for them and let them dip in the wand and blow! Avoid any toys that need a lot of space, like a light saber. And don’t bring a toy into line that will annoy other guests, like a balloon that may hit people on their heads.


12. Plot the Next Adventure

My kids always want to know what we’re doing next. Decide where you’re headed next and brush everyone up on what’s to come so when you hit the exit everyone knows what to expect.

Check Out these 12 Best Uses of Waiting in Line at Disney Parks

The talking and moving Buzz in queue – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

BONUS – Looking for More Ideas for What to Do in Line at Disney?

Check out these books, Lots to Do In Line: Walt Disney World and Lots To Do In Line Disneyland. Tons of things for kids (and adults) to spot while waiting.

     

What are your favorite things to do while you’re waiting in line? Share in the comments!


Waiting in line at Disney can't always be avoided but here are 12 constructive ways to spend the time in queue that will entertain and occupy your family (lots of ideas for keeping toddlers and kids busy in line at Disney parks!)