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Disney with Your Preschooler-Insider Tips for a Magical Day

Disney Parks are perfect for preschoolers!  The colorful parades, yummy treats, everything in Fantasyland and the familiar Disney Junior characters around the park are ideal for preschoolers. On the flip side there is also the possibility of waiting in long lines, new experiences that could make preschoolers nervous, loud noises and strange food that might sour the perfect Disney day. I’ve traveled to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland with my preschooler and it’s always been a fun and exciting adventure! I’ll share my tips on how to make the most of your day.

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!

Here are my top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with Your preschooler!

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Skip School

Pull your kid out of preschool for the day and plan your Disney vacation on a weekday. Ideally you should visit when most elementary-aged kids are in school with Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday being the best. Avoiding weekends, summer and school holidays will help minimize crowds as well. 

Pack a Preschool Bag

Be sure to take in everything your preschooler will need for the day. My 4-year old likes to wear his own little backpack, filled with necessities. I toss in an extra pair of clothes, a few snacks, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. If you are staying into the night, grab a few glow in the dark treats (like bracelets or wands) from the dollar store pre-trip for your preschooler to wear. Easier to spot them in the dark and they love the glow, of course!

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Measure Up

Before your visit, measure your preschooler while they’re wearing the shoes they’ll wear on the trip. From here, check their height against the online height restrictions for each ride. Don’t promise a ride on Splash Mountain until you can be sure that your preschooler is tall enough to ride! At Walt Disney World you can sort the attractions by height. Here is a list of the Disneyland height requirements.

Visiting Walt Disney World with a preschooler? These are the insider tips for taking preschoolers to Disney!

Follow Their schedule

Is your preschooler accustomed to waking, eating and sleeping at a particular time? You might want to consider sticking to the same schedule, especially if your child is sensitive to change or if pushing back meals and bedtimes make them moody. If you really want them to stay up later for the vacation, plan ahead and start extending their bedtime by 15 minutes every night for the week leading up to the trip.

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Nervous about riding.

Know What they Like (and What They Don’t Like)

Preschoolers are notoriously opinionated (at least mine are!) Ask them ahead of the trip what rides and shows are “must see” and make sure at the very least, that those things happen. Only you know your child’s likes and dislikes. If you know that your kid is terrified of characters, don’t force them to hug one. Same goes for forcing your preschooler onto a ride that they are afraid of. Your preschooler is going to have a rough day if they feel pressured. Check out this post with tips on what to do with nervous kids.

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Preschool Dining is Easy

Jambalaya? Monte Cristo sandwich? Your preschooler may turn up their nose at such nontraditional fare. But even the pickiest preschooler can find great bites at Disney. Most restaurants offer a kids meal with childhood favorites like pizza, corn dogs, chicken nuggets and fries. Look for the Mickey Check Meals for healthier options that include veggies and fruit. Does your preschooler love characters? A character dining experience, like Breakfast with Minnie & Friends at the Plaza Inn can be a memorable way to capture photos and collect signatures.

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Strollers are Still a Good Idea

Even if your preschooler hasn’t ridden in a stroller in years, the miles of walking and the hours of standing in lines will take a toll. Achy feet and tired bodies add up to cranky kids so consider bringing a stroller. Even a small umbrella type is better than nothing. You especially don’t want to be carrying an exhausted preschooler out of the park at the end of the night! Your preschooler might even surprise you and take a mid-day nap.

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Let Them Burn Off Steam

Preschoolers need to MOVE! Find play areas that will allow them freedom to run around a bit. Allow about an hour in your schedule for them to play freely. This might mean taking your preschooler back to the hotel pool for a swim. After some free play, your preschooler will hopefully have more patience for standing in lines.

These are the top tips on how to have a memorable day at Disney with your preschooler!

Follow Their Lead

It can be hard to follow a touring plan with preschoolers so don’t be afraid to ditch the schedule and let your preschooler take the lead. They want to ride Toy Story Midway Mania three times in a row? Go for it! They are enamored with Minnie Mouse? Get back in line for the meet n’ greet and let your preschooler say hello again. When you follow your preschooler’s lead, sometimes some really magical things happen!

Traveling with a baby, toddler or tweens? Be sure to check out these posts as well.

 Babies-PIN  Disneyland with a Toddler - Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day at the Happiest Place on Earth!  PIN-Tweens and Toddlers at Disney

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). 

Visiting Disneyland with a preschooler? These are the insider tips for taking preschoolers to Disney!

Expectant Mom’s Complete Disney Packing List of Important Needs

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

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

Pregnant Mom’s Disney Packing List

Stretchy Pants & Panties

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

Comfy Shoes and Foot Care First Aid

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

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

Water

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

Battery Operated Fan

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

Lotion

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

Maxi Pads/Bladder Protection

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

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

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

Change of Clothes

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

Antacids

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

Fiber and Fruit

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

Vitamins and Medicines

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

pregnant6

Sunscreen and a Hat

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

Healthy Snacks

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

Maternity Support Belt

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

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

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

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


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

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Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Disneyland insiders know that making the most of your first two hours at Disneyland Parks is crucial. This is not a time to catch up on your beauty sleep because the early bird catches the worm…or the coveted FastPass, in this case! Getting to the Park at “rope drop” and having a plan for your first two hours at Disneyland can mean the difference between walking on rides without a wait first thing in the morning or standing in queue for 90 minutes in mid-afternoon…which do you prefer?

Here are my top tips on making the most of the first two hours at Disneyland!

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

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Parking at Mickey & Friends Parking Garage bright and early ensures a good spot & minimal wait for the tram

1. Get Familiar with the Lay of the Lands

If this is your first Disneyland visit, make sure you know your way around a bit before your trip. Study the Park map ahead of time so you aren’t wasting time on Park day wandering around. You can check out the Disneyland website before your trip to view the Park maps.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

A very light crowd in the early morning through Downtown Disney District

2. Choose Wisely

Making the most of your first two hours also depends upon the time of year you are visiting. During holidays and weekends, crowds are naturally heavier. Weekdays, particularly Tuesday and Wednesday in the “off-season” are your best bet for lighter crowds.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Nobody here yet! We arrived 45 minutes before Park opening to wait outside the gates and ensure we’d make it for “rope drop”

Check out my post about the Best Times of the Year to Visit Disneyland when trying to choose a vacation date as well as the Dates to Avoid When Planning a Disneyland Trip.

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

3. Plan of Attack

If you only have one day at Disneyland, then make sure you are making the most of the first two hours. If you have more than one day, I’d recommend taking one of your vacation days to follow this plan.

This doesn’t mean you should sleep until noon on the other days though. I still always recommend that you arrive at rope drop because crowds are considerably lighter in the mornings and you’ll be able to see and do so much more.

Before you step inside the gates, I recommend coming up with your morning schedule. First off, which direction are you going to go?

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

With younger kids, I’d start in Fantasyland. Hit Peter Pan first (because there is no FastPass for this ride and waits are easily 45+ minutes the rest of the day) and then Dumbo and Alice in Wonderland. The rest of the rides in this area should have minimal wait and you can usually complete everything in about an hour.

With older kids or adults only, decide which direction to go inside each Park…turn right for Tomorrowland or left for Adventureland, New Orleans Square and Critter Country. At Disney’s California Adventure Park, first stop should be Cars Land and then either to Hollywood Land or the Paradise Pier area.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Grab that FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers first!

4. FastPass is Your Friend

First thing in the morning, lines are already at a minimum. But with each minute that the Park is open, crowds are filling in and what could be a walk-on attraction at first can quickly have a wait. I recommend grabbing a FastPass for highly coveted attractions first and then riding other things in that area before returning to redeem your FastPass. Here are several ideas:

  • Grab FastPasses for Space Mountain and then go on Star Tours: The Adventure Continues and the rest of the rides in the Tomorrowland area.
  • Or hit Adventureland by getting your FastPasses for Indiana Jones Adventure, riding The Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and maybe even Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion before returning to redeem your FastPass.

Save even more time by purchasing MaxPass. This allows you to “book” your FastPass reservations from your mobile device. You won’t have to physical walk to the ride to schedule the FastPass, you can do it from your smartphone. I was even able to schedule FastPass when I was waiting in queue for another ride – so convenient and what a time saver!

You’ll be using your Park tickets to redeem FastPass – Keep your Park tickets close at hand inside a coin purse on a lanyard, like these:  Mickey and Minnie Mouse Lanyards with Detachable Coin Purse

  • Over at Disney’s California Adventure Park, your first stop of the day should be to grab a FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers (the FastPass machine is located near the entrance to bug’s land). You can probably just follow the crowd! If crowds are light, you might be able to just hop on that ride immediately instead!
  • Head over to California Screamin’ and get your FastPass there. Then get in queue for Toy Story Mania, take a spin on Mickey’s Fun Wheel and return back to the coaster to redeem your FastPass.
  • My older kids like Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout so we’ll often pick up that FastPass first and then head over to bug’s land for a few rides with their little sister.
Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Early morning and the wait time for Radiator Springs Racers is low.

Stay Onsite and Enjoy an Extra Magic Hour

Registered Disneyland Resort guests are treated to early entry for each day of their stay. It is recommended to arrive one hour and 15 minutes before Park opening. The schedule is as follows:

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Magic Mornings

Guests with a valid 3+ day Park ticket (purchased ahead of their visit) can enter Disneyland one hour before official gate opening on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. This is a great way to beat the crowds and enjoy select attractions even earlier. It is recommended to arrive one hour and 15 minutes before Park opening.


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTENand receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 


 Eat Earlier

Though breakfast at the Carnation Cafe is just lovely and Breakfast with Minnie & Friends at the Plaza Inn is Character dining perfection, if you are trying to maximize those first two hours in the Park, stopping for a lengthy breakfast isn’t the best idea.

I recommend that you grab your breakfast to-go outside the Park and eat it while you wait for the gates to open. The Earl of Sandwich and Jamba Juice are two great breakfast locations in the Downtown Disney District that are open before the Park gates. Grab a breakfast sandwich or a smoothie and nibble while you wait at the Park entrance.

We have also brought granola bars and fruit for our first meal and eat those at the gates and then fill up later with an early lunch.

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Entering through Sleeping Beauty Castle just after rope drop

Arrive for “Rope Drop”

Stroll up to the gates at Park opening time and you’ll see lots of people lined up already waiting to get inside. But arrive at least 30 minutes prior to Park opening and be one of the first allowed entry to Main Street U.S.A. Shops and some dining spots are open and you can visit City Hall, if need be (we always have to visit and pick up a DAS card on our first day).

At the end of Main Street U.S.A. you can line up with other guests to await the official “rope drop” or opening of the Park. What a great way to beat the crowds!

Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

If you want Characters they are out in full force early in the morning and the waits are minimal.

Meet n’ Greets

If you want to guarantee photos and autographs with lots of Characters (without the extra expense of Character dining), then the first few hours of Park opening are the perfect opportunity.

As soon as the gates are opened, you’ll see several Characters hanging out in front of the brick wall. Pass through the tunnels and the Fab 5 are usually posted around the main hub, along with other favorites. On one visit we were able to Meet n’ Greet with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Pinocchio and the Mad Hatter within about 30 minutes.

In order to move things swiftly, have your camera ready and autograph book open with the pen prepped. You can also hand your camera over to the PhotoPass photographer if you’d like them to take a shot with your own camera.


Insider Tips -Make the Most of Your First Two Hours at Disneyland

Now Is Not the Time To…

Any other day I’d recommend you take your time and enjoy Main Street U.S.A. However if you are trying to maximize those first two hours, these are the things you should not do.

  • Don’t buy your tickets that morning. ALWAYS pre-purchase your Park tickets, have them in hand and avoid waiting in line at the ticket booth.
  • Don’t stop to shop. In fact, I recommend doing all or most of your souvenir shopping on an “off-day” and visit Downtown Disney District instead.
  • Don’t stop at City Hall. Grab your “celebratory button” like those for birthdays or first visits after a few hours or get them on a day when you aren’t trying to maximize time. We always have to visit City Hall to pick up a DAS card on our first day but this can easily take 30 minutes waiting in line and processing.
  • Don’t stop for pictures. The exception being is if you have a clear shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle and can pose your family quickly in front of it. In that case, you should always get the photo!
  • Don’t get in line at Starbucks. Seriously, this line will be a mile long in the morning. Grab your coffee at the hotel or at Downtown Disney District and bring it with you to save yourself the time in line at the Main St. Starbucks.
  • Don’t look at the Main Street windows. But most definitely come back this way later in the day to check them out, they are wonderful!
  • Don’t take the train. Though this is one of my favorite ways to start a Disneyland day (by taking the Grand Circle Tour) this isn’t how you should spend your first 30 minutes if you are maximizing your time. You’ll be better off on foot.


For more lesser known Disney tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Lesser Known Disney Tips Loop:

What is your favorite way to spend the first two hours at Disneyland? Share with me in the comments!

Follow these insider tips for your first two hours at Disneyland & Disney's California Adventure park and maximize your time!

 

5 Helpful Tips for Calming Scared and Anxious Kids at Disney

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

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

Scared at Disney?

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

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

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

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

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

1. Plan Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

   

2. Tried and True…Maybe Not So Much

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

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

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

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

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

3. Backing Out

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

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

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

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

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

Park Savers affiliate link

4. Use Rider Switch

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

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

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

5. Switch Gears

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

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

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

An ice cream break usually fixes everything!

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

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

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

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

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Do you have a little princess in the family? Or perhaps someone who dreams of being Disney royalty? Have no fear, there is plenty of princess perfection taking place at the Disneyland Resort to satisfy the sweet tooth of any princess in training!


Get crowned from head to toe!

Children ten and under can dress in costume in the Parks. Purchase your Princess attire ahead of time at the Disney Store (affiliate link). Make sure you do a test run at home to make sure the costume is comfortable, not dragging on the ground or falling off her shoulders.

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

My niece, Queen Elsa!

I would highly recommend that your little Princess skip the impractical costume shoes and wear something that she’ll be happy to skip around in all day. We love Pedipeds for their comfort and they are adorable too! After spending the morning in her costume dress, change her into something comfy. The Disney Store has some adorable pants set and dresses in easy to clean fabrics (perfect after a day of spent consuming chocolate covered bananas and ice cream!)

  

 

For an extra-specially heavy dose of pixie dust magic, little ladies can also be transformed into princesses right before your eyes!

Bibbity Bobbidi Boutique inside Disneyland Park puts the glitter effect on kids 3-12. They offer basic packages that include hair styling, nail polish and make-up all the up to giving girls the works in the way of full-out costumes, a photo session and a mini-processional to Fantasy Faire. To book a package with a “Fairy Godmother-in-training”, call (714) 781-STYLE or (714) 781-7895.

At Anna & Elsa’s Boutique in Downtown Disney, kids 3-15 have their choice of hair styling, make up and fun touches in the inspiration of their favorite Frozen characters.

     


I recommend purchasing Park tickets ahead of time on Park Savers. You’ll save a few dollars on the price as well as time standing in line with your princess (affiliate link).

Now that you have your tiara on, let’s hit Fantasy Faire! This quaint village center houses the most grand dames in all the Land! Step inside Royal Hall to meet and greet up to three popular Disney Princesses. Here you can pose for photos and request Princess autographs. The Royal Theatre hosts two live-action fairy-tale shows. Fantasy Faire can be a busy place, so this area should definitely be the first stop of the day.

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Photo credit: Jeff Holz

Keeping in the world of fantasy, Fantasyland is your next stop. Take a twirl on King Arthur Carrousel. Just like Princess Aurora, you can also waltz inside Sleeping Beauty Castle to experience the walk-through story retelling. Want to see where the rest of the princesses live? Take a slow ride on the Storybook Land Canal Boats to see where Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel and yes, even where Anna and Elsa live.

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Photo credit: Jeff Holz

If you aren’t fond of waiting in long lines like those at Fantasy Faire to meet n’ greet with princesses, you could always just watch Mickey’s Soundsational Parade and wave at the lovely ladies as they pass. Princesses wave back and blow kisses. Little ones will just know, “She waved at ME!”

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Moving over to Disney’s California Adventure Park, stop over for a meet & greet with Frozen’s Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome inside the Animation Academy building. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-along Celebration takes place inside the Crown Jewel Theatre and offers enough singing, storytelling and Frozen fun to have your princess swooning.

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

When the meal time clock strikes, make sure you have reservations at the ready for Ariel’s Grotto. You can visit for breakfast or lunch to enjoy delicious food and lovely company (dinner also available, but without Characters). Disney Princesses will visit each table to chat, take photos and sign autographs. This restaurant also offers a World of Color dining package should you be watching the show that evening.

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Photo credit: Jeff Holz

With Ariel still on the mind, swim over to The Little Mermaid -Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. It’s a refreshing dip under the sea to visit with your favorite mermaid princess.

There are several shows that highlight princesses inside the Disneyland Resort. At Disney’s California Adventure Park, you can fly high with Jasmine in the grand Broadway-style production, Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Mickey and the Magical Map also features princesses Mulan, Rapunzel, Tiana & Pocahontas in a beautiful outdoor musical stage show in Disneyland.

As sun sets, you’ll be able to catch many of the princesses in the nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic! It’s a battle of good and evil and of course, lots of princesses make appearances, dancing with their accompanying princes.

By the end of the night, your little princess will have had a glitter-filled day. Skip the long lines for souvenirs and bring something from home to give your highness as you leave the Park. Something small that features her favorite princesses will be the perfect memento of her royal vacation.

Princess Guide to the Disneyland Resort


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What You Need to Do Before Going On Vacation (And What NOT to Do Once You Go)

Practical tips on what to do before going on vacation (plus one thing you SHOULD NOT do!)

What do you need to do before going on vacation? So much to think about when you’re going out of town besides what you’re going to pack and what sites you’re going to visit when you get there. You need to consider several things before you hit the road. Here are my tips on what to do before going on vacation and something you shouldn’t do once you go!

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Before Going on Vacation

We don’t leave town very often. More often than not we’re taking day trips or just simple overnights. However if you’re heading out for an extended trip there are a few things you should do. Before you head out of town, there are several things you’ll need to take care of.

Time for Your Check-Up

See the doctor if you have any health concerns before traveling. Refill any prescriptions and pack a first aid kit along with any medications you might need while you’re away.

Tune Up Time, Too

If you’re driving your own car, make sure that you get a tune up and any scheduled maintenance. Check air pressure and tire wear. Always best to get auto work taken care of beforehand so you aren’t slowed down by any unwelcome break-downs on the road. I had a friend lose an entire road trip travel day because her vehicle needed repair along the way.

Leave Your Contacts

Leave emergency contact information with friends and family. Make sure that someone has your entire itinerary, from your flight numbers to which cities and hotels you’ll be staying at. Leave your cell phone number with neighbors so they can call in case of an emergency at home.

What You Need to Do Before Going On Vacation (And What NOT to Do Once You Go)

Put a Hold on It

Make sure you don’t have any packages coming to your house that will either be left out in the elements until you return or stolen off your porch in your absence. I use UPS My Choice, a free service that allows you to track, reroute and reschedule packages. Arrange a hold of your mail with the USPS and they will deliver it upon your return.

Security

Consider investing in a Panasonic Home Monitoring System. I was given one at the Traveling Mom’s conference. I know that the next time we go out of town, I can be reassured knowing that I can open the app on my smart phone and see what’s happening at home while I’m away. The Panasonic Home Monitoring System gives you peace of mind.

Panasonic

Pay Your Bills

You’re already spending enough on the trip, so you’d hate to return to a bunch of late fees because your forgot to schedule your payments! Either prepay them all or schedule online to pay in your absence.

Make a Copy

Photocopy your driver’s license and credit card numbers of the cards you are taking with you. Leave one copy at home and take another with you on the trip. Take note of the phone numbers of the companies in case your card is lost or stolen and you need to cancel it while on the road.

Create a Packing Check List

It’s so easy to forget the things that are staring you in the face (Toothbrush? Eye Glasses?) Check and double check that you have it before zipping up the suitcase. I like this easy to read one, Knock Knock Pack This! Pad.

Clear Out the Fridge

Get rid of the leftovers now and make sure to take the garbage out before you leave. Make sure that you run the dishwasher and clear the sink of dirty dishes or risk coming back to bugs or a stinky house, yuck!

What You Need to Do Before Going On Vacation (And What NOT to Do Once You Go)

Now that you’ve taken care of all this business, what is one thing you should NOT do once you’re on your vacation?

Don’t Broadcast your Vacation

Unless someone is staying in your home, you don’t want to tell the world via social media or your home answering machine that nobody’s at your house. You never know who’s stalking your Facebook page and would be happy to help themselves to your electronics and jewelry while you’re out of town! Wait to upload vacation pictures from your phone until you’ve returned home.


What are your family must-do items before leaving on vacation? Let me below in the comments!

 

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