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Disneyland in the Heat – Ultimate Summer Vacation Guide

How can you prepare if you know the weather is going to be really hot at Disneyland? If you already know there will be a heatwave at Disneyland, you can prepare in advance. You’ll want to keep cool so you and your family won’t be cranky, tired and wiped out by the heat mid-day. Find out exactly what you can see, eat and do at Disneyland in the heat. With these tips you’ll have fun and stay cool at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park.

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

What Can You Do When It’s Hot at Disneyland?

Sure, summer in California is usually warm and sunny. However even though summer may wind down that doesn’t mean the temperatures start to drop. At Disneyland early August heat is when things start to really warm up! In Southern California, August, September and October are usually the warmest months of the year. There might be pumpkins on Main Street USA but the thermometer is still reading 100 degrees!

Things to Do on an Off-Day at Disneyland Without Leaving the Resort

Disneyland Hotel pool

We’ve also been known to get 90 degree temperatures in February, when the rest of the country is blanketed in snow. Unlike the moist warmth in Orlando at Walt Disney World, the heat in California comes in from the desert so it’s a dry heat you might not have experienced before. After scorching under the hot sun all day you’ll be wishing for Elsa’s frosty touch! Keep reading for all the warm weather survival tips at the Disneyland resort.


Read on for my tips on how to do Disneyland in the heat!

California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Princess Dot Puddle Park at Disney California Adventure park

Seek the Shade Inside at Disneyland & California Adventure

  • Get toddlers out of the heat and inside the adorable Disney Junior Dance Party!
  • Take the Bakery Tour, Hosted by Boudin Bread. That’s about ten air conditioned minutes and you’ll get a snack!
  • Watch The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. A restful theater and cool air. Some guests admit they come here to take a brief nap.
  • I love the Enchanted Tiki Room and it’s especially refreshing on a hot day. Pick up a Dole Whip before going inside (you can snack during the show).
  • Soak in a glorious Broadway-like production at the Hyperion Theater. It’s a Frozen-themed show, how appropriately cool!
  • In the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough you can enjoy the a/c and take as long as you like to admire the dioramas.
  • The Disney Animation Building hosts a variety of indoor activities that can take up the hottest part of the day.
California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Little Mermaid’s Underwater Adventure at Disney California Adventure park

Survive Disneyland Heat and Stay Cool on a Ride

  • Hop aboard The Disneyland Railroad for an 18-minute grand circle tour. You’ll be shaded in the open train cars and get a great breeze as the train takes the trip around Disneyland.
  • Haunted Mansion offers a rest for weary souls with bone-chilling a/c. All thrills viewed from the comfort of your Doombuggy.
  • Take a long, cool walk in the shady queue for Indiana Jones Adventure.
  • “it’s a small world” – The happiest cruise that ever sailed. And it’s 15-minutes of lovely air-conditioning accompanied by music!
  • What could be more refreshing than going under the sea? The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Underwater Adventure.
  • A windy spin on the Silly Symphony Swings will cool off any sweat drops!
  • Yo-ho! 15-minutes of dark caverns and the swarthy Pirates of the Caribbean will have you rested and ready to take on the sun again.


Avoid meltdown at Disneyland when it's hot with these practical tips on what to do, see and how to stay cool at Disneyland when the temperatures soar. #Disneyland #SummerTravel


LOOKING FOR MORE PLANNING TIPS? THE Disneyland with Kids: Ultimate Resource Guide IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!


Places to Get Wet at Disneyland

  • If you’re really looking for a soaking, try Grizzly River Run. Rarely does anyone escape without at least one article of clothing sopping wet.
  • Princess Dot Puddle Park at bug’s land is the perfect play space for a good drenching. Bring an extra change of clothes!
  • Splash Mountain includes 3 dips and a massive waterfall…you will get wet!
  • Take a swim break back at the hotel pool mid-day. That’s definitely one of our family favorites.
California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Stay hydrated with bottled water that you bring into Disneyland park with you

What to Bring With You During the Summer at Disneyland

Park Tickets- Purchase your tickets ahead of time from my partner at Get Away Today. You’ll not only save a few dollars, you’ll avoid standing in a long line to buy tickets at the gate.

Sunscreen- Always. SPF 30 and reapply often, especially if you are sweating.

Deodorant- If you find that you need to reapply mid-day when the weather is hot, do your queue-mates a favor and bring in deodorant!

Frozen bottles of water Pour a little off the top before freezing them and pack them in your bag or soft-sided cooler.

Change of Shoes- In particular, it’s nice to have a pair of plastic flip-flops or sandals that you can change into before going on wet rides or in water-play areas.


What to Wear at Disneyland in the Heat

Chill Towel- So refreshing to rinse a chill towel in cool water and wrap around your neck. Doing this will lower your body temperature several degrees.

Hat- Wear one to block direct sun off your face and the top of your head (I always tend to get a burned scalp when I forget my hat and wow, does that hurt!)

Sunglasses- Nothing like squinting into the sun all day to give you a headache.

Warm-Weather Shoes – I’m a fan of open-toed shoes during the hot weather. For more tips click through for the best shoes to wear at Disney Parks.


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


California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Cool off with a refreshing mint julep in New Orleans Square, Disneyland Park

What to Buy at Disneyland Park to Keep Cool 

Parasol Pop it open and you’ll be made in the shade! Sold at a cart in New Orleans Square. Price comes with handpainted name personalization and either hearts or flowers (additional designs offered for extra cost).

Mint Julep Stick around New Orleans Square and pick up a mint julep (or two) . You can get them either at the Mint Julep Bar and sit in the shaded patio of French Market Restaurant or seek the cool comfort inside the Blue Bayou Restaurant.

Misting Fan – These are sold in kiosks throughout the park. This is a squirt bottle with an attached fan and strap to hang from your neck. On a hot day, it’s priceless! I’d suggest saving a few dollars and buy one before you go on your trip (see this post for the other souvenirs you should buy before you go!)

Sundaes Eat an ice cream sundae (big enough for two) and catch a show inside The Golden Horseshoe (my favorite is the mint chocolate chip!). With 8 toppings and 8 scoops of ice cream, the Earthquake from Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop will chill everyone in your group! And the classic Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is the place for people watching…and waffle cone ice creams!

Change of Clothes When the sweat is unbearable, seek shelter inside a shop and buy yourself a fresh new tee or tank. You’ll feel (and probably smell!) so much better.

California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Sunhat and sunglasses are a must when coming to Disneyland!

Things to Remember When It’s Hot

Water- Drink lots of water. You can always ask for free ice water at walk-up dining locations. I like to bring several empty bottles with me and keep them filled with water from the drinking fountains.

Stay out of the sun –As often as you can, keep in the shade. On busy days, a shady spot might be harder to come by. Seek out shady areas in out of the way spots.

Avoid High Noon Get to the Parks early, leave mid-day when the sun is hottest and return to the Parks after a swim and a rest in your room. Or simply retreat to an indoor show or shopping when the sun is blazing. Find out how to maximize the first two hours at Disneyland.

Heat Illness – If the heat has you feeling sick, stop by First Aid at any time. Symptoms include dizziness, confusion, nausea and cramping.


Avoid meltdown at Disneyland in the heat with these practical tips on what to do, see and how to stay cool at Disneyland when the temperatures soar. #Disneyland #SummerTravel #Disney #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #California #Summer #SummerVacation #SoCal

What are your favorite ways to spend the day at Disneyland in the heat? Share them in the comments!


 

What’s New at LEGOLAND California?

I was able to take my little guy for the day a few months ago and we were able to play in the park together and experienced the newest film, ‘The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure’. However since baby girl has arrived, I’ve not been able to visit again. My mother-in-law was happy to take my son to LEGOLAND recently and they enjoyed the theme park and water parks on their visit. The new NINJAGO World area was all he could talk about and I can’t wait to experience it myself soon!

We received complimentary passes to experience NINJAGO World at LEGOLAND California. All thoughts and opinions as an official LEGOLAND Blogger are my own.

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

So what’s new at LEGOLAND California?

Find out What's New at LEGOLAND California, including the innovative NINJAGO World

CA.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Legoland California)

NINJAGO World

NINJAGO The Ride uses “cutting-edge Maestro hand gesture technology”. This enables guests to throw fire balls, shock waves, ice and lightning to defeat villains during the ride, collecting points along the way. Their scores are displayed when the quest is completed. Special effects like heat, smoke and wind are incorporated, giving guests an interactive 4D experience. My four-year old delightfully reenacted his hand gestures for me when he came home!

This ride is the center of NINJAGO World. In addition there are 22 new LEGO models, a retail outlet and and a dining option, Ninja Kitchen. LEGOLAND chefs serve up Asian street food like pork belly sandwiches on steamed Bao Buns with crispy pork belly, lemongrass chicken or baked sweet chili tofu.

Two 4D Films

My son and I were able to attend the red carpet premiere of ‘The LEGO Movie 4D: A New Adventure’, the fast-paced story of Emmet, Wyldstyle and friends from the popular feature-length movie. My son and I loved the humor and silly special effects (you will get wet!)

‘LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS: The Book of Creativity’ is  the newest film that combines LEGO Nexo Knights in a 4D world of wind, water and smoke! This new 12 minute film was created especially for LEGOLAND Parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Center and is a way for children to interact with the NEXO KNIGHTS world. Guests can go on a quest of their own to discover six shields hidden across the Resort to unlock exclusive ‘power ups’ for the LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS Merlok 2.0 mobile app. I’m sure my kids would love this one too!

Legoland Blogger

Save money at LEGOLAND!

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). 

 

LEGOLAND California – A New Adventure is Here!

LEGOLAND California is Perfect for Preschoolers

Lots of new things going on at LEGOLAND California this year which makes it the best time to plan your SoCal visit! We’ve always loved LEGOLAND for the ability to entertain everyone from a toddler who wants to drive his own car to the grown-up who is fascinated by the Star Wars MiniLand exhibits.

Ninjago World rides are being assembled as we speak, the LEGOLAND water parks will reopen for the warm weather season in March and there is a fun new show, The LEGO® Movie™ 4D -A New Adventure!

As a new Official LEGOLAND Blogger, my preschooler and I were recently treated to a special event in honor of the new 4D film being shown exclusively at LEGOLAND. What a special evening, complete with character meet n’ greets, a red carpet and fun foods. And don’t you know, 3-D glasses make everything awesome!

Lego11

The film was fantastic too; really cool special 4-D effects, fast paced and humor interjected throughout. It’s under 15 minutes long, so anyone 3+ would love it!

lego12

Be sure to check out my newest post at TravelingMom about this Park, LEGOLAND California – a Delightful Amusement Park for Preschoolers.

Legoland Blogger

 

Must-Do Disneyland- Perfect Itinerary for First Timers

As a first time Disneyland visitor, you’ll want to get the best feel of what makes the Park “tick” and where its heartbeat lies. These recommended attractions are classic Disney and will completely immerse you in the magic! For anyone visiting Disneyland for the very first time, this is what I’d call the definitive list of “must-do Disneyland” attractions. This is a one day Disneyland itinerary. After you’ve experienced these things, everything else is just a Disney bonus!

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

Must-Do Disneyland List of Attractions

You’ve never been to Disneyland before but wondering how to do Disneyland in one day? Here’s my must-do Disneyland attractions for a first time visitor. These ideas will give you a great feel of the park and allow room for plenty of magic. It’s not everything, of course. You’d need a lot more than one day at Disneyland to experience it all. But these are the essentials that are do-able for a visitor’s first Disneyland day. Get out your Disneyland checklist!

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

1. Start Your Day on Main Street U.S.A

When you enter Disneyland Park you’ll pass through the tunnels (there’s one on each side of the entrance) and be deposited into the hub. Follow Main Street U.S.A towards Sleeping Beauty Castle and the various Lands will branch out from here. If you arrive at “rope drop” before the Park actually opens (which you should!), you’ll be able to enter Main Street U.S.A. and visit some of the shops.

  • Disneyland Railroad – Hop aboard on Main Street U.S.A. and take the grand circle tour around the Park, a total of 1.2 miles. Not to be missed is Primeval World, a large diorama that takes you back to the prehistoric times and features dinosaurs and volcanoes!

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

  • Main Street Vehicles – No thrill rides here, just a good ol’ fashioned ride down Main Street U.S.A. to get you in the mood of the Park . Hop aboard a horse-drawn car, jitney, fire engine or omnibus. Our travels have always included a chat with the drivers, who are knowledgeable about Disneyland facts.

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

  • The Mad Hatter – It’s the place to find a hat for every occasion! What better way to start your Disney vacation than with a pair of Mouse Ears that reflects your personality? We bought my son’s Pluto hat here. He’s continued to wear on nearly ever Disneyland trip for the past 6 years.

Disney Trip FREE Printable - Packing List for Kids

  • Silhouette Studio – Get into the vintage Victorian vibe by having the artists hand cut your silhouette out of paper for the perfect souvenir. I have my silhouette from when I was about four years old, curly ponytail and all!
  • Carnation Cafe – Serving up classic American comfort food, this is where Walt used to eat. In fact they still serve his favorite chili. We sat outside on the patio and ate dinner here one evening and it was relaxing and sweet under the striped umbrellas. Breakfast at the Carnation Cafe is a lovely way to enjoy a Disneyland morning. However if you only have one day to spend in the park, I would just grab something quick from Jolly Holiday instead so you can take advantage of the first two hours at Disneyland when crowds are lighter.


  • Plaza Inn – Walk by during lunch or dinner and it will be hard to resist the urge to go in and order yourself a big plate of fried chicken! Perfectly crispy, this is a large dish that we share. The ornate Victorian designs inside, especially the beautiful stained-glass ceiling are best appreciated in the daytime. Breakfast is also served here, as the fun buffet, Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park.

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

2. Fantasyland

Head straight across the drawbridge and into the most whimsical Land in the entire Park! There’s a lot packed into this small area but these are the 6 essential attractions. I suggest visiting Fantasyland either first thing in the morning or late at night after the fireworks spectacular. This is when crowds will be at the lightest.

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

This lovely statue is just in front of the entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through at Disneyland

  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough – The story behind the iconic castle comes to life with three-dimensional displays. The attraction is beautiful done but it’s awesome enough on its own just to be inside the actual castle!
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – Arguably the best Disneyland dark ride. Don’t miss all the beautiful details, like flying over a miniature London and tiny Neverland with twinkling lights above and below. The line for Peter Pan’s Flight is always 30+ minutes so expect to wait.

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – If an elephant can fly, then what can YOU do? Music played on an authentic fairground organ built in 1915 accompanies your flight! Little ones direct the flight with a knob that makes Dumbo rise and dip in the air.
  • Mad Tea Party – Go ahead, spin it if you dare! This is sone my favorite areas in the entire Park. From the festive lanterns hanging over head to the bright colors and patterns of the twirling teacups, this is one bright spot in Disneyland that can’t be missed!
What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

Photo credit: Jeff Holz

  • Storybook Land Canal Boats – At times overlooked because of the gentle, slow pace this tour of fairy tale lands has always been one of my favorites. Your guided boat with glide past the Seven Dwarves cottage, the royal city of Agrabah from Aladdin, King Triton’s underwater oasis from The Little Mermaid and even the land of Arendelle from Frozen.
What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

The castle from Cinderella (look closely and you’ll see the pumpkin carriage on the path!)

  • “it’s a small world” – If pressured to choose a favorite attraction, I’d have to say that this one is it. It’s happy and colorful and carries a message that simply uplifts your heart. Curmudgeons give this one a bad rap because the song by the Sherman brothers is slightly catchy. I love the addition of classic Disney characters throughout the attraction, they are fun to spot throughout.
What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

“it’s a small world” is a must at Disneyland (be sure to watch the clock for the show!)

3. Tomorrowland

  • Disneyland Monorail – Get the aerial lay-of-the-Land and take the 2.5 mile Monorail route. Jump on in Tomorrowland, pass through Disney’s California Adventure and hop off and on at Downtown Disney, if you wish. You’ll need a valid ticket to get back inside the Park.
  • Space Mountain – The fastest coaster in Disneyland Park and it’s also completely indoors and in almost total darkness! Lots of sharp twists and turns, this one will make you feel like you’re riding a rocket through the stars.
  • Autopia – Though you’re only driving about 7 miles per hour, you’ll feel the freedom of the open road! This attraction dates back to opening day in 1955, before there was a center guide rail keeping your car on the road. I love the little bridges, lush landscaping and “off road” section. Being tall enough to drive your own Autopia vehicle is a rite of passage!

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

4. Frontierland

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – When this first opened, my parents literally dragged my brother and I to get on the ride! We were scared of what looked like a runaway train. Of course, we’ve come to love the “Wildest Ride in the Wilderness” and new additions to the attraction make it better than ever. It’s my favorite Disneyland Mountain!

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

  • Mark Twain Riverboat – The tour will take you around the Rivers of America. Coast past Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer’s Island where you can spot frontier fun along the way. The ride features a narration by an actor reading as the author Mark Twain, whom this paddle wheel steam engine riverboat is named after.

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

  • Golden Horseshoe – Order up a sundae with the works and enjoy a silly show in what is one of the original buildings from 1955. I still miss Billy Hill & the Hillbillies, who headlined here for years but the Laughing Stock Co. gang will give you a giggle. It’s a nice place to take an ice cream break. Sit back and imagine when Walt Disney himself was sitting in the upper right reserved box.
What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

Lunch and a show at Disneyland’s The Golden Horseshoe (they have huge sundaes, too!)

5. Adventureland

  • The Enchanted Tiki Room – Let’s all sing like the birdies sing! 200+ Audio-animatronics perform before your eyes in this tropical paradise. The show is lively, the music is charming and you may find yourself singing along (go ahead, everyone else will be singing too!). And you can have Dole Whips inside from the Tiki Juice Bar…enough said!

Two Disneyland secrets about the Enchanted Tiki Room. 1. If you’re going to buy a Dole Whip, do so from the line inside the Tiki Room waiting area. It’s always a shorter queue than the line outside. 2. There’s also a hidden bathroom here if you need to go (and it’s never busy!)

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

  • Jungle Cruise – Another 1955 original, this one evolved over the years from a serious African jungle tour into a slightly silly romp through the rain forest, complete with jokes from the skippers. Each skipper puts their own spin on the tour along with incorporating classic gags from year’s past.

Save Money on Your Disneyland 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).


6. New Orleans Square

  • French Market Restaurant – The New Orleans Square feeling is alive here! After choosing your meal in the buffet line, take a seat outside to enjoy the Dixieland Band. The meatloaf and mashed potatoes are divine and my son can’t miss the corn chowder in a bread bowl. It’s my favorite dining spot. Treat yourself to Mickey Mouse shaped beignets and a mint julep from the Mint Julep Bar for dessert!

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Truly one of the best amusement park rides, the detail and special effects are incredible. New additions based on the movies have been added to enhance the story line. Floating through the foggy battle scene, you will feel completely transported…it gives me goosebumps every time!
  • Haunted Mansion – I was in my 20s before I actually rode through this attraction with my eyes open! Appropriately spooky, the Haunted Mansion has just the right amount of fright and fun (but you’ll only catch the humor if you have your eyes open!) From around mid-September to early-January you can see the Haunted Mansion Holiday version (inspired by Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas).
What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!

The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, done over Nightmare Before Christmas-style.

7. When Night Falls

  • Fireworks Spectacular – Okay, so you’ve seen fireworks before. But if you haven’t seen them at Disneyland before! And this show is not to be missed! Over the years we’ve watched the shows in the sky from where ever we were in the Park. I’ve even sat outside the Park on the esplanade to watch. But absolutely nothing beats watching them from the center of Main Street. I cried, seriously. It’s the perfect way to close out a Disney day!

If this is your first Disneyland vacation, I highly recommend you do pre-vacation research to maximize your time and expenses. Be sure to read this post, 5 Things You Need to Do Before Your First Disneyland Vacation. Then order your FREE Disney Parks vacation planning video to watch before your trip! CLICK THE IMAGE TO RECEIVE A FREE DISNEY VACATION PLANNING VIDEO.


 

Did I miss including your favorites? Tell me in the comments what rides and attractions are “can’t miss” in your book!

What are the must-do Disneyland attractions for first time visitors? See my one-day itinerary of must-do Disney in California!


How to Avoid the Disneyland Meltdown

We’ve all seen the videos online of kids at Disney having temper tantrums, right? These poor kids will lay right down on Main Street U.S.A. and have an epic meltdown! Did you know that the Disneyland meltdown can be avoided? You can potentially avoid the tantrums, with just a little pre-planning and my tried-and-tested tips. I’ve even included a list of quiet areas throughout the Disneyland Parks where kids & adults alike can rest.

Avoiding the Disneyland Meltdown

With a 14-year old child on the Autism spectrum (as well as another 14-year old, a six-year old and a toddler), our family goal when going to amusement parks is to completely eliminate the dreaded meltdown. For the most part, we’ve done pretty well when we follow this plan. But as you can see from this picture, sometimes tantrums happen! Keep reading for my best tips on avoiding the Disneyland meltdown.

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs.

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!

1. Be Prepared By Doing Your Pre-Vacation Homework

Kids who don’t know what to expect are more likely to meltdown. I highly discourage the “surprise” vacation! Prep your children ahead of your Disneyland vacation by showing them YouTube videos of rides and attractions and the free Disney Parks vacation planning guide (see below how to get one). Some families don’t want to watch anything or know too much about what they’re going to experience in person. But if you have a child who is prone to meltdowns, this planning is imperative. Don’t think of this pre-vacation planning as “spoiling” your trip – consider it preparation that builds excitement for the real thing!

CLICK THE IMAGE TO RECEIVE A FREE DISNEY VACATION PLANNING VIDEO

Be sure to read my tips for the best way to surprise your kids with a Disneyland vacation.


2. Book Your Trip in the Off-Season

Nothing will induce a family to tears faster than long waits for everything! Tight, loud crowds tend to increase my blood pressure so you can only imagine how stressful it can be for a child. Try to plan your trip during a less busy off-season. How to know when the Parks will be busy and when it’s the best time to plan your vacation? See my posts about the Best Times of the Year to Visit Disneyland (and Why) as well as the Dates to Avoid Disneyland When Planning Your Vacation.

I recommend my partner Get Away Today when purchasing your vacation package. You’ll receive your tickets in advance and save time in line as well. 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).

3. Bring Back-Up

An extra set of hands (or two) can be vital towards keeping everyone happy. Consider having additional family, friends or even the babysitter come with you to Disneyland to help with the kids. Having people there to take turns holding toddlers in line and entertaining youngsters while you wait for a meal is invaluable to your own sanity!

4. Have a Flexible Schedule

Having a loose schedule is important when planning out your Disneyland day. Before your trip you should know what attractions are must-do, where you’ll eat your meals and what shows you want to watch. Having a plan will help you pace yourself and make sure you can really fit it all in.

That being said, you’re schedule should allow for some flexibility. Plan in plenty of downtime. Alternate activities between rides, character greetings, meals and shows or parades. And don’t be stressed out if you need to change up the schedule. Do what you need to do to avoid the meltdown rather than push the schedule at all costs.

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs.

5. Tired Legs = Cranky Kids

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

6. Feed Me

Ever been “hangry”? Then you know what I’m talking about with the borderline anger that swells up when you’re overly hungry. You can bring food into the Disneyland Parks so pack a bag with healthy snacks. Hand them out frequently to keep blood-sugars level.

And while it’s great to indulge in some of the sweet treats available at the Disneyland Parks, know that a diet of sugar-sprinkles and carb-overload isn’t ideal all day. Check out my tips on How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!).

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs.

We walked over the Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel for lunch & a break from the parks.

7. Take It Easy By Taking a Break

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

8. Avoid Pressure

Does this sound familiar – When you push, your kid pushes back? You know your kid. If they really don’t want to do something and you press too much, you’re going to find yourself facing an epic Disneyland temper tantrum! Some kids who are scared or nervous lash out with a meltdown in a show of frustration. If you’re concerned that your child might not hold up well with new experiences, read these 5 Helpful Tips for Calming Scared and Anxious Kids at Disney.

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs.

No pressure…Mickey’s cool!

9. Don’t Skip Naps

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

Looking for more tips on Disneyland with toddlers? Read One Day Itinerary – Insider Tips for Disneyland with a Toddler.

10. Avoid the Shops

For my youngest son, he is great with all things Disney. But get him inside of a shop and the temptation for souvenirs can bring him to tears. For my family, we tend to avoid the souvenir shops. We usually pre-purchase souvenirs using the ideas in this post, Disney Souvenirs To Buy BEFORE Your Disney Vacation.

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs.

However if you do want to purchase souvenirs inside the Parks, here are a few words of advice. Go into the shops with a plan. Does your child want a t-shirt or a hat? Are they going to buy a lollipop or a candied apple? Knowing ahead of time what they are specifically looking for will help them narrow things down. Kids can get so overwhelmed with the plethora of choices that trying to make a decision can really stress them out.

I’d also recommend waiting until the last day of your trip to buy souvenirs. Let kids look in the shops at a casual pace during one day of your trip so they can get an idea of what things they’d like to purchase.

11. Consider DAS for Special Needs

Is your special needs child having a challenging time with the extensive queue waiting? Consider requesting a DAS (Disability Access Service) pass. See this post about Disneyland’s DAS with tips on making it work for you.

12. Find Other Things to Do

The distraction method is a great way to divert from a meltdown. Have a special stash of things just for this purpose. This fun World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game is perfect for waiting in line or at a restaurant. Small toy cars or bubbles are another treat that you can use for distraction before a meltdown.13. Be On Alert for An Oncoming Disneyland Meltdown

There tends to be a build up of bad moods before the big meltdown occurs. Stopping and redirecting immediately if you see a change in attitude or if you sense that a meltdown is developing is crucial. There is no attempt to try and squeeze in “one more” event – bail out of your schedule and seek out a restful spot.

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs.

Disneyland Resort Spots to Rest and Recollect

When your kid is headed for a meltdown, go immediately to one of these quiet spots at the Disneyland Resort for a little decompressing. These would also be great places to sit with a child who is sleeping in their stroller!

DISNEYLAND

  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island has many shaded areas to sit, relax and people-watch from across the Rivers of America.
  • On the right hand side of Sleeping Beauty Castle is Snow White’s Grotto. The water-feature with the twirling fish is rather hypnotic! Toss some change into the Wishing Well.
  • Our daughter wanted to meet Tinker Bell in Pixie Hollow. We requested an alternative waiting area (instead of the noisy line in the sun). We waited as long as everyone else (about 30 minutes that day) but were given a shaded area where she could spread out and not have the noise or crowd.
  • The waiting areas at each Train Station have covered seating. Except for when the train pulls in, these are fairly quiet places to rest. The train is also a great distraction!
  • At the exit to the Jungle Cruise, just outside of Aladdin’s Oasis is a quiet spot to sit and have a snack. I like to pick up a beef skewer from Bengal Barbeque and sit here to enjoy it.
  • On the lower deck of the Hungry Bear Restaurant, tucked all the way in the back is a sweetly shaded resting spot overlooking the Rivers of America. It’s also where the ducks gather so toss them a few bread crumbs!

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

  • Next to the entrance of Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante is a covered walkway with tiled seating and a restroom nearby. It’s particularly pretty here in the evenings.
  • Take a slow walk inside the coolness of Sleeping Beauty. If your child doesn’t like tight quarters or can’t handle the stairs, there is an accessible space to view the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough on a high-definition screen. It’s a quiet location with little trinkets on display.
  • Take a trip around the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain Riverboat. Lots of benches in the shade and you’ll get a cool breeze across the water.
quiet10

Walk behind Harbour Galley for a view of the Rivers of America – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

  • Around the side of Harbour Galley is a quiet and shady dining area.
  • Between “it’s a small world” and the Matterhorn (next to Edelweiss Snacks) is a quiet boat pier overlooking a lovely water feature. It has a covered awning and bench seating and is a perfect place to rest between rides.

DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK

  • In Hollywood Land, just outside of Monsters Inc. are benches under shade.
  • Stop over at Sonoma Terrace for a snack in the covered patio that overlooks the Pier.

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

  • The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail offers not only busy-body activities like rope swings and rock climbing walls but a few restful benches under the trees.
  • Rest yourself on one of the benches around the covered promenade underneath the Silly Symphony Swings. You’ll get a nice overview of the water (though this area isn’t exactly the most quiet it does not have much foot-traffic).
  • In front of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! there are places to sit in the shade. Even better, in front of the shop by the exit of  the ride there is an out of the way bench. After a while, you won’t even notice the screams!
  • Walk Grizzly Trail behind Grizzly River Run for a quiet and cool pace and perhaps a refreshing mist from the water ride!
quiet11

Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

  • The umbrella-covered tables in Paradise Garden Grill are an out-of-the-way locale for lunch.
  • There is a relatively quiet path between Cars Land and “a bug’s land”. It’s a peaceful walk and transition between Lands.
  • Just as you pass under the rock formation in Cars Land into the Pacific Wharf area there is a quiet shady space. You can rest here against the guard rails or pull up a chair outside at Flo’s V-8 (you don’t have to dine here to sit).

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

Even the Best Laid Plans May Not Avoid Disneyland Meltdown 

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

Tips for avoiding the dreaded Disneyland Meltdown

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

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

Want to avoid the Disneyland meltdown on your vacation? Temper tantrums at Disney can be avoided by following these tested tips with advice for a happier kids. Includes a list of quiet places to rest inside the Parks and tips for kids with special needs and toddlers. #Disney #Disneyland #FamilyTravel #Vacation #California #SoCal #VisitCalifornia #Toddlers #SpecialNeeds #TravelBlogger #TravelwithKids #PositiveParenting #TemperTantrum


Disneyland with a Toddler – Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day at the Happiest Place on Earth!

For many little ones, Disneyland is an enchanting place! They delight in the rides, the brights lights and color and the unique sounds throughout the Parks. For other kids, Disneyland can be an exhausting overload to the senses with large (sometimes frightening) characters, swift moving rides and too many things they are unaccustomed to. To be honest, I could be describing the same toddler – depending upon if they’ve napped or had a recent snack! Thinking about visiting Disneyland with a toddler? Here are my top 14 tips!

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

Disneyland Tips with Toddlers

5 Things You Need to Do Before Your First Disney Vacation

1. Make a Solid Plan Before Your Trip

To minimize crowds and wait times, avoid traveling during “peak season” (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, Summer). Aim for a trip mid-week, as a Wednesday is considerably less crowded than a Saturday.

Keep in mind that children under three do not require an admission ticket. Two-year olds and under receive free entry, hurrah!

I highly recommend NOT surprising your toddler with a Disney vacation. Little ones need time to adjust. Check out the Disneyland vacation planning videos. Watch YouTube videos of the rides. Create a countdown calendar. The more prepare your toddler is about the vacation, the more they’ll know what to expect.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day


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 2. Size Them Up!

Measure your child’s height so you can know ahead of time which rides have height restrictions. You don’t want to promise a ride on Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land and then find out that he’s too short!

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

A few inches too short for Soarin’ Over California.

3. Which Rides Are “Must-Do”

Know ahead of time that you won’t be able to see or do everything. If you know that your toddler is going to love “it’s a small world” then make sure that happens. Just realize that it might happen more than once if it’s a ride they fall in love with and request you ride again and again!

Read up on the rides on the Disneyland website to know what is most appropriate for your toddler. This interactive list from the Disneyland site shows which rides and attractions are well-loved by most toddlers.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

Yee-haw! Swinging around at Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

4. Bring What You Can From Home

You can purchase quite a bit inside the Parks but it’s going to come at a premium price. So make sure you pack enough diapers, wipes and snacks for your trip. Bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for each member of the family. Check out this post on what to bring to Disneyland (and what to leave at home). Here is a kid’s Disney packing list as well!

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

5. Wary of Characters?

Some toddlers are frightened when they finally see their favorite characters in the Parks. After all they are used to seeing these guys tiny on the television screen or on the pages of a book! Now Mickey is larger than life and that could be very unnerving from some kids. First try looking at the characters from afar. Talk aloud with your toddler, noting how the other people are interacting and how friendly the character is. Only if your child is willing should you try to approach the character.

There is no point in pressuring your toddler to try and get their picture with Mickey if they are terrified and crying – this will only make them more tense for the rest of the day. Only book a character dining experience if your toddler is happy meeting different characters. Check out these posts about the Sure-Fire Ways to Meet Mickey (and other characters) and How to Encourage Shy Kids to Be Brave at Disney.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

Breakfast with Pluto at Mickey’s Surf’s Up! at the Paradise Pier Hotel

6. Let Toddlers Stretch Their Legs

Make sure to let little ones burn off excess energy by hitting one of the play areas in the Parks. At the Disneyland Resort, kids can climb up and down the stairs in Tarzan’s Treehouse. In Toontown, Goofy’s Playhouse has an indoor/outdoor play yard. On a hot day, toddlers can splash at Princess Dot Puddle Park in Disney California Adventure Park.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

Sliding at Goofy’s Playhouse

7. Big and Little

It can be challenging to please everyone when you have a toddler and older children in your group. With two or more adults, you might consider splitting up during the day to make sure everyone gets their fair share of entertainment.

On our last trip while the two big kids rode with my husband on Radiator Springs Racers, Dillon and I visited with Mater and Lightning McQueen. Consider taking advantage of the “Rider Switch” service that allow parents (and older siblings) to take turns riding certain rides that aren’t intended for small children, without standing in line over again.

See a Cast Member at the entrance for instructions on how the process workds. Be sure to read this TravelingMom post Tweens & Toddlers at Disney – What You Need to Make Everyone Happy.

Carsland at Disney's California Adventure

8. Take in the Entertainment…But Know Your Audience

My toddler son adored Mickey’s Soundsational Parade on our last visit. He happily sat in his stroller and clapped and waved to the characters on the floats. It was adorable to see him enjoy himself so much. He also loves seeing his favorite characters in the Disney Junior Stage Show.

Though I love Frozen: Live at the Hyperion, I know that at only 2-years old, my toddler is probably not ready to sit through a 60-minute stage show. The show also has some dark elements that might frighten young children. Know your child and review the Disney Parks website entertainment sections before planning what shows to watch with your toddler.


9. Nervous on Rides?

When I took my now ten-year old to Disneyland for the first time he was only 15-months old and the unfamiliar motion of the rides made him tense. Again, there is no reason that children should be pressured to ride if they are scared. Read my article Helpful Tips for Calming Scared & Nervous Kids at Disney for more tips about making your children comfortable with trying new experiences in the Park.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

10. No Nap!

If you have a little one with you, plan the day around your toddler’s schedule. I’d recommend hitting their favorites first thing in the morning. We like to get to Fantasyland first and circle this intimate area with our 2-year old just after the Park opens. From there we will stick to one Land at a time so there isn’t a lot of walking and criss-crossing the Park.

Once nap time arrives, the adults or older children in our group take turns on a few of the thrill-rides while someone waits with the toddler. We choose to let our little guy nap in his stroller but I’ve found that stroller naps are never quite as long or as “effective” as a real nap. You may want to consider taking your toddler back to the hotel for a proper nap time.

Check out my post on Disney Baby for more tips on getting little ones to nap at Disneyland.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

11. Hunger = Crankiness

Bring with you plenty of healthy snacks from home for your toddler to nibble on throughout the day. You can bring in a sippy cup and request ice water from any counter service restaurant for free.

What to do at Disneyland when the temps soar!

Snack, stroller, sunglasses & sunhat…I’m ready for a Disneyland day!

12. Use a Stroller (Even If You Think You Won’t Need One) 

Disney days can be long and toddler legs can only take so much walking! It’s also nice to have the storage basket underneath the stroller to hold diapers, snacks and souvenirs. I bring a lightweight blanket to drape over the stroller and use as a sunshield at nap time.

At the end of the night your toddler may fall asleep and after a long day, the last thing you’ll want to do is carry your heavy kid back to the car or hotel! We live close by the Parks and always bring our own stroller. If you are traveling and don’t want to pack a stroller you can rent one at the Parks.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

Napping on a pillow of cotton candy…only at Disneyland!

13. Map Out the Bathrooms

Especially important if your toddler is toilet-training, you won’t want to be in a Land without knowing where the closest potty is! Both men’s and women’s restrooms have diaper-changing areas (bring a cushioned, wipeable changing pad).

We love to make a stop inside the Baby Care Center. They have teeny-tiny toilets and clean changing tables. You can also purchase extra diapers and wipes here if needed.

Disneyland with a Toddler -Top 14 Tips for a Happy Day

14. Go With the Flow!

One of the most important things when bringing your toddler to Disneyland is to remember to “Go with the flow!” Make happy memories, take lots of pictures and simply have a great time. If you find yourself or your toddler getting stressed out, take a break. Go back to the hotel, go swimming, have a snack or simply take the Grand Circle Tour on the Disneyland Railroad around the Park.

Considering Disneyland with a toddler? Read these 14 practical tips that will make your Disney vacation so much happier!


SoCal Guide – Legoland Brick or Treat Halloween Party

Legoland California Brick or Treat Halloween Party

Looking for a unique Halloween event where kids can wear their costumes, trick-or-treat in a safe environment, enjoy rides, shows and attractions and be surrounded by their favorite toy? It’s got to be the Legoland Brick or Treat Halloween Party!

It has been several years since I last took my boys to this event. The Brick or Treat party it was brand new in the three years that we attended so Legoland was still working out the kinks, so to speak. At the time, only a small portion of the park remained open, it was incredibly crowded and frankly, dealing with the crowds was not very fun.

I am so happy to see that as this event has grown so has the entertainment. A considerable amount of the park is open for the party so the crowd can spread out. Previous years featured only one (very busy!) trick-or-treat trail but now the locations have been scattered throughout the park, including into the Sea Life Aquarium. The party also ends with a bang: Fireworks close out the night at 9 pm!

Legoland California Brick or Treat Halloween Party

The Brick or Treat Halloween Party is a separate ticket event that includes live entertainment with dancing, costumed character meet-and-greets and special Lego Halloween models. There are themed costume contests for kids 12 and under (make sure to register when you arrive). Prizes include annual passes, Lego toys or a stay at the Legoland Hotel so it’s worth putting forth some effort into your costumes in the hopes of winning a great prize!

Legoland California Brick or Treat Halloween Party

Children can walk down the not-so-spooky Brick-or-Treat Trail or the other stations scattered throughout the park to collect a mix of healthy snacks along with sweets. They also hand out Lego goodies including a collector’s item Lego Brick, Lego Club Magazine, Lego Legends of Chima poster and Lego toys.

Guests can choose to purchase a ticket that allows all-day entry to Legoland California and the Sea Life Aquarium, along with an entry to that evening’s Brick-or-Treat event. Or you can choose another option that allows entry to theBrick-or-Treat event between the hours of 5-9 pm (entry allowed starting at 4 pm). Legoland Pass Members can add on a Brick-or-Treat event ticket for $15 per person.

Legoland California Brick or Treat Halloween Party

The West side closes at 5 pm but the rest of the park is open (only guests who have wristbands for the Brick or Treat event are permitted to remain in the park). Guests with event-only wristbands can enter the gates beginning at 4 pm.

Legoland California Brick or Treat Halloween Party

Check out the Event Guide for more details, as well as a map of the park. You’ll have a spooky good time!

 

Must-Read SeaWorld San Diego Guide

Want to hold a sea star? Or get up-close and personal with sea turtles? Watch an orca whale leap from the water, see penguins dive into icy water or observe beluga whales below water? Want to meet a dolphin (and probably get splashed?) Then Sea World San Diego is the place for you! This is the SeaWorld San Diego guide you need to have a great day at this park.

As a San Diego native, my family and I have been going to Sea World for as long as I can remember. The park has changed quite a bit over the years but some things have remained constant throughout. Sea World San Diego has always been a unique experience. It’s safe, clean and well-kept with offerings of education alongside the fun!

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

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

SeaWorld San Diego Guide

My SeaWorld San Diego guide tips will help you properly plan your day. The park is very easy to navigate. Start your planning by looking at the park map and plot out your day. It is quite possible to see all of the exhibits in one day (if you aren’t lingering too long in any one place). However it might be a challenge to see all of the shows. Show times often overlap so you’ll need to choose your must-dos.

Tickets: I recommend pre-purchasing tickets ahead of time. You can purchase vacation packages or just tickets on the SeaWorld website. Some of the packages include free dining offers, front of the line access or special souvenirs.

What Should You Bring to SeaWorld?

Bring a lightweight jacket or sweatshirt. SeaWorld is located along the bay and it can be chilly and windy. Always pack your sunscreen. While it might be overcast early in the day, the sun often peeks out after noon and it may get very hot. A hat is a must as the show stadiums do not offer much shade.

Parking: 

General parking is $20 per car. If you arrive before or at park opening, the general parking will suffice. If you’re arriving later in the day during peak season, consider $25 for up-close parking or VIP parking, which starts at $35.

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Is Outside Food Allowed at SeaWorld?

While the official website says that only water is allowed, we have brought in small snacks with us for our kids without issue.

Security Checks:

All packages, backpacks and purses are inspected before park entry.

Drying Stations:

Should you get soaked anywhere in the park, there are convenient drying stations where you can purchase a warm air full-body drying!

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Must-See Shows at SeaWorld San Diego

  • One thing you’ll notice that has changed at SeaWorld is they no longer mention the name “Shamu”. The SeaWorld San Diego orca show is now called Orca Encounter. The show is now more about education and learning about these beautiful creatures than pure entertainment. Orca Encounter is a must-see. Even though trainers no longer join the orcas in the water, the show is still very exciting. Seeing enormous killer whales leap so effortlessly is a magnificent sight.
  • Pet’s Rule! animal show with rescued pets is a family favorite.
  • Sea Lions LIVE is fast paced, funny and very popular so make sure you get there early for a good seat!
  • Dolphin Days features the swift and playful dolphins and pilot whales.

Tips for Watching SeaWorld Shows:

  • Remember to pay attention to the “soak zone” areas and protect your belongings.
  • Show times often overlap so I definitely recommend choosing your must-do shows ahead of time.
  • Make sure you get to those shows early (at least 20 minutes, but 30 minutes is even better on busy days) for the best seat.
  • Guests can purchase a Reserved Seating Pass for popular shows, which offers special viewing areas. This is a good idea during peak seasons, as the stadiums do reach capacity.

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Sealife Interactions & Touch Pools

There are several places around the park where guests can interact with sea life. Right inside the front entrance is Explorer’s Reef. With four touch-pools it’s an incredible interactive experience. If you want more intense education or want to get into the water, there are special tours available for purchase.

See my post about the SeaWorld San Diego touch pools for more details!

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Thrill Rides at SeaWorld San Diego

Sea World has always been the place for unique interactions with marine life and now with the addition of several thrill rides, Sea World San Diego is a place for mild and wild thrills as well!

  • Manta is a fast roller coaster. Afterwards you can visit the interactive manta ray exhibit. The rays flop right up next to the ledge and let you “pet” them!
  • Journey to Atlantis is my kid’s favorite; they love that 60-foot drop!
  • Coming this spring is Electric Eel, which will feature inversions and loops in a high speed ride.

SeaWorld Vacation Tip: SeaWorld offers a front-of-the-line access pass called Quick Queue. This priority boarding access can be purchased online (or in the park) for select rides around the park.

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

You’ll get a good splash on Atlantis


Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Mild Thrills Attractions

In addition to the high thrill rides there are some really fun attractions for younger kids too. With under-the-sea themes like Tentacle Twirl and Sea Dragon Drop, little kids will “get” the pun.

SeaWorld Vacation Tip: If you have younger children who enjoy rides, head for this area first thing in the morning for the shorter queues. You might even get to ride it all by yourself, like my son!

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Octorock

Aquariums at SeaWorld San Diego

  • One of the most amazing attractions is Shark Encounter. After viewing the sharks from above, you’ll journey through a tunnel that transports you right into the shark tank! As sharks float above and around you, you’ll be thrilled and terrified all at the same time!
  • Next door to Shark Encounter, be sure to visit Turtle Reef and see these gentle giants floating inside a floor-to-ceiling tank (and they are usually eating lettuce for lunch!)

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

  • The Wild Arctic Flight Simulator ride takes guests on a fantastical journey that lands them on a glacier. Afterwards get close to real arctic animals like polar bear, walrus and beluga whales. This is one of my favorite areas of the park because you can view the belugas both above and below the water. SeaWorld Vacation Tip: You don’t have to take the ride. Choose the non-simulator side and either watch the show or immediately walk through to see the animals.
  • Everyone enjoys the ice wall feature inside Wild Arctic! You can run your hands across it (some guests press a penny into the ice to make a hole).
  • Across from the Wild Arctic area you can visit the Penguin Encounter which is my most favorite place. A long moving sidewalk takes you through the exhibit where you can view nearly 300 penguins in action. I love watching the penguins swimming so quickly underwater and then propelling themselves straight out to land on the rocks…I could watch that all day!!

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Sesame Street Bay of Play at SeaWorld San Diego

Sesame Street Bay of Play is the place to let little ones burn off some energy. There are several family rides aimed at the younger set. Kids will also enjoy ropes to climb, fun house mirrors and slides. Cash-play carnival games and an arcade are here as well. We won a giant giraffe pillow on the ring toss!

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

There is a baby and toddler soft-play area as well. Elmo and friends make an appearance at scheduled times for photo opportunities with guests. Bring a bathing suit, towel and water shoes for toddlers and preschoolers to splash in the water-play area.

SeaWorld Vacation Tip: The Sesame Street Bay of Play is a popular area that can get quite congested. Stop here first thing in the morning and the ride lines will be very short.

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Other Fun Things to Do at SeaWorld

Sea World San Diego offers Premier Experiences that put guests right into the water with beluga whales, penguins or dolphins (for an additional fee). You can also get a more in-depth experience or a behind-the-scenes peek at marine life with one of several tours that Sea World offers.

Stop over at the Sea World San Diego website to learn more about their park, educational programs and both day and overnight camps for students and families. Sea World is a place to learn, discover and also have a lot of good family fun!

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

Dining at SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld has many great choices for dining that will please everyone. The food is always really high quality and delicious. My favorite is Calypso Bay Smokehouse (it’s hard to resist when you smell the barbeque ribs and chicken!) SeaWorld offers a very reasonably priced All-Day Dining Deal for guests, which includes dining at six of their popular restaurants for the entire day you spend at the park.

There is also the unique dining option of eating alongside the orca tank at either Breakfast with Orcas or Dine with Orcas. Both are buffet-type meals with delicious dishes on the menus. My family enjoyed our meal here, read up for all the details and tips: SoCal Guide – SeaWorld San Diego Dine with Orcas

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

SeaWorld San Diego Special Events

SeaWorld San Diego Seven Seas Food Festival takes place during the spring each year. This event highlights some special food and drinks sold throughout the park, as well as family-friendly entertainment.

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego

New in summer 2018 is the Sesame Street Party Parade. Returning is Electric Ocean Light Festival with nighttime shows, lasers and dancing. Fireworks spectacular shows take place on various summer holiday weekends.

Families can enjoy seasonal fall fun at the SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular. Children may dress in costume and trick-or-treat through the park.

Get into the holiday spirit at SeaWorld San Diego Christmas Celebration. We loved this special event which includes greetings with Santa and elves, holiday food and spirits and fun entertainment.

Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego


Save Money on Your SeaWorld 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).


Ultimate guide to SeaWorld San Diego, including what shows to see, what to do and where to eat. There are also tips on seasonal events & special animal interaction tours. #SeaWorld #SanDiego #SoCal #California #VisitCalifornia #TravelBlogger #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #TravelGuide

SoCal Guide – What to Do, See and Eat at Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm

My family was supplied Knott’s Berry Farm park tickets to facilitate this post. Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Flying around on the Waveswinger. The bandit holdup on the Calico Railroad. Boysenberry everything! My Dad whooping it up on the Dragon Swing. The Ghost Town buildings. Getting splashed on the Timber Mountain Log Ride.

And not be missed: The biscuits and fried chicken at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant! After all, the restaurant is what started the whole place. If you don’t know the history behind Knott’s Berry Farm this is fascinating story (that precedes Disneyland). Did you know that all boysenberries in the world can trace their roots to Knott’s Berry Farm?

Knott's Berry Farm - Fiesta Village

As a kid I always felt like I was betraying my love of Disneyland by also loving Knott’s but I can appreciate now that these are actually two very different places. I can’t compare them any more than I could compare my children to each other, they each have a different feel.

Knott's Berry Farm

I had been to Knott’s Berry Farm often as a child and then only returned as an adult with my boys about 7 years ago. There were some quality control issues (unkept, dirty, etc) at the time as well as it being overrun by rowdy teenagers. But all of those former problems seemed to have improved greatly when my family and I went last summer. Knott’s was clean, the rides were all in good working order, employee attitudes seemed more upbeat and they had many new rides. Lots of new coasters have popped up around the park over the years. My young thrill-seekers love them but I find it to be somewhat disjointed. Hard to get into the feel of the place (Wild West/Boardwalk/Mexican Village) when coasters are whizzing overhead!

Knott's Berry Farm


Knott’s Ghost Town

Knott’s Berry Farm started off as an “amusement park” when Mr. Knott brought in old buildings from actual abandoned towns. I think that the Ghost Town is much smaller than I remember but they have probably moved things out over time to make way for all the big coasters. We always make a stop at the Blacksmith and watch him making horseshoes, have a chat with Sad Eye Joe and pump water from the well. The Old School House is a favorite of mine… visions of Laura Ingalls Wilder dancing through my head!

Old School House - Knott's Berry Farm

Entertainment at Knott’s can be hit or miss. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Native American dancers. The Calico Saloon show we watched last time was energetic however the room was lacking in chairs (though there was plenty of space) and it was stifling hot and without air conditioning (terrible in August!). We watched the Fool’s Gold Stunt Show in an open-air theater that featured some very cool seating (inside covered wagons). The show was a bit corny but the young boys in the audience particularly liked it!

 

Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (who formerly performed under the name Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland) are now performing at Knott’s. I can’t wait to see them again! They were always a must-see for me at Disneyland.

 

I always thought the figures placed around Knott’s to be a quirky and interesting touch. We have taken tons of photos with these characters over the years. My mom has pictures of me at 3 years old sitting on the benches with these figures. As you can see my son and husband were really enjoying playing it up with these “ladies”.


Camp Snoopy at Knott’s Berry Farm

 

Camp Snoopy has had some recent remodeling and new rides added since we visited last year. When we return to Knott’s later this month, I’ll update with a review on these rides for little ones and the newly revamped area. Camp Snoopy is one of my favorite spots in Knott’s.

Knott's Berry Farm

My guy was delighted with the Rocky Mountain Trucking Company on our last visit as you can see!

 

 

 


Knott’s Berry Farm Thrill Rides

THIS is my favorite picture, though:

Sidewider - Knott's Berry Farm

This photo of my son and stepdaughter riding the Sidewinder last year sits on my desk and never fails to put a smile on my face. She is looking ahead with such a huge smile and he is screaming and clinging on for dear life…it’s as if their normal personalities were “side-winded” and switched during the ride!

There is a picture of me on the Xcelerator from over 10 years ago that I will not be sharing. Let’s just say that my son’s about-to-die face is put to shame with my white-knuckled picture from Xcelerator!

Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm

My kids had no problem with the Xcelerator though, they wanted to ride it again! I’m not a roller coaster gal due to motion sickness issues so I’d much prefer to sit on the sidelines and take pictures. My kids and husband were all about the thrill rides!


What to Eat at Knott’s Berry Farm

Lunch or dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant is a MUST. Seriously, the best fried chicken ever! The entire restaurant has recently been remodeled and looks beautiful inside and out. Purchase the chicken dinner and you’ll receive handmade biscuits, side salad, choice of cabbage or cherry rhubarb, three pieces of fried chicken and mashed potatoes smothered with gravy. And for dessert, your choice of boysenberry pie or boysenberry sherbet. Definitely a large enough meal to share (because you’ll want to leave room for that boysenberry pie!)

Knott’s Vacation Tip: Make a meal reservation for the restaurant if you want to eat at the popular dinner time. Otherwise if you show up right when the restaurant opens, you should be able to grab a seat without waiting too long.


Special Events

Knott’s Berry Farm hosts several special events throughout the year.

Boysenberry Festival – Springtime is kicked off with their popular Boysenberry Festival. All in celebration of the little berry that started Knott’s farm to fame, there are 75+ boysenberry-inspired dishes to taste. There’s also a wine and beer tasting garden for the grown ups. Add in a craft fair and plenty of live entertainment and you can’t go wrong with this special event.

Knott’s Scary Farm – 

Knott’s Merry Farm – 


Save Money on Your Knott’s Berry Farm 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).


 

Click the link if you’re looking for more things to do in the Southern California area, besides Disneyland.

 

Have you ever been to Knott’s Berry Farm? What’s your favorite thing to do there?

 

 

 

After Rides, What Else is There to Do at Disneyland?

When you think about Disneyland, the most iconic rides come to mind. And of course there are all those delicious foods and snacks! But once you’ve been on Pirates of the Caribbean and eaten a Little Red Wagon corn dog, what else is there to do at Disneyland? There are so many other memorable things to do at Disneyland besides the popular rides and food. In addition to the basic stuff that is considered an “attraction” on the park map there are also so many other little things that make Disneyland a magical vacation spot.

What’s Not to Miss at Disneyland?

Before your trip, you should make a rough schedule of your day. This way you’ll be certain to get to all of the rides, shows and attractions that are most important to you. If this is your first time at Disneyland, read Must-Do Disneyland- Perfect Itinerary for First Timers. These ideas will give you the best overview of the Park.

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!

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

What Else is There to Do at Disneyland?

If you have more than one day, you’ll be able to pad out your days with some of these additional Disneyland activities. These are the perfect in-between activities that can really add joy to your Disneyland trip. I’ve included suggestions for both the Disneyland Park as well as Disney’s California Adventure park.

The Often-Overlooked Attractions

  • Start off your morning riding one of the Main Street Vehicles down the center of the street. So many people walk right past these! There is a fire engine, a car or the horse-drawn trolley. The drivers are so friendly and often offer vacation tips and Disneyland trivia.
  • Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Walkthrough is a hidden gem…everyone rushes across the drawbridge to Fantasyland, forgetting to walk through the Castle itself! There are miniature scenes brought to life with special effects as you walk through the stairways, I love it.
  • Yes, you can ride on the Rivers of America! Both the Mark Twain Riverboat and the Sailing Ship Columbia take guests for a gentle spin across the waters.
Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

The Castle walk-through entrance is easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it.

Play with Your Favorite Characters

  • Collecting autographs from characters into an Autograph Book is a great way to pass time. It’s also something that kids who are shy enjoy because it gives them a task during the meet n’ greet.
  • If you arrive at the park first thing in the morning there are always lots of characters there for photo ops. You’ll find a variety just inside the gate and then the “Fab 5” meet in the hub of Main Street U.S.A. Some of my favorite photos are of the kids meeting their favorite characters for the first time.
  • Mickey’s House is tucked way in the back of the Park, inside Toontown. The walk-through Mickey’s House is so cute and you get to meet your favorite mouse at the end!
  • Pixie Hollow is located among the tall “leaves” to the right of the Castle. This is where you can meet Tinkerbell and other fairy characters from the series.
  • Meet your favorite Princesses inside the Royal Hall in Fantasy Faire, just to the left of the Castle.

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland


Save Money on Your Disneyland 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).


Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Places Where Kids Can Play

  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island is always a hit with the kids! And so many people see the island but don’t realize you can actually go on it! The Island is a wonderful place to burn off mid-day energy. However stay with your kids because if they go into one of the narrow cave tunnels they may come out on the other side of the island without you!
  • Climb up high into Tarzan’s Treehouse. Sometimes Jane & Tarzan are at the bottom, greeting guests.
  • Donald’s BoatChip & Dale’s Treehouse and Goofy’s Playhouse in Toontown are nice places for kids to run around. There’s also plenty of sitting space for grown-ups in the shade!
  • My kids always love running around in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail inside Disney’s California Adventure park. Do a little rock climbing, tire swinging and rope bridge walking. Stay with your kids because it’s an easy place to lose them!
  • If it’s a warm day, a splash through the sprinklers at Princess Dot Puddle Park inside “a bug’s land” is a refreshing way for kids to cool off.

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Free Fun in the Disneyland Parks

  • Walk into the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop and receive a free chocolate sample.
  • Across the walkway you’ll receive a free sample of sourdough bread at the Bakery Tour.
  • From the moment you walk in the room of the Animation Academy and witness the floor to ceiling movie scenes being shown on the gigantic screens, you will be immersed in all-things animation. Every 30 minutes, guests can take a complimentary drawing class from a Disney artist. You can take home your souvenir drawing.
  • Also inside the Animation Academy you can draw a cartoon in the Sorcerer’s Workshop. It’s really a cool lesson to show kids how basic animation works in this oft-missed location. And you can take the scroll of your cartoon home with you.

More Ways to See Disney Art

  • Watch some of the original Mickey cartoons inside the Main Street Cinema. It’s standing room only but gives a glimpse back at the beginning era of animation.
  • Disney Gallery features original artwork and models that were created as a precursor to many of the attractions in the parks.
  • Pose for your own unique silhouette inside the Silhouette Studio on Main Street U.S.A. My parents purchased one of me when I was three years old and it’s one of my most treasured mementos.
  • There are often featured artists inside the shop Off the Page (California Adventure) or WonderGround Gallery (Downtown Disney)

Where Magical Transformation is Made!

  • Little princesses can get the head-to-toe treatment inside Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. There’s even a package for young knights. You must book an advance reservation for these special packages.
  • There are face painting locations all over inside the Parks. Check out the themed designs, including this Marvel version found at Hollywood Land inside California Adventure park.

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Catch a Show

Some of these shows are just luck. They aren’t featured on the park schedule so you’ll never know when they’ll pop up where you are.

  • Mary Poppins dances with the band in front of the Castle.
  • Enjoy a fairy tale story at the Royal Theater in Fantasy Faire
  • Clap along with the Dapper Dans on Main Street.
  •  Alice and the Mad Hatter conduct a game of musical chairs near the ice cream parlor.
  • My stepson participated in a “beauty” contest in front of the Golden Horseshoe.

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Souvenir Hunting

Why just go into a shop and buy just anything? These fun activities encourage shy kids and result in some pretty cool souvenir keepsakes as well!

Pin Trading

This is a great activity that also serves as a souvenir. Start off with a Lanyard and a few pins, then start trading with any Cast Member who has pins or with other guests.

Pressed Coin Machines

This is my son’s favorite souvenir (which I love because they are cheap!) I’m not telling him that there are over 150 different commemorative images all over the Resort because I just know he’ll want to collect them all!

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Pose for Pictures

  • There is always something new coming in the Disneyland Parks. And with great backdrops to pose with, take the opportunity for a great shot! I took this photo of my family in front of the Cars Land signage before it opened.
  • There are so many gorgeous details in the buildings and in the designs of the gardens. Capture them on camera.
  • Some of the attractions have ride vehicles outside. These are great places to pose for snapshots.
  • Take photos with the statues that encircle the Partners statue in front of the Castle. As you can see my son was having a fun time pretending Pinocchio was biting his finger!

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Take a Tour

If you have the time in your vacation schedule and want to learn more about the Disneyland Resort, consider signing up for a tour.

  • There are guided tours for purchase, like “Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps” Guided Tour.
  • Both the Disneyland Hotel and Disney ‘s Grand Californian Resort offer complimentary tours

Watch the Candy Making

This is seriously one of my favorite things to do inside the Disneyland Parks! There’s always someone making something delicious in the candy shops. See how fudge is poured or how taffy is pulled. View the bakers decorating the treats. And my favorite, you can watch step-by-step how each elaborate candied apple is created.

Look for Hidden Mickeys

There are some wonderful books about finding Hidden Mickeys (try Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland Resort’s Best Kept Secrets). Or just see for your how many you can spot while walking through the park. My son randomly found this Hidden Mickey in a vent just under the stage inside The Golden Horseshoe!

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Do YOU see the hidden Mickey?

Plan Visits During Special Events

Disneyland schedules some fantastic special events year-round. The events mentioned here are included in your regular Park ticket. There are often special entertainment option, interesting dining options and bonus Disney fun! And many of the events offer free kid’s activities.

Outside the Park Entertainment

  • There is free live music every day throughout the Downtown Disney District
  • You don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy Trader Sam’s – Enchanted Tiki Bar. Grab a drink inside or sit on the patio with your cocktails. There is live, acoustic music nightly under the tiki torches. Or just sit and chat around the outdoor fireplace nearby.

Read this post for more ideas on what to do without a Park ticket (many of them free!)

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

Wander and Explore

  • Instead of walking straight across the drawbridge and into Fantasyland through the Castle, try taking the path on the side. This path on the right will take you to Snow White’s Grotto with statues of the characters and her magical wishing well (where donations are given to children’s charities).
  • Put your change in the Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition and use an infrared rifle to shoot at the interactive targets. My dad always made it a point to spend a few quarters here on every trip!
  • Look at the character “turning” the popcorn maker on each cart. Every Land has a different one!
  • Walk by Rancho Del Zocalo’s restaurant at night and admire the gorgeous hanging glass lamps.
  • Jump on the dance floor in Tomorrowland when the live bands play at night (I have so many fun memories of my eldest son at 4 years old, doing “the robot”).
  • Find the “secret” entrance to Club 33 in New Orleans Square.
  • Touch the apple in front of the Snow White ride and hear the witch cackle. You can also see the evil Queen peek out and close the curtains above the ride from one of the windows.
  • Try to pull the “sword from the stone” in front of the carrousel.
Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland

This family station wagon in Grizzly Peak is a great place for a photo op!

Sit Down and People-Watch!

There are so many great people-watching locations throughout the park. Sit on a bench or in the ice cream parlor along Main Street and watch the families rush by. Aladdin’s Oasis (a patio area in between the Tiki Room & the Jungle Cruise) is where we’ve stopped to eat a snack in the shade. Sit in the shade of trees in front of the New Orleans train station or sip a mint julep in New Orlean’s Square. I have more quiet restful spots in my post about avoiding the Disneyland meltdown.

There are a wild amount of little details that set Disneyland apart from all other amusement parks. It’s what makes Disneyland so special to so many people around the world!


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What Are the Things to Do in Anaheim (Other Than Disneyland)?

For other ideas of things to do in the Anaheim, Orange County and Buena Park area near Disneyland, see my post with ideas for Southern California. Lots of fun vacation planning tips for families!

Wondering what there is to do at the Disneyland parks are you've done all the rides and big shows? Check out this list of fantastic ideas that will add lots of magic to your California Disney experience! (many of them are totally free!) #Disneyland