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Taking a toddler to Disneyland


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  • [Question] Taking a toddler to Disneyland

    Hi there guys,

    My husband and I are going with the rest of our family to Disneyland this summer, our son is just 2 and this presents quite a few concerns regarding him. We were personally wanting to wait a few years to take him but our family is doing a reunion down there so we are going.

    What do you recommend for rides etc? He isn't scared of much (a bit of a dare devil) and he LOVES Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (its his favorite tv show).

    We are going to Blue Bayou for dinner one night, is there something you would recommend he get for food?

    Any help would be fantastic!


  • #2
    Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

    Hi! We have taken our 22 month old son to Disneyland a couple of times, and WDW once when he was just under a year & managed it! I even braved one day by myself with him!

    Please pack him lots of snacks! They are a life saver if the line is longer than about 10 mins.

    As far as rides, pretty much anything in Fantasyland is a hit! Peter Pan, Snow White, Pinocchio, even Dumbo is great for that age! But mine also loves Haunted Mansion & Pirates! Be aware that on pirates there are a couple of "fast" drops towards the beginning that startled my guy but didn't scare him off the rest of the ride. The petting zoo area in Frontierland is also fun! Winnie the Pooh is nice.

    At DCA, some we had success with are Ariel, Monsters Inc, & the splash pad in Bugs Land (have a swim diaper or dry clothes!). They have the Disney Jr stage show but I haven't had a chance to see it with my boy!

    I hope this is helpful, just take your time & remember lots of snacks!


    • #3
      Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

      he is free so if youre thinking about take him doesnt hesitate. as for the rides, he will be very limited because of the height requirements, even if he is a dare devil. At Blue Bayou they have a kids menu, only a few items but i know the have spaghetti and mac n cheese.


      • #4
        Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

        My toddler is hit or miss on food and its expensive if it is a miss. If your hotel has a fridge and you have access to going to a store, Id recommend getting a soft cooler lunch bag with some ice packs. Its saved us a lot of money on buying food at the park that our daughter would sometimes not eat. We'd pack sandwhiches, yogurt, fruit, milk whatever your toddler will eat.
        As for rides, try everything he can go on. My daughter loves the classics like Small World and Tiki room and also like the spinners like Dumbo, Mater, Bugs Land. She also loved Gadgets Go Coaster. Its just going to depend on him, but I say try everything. And if he loves Mickey mouse Clubhouse then defenitly make sure to check out Disney Jr at DCA.


        • #5
          Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

          We have been taking our daughter since she was two (she is 6 now). If you are worried about the rides, start with something easy, say in Fantasyland to get them kind of warmed up to the idea of the rides (Although I might skip Snow White as a first ride. We took our daughter on that as her first ride and she came of a little shell shocked, but it ended up being ok.) The little ones might also enjoy the Astro Blasters in Tomorrowland, as a safe first ride with nothing too scary and such. Another thing I did with our daughter is show her videos of rides before we made the trip. I also read her a Haunted Mansion pop up book, and our first trip we went on it and she loved it because it was like the book. That was the first ride we ended up riding 4 times in a row because each time we got off she would smile and say again. She did the same thing later in the day with the Astro Blasters. I also think that some children at 2 are a bit fearless, almost because they have to be to take on the world. DD rode all the rides in Fantasyland first and than we took her on the Matterhorn (which she was just tall enough for at the time, before they redid it with the new ride height). She loved it! If yours seems to be ok after riding Fantasyland and perhaps the Astro Blasters, you could try the Gadget Go Coaster in Toon Town. It's not very long ride and the cars are just big enough to allow a little one to ride with a parent.

          I also recommend bringing familiar snacks for your toddler. If they have a favorite fruit or the like, bring it along. That helps with making them comfortable. Our DD was just potty trained when we took her, so we brought several changes of clothing (8 to be exact). She would get so excited and not want to stop for petty things like bathroom breaks. If either toddler is potty training, make frequent stops at bathrooms. Some children are afraid of the many auto flush toilets in the park. My niece was, so we used small easily removed stickers or our fingers to cover the "eye" to prevent it from flushing and startling her. The baby care center is wonderful (on main street near the infirmary) and has tiny tot size pottys as well as diaper changing facilities.

          One of the things I used to take advantage of were the toddler meals. It comes with a perfect toddler size portion of food like mac and cheese, along with apple sauce and a small drink of juice, milk, or water. It runs a little more than a pretzel but gives a child a decent meal or large snack to keep them going without just bread or sugar. We also allowed her to take a nap in a quiet corner for an hour or so in her stroller while we people watched and that revived her very well.
          “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.”


          • #6
            Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

            Thanks so much everyone! I appreciate it so much! It will help our planning for sure, you guys are great!


            • #7
              Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

              We went a few weeks ago and brought our 13 month old Granddaughter. Hard plans went out the window and we went where she wanted to go. The other ideas are great, just make sure they get a nap if you plan on seeing the fireworks or WOC.
              Seeing DL through the eyes of a toddler can be great.
              Have fun and enjoy the time.


              • #8
                Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                Bring snacks and favorite toys to keep them occupied and happy, and bring plenty of patience and flexibility! For rides, my 2yo niece LOVES the train and monorail, plus boat rides are a hit as well, although she wanted to know where the real animals were on jungle cruise. I guess she's been to the zoo a few too many times!
                Follow me on Instagram: @disneylovingnurse :ap:


                • #9
                  Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                  My younger niece was 2 on her first trip. The Fantasyland dark rides scared her, but she adored Dumbo, the Carrousel, and IASW, and was a trooper on Pirates. She thought the Nemo subs and Autopia were awesome too.

                  But her absolute favorite was Heimlich's Chew Chew Train in Bug's Land in DCA. That one is designed just for toddlers! She would have ridden it all day if we'd let her -- she did it 5 times in a row!


                  • #10
                    Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                    On my way to bed, so will try and make this quick

                    At the Blue Bayou, they have a children's menu. For a two year old, I would recommend the Mickey's Cheesy Macaroni, it's a basic macaroni and cheese and I don't know too many two year old kids who turn their nose up at macaroni and cheese.

                    Take a stroller that your toddler is comfortable in, something that he can comfortably take naps in. If you bring your own stroller, make sure that it's easy to fold, because it will be necessary on the train/trams/buses/monorail/etc throughout the day. If you are bringing your own stroller, mark it in some way so that it is unique, add bright colored ribbon, tape, a sign, or something that screams "our stroller" so that you can easily find it in the sea of strollers that is everywhere throughout Disneyland.

                    The rides your child will enjoy will depend on your child. I have taken many kids to Disneyland over the years, and every child has their "hang ups", for some it's loud noises, others it's fast rides, and some it's dark rides.

                    Sure fire bets at Disneyland that most toddlers enjoy:
                    Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
                    Casey Jr Circus Train
                    Monorail (line up early at gate one to ride in the "cone")
                    Disneyland Railroad (make sure you go past the New Orleans stop for Splash Mountain, if your child might be scared of the dinosaurs, disembark at Tomorrowland)
                    It's A Small World
                    Jungle Cruise (might need to cover ears when they shoot hippos)
                    King Arthur Carousel
                    Mad Tea Party (you don't have to make it spin)
                    The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh
                    Mark Twain Riverboat
                    Peter Pan's Flight (watch out for Captain Hook)
                    Pirate's Of The Caribbean (if you don't think the drops will be a problem)
                    Sailing Ship Columbia (don't stand too close to the cannon)
                    Storybook Land Canal Boats
                    Tarzan's Treehouse
                    Big Thunder Ranch - be sure to stop by and pet the animals
                    Toontown - Chip N Dale's Treehouse, Donald's Boat, Goofy's House
                    Soundsational Parade

                    Sure fire bets that most toddlers at DCA enjoy:
                    Flik's Flyers
                    Francis Ladybug Boogie
                    Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
                    King Triton's Carousel
                    Mickey's Fun Wheel (recommend the non swinging side for a toddler)
                    Monster's Inc Sulley To The Rescue
                    Muppet Vision 3D
                    Princess Dot Puddle Park (you may want to pack a change of clothes if hot day)
                    Toy Story Mania
                    Turtle Talk With Crush
                    Red Car Trolley
                    Disney Jr Live On Stage
                    Pixar Play Parade
                    Phineas and Ferb dance party

                    Rides to use your best judgement based on your child's personality:
                    Alice In Wonderland - some kids are deathly afraid of the Queen Of Hearts during her screaming and the loud explosion at the end
                    Astro Orbitor - do Dumbo first, if he loves Dumbo try this, if not skip it
                    Finding Nemo Submarine - loud most of the time, scares some young children, but so much fun!
                    Haunted Mansion - some kids think the ghosts are funny, some are deathly afraid of them
                    Mr Toad's Wild Ride - lots of explosion, loud, and very jolty/bumpy
                    Pinocchio's Daring Journey - Stromboli, the dark carnival, and Monstro are a bit much for some toddlers
                    Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin - pretty intense, loud, lots of explosions
                    Snow White's Scary Adventures - too intense and scary for most toddlers

                    The Little Mermaid - Ursula is too scary for some young children

                    Meeting the characters - a trip to Disneyland would not be complete without meeting the characters, or at least Mickey Mouse. Let your child decide if he's really scared or in love with the characters. Mickey Mouse is probably the least threatening since he already likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I would head to Mickey's House in Toontown and take in the real "meeting Mickey" experience. Pluto is also pretty lovable by most kids. Meeting Winnie The Pooh and Friends near the ride is also a lot of fun for toddlers. Characters you will likely want to avoid include Cruella De Vil and Captain Hook who tend to frighten young children. Alice and Peter Pan are great with young kids and not so threatening because they can tell that they are real people

                    Take lots of snacks, and a sippy cup if he's used to using one at home

                    Take plenty of breaks throughout the day and go at his pace as much as possible

                    Don't try to make the visit "perfect", as he won't remember it when he gets older anyway

                    Take lots of pictures.


                    • #11
                      Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                      I always recommend getting to know where the Infant care centers are. There is one in Disneyland by the Plaza Inn and one in DCA by the Giradelli Ice Cream Shop. These are great potty stops and rest stops for your son.
                      You'll probably be walking at child's pace, so it'll be slow moving. You may want to make a short list of attractions from above and when that's done, you can try more.
                      When she was 2, my daughter ate french fries, hot dogs and spaghetti. So, at the Bayou, they'll more than likely have a child's spaghetti dinner.
                      One more thing: this will be a moment you'll always remember. It's about being with your son at Disneyland. Enjoy your family moment.
                      I am old. But still love Disneyland.


                      • #12
                        Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                        We took our son last summer for 5 days when he was 21 months then in Jan for 2 days when he was 28 months. He was so much fun both trips. He could do so many things and when he couldn't and we did baby swap we'd find a place he could run around a bit. On the trip in Jan he was able to go on Gadget's Go Coaster. I was nervous about it because he's only 2 and none of my other boys were tall enough that young. His 18 yr old brother begged me to let him take him. I sat in front of them and video taped it so I could see his reaction. He seemed fine and wasn't scared after. One of my other sons wouldn't have gone on it for anything so I say just go with what seems right for him.

                        He loved the Mac n cheese and we'd take the apple sauce with us for a snack later. We definitely had enough snacks of our own, for everyone actually. I would recommend taking your own stroller. I don't think theirs look comfortable and they don't hold much.

                        This last trip was only 2 days and on the 2nd day we bought him a Woody doll he kept wanting. Wish we'd have gotten it the day before because he didn't try to get out of the stroller after he got it. He was mesmerized by it. He kept track of Woody's hat too and had a special place next to him for it. It was the best $26 we spent.

                        They are so fun to watch at this age, especially when they meet a favorite character, because it is so real to them. Luckily our son wasn't scared of them and wanted to give them all kisses. Even his older brothers (18, 16, 11) liked watching how much fun he was having. I think it made their trip even better.

                        Enjoy your trip,


                        • #13
                          Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                          Go to Fantasyland first, when the lines will be much shorter. Then head to Toontown next. Otherwise, the afternoons in both of them are too long. At Mickey's House in Toontown, you get to walk through Mickey's house and then end with a photo op with Mickey. It is personal one-on-one time with Mickey that is very worth it if your child loves Mickey Mouse, and your picture will be a great keepsake! Your child will probably love any of the rides he is tall enough to ride on, so I wouldn't worry about him getting scared. Disneyland is completely geared towards families and kids, unlike most amusement parks. I have taken my kids since they were infants, and you couldn't have a better place to take them to.

                          Take advantage of the Baby Center on Main Street by the photo shop (across from the corn dog cart). They have tiny toilets that are perfect for potty trainers, and it is a great facility in case you have any accidents to clean up.

                          If this is your child's first trip to Disneyland, you can also get him one of the free First Trip buttons to wear, always fun! They only keep a limited supply in City Hall on Main Street, so I got one for my daughter last year at the photo cart down by Small World. They will not put names on them like they will for the birthday button, so I used a Sharpie to put my daughter's name on it myself. Again, a fun keepsake from our trip.


                          • #14
                            Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                            First of all enjoy your trip. Mine are now 5 and 8 and they've been going all their lives (first trips at 10 days) and just this past week we were there with a large group of family members there were 18 of us and the 7 kids ranged in age from 8 down to 7 weeks with everything in between.

                            My kids have generally enjoyed anything that doesn't have a height requirement. Bring lots of snacks as others have said. Mine prefer to eat lots of small meals over one large meal so we have lots of healthy snacks in our bag and that helps to keep them happier. We also make sure to have a water bottle. You can refill them in a few places including the Baby Care Centers. As others have said they are wonderful. The little potties have been, and continue to be, helpful. My teeny tiny 5 year old will be sad when she can no longer use them. They also have a few of the free buttons at the Baby Care Center.

                            Be warned that he might be startled by the costumed characters. At that age mine loved seeing the characters from a distance but not so much up close. You'll have to see how your little one reacts.

                            The little park in Toontown is a fun place to play. We've often gotten fast passes for Roger Rabbit and then let the kids play in the park until it was our time. It lets them burn off some energy.

                            If you have an umbrella stroller I'd recommend using that over a big giant one, much easier to navigate through the crowds.

                            Since you're going to be there with family don't forget you can use rider switch passes so you can enjoy some of the rides he's not tall enough for.
                            Visit the Hamand Family Blog to see what we've been up to.


                            • #15
                              Re: Taking a toddler to Disneyland

                              I've taken all five of my kids when they were 2 years old or younger. When we had just the one daughter (our oldest) we spent the whole day around her. We stayed in Fanatsyland, Toontown and Critter Country all day. We did her favorite rides many times that day.

                              When she saw Mini Mouse, she threw herself at Mini and hugged her.

                              Spend the day doing things for your toddler. Allow him to take a nap. Either back at your hotel or in the stroller. My daughter took a nap in her stroller.

                              If you are going with Grandparents and Uncles/Aunts, maybe a few times, somebody could spend time with your son while you do a "big person's" ride.
                              Jeff made me famous!
                              From the Mouth of the Mouse.


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