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Advice for making toddler's first trip special?


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  • [Question] Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

    Hi everyone!We are planning our daughter's first trip to Disneyland! We will be staying at the Grand California and would love some ideas on how to make her first trip special! She will be 19 months old. We had planned on going to Disney for her second birthday but decided to go early.

    Does anyone have any suggestions? Food, activities, in room celebrations (good or no good). I've found a lot of people recommend Dumbo and know to go early. Is Car Land worth running over early for?

    Has anyone had experience with the Disney express shuttle?

    Any world of color or fantasmic tips?

    We haven't been back to disney since 2009. Have a lot of things changed?

    I know there are a lt of questions I've been googling but wanted to ask

  • #2
    Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

    Cars Land can be fun but I wouldn't suggest it for your little one. The rides could be uncomfortable. Bug's Land had more stuff for smaller guests. It's kind of like Fantasy Land where almost every ride is geared towards a younger rider. My mother told me that my favorite around that time was Dumbo and the Casey Jr circus train. Storybook Land is fun because of all the small buildings, they look like toys. If you can, do Small World now so you'll never have to do it again, lol. My parents took me when I was really little and we did the same thing with our son. The Winnie the Pooh ride might be ok too.

    As far as food goes, if she isn't ready for a lot of solid foods, you might have to bring your own. Most of the menus expect kids to be around 3+. That goes for drinks to. They have juices but it's in boxes unless you go to a sit down eatery, like Blue Bayou or Storytellers. If you're going to try to stay up late enough for World of Color, you might want to try to get a Fastpass for it early in the day so you can get good seats later. They can't do that for Fantasmic so unless you're ready to sit with your little one for almost an hour before show time, it might be harder to see that.

    Hope that helps a little.


    • #3
      Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

      My opinion would be to wait until she is at least 4 yrs. At her present age, she will be content meeting a few of the characters, and maybe take in a parade & a couple of rides in Bugs Land.


      • #4
        Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

        Honestly, do stuff for yourselves. She won't remember or particularly enjoy much of the experience besides what Chris mentioned.
        "Disneyland is a work of love. We didn't go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money." - ​Walt Disney


        • #6
          Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

          I forgot to mention that our son was 3 the first time we took him.


          • #7
            Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

            we went in June with my granddaughter who is now turning 16 months. This was her third trip. She loved it, it took her a while to warm up to the characters, but now I have a photo of here giving pooh a hug as my desk top on my computer.
            My number one bit of advice is to be flexible and go with the flow.
            We went on winnie the pooh ride several times and we took a lot of pictures. She still likes to crawl up on Grandpa's lap and see photos of her in DL and DCA.
            Most of the rides in cars land are to big for a young one, The little mermaid is a good one to go on.
            Rides to consider Buzz light year astro blaster. Dumbo, story book land. (stay away from the dark rides most of them bothered our granddaughter.)
            Learn where the baby care centers are, use them if you need to.
            bring a stroller and if the time of year calls for it bring a rain cover for the stroller.
            There will be a lot of rides that you can not go on but the joy of seeing the face of the little one light up priceless.
            each child is different and each trip will be different. Take is easy and and watch them to see what they enjoy. Things can change over several days also. On this last trip the GD was shy at first and then by the second day she was warming up to the characters.
            You could also try the boats on the rivers of america young ones like to be able to walk around and explore, that is one place they can do that as long as you watch them.
            Another hit was the wilderness explorers area, she could not do everything but she was able to walk around and explore that made her day.
            I hope you have a great trip and a magical time.


            • #8
              Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

              When me and my husband went on our honeymoon, Disney offered a special Reserved seating area served with beverages and a desert platter. The seats were great, the food was fantastic and the service was very pleasant.

              With a toddler, I agree she may not remember much but the water areas in a bugs land is a huge hit for the little ones, so bring a bathing suit or comfy clothes for her to run around in. Also take advantage of the petting zoo in the Big Thunder Ranch area with the goats and the horses that are there. I'm sure she'd love that too


              • #9
                Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

                This trip is not for getting on as many rides as possible, or seeing the shows, parades, ect. It's about taking your daughter to Disneyland for the first time. There will be other days for rides, shows, parades, etc. Go slow at first then see how she handles the crowds, the sensory stuff, and then you can decide whether to keep going or take it easier. I would suggest to find the Infant Care Centers in Disneyland and DCA. You'll more than likely spend much time there for diaper changes or feeding times. Have loads of fun and take loads of pictures
                I am old. But still love Disneyland.


                • #10
                  Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

                  We've been taking my granddaughter since she was 6 mos old. The toddler meals are perfect for the younger side. They also have a toddler power pack in a few locations that come with goldfish crackers, sliced apples, carrots, yogurt and a water. We've never had a problem finding things for a toddler to eat.

                  I agree with most of the above poster's ideas. There will be many rides a 19mos old can handle. Also, most 19mos old haven't hit the fear period, and will be able to handle most of the things that will be found in the park.

                  Have a great time, and take lots of pics!!
                  If you see a cute yellow lab puppy with a yellow cape, WAVE! It might be us! (Or it may be someone else that lurks here!) Thank you for asking before you pet! Next trip, Dec 22-Jan 3rd.


                  • #11
                    Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

                    Your daughter probably won't have any actual memories of this trip, so you should take a LOT of pictures. Those will be her "memories" of her first trip. When I was younger, I loved looking at photo albums of our family trips to Disney - and especially photos of trips my family took before I was born. I also loved hearing stories about those trips. So I would set up some good photo ops each day, and at night, keep a little diary of any funny or interesting things that happened that day so that you can tell your daughter your own "Disney stories" and keep the memories alive for her.

                    That being said, don't spend the ENTIRE time taking pictures that's no fun for anyone! Certainly not for the people around you, especially if you take flash pictures on dark rides. There were so many people doing that on my last trip, and it was so annoying!


                    • #12
                      Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

                      Have fun and take your cues from your daughter. Take advantage of the Baby Care Centers. In Disneyland it's at the end of Main Street near the corn dog wagon. In DCA it is behind the Ghirardelli shop. If your daughter is adventurous see how she does on the rides without height requirements. My kids have been going since they were each 10 days and they love going on rides. She may enjoy seeing the characters more from a distance. Both of mine are still unsure of the costumed characters and prefer to wave as we go by rather than getting up close to them so that's what we do. The toddler meals are nicely sized and less expensive, although not every place has them. Some places, like Flo's V8 Cafe, allow you to buy a side of mac'n'cheese for $2. It's not on the menu but it doesn't hurt to ask. We bring lots of snacks and a water bottle with you. You can refill your own water bottle in the baby care center. Hope you have a great trip.
                      Visit the Hamand Family Blog to see what we've been up to.


                      • #13
                        Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

                        My daughter has been going since her 1st birthday. She is 2.5 now and loves going to Disneyland. We now have to speak in code about it, the mention of our upcoming trip this Monday and she runs to the door asking to go to "diskneelan" (how she says it).

                        If she is familiar with the Characters from watching the clubhouse on Disney junior let her meet the characters. The cast members in costume know how to act around and pose around small children who might be a bit afraid. my daughter met Mickey for the first time when she was 18 months old and she ran up and gave him the biggest hug. It will surprise you to realize what they actually recognize! She was however afraid of Goofy and pluto. Take your daughter back to toon town and let her rum a muck around Mickey's and Minnie's house and just talk to her about that being their homes. she can climb the stairs at chip and dales tree house and goofy's house has a small little slide she can play on.

                        As for rides, I hope you like small world because you will ride it more times than you can count. my daughter enjoys that ride so much and becomes totally enthralled. While you are in line ask a cast member if you guys can sit in the very front, it offers the best view for the little ones and I have never been turned down for that request, make sure to ask politely.

                        The carousel is also a big hit with my daughter. she's been on her own pony since about 2 years old.

                        As for food, the Jolly holiday bakery offers a kids power pack it comes with a banana gold fish crackers, apples, carrots and a yogurt. perfect snack option for little hands.

                        Don't worry to much about your little one seeing world of color or fantastmic, my daughter passes out from the excitement of the day and has only seen part of world of color once. she even slept threw the entire fantastmic experience and she is a light sleeper!

                        Be sure to get rider swap passes at the front entrance of star tours, space mountain and any other ride that offers it. I recommend just doing the single rider line for Indy.

                        At DCA there is a disney junior live on stage show, and I am not going to lie here, but I think I love it more than she does. The acting is good and its just so magical for the little ones I love watching my daughter be entertained.
                        That is all I can think of right now...

                        If you have any more questions just ask!
                        “If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”
                        A.A. Milne


                        • #14
                          Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

                          why has it been 4 years since your visit? The age for a first time visit for a child is a mixed bag here at micechat. We don't want to be insensitive to why it is important that the trip happen now at 19 months.

                          what is the date of your trip?

                          Peter Pan is the ride that you want to ride early, like first thing early in the morning, that way the stroller/holding child isn't a big issue. Dumbo would be the second priority as it is not as popular with adults first thing in the morning. And early means taking advantage of early opening to lodge guests and early entry for non lodge guests.


                          • #15
                            Re: Advice for making toddler's first trip special?

                            I swore never to bring my infant/toddler kids to Disneyland, but I did. When my 10 year old daughter participated in a choir event sponsored by Disney, I tugged along with my 9 month daughter during Spring Break. Don’t be fearful of separating from your spouse and other child. Many park goers want to replicate the Disney commercials in the park and truth is, each family and kids have different agendas. Set realistic expectations and take it easy. Familiarize yourself with the baby center, it’s a lifesaver. I used the baby center for my daughters till the age of 6. Fantasy Land is a great area to enjoy (except the dark rides). If you need a nice place to eat, relax and get some shade Big Thunder BBQ ranch is ideal. Many families take breaks, start your day early and take a mid-day break it will keep everyone happy and content. Also, you can do half day in the park and the other half at your hotel pool. Keep it simple and easy. Best of luck. Enjoy.


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