After my post on Monday, I got asked: ‘how do you do Disneyland with three small children?’ My answer: you just do it.
We’re actually blessed to have my mom work for Disney so we’ve gone quite a bit. My kids are pros…in fact, this year they refused to stand in line to see the characters because that wastes precious ride time. And my pictures are lacking this trip because other than a requisite family pic…I felt like I had seen all the others before. I did take some non-traditional ones though (like the landscaping outside of the Buzz Lightyear ride…it’s my hubby’s favorite…it’s all edible!).
But…it’s a good question…how do you manage three young kids when there are thousands of people around you?
Here are some tips that make it easier for us:
Here are some tips:
*Bring your own bottled water…I’m a water girl and drinking fountains are not enough. I’ve never had a problem bringing it in.
*Bring snacks…baggie up each kiddo’s for easy access…it will inevitably be while you are in a 30 minute line that they are screaming bloody murder for a snack!
*Consider packing a lunch. There are lockers and a picnic area outside of the main gate. You can exit (get your hand stamped and save your ticket) and have a picnic lunch. Saves $$. I’ll be honest that I’ve never planned ahead and done this (see a post below) but it sounds like such a good idea…especially after paying an average of $10 per person, per meal!
*Use a stroller…our three year old is almost always in the stroller. You walk at least 6 miles around Disney in a day…we let him hold a hand for a bit (he’s trying to assert his independence) and then he gets tired and asks to be in the stroller. You also have a place to stash sweatshirts, snacks and water. Disney actually rents strollers for $8 a day, I think. We’ve always brought our own, but if space is an issue for you, arrive early and get a Disney one…they are pretty good.
*With one in the stroller, the other two hold a hand or hold on to the stroller…no exceptions. With my parents with us, this is easier…but we’ve done it with just us, too. My stroller actually has a step that one of them can ride on if they need to. At 5 and 8, they don’t do that much…but when T was 4 he did.
*Plan where you are going next while in line…you are stopped anyway…that way you aren’t standing in the middle of things or stopping and trying to contain the kids. If you have an iPhone you can download a free app that tells you what the current wait lines are. I personally prefer the MouseWait app…lots of fun add ons to mess around with!
*Safety Tats! This is actually the first time I remembered to actually use them and they gave me peace of mind. They go on like regular play tattoos but I had them ordered with my cell phone number on them. We put them on their upper arm (covered by their sleeves) and then role played with them…if you are lost, find an adult with a costume/uniform/nametag on and tell them you are lost. Show them your tattoo. You can order them at: www.safetytat.com (Thanks Debbie for that tip a while back!)
*When the baby was really little, I used to stand in the long lines with him sleeping while Dave or my mom would take the big boys on shorter rides and come back to meet us. The Disney people aren’t always pleased with it, but it kept the big boys from going crazy in line.
*Stay somewhere relatively close to the park so when the giant meltdowns (the ones they don’t recover from) start happening, you can easily get to the hotel and nap/rest. We came back each afternoon for a few hours and actually would eat dinner outside of the park (cheaper) and then return. With a nap or rest, my kids made it til about 9 or 10 two nights in a row. My parents used to do this with us when we lived there…always came home to eat and rest. If you park in the Disney lot, just save your parking ticket and you can re-enter the lot. There are also several shuttles/busses in the area…ask at your hotel.
*When loading up the stroller know that you’ll have to unload it and break it down to get on the tram from the parking lot to the front gate. There is really no way around it (other than extra walking…I prefer to save those steps for the park). I usually load up my backpack to where it is pretty heavy. As soon as we get off the tram, I start unloading it into the basket on the stroller. Annoying for a bit…but it makes boarding the tram smooth.
*We aren’t big ‘souvenir’ people. But the kids always ask…so we usually pick a dollar limit and tell them they have to wait until the last part of our last day. Quite honestly, we don’t even take them into the stores. There are a few rides that exit into stores (annoying) and we sometimes let them look around…but we’re pretty clear that the treat is actually going to Disneyland, not the toys. The last several trips we’ve done this and all three boys have done great. They each picked out a pirate sword from a kiosk stand on the last day. Our oldest asks about it every hour each day we are there, but other than that, they are pretty good once we lay the ground rules.
*Don’t expect to do much else on your Disney days. The kids (and adults) just can’t take it. You eat, sleep, breathe Disney. No driving to visit relatives on those days, no visits to another venue. Maybe a swim in the hotel pool during your down time, but honestly…we’ve never done it.
*Everyone needs GOOD shoes. It always shocks me to see the number of people who walk around in beach flip flops and such. I can’t imagine how much their feet and back hurt at the end of the day. There is really no way to do Disney and not walk. A lot. Between blisters, back pain and foot pain it’s just not worth it. My kids do wear Crocs…but those are pretty comfy. The adults…we all wear running shoes. No question.
Those are just a few things off the top of my head. What are your tips? What did I leave out?
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a great visit and your little guy will fall asleep on Grandpa’s shoulder toward the end of Small World…9 p.m. on our last day. :)
I’ll be back with some sneaks from Green Tangerine’s new kit…
p.s. As I was typing this I could hear my little guys planning rides using the GeoTrax. Evidently the Monorail slides right into Splash Mountain in my living room. :)