I have been to Disneyland many times in my youth and as an adult and have even ventured to Tokyo Disney a few years ago (which was an experience all on it’s own), but I must admit that going as a parent for the first time is such a different experience. I find myself learning all about Disneyland all over again which is not a bad thing. So, below are the 8 things I never knew about Disneyland as a first-time parent.
#1 – There are Many Rides/Attractions for Toddlers
I must admit I didn’t think there were that many rides for Dahlia, who was 17 mos. when we went, but boy was I wrong. We didn’t get to ride all the rides, but rode a handful that I didn’t even think we were even going to get to. I literally only thought we were going to ride ‘It’s a Small World’ over and over, and of course, it was her favorite, however, most rides & attractions at Disneyland don’t even have a height requirement!
Nonetheless, here is a list from both Disneyland & California Adventure that we went on. (Please check Disneyland.com for all other rides/attractions with height requirements)
– Petting Zoo
– Haunted Mansion
– Pirates of the Caribbean
– Petting Zoo
– Dumbo Flyer
California Adventure Rides/Attractions:
– Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train
#2 – There is a Baby Care Center
Of course they have this, but I’ve never been a Mother before so how would I know, right? We happened to go to the one in Disneyland right off on Main Street where I was able to change Dahlia & feed her. Also, if you forget anything, they have many items for purchase on their old school registers (So, bring cash!)
Also, if you are looking for an indoor place to relax, this might be it. They have TV’s, high chairs and microwaves if needed.
#3 – They have a Pet Kennel
So, I may be a first-time Mom to Dahlia, but I am also a dog mom to our 2 Shiba Inus, Bella & Tajia. I had no idea that this Kennel Club even existed until my husband’s co-worker told us about it. This gave us piece of mind knowing that the dogs were close by.
Located right outside of Disneyland, the Disneyland Kennel Club is a climate-controlled daycare facility that only costs $20/per dog per day. A great deal if you ask me! We were able to bring the dogs’ blankets & toys and we came by every few hours to take them out for walks (they also have a dog run attached to the kennel as well).
The only catch is that you must bring a copy of valid vaccinations per their request and the Staff are not able to handle your pets, so you must come by every few hours which was fine by me.
#4 – You Can Make Reservations at Restaurants
I was on a mission to try some of the things suggested on Buzzfeed when they came out with the ’10 foods to put on your Disneyland List’ but I knew with a toddler, it might be a struggle. So, the husband and I found a couple of restaurants that were worth trying where Dahlia could sit indoors, get a high chair and be offered crayons & a menu to color on. SCORE!
We ended up making reservations at Cafe Orleans where we were able to share & try 1 of the 10 things on the list: The infamous Monte Cristo sandwich. The Beignets were also served here. Also, Dahlia got the Mickey’s Cheesy Macaroni which came with fresh fruit and vegetables, an overall healthy meal compared to our sandwich!
P.S. If you can’t make reservations, another place we recommend going to for indoor dining is the Plaza Inn where you can eat comfortably while eating their delicious broasted chicken with veggies and potatoes or whatever sides you choose.
#5 – The Famous Silhouettes are Made by a Person & not a Computer
At the end of our trip, we headed down Main Street so I could get a silhouette of Dahlia done to remember her first trip. I expected to see a camera and a computer that spits out the image of her but lo-and-behold, there were a few ladies with black paper and very fine-tipped scissors. They told us to sit with Dahlia in one of our laps which she looked at a frame with a crazy amount of Disney stickers and away the lady went with her paper and scissors. It literally took her 2 minutes to finish.
I am amazed by people everyday and this one was for sure a pleasant surprise to end our day!
#6 – They Have an App for That!
They have Apps for everything! So, as we were waiting in line for a ride, I wondered to myself, there has to be an App for estimated waiting times and of course, I was right. I downloaded the ‘Magic Guide’ App and right away, I was able to see wait times & closures for all rides/attractions. I was also able to plan our days a lot better with the App as well.
Parents, this is a must have when you have limited time! Also, you want to make sure you’re not wasting any time by going to a ride if it may be unavailable. You now have the ability to see all dining options as well as restrooms nearby!
#7 – You can get a Button for all Occasions from lots of Employees!
When we came in 2010 as a newly engaged couple, I made sure we got a button, however, I thought you could only go to the Disneyland City Hall to pick one up, but you can actually go to any retail shop and sweeper anywhere in the park and they may just have the special button you are looking for!
We still managed to get Dahlia’s 1st Visit button at the City Hall to remember her first trip. We also asked a sweeper for another button and we got one from him too!
#8 – It will Always be a Magical Place
Disneyland always does such a great job with their parades and shows and I remember as a kid seeing the electric parade and how in awe I was. I can only imagine what Dahlia thinks with the new technology they have now and entertainment like World of Color, the Pixar Play Parade and Mickey & the Magical Map Show. I just know that the look on her face when she sees the shows is one that I won’t forget!
Lastly, as a first-time parent, I didn’t know how our first trip to Disneyland as a family was going to be, but we had so much fun and it’s so fun to show Dahlia what we, as parents, know. She was able to see and do a lot and we hope that this will be the first of many trips to both Disneyland and California Adventure.