This week is the last week of school for many of the schools here in AZ, which means one thing... summer vacations! We know many of you will be escaping the heat to have a great time at one of the happiest places on earth, Disneyland! We LOVE Disneyland, it has been a huge part of our lives and story. Some of our first dates were spent at Disney. It's where we got to know each other, laughed, people watched, Megan had her bachelorette party, and celebrated our 1st anniversary. We couldn't wait to finally take the kids two years ago and while we were there, we learned ALOT about bringing kids. So we have loads of advice on what to do as a couple and what to do with kids! So here you go, 5 fun tips for a fantastic trip to Disneyland!
1. Get a 3 day multi-park pass. We know not everyone can afford it, but if you can, dooooo it! It enables you to see more and get a nap or two in (moms and dads included) if you need it. We ended up spending most of our time at the Magic Kingdom because our kids were younger, but we can see how you could easily spend more time at California Adventure! If you get the 3 day pass you also get the opportunity to get in the park 1 hour before official opening one morning, which is awesome! Thats when you can get into the park and maybe visit some of the smaller rides that don't have fast pass. You can also get some good photos on Main Street and in front of the castle because there are less people around! Also, if there's a character you absolutely HAVE TO meet, this is also a great chance to see them without a long line! Although, be warned, you have to get there RIGHT ON TIME and plan your route to your favorite character in advance since everyone else has a similar idea! Going for three days is a little exhausting but it is so worth it!
2. Learn to use those Fast Pass to your advantage! For those of you who don't know, Fast Passes are when you get a time to come back to a ride and then you get to walk right past the line and get on real quick. You can only hold a couple at a time so its good to have a plan! We recommend grabbing a couple Fast Passes on some of the bigger attractions first thing in the morning right when you enter the park (ahem...Space Mountain). They only pass out a limited number of Fast Passes per hour, and they can fill up quick. But if you're a crazy, type-A planner like Megan you can manage your whole day and only stand in a few long lines! Bonus!
A lesser known, kid-friendly feature they have is called Rider Switch. This is especially beneficial for families with smaller kids who can't ride some of the bigger rides. It allows one parent to stand in line with the big kids and one to wait with the little ones (usually near the ride exit) and then "switch" after the first parent rides. This usually means the kids get the chance to ride TWICE but only have to wait in line ONCE! We used the Fast Pass and Rider Switch technique perfectly when we used it for the new Cars ride in the California Adventure Park. We had been warned that it was a long wait but so worth it, so on day two we went straight into California adventure and got our Fast Pass for later that day. Then we walked around did a few other rides ate lunch and returned to the Cars ride and didn't have to wait long at all! James went with the big kids first while Megan waited with Titus then we switched and the kids got to ride again with Megan! It was so fun for the kids to be able to go twice and they LOVED knowing what was going to happen before Mom did!
3. If your bringing a baby do your best to get to the baby nursery room! It was so cool, clean and quiet. It is located on Main Street and has quiet places to feed, rest and change your baby. The ladies in there are so nice and helpful, they keep it clean and ready for the next baby. When we went, Titus was 9 months and it was so nice to know that it was there to use when we were both done with crowds and heat! They also sell baby food and diapers so if you run out or your child gets crazy hungry (the struggle is real), you know you can resupply in there! It may cost a little extra $$, but your baby won't starve and everyone can stay in the park and have fun.
4. If you're going without kids (Yes, Please!) you HAVE To stop by California Adventures and get wine at Mendocino Terrace or wine Country Trattoria. It's a little taste of Napa Valley, Disney style! Both restaurants have great selections of wine and yummy cheese boards which after a long day of lines and walking is amazing. Make sure you can sit outside and people watch because that is one of the top 10 reasons to go to Disneyland!
5. Finally the last "tip" we can give is to remember to just have fun. Trust us, we know how hard and silly that sounds but there were plenty of times where Disneyland was just NOT fun. It can be crowded, hot and everyone wants to do their "favorite" thing. But in the end, its quality time with your kids or (significant other!) and you get to see that Disney magic in real life. They know what they're doing and even when we were all tired and hot we still tried to have fun and we can't wait to go back! We know it can be hard for some people (ahem, Megan...did we mention she's kind of type-A?) to relax but once you do, you will be thankful for it. You may not see all the characters, or go on all the rides, or get those "Magical" Instagram-worthy photos you had hoped for, but that's ok. You will remember spending time with your family, kids, and loved ones, and that's the best memory there is! For us we remember Olivia with her hands in the air, loving every second of Big Thunder Mountain. We remember both kids laughing and screaming on the Cars ride, or getting soaked on Splash Moutian. We remember Olivia in her Elsa dress waiting to see Elsa (but not getting in...remember...be there EARLY) but totally fine with riding Peter Pan instead. It was good for us all to be together, see new things and unplug for a few days.
So if you're planning on going to Disneyland this summer don't forget our tips, but mostly remember to have fun and just enjoy being with your family! You won't forget putting your family first and just enjoying time together. This post reminds us that time really does fly by, our babies are bigger, older, and that adorable toothless grin is gone! So get out there, smile and give Mickey a high five because really we're all kids at heart!