When it comes to planning a vacation, parents tend to pore over article after article on guides to taking kids on vacation from airline travel, meals, and hotel choices. Visiting the Disneyland Resort with kids is no exception- in fact, there's even more information to read up on which can leave many parents feeling overwhelmed as they decide on how to prepare kids for Disneyland.
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Not to worry, we decided to go right to the source and ask our in house eight-year-old Disneyland expert, Adrian, on what kids need to know before visiting Disneyland for the first time!
Follow us as we offer some fun advice right from the mouth of babes to help prepare kids for Disneyland!
1. First Day: Go to the LEGO Store
Adrian recommends that parents make the first day a trip to Downtown Disney. Why? Because of the Lego Store, of course! After all, ‘they have the best Legos.'
We second this advice- the Lego Store in Downtown Disney is pretty awesome and it's filled with awesome Disney themed Lego creations inside and out. There's also a build your own figure table which is a great unique souvenir to take home. Every time we visit the parks, we always make sure to make time for a Lego Store stop because it's just that cool. It's also a great way to get kids psyched up for visiting the parks if you head to Downtown Disney on your arrival day.
2. On Being Nervous: Just Be Excited Instead
When it comes to kids that have never been on any thrill rides or roller coasters that go upside down, our mini expert has one practical piece of advice,
Just be so excited that you're not nervous anymore and you'll forget all about it.
While that's pretty practical advice, it also may help to prepare kids in advance for what they're going to experience. Watch YouTube videos of rides, read reviews online, and talk about it with your kids so they're prepared.
But then again, some kids might actually do better with less prep and handle it all much better as a surprise. Sometimes we can, unintentionally, make rides sound more scary than they are by reading too much about them in advance. Even adults do this! I'm convinced that's why Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: Breakout! terrifies me so much. I read too much about it before I rode it and therefore built it up to be scary. I was expecting the worse when I rode it so of course when the time came, I was terrified!
3. Breakfast Advice: Have Some Churros
When it comes breakfast, this kid has got you covered with the best rationale I've ever heard,
Have churros for breakfast. Because they're filled with cinnamon all over them so they're just like cinnamon toast crunch cereal. Ta-da, breakfast!
Hey, it's Disneyland. If there's ever a time to eat dessert for breakfast, it's now.
Saying ‘yes' to things you might not normally can make a vacation extra magical. Churros for breakfast?! Icecream twice in a row?! Everyone wins!
4. On Waiting in Line: Play Games
One of the best ways to kill time while waiting in line is to download some games on your cellphone in advance and play them. I wasn't too surprised to hear Adrian's advice on this one- he loved playing Plants vs. Zombies while waiting in line or the Disney Parks Play App.
The Disney Parks Play App is a great game that involves everyone in your group rather than just having one person zone out into screen time land. Another good game that involves the entire group is Heads Up!
5. Keeping Your Cool: Meeting Characters
Taking time to meet characters is a big one- don't miss out on taking your kids around to meet all their favorite Disney characters. Our pint sized expert has a few tips of advice for kids meeting characters,
Don't let Gaston embarrass you. Find Stitch because he's blue and fluffy. And some of them will steal your churros.
Gaston, oh Gaston! He's so great. When we met him in the parks on our last visit, he proceeded to have Adrian flex his arms, and called out in a loud voice for everyone to admire his muscles. It definitely left an impression!
Afternoons are a great time to wander around meeting characters- find them on the Disneyland app so you know where to meet them. Decide in advance which characters are priority as you prepare kids for Disneyland!
6. Try Zip-lining at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
One overlooked area of California Adventure is the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. We made a rest stop here on our last visit so I could rest my legs. I didn't realize just how exciting my son was going to find this area! He didn't want to leave! He could have stayed for hours.
Oh, and be sure to have them try the zip-lining because,
You will feel like you're flying!
This is a great place to spend your afternoon and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Sit down on a bench near the one and only exit (thank you, Disney) and rest while your kids run around!
7. Put Your Hands Up in the Air
This one is just self explanatory,
Put your hands up in the air on the rides because it feels like you're going faster!
8. Save the Buying for the End of the Day
Well, I'm not surprised this made the list as this is a lesson I've learned the hard way myself. When it comes to shopping at Disneyland, it really is a wise decision to make your purchases at the end of your day or at the end of your trip.
For one thing, you'll end up carrying the items the whole day if you buy early which is just a pain. And what if you see something later on you want instead of what you already bought? (Or you can buy all the things!)
Same goes for kiddos. Have them make their purchase decisions at the end of the day so there's no regrets or disappointments. Everyone will be happier for it!
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You can discover more about planning your trip and prepare kids for Disneyland from these links:
- California Adventure Touring Strategy: Guide to Maximize Your Mornings
- Disneyland Morning Touring Strategy: Guide to Maximize Your Mornings
- How to Plan Your Disneyland Trip
- Lamplight Lounge Dining Review
- 40+ Places to Find Cheap Food in Disneyland