Tips for Tackling California’s Disneyland Resort with Kids

PARADISE PIER credit: Disneyland.ca

We’ve just returned from a magical trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. From travelling tips and must-experience attractions, to our favourite dining spots, we’re sharing our top thoughts on how to enjoy a stress-free vacation at Disneyland and California Adventure Park.

MICKEY & MINNIE credit: Disneyland.ca

Download the Disneyland App
Think of the Disneyland Mobile App as having the park in your pocket. Everything you need to know can be found in the interactive map-style app – from washrooms and water fountains to ride times and character meetings. Searching for show times? App it baby. Need a lunch reservation? The app’s got your back with wait times and restaurant menus. Use it to book top dining spots up to 60 days in advance – like a character breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen and the Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration.

SOARIN’ AROUND THE WORLD photo credit: Disneyland.ca

Disneyland MaxPass is Worth It
Disneyland Resort’s MaxPass, released in July, is currently available for the introductory price of just $10 per person, per day, via the Disneyland app. Think of it like a super-charged version of Disney’s FastPass that allows you to reserve high-demand rides and attractions from anywhere in the parks. This means, that if you’re at It’s a Small World in Disneyland, you can reserve your spot on Soarin’ Around the World (a must do!) in the California Adventure Park without having to spend the 30 minutes it takes to walk between the two park’s attractions. The bonus? PhotoPass is included in the $10 fee, which means that all of your character experiences captured by Disney’s photographers can be downloaded for free.

FRIGHTFULLY FUN PARADE photo credit: Disneyland.ca

Bring a Stroller to Disneyland
Travelling with a child six (or even seven) and under? Bring a stroller. No joke, we clocked an average 12,000 steps per day, and we took it relatively easy. As our feisty-five-year-old outgrew her stroller over a year ago, we had to purchase one just for the trip. Traveler tip: Pick up a gently used umbrella stroller from a local children’s consignment store. It was so worth the $12. Bonus: our kiddo even fell asleep in it while we watched the late-night parade. It’s also handy for storing sweaters, light coats and water bottles – bring your own and refill at the fountains to avoid spending $3.75 USD on a bottle of Dasani.

ENCHANTED TIKI ROOM photo credit: Disneyland.ca

Top Spots to Eat at Disneyland
The Disneyland Resort offers a wide array of dining choices, here are three of our favourites:

  • Storytellers Café in the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa: Loved the character breakfast with Chip, Dale and Brother Bear. With its cooked-to-order omelets, caramel French toast, eggs Benedict and bagels and lox, we felt that the buffet was a nice step up from the more casual fare served at Goofy’s Kitchen.
  • Napa Rose in the Grand Californian: We’ve enjoyed this fine dining restaurant both with and without our five-year old foodie tow. Our favourite dishes include the Smiling Tiger Salad with lobster fritters, the tempura zucchini blossoms and the pan roasted scallops. Oh, and order a side of the truffle mac and cheese orecchiette. It’s to die for.
  • Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Resort: Rum based tropical drinks and a south pacific inspired menu makes this place a home run. Kiddos are allowed inside the dark – and always packed – bar until 8pm. Then, move your party to the patio, which is lit up with tiki torches. First timer tip: the drinks are delicious, but deceivingly strong. Go easy.
MICKEY MOUSE AND MINNIE MOUSE CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN TIME photo credit: Disneyland.ca

Best Months to Visit Disneyland
Late September through October is a fabulous time to visit California, as the weather begins to cool and the crowds are slightly smaller. The purpose of our visit was to attend Mickey’s Halloween Party, which was so worth its ticket price. Entry includes a free PhotoPass and access to the California Adventure Park for up to three hours prior to the party. For us, the best part was that the crowds were much lighter, and as such we never had to wait to get on the rides. Within three-hours we’d hit up all of popular attractions: from photos with princesses to Pirates of the Caribbean. It was awesome. Other highlights include the dozens of trick-or-treating stations, the spectacular Halloween-themed firework show and the Frightfully Fun Parade, featuring the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, along with all of your favourite Disney villains and heroes. The event sells out quickly, so be sure to purchase tickets when they go on sale in mid-July.

Contact us to learn more and book your trip!