When we got to Disneyland and checked into our hotel, we dropped our bags in the room and headed straight for Downtown Disney. We had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, Tortilla Joes (if you go there, try the spicy mamacita margarita!). As soon as we finished lunch, it started down pouring!! Buckets and buckets of rain and I got really nervous about our Disney days. Within a few hours it stopped raining and didn't rain again the entire time we were there (phew!). The weather was actually perfect, warm, but not too hot. October is a great time to visit Disneyland, especially because it's decorated so beautifully in the park!
Our trip was amazing, we had so much fun and made so many memories. I even got to visit with two of my best gram friends, Karissa and Erin! Sloan had an absolute blast playing with new friends and sharing sweet treats! Karissa and I even dressed all of our girls up as princesses using lots of small shop goodies.
Soooo many of you asked me questions while we were in Disneyland and I tried to write all of them down. I'm sharing some of my best tips and tricks below, along with an insane amount of photos. I mean it's Disneyland, you always walk away with way too many photos!!
Disneyland Tips and Tricks
Booking your vacation:
-We always book our trips through Costco travel (they don't pay me to say that, we really always go through them!). Our park tickets, hotel, and airfare are all included in one price and it's always lower than if I were to book them myself. The Costco package also includes a free character dining experience and a gift card.
-Through Costco travel, you can choose any of the Disneyland hotels to stay in. We've stayed in the Paradise Pier hotel and the Grand Californian and have loved both (Paradise Pier is quite a bit more affordable). We love how convenient it is to run back to the hotel for nap time, they're so close to the parks!
-We have felt like park hopper tickets are a waste of money, you can easily spend an entire day in one park and save some money. We usually go for three or four days and spend one to two days in each park (Disneyland and California Adventure).
-The lines to eat in Disneyland can be crazy long which is never good when you have hungry little people. There are a few ways to get around this... Make reservations before your trip through Disney dining. They are so good about being on time so you can plan your day around your meals. Or, eat in downtown Disney. There may be a wait time at one of the restaurants in downtown Disney, but it will probably be much less than at a restaurant in Disneyland. Our favorite is Tortilla Joes, Eric and I love splitting the fajitas. You can also eat in your hotel, there is rarely a wait. There is a (kid friendly) bar in the Grand Californian hotel, they offer light food options and allll the drinks :).
-If you have a princess obsessed little girl like I do, you HAVE to make a reservation at Ariel's Grotto. Ariel's Grotto is in California Adventure and is reservations only. You get to meet Ariel and four other princesses (we met Rapunzel, Belle, Tiana, and Cinderella). Sloan was in awe and had the best time!
-California Adventure serves alcohol and Disneyland does not. Just thought I'd let ya'll know :).
Making the most of your trip:
-If you stay in a Disneyland hotel, you get to go into the park an hour before it opens. They call it magic hour and it really is magic. There is a fraction of the people in the park and you can squeeze quite a few rides in before the park opens up to the public. We usually hit up Sloan's favorite rides and just keep going on them over and over without waiting in line (teacups, dumbo, Alice in Wonderland).
-Taking advantage of magic hour means waking up early (which sucks, but it's so worth it)! Eric and I would wake up between 6-6:30 so that we could shower and get ready before the girls got up. Eric would run over to Starbucks and grab us breakfast sandwiches and coffee while I got ready. As soon as he got back we would wake the girls up, feed them, and dress them. I always pack our bag the night before so that we're ready to go as soon as we're all dressed.
-Oh! One more thing about magic hour... you get to go into the parks an hour before they open (at 8am), but people will start lining up about a half hour before 8am. We always try to be out of our hotel room by 7:30am. And for those of you who asked why there was no one in the background in my photos, it's because we took advantage of magic hour!
-Ask a ride attendant about parent swap! Your little one will be able to go on a ride twice, one time with each parent without waiting in line twice!
-Plan nap time around the parades, the parades are magical for kiddos!!!
-California Adventure ALWAYS has shorter lines than Disneyland, keep that in mind for little ones!
-Wear comfortable shoes and make sure your littles are wearing comfortable shoes.
-Bring coats and pants for nighttime. Even if it's a nice day, it gets really cold at night!
-Bring a stroller (if you have younger kiddos) and park it in stroller parking. We brought our Uppababy Vista double and it was PERFECT. The girls were so comfortable and because it isn't a side by side, it was still easy to maneuver through the crowds. You can see more about my Vista love here!
-If you are bringing your Vista, make sure you purchase the Uppababy Vista Travel Bag. I looked online at cheaper stroller bags for traveling, but none of them actually protected the stroller from impact, they basically just covered it up. Not only is does the Uppababy travel bag protect the stroller, they guarantee that it will! You can register the bag and if anything happens to your stroller, Uppababy will cover it. It also has wheels so it's easy use.
*** On our flight to California, our Uppababy travel bag was actually broken because the people handling it were so rough with it. I am SO glad it happened to the bag and not the actual stroller!! I had registered the bag so it's totally covered, phew!
-Bring a diaper bag that can be work as a backpack. I brought my Fawn Design bag, which is the best backpack diaper bag of all time. It's so comfortable and just the right size. I actually always bring two bags, we put all of our important belongings (cell phones, wallets, camera, etc) in the backpack along with a few snacks, water cup, and a diaper and wipes. This is the bag we take with us while we're waiting in line (basically anything we might need right away). I bring another bag that I keep in the basket of the stroller. In the second bag I pack more diapers and wipes, water bottles, extra clothes, some toys/books, and ALL the snacks.
-Bring a small book or toy for your little while they're waiting in line... and snacks. Food keeps little people quiet and happy-two things you need when waiting in line.
-Take advantage of the baby care centers. It's a nice quiet (and clean) place where you can change or nurse your baby.
-Ask other families to trade taking photos. You take a photo of their family and they take one of yours. You'll be so glad you have a photo of your entire family!
-Make sure you download the Disneyland app!!! It has wait times, tells you where characters are, and lets you know which rides offer a fast pass. Just make sure you completely close out of the app when you're done looking at it, it'll drain your phone battery.
-Take advantage of fast passes, it's so nice skipping the lines!
-Stay for the parades, fireworks, or water show at night. It is SO worth it!!!
-If your phone dies, you can charge it inside of Starbucks. Just make sure you bring your charger with you!
That's all I can think of for now! Please let me know if you have anymore questions!!
The girls slept together while we were in California and it's totally tempting me to let them share a room. No, a bed. It was just SO precious!!!
P's ice cream romper by Hello Ellie Shop. All of the girls bracelets are by Poppy Lane And Co. and we absolutely love them!
And then we got to DISNEYLAND!!!
Bows by The Splendid Bow.
Bows by Zozu Baby.
So we took Sloan to Bibbity Bobbity Boutique which was absolutely adorable! She loved it so much, but I think I'll wait until she's a little older to do it again. We went with the cheapest package (which was $65) and while she loved all of it in the moment she wanted to rip everything off as soon as we left. Her hair hurt up in a bun and she begged non stop for me to take it out. It all lasted about two hours, which is pretty expensive if you ask me! Like I said, it was adorable! I just don't think she was old enough to really appreciate it. We'll try again when she's five or older.
Bow and pacifier clip by Loved by Sophia Claire.
Karissa and I dressed the girls up like their favorite princesses and it was seriously too cute!! Dresses and tights by June and January, crowns by Presh Toast Crowns, and shoes by Mon Petite Shoes.
My fave dresses ever by Plain Jane (the girls wear these dresses as pj's and out and about!), we tripleted this day and all wore these dresses. The girls Minnie shoes were a huge hit, a must have for a Disney trip!!!
These Minnie ears are seriously THE CUTEST!! Find them over at Gugu Baby Boutique!
Pink dresses by June and January.
Sloan's necklace by Hooray Everyday.
Dresses by The Little Spoons.