Sunday, May 7, 2017

Disneyland with toddlers

We are home from our Disneyland vacation and we pretty much haven't stopped reliving the magic.  The girls had so much fun and made so many memories, I love seeing life through their eyes!  They're still talking about all the rides and characters (Sloan loved the teacups, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the goofy rollercoaster in toon town.  Phayre loved Monster's Inc, the Ariel ride, and alllll the dole whip floats).  Our vacation was magical and I enjoyed the family time so much, but my tired pregnant body sure is happy to be home!  I finally finished up all our laundry and the house is back in order (hallelujah!).

So many of you commented and messaged me asking for Disneyland tips with toddlers.  With my ridiculous amount of overgramming, I guess you all knew we were in Disneyland ;).  This was our fourth Disneyland vacation and I definitely learn something new each time we go.  I actually already shared a bunch of tips and tricks last time we were there, you can see that post here!  I will share a few more tips below.

The highlight of our trip was definitely celebrating Sloan's fourth birthday!  She had the BEST day and felt so special!  Between waking up to a bed full of balloons, cotton candy, picking out a special toy, and getting to have dinner with princesses and her friends Jules & Koko... it was pretty much the perfect day!  It was crazy how quickly she seemed four, trying to act so grown up!!  She even surprised us and went on splash mountain twice!

We usually visit family in southern California and then visit Disneyland for three days.  This time we only did Disneyland so we added on one more day.  Maybe it's just because I'm pregnant, but I've decided that Disneyland for toddlers is a lot like Vegas for adults... three full days is just about right and then you're pretty much too exhausted to function by the fourth day!  Our fourth day in Disneyland was fun, but we were definitely moving at a slower pace and there were a few more toddler tantrums.

I had an AMAZING time, but I probably wouldn't recommend four days at Disneyland while six months pregnant.  All I'm gonna say is pregnant kankles :-P.  But I am super thankful for one last vacation as a family of four!  I know P is going to seem so darn big and grown up once baby brother is here so I really soaked up those front pack naps on this trip (even if they about broke my back).

Once you've read my Disneyland tips and tricks post, come back and read these additional tips!

Booking your vacation:
-We booked through Costco travel again and felt like it was a great deal.  They no longer offer free character dining, but they do offer a pretty good size gift card to the parks when booking through them.

-If you have kiddos that still take a daily nap, I highly recommend staying at a Disneyland hotel (there are three to choose from).  When nap time roles around, it is so nice to quickly get back to your hotel and nap your babes.  Once they're up you can quickly get back into the parks and enjoy the late afternoon and evening.  And if you're six months pregnant, you will probably nap with your kiddos... every single day :).

-We have stayed at the Grand Californian the last couple times we have gone.  The hotel is beautiful and you cannot beat the location (it actually connects to California Adventure).  We were so bummed to find out upon arrival that the hotel is undergoing some major construction over the next several months.  The pool was closed which was a major bummer for the girls and the construction noise was pretty bad during the day.  Phayre was able to sleep through most of it, but it pretty much ruined Sloan's naps each day (SO much drilling).  So I would usually recommend the Grand Californian with flying colors, but I may hold off if they're still working on construction!

-This is the first trip we didn't rent a car so we took the Disneyland shuttle to and from the airport.  While this option is cheaper than getting a taxi, it is definitely not more convenient.  Our shuttle was delayed when we got in and when we were leaving.  If our return flight wouldn't have been delayed, we might have actually missed out flight!  We will not be taking the shuttle again, the delays were way too stressful!

-I cannot recommend making reservations through Disney dining enough.  If your kids are already on a schedule and you know their normal mealtimes, make reservations before you go (you can even make reservations at some of the restaurants in Downtown Disney).

-Our favorite restaurant inside Disneyland is Cafe Orleans, their Monte Cristo sandwich is uh-mazing!

-We tried the Blue Bayou restaurant inside of Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time this trip and if you have small children I highly highly do NOT recommend it.  It's dark and super expensive, our bill was more than Eric and I would have spent on a date night for the two of us... we left feeling kind of jipped.

-Eat as many dole whip floats as you can.  Just do it and thank me later :).

Making the most of your trip:
-I've talked about magic morning before (make sure to read about it in my previous Disney post) and how great it is, but I'm not sure if I ever mentioned that you can only participate in it if you're staying in one of the three Disneyland hotels.  We squeezed in seven rides during magic hour one morning, it is so worth it!!

-We brought our Uppababy Vista double stroller again and I seriously love that stroller (you can purchase the second seat here)!  It is narrow enough to easily move through crowds, but spacious enough to keep the girls comfortable.  You also can't beat the huge basket underneath, perfect for carrying extra clothes, alllll the snacks, and giant Sully stuffed animals.

-We bring our Vista in the Uppababy travel bags and I cannot recommend them highly enough.  The airline is so rough on your belongings and these really protect the stroller.

-I brought my Fawn Design diaper bag again and it was just the right size to carry our important belongings on the rides.  It's also the most comfortable backpack style bag that I have making it really convenient when waiting in lines.

-I always pack two outfits a day for the girls when we visit Disneyland.  The amount of comments and messages I get about the number of outfits they wear cracks me up.  Like why on earth do people care about how much laundry I'm going to have to do?!  Haha :).  Anyways, I do this for two reasons.  Both of my girls like to nap in pajamas.  When they wake up they want a clean outfit.  And that's the other reason I always pack two outfits-they get their clothing filthy while we're there!  Between food (and treats!), sweat, and sunscreen they really need two outfits a day.  Well usually it's just P who NEEDS a new outfit, but if I change her clothes Sloan demands to change hers too.  So even if your kiddos don't need two outfits a day, I do recommend packing a few extra outfits.

-Waiting in lines: I got the most questions about how the girls did waiting in lines for the rides.  We never stand in a line that is longer than 30 minutes (35 minutes MAX!!).  Most of the toddler rides don't ever have wait times that long.  If there is a busier ride that we want to go on, we either try to hit it up during magic hour or we check the Disneyland app throughout the day and go when there is a shorter wait time.  Lines will also be shorter during the parades at night.

The girls are actually really easy going when it comes to waiting in lines.  I always bring some snacks and little figurine toys in our diaper bag.  P is happy to snack on cheerios while Sloan's imagination runs wild with little princess figurines.  We sing songs, play I-spy, and talk about what we've done so far and what we still want to do.  Most of the rides are continuous loading so the lines move forward the entire time.

***Check back later this week for an airplane travel with toddlers post, I know lots of you had questions about that too!

I think that's all I have for you this time!  We love visiting Disneyland, it's so magical for the girls and Eric and I always enjoy it so much too!  I hope these tips help on your next Disney vacation!  If you have any other questions or want sources for anything please leave a comment below!



And now... the massive photo dump :).

Sloan's dress.  P's romper c/o The Little Design Co.  Bows c/o Wunderkin Co.

Party hat c/o Presh Toast

Sloan's dress and P's romper c/o Lali Kids.  Minnie Mouse bows c/o The Splendid Bow.  P's socks c/o Zozu Baby.

Big four year old girl!!

Sloan's dress by Vivie and Ash.  Sloan's shoes.  P's bloomers c/o Beckaloo Fashions.  P's peplum top and striped knee high socks by June and January.  Bow's c/o The Splendid Bow.  Bracelet's c/o Poppy Lane and Co.


Dresses c/o Remi Girl.  Bows and socks c/o Zozu Baby.

Sloan's purse c/o Baby Mama Sew Shop.

Outfits by June and January.  Bow's c/o Zozu Baby.


  1. Your girls are seriously, hands down, the cutest thing I've ever seen. Absolutely loved this post, all of the tips, and EVERY SINGLE OUTFIT!

    1. Oh my goodness you are so so kind!! Thank you so much :). Sending all the virtual hugs! M

  2. What an AMAZING trip!!!! I can't wait to take my girls one day x

  3. How does Costco travel work? Can I just show up at costco and speak to someone or do I do everything online? Do you reccomend a car since the shuttle was no good? Or do you think a taxi would be better. Also, as far as the gift shop goes.. what is worth buying? I want to get Kinsley some Minnie ears but would i be better off getting stuff off Etsy or buying stuff like that from Disney. Thanks mama ❤️ Looks like your girls had a blast. I can't wait until I can take my girl!

    1. I've always booked over the phone with Costco! And I always buy their Minnie ears, accessories, and clothing before we go. I let them each choose a special toy from the gift shops, but usually it's a lot of the same things that they have in the Disney store at our local mall (but it's always more expensive at the actual gift shop in Disneyland). And as far as the shuttle, we will be visiting family next time so we'll definitely rent a car!

  4. Love your posts and photos...What kind of camera are you using?

    1. You can see all of my camera and photo tips here:

      I hope that helps!

  5. Love this post! I am so Disney obsessed. I have two questions. I would love to know where you got the Mickey Knee High Socks and are all those photos taken with an iPhone or did you use a camera as well? They are all so cute!

    1. Most of these photos are iPhone photos, but I do use a dslr camera! You can see all of my camera and photo tips here:

  6. Love this!! I still can't decide which place to visit. Disneyland or Disney world!! These tips are good though! We live in Texas so either way it will be a long drive or long flight!! I just love all their outfits! Thanks for sharing! Now are you selling any outfits??? I want them all lol.

    1. Whatever you choose it will be so fun!! And not right now, but if I do I will let you know!!

  7. i'm still SO SAD we didnt get to meet you guys there. but this fall i WILL NOT MISS YOU. mostly because i have a baby to cuddle :)

    1. I absolutely cannot wait to squeeze you in the fall!!!

  8. lovely pics! where are the princess dresses from?


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