Disneyland was the place our sonny boy had had on the top of his travel wishlist for a long time. Even though it had been in the cards for a over a couple of years, it had to be put off for reasons like expecting baby no. 2, followed by the little(r) being too small to enjoy the place, and things of that sort.
Last month, everything seemed to fall in place and we decided to take the boy to Disneyland for a ‘birthday trip.’ That, not without deciding that we’d go back there in a couple of years when our little girl was old enough to enjoy Disneyland better. So off we went — with a toddler in tow — to help our 7 year old make some Disney memories.
When we were there in Disneyland Park in southern California, we found that there was quite a lot that a toddler could do there, too.
Now that I’m back home with 2 children who seemed to have had one of the happiest holidays ever, I wanted to share a list of things you could look at, to help you decide whether it is a good time to take your toddler to the ‘Happiest Place on Earth.’
Note| This is for Disneyland Park in Anaheim, (CA 2016)
Things you can do with your toddlers:
Take them to meet their favourite characters
For these little ones, this is where Mickey and Minnie live. And Donald and Daisy and the rest of the club. Meeting these characters they see on TV is probably what makes Disneyland the Happiest Place on Earth for toddlers.
Train and trolley rides
There’s no kid who wouldn’t like to be on a train or a just about any thing that will move and show them some sights. When you are in Disneyland you might as well take them on a ride down ‘Main Street,’ USA on a horse-drawn-trolley or the horseless ones that keep doing the rounds there. I’m pretty sure your toddler will spot one of them and most probably ask for a trip on one of those.
King Arthur Carousal
If your toddler likes to go round and round and round and up and down on a handsome horse, this is the place to do all that.
Story book land
In this land, you get into boats that take you through a canal that flows past miniature towns and castles where your Disney movie characters lived their lives and where their stories took place. Like the house in the woods that Snow White walked into. Or that grand palatial house that Princess Jasmine called home. You will also see Cinderalla’s castle and a mini Arendelle with Anna and Elsa’s Castle and Wandering Oaken’s outpost not very far away from it. And these are just a few of those miniature structures in that Storybook landscape.
Find out if it is ‘a small world after all.’
Small world is a slow ride, a musical and magical one that is just right for you whatever age you are. It is a dreamy boat ride around the world; it’s where you see men and women and children from all over the world come together as one and show you the wonders of this wide world where ‘there’s just one moon and the golden sun and a smile means friendship to everyone.’ It was a mesmerizing ride, I thought.
Call on Mickey and Minnie’s cute little abodes
They live in the oh-so-cute Toon Town in the far end of Disneyland. But this remote place has it all – gas station, post office, a diner (Daisy’s) and all. You are sure to feel like being in a cartoon, checking out Mickey’s man-cave-ish house or admiring Minnie’s lovely little home. You should see her adorable kitchen with her own well stocked fridge, her oven that’s in the middle of some baking and even her dishwasher that busy rinsing her pots and pans. My toddler loved this place, so did I.
Go on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
This crazy Toon Town cab ride is fun too; it has just the right amount of adventure for a toddler.
Go on a Monorail Tour around the park
The Disneyland Monorail takes you on a high speed trip around Disneyland. The guided tour points out several landmarks and rides in the park, and also Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Downtown Disneyland. All that on a single rail that runs on an elevated platform around Disneyland Park.
Do the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
This is a slow underwater ride in a submarine showing you Nemo’s underwater world with barnacles, starfish, divers, submarine vegetation, all created in Disney’s signature perfection. It even takes you through some animated scenes of the movie.
Visit the 100 acre wood
And take a ride into Pooh’s territory and see his friends and his jars of honey and the cuteness of the surroundings. If you’re in there while the celebrities of 100 acre wood are there to receive you, then you might as well pose for some photographic proof that you got a Pooh hug or did a little jig with Tigger.
Another boat ride, but this one is not through story books or fantasy-lands of any kind. This a cruise through unbelievable green territory; a forest so beautifully landscaped showing you life-sized make-believe animals in their own happy places in different parts of the world. Elephants splashing water, forest folk guarding their sacred homelands and animals in the wild doing what they do best. It’s a whole other fascinating world out there. After all this is supposed to be a sail through the rivers of the world your geography books told you about.
Don’t ever miss the Parade and Fireworks
Don’t ever say good bye to Disneyland without enjoying the much talked about parade and fireworks over the Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Other things I’m sure toddlers can do (Things that we didn’t get to do either because of time constraints or because some attractions were temporarily closed for refurbishment.)
- Alice in Wonderland.
- Casey Junior Circus Train
- Character Dining
(There might be other rides too that your toddler might be ready for, but I haven’t included for the simple reason that I didn’t do them with my toddler. I’ve listed only those attractions that we tried-and-tested. In other words, these are toddler-approved attractions.)
I’ve got more good news:
There things for toddlers to do at Disney’s California Adventure Park too. After we got back from our Disney trip, there were several people who asked if there was anything for little ones to do at Adventure Park. The general misconception is that that park is for bigger kids and adults alone.
Let me tell you that Disney has made sure that both parks in Anaheim has ‘something for everyone,’ in the true sense of the term.
Things-to-do in Disney’s ‘Adventure Park’ | Toddler edition:
Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train – Get into the friendly caterpillar and he’ll show you his healthy and yummy landmarks: a slice of watermelon, some huge carrots and even some cupcakes. No fast turns or dark tunnels or loud, scary noises here.
Little mermaid undersea adventure
This is another of those whimsical journey into sea waters, this time it to explore the world that Ariel came from: of mermaids and mermen and finned friends. It’s where you see the little mermaid’s treasure trove and see Ursula make her potions.
A slow ride it is and when it takes you into the dark it lights up the underwater world that is surreal. It might give you a taste of what it would be like if you were half fish; without those ‘what to you call em, feet.’ And remember, here you are going set eyes on the sea-witch with those enormous tentacles. (Note: she’s not going to scare your toddler.)
Watch whatever 3D trailers they are screening
While we were there we took our toddler in to put on some 3D glasses and meet Alice and the White Rabbit and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as they went about wonderland in ‘Alice through the looking glass.’ It was a sneak peek of the movie.
And there’s a Parade here too, this one we caught on our last afternoon there.
The must-have app
This is one of those holidays I went to, without doing no pre-trip planning (save the looking up of park and hotel bookings, which the hubby took care of). So the best thing I did to guide us through the parks was to download the Disneyland application on my phone.
Let me tell you how useful this app was:
⦁ It gave me a list of attractions and for which ones we could avail ‘fastpasses.’
⦁ It showed me a map of the attractions
⦁ It even told me what were the height restrictions for the different rides in both parks.
⦁ Best of all, it gave me the ‘real-time wait time’ for the rides throughout the parks. This, for both Disneyland Park as well as Disney’s California Adventure Park
⦁ Restroom Rescue – It showed me where there was a restroom near me.
⦁ It even allowed me look up dining options at different parts of the park.
It definitely was one of the best apps I downloaded for a trip. And I think you must do that too when you plan your trip to Disneyland. That way you don’t miss what I have skipped here and it should include all the newer attractions that are there when you are there.
PS: The park is very stroller-friendly.
At first we thought we’d make do with our umbrella stroller but then used the bigger one instead and that was a great decision as we got to stash into the storage basket beneath the seat, our snacks and bottles of water and the souvenirs we picked up along the way.
You can even rent strollers here.
You might also want to visit this post –> Glimpses of the ‘Happiest Place On Earth’
Thinking you might be ready to take your toddler to Disneyland? Got any queries for me? Leave them in the comments and I will get back to you. 🙂