As a kid nothing is better than Disneyland. As a parent, nothing is more stressful than Disneyland. At least that is what I’m finding while preparing for a trip in November. The vast mecca of fun and imagination has grown since I visited, eighteen years ago. With plans to visit with an ecstatic four year old, I’m finding myself having mild panic attacks.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to take my daughter, and I cannot wait to see her face light up when she sees everything for the first time, but I know in reality the trip will not all be wonderful. She will cry, she will whine, and inevitably she will get tired and cranky.
PURCHASE TICKETS BEFORE YOU GO
Take advantage of sales prices for advance purchase tickets and purchase the tickets online. Having the tickets waiting in the “Will Call” for you will save you time waiting in line at the ticket counter. Also check and see the benefits of your ticket package offers. Some hopper passes offer specials, like early entry into the park one morning.
MAKE A LIST
Sit down with the whole family and make a list of what attractions, rides, and experiences are a “must do” for each family member. Making certain each person gets to do what they want, will make the trip more enjoyable for everyone. Be sure to check the height requirements for each ride and attraction when making your list.
PRINT OUT A MAP
Printing out a map before you go will help you plan the “must see” attractions and experiences, as well as help you plan a route around the park. The last thing you want to do is walk back and forth all day to different areas again and again. If a family member does not meet the height requirement, but part of the family will still visit the ride, plan alternate things to do and see in the area. **Side note, make sure to mark (if they aren’t marked well) all the restrooms.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
To make the “Where do you want to eat?” question, when you are dealing with a tired, cranky, hungry family vanish (which let’s face it, that scene can suck the joy out of even Disneyland). Go through the list of all the restaurants and what they serve before you go, and make a family list, and add to the planned route. If you have special dietary needs you can request special meals, at least 24 hours in advance.
KNOW THE SPECIAL EVENTS
Go online and check for special events going on during the date(s) you plan on being in the park. Plan for them and make sure they are in your itinerary and route.
KNOW THE CLOSED ATTRACTIONS AND RIDES
By checking the dates online, you can make alternate plans if one of the rides on your list will be closed during your visit.
Things are going to come up that will change or alter your plans, but having that first set in stone – or set in wet concrete – plan is a sure way to keep the panic attacks at bay and give you an enjoyable family vacation to Disneyland!