Disneyland Tips for Families

Family members of all ages can enjoy the fun of Disneyland with these tips.
Family members of all ages can enjoy the fun of Disneyland with these tips. | Source

With so much to see and do at Disneyland, it’s easy for a family to end up feeling rushed and pressured to “do it all,” which often results in a harried and unsatisfying visit. Different age groups within a family can also put some strain on deciding which attractions to visit, and if or when any downtime breaks are needed, and how those breaks are spent. A little advance planning and forethought can lay the foundation for a wonderful experience for all family members that will create cherished memories to last a lifetime.

A visit to Disneyland is an exciting prospect that holds the promise of fun, magic and dreams come true. When visiting the park as a family, a little planning and forethought will pave the way to make the visit enjoyable for all ages, and help turn a family’s Disney dream into reality.

Celebrate!

Celebrating a birthday or other special occasion? Make City Hall on Main Street the first stop of the day. Quietly alert the Cast Member host at the desk that someone in your party is celebrating a special day and that you would like to receive a phone call in honor of the event. The host will quickly understand, and you can then, in regular voice, ask the host whether a call has come in for your guest. The Cast Member will present a special phone from behind the desk, and allow your guest to hear a surprise message from Mickey, Goofy, Donald or another famous Disney character, sending greetings and well wishes for your guest’s special day. 

A Special Call for a Special Someone

Friendly Cast Members are happy to help you celebrate your special day with a phone call from a cherished character.
Friendly Cast Members are happy to help you celebrate your special day with a phone call from a cherished character. | Source

To cap it off, the Cast Member will likely present your guest with either a button or sticker commemorating the celebration (if they don't offer it, go ahead and ask). There is no charge for this extra service!


Mickey's on the Phone!

024076 Classic Mickey TALKS!!!
024076 Classic Mickey TALKS!!!

Huh-hah! When this phone rings, Mickey's voice says, "Gee, I wonder who it is? . . . " and other fun phrases!

 

Character Breakfasts

Sure, you can stand in line to meet Mickey at his house in Toontown, but it’s much more exciting to have the Disney characters come right up to you on their own. Character breakfasts, available at the Plaza Inn inside Disneyland and at four other locations within the Disneyland Resort, are a great way to enjoy a delicious meal while interacting with some beloved characters (and don't think this is just for little kids!). The characters come directly to your table to greet you and may engage in any kind of playful activity with those at your table. Characters may also interact with each other near your party, and you never know just what fun they may create for your family, as the characters often will tailor their interactions based on the age group(s) at the table. Be sure to keep a camera ready for those treasured photo opportunities!

Bring your appetite and your readiness for fun to the breakfast table when you join Disney characters for a rollicking Character Breakfast.
Bring your appetite and your readiness for fun to the breakfast table when you join Disney characters for a rollicking Character Breakfast. | Source

Recharge

After walking from attraction to attraction, there will be times when you’ll need a little break to refresh and recharge. This is particularly important when little ones are in tow, as over-stimulated kids can make for a long (read: unpleasant) day at the park. Thankfully, there are some good options for rest stops, and taking a breather doesn’t have to mean missing out on any of the Disneyland fun.

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, located in Adventureland, provides an outdoor seating area on its patio. While relaxing there, order a tasty Dole Pineapple Whip, enjoy the pre-show performance by the various tiki gods, and learn about pineapple production in the Dole video presentation, The Flavor of Hawaii.

Sweet, refreshing Dole Pineapple Whip, available in very few places on Earth. Relax with this tasty treat while the tiki gods perform their pre-show for you.
Sweet, refreshing Dole Pineapple Whip, available in very few places on Earth. Relax with this tasty treat while the tiki gods perform their pre-show for you. | Source

At the conclusion of the pre-show, guests are invited inside the Tiki Room, where rows of seating await to further extend relaxation time while the birdies sing and the flowers croon. The exterior pre-show plus the interior main show equals a total rest time of 26 minutes.

Tiki Delights at Home

Moonrays 95960 Tiki Themed Outdoor Solar Light, Garden Gnome, Tiki Warrior
Moonrays 95960 Tiki Themed Outdoor Solar Light, Garden Gnome, Tiki Warrior

During the day, this 18.5" tall tiki warrior charges by the power of the sun; at night, his fiery light shines forth from his torch and his eyes!

 
Rosle Pineapple Cutter
Rosle Pineapple Cutter

Don't deny it--you're now craving pineapple. Use this handy device to quickly release the sweet fruit of kings from its prickly sheath.

 

Despite the risk of earning an earworm for the remainder of the day from its repetitive theme song, many guests use the it’s a small world attraction as a resting opportunity. The recently refurbished ride offers comfortable seating in boats that gently glide through the waters on its journey celebrating worldwide peace. Guests get to celebrate ten minutes of welcomed rest.

Petting Zoo

Drop by the Big Thunder Mountain Ranch to pet the goats and visit the other critters as a break from long ride queues and the bustling crowds.
Drop by the Big Thunder Mountain Ranch to pet the goats and visit the other critters as a break from long ride queues and the bustling crowds. | Source

If the grown-ups want to rest but the kids are still antsy, stop by the Big Thunder Mountain Ranch, located on the path between Frontierland and Fantasyland. The kids can interact with animals in the petting zoo and explore the walk-through barn while adults rest their tired dogies for a while. It’s a nice break from the rush and whirl of the thrill attractions. And, if tummies are grumbling, the Big Thunder Mountain Barbecue is right there with all-you-can-eat provisions.

Cookin' With Mickey

VillaWare V5555-03 Mickey's Sandwich Maker
VillaWare V5555-03 Mickey's Sandwich Maker

This non-stick cooker grills the image of Mickey Mouse right into both sides of two pocket sandwiches.

 
Come on in to the cottage at Big Thunder Mountain Ranch and sit a spell.
Come on in to the cottage at Big Thunder Mountain Ranch and sit a spell. | Source

Speaking of mealtime, if your family includes a baby, there's a peaceful nursing station just off Main Street, next door to the Plaza Inn. The Baby Care Center offers comfortable, softly lit private rooms finished in turn of the previous century décor, providing a relaxing setting for mommy and baby to gently share some quiet nursing moments. The Cast Members in the center will warm bottles for you, bring you diapers, powder and other changing necessities. Formula, baby food and high chairs are also available in the center, as are baby changing stations and tiny toilets for toddlers.

There is no charge to nurse or feed in the center, and prices for any needed supplies you may not have on hand are reasonable.

Splitting Up and Meeting Up

Families with children of various ages may wish to split up for part of the day, with younger children enjoying the delights of Fantasyland while older children take on the thrill rides elsewhere in the park. Eventually, parties will want to reunite, and most people want a meet-up spot that is centrally located and easy to find. A common choice is to meet at the hub, the circular center plaza in front of the castle at the end of Main Street. Because of its popularity for meet-ups, the hub tends to remain crowded most of the day, which is precisely why it may not be the best option to choose.

Consider instead other areas nearby the hub, such as Snow White’s Wishing Well on one side of the castle, or the roomier Carnation Plaza Gardens located at the opposite side of the castle. An excellent option that provides air conditioning and entertainment while you wait is the Main Street Cinema, where guests are treated to classic black-and-white Mickey Mouse cartoons. Waiting spots with seating include the wood slat benches and cement ledges next to the Alice In Wonderland attraction, just off of the hub. Here, guests can do some old-fashioned people watching and take in the sights and sounds of the park as a whole. Another great place to await your party is inside the Disneyland Story attraction, located within the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction building on Main Street. Relax on upholstered benches while learning about the history and future plans of Disneyland as presented through video, scale models and sketches of various park features.

Carnation Plaza Gardens, located in the central hub, tucked between the castle and the entrance to Frontierland.
Carnation Plaza Gardens, located in the central hub, tucked between the castle and the entrance to Frontierland. | Source
Inside Carnation Plaza Gardens, there is a large canopied dance floor and plenty of chairs for shaded rest. This area is usually very open and uncrowded.
Inside Carnation Plaza Gardens, there is a large canopied dance floor and plenty of chairs for shaded rest. This area is usually very open and uncrowded. | Source

Plan Ahead

The most helpful tip for families who have a limited time to enjoy Disneyland is to plan ahead. Prior to the trip, research the attractions, restaurants and activities to determine interests and priorities. Be sure to budget in resting time, and don’t be in such a rush as to overlook small but significant details (keep your eyes peeled for hidden Mickeys throughout the park!). Drink in the magic of Disneyland at a pace that works for the entire family, and you’ll come away with that very sense of delight that Walt himself wanted families to experience.

© M.S. Ross - All Rights Reserved


Family Strategies

What successful strategies has your family employed to help little toddlers, kids and teens all enjoy a family visit to the Happiest Place on Earth? Did you include particular plans to ensure the adults in your party also had an enjoyable visit as well? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comments 6 comments

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Oh my gosh. OH MY GOSH. You've really lit a fire under me. I MUST GO TO DISNEYLAND!!

Great Hub, great tips, great photos! Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful XD


Lidian profile image

Lidian 5 years ago

That Pineapple Whip looks really, really good!


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 5 years ago Author

@Simone: Glad you feel inspired to visit the park! Now, just be sure to swing on by and pick me up on your way there...

@Lidian: The Dole Whip IS really, really good. It's served only at Disney theme parks and at the Dole Plantation in Hawaii. Others may try to imitate it, but no one seems to succeed in copying the actual Dole Whip taste. Get the real thing, if ever you can!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

I lived in Anaheim for many years. One of my sons worked there for awhile, too, so we got some passes and discounts and took lots of vistiors there. Didn't know about some of the 'specials' you mentioned, but will pass them along.

Thanks.


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 5 years ago Author

Glad you discovered some new tidbits through this article, Rochelle! Any discounts and specials will be of even greater value, now that Disneyland has just raised their prices again.


Miss Mellie profile image

Miss Mellie 3 years ago Author

NOTE: The Carnation Plaza Gardens have now joined the ranks of Yesterland, as Disney's Fantasy Faire takes the place of the classic dance floor and gardens.

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