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Tips for Visiting Disneyland Resort with Children for the First Time

Updated on May 6, 2012

Visiting the Disneyland Resort, which includes both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, for the very first time with your children is very exciting (both for you and the kids!), and here are a few tips to help ensure your visit to Disney is indeed a magical experience full of wonderful moments and memories.

Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park | Source

Be Flexible

When visiting Disneyland Resort for the first time with your family, it's only natural to want to plan as much as possible. Whether you have two days or five days, you may want to try and ride specific rides, eat at certain restaurants, and get photographs of your kids with different characters, but the more flexible you are in your planning, the better.

Trying to stick to a detailed plan will only end up in frustration because it will inevitably be nearly impossible to stick to, and it's simply best to have a "general" plan in place, with lots of room for flexibility.

When you visit Disneyland Resort, your kids may end up wanting to ride the same ride over and over, or may not want to go on certain rides at all; lines may be longer than expected; inclement weather may affect which rides you go on; kids will get hungry, fussy, and tired.

Any or all of these occurrences can put a snag in any plan, so try to just plan for the absolute "must-do" items, such as have dinner at Goofy's Kitchen, (many restaurants take reservations months in advance, so be sure to make your reservation as soon as you know when you want to dine there), watch the World of Color show, or take a family photo at the entrance.

Once you figure out the "must-do" activities, plan around them, and be as flexible as possible throughout your entire visit.

Being flexible means less chance of frustration and disappointment, both for you and your kids.

Disneyland Jungle Cruise
Disneyland Jungle Cruise | Source

Be Patient

There's a lot of waiting at Disneyland Resort--waiting in lines to get in the parks, for rides, for food, and also a lot of waiting around for the shows and parade to start, so patience is a must.

Also, be patient with your children as well as with everyone else around you.

If your child is fussy or tired, try your best to be patient with him or her. Let your child sit and rest, or have a snack break.

If someone else's child is throwing a tantrum, don't be judgmental. Have empathy and patience.

Long lines and crowds are the norm at Disneyland Resort, so patience is indeed a necessity.

Be Prepared

No matter where your travel to, it's always important to be prepared.

When visiting Disneyland Resort with your kids, some items that you should remember to take with you are:

  • Bottled water
  • Snacks
  • Sun protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, stroller shade)
  • Mat or blanket to sit on to watch parade/shows
  • Toys and handheld games to keep kids busy while waiting for parade/shows to start.
  • ID tags, bracelets, slip of paper with contact information for your kids in case you get separated from them
  • Ponchos in case of inclement weather or going on rides that may result in you and/or your kids getting wet

Be Informed

Make sure to visit Disneyland Resort's website for all the information you need prior to your visit, such as:

  • Hours
  • Special Events
  • Ride closures
  • Ride height requirements
  • Parking fees
  • Promotional ticket prices
  • Rides that feature FASTPASS or Rider Swap

Another great way to stay informed is to check the online forums and discussions that are dedicated to all things related to Disneyland Resort. On these sites you can find out just about everything there is to know about visiting Disneyland Park or California Adventure Park, such as the best spots to view the parade, the best time to make reservations for character dining, and the best times to ride certain rides.

Disney California Adventure Park
Disney California Adventure Park | Source

Be Courteous

In such a popular and crowded place, it's inevitable to encounter screaming kids, impatient parents, and yes, even not-so-friendly cast members, believe it or not, at Disneyland Resort, but it's important to try your best to be courteous no matter what the situation.

Whether another visitor is asking you if an area near you is taken for parade seating, if someone bumped into you, or if someone cut in line in front of you, be courteous when communicating.

There have been far too many incidents where adults have acted out childishly, in front of their own kids and others' kids, and that's truly a shame.

If someone is being discourteous, be the "bigger" person and just smile and be respectful. Most likely you'll never see that person again, and it's not worth arguing or acting out in front of your kids.

You want your trip to be a truly memorable experience - for the right reasons.

What are your tips for visiting Disneyland Resort?

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    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great tips! I will definatley keep these in mind. It seems like people should really have reasonable expectations out of a trip to Disney. When you have kids, you really can't plan every minute of the trip. Useful!

    • HawaiiHeart profile image

      HawaiiHeart 5 years ago from Hawaii

      teachers12345 - The first time we took our kids to Disney we made reservations a month in advance - and there were only a few time slots the on the date we wanted! Can't wait to go back!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Great suggestions for making a Disney trip successful. If we do plan on eating one meal there, we always make reservations at least five days prior to our visit. This ensures that you have a spot.