family - me, husband Dave, and our two-year-old daughter,
Amy - took our first trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California,
this past spring. We were a little unsure about Amy. Was
it worth it with a child that young? Would she even remember
the experience? Our concerns were erased by the time the
trip was over. She had a ball - and because of her age,
she never doubted that the magic was real. As for Dave and
me, we'll never forget the expressions of wonder on Amy's
ensure a great time for everyone, learn about the park's
offerings before you go. Here are some tips to help you
plan the most toddler-friendly visit to the Magic Kingdom.
a Game Plan
agents recommend visiting in early fall or winter to
avoid crowds. Whenever you do go, take lines and crowds
into consideration as you schedule your days.
Web site (www.disneyland.com) offers directions, park
maps, hours, and attraction descriptions. Check them
all out before you get there and familiarize yourself
with the park. Signage for bathrooms especially can
can rent strollers for $7, but if your child is heavier
than 30 pounds, they won't be roomy enough for a comfy
nap. We brought our own, which has a sunshade, and a
bike lock to keep it safe. You can't take your stroller
in line for any rides, but you can park it just outside
of every attraction.
you get the urge for some adult time, the Fullerton
Child Care Agency (714-528-1640) can send a sitter to
your hotel room or take your child to the park for you.
you want to go on some adults-only rides without splitting
up, try the "Baby Swap." As soon as you get in line,
tell an attendant that you want to use this option.
When it's your family's turn, one parent rides while
the other stands aside holding the child. When the run
is over, the parent who just rode gets off and takes
the child, and the other parent hops on.
in the park can be expensive, but most restaurants offer
Mouskemeals ($3.99) for young kids. For a sit-down family
buffet, try Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland
Hotel (adults, $24.95; kids 4 to 11, $8.95; and children
3 and under, $3.95). Costumed Disney characters mingle
and ham it up as you eat, and there's a special child-height
buffet stocked with kid-pleasing foods.
boasts a slew of rides and attractions that, while tame,
elicit squeals of delight from toddlers. Amy's favorites
were It's a Small World, a boat ride through a musical
diorama; the Enchanted Tiki Room, a Hawaiian extravaganza
complete with automated birds and flowers; and the Country
Bear Playhouse, where furry life-sized robotic bears
sing and dance in a jamboree.
three and older can visit every attraction in Mickey's Toontown,
including Chip 'n Dale's Treehouse and Goofy's Bounce House.
They can also tour Mickey's House, where they're guaranteed
a chance to meet the Mouse himself in his dressing room.
Then there's this little-known secret: Several times each
afternoon, Disney princesses tell stories to young guests
in the Tinker Bell Toy Shoppe.
a day during our visit, the 45 Years of Magic Parade
marched down Main Street U.S.A. Parade schedules vary, depending
on the season, but stake out a spot early to give your toddler
a good view of all her favorite characters.
night when we were there, the park staged "Fantasmic!" at
Rivers of America. A laser-light water show with fireworks
and a full-sized pirate ship, "Fantasmic!" will knock
the cynic out of any adult. I was worried that Amy would
be scared of the giant fire-breathing dragon. Boy, was I
wrong: She asked to watch it three nights in a row! Bright
lights and big noise were also on tap at 9:30 every night
with the 45th Anniversary Fireworks Spectacular, "Believe:
There's Magic in the Stars."
Walt Disney Travel Company (800-854-3104; www.disney.go.com/Disneyland)
offers packages throughout the year. We got our fourth hotel
night free, a five-day flexible pass for the price of a
three-day pass, early admission to the park (6:30 a.m.),
and one complimentary breakfast.
are some hotels, packages, and total rates for a two-night
stay for two adults and one toddler.
Hotel (714-778-6600; $680): Includes a Disneyland
Flex Passport, early park admission (6:30 a.m.), Monorail
transportation to the park, and fine dining in the hotel.
Anaheim (714-750-4321; $209): Includes convenient
frequent shuttle service to and from the park.
Western Park Place Inn (800-854-8175; $220 to $240):
Located directly across from Disneyland's main entrance,
making it the most convenient (though not the nicest)
hotel for a Disneyland vacation.
Roof Inn Anaheim (714-502-9014; $159 to $179): Three
miles from Disneyland; offers shuttle service.
Waldron is a writer who lives with her family in Provo,
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