Disneyland Tips For Moms (and Dads)

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

If you’re a mom (or dad), you’re busy wiping and feeding all the time—even at the Disneyland Resort. However, your next visit can still be fun and much easier with the following tips:

– Mark your stroller with a brightly colored scarf, ribbon or bandana, so you can spot your stroller in the sea of strollers.

– Visit the Baby Care Centers. They provide moms a place to breast feed and there are even training toilets for toddlers. (No reason to stop the training during vacation, right?) There are also supplies available for purchase.

Baby Care Centers

Baby Care Centers

– If you need a break from walking, take the train. It begins on Main Street, U.S.A. and stops in Mickey’s Toontown, Tomorrowland and New Orleans Square.

– Check the height requirements before you visit the park. This will prevent any surprise meltdowns because little Johnny had his heart set on riding Space Mountain but, oops, too short.

– The park sweepers dressed in white almost always have maps and show times and parade information.

– Visit the Animation Academy at Disney’s California Adventure park. This hidden gem is a lot of fun and you and your children can learn how to draw a Disney character every half hour.

– Finally, if you need to relax with a glass of wine after a long day in the park, visit the wine bar near Wine Country Trattoria in Disney’s California Adventure park.


  • For got to add:

    Use sunscreen all year round – even when it’s cloudy. Also, when the sun goes down in Orange County it gets cool. Bring at least a light jacket for everyone even in the summer. Dress in layers.

  • If you have younger children, make sure they know what to do if you get seperated. Show them what a Disney employee’s badge looks like. Also, make sure they have a card in a pocket with your name and contact information.

    If you have slightly older children who are mature enough to explore on their own, let them. Make arrangements to meet every 2 or 3 hours. Also make sure they have a card with your contact information in a pocket in case of an emergency.

    When smaller children are in need of a break, ride the train or the Monorail all the way around the park. It’s a ride but the sitting gives little legs a rest. There is also a courtyard where you enter the Grand Californian from Downtown Disney. It’s quiet, shaded and a good place to sit and relax and eat lunch or a snack.

    The Howard Johnson’s across the street has a free mini water park for kids of all ages, free parking and free wifi. The rooms are reasonably priced and it’s within walking distance of the front gate.

  • We recently went to Disneyland with a training 2 yr old and a nursing 3 month old. We could not have survived without the baby center! Because of it, however, our trip was comfortable and easy – zero accidents and a perfectly content baby!

  • The best tip you can get is to remember that this is the Happiest Place on Earth…no matter what the day brings your way remember to HAVE FUN!!!

  • We are AP holders and live out of state. We usually stay within walking distance, but always have on us: Snacks, reusable water bottles, water add-ins (crytal lite, propel etc.)sweatshirt, and for my four year old daughter, who loves to wear those princess dresses, a change of clothing. When she naps in her stroller, we find a quite spot for her to rest. I love the spot in between the water and adventureland (by the pin trading place) My husband or I take turns resting and take our boys 13,8 on the bigger rides with our fastpasses. We have been going to DL since our oldest was 2, and have never thought twice about bringing “little ones”. We also love to take our lunch over to Pirates Lair and eat at the tables and watch the ships and canoes go by. It is our own little picnic area, and rest time.

  • When taking young children, the first thing to do is to instruct the children what to do if they get separated from you. Point out who the disneyland workers are and where to find them. They can go into any shop or restaurant and let a worker know that their “parents” are lost. If the child knows what to do in case they are separated, they might not panic quite so badly. Second, go to safetytat.com and order tattoos to put on your young children. They come with a waterproof pen so you can personalize them. You can put your cell phone number on the tattoo so that you can be called immediately if you get separated from your child. This is good even for children who know your number (in case they get so upset they can’t remember). They are inexpensive and easy to use. Last time we went we had children from 2 years to 3rd grade and we put them on all of them.

  • Checking ride height limits BEFORE you visit a park is a MUST! By doing so, you can prepare the kids accordingly and possibly avoid areas all together in which they might be disappointed.

  • Good ways to save money if you live in CA take advantage of the 2fer’s and also take advantage of free on your Birthday. 2 good way to save money, now a days it helps, and you can have a fun day!

  • We have been taking the kids since they were tiny. Make sure you don’t try to have one marathon day at Disneyland. Get AT LEAST a 3 day ticket if you aren’t an annual pass holder. That way, you don’t feel pressured to meet everyone’s needs, you can take your time and sit while the kids have a snack without feeling like precious time is being wasted. I couldn’t imagine going to Disneyland for only one day anymore.

  • I always back small snacks like raisins or fruit snacks. Helps for those in between waits for rides. 🙂

  • The best advice is one that we got at the Baby Care Center. After seeing a lost child in there they suggested a big sticker with our names Grandma or Grandpa and cell phone numbers. We now have our granddaughter have a lanyard with a pouch and it has a paper that says if lost call grandma with my cell phone number. I know that if she gets lost they will be able to reach me.

  • Always have a designated meeting place. My husband and I separated at Disney World so he could take the big kids for the day while I kept the small one, but for some reason the ATM wouldn’t give me cash and I had just enough for one hot dog all day, and so my child and I were cranky by the time we met Dad! Also if you don’t all have cell phones, get everyone a pay-as-you-go phone. These are much better than walkies, and it saves much frustration if you can quickly find one another.
    By the way, Disney parks have excellent lost and found! We lost a part off our video recorder and they had a basketful of them, so we could find one that fit.

  • Our biggest tip is to use the walk way instead of taking the tram if you have strollers with very littles ones and lots of personal items, or if the lines for the trams are really long, for example during the summer months. If your coming out of the parking structure you’ll find it on the right side over the cross walk and behind the green gates to the left. There will be signs from then on pointing you in the right direction. It ends were the trams pull up to drop off you by downtown disney. It’s a 5-10min walk that nobody ever uses. It saves so much time waiting for a tram and taking your small children who may or may not be napping in and out of the strollers just to ride a tram to the front gates. We say leave our kids loaded in our strollers and burn some extra calories while your saving 20-30min, maybe even longer, waiting for a tram to pull up!

    Also, if you are not staying at one of the disney hotels, which we highly recommend doing at least once, and your kids need some where to catch alittle zzz’s or rest. We always take them to Disney Animation in the Hollywood Backlot area of California Adventure. It’s nice and dark in there and the music from the disney movie sceens is very soothing. Plus, us parents can take turns visiting the other attractions offered there or have a quick snack and rest or have a bathroom break. There are lots of shady quite places to be found around Disneyland as well!

    We also eat breakfast before entering the park and bring snacks and lunch to save some money. Dinner time is splurge time and we eat where ever our heart desires in the park. We usually go for the gumbo bread bowls at the royal street veranda two bowls can feed a family of four easily!

  • #1 thing for families with small children are to purchase annual passes or multiple day admission. The worst thing to try to do it to jam every ride into one day because it can be very stressful for everyone and tired children don’t have as much fun as rested, happy children! #2 is to wear layered clothing because the weather can change from cool mornings to hot afternoona and back to cool evenings. #3 is to bring empty water bottle and single serving sugar-free powered drink flavoring. No multiple bottles to carry around and toss, just have any Disneyland restaurant or food vendor fill your bottle with ice water (free) and make your own sugar free beverages. This is a cheap and easy way to stay hydrated for everyone and keep the sugar intake low. #4 Make scheduled restroom stops every few hours. There can be a line sometimes in the restroom so stopping so everyone can go at once cuts down on extra stops and the ever-so-famous running to the restroom with your toddler/preschooler. #5 HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CHILDREN! Get on the rides, have treats you don’t normally eat, take your picture with Mickey, scream and have a blast on roller coasters!

  • The best way we have found is to do all the fantasyland rides (especially Peter Pan), right when the park opens. THey do not have fastpasses, so the lines are always long. Get them out of the way and then you can relax and enjoy the other stuff. Also, we usually call ahead and make a reservation for the Blue Bayou for lunch at around 11:30. By then everyone is tired, hot(in summer) and hungry. After we relax and cool off there, we go back to our hotel (doesn’t have to be on site, but should be close by) and take a nap and relax. We usually eat a sandwich orsomething at the hotel before heading back to the park. Then we are set for the rest of the night.

  • Stay at one of the Disney resorts so you don’t miss nap time. I know it is tempting to just skip nap time because there is so much to see and do, but I have seen so many miserable kids (and who wants their kids to be miserable at Disneyland?) because they didn’t get their nap. Your entire trip will be much more enjoyable with a good nap.

  • If your rowdy bunch needs to blow off some steam, take them to visit Tom’s Sawyer Island. It’s a great place for the under 12 crowd to run around, yell, while Mom and Dad enjoys a nice sit down.

  • Our last trip with our daughters ages 8 and 6, they each wore their own fanny pack the entire time. They carried hand sanitizer, wipes, snacks, sunglasses and a card with their names, our cell phone #’s and our hotel name. They were able to get their own snack, clean their own hands, put their sunglasses on and off as needed, and saved us from digging into the backpack everytime they wanted something. We also bought plastic water bottles and had straps on them, so each person could carry their own water bottle when they were thirsty.

  • Be sure to book your dining reservations for popular dining spots long before your trip through disney dining.

    The best place to watch the parade is from the Main Street Train Station.

    When the summer sun is scorchin, there’s usually lots of shady seats to sit and rest behind Donald Duck’s boat in Toontown.

    If you need to make your way around the back of the park during parade times when Main Street & the entrance to Fantasyland may be crowded, be sure to use the shortcut to Frontierland at the back of Fantasyland.

    and three last words…

    Fastpass, Fastpass, Fastpass!!
    Take advantage of this feature whenever possible – Grab your first fastpass & wait until the scheduled time. Just before your ride time comes up, the kids & one member of the party wait near the entrace to your ride while another party member runs to grab another fastpass at the ride you’d like to do next. If you continue this pattern and fill-in with smaller rides that don’t have long lines, you shouldn’t have much of a wait time at any ride.

  • We are annual pass members. We always stay at the Grand Californian it is very convenient to stay on site especially there. We go into the park and if its too crowded we go back to the hotel we like eating at white water snacks probably the cheapest and quietest places to eat. We always get a downtown disney view, they play music and its nice just to sit on the balcony and so we can watch the fireworks from the room instead of fighting the crowds in the park then when the shows over we wait about 10 minutes then walk our way back into the park, most of the people are leaving and we go ride alot of rides till closing. Also we love eating at ESPN Zone excellent food and drinks and its loud in there so we dont have to worry about the kids being loud.

  • Check the weather and dress appropriately! The costume dresses are adorable, but are made of nylon which doesn’t breathe and can make children very hot and uncomfortable. Uncomfortable = cranky kids. I usually dress mine in layers, keeping their clothing to cotton fabrics and tennis shoes. I can remove or add clothes as needed according to changes in the temperature. Have a basic plan of action, but remember you’re only as fast as your smallest child. Work at kids’ pace. You might not see everything, but you’ll enjoy what you do see a lot more. We don’t allow soda or juice while we’re walking around. Only when we’re sitting for meals. They drink LOTS of water when we’re walking around. Anaheim is so humid most of the time, they need constant replenishing, water is key. If you MUST buy sweets, save it until closer to dinner time. This staves off the 1’oclock sugar crash that can contribute to tantrums. don’t try to carry everything with you. I subscribe to the pocket rule, if it doesn’t fit in my pockets, I lock it in a locker. That leaves my hands free to hold my young one’s hands, and I don’t have to worry about leaving stuff behind.

  • We found a couple of things to be helpful for us. We have visited Disneyland since our kids were infants, and continue to use them now that they are teens.
    1.) In the summer, Take a small (travel size) empty spray bottle into the park. Once you are in, fill it at the water fountain and use it to mist yourself and the kids when the afternoons get warm/hot.

    2.) Visit your local Goodwill ahead of your trip and find gently used children s size drawstring backpacks. You can put a snack of two and a bottle of water in them and the kids can carry them around.

    3.) Take a rain coat with you so if it rains, While everyone else scatters to leave the park, you can stay and ride.

    4.) If you like coffee, if you visit the store right by the locker room/fruit stand on Main Street, when you purchase your coffee, if you keep your receipt you can go back for FREE refills all day! 🙂

    5.) Purchase “Walkie-talkies” with a 2 mile range. Hook them on to your younger children and show them how to talk on them. If they get separated, all they have to do is call you and tell you what they are near.

  • After the kids fall asleep in the stroller, don’t leave the park, take advantage of the RIDE SHARE and Fastpass!!! So fun! You and the other adult with you get to ride on the “Big”(Space Mountain, etc)rides without waiting in line twice. My husband and I love to spend time together enjoying the park after dark that way, and enjoy the kid’s Disneyland during the day! Everyone’s happy!

  • Use the train! If you have kids just out of strollers and you don’t want to end up carrying them all day, make sure you utilize the Disneyland Express. It makes travel around the park less tiresome for the little ones. Also, instead of waiting in line for 2-3 hours to meet the princesses (when you probably wont see the ONE your daughter has her heart set on) make reservations for lunch at Ariels Grotto in California adventure. The food is pricy but yummy, you get 3 courses, and each princess comes to your table to say hello. Totally worth the money! Lastly, if you want great seats for a parade or fireworks show, plan on having someone save some seats about 2 hours prior to it starting. Seems like a long time to wait, but its relaxing to just hang out while the kids are all on rides and the only way to get amazing seats.

  • We have annual passes to Disneyland and love taking the trip from the bay area. If you are driving, always try to drive in the middle of the night with the target time of getting in Anaheim when the park opens. Dress in clothing that is park ready and pack your park bag before you leave your house. When you arrive most hotels will let you park there until check in. We usually pack an ice chest when we go with uncrustables, snacks and milk. Juice boxes and water are important to pack in a backpack for when they need a little something in between meals. Then you are not spending an arm and a leg or standing in a long line with a fussy child. We always bring some bagels to the hotel for when we dont feel like leaving. Then wee have something to eat in our room. We also bring snack bars and fruit. When our children were potty training we always put them in diapers or pulls ups while i nthe park. Even though they were only using the toilet at that time, the lines to the bathroom landed us with trips back the hotel to change clothes a few times a day. If you are breastfeeding bring a shirt change for mom. Always rent at least one stroller unless your youngest is 8 or so. My kids will take turns riding in the stroller when they get tired. Also it is a good place to put items so you are not holding everything all the time. Try to schedule meals outside of the usual dining times. That makes meals with young craky kids a lot quicker with less people in line and less waiting for your food. If you can not stay in one of the Disneyland resort hotels, try to stay at a hotel on Harbor blvd(or one that has main gate in the name) if you have a stroller you are taking in. This way you dont have to fold it up, gather everything out of it and then lug it up steps onto a trolley or bus. Only to do it all backwards getting off the trolley or bus… and once again at the end of the day.
    If you can get there, right when they open everry morning and hit all the long line rides. The park will start to fill up in a few hours. When this happens take a trip back to the hotel for lunch and a nap. Then head back when everyone is feeling rested again. For our family we take about a 4 hour break. Then you are ready to go back to Disneyland for the rest of the night!
    One last peice of advice… always remain calm. Kids WILL get craky and throw fits and get fussy. If you are one to normally get a little flustered about this, especially in a public place, just remember that every parent there knows what you are going through and just take a time out:) If it gets really bad, head over to Ca Adventures and hit the margarita stand! lol!! 🙂

  • The best tip is to stay onsite when you are visiting the parks with a child. You can get into the Disneyland Park early via Monorail which just saves so much time and then enjoy yourself until nap time. Get back to your room, take a nap, maybe a little swim and then head back to the park for the evening hours. Traveling back and forth to an off site hotel is just such a hassle. Besides when you stay onsite, you never have to leave “The Magic.”

  • The Baby Care Center has been our saving grace for our toddler who is training. They have perfect toddler sized toilets. My only gripe is that the Care Center is the only spot with the toddler toilets and there is only one center in each park. That makes it difficult when your toddler has to go “right now”.

  • Take a break with your little ones at the Disney Playhouse at the Disney California Adventure. Parents can take a break while sitting alongside their little ones being entertained by Mickey and Friends for about 20-30 minutes.

  • A nice quiet spot for a nap is by the fireplace at the Grand Californian!

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