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35 Insider Hacks For Taking Your Kids To Disneyland

Make sure your visit to The Happiest Place On Earth is a great one.

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4. Buy princess dresses, pirate costumes, and Mickey Mouse T-shirts before you get to Disneyland.

Flickr: julia_lu

These items are expensive once inside the gates, but they can be bought for much less at a big box store like Target or on Hide these items in a backpack and then present them to your kids once inside so they're just as exciting as the ones hanging in shop windows.

5. The Fastpass system is free and, more importantly, can be gamed a little.

Flickr: whami

The machines that dispense Fastpasses may look like pay machines, but they're not. Also, the fastpass systems at Disneyland and California Adventure are not connected, so it's possible to hold more than one fastpass at the same time.

6. If your kid is especially excited about meeting Disney characters, make a reservation for a Disney character dining experience.

These restaurants can be pricey, but they allow your kid the opportunity to meet their favorite characters without having to spend hours in line. Find a list of character dining options here.


8. Add something distinctive to your stroller so you'll be able to spot it among all of the other strollers.

Also, staff sometimes move strollers to different locations to make room, so if you don't see your stroller stay calm and ask for help.

10. Visit the Baby Care Center for a quiet, secluded place to nurse.

They also have tiny potties for little kids, spacious changing tables, an area for pumping, high chairs for feeding your baby, and even a store to buy baby supplies. For an in-depth look at these centers check out Disney Examiner.


12. The best way to travel throughout the park with a baby is by using a baby carrier.

Flickr: penmeyer

Carriers allow parents to have their hands free on attractions and minimize the amount of times a baby must be taken in and out of the stroller.

13. The "rider switch" policy lets both parents enjoy the attractions without the double wait.

After one parent rides an attraction, the parent who waited with the child can then get on the ride with minimal wait time. It's a great policy that lets adults save time when they want to go on rides that the children can't go on. Ask a cast member about getting these passes.

14. Filtered water spigots are available in the Baby Care Centers at both parks as well as at Rancho del Zocalo, the French Market, and Tomorrowland Terrace restaurants.


15. The general rule for gauging crowd size is that if you and everyone else have the day off, it's going to be crowded. There's more to it than that, though.

Flickr: lancejohnson

To learn about Lisa's easy and much more accurate trick for predicting how large crowds will be on any given day click here.

17. Disneyland menus may only present full meal options, but it is possible to purchase individual items à la carte.

Flickr: lorenjavier

Don't want the chips that come with the corn dog? Let your server know and they'll charge you only for the corn dog.

18. Disneyland offers secure electronics charging stations at the Main Street locker facility for $2 per hour.

This lets you leave your phone to charge while you go on a few rides. Of course, bringing a portable cell phone charger is still the best option.


19. Tweet @DisneylandToday and @DCAToday to get quick responses to your park-related questions.

This is often the quickest way to find out restaurant hours, what restaurants are nearby, where to find characters, and more. This service also provides occasional tips throughout the day about attractions that have shorter wait times.

20. The Disneyland Wait Times app will let you know how busy the rides are throughout the day.

Third-party wait time apps like this one can be inaccurate because they rely on in-park guest reporting, but this one is regarded as the most accurate. Download it here for the iPhone and here for Android.


23. With that said, you should get a free PhotoPass card.

Flickr: frikitiki

Not only is it a good idea in case your digital camera malfunctions and you lose all of your photos (hey, it happens), but it will give you the option to later buy photos taken by Disney photographers that turned out especially well.

24. If you stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel and have a valid three-plus-day ticket, you can get into the park one hour before the general public.

Flickr: andycastro

The best way to take advantage of these "magic morning" admissions is by immediately going to get a Fastpass for the Radiator Springs Racers ride, which usually has a wait time of at least 90 minutes.

25. If it's your child's birthday or first time at Disneyland visit the Guest Relations office to get a special button.

Flickr: ohocheese

These buttons may get your child special treatment, like preferential seating on rides. Also, the staff will greet your child by name and wish him or her a "Happy Birthday."

26. If you plan to eat at one of Disneyland's better known restaurants you will need reservations.

Flickr: expressmonorail

Reservations can be made either online or by phone up to 60 days before your visit. To make reservations click here or call 714-781-DINE.


27. Once a day the Mad Hatter and Alice play musical chairs with kids at Coke Corner on Main Street.

Flickr: lorenjavier

This event is not listed in any official guides but generally goes down at 2:30 p.m. To find out the exact time it will happen ask a cast member at Coke Corner earlier in the day.


31. Keep the receipt for any souvenir you buy your kids.

Flickr: wearn

There are so many neat souvenirs on display throughout the park that kids often have buyer's remorse. If this happens to your kid you can exchange the item at any store in the park so long as you still have the receipt.

32. If you're staying at a Disneyland hotel, take advantage of "Pinochio’s Workshop" for kids.

Each night Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa hosts children ages 5–12 to an evening of arts and crafts, computer games, Disney films, dinner, and snacks with a licensed supervisor (there is a fee for this service). This is your chance to enjoy a night out with your partner!

34. The easiest way to get a photo with Mickey Mouse is by visiting his home at Toontown near closing time.

Flickr: lorenjavier

The lines will be shorter then and you may even be able to spend a few more moments with Mickey than you would otherwise.

35. Where you stand for the fireworks shows makes a big difference in how well you will be able to see.

The awesome graphic above comes from DisneyTouristBlog, which has a lot more advice on how to get the best fireworks spot here.