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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.

1. To help you prepare for your trip Disneyland will send you a free Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD.

You can order one here.

2. If there's a long line for the ticket booth you can forgo the wait by buying tickets with your mobile device.

Flickr: myphotoalbum

Once you purchase tickets the Disneyland Mobile Ticket Store will instantly deliver ticket barcodes to your mobile device.

3. Write your cell phone number on your child in case they get separated from you.

Temporary tattoos, as suggested by At Home With Cherise, are a good option. You can also put a "Hello, My Name Is:" tag on your child's shirt with your contact info.

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.

7. Pressed Pennies are the cheapest souvenirs available at Disneyland resorts.

Flickr: lorenjavier / Flickr: jasonshortphd / Flickr: aloha75

Pressed penny machines can be found in stores throughout the resort and cost just 51 cents each.

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.

9. You will spend a large portion of the day in line, so bring something to entertain your kids while they wait.

Flickr: whatnot

Comic books, Rubik's cubes, and other easy-to-hold items are best.

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.

11. For nutritious items look for the "Mickey Check" symbol on kids' menus.

More about Disneyland's healthy choice options can be found here.

Disneyland expert Lisa Robertson, author of the blog, Babes In Disneyland: The ultimate Disneyland resort guide for families with young children, shared tips 12–19:

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.

You can also get cups of ice water for free at any food service location with a soda


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.

16. Three restaurants inside Disneyland give free refills on soda and a to-go cup after the meal is over.

These restaurants are the Plaza Inn, Rancho del Zocalo, and Pizza Port.

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.

21. To avoid a potential meltdown it's important to know your child's exact height and the height requirements of a ride before you get in line.

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A complete list of height requirements at Disneyland can be found here.

22. Photopass photographers will take free photos of you with your camera if you ask them too.

Flickr: atmtx

Just be sure your camera is on the right setting and ready to go.

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.

28. Your kids may be able to speak to Disney characters on the phone at the City Hall/Guest Relations office.

Flickr: justininsd

The staff there can also give you lots of great pamphlets and park information.

29. Disneyland employees will give you a new balloon if your kid's pops.

Flickr: paige_eliz

They will also replace spilled hot chocolate, dropped ice cream, and even broken souvenirs.

30. First aid centers can store medications that require refrigeration.

Eric N. /

Nurses also offer over-the-counter medications, bandages, and other quick remedies. Find the locations of first aid centers here.

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!

33. You can also have items purchased inside the park delivered to your room if you're staying at a Disneyland hotel.

This will save you from having to lug around extra bags all day.

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.

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