Disney Kids

How to Have Fun at Disneyland with a Toddler

This is a sponsored post. I was compensated in the form of a free product, discount, or monetary payment in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

If you’ve been a regular tuner-inner to my blog and its many reincarnations over the years, this post might seem familiar. In the past I have written posts on how to have fun at Disneyland without kids and while pregnant. Now that Squirt is three and a regular at the parks, I have learned some valuable info on how to have a fun day with a toddler in tow. Most of the time when Squirt and I visit Disneyland, we are there for just a couple of hours (which I highly recommend if you are a local and can swing it), but we recently had the opportunity to spend a whole day at the parks as a family and even as a park reg, I learned some tricks to help make your day with a little one much more enjoyable for all involved.

Start your day off right. Our first stop upon arriving at Disneyland was to the Main Street Starbucks. Matt and I both needed some caffeine to prep us for our day, and Squirt needed something filling with lots of protein since he would be expending a considerable amount of energy throughout the day.

Hit up the best little kid rides first. We stayed in Disneyland for the first half of our day, where we went on it’s a small world and Jungle Cruise, which are Squirt’s two favorite rides at that park. Both are great for little ones as there is so much to see, and even on a crowded day, the lines aren’t too unbearable.

Have a plan ahead of time for the “big” rides. Squirt is super tall for his age, and we discovered when we got to Disneyland that morning that he had reached the height minimum for Star Tours, which was both Matt’s and my favorite ride when we were kids (and still is Matt’s). Having reached 40 inches (and not even three at the time!), Squirt would have been able to go on many of the bigger thrill rides in the park, but we decided to just stick to Star Tours since he is already familiar with the characters. I was a little worried about all the bumping around, but he handled it well, just said “whoa” over and over. I think the important thing to remember when it comes time to try out the big kid rides for the first time is to make a decision based on each individual ride. Just because your kiddo can ride the ride, doesn’t mean he’s ready. We will hold off on Big Thunder and Space Mountain in particular until Squirt is a little older.

Enjoy some in park entertainment. There are tons of smaller groups who perform throughout the parks continually over the course of the day. These are a great way to take a few minutes and sit or stand and take a breather or have a snack. We love watching the Disneyland Band in particular since we know a couple of the musicians, but all of the live bands are fun and entertaining to watch, and a great way to catch a little break.

Take an afternoon break. Taking a break from the excitement of the parks is a must when spending a day at Disneyland with a toddler. We prefer to go back to our hotel room when we are staying on site or nearby, but you can just as easily take a break in Downtown Disney, or at some of the quieter spots in the parks (I’m a fan of Hungry Bear at Disneyland and Animation Academy at DCA). Spend some time chilling out in the shade, have a snack, and (hopefully) give your little one time for a nap. Squirt doesn’t nap anymore so on our most recent trip, we spent some time relaxing at our hotel pool. A little down time is a major necessity for both the kiddos and the parents to make it through the day.

Try to park hop just once. Going back and forth between the two parks is exhausting as an adult, so it is definitely a lot to ask of a toddler. We try to do one park in the morning, then take our hotel break, and then return to the second park in the afternoon/evening. While at DCA, we love to do Monsters Inc, Little Mermaid, and Luigi’s. Limiting yourself to one park at a time will help cut down on the overwhelming nature of park hopping.

End the night on a sweet note. We called it a day before parades and fireworks because Squirt was fading fast, but to make sure we ended our trip on a high note we stopped for some ice cream on our way out of DCA. If you decide to leave before all the nighttime experiences (which I actually recommend with a toddler), try to have one final fun or exciting event to close out your trip.

A full day at Disneyland and DCA can be exhausting for anyone, but it can be especially draining for a toddler. A tired toddler means serious meltdowns, so make sure to take lots of breaks and try not to do too much at once. It is definitely possible to have a great day at Disneyland with your toddler, as long as you are prepared and patient!

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Movie Review: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander is one of those movies that I never would have seen if I weren’t writing a blog about all things Disney.  My kid is nowhere near old enough to actually understand movies and this is definitely not a flick my husband would be into for date night.  But I am making a point to see and write about all Disney film releases, and, given that I went to a noon movie on a Monday, I was able to bring Squirt along with me and not bug a full theater of patrons.  And honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the movie.  There were several times I actually laughed out loud, and while I could certainly blame my mommy hormones, I might have even teared up at the end.

Based on the popular children’s book by Judith Viorst, the movie follows a twelve year old boy, Alexander, who happens to be celebrating his birthday.  When no one in his family understands his unfortunate day, he makes a wish that they all would experience a day of calamities of their own.  And his picture perfect family goes from this…

…to this…

Alexander quickly realizes his wish has come true as his family experiences the kind of bad luck he is subjected to on a regular basis.  The trials and tribulations are quirky and humorous and Jennifer Garner is especially funny in her role as a stressed out working mother.  Steve Carell is his normal, awkward funny self and all of the kids (Ed Oxenbould as Alexander, Dylan Minnette as older brother Anthony, and Kerris Dorsey as older sister Emily) are perfectly cast and endearing.  The movie is what I would call cute and charming.  Am I going to go out and buy it on DVD?  Probably not.  But I certainly felt it was worth my outrageously priced matinee movie ticket.  It turned out to be more than a time killer or movie I have to see review and turned into an enjoyable two hours at the theater.  Whether you have kids of movie viewing age or not, I would definitely recommend checking out Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
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The Best Disney Halloween Costumes for Babies and Toddlers

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We’re back with the final (and cutest) installment of the Best Disney Halloween costumes (click for the women, girls, and boys posts).  I am obviously super excited to be dressing up Squirt for the first time, even though we are procrastinating hardcore and haven’t picked out a costume yet.  These were some of the options that stood out to me as being the most adorable!  Click the costume description to be taken directly to the listing for that costume!

Sulley from Monsters, Inc.

It’s hard to decide which one is the cutest!  Have you picked out all of your Halloween costumes yet?  Only a few days left!
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Best Disney Halloween Costumes for Boys

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I have to admit, I found it much harder to come up with Disney Halloween costumes for boys than I did for the girls.  With girls, it is princess central, but with a boy, your options are much more limited.  However, I managed to find several adorable Disney themed costumes for your little guy.  The best part is that I did the shopping for you!  Just click the link in the costume description and you will be taken directly to the product listing!

Woody from Toy Story

I think the nice thing about shopping for boys is that they aren’t all the same (like princesses); you’ve got cowboys, pirates, snowmen, and superheroes, all for your little dude to choose from.  Happy Haunting!
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DIY: Mickey and Minnie Money Jars for Just $5!

I love the idea of instilling in my little Squirt the importance of saving for things that he wants to buy.  I realize that he will be going to Disneyland much more often than most kids could even dream about, but I imagine we will plan a big Disney World or Disney Cruise Line trip at some point in his childhood and I will definitely be encouraging him to save his spending money for those trips when the time comes.  I figured I would get a little jump on things by crafting one of these super easy and inexpensive Mickey Money jars, and I figured I’d make a cute Minnie one for myself (or maybe a future princess!) while I was at it!  Here is the finished product:

Supplies you will need: a jar (I found these for $4 each at the Container Store), Martha Stewart metal primer, sponge brushes, acrylic paints, stickers,  and Mickey and Minnie figurines (I found these at Dollar Tree, score!).  The only things I had to buy were the jars and figurines, bringing the total cost of this project to $5!

First, remove the lids from the jars and give them a coat of the metal primer.

While the primer is drying, apply the stickers to the front of your jar.  You may have noticed the stickers on my final products are different from the ones in my supplies picture.  The original letters turned out to be chipboard and they did not stick to the jar at all.  Luckily, I have a pretty good supply of stickers left over from my mom’s scrapbooking days so I was able to find some replacements pretty easily.

Once the primer on your lids has dried, give them a couple of coats of paint, allowing the paint to fully dry in between coats.  The pink I had happened to be matte while the yellow was glossy.  I think I like the glossy finish a bit better, but it is a matter of taste.

Once the lids have fully dried, use hot glue to attach the figurine to the center of the lid.  Learn from my mistake: put the lid on the jar first, then place your figurine.  I glued my figurine on the lid without it being on the jar and it is now pretty impossible to line up the front of the figurine with the front of the jar.

Once your figurines are glued on, your jars are complete!

You now have two different possibilities for your little ones to save for their Disney spending.  The only thing needed now is some spare change!

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The Best Disney Halloween Costumes for Girls

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Halloween is just around the corner and I’m sure all of you parents out there are looking for the perfect costumes for your little ones.  I will be featuring some of my favorite costumes for girls, boys, women, and babies over the next couple of days, so if you are stuck, this is the place for you!  Click on the costume description to be taken directly to the product listing!

Merida from Brave

I hope you and your little princess have a frightfully wonderful Halloween!
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DIY: Halloween Themed Minnie Ears

I’m back with another set of DIY Minnie ears, this time all dressed up for Halloween!  Here is the finished product:

I followed the same basic tutorial as seen here with my Birthday ears.  This time I used black glitter foam and a black headband (so no ribbon wrapping required).

I used orange ribbon for the bow and this super cool glittery purple spider decoration (found at Michaels) for the center.

Another super easy pair of ears to make and I am super excited to rock these at Halloween Time in the parks!

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