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Old 09-27-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
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Question Disneyland, just me and my 3 year old!

I'm thinking of planning a trip for December. It will be my 3 year old's first Disneyland trip. I will be graduating from college that month, and when I started I told myself I'd take him after graduation, before I started working...

and suddenly it's here! Now I'm wondering if I'm INSANE. I really, really want to take him - he LOVES Mickey Mouse Club House, Cars, Peter Pan, etc... I know he would love it. But I'm so nervous about going with just me and a toddler! Has anyone done this? Do you have any tips?!
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:53 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by RidingSolo View Post
I'm thinking of planning a trip for December. It will be my 3 year old's first Disneyland trip. I will be graduating from college that month, and when I started I told myself I'd take him after graduation, before I started working...

and suddenly it's here! Now I'm wondering if I'm INSANE. I really, really want to take him - he LOVES Mickey Mouse Club House, Cars, Peter Pan, etc... I know he would love it. But I'm so nervous about going with just me and a toddler! Has anyone done this? Do you have any tips?!
Congrats on graduating

You will have a fun time, yes, even with a toddler , my recommendation would be to go with the flow and be relaxed. Make sure you stick to his meals & nap schedule and don't try to overdo it by trying to see everything.

It's the memories that count.
DH me DS (8) DS (6) emma Mr. Ed
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:54 PM   #3
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I haven't done it- but you will have a blast! When I read your title I thought- aw!!! How lucky!!!! I would love to go to Disneyland with just my dd! (who is now 4, but we went when she was 3.)

Go and have a great time!!!! You will be making some magical memories!!!!
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:59 PM   #4
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go for it! you'll make some great memories!

I agree with the PP, just be patient, take your time, and try your best to keep the little one fed and rested.

congrats on graduating!
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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first of all......


thats a HUGE accomplishment..especially with a baby in tow....second, I totally love that age in a childs life...and taking him to DL will bring such joy and amazement..especially if he loves Mickey and cars...he may get overwhelmed at first because hes only ever seen them on TV and then all of a sudden there is this giant of a mouse coming at him but I really dont think you will have a hard time taking him by yourself...it will make such great memories for you...he probably wont remember much so you will have to take tons of pics to show him..I definitely second what marcemc said about the food and naps..its a definite!!!....I definitely think you should take him
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:11 PM   #6
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Congratulations...and I say take him as well.
I am considering doing this with DD(4) early next year between our two trips. I think it would be fun.
Me ~ DH ~ GiRi (6) ~
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:23 PM   #7
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I went with my DS when he was just 4. It was a mommy and me trip. My tip is let him lead. If he wants to play in toon town for an hour let him. Do a ride over and over, great! Is he just 3 or an older 3? He may be overwhelmed at first, but then the look on his face when he meets Mickey for the first time, is priceless. Characters really take their time with the little ones. One of the backpack leashes might come in handy and definitely have a stroller. Bring a lot of snacks and stay close to the park. He might fall asleep in the stroller or you might take naps at your hotel. The area is pretty safe, so you can feel comfortable walking back and forth.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:24 PM   #8
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DO IT!!!!

Its such a magical time - they still totally buy into the magic of the whole thing and seeing it through your son's eyes will be something you will never forget.

I went alone with a 4 year old and a baby. We did great. Didn't do everything in the parks but we hung out and did all sorts of things, took lots of pics, ate lots of yummy food. Just went slow and stopped when the mood struck us. One of my favourite trips!

My 2011 DLR pre-trippie

My 2007 WDW pre-trippie is all grown up - its a trippie now!

July 1994 - Disneymoon at Dixie Landings Feb 1996 - Dixie Landings October 1999 - Belle's first trip Dixie Landings Feb 2001 - Tink's first trip Dixie Landings Sept 2007 - POP with free dining! Dec 2008 - POP July 2011 - Disneyland! Jan 2012 - POP

Up next - Tink 1/2 marathon and Princess 1/2 marathon Coast2Coast baby! Uh oh - Dumbo Double Dare
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #9
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Definitely go for it. I think it's awesome you want to take your son, and there are many great things you can do together. While he may not remember much, if anything, you always will, and you will have pictures to show him. Don't get so involved taking pictures though that you didn't get to fully enjoy the experience of just being there with him and seeing how he reacts to everything.

Things to consider:
When are you planning on going exactly? December is wonderful because of the holiday decorations and activities and the festive atmosphere. The week of Christmas and the week of New Year's though are the two busiest weeks of the entire year and can be a bit overwhelming to the less experienced visitor.

Are you visiting for more than one day? If it's within your budget, I would highly recommend two or even three days and, of course, visiting both parks.

Potty trained or not? Make sure to carry a change of underwear and clothes even if he is potty trained because all the stimulation can be a bit distracting. Be aware that each park has a Baby Center that can be a helpful resource. These locations also have tiny toilets suitable for toddlers.

If you are staying in a hotel, look for one within close walking distance.

Bring lots of little snacks to help avoid crankiness (his and yours ).

Great things to do with that age include character meet and greets, Fantasyland rides, Buzz Lightyear ride, Winnie the Pooh ride, parades, Disney Junior show, Muppetvision 3D movie, Monsters Inc. ride, Toy Story ride, and Ariel's ride. Carsland is awesome to visit as well. You will have plenty to do even without the "thrill" rides.

Congratulations on your graduation and have a great celebration at Disneyland with your son.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:46 PM   #10
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Congratulations on your graduation!

I just spent 3 1/2 days at DLR just me and my 3yr old DD. I also did a trip with my now 7yr old DD when she was 3 (just before the now 3yr old was born). You will have a fantastic time- its a very fun age. everything is so magical to them.

I would definitely try to get into Toontown Morning Madness, especially if he loves MMCH so he knows all the classic characters.

Do as many days as you can so you can go at his pace. I loosely planned certain days in certain parks partly based around some character dining I booked and when we planned to se WoC etc. but mostly let her dictate where we went and what we did (though I did deny requests to go on Small World next when we were at, say, Toy Story Midway Mania...).

You'll have a fantastic time. Seeing the magic through their eyes is just wonderful.
ME DH DD 9 DD 5 DD 3

Disneyland many times as a child, now sharing the magic with my children....
Disneyland 5K 2014 (as Lilo & DD9 as Stitch), Disneyland 10K 2014 (dressed as Jessie)
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:27 PM   #11
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Congratulations. I have done Disneyland by myself with my twin boys. I went when they where two and when they were three. I had such a great time! My biggest suggestion has already been mentioned but keep him on his normal schedule with eating and naps. Makes the trip so much easier.
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:24 AM   #12
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Congratulations on your great achievements!

you and your baby will have, a blast at DLR. I took my DD there when she was only 18months old. We had a great time! She is now 4 and I canot wait to take her back in Nov.
Having a Disney withdrawl.... When can I go back to the Happiest Place on Earth?
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:20 AM   #13
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Congratulations on graduating! That's fantastic! I think you should! When do you think you will be there? I'll be there Dec 14th to 26th with our family from the 14th thru the 18th and just my little family the rest of the time. If you're there during that time we could meet up. I have DD4 and DD11 mos (in December). I hope you get to make a trip soon!

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Old 09-28-2012, 02:45 AM   #14
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Congratulations on graduating!!! Big accomplishment!

You'll have a great time. As others have said, make sure you adhere to his regular schedule. Don't worry too much about doing everything--you can always come back. Sure, maybe not next year, but in a few years. If he wants to ride Small World 3 times, go for it. Don't forget to be a kid yourself! It's so different through the eyes of a child.

I would also add that I think Turtle Talk is a great activity for that age. And definitely make use of Photopass, and be sure to ask the PP photographers to take pictures with your own camera. You need to have pictures of the two of you together!!!
Blogging my quest to do everything there is to do at Disneyland!

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Old 09-28-2012, 11:30 PM   #15
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Oh, you guys are all so great!!! Thank you so much for all the input!

So here's the plan I have so far:

Budget: Around $1,000 for the trip itself (transportation, hotel, tickets). We're within reasonable driving distance so with my gas calculations, if we can find a reasonable hotel, that budget is feasable for 3 days and 4 nights. Obviously if I don't have to use up my WHOLE budget it would be great - more money to play with. I'm saving up for food/souvenirs separately, so that budget isn't all inclusive.

Dates: As soon as practical after December 14th (graduation ceremony! ). I'm just GUESSING that checking in Monday the 17th and checking out Friday the 21st is going to be more budget friendly than going over the weekend; thoughts? I can't postpone until after the holidays - I have no idea what timeline I'll be looking at as far as sitting for state boards and getting a job until the time comes, and I don't want to risk having to cancel! I know FOR SURE that I'll be able to go directly after graduation though.

Hotel: NO IDEA. I've been to Disneyland a bunch of times, but a) we were super spoiled and always stayed at the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier, and b) I haven't been to Disneyland in almost 10 years. Are the "Good Neighbor" designated hotels the best options? Are there other close options that may be less expensive? I don't need anything fancy - just a *safe* place nearby to relax, sleep and shower.

Tickets: I'm thinking of trying to shave a little off the cost by not doing park hopper tickets; I can't imagine trying to tackle more than one park in a day with a 3 year old. The only bad thing about that is if I only go for 3 days, we'll only get to go to DCA once. Anything I'm missing? I've never NOT had a parkhopper ticket; are there any perks to it that I wouldn't get with a one park/one day ticket?

Rides: I know there will be PLENTY to do in Disneyland, but I'm worried about DCA. As I mentioned in the OP, my little guy is a super huge fan of Cars. The last time he was measured he was 37.5 inches - that was about a month ago - so unless he has some kind of monster growth spurt in the next two months I'm pretty sure he's going to be too little for ALL the Cars rides. Is that right? I know there are fun things in other areas for him to do, but I'm worried about the meltdown that may happen if he sees the Cars rides but can't go on them. I'm pretty sure I can explain away any of the other "big" rides by telling him they're for big kids or grownups, but I just don't think logic will apply in Carsland. Any tips?! Are there other fun things in Carsland to keep him occupied?

Food: I don't have a set budget for this, but I want to for sure do at least one character meal. I'm thinking Goofy's Kitchen but am open to suggestions. Since he loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so much I'm mostly wanting Fab Five interactions, and he does like Chip and Dale. He still doesn't have the attention span for a lot of the classic cartoons I've tried to force him to watch So he won't recognize many of the other characters. Oh! He knows and loves the Winnie the Pooh Characters too.

Other than the character meal, I'm thinking we'll mostly wing it in the parks with quick service and all the DL delights like churros and Dole whips . I do want to try a Montecristo though.. I've been to Disneyland probably a dozen times growing up and I did the WDWCP and I've never had one!!! Anything else that's a must do that I might have missed?

Anything else I'm forgetting?! I'm SO excited for this trip - I have to just say, my little boy was born too early and spent 45 days in the hospital - and a LOT of those 45 days I sat by his incubator or held him and read trip reports of people taking their kids to Disneyland for the first time. I know it sounds way silly but thinking about it helped me get through his hospitalization and kept me hoping for the best outcome; I can't believe the time to start planning for REAL is finally here!!

Again, thank you so much for all the input and support! And sorry this post is so long!
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3 year old, single mom

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