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Old 02-27-2013, 01:32 PM   #1
mtfrench
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Question Terrified of Disneyland

Ok, so here's my story, (and I wasn't sure if I should post this in DisABILITIES or not since most of the stuff there had to do with Disney World not Disneyland)

Our family is planning our first trip to DL. Our family consists of Myself, hubby, and five kids - 22 months, 5, 10, 12, and 14. And we will be bringing along my mother and possibly a friend of my oldest daughter. So about nine people.
Unfortunately, the only time that we can go is during our kids' school break in April so we will be there from 4/1 until 4/5. I have looked at the crowd predictors and found we will be going during one of the busiest times.
We have a suite reserved at the Camelot Inn, so that we can walk to our lodgings from the parks. I wanted to get a stroller (or strollerS) to carry the 22 month old, and the 5 year old when she gets tired, but I am having trouble figuring out if I should buy a double stroller, two single strollers, or rent a couple of them once we get to the park. Another problem is that my kids are pretty big and their weights would exceed some of the max weight limits on the flimsier strollers, so.... Advice, anyone?
Since the cost of flying with that many people would be insane, we are planning on driving down from Olympia, WA with a quick stopover in Eugene, OR.
So, what do you do with five or six kids for a 20 hour car ride? The longest they've ever done was a trip to Reno. We drive to Eugene often, so they are used to 4 or 5 hours. If anyone else has made this jaunt, where would you say are the best (biggest, cleanest, well-lit) bathrooms along I-5? Where are some safe places to stop and stretch our legs in CA?
I'm sorry I just realized I haven't finished explaing my circumstances yet. I have severe anxiety when leaving my house and going into new situations. I have panic attacks in large crowds. I have ibs, bladder spasms, and fibromyalgia, so I have to use the bathroom constantly and also have to take frequent breaks from doing repetitive things. I do pretty good with standing for long periods, but I have trouble sitting for long periods. By now, you are probably asking yourself, "Then why the heck are you going to DL??" Well, the kids have asked about it for a long time and we found that we would have the money to do it this year if I could handle it. I said I could, but now I'm not so sure. The more I read about crowds and people and the crowds, and the dark rides, and the crowds the more I wonder what kind of mistake I've made. If it were up to me, we'd be spending a week in a yurt on the OR coast....
But, since I've made the commitment to my kids, I really want to follow through and take them to do the big DL thing. They are so excited.
I am hoping there might be some other people who've had to deal with this kind of anxiety/intestinal issues or maybe have had to help someone else deal with it who can help me come up with a strategy to get me through this trip. I know I need to find out where all the bathrooms are, what the longest and darkest rides are, which of the three days that we are going to be there would be the least busy, etc. I already have a notebook I am filling with all kinds of information, so I'm ready to take notes.
Also, I am seeking an opinion on which tickets I should purchase. If my family gets the 3 day 1 park per day passes instead of the 3 day park hopper, it would save us $225. So, I am leaning towards those and using the extra money for a character meal, but if the consensus from the DL veterans is to go for the park hoppers, then I would do that, because I really have no idea what I getting into here.
If we do a character meal, how soon in advance should we call to make a reservation (and you just use the 800 number provided on the Disney site, right?) Sheesh! I feel so dumb. I have never been to Disneyland, even as a child, and never really felt the desire to go, and now I am being put into a position of having to plan this awesome family vacation for us all and I have no clue what I am doing! Eeek! Please help? Thanks, everyone!
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:45 PM   #2
awdsmama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtfrench View Post
Ok, so here's my story, (and I wasn't sure if I should post this in DisABILITIES or not since most of the stuff there had to do with Disney World not Disneyland)

Our family is planning our first trip to DL. Our family consists of Myself, hubby, and five kids - 22 months, 5, 10, 12, and 14. And we will be bringing along my mother and possibly a friend of my oldest daughter. So about nine people.
Unfortunately, the only time that we can go is during our kids' school break in April so we will be there from 4/1 until 4/5. I have looked at the crowd predictors and found we will be going during one of the busiest times.
We have a suite reserved at the Camelot Inn, so that we can walk to our lodgings from the parks. I wanted to get a stroller (or strollerS) to carry the 22 month old, and the 5 year old when she gets tired, but I am having trouble figuring out if I should buy a double stroller, two single strollers, or rent a couple of them once we get to the park. Another problem is that my kids are pretty big and their weights would exceed some of the max weight limits on the flimsier strollers, so.... Advice, anyone?
Since the cost of flying with that many people would be insane, we are planning on driving down from Olympia, WA with a quick stopover in Eugene, OR.
So, what do you do with five or six kids for a 20 hour car ride? The longest they've ever done was a trip to Reno. We drive to Eugene often, so they are used to 4 or 5 hours. If anyone else has made this jaunt, where would you say are the best (biggest, cleanest, well-lit) bathrooms along I-5? Where are some safe places to stop and stretch our legs in CA?
I'm sorry I just realized I haven't finished explaing my circumstances yet. I have severe anxiety when leaving my house and going into new situations. I have panic attacks in large crowds. I have ibs, bladder spasms, and fibromyalgia, so I have to use the bathroom constantly and also have to take frequent breaks from doing repetitive things. I do pretty good with standing for long periods, but I have trouble sitting for long periods. By now, you are probably asking yourself, "Then why the heck are you going to DL??" Well, the kids have asked about it for a long time and we found that we would have the money to do it this year if I could handle it. I said I could, but now I'm not so sure. The more I read about crowds and people and the crowds, and the dark rides, and the crowds the more I wonder what kind of mistake I've made. If it were up to me, we'd be spending a week in a yurt on the OR coast....
But, since I've made the commitment to my kids, I really want to follow through and take them to do the big DL thing. They are so excited.
I am hoping there might be some other people who've had to deal with this kind of anxiety/intestinal issues or maybe have had to help someone else deal with it who can help me come up with a strategy to get me through this trip. I know I need to find out where all the bathrooms are, what the longest and darkest rides are, which of the three days that we are going to be there would be the least busy, etc. I already have a notebook I am filling with all kinds of information, so I'm ready to take notes.
Also, I am seeking an opinion on which tickets I should purchase. If my family gets the 3 day 1 park per day passes instead of the 3 day park hopper, it would save us $225. So, I am leaning towards those and using the extra money for a character meal, but if the consensus from the DL veterans is to go for the park hoppers, then I would do that, because I really have no idea what I getting into here.
If we do a character meal, how soon in advance should we call to make a reservation (and you just use the 800 number provided on the Disney site, right?) Sheesh! I feel so dumb. I have never been to Disneyland, even as a child, and never really felt the desire to go, and now I am being put into a position of having to plan this awesome family vacation for us all and I have no clue what I am doing! Eeek! Please help? Thanks, everyone!
The things we do for our kids, right :-)

First, I live about 90min north of Eugene and we drove last year. There are plenty of rest areas and truck stops with decent bathrooms alongwith fast food restaurants of course.

There are also stretches of the freeway though where you'll go miles without facilities. So here is a link that shows you all the rest areas in Oregon, and you can click below it for California also. HOpefully that will be of some help?

http://www.i5highway.com/interstate_5_oregon/index.html
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:50 PM   #3
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Hi! First off, I applaud you for following through for your kids! That's awesome =) I would suggest taking a lot of breaks during your trip. Snack breaks potty breaks etc. Make sure you visit the baby center on Main St for your 22 month old. It's really quiet in there, which is nice too. And changing tables are padded. In any case, frequent breaks are great for everyone and help with crankiness and hunger. If you're really overwhelmed, you can always walk back to your hotel for a break too. It might be good for the younger kids as well. I would also take advantage of Fast pass as much as possible, so you don't have to wait in large lines. And baby swap too for the 22 month old. I've found it's less crowded right at opening and after fireworks, so you may want to plan to take advantage of those times.

I've stayed in a suite at the Camelot. It was SUPER nice! We had 8 people and it worked perfectly! And super close walk and right next to McDonalds too.

I would suggest bringing your own stroller, because you could use it on the walk back to the hotel and in Downtown Disney. If you rent, you can only use the strollers in the parks. I picked up a chicco full size stroller on craigslist for $25. It's nice because it fully reclines, so if they fall asleep, you can lay them down. I think there's also places that you can rent from that will deliver the strollers to your room if you don't want to pack your own. But that can start to get pricey for multiple days and multiple strollers.

As far as long car rides, we bring our IPads to play movies. Our kids get car sick if they look down, so we don't bring crayons or anything like that so they don't get sick. I think if you are taking a lot of breaks, that will help. At least they can get out and run around.

$225 is a lot of money. I think there is enough to do at both parks to stay all day in each. You could do a lot of other stuff for $225. But that's my opinion.

I think you will have a great time! Seeing the parks through your kids eyes is amazing. Have fun!
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:57 PM   #4
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Why can't you visit in the summer? Mid July-mid August *week days* is fantastic!

Your 5 year old might appreciate a stroller as well, my DD strolled regularly at Disney when she was 5.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:57 PM   #5
VandVsmama
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Some general thoughts I have on your situation:

1. Consider consulting with your physician prior to your trip and see if there is an anti-anxiety medication that might help with your panic attacks that might occur on your vacation.

2. Given your fibromyalgia, consider skipping the character meal & renting a scooter for you to use. And get a Guest Assistance Card. I have a relative with fibromyalgia. Sometimes physically she is fine and then there are other times when she has been doing a lot of physical activity that day, she'll suddenly need to get off of her feet.

3. Character meals are great, but they do cost an arm and a leg. For your large group, the total bill including gratuity can easily end up way more than $225, so if it was me and I had to choose between a character meal and park hopper tickets (instead of 1 park/day tickets), I would go with the park hopper tickets instead. But again, that is what *I* would choose...your mileage may vary!

4. If large crowds are really stressful for you, then you should DEFINITELY take advantage of the first few hours that the parks are open each day. Then take a break in the afternoon if you can...either back @ your hotel (and if the weather is good, go in the pool) or do DL/DCA activities that don't involve standing in a ton of lines (like going to see Aladdin, take your little ones to see Muppets 3D or the Disney Junior show while 1 of the other adults goes with the older kids on some rides).

5. How to keep kids entertained on long car rides? This is what has worked for us with our 2 kids (ages 4 & 6):
  • if you can, bring a portable DVD player w/you & a good supply of kid movies
  • expect some cranky moments in the car
  • for us, 1 of my kids ALWAYS has to go to the bathroom after we passed a road sign that says "Last restroom for 60 miles." So we bring a kiddie port-a-potty and they pee in the middle of nowhere.
  • stock up on cheap toys at the Dollar Store or Dollar Tree. whip these out when you are desperate (i.e., when the kids are having a mini-melt down).
  • Take a pit stop break every 2 hours. This will help your youngest so everybody can get the wiggles out & run around a little bit.
  • and generally speaking, use whatever coping mechanisms & parent tricks you have to in order to keep your sanity...knowing, of course, that eventually you WILL get there.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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If it were up to me, we'd be spending a week in a yurt on the OR coast....
Oh that sounds lovely. We spent a long weekend doing that when DS was 1.



I would delay the trip to summer, and take longer getting there. Driving from Eugene all the way to Anaheim in one shot makes me ill to think about with adults, let alone with that many kids. I used to do Tacoma to Santa Cruz when I was in college, but I did stupid things like sleep at rest stops.

If you simply cannot do that....well someone else here gave you a nice map and tips.


If you would like maps from our December trip, send me a private message with your address and I'll mail them to you. That will help you see the lay of the land and the bathrooms.

If you're in line and the bathroom need hits, be sure to talk to a CM on your way out of the line. They might well be extra kind and let you back in via the exit, when you get back.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:12 PM   #7
cp11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtfrench View Post
Ok, so here's my story, (and I wasn't sure if I should post this in DisABILITIES or not since most of the stuff there had to do with Disney World not Disneyland)

Our family is planning our first trip to DL. Our family consists of Myself, hubby, and five kids - 22 months, 5, 10, 12, and 14. And we will be bringing along my mother and possibly a friend of my oldest daughter. So about nine people.
Unfortunately, the only time that we can go is during our kids' school break in April so we will be there from 4/1 until 4/5. I have looked at the crowd predictors and found we will be going during one of the busiest times.
We have a suite reserved at the Camelot Inn, so that we can walk to our lodgings from the parks. I wanted to get a stroller (or strollerS) to carry the 22 month old, and the 5 year old when she gets tired, but I am having trouble figuring out if I should buy a double stroller, two single strollers, or rent a couple of them once we get to the park. Another problem is that my kids are pretty big and their weights would exceed some of the max weight limits on the flimsier strollers, so.... Advice, anyone?
Since the cost of flying with that many people would be insane, we are planning on driving down from Olympia, WA with a quick stopover in Eugene, OR.
So, what do you do with five or six kids for a 20 hour car ride? The longest they've ever done was a trip to Reno. We drive to Eugene often, so they are used to 4 or 5 hours. If anyone else has made this jaunt, where would you say are the best (biggest, cleanest, well-lit) bathrooms along I-5? Where are some safe places to stop and stretch our legs in CA?
I'm sorry I just realized I haven't finished explaing my circumstances yet. I have severe anxiety when leaving my house and going into new situations. I have panic attacks in large crowds. I have ibs, bladder spasms, and fibromyalgia, so I have to use the bathroom constantly and also have to take frequent breaks from doing repetitive things. I do pretty good with standing for long periods, but I have trouble sitting for long periods. By now, you are probably asking yourself, "Then why the heck are you going to DL??" Well, the kids have asked about it for a long time and we found that we would have the money to do it this year if I could handle it. I said I could, but now I'm not so sure. The more I read about crowds and people and the crowds, and the dark rides, and the crowds the more I wonder what kind of mistake I've made. If it were up to me, we'd be spending a week in a yurt on the OR coast....
But, since I've made the commitment to my kids, I really want to follow through and take them to do the big DL thing. They are so excited.
I am hoping there might be some other people who've had to deal with this kind of anxiety/intestinal issues or maybe have had to help someone else deal with it who can help me come up with a strategy to get me through this trip. I know I need to find out where all the bathrooms are, what the longest and darkest rides are, which of the three days that we are going to be there would be the least busy, etc. I already have a notebook I am filling with all kinds of information, so I'm ready to take notes.
Also, I am seeking an opinion on which tickets I should purchase. If my family gets the 3 day 1 park per day passes instead of the 3 day park hopper, it would save us $225. So, I am leaning towards those and using the extra money for a character meal, but if the consensus from the DL veterans is to go for the park hoppers, then I would do that, because I really have no idea what I getting into here.
If we do a character meal, how soon in advance should we call to make a reservation (and you just use the 800 number provided on the Disney site, right?) Sheesh! I feel so dumb. I have never been to Disneyland, even as a child, and never really felt the desire to go, and now I am being put into a position of having to plan this awesome family vacation for us all and I have no clue what I am doing! Eeek! Please help? Thanks, everyone!
Olympia! First, we live 30 mins west of you. We have driven this trip a few times. Have you thought about driving the first day to about Stockton CA? That is our normal trip. Then we finish up at a decent hour on day 2. On way back home we have always made it to Grants Pass, stayed at a Best Western I believe it was, then home. My husband always shot for ten to 12 hours first day. We just made sure not to drink liquids because he's one of those guys that only stops for gas and food and nothing in between. Oh, and I do have bladder issues. Enough that standing in line at DL is a problem for me and I have actually had a pass to go in the I guess you call disability line. You just approach the CM's at front of line, explain your situation and we received a pass to come back at such and such a time and they tell you which gate to come in through. The pass is good up to eight people, I believe, so your whole party benefits.

We have done the stroller thing many different ways. First trip, took our fancy one from home. It was stolen. Next trip bought a cheap umbrella stroller. But ultimately we have found it is easier to rent and their strollers used to be very sturdy. I haven't used them in years so I'm not sure about now.

We love park hoppers but you will probably already be overwhelmed and do not know the difference of jumping around anyway so I don't see why you couldn't save some money there. I would try to go midweek though and stay away from weekends so you could maybe avoid the brunt of the busy crowds. Remember that Cali Adventure is not open as late as DL though.

You can call the number and make reservations 60 days beforehand for Character reservations. But to be honest, we have never spend the money on it.

Question, if someone in your party has a smartphone, download Mousewait, it will list all the restrooms and the ones that are closest to you, etc. it also has the waiting lists for rides etc., restaurants. It's full of information.

Hope that covers some of your questions. I'm sure people will disagree with me but this has worked for us in the past. PM me if there is anything else about driving from the NW.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:17 PM   #8
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Just thought of a couple more suggestions:
  • Since you have a medical condition that requires easy access to restroom facilities, do your normal thing on car rides & keep an eye out for bathroom facilities.
  • Since you have 5 children, I imagine that you already have plenty of hand sanitizer in your purse. Use it if you are stuck having to use a less-than-stellar bathroom.
  • There is nothing worse having to go REALLY BAD and not having any toilet paper in the public bathroom. So bring a container of flushable wipes to stash in your purse for those desperate moments.
  • Bring some feminine products with you (of the maxipad variety) in case you might run into problems with your bladder leaking a bit.
  • Bring a small container of Camp Suds, Woolite, or something like that which you can use to wash an article of clothing in the hotel room sink. Or you could just plan on using the hotel's laundry facilities. 22-month-olds and 5-year-olds have a knack for getting really messy sometimes, don't they? :-D
  • Make a very organized packing list. This might help any trip-related anxiety over "OMG, will we forget ___?" Use this packing list when packing up the car to leave AND when packing up to drive home.
  • Have your little ones bring a favorite stuffed animal from home, a lovey of some sort
  • If you don't want to go on any of the "dark rides" like Snow White, Pinocchio, etc., then don't. It's ok!
  • Talk with your husband each morning before you all leave the hotel for the parks each day and discuss your game plan for the day.
  • Consider buying a subscription to Ridemax (their website is www.ridemax.com). It's really great and can save you time waiting in line with an impatient child.
  • If you have a smart phone, consider downloading an app to your phone like Mouse Wait so you can look at real time waiting times while you're in the parks.
  • One of Hydroguy's tips is to make sure that everybody in the group rides their favorite/preferred ride on the 1st day....JUST IN CASE the ride breaks down & is down for the rest of your stay.

***** edited to add *****
Based on what friends of mine have suggested to us for our DL trip later this year, we are going to be renting a stroller. You can rent a stroller for $15/day inside the parks, but you can't take that stroller out of the park...And as a dear friend of mine put it, carrying your toddler and/or 5-yr-old back to your hotel at the end of a long day @ DL is like the Bataan Death Marth. For that reason, if you don't purchase a stroller at home ahead of time, I would recommend renting one from City Strollers. They have strollers rated for kids up to 75 lb, I believe, and they will deliver the stroller to your hotel on the day you specify and pick it up on the day you want.

Last edited by VandVsmama; 02-27-2013 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:28 PM   #9
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With intestinal issues as well - I second the use of the mobile apps that tell you where the nearest restroom is. I use Mousewait and it is a godsend. Before Mousewait I used to have all the different bathrooms on flash cards. As many times as I have been to DL, I still panic when it comes time to need a restroom, so the apps help a lot when the brain simply won't cooperate, or when I'm in DCA and don't know it as well.

As this is your first trip, you might want to take Bumbershoot up on her map idea. Get acquainted with the layouts of the lands, and look for where restrooms and areas to sit and relax are.

Don't be afraid to get an ECV. I had emergency surgery 6 days before my DD's surprise birthday trip last year. I was determined to not ruin her trip, so I put my pride on the back burner and got an ECV. People must have thought I was a 'faker' as I am a healthy-looking 39 year old woman. However, when you need one - you just need one.

You will get a lot of help on here - you've come to the right place
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:36 PM   #10
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I live about an hour west of you! (on the coast) I have made the drive plenty of times with two to three kids. (the youngest they were was 11 months and 3 1/2 years, and 14) now they are 7 and 9, and 17.

1. Color crayons or pencils Get Disney color pages (there are some free online)
2. portable DVD players
3. Car trip bingo (you can google it and get some good already made boards)
4. car trip scavenger hunt.
5. Mad libs!! This was a huge favorite for my family last year . we all went around and gave a term, then we read it out loud!!! So funny!
6. Snacks.


The drive does get pretty boring but if you break it up with restroom stops/food stops it can go pretty quick.

We usually drive down to Grants Pass and stay at a Super 8. (it has a pool to let the kids unwind before bed)

http://www.drivei5.com/interstate_5_exit_guides.htm has exit guides for California. I printed out all of the exit guides (north, central, south) so I could plan out stops for gas, bathrooms, and food. I also used it for the emergency "I gotta go". Planning ahead helps with the drive anxiety for me.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:52 PM   #11
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All the previous posters mentioned what I was going to say and more... some really good ideas.

On long car trips, we need motion sickness pills and maybe an emergency car-sickness bag. Two words: loose pants. Lots of pretzels, movies and ipods... earbuds. Pillows and blankets, at least one per child for the car. A case of water. Tylenol or Advil too.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:06 PM   #12
DLRfan31
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What a good mother you are for doing something so scary for you for your children. You deserve a ton of credit for that!

We have driven down from Seattle and have had no problem with any rest area. I would be leary at night if I were by myself but with such a group, you will be fine. It goes without saying just stay close to the kids and don't enter the restrooms alone. Most of them are clean and safe.

I would skip the parkhoppers and do 2 days at DL and 1 at DCA. $225 is a lot of money to do other things with. I can't see where it would make much difference for a 3 days in the parks trip.

With your mother along, will she be able to help with the kids? What I'm thinking is that if you become overwhelmed at some point and need to go back to the hotel, can your Mom and husband stay on in the parks with the kids? I know this wouldn't be the best case scenario, but better than all of you having to leave, or you being miserable. It is a very short walk so a couple times back and forth would be okay.

There are also lots of more "quiet" places in the parks that aren't so crowded and you can go and relax. One that comes to mind is the old motorboats landing which I believe is NE of the Matterhorn. There are tables and chairs there and some benches. I have never seen many people there when I have walked by. The Hungry Bear restaurant can be relatively quiet at times too. It is very large and you can get tables in the back and enjoy the water watching the Mark Twain or the pirate ship go by. Also riding the train around the park can be relaxing if you need a break. There are 4 stops and you can ride round trip if you like. Oh and in Adventureland there is the Aladdin place, I'm not sure what its called, they used to have a restaurant there, and there aren't many people in there most of the time. Not sure if its always open though.

There are LOTS of restrooms all over the parks. Map them out before you go in for the day and know where they are in each land.

I know the anxiety is overwhelming, but try to keep in mind that Disneyland really is a fun and charming place and your kids will have a blast. You may even be surprised at how much fun YOU have. I would live in the place if I could, crowds and all!

I wish you the best of luck. I hope you have a most magical time!
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:19 PM   #13
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Haven't done the drive before, so can't help you there.

Last year when we went, DS2(almost 3) had just been potty trained, so we did a lot of bathroom trips in DL and CA. Here's a website that describes the quality of all the bathrooms in the parks.

http://www.mouseplanet.com/potties/index.htm

We were in line for Toy Story when DS had to go, so DH and DD stayed in line, I took DS to the potty, then I let the CM know that our family was in line. They had me and DS wait near where they load the ride until DH and DD got there.

When we stayed at the Ramada Maingate, I noticed there is a little place there that rents strollers (they had a double outside) and ECV's. we bought an umbrella style double second hand for $35 and then sold it after our trip. My 5 year old looked huge in it, but she fell asleep in it in the afternoon. This year we're going to rent a double from City Stroller rentals. It will be about $100 for the week, and they say each seat supports a 50 lb child.

I get a bit of anxiety in small spaces and crowds, but I found that the fresh air and being outside really helps. I would recommend you don't do the Finding Nemo submarines. I didn't like the small space and DS flipped out and wanted "OUT NOW" because it's dark and scary. Snow white is freaky, not for small spaces but because of the witch. Peter Pan is dark but not scary at all - it's actually quite beautiful. I didn't really like the que for Soaring because it's inside for a long time with no windows. I think if you are feeling anxious while standing in line, let a CM know, and they will find a way to have you wait somewhere else where you are more comfortable. (I didn't have to do this, as we went in the off season and walked on to most rides)

Have fun! With such a large group, you can choose to be the one sitting with the 22month old while the others go on the rides you don't want to do. You can be the FP runner. You don't have to do everything that everyone else in your group wants to do.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:07 PM   #14
Stitch35
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We live in Lacey and have made the drive several times. I too have severe anxiety around crowds. I have 2 children and the youngest they were on a drive was 2 and 5. We always bring their leapsters/DS and DVDs with portable DVD players. 2 sets of earphones and extra batteries. We try to break it up so we drive about 10-12 hours the first day. We make sure there's a pool at out hotel on the way down so the kids can wear themselves out (and stay up a bit later) this way they sleep a lot in the car the next day. What are you doing with the other 2 days or are those travel days? Reason I ask is they have several 3-5 day options that might fit the budget. You can always go with 3 day 1park and if you discover you really want to park hop, you can get them upgraded to park hoppers. I never go without a park hopper because we love nights at disneyland. It tends to not be as crowded after 9pm until close. Mornings are wonderful too.

With your anxiety and fibro, I would definitely go to city hall on your first stop and talk to them about a guest assistance pass. They have areas you can wait for attractions that aren't as crowded. You do wait just as long sometimes and sometimes shorter and sometimes longer. However it's usually in a quieter area which helps.

Mousewait is great for knowing where restrooms are and has a ton of great resources to familiarize yourself with the parks.

As for dark rides, most are very short, just a couple of minutes. The exceptions to this are finding Nemo (there is an alternate viewing area so you don't have to be in the sub) and souring over California. They are about 10 minutes. I suggest you go on YouTube and watch some ride throughs. This may help with your anxiety of the unknown on the rides.

I commend you for doing this. It's a huge growth moment and definitely will stretch your comfort zone. Remember to look at your kids and the fun they are having. This will help anchor you. Plus remember everyone is there to have fun and enjoy family time, just like you. The atmosphere is very friendly and happy and it's outside so that helps a lot. Have a great trip!
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitch35 View Post
I suggest you go on YouTube and watch some ride throughs. This may help with your anxiety of the unknown on the rides.
Great idea!!!
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