Need toddler friendly itinerary

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by redlion54, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. redlion54

    redlion54 Earning My Ears

    Aug 19, 2007
    We are heading to DL from Sept 24-28. This will be the first visit for my DDs. My youngest is turning 3 and my oldest is turning 4, so it is a birthday trip. We have three days at DL and one day for DCA.

    Since it is not a busy time, we should be able to do everything we want/can in three days. I plan on getting there early and making the most of the mornings. Head back to the hotels for lunch and naps.

    I am trying to figure out what rides/shows to do on what day. Has anyone come up with a touring plan that is geared towards small children for the off-season? I am just not sure what rides to start off with first thing in the mornings. I know it would be best to do those rides that build long waits early and to use Fastpasses. I am just not sure which ones to start with or how to spread them out over three days.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. bumbershoot

    bumbershoot DIS Veteran

    Mar 5, 2007
    I suggest going to the library or bookstore, and getting the Disneyland guidebooks. Be sure you're getting the most updated one available (perhaps check on amazon for publication dates first).

    I liked Birnbaum's guide, along with the unofficial guide, and I think I looked at another. At least one of those guidebooks has a Dumbo or Die itinerary, which is ALL about the wee ones, and gives a really good starting point for figuring out a workable and survivable (for you) touring plan.

    Then there are online guides for a charge...ridemax? and I even think the unofficial guide has one.
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  4. dangerkitteey

    dangerkitteey Earning My Ears

    Aug 16, 2007
    Check out the Disneyland website, and click around for the Magical Beginnings experience. It'll give you some guidlines as to what is appropriate for your little one, and height restriction info.
    We just got back with DD almost 2, and she rode a lot, even what the tour books and website said would be "too scary" for toddlers (PoTC, Haunted Mansion, etc.). She loved those most. So just use your intuition. You know your child best.
    As for a touring plan, every book and website is going to tell you to start in fantasyland first, and its good advice. It gets pretty crowded.
    I know I have a touring plan from one of the guide books I bought. It was especially for parents with small kids. I'll post it when I can!
    Hope that helps.

  5. queenrollog

    queenrollog Mouseketeer

    Nov 16, 2005
    We have a 3 1/4 y/o DS, we're locals, and we go to DL about every 3 weeks. We take everything nice and slow. We'll ride the fire truck down Main Street (free stickers at the end of the ride!), then ride the double decker bus back up, then the horse-drawn carriage, then we'll head into Fantasyland. Casey Jr. Train, Carousel, Dumbo, Teacups. We'll go to Small World, then into Toon Town to see Mickey. DS is really into the bands and music, so we try to fit that into our day. We'll ride the Disneyland Railroad around the park, also the Monorail, and we'll go ride Pooh. We haven't gone on Nemo yet because of the lines, but may ride that in the offseason. We don't go on the fast rides, but if DH wants to do that I'll take a break with DS and wait. We just went over to Pirate's Lair or whatever the island is called now, and DS loved that.
    We take little snack bags/cups with us, and stop for frequent breaks. DL is so much more magical through the eyes of a child. He sees and enjoys things that we never gave a second thought to.
    We're not the most organized, but we sure do enjoy our day at the Magic Kindgom!
  6. Twinprincesses

    Twinprincesses DIS Veteran

    Jun 30, 2005
    What I would stay away from other than heigh restricted rides is Snow White, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Pinoccio and Mr Toad. Those scared my girls.
  7. DLR29

    DLR29 We create happiness

    May 30, 2006
    Here's a list of certain ride that I think are appropriate for your kids and how long their waits are:

    Long lines:
    Nemo- definitely ride this first thing one of your days because lines are LONG!
    Peter Pan-ride during EE or first thing on a different day from Nemo
    Dumbo-same as Peter Pan
    Alice in Wonderland-same as Peter Pan

    Moderate lines:
    Storybookland Canal Boats-not open for EE but can develop a line by afternoon
    King Arthur Carousel/King Triton's Carousel-ride Arthur during EE and King Triton's whenever
    Casey Jr. Train-same as Storybookland
    It's a Small World-doesn't get long lines until mid-afternoon
    All of the Flik's Fun Fair rides-low capacity rides = somewhat long lines
    Jumpin Jellyfish-same as the FFF rides

    Short lines:
    Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh-tucked away in the corner of the park makes this a really easy ride to get onto
    Jungle Cruise-rarely has a long line
    Pirate's Lair-caves might be too dark or scary, but it's a great place for them to run around
    Monster's Inc.-almost never has a long line
    Turtle Talk-longest wait is 1 show, especially in September
    Redwood Creek Challenge Trail-a good place for the kids to blow off some steam

    Also Autopia and Buzz Lightear's Astro Blasters are good, but have FP and you can grab those whenever. Even though I've separated them into long, moderate, and short, because you're going in September, the lines in general will be short, just some will be longer than others.

    Some rides that they might like depending on how well they handle scary scenes include Mr. Toad, Roger Rabbit, Snow White, Pinocchio, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates
  8. abby

    abby Abby's Mom

    Feb 17, 2005
    When my dd was almost 5 we took our first trip. I got a lot of good ideas from these boards and the unofficial guide.

    We arrived at the gates 1/2 before opening, went to fantasy land first and did dumbo, tea cups and alice. My dd is too timid for the dark rides, so we avioded Peter Pan and Snow White. She loves It's a small world (again and again and again.) Buzz light year is another fav of her's. She also likes the pooh ride. We could pretty much do all of these in an hour or two first thing in the am.

    One hint, one day go to DL at opening and then go across to CA when they open, then you can ride all the kiddie rides at CA with no wait.

    Do go back to the room and rest each day, it makes a world of difference.

    I am a planner, but always have to remind myself, it is ok when she gets distracted. I tend to race from one ride to the next, she likes to take her time and look around.
  9. DLR29

    DLR29 We create happiness

    May 30, 2006
    Just a little note: Even though abby's DD avoided Peter Pan, it really isn't scary and nothing pops out at you and there are no scary scenes. Very relaxing and sweet.
  10. DisneyMomma81

    DisneyMomma81 DIS Veteran

    Aug 18, 2007
    We'll be there from the 24th-26th. We went twice in 2006, but my DD only went with us on the 1st trip in March, she was 2 at the time (her B~day is in July so she's 4 now) I also have a DS who is 7 and is tall enough for all the rides ~ Indiana Jones was our 1st ride both times in 2006. DD will still be too short for rides with height restrictions, so we'll child swap. She did great last year and I'm sure it'll be even funner this year. I will be bringing a stroller for sure.

    DS 7
    DD 4
    We'll be in D~land Sept. 24-27!!
  11. silence

    silence <font color=red>Missin' Mickey<br><font color=roya

    Aug 1, 2002
    My DD is 4 and she liked all the rides, including HM and Pirates. She doesn't like super fast rides though, so while she did BTMRR a couple of times, by the end of the trip she refused to go on. OH...and she refused to get on the Matterhorn at all. I think because it is so big, she was too scared.

    Just trust your instincts and your kids. When my DS was that age, he wouldn't go on anything dark.

    As for shows, my kids LOVE all the parades, all of them. Also, they both really enjoy the Alladin show, so if you can fit it in, definately a must see. I believe it is dark early in the week, so you want to plan for it towards the end of your trip. (we always do it this way anyways, but the last couple of days our feet are killing us and it is nice to have more shows to take in!)

    enjoy your trip!
  12. DL4my2kids

    DL4my2kids Mouseketeer

    Oct 30, 2006
    I took my kids last year when they were 5 and 2. Stay out of the Snow White ride. I didn't know what it was like before hand but it freaked my kids out. We were not able to go on any of the other inside rides because they were too scared. We did alot of the carosel (Sorry, my spelling is not the greatest), Dumbo, teacups etc and rides like that.
  13. 4bugzinarug

    4bugzinarug Mouseketeer

    Oct 8, 2006
    If we had it to do again, the first time we did DL with our kids here's what we would have done:

    Take Railway all around the park once to show them the size of the park & areas that we will visit. Get off to do It's A Small World and Toontown (skip the Roger the Rabbit car ride, it's loud & kind of jerky/bumpy). Then on to Casey Jr. Train, Peter Pan, Dumbo & the carousel. Avoid the other dark rides like the plague (at least for the first day). LUNCH then Frontierland/Adventureland to do Jungle Cruise, Treehouse, Pirate Island, Pooh Ride, etc. By now, they would be feeling pretty adventuresome & we would head to tomorrowland for the Rocket ride, Autopia, Nemo & Buzz.

    The next day (or later in the day) we would spend the entire day at Cal. Adventure, in A Bugs Land and viewing the shows. Don't forget the Monster's Inc ride! The rides at Bugs Land are absolutely perfect for your kids ages, they will LOVE them! And there are a couple of small waterplay areas, bring a change of clothes! If you really felt like spending the $$ for it, you could do the character lunch at Ariel's Grotto. Have a good dinner on the patio at Wine Trattoria in CA after seeing the Block Party Bash (usually 5:15).

    Make a dinner reservation for DownTown Disney for each night you are there, so that you don't end up waiting in a food line with two tired & hungry kids! You can always cancel the reservation if you end up somewhere else. Rainforest Cafe is there, and there are some other more kid-friendly restaurants. Don't forget a trip to Build A Bear in DownTown Disney!

    Most of all, have fun!!
  14. Hound 109

    Hound 109 <font color=teal>So non-screamin' family members c

    Oct 10, 2006
    You don't have Park Hoppers? If not why not?
  15. DLR29

    DLR29 We create happiness

    May 30, 2006
    Well they do have PHs. There is only one type of ticket that doesn't include park hopping which is the 1 day 1 park ticket. Unless there is some other strange ticket out there, they have park hoppers. My guess is that they just want to focus on the one park each of their days, which totally works. There's nothing wrong with that, though many people here encourage park hopping because the parks are so close together. The main reason why we park hopped our last trip was to take advantage of FP. With younger kids who can't do many of the big FP attractions, I see less of a need to park hop.

    Also one thing, if it is your oldest is celebrating a birthday, be sure and go to City Hall and pick up a Birthday button. She can wear it all day and all of the CMs will say "Happy Birthday ________" with her name. It is just a small, special touch that adds to the magic.
  16. kuusimo

    kuusimo "I have a great idea mom- lets go to Disneyland to

    May 7, 2005
    They could have the Southern California tickets from Costco that are not park hopper tickets. I agree with you though that a lot of people don't take advantage of park hopping and that just means we know more...

    As for toddler iteneraries... Best advice is to follow your children and to take it easy. Know where the baby care centers are for a break for your children. They have toddler size toliets and the "grandmas" are super nice. Plus they get a sticker when they leave. We also make sure that we take them back to the hotel for a nap in the afternoon. The kid meals are big enough to split, so you may want to try that and see how they do. My boys still split one last time we went and they were 3 and 5 at the time.

    CA has a lot to do as well- Bug's land is great but do not do "A Bug's Life movie." It is in 3-D and is scary for me! (Not a big bug fan). They also have a carosel by Califonia Screeming, so while one of you is riding that the other can take them on the carosel. My boys like Soarin, the youngest was 40" at the time so he was able to go. Turtle talk is also fun, and playhouse disney.

    My biggest problem with the dark rides are they are LOUD. You don't realize how loud until you have a baby sleeping. We took our boys on a lot of the dark rides and my middle son will only go on Pooh & Monsters, Inc. The others are too scary for him. If you are unsure, have one of you go on it and decide. That would be the only way to know for sure since you know your child the best.
  17. redlion54

    redlion54 Earning My Ears

    Aug 19, 2007
    First off, thank you to everyone. You guys have been very helpful. I now have some really good ideas for planning our time.

    To answer the question, I will be getting the 4 day tickets. So, I do have the ability to park hop. I originally thought it might be too much walking to go back and forth. I may decide to do a little hopping now instead of the 3day/1 day plan I originally had.

    My girls are a little adventurous. So, I am planning on trying a few of the rides that might scare some. They love the roller coasters that they have been allowed on so far. I have been showing them pictures of some of the rides. They love it all. Though that might change when they actually see the size of them. The only thing they don't want to do is Snow White. My girls are not tall enough for Indiana Jones, so we will just skip that this trip as well. Hubby doesn't want to switch off.

    I am really looking forward to seeing the shows and parades. I don't think I did any of them last time (before we had kids). So I really have to schedule those in. We are also planning a lunch at Ariel's Grotto and a breakfast at the Plaza Inn.

    Another question, I didn't see Fantasmic listed for September. Do they not do this show all the time?
  18. disneylandgeeksx4

    disneylandgeeksx4 Mike

    Jun 4, 2007
    FYI Casey JR train and Boat ride are down as well as Huanted Mansion. That info is on the website calender. I recieved my package from DLR with a calender. It shows that every Friday after Labor Day they will alternate Fridays with Fantasmic and Fireworks. Saturdays will have both and all Sundays will have Fantasmic. Not sure how reliable this calander is but I did call and the CM informed it should be very accurate. Hope the info helped.
  19. lawyergirl22

    lawyergirl22 Mouseketeer

    Jun 10, 2007
    We'll be at DL 23-26th, also. I just checked the website and it looks like Haunted Mansion will be open with the Halloween theming as of Friday 9/21. I hope this is accurate, because it's my favorite! I am going with my mom, 2 neices (ages 8 & 10) and my kids (ages 3 and 11 months). With this group in tow, I am doing some pretty serious planning. We'll hit DL early and get as much done as possible each morning, with a break for lunch and a nap. When we return to the park each afternoon, we'll just play it by ear and take it easy.


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