- September 2, 2016
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How to Dad: Surviving Disneyland
For the first time of many in my young children’s lives, we took the happiest place on earth by storm.
It was fun to be able to see my children’s faces light up with each Disney character they saw, each colorful ride we went on, and most of all, the Main Street Light Parade.
It was a memorable trip, but there were many lessons learned along the way. If you have the itch to take on Disneyland, here are a few tips that you can use to make your trip a success.
Rider Swap Passes
My two-year-old son was barely too short to ride some of the bigger rides. Just because he can’t ride them, doesn’t mean I can’t, right? Right.
Before our trip, I learned of the beautiful thing that is the rider swap pass. This pass allows one parent to hang back with the kids while the other parent waits in line to get on the ride.
Once the first parent has ridden, the next parent presents this pass to a worker and they are taken in the Fast Pass line for up to three riders. Luckily for us, my parents were with us. They were able to get the pass for us while we waited and then they watched our kids as we rode.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
If you have a toddler, I’m guessing their diet consists of PB&J sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and similar foods. This is true of my children and we didn’t feel the need to spend so much money on food that they probably weren’t going to eat.
We brought in bread and supplies in our trusty diaper bag, and could eat the delicious foods anytime we needed. From the part of me that likes to budget money, this was a success, but it was for my kids too because they actually ate.
Do the Nighttime Shows the First day
Our stay at the park was for three days. We were able to see and do everything we wanted, but I feel we accomplished it by how we split up our days.
The first day was spent going on the rides that take the longest to ride (Indiana Jones, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) and watching all of the parades.
Our second day at the park was probably the most memorable because we didn’t feel obligated to watch the light parade because we had the night before. When the parade started, we took off to an empty Toon Town.
Rides that had lines all day were empty, and we were able to walk onto them with no wait. Best of all, we were able to meet Mickey Mouse within five minutes of walking into his house!
Not only was there no wait, but also we were the last people to walk through the attraction. This led to an impromptu photo shoot with Mickey Mouse with both of my boys grinning ear-to-ear. These memories were made possible by getting most of the “Disney experience” things done on the first day.
Most importantly of all, you need to patient while at Disneyland. There can be a lot of pressure for your kids to have fun, but don’t force it. Also, there will always be crowds of people and patience in waiting in line will be a key factor in your child’s enjoyment.
If daddy and mommy are grumpy because they have to wait in line with hordes of other people, your children will reciprocate those feelings. Be patient and have fun!
Garrett Coleman grew up in Orem, Utah, and graduated from UVU with a degree in journalism. As a father of two, he hopes to have his experiences inspire others to be better parents through his passion for writing.