It has been over 20 years since I visited the parks with a toddler. Our kids are grown and now have children of their own. I often see posts of friends taking their grandchildren and I just couldn’t wait to take ours. Life being what it is this trip took longer to make happen than I would have anticipated. But finally we were able to go the first weekend in February. My husband and I were traveling with our daughter and her two sons, ages 2 and 4 (the youngest of our 5 grandchildren). The two little guys are huge Disney fans and anticipated the trip as much as the rest of us.
So we planned and planned, matching shirts were made and packed, they experienced their first plane trip and finally we were walking through the gates to Disneyland – ready to take that first group picture. Well – I forgot how hard it was to get everyone to cooperate to get a group picture. Luckily we went on to breakfast with Minnie Mouse at Plaza Inn and things got better.
Breakfast was a huge success. With my annual pass discount the cost for the 5 of us came out to roughly the same as a breakfast and lunch at fast food locations but with the characters. We saw quite an assortment of characters – Minnie, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore, Chip and Dale, Captain Hook, Gideon and more. Well worth the investment. As I had taken my children to character meals growing up, it’s a tradition we wanted to keep going.
Another item on our list was Jedi Training Camp for the 4 year old. We were worried about the 2 year old wanting to run up and join him but a refill of the passholder popcorn bucket kept him munching and watching happily. It was a wonderful experience for our grandson and we had tears in our eyes as well.
Like I said, I forgot about traveling with toddlers. I had made plans in my head about all the things we wanted to do and then suddenly someone had to go to the bathroom, one or both were asleep, hungry, etc. We had to move slower than I was used to doing in the parks but all of a sudden that didn’t matter. We were there, walking down Main Street with our grandsons eyes as wide as they could be and shouting “the castle”.
We spent one day in Disneyland, the next in California Adventure and the last day back in Disneyland. Each and every experience was a treasure for each of us. My daughter and I had some adult time in Downtown Disney and rode a few attractions together while the boys were napping with Pop Pop. The boys loved meeting the characters, giving hugs and getting autographs – Hunter even hugged a random cast member and I believe that made his day. Purchasing the Photo Pass was a good investment for this trip as well.
Posing with a wookie can be difficult though.
Another tip was that we rented a double stroller from a private vendor and had it delivered to our hotel the morning of our first day in the parks. My husband is recuperating from surgery and we ordered a motorized scooter to be delivered as well. These were lifesavers. Also, having them delivered and returned at the hotel we did not have to carry sleeping children and my husband was much more comfortable traveling from the park to the hotel and vice versa rather returning these items at the park entrance. Most companies will offer you a discount for renting multiple items but the price was more than reasonable.
Suddenly the trip was almost over and it was time for one last castle picture and everyone was looking at the camera. While this trip may be over, we are looking forward to more to come and the boys will be talking about it for a long time I’m sure. It was magical.