Mom And Son Red Car Trolly; mickey balloons; Main Street; mother and son;
  • On Mar 4, 2024
    Mary from CA Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I am bringing kids 8,6,5 and staying at the Grand Californian for 3 nights. Is there a guide for planning for age groups ? What's not to be missed. The best purchase to get to the front of the lines, etc

    Hey there, Mary, and welcome!

    Greetings from all of us at planDisney! We're so happy to see you here and thanks so much for bringing us your question. I'm excited for your upcoming trip because you've chosen to stay at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which is the closest hotel to the Parks! It would be my pleasure to help you fill out the rest of your itinerary!

    There are a couple of methods for you to locate attractions that you and your kids might enjoy. Both the Disneyland website and the Disneyland Mobile App allow you to filter attractions by type, height requirement, and age group. This will help you determine which rides your children will be able to experience based on their height and personal preference. When my children were younger, I had them list their top 3 attractions and, after making sure they were tall enough, we would prioritize those rides for them. Anything else was a bonus!

    There's also the complimentary Disney Genie Service within the App which will help you plan out your day. You can even do this ahead of time. Just select "My Genie Day" and use the Genie tool to pick out your attractions and the Genie Service will try its best to plan out your day for you, highlighting those specific attractions or experiences you've selected. 

    If you want to get to the front of the lines faster, then purchasing Genie+ for your party would enable you to use Lightning Lanes at select attractions. This is separate from the complimentary Genie Service and will let you bypass the standby portion of the queue. You would book Lightning Lanes for participating attractions through the Mobile App and it will assign you a return time.

    Here are some of my favorite personal recommendations for must see attractions for younger kids:

    • Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway
    • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (my son loved this ride and laughed the entire time!)
    • Peter Pan's Flight (best done first thing in the morning at Early Entry or Rope Drop)
    • Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room (enjoy a Dole Whip while watching the show!)
    • Autopia (my kids loved feeling like they were driving me around)
    • Turtle Talk with Crush
    • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
    • Toy Story Midway Mania!
    • Grab a cup of hot chocolate from the Joffrey's machine in the GCH Craftsman Grill in your hotel. It is among the creamiest and richest hot chocolates I've tasted and my kids love it!
    • Wondrous Journeys, the nighttime spectacular at Disneyland Park, will be making a limited return over your visit. This is a truly magnificent show and not to be missed!

    If your kids need some elbow room to run around, I would recommend Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island if you're in Disneyland Park or the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail at Disney California Adventure. There are benches for tired parents or napping kids while others get to run around to their heart's content. 

    My last piece of advice is to relax, enjoy this magical time with your kids, and don't stress about trying to see everything. Go with the flow and take advantage of your nearby hotel for pool or nap breaks. Planning a Disneyland Resort Vacation can be stressful enough as it is, but I want all of you to have fun and enjoy yourselves! 

    Mary, I hope that helps to answer your questions and assists with your planning. Please feel free to write again if you need anything more. I'm happy to help and you're always welcome at planDisney.

    Have a Magical Day!
    -Al

thumbnail image for Al

Meet the Panelist: Al, California

Ahoy there from the heart of Steinbeck Country in central California! I've been visiting the Disneyland Resort since childhood and fell in love with the sense of absolute immersion that the Imagineers have achieved. My favorite attraction is Pirates of the Caribbean because where else can you go from a California day to an evening boat ride in the bayou with "salty old pirates"? I'm a veterinarian and an all-around Disney geek and enthusiast. I'd love to help you plan your next Disneyland trip! Learn More About Al

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