Little girl with Minnie Mouse
  • On Jan 4, 2022
    Steve from MN Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    My family and I are going to Disneyland, the first time for both of our daughters (4 & 6) and for me (dad). I'd like to be able to get as much into out stay as possible, while leaving room for spontaneity. How can we create a good balance?

    Hiya, Steve! Thanks for popping in to planDisney. I am delighted to help you and your ‘ohana plan a magical trip to the Happiest Place on Earth! Planning ahead while leaving room for pixie-dusted surprises is a great idea.

    First, download the Disneyland mobile app to have helpful planning tools and updates at your fingertips. Even wayfinders like Moana could use help navigating at times! Also, visit a gift shop and ask for complimentary “1st Visit” buttons. You might get a magical greeting from a Cast Member to make you feel extra special!

    We love to stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel to soak in the indescribable Disney vibe and enjoy convenient access to the theme parks. Our favorite is the cozy and elegant Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, with an entrance directly into Disney California Adventure Park.

    I suggest one dining reservation each day to get off your feet and enjoy a sit-down meal. Dining reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance. If you don’t find a reservation right away, Hakuna Matata! Check the app daily, as reservations can become available as Guests’ plans change. You can also try the walk-up list at most restaurants. We love to grab our dinglehoppers and dig into Mickey-shaped Waffles at Carnation Café! To see characters up close, I suggest Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn. The smiles you'll see on your girls’ faces will be etched in your memory forever. 

    Mobile Ordering meals and snacks on the app is pure magic while waiting for an attraction. Speaking of saving time, I recommend adding Disney Genie+ from the app after you enter the theme park. With Lightning Lanes for many attractions, you'll dash through queues and do more in less time. The phenomenal cosmic power of Disney Genie+ also gives you Disney PhotoPass to get unlimited digital downloads of photos taken by Disney PhotoPass Photographers AND attraction photos!

    For the attractions your wee Mouseketeers aren’t tall enough for, ask a Cast Member about Rider Switch, where one adult waits with the kids, then switches without waiting in line again.

    For those unplanned, in-between moments, take time to soak in the sights, sounds, flavors and aromas as you immerse yourself in the magic. You may stumble upon a tasty snack or an attraction that lures you in. You may find yourself spontaneously dancing as a parade floats by. Pause and take it all in. You will forever remember the enchantment on those sweet, little faces.

    I hope your vacation is Practically Perfect in Every Way!  

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Meet the Panelist: Kamini, California

Greetings from the Golden State! Like Elastigirl, I am a committed wife and mom, resourceful, passionate, and will stretch to any length for my loved ones! Two of my favorite places to spend time with my family are Disneyland Resort, and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. Being there is a treat for all the senses - the amazing sights, sounds, aromas, and flavors make us smile from ear to ear. I have decades of magical Disney moments woven into my heart, and I can't wait to share the magic with you! Learn More About Kamini

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