My family and I are squeezing a day at Disneyland into our Thanksgiving vacation — my 4 year old’s first time at the park — and I’m wondering what tips my fellow parents want to share.
Two years ago, my husband and I made our first pilgrimage to the Magic Kingdom as parents, and we had a fabulous day with our then 5-year old son, having left our toddler behind with Grandma. I had borrowed a book called something like The Insider’s Guide to Disneyland, I was a bit anxious about sticking to one of the recommended itineraries in the book in order to minimize time spent waiting in lines. I have never walked in those gates with such determination to have The Best Time Ever.
A clever bit of advice I picked up from a fellow preschool parent at the time was, “What ever your kid is going to be begging for all day, just buy it in the first hour.” So what if they have a lollipop at 9 AM or wear a princess crown around the park all day long? If you are puting yourself in the position of negotiating for the coveted souvenir for the next eight hours, but ultimately giving in, save yourself from yourself and make the splurge upfront.
I was all set to follow this advice, but it turned out that my son didn’t notice most of the sweets hanging out of the mouths of other children. He was happy with the mouse ears we selected on our way out of the park. This year, I am prepared for a much grander deluge of requests from both him and his Ariel-loving sister.
So, do you have any tips or tricks for visiting The Happiest Place on Earth? Where to eat lunch? Get a locker or not? Bring a stroller or rent one? Watch the parade or use it as a time to rush the rides with the longest lines?