Disneyland With Wee Folks
By LiaMarin Waldron
My family - me, husband Dave, and our two-year-old daughter, Amy - took our first trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, this past spring. We were a little unsure about Amy. Was it worth it with a child that young? Would she even remember the experience? Our concerns were erased by the time the trip was over. She had a ball - and because of her age, she never doubted that the magic was real. As for Dave and me, we'll never forget the expressions of wonder on Amy's face.
To ensure a great time for everyone, learn about the park's offerings before you go. Here are some tips to help you plan the most toddler-friendly visit to the Magic Kingdom.
Design a Game Plan
Inside the Park
Disneyland boasts a slew of rides and attractions that, while tame, elicit squeals of delight from toddlers. Amy's favorites were It's a Small World, a boat ride through a musical diorama; the Enchanted Tiki Room, a Hawaiian extravaganza complete with automated birds and flowers; and the Country Bear Playhouse, where furry life-sized robotic bears sing and dance in a jamboree.
Children three and older can visit every attraction in Mickey's Toontown, including Chip 'n Dale's Treehouse and Goofy's Bounce House. They can also tour Mickey's House, where they're guaranteed a chance to meet the Mouse himself in his dressing room. Then there's this little-known secret: Several times each afternoon, Disney princesses tell stories to young guests in the Tinker Bell Toy Shoppe.
Twice a day during our visit, the 45 Years of Magic Parade marched down Main Street U.S.A. Parade schedules vary, depending on the season, but stake out a spot early to give your toddler a good view of all her favorite characters.
Every night when we were there, the park staged "Fantasmic!" at Rivers of America. A laser-light water show with fireworks and a full-sized pirate ship, "Fantasmic!" will knock the cynic out of any adult. I was worried that Amy would be scared of the giant fire-breathing dragon. Boy, was I wrong: She asked to watch it three nights in a row! Bright lights and big noise were also on tap at 9:30 every night with the 45th Anniversary Fireworks Spectacular, "Believe: There's Magic in the Stars."
Where to Stay
The Walt Disney Travel Company (800-854-3104; www.disney.go.com/Disneyland) offers packages throughout the year. We got our fourth hotel night free, a five-day flexible pass for the price of a three-day pass, early admission to the park (6:30 a.m.), and one complimentary breakfast.
Here are some hotels, packages, and total rates for a two-night stay for two adults and one toddler.
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