My princess is turning 2 and we’re taking a family trip to Disneyland!
I worked in the park in college, became a pass holder after that, and always dreamed of taking my little girl. We love all things Disney and I can’t wait to see her little face light up.
I’m gonna divide this post into 2 parts, planning the trip, and a trip review of what I would do the same, and what I’d do different. My fellow parents can attest you can only plan so much before the toddler takes over, and I want this to be a fun, chill experience.
Part 1: Planning the Trip
Hotel and Park Reservations
We live about an hour and 30 minutes from the park, but decided to make the most of our time and plan a 2 day trip. We booked a stay at the Disneyland Hotel and purchased the ‘2-Day, 1 Park per Day’ tickets.
We added the Genie service (formally known as FastPass) to get the most out of our time there. I’ll report back to share if it was worth the extra cost.
I downloaded the Disney app so all my reservations and trip info would be in one place.
Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel does an amazing character breakfast. We decided to book that for day 2 since we would already be there, and we could enjoy a chill day 2 in the park afterward.
We plan to bring our own snacks and water. The corndog stand, churros, popcorn, and Mickey beignets are a must, so we’ll plan to make those happen. I am a huge fan of the baked potato soup at Carnation Cafe on Main Street. Reservations are required for dine-in so I’ll be sure to take care of that.
Okay gotta admit, this is my favorite part of planning any trip! Since we are planning to go during a colder month, we’ll need to dress a bit warm (like sweatshirts and leggings, it’s ‘California cold’).
Here is what I planned:
(tap/click the products in the collage to shop!)
Part 2: Trip Review
Not sure why I’ve never done 2 days back to back, it was SO FUN! We didn’t feel rushed at all and got to truly enjoy our time.
Day 1 – Disneyland
We arrived and checked-in to The Disneyland Hotel around 10am. We opted for self parking, the lot couldn’t be any closer to the lobby, but you can do valet for an extra $15. Guests are asked to wear a mask indoors and there are hand sanitizer stations at every corner.
We got the 2 Queen, 1 day-bed room with a view of the pool. My sister stayed with us and there was more than enough space for the four of us. We asked for a crib at check-in and it was brought up to our room just a few minutes after we got there. We unpacked and headed down to Disneyland.
There is a security check point at the entrance of Downtown Disney. There was no line when we got there, around 11am, and it was a very quick process.
There was also no line at the gates to the park! Keep in mind, we went on a Tuesday with the intent of minimal crowds. If this is your first time visiting, celebrating a birthday, newly weds, be sure to stop at the information booth for a free button! We got Kaia one to celebrate her first visit.
While there were no parades scheduled for the day (may be a covid thing), there were a few character cavalcades we got to see. The first was on Main Street with Mickey and all his friends. The second was Anna and Elsa over by Small World. I kind of liked these better than the parades! They’re quick and very interactive.
At night (7pm) we experienced the Mickey’s Mix Magic with Projections show. This was honestly my favorite part of the day! WAYYYY better than just fireworks, no matter where you were on Main Street, you had a perfect view. I highly recommend sticking around for this.
With a two year old, we stuck to the rides with no height restrictions:
- Storybook Land Canal Boat
- Casey Jr. Train
- Small World
- Mickey’s House in Toontown
- Minnie’s House in Toontown
We used the Genie pass for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The Genie pass works very similar to the old school Fast Pass, but you pay for it and have the ability to reserve your spot on the Disneyland app (which you 100% need to download as soon as you decide you’re gonna visit the park).
We brought a lot of snacks and water, but for meals we opted for park food. Mobile ordering is probably one of my new favorite options in the park. You order and pay for your meals on the app ahead of time, then make your way over to pick it up.
We ended up getting:
- Corn dogs from the Little Red Wagon on Main Street (lunch)
- Mickey Beignets from the Mint Julep Bar (snack)
- Chicken and Mashed Potatoes from French Market (dinner)
- Mac and cheese with applesauce from French Market (toddler dinner)
Day 2 – Goofy’s Kitchen & California Adventure
We started off the day with breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen. HIGHLY recommend if you’re bringing kids. The food was really good! My favorites were the eggs benedict, Mickey waffle, and the coffee. Kaia’s favorites were the peanut butter & jelly pizza, fruit, and Mickey waffle. The characters came around the tables about every 15 minutes to dance and interact with the kids. It was a really fun experience.
I never thought I would say this, but I actually enjoyed our time more in DCA! I haven’t been in almost 6 years, so the vibe was totally different from what I remembered. No more Bugs Land, it’s been replaced with the Avengers Campus. This park seems to cater more to adults and parents with the alcohol, mature rides, and LOTS of food options.
The only ride we took Kai on was Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. We watched the web slinger show which was about 5 minutes long (kinda disappointed, we wanted more!). We used the Genie pass for the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout ride. The rest of the day we spent finding all the food we’ve seen on TikTok. Let me tell you, TikTok did not disappoint!
We tried and loved:
- Chocolate Chip Cookie from Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums (next to the roller coaster – DELISH!)
- Spicy hot dog on the boardwalk (one bite and I was done, but it was a tasty one bite)
- QuesaBirria Tacos from Cocina Cucamonga (honestly the best tacos I’ve had in awhile, I am still craving them)
Overall, this trip was amazing and so much fun for us as a family. There’s a good mix of adult and kid fun, always something going on, and the food is great. Definitely recommend doing a Tuesday/Wednesday trip if you can. Parking, lines, and food ordering was a breeze with a smaller crowd.
Can’t wait to visit again soon!
If you have any tips to share or questions about our trip, leave a comment below.
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