It has been about three months since our trip, but I figure better late than never sharing the details. 🙂
It was a three generation girl’s trip: my mom, myself, and my daughter. The idea came about one day, when my little boy was only about two months old, and I was probably suffering from a bit of depression. My husband arrived home from work and since he had the next three days off, I suggested we just go to Disneyland. “Let’s just hop on a plane and just go to Disneyland! Let’s just do it!” Aside from the fact that our little guy didn’t have a passport yet, I thought it was a great idea! And my daughter E was under two so her flight would have been free!
I am so thankful that my husband didn’t outright reject the idea; I think he knew that I couldn’t handle that. However, he was thinking a bit more logically so he suggested that I leave baby C at home with him while E and I went on our own.
That could maybe work…but then I got thinking about the practicalities of just me and a toddler and realized that I wasn’t quite up for that challenge. I called a friend of mine (who is way more obsessed with Disney than even I am), but for various reasons, she wasn’t able to go. 😦 So I called my mom. Again, for various reasons, it wasn’t going to work for her either, but after thinking more about it, she said that she’d come with me at a later date.
Well, that was all I needed! I started researching hotels and looking up ideas for taking a toddler to Disneyland. (There’s a lot of ideas out there on Pinterest!) I returned to work in the middle of June (a shortened maternity leave since my husband was taking the remaining part of the year as parental leave, one of the best decisions ever, but that’s for another day), and once my vacation time was approved, we started booking! We went during the first week of November.
There were a few booking and scheduling hiccups, but finally the day arrived! We were going to Disneyland!!! I was SO excited to take my little princess to this magical land. And it had been almost twenty years since my mom had been there so I knew she was going to be in for a real treat!
Here’s a list of some of the things that we did that I think helped our trip be a success.
1. Having been to the Disneyland Parks several times, I knew that I wanted to stay as close to the park entrance as possible, as long as it didn’t cost an arm or a leg, of course. The Ramada Maingate at the Park was our choice. It was less than a block away from the park entrance! And very reasonably priced too. Breakfast was provided every morning: hard boiled eggs, toast, cereal, fruit, bagels, milk, juice, coffee, and donuts! We also had a mini fridge in our room which was great for keeping groceries for making our lunches. There was a nice sized pool, complete with splash deck and nice shallow end for E.
The room was nice and clean. Double beds. It was a bit snug, but really, we were at the park almost all the time so it worked for us. I had originally requested a cot for E, but there was NO room for it, so instead I rolled up an extra blanket and stuck it under the sheet on one side of the bed, creating a “railing” to keep E from falling out of the bed while I slept on the other side. It worked great!
The only downside was that we were on the second floor and there was no public elevator so dealing with a stroller wasn’t the most fun! Especially when E was fast asleep after a busy day in the parks. But we managed ok. E even continued to sleep after being carried upstairs and put straight to bed a couple times.
2. I put a lot of thought into what to bring for entertaining E on the plane. I didn’t bother to bring anything for me…maybe I should have brought at least one book, but it was probably good for me to have no expectations of being able to relax on the plane. Haha! I packed my backpack with diaper bag items (pull-ups, wipes, change pad, extra clothes, etc.) and then threw in a bunch of things to entertain E. I also purchased her a toddler backpack and put some extra things in there for her too. I wrapped a few items in Disney princess wrapping paper too just to change the up a bit.
Here’s what I brought along:
- Minnie Mouse jewelry: a necklace, bracelet, and rings. These were purchased from the dollar store and wrapped as a present. E loves jewelry right now so she had fun putting dressing up with it.
- Crayola Mess-Free markers and Minnie Mouse colouring book.
- Sofia the First magnet activity book (we even managed to not lose any pieces!)
- Books from the library. Some people don’t like taking library books on holidays, but I was able to find some great Disney themed books, lots with flaps to open since E loves those books right now, and I didn’t have to pay for them!
- Snacks: toddler granola bars, fruit bars, cheesy penguin snacks (similar to Goldfish crackers), pretzels, and mini packages of M&Ms (conveniently stollen from the leftover Halloween candy from a few days before we went on our trip). My mom also brought crackers and cheese sticks. I had purchased some Disney Princess themed snack cups from Tupperware and had the snacks in individual portions to keep things simple. I also brought along a spill proof sippy cup.
- E’s stuffed teddy. I brought along one of E’s stuffed animals that she was familiar with, but not one that she was super attached to, just in case it got lost.
- A small blanket for E. A few weeks before we left I picked up some Tinkerbell fabric and made a blanket for the trip. I planned to take it to the parks to keep E warm in the evenings. It was great on the plane for helping her stay warm and cozy.
- The iPad and toddler headphones. I have a bunch of toddler games on the iPad, as well as digital copies of movies, and E enjoyed playing the games and watching the movies on the plane rides.
- And the extra special treat that I pulled out when the time was right, when E was crazy tired, a small stuffed Figaro kitten that I’d picked up at the Disney Store. E loves kittens and especially Figaro from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
3. Although I wasn’t really worried that I’d lose her, I did purchase some custom made Princess themed temporary tattoos which had my phone number on them. I ordered them through Etsy. Each morning I put one of the tattoos on the inside of E’s arm, just in case. I also made sure I had a travel phone plan. Normally when I’ve travelled, I’ve never had a phone plan, but this time was different. I wanted to be able to be contacted in case E was separated from me, and I wanted to be able to call and text my husband back home.
4. The one other thing I did was purchase a Rapunzel dress for E to wear in the parks. I wasn’t sure if I should, if she’d even want to wear it, but I’m SO glad I did! She wore her dress the first and last day we were there and got so many compliments on how cute she looked! I got the dress on sale from the Disney Store. I also took along a Tinkerbell costumed I’d made her for Halloween, but she didn’t end up wearing it.
So there’s a bit of my preparations for our Disneyland trip. In a future post I plan to share more about the actual trip and the things we did to make our trip as magical as it could be.