It’s Disneyland Week here at the Craft Patch, and today I’m sharing what to bring with you into the park. Keep in mind that my kids are 8, 5 and 4 months. If you have older kids, you may not need so much stuff. But I am guessing that if you’re going to Disneyland, you probably have kids in the same age range that I do. So here’s a list of what you need to make it through a day at the happiest place on earth.
1. A Good Stroller. You do a lot of walking at Disneyland. Most likely you your kids will get tired and need to ride in a stroller. I would bring one seat for every child under the age of seven. The last time we went to Disneyland, I had a crappy stroller and it made life miserable! It was so hard to push! We took our single jogger this time and it was a dream. The baby sat in the actual seat and the five year old sat over the wheel when he got too tired to walk. We made it work.
Every time you ride a ride, you park your stroller in the designated stroller parking areas with the dozens of other strollers. Then you pick it up after the ride ends. If you have a generic stroller, you may want to mark it somehow. I had a bright pink bag that I kept slung over the handles, so mine was always easy to find. We went for four days and never had a problem with anything being stolen. In fact, there is usually a cast member hovering near the strollers keeping an eye on them, but I have heard of people’s stuff being stolen, which leads me to my next must-have…
2. A Fanny Pack. Yep, you heard me right. I am not normally an advocate of fanny packs. They scream DORK any time you see them… with one exception: at Disneyland! Since you will be leaving your stroller often, you need a way to keep your valuables on you at all times. I put my fanny pack on in the morning and didn’t remove it until I went to bed at night. I wore it on every ride and never worried about leaving it somewhere. It was so nice to know that the essentials were safely at my hip.
Back Pocket: cash, credit card, I.D., park tickets. I put them against my skin so that there was less chance of getting pick-pocketed. You use your park entrance tickets for the Fast Pass System, so they need to be readily accessible, but if they get lost you are in huge trouble, so guard them with your life!
Main Pocket: cell phone, keys, park maps and schedules (make sure to grab them when you first enter the park), chapstick, and snacks to eat in line.
Outer Pocket: Fast Pass tickets and rider exchange passes. These need to be easy to grab and separate from your park entry tickets.
Okay, enough about the fanny pack. Moving on.
3. Snacks. Lots of ’em! A churro costs $3 at Disneyland. An ice cream bar is about $4. Whoa! The food is outrageously expensive! It would have significantly increased the cost of our trip if we had purchased snacks in the park. So I brought them all from home. Before our trip, I bought a bunch of nonperishable foods and packed them into snack-sized baggies.
Every morning before we left our hotel room, I filled up my pink stroller bag and pulled out the little bags whenever someone said they were hungry. I kept some in my fanny pack too, so that we could eat while waiting in line for rides. Multi-tasking! I also stopped at a grocery store near Disneyland to buy grapes and carrots and loaded them into snack-sized bags as well. Apples, bananas, string cheese and Go-gurts were also very popular with my kiddos. We also brought sandwiches in.You can bring snacks in a cooler as long as it is soft-sided and small (click HERE for official rules of what you can and can’t bring into the park).
4. Baby/Kid Gear. Diapers, wipes, a change of clothes/plastic sacks in case of diaper blow outs, formula/bottles/baby food/nursing cover (the one I made was sooo handy!), a blanket, hand sanitizer, baby toys, and sunblock. Later in the week I’ll share the activity book I made to keep my kids occupied while waiting in line or waiting for the parade or waiting for the fireworks to start, or… well… anytime they were waiting. You do a lot of that at Disneyland.
5. A Light Jacket. Pack one for each family member. It cools off after dark, especially if you are still wet from Grizzly River Rapids or Splash Mountain.
6. Water Bottles. Dehydration will kill the fun really quickly and the price of water at the park will kill your budget! We used the same four bottles and just kept refilling them. There’s even a handy water bottle filling spout in the Tomorrowland plaza near where they do the Jedi Training Academy. Look near the condiment carts by the food windows. You can also ask for a free cup of water from any food place, but carrying our water bottles seemed easier since we just chucked them in the stroller. If you want to get fancy, you could always bring those single serve flavor packs to add to your water bottles.
7. Comfortable Clothes. I saw several people walking around the park in mini-skirts and high heals and just shook my head. Disneyland is not a fashion show, people! Wear t-shirts, shorts and most importantly, comfortable walking sneakers. Even with comfy shoes, your dogs will be barking by the end of the day. I suggest packing a pair of flip flops into the park. I switched into them for an hour in the middle of the day and it felt so good to give my feet some air and let them stretch out after being crammed into my sneakers all day. And the flip flips hardly took up any room at all.
8. A Camera. But remember, you’ll have to bring it with you every time you go on a ride. You could just take pictures with your phone or bring a small camera or only bring your big, nice camera one day or just be willing to carry it on all the rides. Grizzly River Rapids in California Adventure will get you wet, but they have lockers you can store your camera in and they are free for the first two hours. One photo tip for you: there are photographers at all the iconic photo spots throughout the park and they will gladly take a picture of you with your camera free of charge. Just ask! But make sure the settings are ready to go before you hand the camera over.
9. An Emergency Blanket. This is what they look like:
Why? They take up almost no room in your bags, but they are the perfect way to save a spot at the parade or nighttime shows like Fantasmic or World of Color. Then you have a clean place to sit and you can just throw them away when you’re done. My sister bought a 12 pack online somewhere for around $5 because she has season passes and goes to Disneyland often, but you can find single blankets in the camping or preparedness section of stores like Walmart.
10. Glowsticks. When it gets dark, suddenly there are all these vendors selling glow-in-the-dark stuff. For ridiculous prices. I went to Michael’s before we left home and bought a tube of 12 glow bracelets for $1. My kids loved walking around the park with them and it saved me a wad of cash!
11. Sunglasses. It’s not called Sunny California for nothing. You can even stow them in your fanny pack so they don’t come flying off when you ride Space Mountain. 😉
12. Park Tickets. Let’s not travel all the way to Disneland and leave our tickets at home, mmmkay? Double and triple check that you bring your tickets with you!
We purchased our Disneyland tickets and hotel room through Get Away Today and it saved us $150. At the time I was not affiliated with the company at all… they were just the best deal I could find after scouring the internet like a bargain hunting crazy lady. Three years later and I’ve joined their affiliate program because I love them so much! If you click on the Get Away Today link above and enter the promo code “CraftPatch” you can save an addition $10 on your Disneyland vacation!