I’ve been to Disneyland several times now, but none of the other visits even came close to the fun of taking my family there for the first time last year. Watching our son Logan, who had just turned four, having his mind blown by experiences like meeting Buzz Lightyear and trying his first real roller-coaster experience was truly awesome.
For starters here are specifically the experiences Logan said he enjoyed most, followed by his dad’s brief insights and perspectives. : )
- The Mickey Ferris Wheel. Hookay, I missed this one while taking part in a meeting planner FAM, but my wife Kathy told me the prominent Mickey Ferris Wheel that towers over the Paradise Pier section of California Adventure is actually a harrowing experience that involves the carriages on the wheel sliding up and down on tracks while the contraption turns. But Logan loved it apparently and repeatedly said it was the best thing at Disney.
- Room Service. See, this is what happens when you let a four-year-old take over a travel blog, but there you have it. I will say that the room service at the Disneyland Resort was fantastic and the entire property was top-notch. BTW, I had the spaghetti and meatballs and it was delicious.
- Meeting a girl. Yes, my son—freshly turned four—was already meeting girls at Disneyland. This incident reportedly took place on the approach to the Mickey Ferris Wheel, where he held hands with an older woman of around six and then went on the ride with her. Now I’m wondering if that’s why he liked the Ferris wheel so much.
- The Build-a –Bear Workshop, located in the Disney Downtown adjoining the two theme parks was a good break from the hustle and bustle (and lines) of the theme park. The entire downtown area is pretty cool and has some reasonably affordable and good food. I had never been to an ‘Earl of Sandwich’ and have to confess their food is very tasty.
- For my money the two best places for kids under 7 are probably the Toontown section of the Magic Kingdom and the Radiator Springs part of California Adventure. Logan enjoyed his first roller coaster ride at Toontown, which also has some cool attractions to explore (such as Donald Duck’s boat) when the lines get crazy long for the rides.
- Do whatever you can to arrange your lodging on-site at Disney if your budget allows, it makes it so much easier to take a break from it all, give your child a nap and so forth. And consider splurging for a dinner at the Napa Rose (within Disney’s Grand California Hotel), one of the best restaurants in Anaheim.
- This is probably obvious advice, but make sure to see the nightly parade and show up early for a good viewing spot. They have completely ramped up the parade and it’s definitely a ‘don’t-miss it’ element of Disneyland now. The fireworks are almost as dazzling but not quite.
I hope these tips come in handy, and feel free to leave some of your own for other parents to ponder!