“Go to Disneyland with a toddler… by yourself… sure, go for it.”
It didn’t take long for my husband to agree that I should take our youngest daughter to Disneyland for a trip, just the two of us. It also helped that I had won a hotel stay and that she was free to go to Disneyland. Others, though, when they learned of our adventure, they promptly told me I was crazy to even consider going. Crazy… Maybe. Worth it? Definitely! I would do it again in an instant if the opportunity came up.
With having two kids, I feel like there are moments when I miss out on a lot of the one-on-one time that my oldest daughter received. My youngest daughter does not get that same amount of time that her big sister did at this age. This was an opportunity for her and me to have some fun together and make memories. On this trip, it felt like she came out of her shell so much. Her personality blossomed and she grew up so much in my eyes. My little girl isn’t a baby anymore.
“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney
We made the most of our trip by cramming in as many rides as we could, watching parades, and eating special treats. The most magical part though was her meeting the characters throughout Disneyland. This trip she completely got the concept of having an autograph book for the characters to sign for her as well as getting to go up and have some time hanging out with them.
What I didn’t anticipate was that a cast member took an interest in a little girl and went above and beyond making her day special. We were told to wait in a certain spot by this cast member as they disappeared behind a set of double doors. Not even a minute later Mickey Mouse appeared and Addie took off running to hug him. While I knew that Mickey had been informed of Addie waiting outside, she had no clue. She was just beyond thrilled to be seeing Mickey Mouse. She then got to walk holding Mickey’s hand around Main Street.
This wasn’t the only time it happened. It happened several more times. The same cast member made sure Addie met all of the characters who were out near Main Street. This was Disney magic at its best. Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Pluto. The best though would be when we met Daisy a little later. Addie was Disney Bounding as Daisy and it made for a very cute moment.
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Going into Disneyland and California Adventure with a toddler changes the focus of the trip. Everything we did was geared towards her and what she would enjoy. It also made me see Disney through her eyes, if anything it made the trip all the more special because this is the age that believes in the magic. Mickey isn’t just a person in a costume, it really is Mickey Mouse. Everything is real to them.
“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere” – Belle
We did all the rides that a toddler can go on. There is lots for that age group to do. Having been before I wasn’t worried about going on big rides because this trip wasn’t about me, and honestly, I like a lot of the toddler-friendly rides more. Bring on it’s a small world and Toy Story Mania! The best thing about doing these rides is that many of them did not have long wait times so we could go on them several times. When Addie pointed to her favourite ride, even after having already gone on it three times, no problem. We lined up and went on the ride again.
One of my favourite areas to go to for some downtime is in “a bug’s land”. This is the area we head to when the park is getting a bit more busy and when you need to cool down on a sunny afternoon. There are several rides in here all within steps of one another, plus we find there’s more shaded spots here. The best part for us is Princess Dot Puddle Park.
We go here to run through the water that comes out of a giant sprinkler nozzle and from the ground. I pack a bathing suit and water shoes in the diaper bag for the day we go into California Adventure. There are two family restrooms nearby that are perfect for changing little ones in into their water gear and after when they are cooled down and soaking wet.
I grabbed a seat at the side, be sure to check if the ground is dry so you know you’ll be safe from water spraying out. Addie spent over an hour playing in the puddle park. It’s the perfect little spot for everyone to relax before heading on to more rides and activities.
Addie fought naps the whole trip. There was just too much for her to see and do. So instead of turning it into a major battle, I just went with it and we ended up exploring a lot of both of the parks. Thanks to this I got to take in details that I never noticed before, walk down paths that on previous trips we passed through quickly.
If anything, this trip was almost more relaxing. I realized very quickly that I just needed to go with the flow of things. If the park got busy, no worries, do what you can and take it all in. We’d get a treat and enjoy or claim our spot to watch a parade. Which in Disneyland you need to do much earlier than for the parades over in California Adventure. Addie was also quick to point out all the ducks and ducklings throughout the park this time of year. It was perfect for my little animal lover.
Go to Disneyland with a toddler!
I’ve said it before, but if you are thinking of taking a toddler to Disneyland do it! Don’t hesitate. I also wouldn’t hesitate to go for a one-on-one trip. Some have said that they couldn’t do that. For me, it’s something I hope to do often. Wether we go to Disneyland or somewhere else, I want to make mother-daughter trips a regular thing. Going to Disneyland with my toddler created all sorts of incredible wonderful memories that Addie and I will have forever.
Next up, I am already planning a trip to Disneyland with Evie… bring on mother-daughter trip to Disneyland, round two!