Disneyland. When you hear the name, it invokes images of excitement in the eyes of children the world over. However, the reality of navigating the theme parks can be a much different experience. That’s one of the main reasons I wrote The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt!
As an annual pass holder for over twenty-five years, I have become a keen witness to the adventure parents have with their children throughout the parks and have found several universal truths on how to keep the little people happy on your vacation to the Disneyland resort.
Tip 1: SNACKS
First and foremost, the kind of snacks you bring to the theme parks will keep your kids going or stop them in their tracks. Over the years, Disneyland resort has implemented healthy options instead of the barrage of sugary snacks we saw in previous years. Keep the kids focused and happy with plenty of fruit and vegetables offered throughout the parks. Nuts, dried fruits, and fruit juice are also offered as healthy replacements for soda pop, candy and ice cream. While the sweets are great for an after meal treat, these are not a good option first thing in the morning.
Unfortunately, I have observed kids walking down the main street of Disneyland with a bag of cotton candy at 8 o’clock in the morning. These are the same children melting down by 9 o’clock in the morning and can’t stand still in the queues lines the attractions for more than a few minutes at a time.
Tip 2: KEEP HYDRATED
Above all, with the summer months coming, keep your kids hydrated. This will keep them focused and energetic during the warm weather. No one wants to stop the fun for a trip to first aid land. While you are allowed to bring your own water bottle into the theme parks, you can request cold water at any of the restaurants or walk up food venues throughout Disneyland resort.
Tip 3: SET EXPECTATIONS
Set the expectation that you and your children will be spending quite a bit of time standing in line for the attractions. Even with the fast pass system Disneyland has created, the vast majority of your time will be spent in line for the attractions. The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt is a perfect way to keep the kids engaged and entertained during your time in the lines. Here are a few examples of the type of diversions and trivia found in the book that is guaranteed to keep everyone engaged:
- On Gadget’s Go Coaster – As you begin your approach to Gadget’s house, what every-day item is used for the rain gutters on the outside of the house?
- On Haunted Mansion – As you walk past the pet cemetery, how many bird monuments do you see surrounding the cat monument?
- On Monster’s Inc. – As you enter the queue for Monsters Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue, you will notice a menu from Harry Hausens on the wall. What is in the Terrible Teriyucki?
You will be surprised how quickly the time will go by while you are waiting for your favorite attractions.
Tip 4: SHOPPING
Another option for keeping the kids occupied is to divide and conquer while shopping especially at the end of your day. Take some time to show the kids the fun extras on Main Street U.S.A. while the other parent or caregiver is standing in line for souvenirs.
- What is the name of the gypsy fortune teller that sits at the entrance to Penny Arcade?
- Did you know the antique nickelodeon at the back of Candy Palace plays classic Disney songs every seven minutes? Stay for a while to hear your favorite songs and marvel at the engineering wonder before you.
- As you enter the toy section on your right, you will see classic characters lining the walls above you; what playground attraction do Robin Hood and Maid Marian sit upon?
Tip 5: FOR THE SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD
Disneyland resort offers options for families with every need. Take advantage of the baby center for privacy to rest so they do not get over tired. Disneyland also allows for families of special needs kids to use their guest assistance system offering return times for attractions with longer lines. For Make a Wish families, Disneyland offers a private suite for kids to take a nap during their trip, among other amenities. Be sure to call ahead and speak with Disneyland public affairs to alert the Disneyland Team of any special assistance you might need.
These are just a few of the options to help you get the most out of your vacation to Disneyland.
More trivia and adventures can be found in The Great Disneyland Scavenger Hunt (available on Amazon.com)
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Read more about the author in her bio below!
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Catherine Olen has enjoyed a love affair with the magic of the Disney theme parks for as long as she can remember, counting herself among Disneyland passholders for the last twenty-five years. Previously, Olen owned and operated Hollywood Grave Hunter and is the proud author of The Final Curtain: Celebrity Deaths and The Upside of Undertaking, chronicling her previous career experiences. She has been a correspondent to Entertainment Tonight (US and France), The Biography Channel, Reelz Network, and the Mark & Brian radio show.