I need your DISNEY tips please!!!!

Rest day today.   I am finally at a point in my running where I actually really listen to my body and take full rest days when I know I need them and not just when my ‘schedule’ tells me I should.  

It is the weirdest phenomena that I am way more tired on the days that I don’t work out compared to the days that I get up at 5 a.m. to run…  It doesn’t really make sense.  

Since Brooke will be gone on Sunday we had to do our Sunday tradition together this morning instead.  She is really good at helping me…  Eat all of the chocolate chips.  Like mother, like daughter.

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The muscle (along with my hips, those always need a little help) we worked on today when I went in to see Dr. Bennett.  I am stoked because we are noticing huge improvements in my muscular strength over just the last few weeks.  Getting everything in tip-top shape and ready for the St. George Marathon.  Speaking of the marathon—>  TWENTY MILER THIS WEEK!!  

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Stopped by my good friend’s house and saw her view from her bath tub.  I am pretty sure with a view like this, I would take 5 baths a day (and have a fridge set up next to my tub full of my favorite drinks and chocolate).

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I wear workout clothes even on the days I don’t work out.  Dedication.  

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Eating in the grass.  

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Good news!  I convinced my mom to come with me and the Brookers to Disneyland in a few weeks!

The last time we went to Disney together and I made her go on roller coasters with me: 

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I cannot wait to eat as many of these Mickey pretzels (and churros) as possible.  

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Here is where I need your help…

I NEED RECOMMENDATIONS ON:

-Where to stay (somewhere within walking distance).

-Where to eat.

-Special activities/events that Brooke would love.

-Park hopper or just Disney?  Is California Adventure good for a 2 year old?

-Tips for taking a 2 year old to Disney. 

-Anything you think I should know.

I gotta start booking today!

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156 comments

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We stayed at the Howard Johnson when we went but that was 10 years ago! It was just outside of Disneyland with great restaurants around it so that we didn’t have to buy pricey Disney food all the time. Plus the walk to Disney was super short. Eat at Mimi’s on the strip just outside of the park – free baked goods at your table when you walk in!! Park hopper, but I’m not too sure about that with a 2-year old. I LOVE roller coaster and California Adventure was great for that. I hope you have an amazing trip. I will vicariously live through you because I want to go back SO bad!! :)

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Oh and obviously have as many of those Mickey pretzels as possible!

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Thank you so so much Kris! Love all of your recommendations… especially the free baked goods at your table one:)

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We stayed at the Howard Johnson last December! It was kinda yucky. Not horrible, just super run down and musty. Next time we are going to try the Tropicana because it’s literally across from the entrance. We’ve also stayed at Paradise Pier and it’s fantastic but not close enough.

YES to Mimi’s. About a month before you go, sign up for their e-club and you’ll get a coupon (now it’s muffins? used to be a kid’s breakfast). But don’t do it now because it will expire!

Yes to park hopper! Lots of Bugs Life and Cars stuff that is awesome for little ones.

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(This might be my first comment on your blog…I’ve been lurking for a while. Hi!)

Anyway, Callie (http://www.thewannabeathlete.com) has a whole blog series about Disney for toddlers. She took her little ones to Disney World in Orlando, but I’ll bet you that lots of the tips would be relevant for you too.

Have fun!

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Hey Jen! Thank you so so much for commenting and the link… off to check it out NOW!

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I hope I can be of some help! Here is one of the posts I wrote:

http://www.thewannabeathlete.com/2014/04/22/planning-a-trip-to-disney-world-with-toddlers/

And this one might be of some use too!

http://www.thewannabeathlete.com/2014/04/28/disney-with-toddlers-before-you-go/

If you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at calliecowan (at) gmail.com. It’s SO much fun. :)

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Turkey legs and the dole whip pineapple desserts. I’m jealous, I want to go on the jungle cruise!

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And now I won’t be able to stop thinking about those two food items until I have them in my hands. Thanks Kat!

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Go INSIDE the Tiki Room to get in the Dole Whip line, it is shorter! And eat Dole Whip every day you’re there!! seriously.!

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Being a Florida girl I could give you a million tips for Disney World but I’ve never been to Disneyland! I bet Brooke will love meeting all the characters especially Pluto since she loves dogs!

I love that you always do your long run before the weekend, it gives me inspiration for my long run on Saturdays… 20 miles this weekend! Ahhh, my first ever run that starts with a 2!

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You’ve got it Kristina. You will do awesome!

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I’ve never done Disney, so I’m SO jealous! And now I really want a pretzel.

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Well, you should just come with us then:)

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It’s a little more expensive, but we love staying in one of the Disneyland hotels! Walk straight to Disneyland through downtown Disney. Quick walk so when you need to stop for a break it’s quick and easy. They also will send Any purchases you make during the day back to your hotel so you don’t have to carry it around all day. We’ve done both ways and I prefer the Disneyland Hotels! Have so much fun. Just a little bit jealous:))

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Thank you so much Amy! I am definitely going to have to look into the Disneyland hotels… sounds so convenient!

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I recommend Candy Cane Inn! Very close to the park (less than a 5 minute walk – but there is a shuttle every 30mins if you like), continental breakfast that is actually good, staff know Disney very very well, big outdoor pool and a kiddie pool. We didn’t have kids yet when we went (2011), but loved it. I now have a 2 year old daughter as well… looking back I would say yes to California adventure with her, but that’s because I don’t live close at all (Canada) and like to get the most out of a vacation.

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AWESOME!!! Thank you thank you thank you!

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I agree with Amy! I love the convenience of staying at a Disney hotel and it makes the experience that much more fun! I’m sure it will be a great trip:)

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Thanks Jennifer!

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We always stay at The Fairfield Inn Anaheim. It is newly remodeled, very affordable and well within walking distance. They also have a little Pizza Hut cafe with things for breakfast and a heated outdoor pool! They are the best! Good luck, I’m sure you will have a blast! Oh and enjoy the Halloween stuff in the park, it’s awesome!

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AHHHH I just tried to book there and they are full:( Next time I will try earlier, thanks Emily!!! Sounds like an awesome place. Can’t wait for the Halloween stuff!

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Stay in one of the hotels near the park if you can – it just makes it easier

Disneyland has many more kids rides from my memory but there are also lots of characters in California adventure. I think there is a Cars land there and therefore when I bring Max – we are going there

We are taking Max in December! Can’t wait – he is going to freak out

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Have so much fun in December. I think I probably will do park hopper one of the days! Thank you so much!

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lot of the hotels near dland have free shuttles to the park, so you don’t have to really stay within walking distance. Bring snacks, but eat there it’s just easier. Get a hotel that has complimentary breakfast. You can get out of waiting in lines with a baby pass, (your mom his Brooke you ride a ride without waiting and then switch) I used to go to dland all the time in college, have a blast! You can also get a birthday button for Brooke and if you mail lawyers from dland they will be post marked from dland, kinda fun for memory keepers.

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Good call on the complimentary breakfast, bday button, mail and the baby pass. BRILLIANT!!

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I’m sorry, but I’m giggling at the thought of a lawyer excitedly opening mail postmarked from Disneyland…

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We went last year and stayed at the Portofino. Walking distance but not super duper close…but they had suites that fit all of us. I know there are a few inexpensive options right across from the main parking lot gate…the Castle Inn and Suites and the Ramada Maingate. Last year they allowed you to bring food in…that was new for me. That means you can bring in more healthful, inexpensive snacks without sneaking. And/or you can spring the big bucks for the $8 pizza slices and $5 popsicles. We did both ;-) I think Brooke would enjoy California Adventure. There’s an awesome play area based on the movie UP and Russell, the boy Wilderness Explorer, in addition to some Bug’s Life kiddie rides. Nickel-and-diming your way through Disneyland is really stressful. If you can spring the extra for park hopper, do it. You guys are going to have so much fun.

Just watch out for that WHALE! ;-)

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Oh…and STROLLER. She’s going to get tired.

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I am totally going to get the park hopper now. How about you guys drive down south and come with us. YAY for bringing in our own food now!

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Let me know when you’re going and maybe we can!

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I’m totally going to steal all of these tips (and the ones that you post when you get back), because I’m taking my daughter for her 7th birthday in November. It’s gonna be a budget trip, so I’ll take any and all tips!

The last time I went was about 4 years ago, when my oldest turned 7 (it’s a 7th birthday tradition to go), and we stayed at the Days Inn & Suites on Harbor Blvd. It’s only a 5 minute walk to Disneyland, and you can find a store and stock up your mini fridge with all the necessities, so you’re not having to waste all your funds on string cheese in the park ($.50 per stick at store, $2.50 at Disneyland) or other snacks that you may need to have on hand.

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Oh fun Rochelle! I hope you guys have an amazing time! Love the mini fridge idea:) Ummmmm 2.50 for a string cheese!?!?!

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If you’re a member of AAA, they set up some great Disney packages (I have a friend who works there and they go to Disney every year) — some of these packages include breakfast with Disney characters, etc.

Was just at California Adventure, but with teens, so I’m trying to “re-look” at it through a toddler lens. There’s a whole “Bugs Life” area that’s REALLY cool (including some water stuff that I’m sure she’d love). There’s a great stage production of Aladdin, really friendly Ariel/Mermaid ride, Awesome water show…

So, yeah, I’d do a park hopper. I think Disneyland itself is more toddler friendly, but I think you’d get a lot out of each. If I remember any key things, I’ll check back in. We did a 16-hour day (8am-midnight) straight through one visit with our 2-year-old. A comfortable stroller was definitely key.

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Thank you so much Doni. Sorry to ask you another question but did you bring your own stroller or were the Disney ones comfortable enough for naps? Did they block out the sun?

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We brought our own, so I couldn’t comment on the Disney ones. Honestly, I can’t even picture theirs. Most of the strollers I saw were brought in. I think the advantage to that is that your munchkin is familiar with it and comfortable — but I know that a stroller is also kind of a pain to travel with.

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I just got online and found a pic of theirs. Looks like a jogging stroller. http://www.citystrollerrentals.com/disneyland-stroller.jpg

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Make sure to bring a colored ribbon or shoe lace to tie around your stroller so you can quickly identify it. Sometimes they move them when you are on a ride my friend thought hers got stolen and it wasn’t. I tie it on the handle. Their strollers are nice but if you bring or buy stuff you want to carry back to hotel it’s easy to have yours.
Also hotels that are a mile away or so it’s kinda difficult to walk with traffic and shuttles can be a pain. The closer the better.
California adventure is awesome and there’s a whole section for her!! Bring her extra clothes if she gets wet! And there’s a Malificent 3D show and other shows there. You HAVE to go on Soarin California there! There’s a restaurant nearby Brooke and your mom can wait for you and eat ice cream at while you go! I’m a Cali girl so I love it not scary at all.
And yes to Mimi’s! And yes sneak snacks and water. I like the food at the courtyard at CA Adventure. There’s a variety. Took my fam there during Easter.

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We love California Adventure.
Get a park hopper.

There is a Bug’s Life kids area, some rides that are kids carnival style rides–including the giant Ferris Wheel. Most of The Cars rides should be okay for her too. The light shows and parades on that side are fun.

We like to stay on the north side of Disneyland. McD’s nearby, Mimi’s Cafe, the Gardenwalk mall area has several restaurants as well. We usually get snacks from the Target nearby.

The Howard Johnson is close and has a water park kind of pool area. We’ve also stayed at the Fairfield. I think you get a nicer room when you book directly with them.
Del Sol has a room with 2 queens and a bunk bed . Ramada main gate is nice enough, but they were doing construction work recently. This time we’re going to stay at the La Quinta. It’s a bigger room, free breakfast, parking, and internet. It’s 0.5 miles from the gate. Has a shuttle.

We stayed at a Best Western on that north side (next to Denny’s) and it was really worn down. We found garbage under the foot of the bed. That’s the only place I have been to that I would not go back.

Good luck!

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Okay, I can’t thank you enough for all of these recommendations.. I would love to be near Mimi’s and the Target for food… the La Quinta sounds awesome too! THANK YOU!

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I have never been to Disney Land but love Disney World and plan to take my son for a few days in December! The best I can give for either Disney is to make sure you have a chocolate covered apple! Ugh so good. And, the giant chocolate chip cookies preferably made as a chipwich in the Main Street Bakery (almost positive there’s one in Disneyland too).

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AHHHHH!!! I LOVE Disney! I have only done Disney World …but I am sure they are similar! I brought my kids when they were 4 and 6 and then we went again when they were 6 and 8. We LOVE it!!!!!
My tips….
Just do 1 park a day with a little one. There is a ton at one park and park hopping with a little one is a pain!
I bought a few things and put them in the stroller storage like a poncho just in case that way I wouldn’t have to buy one there. If you can do a character meal I say totally do it! Even if it is a buffet breakfast meal or something. They get to meet characters without waiting in line and if you do a buffet you can always take a piece of fruit to go for a snack :)(not sure if you are supposed to do that, but for what you pay I say go for it).
They have the CUTEST shirts or hair bows on Etsy for a reasonable price. I got my girls embroidered shirts with their names on it for I think $18 a shirt. They LOVED them.
Bring a little note book or coloring book and markers or crayons for line waiting.
I also brought my girls with spray bottle fans that I got at Target for WAY cheaper than they were selling them there :).
I know this site: http://www.allears.net/index.html has some great info too

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We stayed at the Disneyland hotels. It’s so much more convenient and fun too! If you do stay offsite, there is good parking with a tram that takes you into the park. You have to check out the Mickey rice crispy treats.

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Ahhh I’ve never been to either Disney! Take me with you!

I had one of those 2 year old chocolate chip eating helpers making cookies with me today too! Things got messy fast. Worth it though!

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Yay for Disneyland, it’s ridiculously close to where I live. But I hardly go there…go figure! Not sure when days you are going, but the Disneyland Hotel has Magic Hour during certain days that allows hotel guest to get in an hour before general admission. And they have a special entrance and I think the Monorail goes to the hotel for you guys, so you could go back to your hotel let brooke sleep for a bit and then go back and not waste too much time getting to and from the hotel. I believe the strollers that I’ve seen at disneyland to rent are the hard plastic ones (sort of look like the ones that you can rent from the mall)…so not too comfy for sleeping. Side note: you should run the Disney Half Marathon, it’s super fun, running through the back allies of Disneyland, running through California Adventure and through Angel Stadium (they have people in the stands cheering for you, it’s pretty awesome). Have fun!

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We stayed at the park vue inn. It is right across the street and has cold Stone right in the lobby! It also has free parking, free breakfast and they just renovated their rooms. It was only $100… So much better than the Disney hotels and just as close!

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Disneyland sounds like SO much fun!! I wish I had recommendations for you, but I’m an east coast girl and have only been to Disney World! Although, I HIGHLY recommend getting Brooke an autograph book to get all of the character’s signatures. I loved that when I went when I was little! :)

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I say to stay at a nice 5-star hotel since you’re training for such an intense race and going all the way there, you might as well make the best of it, right? As for food I think you should pack your own to save a few coins…or maybe just order breakfast in bed. I think Brooke would enjoy that a lot!

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My parents took me to disney several times as a child and I still have memories of those trips till this day! Brooke will love it!

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My husband and I booked a trip to Disneyland through Costco Travel (I know how you like Costco) and they had a lot of different deals and “perks” for kids. I vote yes to California Disney – we saw more characters there than we did in Disneyland, probably by chance. The food options are endless around the area and the Anaheim Gardenwalk has a combination of restaurants, candy shops, froyo, shopping, etc. I’m sure no matter where you stay or eat, you’ll have a blast!

Oh, and the World of Color show at California Disney was my absolute favorite!!!

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I haven’t read other comments yet so I could be repeating but download the Disneyland parks app (free one) and it will tell you how long a wait time for rides are then get a fast pass (can only get one at a time til you use) then u don’t have to wait in line.

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We stay at the Tropicana, which directly across the street from the main gate area. It’s super close and very nice to head back to for a nap. They have a pool, but it’s nothing special. I would definitely do a park hopper, for all the reasons listed above, plus the Little Mermaid ride is super cute. I would also highly recommend doing the Princess character meal at Ariel’s Grotto, if you can swing it. All of the Princesses circle the tables taking pictures, signing autographs, etc. I know my daughter absolutely loved it.

Have fun. We were just there for the Disneyland Half and it was awesome as usual!

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When I was a newly single mom of two little girls, I decided to take them to Disneyland, one of my FAVORITE places ever! Just the three of us went, and it was my favorite Disney day of all time (and I’ve had many!). The best part? I brought a roll (or two?) of quarters and a bunch of shiny pennies. The first thing we did when we entered the park was to go to a souvenir shop and buy Penny Passports for each girl. Throughout the day, we hunted for the various penny press machines (which are all over the park and themed) and by the end of the day, they each had a passport full of memories. It added another whole dimension to our day and kept them really involved. My girls were a little older than Brooke is, but based on what you’ve shared about her, I think she’d be all over it.

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That little girl’s hair! I can’t believe it!

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I love Disney. I even worked there for a while. And while I have never been to Disneyland (I am a Disneyworld girl) I think you should take her while it is free, but realize in the grand scheme of things she won’t remember this trip very well. Let her nap so she will be awake and happy when fireworks time comes. And buy her some Mickey ears with her name on them………………In ten years you will love that cute little hat!

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This is the best advice you could possibly get. Low expectations, napping in a stroller and a hat. Perfect!

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My youngest daughter is just a couple days younger than Brook and she loves Disneyland! Her favorite was the Winnie the Pooh ride. It is at the far side of Disneyland and ends right at the candy store that has the BEST chocolate covered rice crispy treats. Perk for the parents! Also it is a little bit of a wait, but she can meet Minnie Mouse in Toontown in Minnie’s House. My girls loved that! There are also some great rides in California Disney for the little ones. My girls love the Little Mermaid ride.

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Awww so fun for all of you to go to Disney! I’m sure Brooke is going to LOVE it!

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We were just in Disneyland in June, my son was 2 1/2 at the time, and before that we went when my youngest daughter was 2 1/2.

We stayed at Paradise Pier both times (one of the disneyland hotels). Other trips when I only had my oldest daughter we stayed off property. I would highly recommend one of the disney hotels when bringing a toddler, just makes it so much easier going back and forth for naps and whatnot. They are pricier, but to me they were worth it.

Bring your own stroller. The ones they rent at the park are seriously not great. And pricey. And the sun shade on them is not the best. Trust me on this. You will be happy you brought your own.

If Brooke wants to meet Elsa and Anna from frozen, get in line immediately on one of the early morning days. It will be like an hour or two wait, but if you go early when it’s cool and not too sunny, it’s not bad. Plus you and your mom can take turns in line. Only one member of your party has to be in the line at any time.

There’s also a place to take pictures with multiple princesses at one time. It’s to the left of the castle (as you’re coming in from Main Street). You can usually catch 4-5 princesses there and only wait in one line. And it’s not a long line, usually only 20-30 minutes.

I love california adventure, so I would for sure go there. Brooke won’t be able to go on some rides, but there’s still a lot there for her. Plus the Colors of Wonder show is pretty cool. Get a fast pass for this so you can get a good spot. If Brooke will sit still for an hour and a half show, then go see Aladdin. It’s seriously like a broadway production, very good.

You will have a great time no matter what!

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Wow. All of these tips were amazing!!! SERIOUSLY THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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Oh I wanted to add….someone above mentioned the food at California adventure. I agree, the food there is way better than the disneyland park food.

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A tip from one of my friends who researched every hotel imaginable last year: when talking with a booking agent from the Disney hotels he said that the very best prices you can get are through Costco travel. Even less expensive than going through the hotels themselves and even less than through one of our well known Utah travel agency places that does major Disney stuff.
Might be worth looking at :)

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You have to stay at the California Grand. You walk right into the park. That way when you need to take a little rest you don’t feel like you are missing out on precious park time. It is the best!! Totally worth the extra price.

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Hi! It’s my first time commenting, but I’ve been following you for awhile! I’m in San Diego, so we’ve been to DL a lot! It’s one of my favorite places! We’ve stayed at the Disneyland Hotel a few times. It’s super convenient to be on property. We also stayed last year at the Holiday Inn on S. Walnut St. If Brooke is in a stroller, it’s an easy walk to the parks. There is so much to do for her in either park so you can’t go wrong. I’m super jealous you are going! I won’t be back there until May for the Tinkerbell Half. Have an amazing trip!

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Okay, so I am all about the food, no matter where I go. A few suggestions…The beignets (little mickey shaped doughnuts), the peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies, the honey bucket (by the winnie the pooh ride, it’s kinda a rice krispie thingy), the smores cookie (my, oh, my), the corndogs (and I am not a corn dog fan but really…so good) and the churros in Carsland are just a few. Ya, I could just skip the rides and eat all day:) Have fun!

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You know I love my food:) THANK YOU!

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Have you checked out any deals through Costco travel. I got a deal there and it included free park hopper passes–and those tickets aren’t cheap!

Good luck!

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AWESOME!! I totally will! Thank you Kacie!

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If you are going to Disney in October you must go on of the nights they do the Halloween trick or treating. It’s sooo much fun! Brooke can dress up and tot around the park. Everything is decorated and it’s so awesome!

We took my 2.5yo nephew in August and definitely get a stroller! Also, he really loved the carousel, dumbo and the rollercoaster (his first) in Toontown. I would just get a pass to Disneyland if you are only there for a day.

Use a fast pass! Saves so much time and you can go on another ride while you wait.
We stayed at the Hilton Anaheim and it was a 20 min walk. Not bad but it is def much better to stay in one of the Disney hotels, especially with a toddler.

Have lots of fun!!!!

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AHHHH do you know what nights they do the trick or treating?! Thank you thank you thank you so much!

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The trick or treating starts last week of sept and runs into october . We are flying down from seattle and will be there from SEPT 30th through the next week, we are doing the trick or treat on the 30th they let you into the part at 3:00 for rides and such and the actual party starts at 7-12:oo it really is great we did this when our daughter was 5 and now we are supriosing her for her 12th bday she has no idea. we stayed at the Best Western stoval INN both times and it was great no complaint, they have a pool and a breakfeast buffet everyday. You can bring in food to the park so bring lots of snack, and frozen water bottles it will help keep the cost down alot. Go to main street Brooke will beable to get a mickey button that says “my first time” or you can get her a birthday button as well. if you do the Trick or treating have her bring a book for all the charector signatures she can get.
a Charector breakfest is always alot fo fun, I highley recomend Goofys Kitchen for this, and you can book your reservation now, it truly is a great time there and they breakfeast buffet is amazing! All charectors also join for breakfeast and do great dances.
if i think of more ill let you know.
if you need to rent a locker for food and water its 7 dollars a day well worth it.

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You have to buy an extra ticket for Trick or treating.

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I recommend a Disney property. It’s so much easier than staying off “campus” and it was a very similar price to hotels close by. Then you can ride the buses and you don’t have to worry about any of that. I would get a park hopper. Have so much fun!

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AHHH so exciting!! Most hotels in Anaheim will have free shuttles to Disneyland so I would check online before you book. That way even if you aren’t walking distance you can make sure shuttles run all day in case Brooke gets tired. I love both parks and I think California Adventure has a lot of little kid rides, especially with their new Cars Land! Plus you HAVE to see World of Color- I promise it will make you smile. Download the Disneyland Wait Times app so you can check how long the lines are before you walk all the way across the park! Also, visit Disneyland’s City/Town Hall when you first walk into the park and get a free button for Brooke! You can get ones that say that it’s her first visit, birthday, “Happily Ever After,” etc. If you can’t tell I’m obsessed with Disney lol. Have so much fun!

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I went on a family trip to Disneyland when I was in grade 1 or 2. I loved every single minute I was there. I have so many great memories.

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Check out http://www.anaheimcastlehouse.com they have houses within walking distance (and private pools) and do last minute rates as well as possible discounts for a blog post.

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California Adventure is absolutely NOT WORTH IT for a two year old. Disneyland is rough for a 2 year old. Every child I know (and I grew up in Anaheim, 15 minutes from Disneyland) spent most of the day at Disneyland being terrified by most of the characters and afraid of the rides. With one usual exception: Whatever character they were most familiar with. After spending the entire day sucking his thumb and/or crying, my nephew finally saw Winnie the Pooh from across the breezeway in Bear Country and sprinted for him (much to my sister’s panic). He gave Pooh a HUGE hug and then just held on to him for dear life. Like, get me away from these scary princesses OH MY GAWD. Disneyland is ALOT for a little kid, but there are at least age appropriate things. CA Advenutre has like zip. It’s way more rollercoasters, no cartoons, things that would be lost on a toddler. Much better for teenagers though.

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They have a whole Bugs Life section there and Monsters inc ride and some shows my then 2 year loved it. And all mine love Disneyland. Of course a stroller is must when they fall asleep. The characters don’t really go up to kids anymore it’s more like a line of kids if they wanna see them.

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I’ve never experienced the characters coming up to the kids- except during the parades. I’m talking about waiting in line for 45 minutes to see a character and getting up there and the child panicing. I can’t tell you how often that happens! Or just being scared of them on the street. I think the best preparation is to show them what the characters look like in advance, and familiarizing them with the characters that are lesser known to the younger generations- like PLuto and Mickey. Alot of small children have no idea who they are. And when my nephew saw Pooh? He cut in front of a line of at least 20 kids. He was just so relieved after such an overwhelming day! I think keep your expectations low, bring a stroller and don’t make a big deal out of the trip. The older they get, the more fun they have, but going when she’s little and free will be fun! What I realized a I got older and started taking my nieces and nephews to Disneyland was just how dark and scary those litle kids rides are. Even like, Dumbo moves pretty fast. It’s alot if you’re not familiar with it at all!

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You can have 2 fast passes at once, a 3rd pass if one of them is for Cars Radiator Springs Racers, which you need to secure first thing in the morning to get a decent ride time. Totally fun ride but not for the under 40″. But you must ride it because its all about speed! Use the single rider line insead of fast pass and get on really quickly!

Monsters Inc in CA Adventure is a really fun, usually not busy, ride! Right next to it is the Muppets theatre. Both great for the under 3 crowd. Oh and absolutely go to Turtle Talk with Crush!! My kids are older now and we still have to go every trip! There’s also a fantastic show called Aladdin’s Musical Spectacular, its Broadway style with cosumes, dancing, music & props!

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California adventure has a cute Disney junior show that my son loves. Also, with the stroller pass (baby pass) one of you still has to wait in the line (unless you have a fast pass for the ride) and then they give the other a fast pass. You have to show your baby at the fast pass line before going on the ride in order to get the stroller pass. If you do Cali adventure gets fast passes for world of color as soon as the park opens.

Also, the corn dog cart in dland has the best corn dogs ever. And during Halloween time they sell pumpkin beignets. You can also get amazing caramel apples at marceline’s in downtown disney.

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I love the corndogs! Be warned about World of Color, you have to stand up the whole show.

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On booking: we’ve absolutely gotten our best deals through a travel agency. They get deals on tickets and pass them on to the customer for a discount and often add freebies.
Food don’t miss: they will look the other way if you bring in a few bottled water, granola bars, beef jerky.
Get the beignets at New Orleans Cafe (Disneyland). There’s a ordering window on the right hand side, not far from a restroom.
I already talked about Dole Whip. Yeah that. Get it!!
okay, obviously I have a problem. (-: Disney fever.

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I live in Southern California and my family are Disney Annual Passholders. We go 2-3 times a month. I have to say I do not agree with Emily is Single on this one. I have a 4 year old and a 4 month old (my 4 month old has already been 5 times). My 4 year old loves both parks and there is a ton for us to do in CA Adventure like monsters inc, Little Mermaid Ride, Toy Story, 2 smaller rides in Cars Land, a few Boardwalk rides, And the Disney Junior show is a must if Brooke likes and Disney Junior shows. He also loves the parade in CA adventure. If you go there eat at Wine Country Trattoria, great Italian food. This week they started to come out with some seasonal food (like an adorable Olaf cupcake at the Village Haus resturaunt in Storybook Land. They also have a great flatbread).

We stay overnight for the RunDisney races and love the Portofino Inn because you can get a suite for cheap. Check their website, they always have deals. It’s definitely in walking distance. Anaheim also has shuttle busses that run by most of the hotels for $4 a day per person and there is a stop by the Portofino if you don’t want to walk. (By the way my son and nephew LOVE the RUNDisney kids races)

I don’t know if anyone else has said this but there is a baby/childcare center in each park that has very clean changing tables, areas to nurse, high chairs, kid-sized potty’s, microwaves to heat food/bottles, and they sell just about anything you would need for a baby or toddler.

Also do not bother trying to get a fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers. The second CA Adventure opens a gigantic line forms for them and all the fast passes for the day are gone within like an hour. Instead do the single rider option. There is also an app called MouseWait that gives you a crowd index for each park and wait times for each ride and some resturaunts. It’s pretty accurate and we use it to help us decide what to do. Sorry this is so long, but hope it helps!

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I say do the park hopper! California Adventure is good for little ones too. We had annual passes last year and some days we would just go to CA Adventure. My daughter loved the Disney Jr. Live On Stage show. There is singing and dancing. Bubble, streamers, and paper coins come down from the ceiling during the show. So fun for a 2 year old. We also loved the Little Mermaid ride and the bugs life area has a lot for little ones. Disneyland is great but most of the rides are dark and have long lines. We always packed glow sticks and a bubble gun to occupy our tots in line.

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I haven’t read through all the comments, so this might already have been said. We are looking at taking our daughter to Disney when she’s near two as well – so I’ve been looking a bit into tips for Toddlers in Disney. One thing that I think is a great suggestion is to go and pick up some sort of Disney souvenir (t-shirt/princess crown/dress/minnie mouse headband etc.) BEFORE you go – from a local store and bring it with you to give to Brooke while you’re there. It can help you to avoid spending a small fortune on souvenirs once you’re inside the gates. :-)

Have a blast! Happiest place on earth!!

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I work in HR for The Walt Disney Company. Just sent you a VERY lengthy email with details!

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I want details, pretty please?!?! rochellemtucker@msn.com

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I work at Disneyland and four small kids. If you need more help, I’m happy to give you more advice, but you’ve gotten some great tips! They recently changed the frozen meet and greet, and you no longer have to wait in line, it is more of a fast pass type thing, so if that’s on your to do list, keep that in mind. Also, the Mickey and the Magical Map show at Disneyland is a huge hit with all four of my kids, and often gets overlooked! Have so much fun!!

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I second Mickey and the Magical Map, it’s awesome!

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Have fun at Disney! I’ve never been (sad but true)…

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I go often so I’ll leave my random tips that haven’t been mentioned yet:
1. If it’s in your budget, stay on property! It’s so worth it. If you need to go cheaper, I’d recommend the Ramada Maingate. It’s right across the street, has a great pool for toddlers and has lower rates because of some major construction :)
2. I echo all the food recs (especially beignets and dole whips) Id also add the fried green tomato sandwich at the Hungry Bear near splash mountain. Best sandwich ever!!!
3. If you have a military hookup, look into tickets through the mwr.
Have fun!! :)

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She’s probably too short for the cars radiator springs racers as my four year old daughter just became tall enough- but if you have time def do the single rider line, it’s to the left of the entrance kinda hidden. It’s an awesome ride. Also try ( it is a little late) to see the fantasmic show. If you haven’t seen it before it’s on the rivers of America in front of the island. The riverboat goes by with all the princesses and other characters aboard! You can also rent a stroller for 10 or 15 I can’t remember.

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Well, I know nothing about Disney (I have yet to go there), but it sounds like a ton of fun, of course! And I bet your mom will love it, too!

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We stayed a couple miles away from Disney at a Marriott, but the transit system is so good that it really didn’t matter. We filled up on an amazing continental breakfast in the morning and about 4 days during the week they had a free supper as well. We saved big time on food! My little guy was just shy of being 2 when we went and he really wasn’t interested in California adventure and a lot of the rides have height restrictions. Make sure you get the switch pass if you or your mom want to go on a ride that Brooke can’t go on.

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-Where to stay (somewhere within walking distance).
Can’t help with this one, we just drive home

-Where to eat.
There is a skewer place near the jungle boat ride and a pasta place by space mountain

-Special activities/events that Brooke would love.
Check out the dressing up as a princess thing, not sure how long it takes or how expensive it is. Toon Town is fun, she may not like all the rides but there are some walk through things that are fun. There is a Mickey show near there plus a princess play near the castle. I loved Dumbo, Casey’s train and the whale ride. The Tiki Room! Ask if she can wake the birds.

-Park hopper or just Disney? Is California Adventure good for a 2 year old?
Bugs Land! at CA plus a show that is inside and a Toy Story parade. You’ll need to check the height requirement for Soaring over California (favorite of mine), if you sit in the back rows you’ll be in the bottom tier on the ride. Not sure how much of Cars Land she’ll like – maybe the bumper cars and the tow trucks.

-Tips for taking a 2 year old to Disney.
bring snacks for long lines and be prepared to say no a lot (lots and lots of merchandise!)

-Anything you think I should know.
Bring an autograph book if you want to get signatures and at the end of the day go through and date them. Think about Fast Pass tickets, you can only have two at a time per ticket.

Not too bad considering my kids are in their 20’s.

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We stayed at the Park Vue Inn a few years ago and it was perfect. It’s pretty basic, but the price was right, breakfast was free, and it was SO close to the parks (took just a few minutes to walk).

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I know this is not the best “advice” but look up The Art of Making a Baby blog. I believe she has posted some Disney guides at various ages and it might be of help.

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I was just there for the Disneyland 10k and half marathon. You can book hotel/park packages for a lot of the off park properties on the Disneyland website – much cheaper than the actual Disney properties when I researched it. I stayed at the Tropicana right across the street – no free breakfast but there was a little store with the basics. I loved being within walking distance of everything but the Anaheim Resort Transit is pretty easy to use if you are in a hotel that’s a little farther away. I ate Pizza Press (right next door to Tropicana) for my pre-race dinners and it was awesome – pick your toppings including tons of veggies, fresh basil, balsamic glaze, etc. (And I had to eat at Del Taco because they don’t have them where I live.) I don’t have kids but it did seem like there was stuff at both parks geared to all ages. I’m sure you will all have a blast!

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Best advice I looked up before going with my boyfriend’s family (since they go all the time and I am an overachiever and wanted to contribute something) was that if you go where they sell fountain drinks they will give you a free water and ice!! Let me tell you everyone was stoked since its so expensive…and then you stay hydrated!

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I haven’t been for 5 years, but when we went California Adventure had all the Disney Jr. shows and characters, which my 2 year old loved.

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-Where to stay (somewhere within walking distance): http://www.ramadamaingate.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQjw7b-gBRC45uLY_avSrdgBEiQAD3Olx-UkN53LiMhELCS3i4XSB0PeUQUlmfK1W3jSfW7T09YaAiCu8P8HAQ

-Where to eat: We like Red Robin because our kids are happy and it’s just far enough from Disneyland that it’s not crazy busy. We also LOVE Freebirds, but it’s in Orange so a tad bit of a drive, but I swear it’s worth it!

-Special activities/events that Brooke would love: The parades and shows!

-Park hopper or just Disney? Is California Adventure good for a 2 year old? Brooke would LOVE the Disney Junior show at California Adventures, we’re talking bubbles and confetti falling from the ceiling!

-Tips for taking a 2 year old to Disney: Lots of snacks and a good stroller that she can nap in.

Have an amazing time!!!

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I hope you’re able to have a great weekend pretty lady! I know these weekends are tough, but you have managed to be so strong!

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stay with RunEatRepeat! She knows all about Disney

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ha its all good:) love Disney!!

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I must have one of those pretzels!

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We just were at Disneyland with a 5 and 3 year old at the beginning of August. If you rent a stroller and are going multiple days, pay for all the days up front so you don’t have to do that each morning. However, if you rent a stroller you can bring it between parks but you can’t bring it back to your hotel. I’d probably bring your own stroller if you can just so you can have it if Brookers is asleep and you’re headed back to the hotel. Bugs life and cars land were hits for my 3 year old at California adventure. For either park, try to get there as soon as it opens – especially Disneyland gets crazy busy by late morning/lunch time. Oh – and if you want to do the princess dress thing, my friends with girls say to buy a dress from target/walmart/etc to have her wear – she’ll still get “royal” treatment.

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I would definitely get a park hopper because CA has Cars Land and a monsters Inc ride that’s so cute. They also have different parades with different characters that U won’t see at DL. If you haven’t booked already check out getawaytoday.com. I haven’t ever been able to beat their prices and they offer free parking and free shuttle to Disneyland and usually other perks for booking with them. They have a ton of different hotels u can stay at depending on how close u want to b to the parks. We stayed at a Sheraton which was one of the furthest hotels down the block, but it was right across from Target and it was still only a ten minute shuttle ride. Have so much fun!!

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We LOVE Disneyland! In fact we love it so much, I wrote an entire post about my top 10 favorite things!! Feel free to read when you have time! http://www.mymomruns.com/2014/05/10/my-top-10-favorite-things-about-disneyland/ So I know you are a local Utah gal like myself and as a suggestion, I HIGHLY recommend booking through Get Away Today travel agency in South Ogden. They are incredible! So I bought our actual Park Hopper passes (YES, do California Adventures.. worth the money.. your darling daughter will love it!) through them and they threw in a bunch of stuff too with that. I booked our Character dining experience (Goofy’s kitchen) through them and that was perfect. LOVED it. I HIGHLY recommend buying the Photopass Plus BEFORE you go to Disneyland. That was worth every single cent and I talk about it in my post. That was my souvenir and worth all the money. And I would also avoid Oct 17-18 time frame as it is UEA vacation (fall break) for Utah schools and will be extra crowded. I think it is more appropriate to call it “Utahns Entering Anaheim.” :) Oh by the way, Get Away today has very inexpensive Disney princess dresses.. buy through them. My daughter got a Belle dress complete with Hoop Skirt… I was so jealous. I still want one! BTW.. I’ll be running St. George too! Only about 3 weeks away now! :)

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http://www.anaheimislander.com/

I stayed here with 3 in the room (2 queen beds) and it was perfect. Within walking distance and The Cheesecake Factory is across the road.

You can also dine with Disney characters. We did Breakfast with the Princesses at Ariel’s Grotto. Worth every cent. I actually cried.

http://www.wdwinfo.com/disneyland/dining.htm#grotto

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So fun!! We took our 18 mo old to Disney and he LOVED it — he was in awe of all the rides, people, he loved the parades, etc. – you will have SO much fun :)

One of the best things was the baby care centers – they had high chairs, changing stations, and you could buy supplies if you needed. Honestly, it was nice to take a break with our sweet boy every once in a while – they show disney movies in the main room and it was nice to chill for a minute after we changed diapers:

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/baby-center-lost-children/

Another tip – definitely bring a stroller – our baby loves to walk but it was great for the nap and a break for his little legs. But, put something BRIGHT on the top so you can find it in a sea of strollers – we parked it for rides, obviously, but it was seriously so hard to find our very neutral stroller among all the trillions of other very neutral strollers parked in the stroller area. And, sometimes they move the strollers while you’re on the ride (or we just parked in the wrong spot and they moved it to the right spot) – I swear I spent SO much time looking for the stroller and next time am tying a bright huge bow on the top so I can find it :)

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I’m sure everyone else has already said it, but I didn’t take the time to read through the comments… Just do Disneyland, California adventure is more larger roller coasters, more big kid stuff. Have so much fun!!

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What kind of strengthening exercises are you doing??! I’m interested to know more about that :)

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Try to find something on Airbnb.com! We have used it multiple times (even in Italy) and LOVED it. You can get a whole house/apartment to yourself for an awesome deal most of the time.

Also I found this recipe online and had to share it with you!
http://sayyes.com/2014/09/apple-fritter-bites.html

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Disney tips:
At the end of main street as you are walking toward the castle, make a right at the photo shop and you will find the Baby care center. It has high chairs, rocking chairs, places for moms who breast feed and kid sized toilets. We used it A LOT when the kids were small. It’s also air conditioned and fairly quiet.
If you can get a fast pass for certain rides, do it of the lines are long . It will make your day more pleasant.
Another ride that is great when your feet are tired or Brooke just needs a bit of downtime is either the Pirate ship or the Paddle boat.
As others have mentioned, a stroller is a MUST with a toddler. When she’s not riding, it’s still a great place to store snacks and water. Keep in mind that water fountains in Disneyland are generally found only near the bathrooms and the water isn’t that great, so bring quite a few bottles with you. They also don’t frown on bringing in your own food, especially with a toddler.

If you have a rental car, there is a Target on Harbor Blvd where you can go to stock up on food, snacks, and drinks.

As for hotels, Disneyland Hotel is great and you can catch the monorail into Disneyland, but not California Adventure. It’s expensive though. I’ve stayed at the Portofino before and it’s nice, but a bit of a walk for a toddler unless you bring your own stroller. The suites are nice.

That’s all I can remember. Hope it helps!

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California adventure had Disney jr show. It’s fabulous and interactive and is perfect for her age if she watches Disney Jr!

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Maybe this was mentioned, but if you are going more than one day you can get the 1-park-per-day option. You can definitely spend an entire day at California Adventure with a toddler. The Disney Jr. show is really fun for toddlers–they celebrate Minnie’s birthday.
We stayed at the Howard Johnson a couple of weeks ago. The room was pretty good (maybe it was renovated?), and they have an awesome waterpark. You could also see the fireworks show from our room. And Mimi’s cafe was about 5 steps away.
I personally like the restaurants better in California Adventure (The pizza/pasta and Greek restaurants are great). Have fun!!

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I just got back from Disneyland! I stayed at the Tropicana which is right across the street! No breakfast but they did have a fridge if you bring your own stuff (or go to target). I would say go for the park hopper. It’s a lot easier to park hop in CA then FL since the parks are so close. Both parks do have stuff geared towards younger kids. As others have mentioned the Aladdin show is fantastic and California adventure has disney jr stuff. I would definitely say bring some snacks in and bring a stroller. As for food: dole whips and the beignets :)

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Are u there more than 1 day? If yes, get the park hopper. Disneyland is the best for little ones but Ca adventure has some good things to offer too. Even if u just go there for the little Mermaid ride, Brooke will be happy. And of course having an ice cream at Ghirardelli and a sourdough soup bowl from the boudin bakery is so delicious. Or u can just get a giant sourdough loaf shaped like mickey.
We have season passes to both parks til January. You will have so much fun!

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Skip the fireworks at night. You are going to think she can do it- she might make it. But the next day will be awful. Bring high protein snacks, drink tons of water, and rock your stroller! Sunblock! Don’t skip naps and enjoy :)

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Churros…yum!

Only tip: Don’t skip naps if anyone really needs one.

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Jealous!!!! I’ve never been and I’ve always wanted to!!

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Ohhhh!!! You are going to have such a wonderful time! I’m so glad your mom is coming too – what a fun trip! I haven’t been in decades, but I’m sure everyone will provide you with tons of great recommendations.

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One of the best parts about Disney is that you can leave the park and come back. When we went with my sister-in-law, her husband, and their 5 and 6 year old we went in the morning when the park opened then when nap time rolled around we went back to our room and let the boys take a well needed nap, had lunch, and then went back to spend the rest of the day there – right through the fireworks!! It was great to give them a chance to rest as long as they needed so they would be refreshed for the rest of our fun filled day. Have a blast!!

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We live in Florida so do Disney World instead of Disney Land but basically the same idea I’m sure. For the first million trips my girls were much more interested in getting autographs from the characters than doing much else so I finally got smart and started buying them million page books and pens before we went. At Disney World every ticket comes with a “fast pass” option which allows you to go to a kiosk, put your ticket in and a fast pass ticket to come back later and bypass the line. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS!!! We could do twice as many things with this option. One park a day is plenty for a 2 year old for sure. Go back to the hotel and let her nap and get fresh and then come back later to see more and fireworks. The park isn’t near as busy after 4:00 we found. Bring an umbrella stroller instead of a big clunky one. Have so much fun! We love Disney so much!! :)

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You’re going to Disney Land! I can’t wait to do this with my girls. I’m waiting for the two-year-old to be a little older, because we are pretty far away, so I want her to remember it. Have fun!

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We stayed at the Port Orleans-French Quarter last April and we’re going to do the same this April. We got a packaged deal, so it was great. My son is four months older than Brooke, so he was COMPLETELY free last year (he turned 2 days after we returned home). He, like Brooke, will get free entry (until they turn 3) into the parks again next year which is nice.
One park a day is MORE than enough. Go early, when the park opens, and be ready to be back at the hotel by/just after lunch. Swim in the afternoons, then decide if you’d like to venture off for dinner. Use the fast passes. Be ready for a mighty breakdown almost daily…Brooke will love it, but it is A LOT to take in! And, it may just be my son, but be ready to chase when she first enters a park; they love it all!

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Best western right across the street was perfect, there is a mini-fridge and the rooms are nice, even have a pull out couch
If Brooke has any princess dresses take that and take her to meet the princesses. They are really sweet with girls that age. Tip on that, make friends with the people who control the lines to wait to meet the princesses and sometimes they will do nice things – one of them let our daughter walk a short distance across the park holding the princesses hand because there was a shift change in line and her favorite princess was leaving. The mothers room in Disneyland would still be good for that age if she needs an air conditioned break. Dole whip is a must!

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I love Disney too- especially the location-specific food, yum!!

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We have always stayed at the Hyatt near Disney. They provide a shuttle back and forth from the resort and the Hyatt is walking distance to target and a bunch of other restaurants like “joes crab shack” (so good). Plus it has a Starbucks inside the hotel ;). A major plus for me haha.

So jealous have fun!!!

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There’s this doughnut place in Anaheim where they sell these amazing blueberry, Oreo, and M&M doughnuts! And if you buy a dozen they put it in a pizza box. Seriously, you need to go! It’s just a little ways from Disneyland, it’s called M&M Donuts: https://www.google.com/maps/place/M+%26+M+Donuts/@33.802794,-117.937647,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x80dd283ac3e24967:0xe0ddee7afe602765

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I’ve only done Disney World in Florida but the 2 pieces of advice I have are:
1. Invest in a bigger/better meal plan than you think you’ll want. The walking etc made us really hungry and sitting down and being waited on is really so much better than eating at snack bars/cafeteria type places.
2. Get the stroller. The park ones are big and seem made for kiddos to nap in.

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The rooms in the Sheraton Anaheim were really nice, very clean, beds were really comfortable and I walked to/from Disneyland. Also, with children, buy the princess dress/costume beforehand at Target and then just bring it with you. Savings: over $40. And I’m a big fan of make your own ears.

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It’s actually a lot cheaper to do 1-day, 1-park tickets instead of doing hoppers. California Adventure has lots for a 2-year old, but with all of the walking that you already do in one park, most people try to hit one park per day (and the hopper is kind of pointless). Just my opinion – I went to Disneyland a couple years ago with a 2 year old! :)

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I go to Disneyland about 5-8 times a month and I love CA but my youngest is 4 and he is just big enough for everything but CA Screaming. So Brooke may not be BIG ENOUGH but she will probably still have fun. She can do Monsters Inc and Toy Story and Bugs Land and a couple things in Cars Land BUT just seeing Cars Land at NIGHT IS AMAZING! A MUST SEE. It is spectacular. And World of Color is amazing.

BUT if you are only going ONE DAY, then NO do not do a park hopper because Disneyland is full of stuff that you would want to take your time seeing. And has way way more rides for a 2 year old.

I was just there overnight for some races a couple weeks ago and we stayed at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Pavilions
1176 W Katella Avenue
Anaheim , California

and it is literally across the street from the staff parking that you can walk through and it takes you right to Down Town Disney. I thought it was a good hotel for the price we paid.

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Donuts – The Donuttery is about 5 miles away and it is the best donuts around.

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We just came back from a 4day trip to Disney. This is our 2nd in the last couple of years. We went when my boys were 3 and 5 and then again at 5 and 7. It is worth the money in my opinion to stay on-site at one of the Disneyland hotels. With needing naps and rest for the kids it was so convenient. We stayed our first trip at the original Disney hotel and then this last trip at the grand Californian. Original Disney was by far better. Cheaper, way better pool slides and nicer room. I haven’t tried paradise pier but I’ve heard good things. Might be something to consider if it fits in your budget. We spent less on food because we ate breakfast and lunch in our room since it was so close and we took an ice chest to keep water bottles cold.

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Stay at the Hilton Anaheim!!! It’s my FAVORITE place to stay at Disneyland. It’s really easy to get a good rate (I’ve never paid more than $100/night there), the POOL IS AWESOME when you need a break from Disney… and best of all, it’s an easy 10 minute walk to the park. Seriously, I will never stay anywhere else when I go to Disneyland. It’s the best. PLUS, it’s easy to get in a good run on the main street where the Hilton is located, and the fitness center is nice there, too.

I do also the love The Disneyland Hotel, right at the end of the walk on Downtown Disney. It’s just way expensive, and honestly not as nice as the Hilton.

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http://www.pinkmasonjar.com/2014/04/disney-tips-and-tricks-for-enjoying.html

We had the best time in Disney World. Sadly, we never made it to the fireworks, but we loved having pool time after the park. Have fun~ and so true on all of the countdowns.

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– Where to stay (somewhere within walking distance). – Best Western Stovalls Inn, its where we stay every time we go for the half marathon!

-Where to eat. – Carnation Cafe, Blue Bayou, Bengal BBQ, the Churro Carts, the Corn on the cob carts (with lime!), do NOT get pizza planet!

-Special activities/events that Brooke would love. – meeting the characters, storybook boats, alice in wonderland, pretty much all of fantasyland.

-Park hopper or just Disney? Is California Adventure good for a 2 year old? Cali Adventure is fun for a 2 year old but if you only have a day, stick to Disneyland. If you have two days, go one on each day.

-Anything you think I should know. – have fun! :)

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As a crazy disney fan and have visited the parks with my younger siblings (they are 7,3,3) many times.

-Where to stay (somewhere within walking distance)-any of the good neighbor hotels. I would suggest Best Western Stovall so you can walk to the park. Howard Johnson also has a lot of good things too

-Where to eat-EVERYWHERE! However with Brooke, make sure to make reservation at goofy’s kitchen for breakfast. Ariel’s grotto for a meal (all the princesses are there!), and minnie’s breakfast at plaza inn (since you mentioned she’s obsessed with minnie mouse). Other great food: stir fry in california adventure,

-Special activities/events that Brooke would love.-meeting the characters, the character meals, all of fantasyland and carsland (mater’s ride is beyond amazing, my little brother cried everytime he had to get off of it)

-Park hopper or just Disney? Is California Adventure good for a 2 year old?-PARK HOP FOR SURE (but only if you are going for more than one day)! California adventure is so beautiful-world of color is one of the best things ever. Also, carsland is children friendly and all of bugsland is for children

-Tips for taking a 2 year old to Disney- depending on the number of days you are going-go to the park at rope drop (when they open), have an early lunch-11AM, head back to the hotel for nap and pool time, go back a bit in the afternoon before brooke goes to bed. Also, bring a stroller with you! it will save your sanity and help brooke form getting tired as easily. since everything is close, it is super easy to walk a lot of miles without realizing it.

insider tip: the fastpass systems are not connected between parks so you can hold fastpasses at the same time for both Disneyland and DCA-it’s a way to get through the lines faster. Also, with Brooke, you and your mom can do child swap passes so you can ride the “big kid” rides (Radiator Springs in Carsland is a MUST for you and your mom)

Also, I would definitely recommend for you to look into the rundisney races: they are just awesome! The tinkerbell half marathon is still open for mother’s day next year… ;)

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So I have to say…I’m a little disappointed this doesn’t say DisneyWORLD instead of Disneyland ;) IF you do ever come here, I can promise to be the best trip adviser EVER! & Brooke will have her blog BFF to hang out with too :D

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Hey Janae- I would love to bump into you one of these days….. I live in Utah county :) Anyways, DL is my FAVORITE! And I too took my daughter when she was one month shy of turning 2. Good thing for us my daughter is tall and was tall enough to ride almost all but Indiana Jones. Hopefully your little will be tall enough for Splash Mountain, a kid can’t miss that one! My tip for you since I am assuming your little is still in diapers, has favorite snacks, etc……. I shipped a box with enough diapers/wipes/and her go to snacks about 4-5 days before I was expected to arrive at my hotel. You can contact your hotel and inform them of a package coming and they will hold it for you until you arrive. It saved so much space for our luggage since diapers and wipes can take up a lot of room. Unless you are driving then I guess this isn’t an issue. If you are flying it’s the way to go. I stay at the California Grand, yes it is expensive but being able to walk out the door and you are in downtown Disney is worth it…..AND when you are all done for the day nothing worse than having to walk to your hotel down the street. It is so nice to just be “home” after a loooong day especially with littles and tired legs and feet. ALSO- I didn’t’ bother bringing my own stroller for traveling purposes especially if you are flying. You can do a stroller rental right there at the DL entrance. Strollers are a MUST with toddlers. Hope this info helps :)

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I LOVE Disneyland! I wish we lived closer so we could go more often.

My biggest tip is to preorder the PhotoPass Plus. It costs about $70 and you will get digital copies of all ride photos and photos taken by the PhotoPass photographers that are all over the parks and often at the character meet & greets. Also, if you do a character meal your PhotoPass Plus includes the pictures (digi and print) that you take there. It was by far the best money we spent, besides the trip itself, when we went last year. My kids are older, though, so the ride photos really made it worth it.

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I’ve stayed at the Holiday Inn Anaheim both times I’ve been there for races. Easy, breezy walking distance.

I’d go for parkhopper, but mostly because the Little Mermaid Ride is at California Adventure and I can’t not go on that.

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Brooke will LOVE Disneyland and she is not too young at all! We have season passes and go all the time! You will have the best time!! The Disney hotels are great but a little over rated. We just stayed at the Grand Hotel which is fabulous but you aren’t even in the room/hotel but to sleep! We stayed once at the Anaheim Desert Inn & Suites and it was great and super reasonable. Walking distance & free breakfast. I felt safe (was there alone with my 5 kids). It wasn’t a 5 star hotel, but perfect for a place to sleep. I would suggest bringing in your own water and snacks. Besides getting a pretzel, everything is soooooo expensive there! I can’t wait to see your pictures and your post from your trip! Maybe we will run into you there (going Sept. 22 for my twins bday)!

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We just went to Disneyland! You totally have to stay at the Grand Californian….it is literally 2 steps away from California Adventure, 5 steps from downtown Disney, and 7 steps from Disneyland! There is also a super delicious breakfast buffet there. As for kiddos…I have a 3 and 5 year old. Besides meeting the princesses in Disneyland, they actually had way more fun in California Adventure! Have fun!!!!

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The cinnamon roasted almonds!!!!! Just thinking about them….so. jealous.

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1. Apparently I’m a dedicated runner/workout fanatic, because I too, wear workout clothes all. the. time.
2. I have a 20 miler this weekend too! I won’t even pretend I wish we could run it together because I wouldn’t be able to keep up with you for even 1 MILE! haha
3. Good luck! :)

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I have soapy recommendations but you have gotten so many I’ll keep it simple. Grand California is the way to go (if you can afford it) 5 min fr bedroom to ride is unbeatable! The pool is pretty fun to with super awesome lounge chairs. They have a little fridge too so you can keep stuff for cereal or lunches in. If you can’t afford that there are aome cute condos about 1 mile away look on vrbo they have decorated rooms and they are about a 10 min walk to the tram. Here is a listing but there are a ton in the same condo #3769593
California adventure is actually my favorite! Bugs life land has so much for 2 year olds! World of color is the best do not miss it!!! I think there is enough to do in each park that you don’t NEED a park hopper but nice to have for more flexibility. Don’t miss the plays! Aladdin in California adventure is AMAZING!!! They also have a Disney junior show that my 2 year old loved too. Parades are a must for 2 year olds. Also mickeys musical map at Disneyland was really fun for my 2’year old. Ok I could go on and on! Have fun!!

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I just did the Disneyland half marathon. We stayed in a Mariott less than a mile away & walked to the tram every day , and it had breakfast which I’m a breakfast person :-/. I don’t have kids, but I’d say yes to park hopper. Adventure had Bugs life & ,Cars land which wis toddler friendly & a great Pixar parade. Have a great time, I heart Dusney! :)

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Disneyland is so fun! Unfortunately, I don’t have any tips for traveling with kids, but I work for the company and might be able to look into discounts. Not sure if it’s that significant but it might be worth looking into it. Shoot me an email and we can chat about it. Regardless, I can send over a some attractions that the company recommends for kids of a certain age.

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I’m a self proclaimed Disney freak (Land and World) and so I could go on and on about it but you’ve got a lot of great comments here. I’ve done DW & DL with kids as young as 3 months and as old as 16. Literally a place for everyone. A good tip, especially for UT based folks is to utilize Get Away Today (dot) com. We’ve used their packages and pieced it ourselves and you come out roughly the same but a lot of times you get little incentive gifts for booking through them (lanyard, kiddie backpack, collectible pin, etc…. Kids love it). We usually like the Embassy (not walking distance) because of the free cooked to order breakfast. All you can eat. We literally stuff the kids (and ourselves), pack snacks/treats for the lines (Costco trailmix, skittles, fruit snacks, and granola bars, water bottles all work… Disney lets food in so don’t “sneak it” as so many have said – the majority of customers are families/kids… They get it), grab a big late lunch (2-3 pm during parades, restaurants empty), and then a giant dessert for “dinner.” My kids love vacation eating. :)

Also, DO CA Cars land… Get fast passes first for RS Racers. One adult in line for the FP, the other adult takes Brooke to the Toy Story Mania line – trust me. And if you stay on site, we splurged once and stayed at the Grand Californian (found a last minute steal in Orbitz). Worth. Every. Penny. BUT still use the outside gate for early entrance (the “secret” guest one backs up).

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We have done Disneyland with a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old baby! It’s so much fun! I would for sure do California adventures. They have a cute little play that’s based on Mickey Mouse club house tv show and all those tv shows. It’s nice to sit down and get a break inside watching the play. Also the whole bugs life area has a ton of rides she can go on that are super fun. There is also an little mermaid ride she would probably love too. Plus Cali adventures is usually not as crowded. As far as Disneyland tips go… There is a mothers lounge right in the front of the park by the cor dog stand. You can change diapers use small potties and they high chairs etc. It’s nice to go in and catch a break they also have books too. Hopefully it won’t be crowded when you go. We also brought in our own snacks and drinks and carried in the striker which helps cut Cost too. I went in may and it actually seemed to be busier in the morning which was opposite if what most people told me. I felt like a lot of people like California residents would leave by like 3 so late afternoon evening felt less crowded to me. We actually left and drove around let the kids sleep in the car for a hour or so then came back and we were able to walk onto rides and we stayed till they closed. Toon town was empty at that point but the characters were gone. I have also heard of a fun play by toon town. My kids loved loved the parades in the evening. Well hope this all makes sense!! Have fun!

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yayy so fun! our fave tips:
http://www.welltraveledwife.com/2014/08/guide-to-disneyland.html

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If money is no object…then stay at the Grand Californian. Its a Disney owned hotel that is superb. They have rooms with kid bunk beds. It’s beyond amazing and you can’t get any closer. I would also recommend single tixs to the park but multiple days. A park hopper would allow you to walk between park to park as many times as you want that day but would you really want to with a two year old. I say, see Disneyland one day…then see CA Adventure on a separate day.

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