Things to do when you are Two at Disneyland!
Our littlest just turned three – so of course we had to make one more trip to The Happiest Place on Earth just a few days before her birthday when she will require a ticket for admission. We gathered up Little Miss C and her best friend forever Little Miss M (6 months younger but super tall!) and took a quick trip to Disneyland! Little Miss C is our third child so we are kind of experts in Things to do when you are Two at Disneyland.
Two year olds can be tricky at Disneyland. Some love rides, some are scared. Some kids love meeting characters, some only want to meet face characters, and some don’t want anything to do with any of those strangers! Some kids love the parade, some kids don’t. Little Miss C LOVES Disneyland, Little Miss M was a wee bit overwhelmed – but we were happy to accommodate both so we could all have a fun day.
Some people think that Disneyland isn’t ‘worth it’ for two year olds. It’s true that they might not remember it, but you will! I love my seeing my little girl interact with Characters, because to her – they are REAL. My eight year old sadly knows that Princess Anna is a paid actress, but my two year old is convinced it is the real Anna in the flesh. That is pretty precious and I know the moment is fleeting.
So I wanted to share a few quick tips if your family is considering a trip with a two year old. It can be tricky – but it is so precious!
Character Meet & Greets
Our two year old’s favorite thing to do at Disneyland is meeting characters – she cannot get enough! We were honestly super surprised by this because she is very cautious with new people, but at Disneyland she is just hugging old friends! C could spend all day meeting characters. Little Miss M on the other hand was a bit overwhelmed. Not to fear – characters are well versed in how to approach every kiddo! While C will walk right up to a character – hug them, kiss them, give them knuckles – M was like “Who the heck are you and how fast can I get away from you?” We were worried we wouldn’t get any pictures of the two of them but luckily the characters knew just what to do! When Mickey saw Miss M was nervous and wouldn’t get out of the stroller he casually ‘walked away’ – and by ‘walk away’ I mean he stood behind the stroller – seriously – so cute!
Several characters did this for us!
We found that she would get out of the stroller for face characters, but she didn’t want to be near them. We let Tinker Bell know that we were excited to meet her but to just ignore the blonde girl; she will only scream at you.
As long as I stayed between her and the character we were golden. We had a bit of a breakthrough with Merida, again, she wasn’t willing to say hello to her, but she stood right next to her in this picture with no complaints.
Miss M was not interested in any more than the photo, but Merida was kind enough to give Miss C a high five and chat a bit. “I yike dat pincess wis the baby bears, she so silly and she hugged me and I waved at her bears.” She made quite an impression, thank you Merida!
We did have one little miss step with Tigger….. he thought playing Peek a Boo would be fun……..
When polled at a later time Little Miss M said; “It wasn’t fun.”
Tip : Try a NICE face character first (example :a princess or Tinker Bell) if you think your kiddo might have an issue. A character in a mask or one with lots of dramatic make up might be a wee bit scary (example : Cruela or the Mad Hatter). Kid’s pics with characters are the best, but follow your little one’s lead.
Some kids LOVE rides; all of them! Some kids are a little more cautious. We noticed with all three of our kids that ‘dark rides’ were too intimidating until they were about 4 or 5. I’ve already let people know that my kids scare super easily – but it is something to keep in mind. Our littlest is a HUGE Winnie the Pooh fan but we have tried The Winnie The Pooh ride with her twice (on two separate trips) – both times she was excited in the ride but buried her little face into Daddy and said “Scary Scary Winnie da Pooh”. Poor Little Mama – it isn’t Pooh Bear that was scary, but I think the intense contrast of colors and music was just too much for her. We will try again when she is older – it is sure to be a favorite, but she isn’t quite there yet. The first “Dark Ride” or inside ride I would suggest trying is Peter Pan’s Flight – super fun, and I think it is lighter and less intense than the others.
*S a couple days after his 2nd birthday (and his first birthday home with us) on the carousel*
All three of our kids and Miss M LOVED outdoor rides – King Arthur’s Carousel and Dumbo are fun all day long.
* J with Grandma & Grandpa at 2 1/2 on Dumbo*
I have yet to meet a kid that did not enjoy It’s a Small World. If all else fails, queue up for It’s a Small World. Even if the line is long it moves very quickly. The ride is air conditioned and while it is super bright and colorful it is a bit less ‘in your face’ than the dark rides. This one even got smiles from M, she pointed out fun dolls and clapped; it was awesome! Make sure to consult the rides height requirements here and stick with rides your kiddie is tall enough for. They won’t let you fudge the height requirement. Don’t teach your kid to tip toe, don’t put a hat on your kid. The employees are there to enforce the rules and it is really for everyone’s safety – don’t worry, there is plenty to do even if you are short.
*Pop quiz; who is most excited about the Carousel?!*
Our favorite rides with little ones : It’s A Small World, King Arthur’s Carousel, Tea Cups, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Dumbo The Flying Elephant, Disneyland Railroad, & Casey Junior Train.
Shows & Parades
If you are hoping to sit in the front row for a parade you will need to plan on staking your claim on the parade route early. Many people line up an hour ahead of time during peak season. This is a great time for a nap or a snack. While there are many things you can do to pass the time while you wait for a front row seat, we have found that getting to a parade viewing location a few minutes before it starts works just fine for us even if we are in the back. Little Miss C is little enough to hop on Daddy’s shoulders, and since we are in the back row, we aren’t blocking anyone. If you are there with only a little one and your back is strong, skip the waiting and just hop in at the last minute.
When polled our panel said the best show was Disney Junior at Disney California Adventure Park. If you are visiting both parks make sure to visit this show. There are several shows throughout the day and it is AWESOME for the toddler to preschool set. I hope my big kids don’t mind me saying this, but they secretly still enjoy it too. Kids get to see puppets and actors tell stories and sing songs. Leading roles – The Mickey Mouse Club House gang, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and all your favorite Jake and the Neverland Pirates folks. Our kids love the bubbles, ‘snow’, and confetti that falls from the sky and they all dance and sing along.
Noteworthy : Just outside the Disney Junior Live on Stage Show you can meet awesome Disney Junior friends! Sofia, Jake, and just recently Doc McStuffins joined the club….. as you can see Little Miss C was quite happy to meet her!
Make sure to visit Toontown on your visit. Our kids have all enjoyed checking out Mickey and Minnie’s houses. Our oldest could spend an hour in Minnie Mouse’s house when she was little bitty…..
We love the Toddler Meals at Disneyland. Toddler meals are around $4 which is a better deal than the kid’s meals and most kids around 2 or 3 can’t finish a whole kid’s meal. It’s perfect! Not every restaurant offers a Toddler Meal option, but make sure to be on the look out – many do and it is quite the money saver for tiny tummies.
What to Pack?
- Stroller (not a wagon, they will not let you in with a wagon)
- Hat & Sunglasses
- Diapers & Wipes (if you are still in diapers like us *sigh*)
- Water bottles
- Snacks (Disneyland asks you keep picnic lunches outside, but we have always been allowed to take in small snack packs)
- Blanket – big enough to cover your stroller during nap time.
- Complete change of clothes – including socks and shoes…… without getting into too much detail our son had his worst ‘blow out’ of his diapering career at Disneyland…… it involved an ENTIRE wardrobe change….. including socks, which we had to buy in the gift shop.
- Sweatshirt/jacket for night time
- Some sort of autograph book (if your kids are into characters – this is the BEST souvenir) – you can of course purchase these in the park, but you can also make them or buy a scrap book before you get there.
Hot Tip : There are changing tables in nearly every bathroom throughout the resort (men’s and women’s restrooms – good job Disney!), but an even better option is the Baby Care Center. The Baby Care Center is located at the end of Main Street USA in Disneyland next to First Aid and The Baby Care Center is next to Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop and across from The Baker Tour in Pacific Wharf in Disney California Adventure Park. The Baby Care Center is AWESOME – it offers a big room with changing tables and also two preschool potties for those learning. There is very rarely a wait and when there is it is typically shorter than in the regular bathrooms. There are also nursing rooms if you prefer privacy and even a room with high chairs, microwaves, and lots of things to make feeding and diapering a little one so much easier. On the off chance you and your child are separated meet up at the Baby Care Center, Cast Members take children there where they are kept safe and typically watch a fun Disney movie.
When all else fails, a gigantic Mickey Mouse Cookie is sure to make everyone’s day!
I love other Disney Bloggers and several friends have also written on the topic of two year olds at the Happiest Place on Earth – please check them out too….
Adventures in Wunderland
Going to Disney World? Here is an awesome article about Disney World for kids under four
Do you have any awesome tips for families with two year olds making their way to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park? We would love for you to share with friends!