We recently took my 2 1/2 year old daughter to Disneyland for the first time. Kids get in free until they turn three and with family visiting it seemed like the perfect opportunity. To be perfectly honest, although I reside close to Disney, I don’t actually go there very often. I believe the last time I set foot in the park was 2012 when I ran the Disney half marathon. I’m not what you’d call an amusement park person. So, I reached out to friends on social media for advice on what to expect and things to pack because surprisingly, there wasn’t much information out there. Here’s what I discovered:
1. Everyone told me to pack snacks: I didn’t. Furthermore, I’m glad I didn’t, it would have been something extra I’d have to carry around. I think you have to know your kid and know yourself. We’re not big eaters. My daughter isn’t a snacker. We had lunch at the park and shared a Dole Whip. Remember if you pack snacks you have to carry snacks. Speaking of carrying…
2. A backpack seemed like a good idea: Not so much. You have to remove the backpack to get on every ride. I had to wrangle my child, get in the ride myself, remove my sunglasses, and move my backpack. It was an additional step I could have avoided with a crossbody bag or sling pack you can rotate to the front. This summer I’m all about my Louis Vuitton bum bag as a sling pack, I think it would’ve been a better choice (I had a Longchamp backpack). You also don’t need a huge bag, 8 diapers were excessive. I changed her twice in 6 hours.
3. Hand sanitizer is a must: I don’t always carry hand sanitizer but I did take a small bottle to the park. My daughter and I used it often, my husband didn’t. He’s now sick and we’re fine. I’m not saying it was because of the hand sanitizer BUT we’re not sick. Just saying.
4. Sunblock, obviously: We lathered on the traditional stuff before we left the house but for reapplication I used the Tarte TarteGuard mineral powder 30 sunblock. It’s not the best if it’s the only sun protection you have but it’s great for touch up. It also smells like vanilla. And easy to apply on a toddler.
5. Extra phone battery: I swear I collect these things. Most people have one. I rotate through three depending on the occasion. Even when my phone was new I still carried an external battery (all it takes to convince yourself they’re handy is being stuck in a restroom during a fire with some terrified teenagers who need an extra power boost to call their parents. Or you could just believe me). For Disney I brought out the big boy. It had attachments for both iPhone and Android because some members of my family actually have androids. Weird.
6. Stroller: I say rent. It’s $15 for the day and it’s a pretty nice stroller. My cousin bought her own, which I understand because they’d done the whole tourist thing but if you’re local just rent the ride. $15 is worth it to not have to fold up your own and get it in and out of the car.
7. Bandolier iPhone case: it’s kind of cheesy but it came in handy (if I’d carried a crossbody bad, I may not have needed it as much, but I’d still recommend it). This is an iPhone case on a crossbody strap. The first time I saw someone with one I thought it was hideous. I wanted photos of my daughter’s first trip to Disneyland and I didn’t trust keeping my phone in my pocket, not to mention I have an iPhone 7 Plus and I’m an extremely petite woman. The pockets in 00 shorts weren’t meant to accommodate such a large phone. I put the phone in my picket and looped it around my body. It was easy to grab and I never had to worry about dropping it. The case is pretty protective. The strap is removable and I did manage to drop my phone face first on the concrete, no damage to the phone after removing the strap. The case was scuffed slightly.
In the end, I think taking any type of trip with a toddler comes down to personal preference. You know your kid better than anyone.