Disneyland is one of our favorite places to visit with our kids. Living in Southern California, especially only about 10 miles from Disneyland, you have to take full advantage! My husband and I used to have annual passes even before kids, but now seeing it through their eyes is even better! Leah and I both have annual passes and take our kids as often as we can. It’s the perfect playdate, meet up at opening and play hard till nap time. Or go in the evening for a parade and a few rides, change into pajamas and drive home, easy peasy!
All photos by Nea Nabayan
At this point we sort of consider ourselves Disneyland professionals. However, we are nothing compared to Julie & Emily, aka the Magic Kingdom Mamas! We love following along with this sister duo who visit the parks frequently and have THE BEST tips and tricks to making your visit amazing. They know the ins and outs like no other. Of course we had to plan a meet up with them and share all of their knowledge with you! So if you are planning a trip to Disneyland with your kiddos, this is the post for you! Don’t forget to follow along on their Instagram Account for more tips on the daily, and their adorable dance moves!
We met up with them earlier this month, and a few of our other Disney obsessed friends. You may recognize these faces from these Instagram accounts – @wildevalentine, @jl_designs, and @1011makeup. It was so fun seeing all of our kiddos together at the happiest place on earth, we were rolling deep with this many! Julie and Emily lead the way though so we were in the best hands! Here’s our Q&A with them and some amazing tips and more from the Magic Kingdom Mamas and us!!
When Emily’s son was born, we lived about 2 hours away from each other. We wanted our kids to have the same close relationship that we had with our cousins growing up, so we made it a point to meet once a week halfway. Disney was the perfect spot (can’t get more magical than that!). After going to the parks consistently for a few months with our kids, friends and family started asking us questions about it— how to keep kids entertained while waiting in lines, what to do there with babies and so on. One day we were talking about it with our husbands and they said “why don’t you guys just start an IG account?” Haha, and that was it! We started this account initially for friends and family, really having NO idea that it would transform into a website and business and all that. It is is wild to think that it actually happened!
Our usual route if we do a full day at Disneyland (starting at opening) is Fantasyland first because that’s typically an area that draws the most people by mid-day (especially families with young kids!)! After Fantasyland we like to stop in Toontown for the welcome at the gate by Mickey or a couple of his friends when it opens one hour after Disneyland opens.
After Toontown we head into Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters or Autopia (Jedi Training Trials of the Temple is also one of our kids’ favorite shows to stop for)! After Tomorrowland, we love to stroll through Frontierland, then to New Orleans Square for Pirates of the Caribbean or Haunted Mansion (if our kids are feeling up for those two, ha!), then to Critter Country for The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh. Lastly, we head back toward Adventureland to check out the wait time for the Jungle Cruise! This route can change depending on wait times, but this is pretty common for us!
We start in Cars Land to ride one of the most popular attractions, Radiator Springs Racers (IF we don’t get a Fast Pass for it first), then we like to do the other two Cars Land rides, Luigi’s Rollicking Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree! After Cars Land, we head to Toy Story Midway Mania on Paradise Pier – if the standby wait time is too long, we will grab a Fast Pass for it. While we’re down by the Toy Story ride, we like to ride King Triton’s Carousel because the line is typically short, then we walk past Silly Symphony Swings, Jumpin’ Jellyfish and the Golden Zephyr to check wait times (all three typically have short wait times).
Our last stop on Paradise Pier is The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure ride, then we head toward Grizzly Peak Airfield to grab Fast Passes for Soarin’ Around the World (our over 40 inch kiddo’s love this ride). After Soarin’, there aren’t a ton of other attractions left to do for our kid’s age groups, so we either go into A Bug’s Land to ride the four attractions there (usually all have short wait times) or Monster’s, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue. The great thing about Monster’s, Inc. is the line is usually pretty quick, but if it happens to be an extra busy day, and you only have 2 in your group, ask the Cast Member at the attraction’s entrance for a “Buddy Pass” to bypass the line and enter through the exit to ride right away!
Favorite photo spots in Disneyland:
-In front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
-Anywhere on Main Street
-Blue and white It’s a Small World wall
-The Mark Twain
-Toontown (so many good, fun colors and buildings!)
Favorite photo spots in California Adventure:
-Hollywood Land back drop next to the Hyperion Theater
-The famous blue wall (popular photo spot) at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land
-Paradise Park overlooking Mickey’s Fun Wheel
-Route 66 in Cars Land
-The boardwalk on Paradise Pier (down by Toy Story Midway Mania and Mickey’s Fun Wheel)
6. Use the official Disneyland App – the greatest tool for a Disney day! The app has so many helpful things like attraction wait times, entertainment schedules, restroom locations, PhotoPass photographer locations, wifi hot spots, restaurant locations (you can book reservations on the app!), and so much more.
Favorite “big kid” attractions – Emily’s is a tie between Radiator Springs Racers and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! and Julie’s is Soarin’ Around the World.
6. Lobster nachos (substitute for tri-tip if you’d like!) from the Cove Bar
Some Beijos Advice…
A bit of advice from Leah and I, is always go with the flow when visiting the park. I used to try and make sure we did so many things in a certain amount of time but it’s far more fun to do what you can and enjoy yourself then to rush. Also, be prepared for melt downs and crying, it happens! And don’t be embarrassed because it happens to EVERYONE! We’ve seen it happened to others and definitely experienced it ourselves!
All of the resources Magic Kingdom Mamas gave are great but we have another… Visit Anaheim! They have lots of great ideas for restaurants and other info that is helpful for people visiting. We’ve definitely pointed some out of town family members in their direction and it’s been super helpful.
We love California Adventure for many reasons… To me it seems like it’s the better park for boys, there is so much that Court loves there. Monsters Inc, Cars, Toy Story, Grizzly Run, etc. He also loves going on Little Mermaid with Edie of course! There are usually less crowds there as well. But another reason we love it?! They serve alcohol! We swear we are not alcoholics, but sometimes mama needs a glass of wine or a beer while dealing with the chaos of Disneyland… Speaking of, let me tell you a little bit about our shoot!
At the very end of the day Leah and I were at California Adventure solo with just our kids. First we dealt with a blow out with one of my sons, I mean a bad one, it was all over… Thank god I had a change of clothes. Then we decided (foolishly) to let our kiddos run in the water play area in Bug’s Land. We had NO idea they would get so wet!
So there we were with 4 extremely tired (a few crying) and two soaking wet kiddos trying to maneuver through California Adventure. That’s when we hit up one more ride and it was time to go! Haha! You never know what is gonna happen, so like I said, go with the flow. You’ll have a much better experience if you do :) Here’s some photographic evidence of the end of our day, don’t worry, no blow out pics!