We had a lovely time earlier this month on our visit to Disneyland. I didn't want to leave, honestly and truly, although I'm sure that feeling would've passed eventually.
I want to tell you a few things.
You shouldn't stress out about your kids being too young, too rambunctious or too whiny to visit. Walt Disney was a hard core dude. Everything there is fantastical, full and intense enough to be worth the price of admission for the very discerning, without scaring the britches off your little children. Be selective. Don't put your daughter on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad without telling her what it is first, like we did. Rush when you need to, slow down a lot. Just being there is more the memory maker than most of the attractions. If you find a ride you love, ride it again, like Oliver and I did.
Get there early. That's important, you can get a lot under your belt in the first hour. Eat the food, it's not so bad for one or two days. Don't worry. You DON'T need to come prepared. They will bail you out if you are out of diapers or have lost a child. Just go in and have a ball. It's one or two days. If the kids eat only lemonade all day, just this once, they will live.
I heard somewhere when we were there that you can fit three Disneylands into one Disney World. I believe it. You can walk anywhere in the park in less than eight minutes. There are three or four forms of public transit should your legs get tired.
Catch the parade. It has a cast of thousands and is a big production. I shared some amazing costume photos from the parade here.
Meet a princess if you want. If you focus on that, you might miss the physical experience of being in this "Magic Kingdom". The characters all have handlers now, so don't worry about Pluto trying to give your child a hug and causing a panic. You can't really get near him, unless you're prepared to wait.
Near the front gates there are some worthwhile shops and art galleries, featuring specially commissioned artwork and souvenirs. They were running some nice "It's A Small World" graphic pillows and dishware. I kind of wished we would've grabbed a coffee mug or something, the graphics were right up my alley.
Dress as a princess or don't. Some girls do, mostly toddlers, and most girls don't. I will say this. A girl without a costume on feels like a visitor. A girl with a costume on feels like she's home.
Cue vacation photos.
Day 2 (evening):