Typically I am a vacation plan-every-minute sort of gal. But our Disneyland trip for the Disney Social Media Moms event hit in the middle of a crazy season for us and I didn’t spend as much time planning as I would have liked. So we sort of learned as we went.
If you are headed to Disneyland and California Adventure with young kids, just print this list and you’ll be set! It has all our favorite rides that we could do with both Adeline (36”/age 2.5) and Elias (44”/age 5.5).
1. Luigi’s Flying Tires (Cars Land, California Adventure): It’s like an air hockey ride. Super fun!
2. Toy Story Midway Mania (Paradise Pier, California Adventure): You wear 4D glasses for this ride and do five different shooting arcade style games on it. Very cool.
3. Gadgets Go Coaster (Mickey’s Toontown, Disneyland): This was my kids’ first roller coaster and I think we did it four or five times. SO fun and not too scary.
4. Hemlich’s Chew Chew Train (Bugs Land, California Adventure): This is not very exciting ride, but it is perfect for little kids. Adeline especially liked it.
5. Flik’s Flyers (Bugs Land, California Adventure): A simple ride in which you sit in “food” boxes and spin around.
6. Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies (Bugs Land, California Adventure): Bumper cars shaped like bugs! This was the first time my kids had driven bumper cars and they loved it. Super cute.
7. Monster’s Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue (Hollywood Land, California Adventure): This is a really cute ride that takes you through the Monster’s Inc. story. It is just like the movie and very magical
8. Golden Zephyr (Paradise Pier, California Adventure): You fly in a spaceship inspired by the 1920s. Any age can ride this. Really beautiful sights to behold from this ride.
9. It’s a Small World (Fantasyland, Disneyland): It’s the 50th anniversary of this charming boat ride that takes passengers on a waterway with moving characters from around the world. My kids loved it!
10. Storybook Land Canal Boats (Fantasyland, Disneyland): This is a quaint boat ride where you see miniature scenes from classic Disney stories.
11. Merry Go Round (both parks!): You can’t go wrong!
12. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (Cars Land, California Adventure): A really cute ride similar to the teacups in that it spins around and around, only instead of teacups you are in car trailers.
13. Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters (Tomorrowland, Disneyland): This is a shooting gallery attraction where you fight Zurg! Elias LOVED this.
14. Teacups (Fantasyland, Disneyland): This classic ride is a Disneyland MUST! We did them several times and the kids laughed and laughed the whole time.
15. Meeting the Princesses in Fantasy Faire (Fantasyland, Disneyland): Seriously, if you want to meet Disney princesses, this is where you want to go. In one building we met Aurora, Cinderella and Mulan, and in the general area we also met Belle (did you read that story?) and Snow White. Adeline was in princess heaven. (The shows are also supposed to be excellent there, though we didn’t have the chance to see one.)
Additionally, these experiences were excellent for slightly older kids
16. Jedi Training Academy (Tomorrowland, Disneyland): I can’t say enough about this. A huge highlight of our trip. (Read about it here.)
17. Radiator Springs Racers (Cars Land, California Adventure): This is one of the best rides I have ever ridden on. Absolutely amazing. It is like you are in the movie cars. A MUST!!
18. Goofy’s Sky School (Paradise Pier, Disneyland): A kids’ coaster that was really thrilling for Elias.
19. Grizzly River Run (Frontierland, Disneyland): A whitewater rafting ride full of fun. Elias adored this! Matthew and I each did it with him. You WILL get wet.
20. Soarin’ Over California (California Adventure): A flight-simulator that makes you feel like you are flying over California. Elias thought it was amazing.
Our whole family also loved the Aladdin Show, the Disney Junior show and the Pixar Play Parade (all at California Adventure). The parades are amazing and a great way to ensure your kids SEE everyone. Even though we didn’t meet Woody and Buzz for instance, the kids still felt like they had because of the parades.
Also, be prepared that if you right on the street’s edge, parade members will come up to your kids. I was thankful for our wide angle lens because we got some really, really wonderful shots during the parade.
Also, I recommend checking out the book 101 Disneyland Tips (affiliate link). I didn’t learn of it until after our trip, but it looks excellent!
Anything you would add to this list?