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15 MUST DO’s with Your Preschooler at Disneyland

This list is packed with more than 15 ideas to do with your preschool kids at Disneyland to make traditions, experiences, and memories that will last a lifetime!  Watch the magic through your child’s eyes when you make their trip extra special with these simple tips and tricks!

Ideas for traditions, experiences, and how to make memories at Disneyland! This list is packed full of BRILLIANT and original ideas!! Did you read number 9? We are totally doing it every time we go!

If you have kids, chances are you have at least thought about going to Disney.  Disney is magical for kids of all ages, but can be especially fun for preschoolers!  We have taken our kids to Disney 3 times before my oldest was five because we found the memories and experiences of seeing the magic through their eyes more priceless than getting them more “things.”

Disney is great because even the smallest babies will be able to do many more things than you might imagine, and by the time they are a preschooler, there is enough rides, shows, and fun experiences to fill up a week and never repeat!  The best part of experiencing Disney when our kids are young is that we have been able to create traditions during our trips that form real life-long memories from a very young age.  My son who is now six can still talks about memories we made when he was only a little over two years old.  How amazing is that?!

I will be the first to admit that traveling with preschoolers can be a little (or a lot) intimidating!  We have done everything from cross country trips in a car with a newborn to multi hour plane trips with 3:1 kid to adult ratio.  It is not that my kids are any easier or more well behaved than other small children, we just know the experiences and memories that they get through travel is well worth the time in preparation and energy it takes to travel with little ones.  Scholastic has some fantastic resources on how to make traveling with preschool aged children easier!  One of my favorites is their article on ideas to keep kids busy while traveling.  It includes everything from the best apps to download to games to play in the car and everything in between.  One of my favorites is the mystery bag idea!  Seriously… check it out.  My kids LOVED it!

I encourage you to take your kids to Disney while they are in preschool, the magic of seeing it through their eyes has been one of my favorite experiences as a parent.  When you go, make sure to use this list of 15 things you MUST DO with your preschooler at Disneyland.  These are the things that will make REAL MEMORIES that you and your little ones will talk about for years to come.  Most of them are very simple, but some require some prep before the trip, so take a look, make a few notes, and get set for some memories of a lifetime!

If you have been dreaming of a trip with your kids, make sure to enter for a chance to win a dream trip that Scholastic is giving away!  It is a five-day/four-night Walt Disney World® vacation for four, including airfare, hotel, ground transportation, Theme Park tickets, Disney Character Greeting, and more! Even better? The first 2,500 to enter get a FREE Scholastic book to their
tiny traveler, while supplies last!  To enter visit the Scholastic Tiny Traveler Website here! Enter for a chance to win a trip to Disney World!!

If you have been to Disneyland and have things that your preschool aged kids loved you don’t see on the list, leave me a comment and let me know!  I love to hear from readers and keep adding to my posts with the best ideas sourced from real families!

15 MUST DO’s at Disneyland with Preschool Aged Kids

1. Go on Rides– You will be so surprised how many rides even very little kids can go on at Disneyland!  The first time we went we were floored with just how many things our son could do at only 16 months!  The second time we went with a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn and we were STILL surprised at how much we could go on all together as a family even with a newborn baby!  There are so many wonderful rides that you will be able to fill your days with as many as you want and still probably not have done them all.  As a word of warning though, some rides allow kids of all ages but might be a little scary depending on your little’s personality.  I know my kids were a bit scared in a few of the rides like Snow White which is pretty dark and , so just do a little bit of work either researching beforehand, or asking the cast members at the park to know which rides seem most up your little one’s alley!  Here were some of our favorites for toddlers & preschoolers:

  1. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters {Tomorrowland}
  2. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage {Tomorrowland}
  3. Jungle Cruise {Adventureland}
  4. Toy Story Midway Mania {Paradise Pier}
  5. King Arthur Carrousel {Fantasyland}
  6. Storybook Land Canal Boats {Fantasyland}
  7. Autopia {Tomorrowland – Min Height 32″}
  8. The Little Mermaid-Ariel’s Undersea Adventure {Paradise Pier}
  9. Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! {Hollywood Land}
  10. Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train {A Bug’s Land}

2.  Vist Mickey & Minnie’s House– You can’t go to Disney without meeting Mickey Mouse!  Mickey and Minnie Mouse both have houses in Toon Town.  You can tour through their house to see where they live and then have the magical opportunity to meet Mickey or Minnie  in a private room with just your family, and the photographer of course!  It is really fun and a memory of a lifetime!  The photographers are happy to snap a pic with your phone or personal camera too, so don’t be shy about asking!

3. Get in on the Action with Interactive Shows- Not only do you have some world class entertainment in the shows at Disneyland, but it also offers a nice (and often air conditioned) break in your day.  There are many shows at Disneyland. Some of the shows are always running, some are seasonal so make sure to check the schedule to see what is open and playing when you go.  Some of our favorite memories are of shows and they have some especially great, interactive shows for preschoolers you won’t want to miss!  Some of our favorites are:

  1. Disney Junior Live- On Stage- This show incorporates all the Disney Junior favorites such as Micky Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates into one fun packed live and interactive shows.  Do not miss this show if you have preschoolers!  They will love it!
  2. Turtle Talk with Crush – This is a smaller activity that my kids enjoyed SO much!  You go into a room with a screen and Crush from Finding Nemo swims out onto the screen.  He then talks and interacts with the kids the whole time!  It is fun and amazing and the kids absolutely LOVE it!
  3. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – If you have a little girl this will be a must!  She can sing right along with her favorite Frozen tunes!
  4. Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple- This is one of the coolest things for little Star Wars lovers in all of Disneyland!  The Jedis will pick about 20 kids from the crowd to come up on stage and go through Jedi Training Camp with them.  My son was 4 when he did it and had a hard time getting the light sabers to work, so for younger ones it might be something fun to watch and the older ones will love getting trained!  Note:  It can be full of potential Padawans desperately looking for training, so if you want to make sure to get chosen, help yourself stand out with a sign or special star wars outfit!

4.  Get Some Autographs–  One of my favorite traditions I did as a kid, and my kids loved every bit as much when we went was taking an autograph book for their favorite characters to sign.  They sell these books at Disney, or you can get one inexpensively at many stores beforehand and take it along with you.  Another fun twist on this tradition is to get a disney storybook with short stories with lots different characters in it.  Bring the book and have the characters sign their own stories as you see them.  This makes a great tradition and a fun memory as you continue to read the book when you are home from the trip.

5.  Dress the Part– If there is any place in the world to really get in the spirit and dress up, it is Disney!  You can find character apparel anywhere from the Disney Store to your local superstore or even get things custom made.  A friend also told me that if you have their name on their shirt that the characters will often call the child by their name when they meet them.  Her daughters loved that the princesses KNEW THIER NAME!  Another way many kids like to dress up is with their very own set of Mickey Mouse ears with their name embroidered on.   This is something they can wear again and again as you take trips to Disney throughout their childhood. Also, many kids get into the spirit by dressing as their princess, pirate, or other disney character.  You can purchase an experience package to deck your little one out while you are there, or bring along their favorite costume to wear on your own.  Just make sure it is comfortable for a long day of walking and rides because changing might not be convenient!

6.  Spring for a Character Meal–  We personally didn’t spend a lot of extra money while we were at Disney, but we did take our kids to a character meal the last time we were there and though it is a little bit of an investment, it was worth every single penny!  Lines can be long to see Children’s favorite characters in the park, which can be tough with busy preschool aged kids, so a great alternative is a character meal.  You get to dine and have all of the characters come to you over the course of your meal.  Not only is there no waiting, but the Characters have so much fun interacting with the kids and really pay attention to each child, and take the time to make them each feel special.  In one two hour breakfast we saw and interacted with far more characters than we did on the rest of the trip combined, and my oldest still remembers and talks about the antics Captain Hook and Tigger were pulling at breakfast.  What a special memory!

7.  Don’t skip the Parades + Street Shows– Make sure you look at the schedule and get a good spot to see the parade.  All of your disney favorites will walk or float right on by you, while you get a chance to stay still and have the chance to wave at you as they go by on their float.  My kids enjoy the parades but what they like even more are the street shows!  There are quite a lot of more informal shows that take place all around the parks just in the street.  These are great because they are less crowded and often interact with almost every person there which makes kids feel pretty special.  My son got to play the drums with a performing group near Paradise Pier and my daughter got to dance in the street with the performers at Cars Land!

 

15 things you MUST DO with your kids at Disneyland! This list is full of great ideas for traditions that will make memories for a life time! Number 2 is BRILLIANT! Saving this list to do it with our preschoolers when we go to Disney!!8.  Grab Some Souvenirs– Make sure to think of something special you can take home with you from the trip.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, and as a matter of fact, many times the small things carry the best memories!  A friend’s family has a tradition where they get a smashed penny from every machine they come across on the property.  Their kids love to hunt for the machines and it is an affordable way to take home a bunch of memories!  Another mom recommends the Mickey Mouse balloons.  One reason they loved it so much was that it stayed inflated and floating for months after they got home.

9.  Make a Tradition of Eating your Favorite Snacks–  Disney has some really amazing food!  They also have some great iconic treats.  It is a tradition of ours to always get the chocolate covered Mickey shaped ice cream bar each time we go to Disney.  Some of our other favorites are the Dole Whip, and they Mickey shaped beignets… those are my personal favorite!! There are so many really special treats it is fun to pick one and make it a tradition  each time you return.

10.  Pick a Super Special Photo op– One of my all time favorite traditions I have at Disney is getting our photo each time we visit in our special place.  When my parents were younger they went to Disney World and had a picture of themselves taken where they were “locked up” in the contraption that goes over your neck and both wrists.  Many years later when we went as a family when we were kids, my parents found the spot and we took a picture in the same place but as kids.  It is so fun to see them side by side!  When we go to Disney World we will look for it to take our kids picture in it too!  If you take your kids to Disney as preschoolers, then the chances are that you will be back at least once, but probably more.  Find your special spot and take a pic there each time you visit.  It will be so much fun to see how you grow and change over the years.

11.  Keep Busy Kids Moving– There are several activities at Disney that are great for preschoolers because they naturally keep them moving.   With busy feet and hands these activities are great so that they can get some of that energy out!  Some of our favorites are:

  1. Tom Sawyer Island
  2. Tarzan’s Tree House
  3. Splash Pad in A Bug’s World
  4. Toon Town – All of it!  There is plenty to do and explore!

12.  Let them know you are special–  If it is your birthday, anniversary, or even just your first visit, tell the ticket taker and they will make sure to get you or your preschooler a button to wear.  All of the cast members and characters make an extra wonderful effort to say hello and make them feel spacial and welcome when they are wearing their special button.

13.  Make sure the grown ups have fun too!  Make sure you have some fun too on this vacation.  It will leave you recharged and ready to have a great time with your kids.  If you have kids that are too small to ride on rides, often the rides will offer a stroller pass where you can ride the ride once, then switch off with the other person so you can watch the kids and the other person can skip the line and ride the ride also.

14.  Take a break on the Train–  The train was a lifesaver for us as it was a mid-day break.  The train goes around the entire park and is a great way to sit down, relax for a minute and catch your breath.  We usually pack our lunch and eat it on the train.  I have other friends who say their kids even napped on the train!  It is just the perfect way to take a break and easy to hop on and off just as you need it!

15.  Find the EXTRA magic! – There are lots of tiny ways that Disney has done so well with the details.  These are a couple of ideas we love, but be creative and make your own traditions

  1. Hidden Mickey- My kids have a blast looking for all the hidden mickeys throughout the park.  From the food to the bushes you can find mickey everywhere you look, and preschool aged kids are at the perfect stage to really enjoy hunting for them.  This also makes a great way to burn some time if you are waiting in line.
  2. Small World tower- About every 15 minutes the people come marching out the door at the top of the Small World tower.  Some of our family makes seeing this once every trip a tradition that they can’t miss.

Which idea is your favorite?  I would love to hear what you plan to do, or what your kid’s favorite Disney traditions are from your trip.  Please don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know!  Also, make sure to pin this post to save it to remember all of the ideas for your trip now or in the future!

DON’T FORGET!  Go enter for a chance to win a free 4-day, 5-night trip to Disney World® for 4. Plus the first 2,500 entrants get a free Scholastic book!  To enter visit the Scholastic Tiny Traveler Website here!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Disney. The opinions and text are all mine.

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