With the Kids

Disneyland Checklist for Your First Vacation

Our little family is vacationing for the first time to Disneyland and can’t wait! It is the year of a million dreams. But in order to create that dream for ourselves, we do need some preparation. Here are a few things to know before you plan or prepare your next Disneyland trip.

Disneyland Family

What to prep for a Disneyland Vacation

1. Autograph Book: My cute niece Amy goes to Disneyland all the time with her hubby and kids. They gave us an autograph book to start out our first trip. We are set to see the Characters and get their signatures on every page. Then I plan to put that character’s picture on the opposite page. I love it. My kids really think that these cute characters are real. It is just too much fun!

2. Character Call: This is so fun. I planned to have a Character from Disneyland call my kids the day before we leave. It is Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy’s voices in a recorded message to my kids. They say they are so excited for them to come and visit and will see them soon. Sooo Great!!

3. Matching Shirts: My sisters family went to Disneyland and there are sooo many of them. So they all wore Bright Green shirts. It was great, they could always find or spot one another. There are just 4 in my little family, but I think we will find some good matching shirts.

Family at Disneyland Parks - My Disney Side

**UPDATE**: Over the last 8 years, here are a few more posts we’ve shared about Disney vacations our family has traveled. Disney really is magical!

Here are some other prep tips for a Disneyland Adventure:

  • Before you Leave: What to do a month before, a week before, a day before.
  • Packing Tips: Everything and more that should be in your suitcase.
  • Wheelchairs: Here are some great tips if you are using a wheelchair at Disneyland.
  • Ride Max: They give the best time to ride the rides and what Fast passes to get!
  • Scoping the Parks: Some fun articles on Disneyland by MousePlanet.
  • Best Time to Visit: The best time of year, time of day to hit a ride, the best park to visit.


  1. Bree and Lindsay – we totally used the leash and it was a total must. I didn’t have to worry as much about her, and she did great. And those little animal leashes were everywhere there. Total saver.

    Rachel – You are killing me. I now know that it is Doing Disney, not going. We rested at good times and we did the parade one day, but then hit the rides at the other parades. And we had to start the day before the park opened!

    OCJEN – This last week was forsure the best time to go to Disneyland. There were no crowds, we practically walked on every ride. I don’t know if I can go anyother time now. With kids, I don’t think we could have waited in a line longer than 30 minutes.

  2. We used the same monkey leash you showed a picture of. It worked like a charm. We bought the leash specifically for the day at Disneyland and Mack thought it was the coolest thing (he even snuggled w/ the monkey when he’d lay down in his stroller – we just kept the harness on him the whole time). It also came in handy when we flew out a few weeks ago for the house-hunt. It was my saving grace traveling by myself w/ Mason in my Bjorn and Mack in the leash – you can imagine the looks I got! I’m interested to see how Lucy liked it, hopefully as well as her cousin…Tell Matty I can’t wait to see the autograph book once you put all the pics in – Have a blast!

  3. I agree with Rachel. If you have a hotel room nearby, stick to the nap schedule. That way everyone can still enjoy the rest of the day! As a “local” I have to say, you are choosing the BEST time of year to go. The weather is still perfect, and the lines really aren’t that long because everyone is back in school.

    If you get a chance to stop by a local grocery store, stock up on snacks. You can take them in! It saves you so much dough to take a few snacks for the kids and some drinks! Unless of course, you budget for that.

    Also, If you’re looking for a fun place to have lunch or dinner (that’s not in D-land), there is a Rain Forest Cafe at the end of Down Town Disney. The kids are sure to love it(warning: it can get very loud).

  4. ok marie we are obviously related because i think everyone should take a class in “disney prep”. it is a must before going to disneyland. you dont go to disneyland, you DO disneyland. its probably harder with little children because they can be so unpredictable and your plans could change a lot throughout the day. but you must do it right or its just not as fun. haha i am a little particular when it comes to doing disney. i have to be there right before it opens, or the day is lost. also another tip: if you dont LOVE the parades, skip them! skip the firework shows! its the best time to beat the crowds and ride all the rides. but i guess some people really like them. a nap mid day is a MUST. around 1:00 go back to the hotel, rest your feet and your eyes. eat a snack and get on your way! you will feel so much better if you take a break. sorry this is so long but i just love disneyland. i hope you have such a great time! you are prepared! haha! love you marie!

    p.s. if the line for finding nemo is too long, skip it. nemo wasnt worth it at all.

  5. I know the leash is super hard to suck-up and do, but when Peyton was 2 and Birkley was 5, I took them to Disneyland with my sister-in-law and her 2 year old. No husbands, just the 4 of us. She had bought leashes for the 2 year olds and it was the best things we ever did. I felt completely relieved because we weren’t the only ones using them, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!!! Peace of mind won out and I’m glad we had it! No lost children! I have a cute little “doggy backpack” that looks a lot like the picture you posted if you want to borrow it! Have Fun! P.S. Happy 30th! Welcome to the club!

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