A trip to Disneyland with three kids?
My head is spinning just thinking about it.
It’s daunting and exciting all at once!
Here you’ll find the best aps, sites to get Disney apparel, and places to stay for your next trip to “the place with the ears”.
I can’t believe the moment is here. This trip has been planned for nearly a year. Now it’s only 5 days away!! I’ve learned that the trick to keeping a big trip like this secret from your kids is to treat it like fight club. Don’t talk about it. If you’ve thought about what it would look like to plan a trip to Disneyland for your family, I have the best tips and tricks for you.
First off, I am a huge fan of finding the right ratio of kids per adults when vacationing. My kids are 8, 4 and 1 1/2. In Disneyland, that means three different activity levels, events and rides my kids are going to be into. My oldest is tall enough for the “big kid” rides. The four year-old will be insanely jealous if he has to wait in long lines with his brother only to have one parent take the oldest on the ride. Rori, the one and a half year-old will be thrilled if she spends her days meeting the characters. For us, we chose to invite my parents plus the godparents. That gives us one set of adults per kid. Plus we love hanging out with them. They’re pretty cool people.
Where To Stay At Disneyland
With our big crew going, we looked at hotels and package deals. We decided to rent a house through airbnb. Not only does this give us more space, but it gives us the opportunity to cook full meals, let the kids play in the backyard, and have a nice big living room where we can all hang out. The cost of the house split between 3 families came out to just under $150 a night for each of us. That included a cleaning deposit and taxes. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me! To try airbnb, click here for a $35 credit! We booked a house that is within walking distance to the park, and you can see the Disney fireworks from the backyard. Although hotels are nice, they don’t always accommodate for families.
The second thing we did was buy the tickets directly through Disneyland.com. I did my research and the only great deals were with a hotel package, which is not what we wanted. For a 4-day pass, I got the price down to $70 a person a day. Every other site I looked at that could offer a better price was not reputable and I couldn’t distinguish clearly if they were legitimate Disney tickets. I am NOT going to be that person who arrives at the gates of Disneyland only to find out my tickets aren’t authentic!
Plus, if you buy directly through Disney.com, you can link the Disneyland ap to it and scan your tickets right from your phone. No more printing out the tickets and freaking out that you forgot them somewhere!! I’m not the only one who does that right?? The Disneyland ap also lets you reserve a restaurant directly from your phone, check height requirements on rides, and lets you know about events happening that day.
The second ap I highly recommend is MouseWait. This ap tells you about the wait times for rides!!! I can’t even believe this one. I remember going as a kid and my mom had the AAA travel guide for Disneyland that told us the best time to get on Space Mountain was at 6am. We woke up so early! I was grouchy and super “unthrilled” about Disneyland that day. This ap will not only save you time, but will help you have happy kids who don’t have to wait in long lines all day!!
Souvenirs and Apparel
As for the apparel and random souvenirs that come with going to a place like this, we chose 3 strategies.
- We bought each of the kids a Disney shirt through Amazon. Partly this was our fun way of surprising the kids. We had them open the shirts as presents so they could find out where we were going on vacation. Second, now they have a shirt to wear for the first day there! I didn’t do the whole matching shirt thing for everyone, but I did want them all to at least have a Disney shirt on for the first day so we could get a group picture!!
- I bought each of my boys a Disney gift card. This is for them to get something fun at the gift shop, but with a limit. I know how tempting those shops are and while I’m fine with us coming home with some souvenirs, I am trying to avoid the “gimmies”. You know what I mean, the attitude and whining that comes with every passing shop because your child saw something new and shiny that they must have. I really want to enjoy this trip, and hopefully not have the kids melting in a pool of selfishness over some Star Wars toy they need in their life causing us to miss a parade or something.
- We decided that the kids can get one snack a day at the park, but other than that we are eating a snack we bring in our backpacks. This will do two things for us. One, it will keep our spending under control and two it will help us avoid getting sick. Our family eats real food and while we don’t mind an occasional treat, it will definitely not feel good if it becomes an entire week of exceptions. I plan to grocery shop when we get to LA. We will be cooking turkey burgers, crockpot pasta sauce, rotisserie chicken with rubies & rice side dish, and tuna patties for the dinners. For breakfasts we’re making lots of eggs and toast, cassava waffles, pancakes and bacon, and oatmeal. Lunches are just left overs or sandwiches.
Rolling Through The Park
How about maneuvering through the park with kids? We researched all kinds of ideas and purchased this stroller attachment. It’s a great way to allow for another kid to get a ride without having to invest in a double stroller. It can be a seat or a standing board. My boys are in love with it! We tried it out before the big trip. It works best for my 4 and 1 1/2 year old. Since we own a Baby Trend Jogger, this is a huge benefit. This specific jogger can actually hold our 8-year old if needed and our 4 year-old can sit on the front (he’s pretty little). Rori can sit in the attachment! So if we do get stuck in a long line our kids can rest their feet for a bit. We can also easily interchange Rori and Sam between the front and back depending on who is the most tired. While we did spend a little over $100 for the attachment, I know it is a great investment, and will make our trip much more enjoyable!
There you have it! Our trip has been paid completely and we used all cash. No credit cards or debt. We set aside money each month, looked up the costs of things early and knew what to expect. We are a one income family, but since I started this website I’ve turned it into a business! So while my husband’s job paid for most of this trip, my job paid for some of it too. How cool is that??
Vacationing is so fun with a big group. More than that, we find it is necessary to our health. If we don’t plan get-aways regularly, we seem to feel “blah” and less focused what’s going on around us. Allow yourself to rest, see some neat places and change the scenery! Don’t believe me? Here is an entire article about why traveling is good for you.