Visiting Disneyland is a rite of passage. All things Disney are symbolic of fun, joy and every kid’s favorite place on earth. Whether you love old school Disney or the new characters of today, you can find what your heart desires at Disneyland.

That being said, enjoying Disneyland is a skill. I went to the most magical place on earth a few years ago without bringing any kids. And after the first sight of a whining 5-year-old, I was glad that I didn’t. But I realized that was backward. Isn’t Disneyland made for kids? Disneyland is geared toward kids, young and old.

So why is the happiest place on earth often a parent’s nightmare?

Chalk up the nightmare to over-stimulation, hunger or a bad case of the gimmies. But it is true, Disneyland can turn from the happiest place on earth to hell on earth in 5 seconds.

Thankfully, you can avoid Disney meltdown and enjoy a wonderful dream-filled day with your family (kids included) with these easy and simple tips.

  • Keep the troops fed. Hunger is the death of all things fun. It zaps out energy, puts people on edge and turns everyone (adults, too) into monsters. The best way to avoid this kind of meltdown is to keep the troops fed. Fill your bag (or fanny pack) with easy to eat snacks such as granola bars, fruit and jerky. And sufficient water is a must. And with Disney-filled day you must eat at least one good meal in the park. If you can afford it, choose one of the great themed restaurants. But if you are worried about money, bring in a sandwich from outside. Thankfully, Disney will allow you to bring outside food into the park.
  • Avoid the gimmies. You have to accept that Disney is a business. Along with enjoying the park, Disney execs are hoping that you will buy trinkets from one of the many gift shops throughout the park. From Mickey Mouse ears, stuffed animals and character-themed t-shirts, the gift shops are designed to lure in children. Who have parents with money. It is only natural for a child to want everything he or she sees in that gift shop. But the only way for you to avoid spending all of your money or to avoid potential meltdowns is to make a plan. Decide how much you are able to let each child spend. Tell your child the budget and allow them to spend it how he or she wants to. But remind them that once the money is spent, they cannot buy anything else. This will give your child control but will help you keep a budget.
  • Prioritize. If you are only in the park for a limited time, make sure you prioritize your time. Missing out on a favorite ride due to lack of time can crush a child. Take advantage of the Fast Pass system to help you enjoy the rides that you want.

You can survive Disneyland with kids. Just take a deep breath and enjoy.


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