Disneyland-Tips, Tricks, and Reviews

Here are my top tips and tricks for your trip to Disneyland so it really can be the happiest place on earth for you.  Also towards the end of the post check out my reviews of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Ariel's Grotto.

1.  Disney Countdown

We've been working on the days of the week anyways so it was perfect to use the calendar as a countdown to Disneyland.  It was a fun way to amp up for our trip.

We also have a "days until..." chalkboard so I put a Disney printable by it and Emily changed the number of days each day.

 2.  Pack
Don't buy your Disney gear from Disney check out places like Walmart, Target, Sears, Costco, Kohl's and Old Navy.  I go Disney crazy and have everything Disney down to the wipes, diapers, and undies.   Another huge tip is don't ever buy a Disney princess dress.  I had Anna and Elsa dresses made locally at Sugar & Spice.  They are way more comfortable, cute and much cheaper.  For the  non-Disney items I raid the Dollar Store.  I bought items like glow necklaces and bracelets, rain ponchos, Disney magic towels, candy, chips, trail mix, and games for the car.

Here is a VERY small selection of our gear:
Emily's Outfit- Kohls, Shoes- Walmart.  Madi's Outfit- Old Navy, Sugar & Spice, Shoes-Mine from 30 years ago.

Emily's Sweater- Costco, Minnie Shirt- Old Navy  Madi's Sweater- Sears, Minnie Shirt- Old Navy.
Custom made Elsa Dress.
Custom made Anna Dress (with turtleneck under it).

I used the glow bracelets and necklaces for the parades at night.  Saved a ton of money and Emily loved them!
Part of my packing/shopping prep was purchasing Disney gift cards at Target.  This is a GENIUS idea I heard about.  I have a Target RedCard and get 5% off EVERYTHING.  I purchased several Disney gift cards from Target and so I got 5% off.  We used the gift cards for food, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and souvenirs.  You can thank me later for this genius tip!

Also don't forget to bring your own food, ziplock baggies, napkins, and utensils.  I bought Uncrustables along with several snacks for the park.  I then loaded up a small cooler bag (don't forget to pack this) that I threw in the stroller each morning.  This way the girls could have sandwiches and snacks any time they wanted them.  When you're running from ride to character to ride you don't always have time to stop for lunch.  This eliminated some meltdowns and made for a happier trip.  You are also allowed 1 bottled water per person.  This saved us a ton of money.  

The last non-DUH item to pack is a backpack.  I'm used to carrying a large purse and having an prepared arsenal in it.  However Disneyland is not the place for a purse.  We used a backpack instead and that way when you have to leave the stroller behind you just grab the backpack and everything is zipped up so no lost items on rides.

3. Autograph Books
I made custom Autograph Books which does save a little bit of money but I mostly do it because I love that the girls have something unique and I get to put a little love into them.  I found the inspiration HERE.  I made them a little smaller than the original template and added a few pages.  

The girls got to open their autograph books when we got to the hotel.

4.  Planning Itinerary
Part of my planning includes checking the Disneyland Website to plan your trip and events.
Find that info HERE.  This way you know exactly when the parades, shows, and events are taking place.  I then created an itinerary on my Notes in my iPhone so I knew exactly what was on our bucket list each day.

5.  Car Trip Ready!!!
I was nervous about the long car ride with a 4 year old and 20 month old so I prepped big time for the car ride.  I packed a backpack full of tricks which included my iPad with a Speck iGuy cover, Would You Rather Disney Edition found HERE,  I spy Bingo Game found HERE, lots of Disney coloring books, crayons, a binder with games, their blankies, and a small Anna and Elsa doll.  We did fabulously on the car ride; I was so pleasantly surprised.  Madi loved watching a movie and Emily loved playing all the games.  Also I individually wrapped several small gifts as rewards for good behavior.  If the girls were acting well they got to open a gift or get a $1 to add to their wallets to spend in Disneyland.

6. Apps you need before you leave.
  Mousewait- Tells you the wait times for all the rides and how long until the next show, parade, meet and greet, and more.
  Waze- The fastest route to any destination.  LA traffic is unbearable!
  Charades- Like Heads Up but free and is a great way to kill time waiting in line.

7. Rider Switch Pass
If you have little ones that can't go on rides you must use rider switch pass.  When entering a line you tell a cast member that you need a rider switch pass.  You then go on the ride and then one person switches with the person who was watching the kids and then you go back on the ride.  For example, my mom waited with the girls, Kevin and I rode Radiator Springs, after we finished Kevin waited with girls and my mom and I used the pass to get right back on the ride.  You get to go in the Fast Pass lane with the rider switch pass and it's good for up to 3 people with no time limit.

8. Waiting in Line
If you don't have a Fast Pass or Rider Switch Pass and you do find yourself waiting in line I have a few ideas for killing time.  Adults played Charades/ Heads Up which is an app (see above).  When we were waiting in line with the girls we used the time to eat snacks or play I Spy..., or even have a dance party.  I would turn on music on my phone and we would dance.

9. Photos
Don't ever pay for a ride photo!  Just take a picture of the screen with your phone.
Speaking of photos I only took my iPhone because my DSLR is so heavy and then tried to utilize the Disney photographers as much as possible.  After your trip you can view your photos online and a cd of every photo is $69.95.  

10. Downtown Disney the day you are leaving.
  Don't waste your time in Downtown Disney when you are paying to be inside the parks.  We saved Downtown Disney for our last day because we didn't have park tickets that day.  We did shopping, exploring, and grabbing food on our last day.  We also saved souvenir shopping for Downtown Disney.


Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

This boutique is inside the park of Disneyland right on the other side of the castle.  This was the best money spent for our little princess.  We did the Crown Package ($59.95) which was the base package but we were more than happy.  A tip I heard before our trip that I want to share with you is to bring your own princess dress.  Upon checking in I gave the dress to our fairy godmother and she set it up in a dressing room.  So without the price tag Emily still got the full experience.  Emily got changed and then her fairy godmother, Ariel escorted her to her chair for her transformation.  Emily got to pick 1 of 3 hairstyles and then Ariel got right to work.  Someone else did her makeup and nails at the same time.  After hair, nails, and makeup Ariel sprinkled Emily with fairy dust.  Then the big reveal.... They open the curtains to a magical mirror and the look on Emily's face was too PRICELESS!!!
Ariel was seriously the best.  I'm not sure if you can request a fairy godmother but I would definitely try if you are making a trip to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  She was so caring and never broke character.  She was the icing on the cake for the whole experience.
I also loved the feel of the boutique.  I really debated between Anna and Elsa's boutique in Downtown Disney and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  Now that we've experienced Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and I checked out Anna and Elsa's boutique during our trip hands down you have to do Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!!!!  I was nervous Emily would be disappointed because she loves Frozen so much but there is no comparison.  The staff at Anna and Elsa's look like normal people where the cast members at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique are in character including their dress.  Furthermore, Anna and Elsa's is a small store where about 4 chairs are just part of the store for the makeovers.  Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique has a separate area for the makeovers and dressing rooms as well.  There just is no comparison between the two.
We give Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique two thumbs up, a 10, or five stars!!!

They even sprinkled Madi with pixie dust.

Ariel's Grotto

We heard just the best things about Ariel's Grotto so we made reservations for lunch.  We were told to eat inside because the princesses visit inside first.  This actually was a big mistake if you ask me (more on that in a bit).  Ariel's Grotto is a pre-fix menu and we didn't find it outrageously pricey.  It was fabulous that Madi was free.  The menu is geared towards seafood in keeping with the theme.  The food was good but we didn't get to enjoy it at all.  As soon as our food was delivered the princesses started coming around.  Then about every 4-6 minutes a new princess would come by.  So that was enough time to get both girls back in their seats and take one bite and then get them out again to meet the princesses.  It was so hectic and not that enjoyable for us.  We were also a tiny bit disappointed because we saw 3 of 5 princesses already the day before.  I wouldn't deter anyone from going here but you would want to ask to be seated towards the end of the line so you could actually eat your food.  It would have been much better if we got to eat before or after all of the meet and greets.
I give this one thumbs up.

Each girl got a crown to decorate with stickers and a menu to color.  This was a nice touch.

This drink was amazing and much needed during this crazy lunch, lol!

Dessert plate was amazing!

See all our trip photos by checking out Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 & 4.

1 comment :

  1. Such great tips! We are visiting in the fall and was wondering how long the bibbidi boppity boutique experience was! Thank you!!