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Old 12-05-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
AZpharmacist
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Planning my daughter's first trip to Disneyland!

Hi everyone! I'm new to the board and just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Amber and I am planning my daughter's first Disneyland trip for next winter. She's 4 months now and will be around 16 months then. I hope she will be old enough to enjoy it.

My first trip to Disneyland was when I was 2 months old! I don't know how my parents did it. I grew up in LA but moved to Arizona for high school and have only been to Disneyland once since then. My husband took me 3 years ago. I've never been to DCA and can't wait to go!

I'm planning a 4 day trip in either November or December. I want to go for the holidays, but not around Christmas or Thanksgiving. Any suggestions on days of the week? I also would like to stay nearby since my baby will need naps. I don't know if I should stay at one of the Disney resorts or not. If I don't, I may be able to squeeze in an extra vacation next year. Anyone have any suggestions on hotels in walking distance?
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:59 AM   #2
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That's so exciting, you'll have a great time! I'm not the biggest expert on walking distance hotels, but there are a few on Harbor that are pretty close. Tropicana, Del Sol, Park Vue, Best Western, Fairfield Inn, Ramada Maingate. I would suggest looking now and if they're not listed on Orbitz, Priceline, lastminutetravel, etc for your dates then call the hotel itself and they may have rooms available directly through them.

Best days to go, I would think, are Monday-Thursday but even then, during the holidays..especially winter break, it's going to be more crowded than on a regular weekday. We're going from Jan 2-4 and I know it's going to be pretty crowded, but I'm still super excited! Hope others can chime in and help you out a little more
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:51 PM   #3
crystal1313
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How exciting! We really love the Candy Cane Inn. It's within walking distance, has a free breakfast and free parking. I also has a free shuttle. It's nice because you don't have to cross Harbor when walking, it's on the same side of the road as the park! It's super clean and quiet. We usually go the first week in December.

I've taken my boys at two months, 10 months, 14 months, 22 months and a bunch of other times too. I think the biggest life saver at the parks for little ones are the baby centers. Disneyland has one on Main street, next to the photo supply store and near the little red corn dog wagon. And DCA has one in the Pacific Wharf area, behind Ghiradeli. They are warm, have padded changing tables (much nicer then the ones in the bathrooms), private nursing areas, high chairs, microwave, training toilets, and they sell baby items in case you lose or forget something! They are awesome and a nice little escape from the hustle and bustle of the parks.

I think going back to the room is a great idea. My boys LOVE the parks, but they needed breaks too. The sights and sounds can be overwhelming. I also make sure to pack lots and lots of snacks and we take breaks often to eat a snack and refuel.

I think you will all have a wonderful time! Christmas at the parks is truly magical!
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Old 12-06-2013, 12:49 AM   #4
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Those baby care centers sound amazing! I'll definitely pack lots of snacks. I'm really hoping she won't be overwhelmed. And I hope she loves Disneyland as much as I do! I know they say no TV before 2, but I'm just dying for her to be old enough to see some of my favorite Disney !movie.

Do babies need a car seat for the shuttle? And how often to shuttles run? I prefer to be in walking distance in case she has a melt down. Although those baby care centers sound like a nice place to calm her down if I need to. Hopefully, it will be ok. She's always well behaved at the mall. Its being at home that my baby doesn't like.

Thank you both for the suggestions!
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:13 AM   #5
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16 months is definatly old enough. Our 1st DD had her first trip at 19 months, our #2 DD for her first birthday and our 3rd DD will be going at 7 months.
Mine have loved the characters at this age and one of my all time favorite disney memories is Chip playing peek a boo with DD#2 on her 1st bithday while she chuckled away.
No advice re Nov/Dec dates, we are hoping to go xmas 2015 to either DL or WDW and would be there within the 3 weeks before xmas.
We have stayed at the Hojo last year and are booked there again this year, it is in walking distance and the rooms are a great size (even by the time we put up a porta cot, double stroller and 5 suitcases!)
I can't justify staying on site at DL. At WDW it seems much better value for money so we do but at DL there are so many hotels almost or as close and the price difference is so vast (I am tempted to do one night at DLH for my 30th for my trip next year just to try it out)
Our girls have napped in the stroller on all of our trips (DL and otherwise) or the frontpack when they are really little. We just put a sunshade over and give them their "stuff" (dummy, teddy or blankie child dependant) and this has meant that it has saved us some time, allowed us to do some things while they sleep etc (we also never do rope drop because of the time difference for us so its often 10.30-12 before we even enter the park.)
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Old 12-06-2013, 01:32 AM   #6
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Hi Amber! I'm from Arizona too. We just got back from Disneyland last week. We went during the crazy Thanksgiving time but it was still good. My daughter is 15 months old and did pretty good. She was terrified of the character our first night when we went to Goofy's kitchen but warmed up to them by our last day there LOL. The baby centers are wonderful! It is more relaxing and easier to change their diapers (a place to set your diaper bag and all the stuff you get out). You don't need to a car seat for shuttles. We were at a hotel that wasn't walking distance. Definitely would have been nicer to have one close by. I saw that the Best Western was right across from park entrance. You do have to cross Harbor but it seems ok to me. I don't know if you would consider something to cover her ears. The parades, shows and fireworks are pretty loud and can wake them up if they happen to be sleeping at that time. Mine has fallen asleep in the stroller and then woke up crying from the noise. I wish I would have had ear plugs or ear miffs for her.
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Old 12-06-2013, 02:18 PM   #7
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I'll look into the best western and hojo. I'm glad I done need a car seat for a shuttle. I hadn't thought about it before starting to plan this trip.


Mummabear, I'm glad your baby enjoyed the characters. Was she old enough to recognize any of them? The cost of the DLH really seems outrageous compared to other hotels in the area. It seems justifiable for WDW but not DLR. I think I'll just save up for a nice WDW week when DD is over 4. Florida is just such a long plane ride for us.

Mrsashbaugh, please tell me more about your trip! Are you doing a trip report? I'd love to hear about how many days you went for, the rides and attractions you went on and the food. Where did you stay at? Earphones are a great idea! I would never have thought of it, but it would make naps a lot easier
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Old 12-06-2013, 04:18 PM   #8
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Sorry, Candy Cane is within walking distance. If you are looking at a map, it's behind the cars land mountains. =) I've read lots of people say that they used the free shuttle on the way home because they were tired. My DH and I walked (pushing the kiddos in a stroller) and were fine. We are fast walkers and got to the gates within 6 min I believe. Really convenient. And our boys feel asleep on the walk back =)
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:29 PM   #9
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Thanks Crystal. 6 minute walk is not bad at all! Hopefully my baby will be as good in her stroller as your boys. She hasn't had much stroller experience yet. Just at the mall for short periods of time. Let me know if you write wa trip report
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:14 AM   #10
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You may want to look into Desert Inn and Suites as well for a close hotel. We haven't stayed there yet (will be there in less than 7 weeks now!). It's closer than HoJo; you walk out the driveway, pass Park Vue, and cross at the crosswalk in front of Best Western Park Place. If you do HoJo, you have to walk through the parking lot, past 4 hotels and 2-3 restaurants, if I remember correctly. People always talk about how close it is, and it is "close" but not as close as many other hotels, yet it's priced the same or above Best Western Park Place, which is literally across the street from the pedestrian entrance!

The thing that draws us to the "close Harbor" hotels (ie, Best Western Park Place, Park Vue, Desert Inn) is that they are seriously closer than the on-site hotels when you compare the walks to the main gates, and so much less expensive! And, of course, being so close makes it easy-peasy to get back to the room in a hurry in case of an unexpected issue. In our case, when DD was 16mos, she was infamous for her blow-out bowels, so we always needed to be close to a bathroom where we could wash her up. Walking 15+ minutes back to the hotel wouldn't have been a nice option had we taken her at that age! My grandsons are just over that age, and they tend to go from happy to seriously ticked off in about 3.2 seconds, without any forewarning, which is another reason I would go with the closest hotel I could reasonably afford. If you plan/reserve early, Desert Inn is amazingly cheap--we have a 2 queen room for $69/night for our upcoming trip. Other hotels with similar rooms are all over $100/night, and may be a longer walk!

When Baby needs some down time, there's lots that can still be done around the parks, if you are blessed with a stroller-napper (my niece wasn't, my DD was, my grandsons aren't, LOL). There's plenty of shows (Aladdin, Great Moments with Mr Lincoln, It's Tough to Be a Bug), and just generally quieter areas (the grotto on the side of the castle, the Main Street train station, the Disney Gallery [great show they run about the history of Disneyland in there!], the wharf in DCA, the gardens near the restrooms in Carsland, etc). And, as others have mentioned, those Baby Centers!

I'd consider getting an "extended canopy" for your stroller. Maybe something like this: http://www.amazon.com/RayShade%C2%AE...nopy+extension to keep the sun out of Baby's eyes while they are awake, and keep the sun off them while they are sleeping (easier to drape a blanket over and keep them covered, but in my experience, the regular canopies on strollers just never actually block any sun!

Don't forget sunscreen, even in the winter months!

Have a GREAT trip! It sounds like so much fun!
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:36 AM   #11
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We have taken children that age (or younger) to DLR. The only downer is not being able to ride the big kid rides and having to parent swap/switch off if you want to experience the rides yourself. First time we went, our middle child was 17 months, and more recently we went and our youngest was 7-8mos. They each had a great time.

For lodgings, we only stay at the GCH. Its expensive, but totally worth it for us. We'll be doing two trips in 2014, a weekend for Dapper day (half price hotels FTW), and probably 5-6 days in October if everything goes to plan.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:19 PM   #12
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We usually go 3-4 days. At that age my boys would just share off of our plates. Plus the snacks they really like at that age. We would buy a half gallon of milk for the hotel room too. When our boys were little we stayed at the paradise pier. One for convenience. bad two for cleanliness. My boys touched everything at that age and I wanted to make sure where we stayed was super clean. Especially the floors because they crawled around and played cars on the floor a lot.

They loved all the fantasyland attractions. IASW especially. And tiki room! They still love the tiki room! Jungle cruise, toontown, buzz, autopia, rockets, pirates, hm, pooh, Tom Sawyer island!
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