Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What You Need to Know Before Taking the Family to Disneyland

When I graduated from high school, I got my very first "official" job working at Disneyland during the summer and holiday seasons.

Whenever I tell people this, they excitedly ask, "What did you do?"  (Like maybe I got to fly from the Matterhorn during the fireworks show or dance with Mickey on a parade float or something awesome like that.)

And then I tell them I worked Guest Control for the shows and parades, which basically means I stood on the sidewalk (with a flashlight wand) and told the guests where they could find the closest restroom or what time the next parade would start.

No, it wasn't glamorous, and I was paid just about minimum wage, but I loved every single day of work.

I got choked up on my first day because I was so happy to be there.  And I cried on my last day because I was SO SAD to leave.  And every day in between, at least one person would ask me if it was my first day of work because I would skip around the park enthusiastically, smiling, making new friends, and doing my best to spread that Disney magic.   

Disneyland was my element.

Fast forward seven years, and I was the mom of three preschoolers, living in an itsy bitsy apartment in Southern California, waiting until we found the right house to buy.

I looked around for a preschool I thought Alia would like, but then I discovered that for $99 a piece (that was the price back then), I could buy annual passes to Disneyland for me and Alia--and Grace and Ethan could get in free.

And that was the start of "The Perry Family's Disneyland Preschool."

Over the past eight years, we've had family passes on and off, when it's worked with our vacation budget and our family circumstances, and though I'm sure there are still tons of things I can learn, I can confidently call myself a "Master of Disneyland with Children." (Is that bragging?  I'm not trying to brag.  Please forgive me if it comes across that way, okay?)

So now that I've learned all of these things, what do I DO with them?

I've hesitated even talking about Disneyland on my blog or Power of Moms because I understand that not everybody has the opportunity to go to Disneyland.  (And some people don't even like Disneyland, which I honestly can't comprehend.)

But this idea of a "Disneyland Kit" has been in my mind for months, and so I'm currently in the process of putting together a downloadable resource to help parents really make the most of their Disney vacation.

It will most likely consist of an eBook, a planning template, and a couple of special downloads, and my hope is that it will bring lots of new friends to Power of Moms--as well as enable families to create wonderful vacation memories to last a lifetime.  (Seriously, parents invest thousands of dollars and weeks of vacation time--sometimes to travel across the globe to get here.  I want them to have the time of their lives.)

And it's been good for me to work on something so fun.

Saren and I spend hundreds of hours each year creating web pages, typing up newsletters, responding to emails, and figuring out lots of details for our website--which is well worth it, when we look at what an amazing community we get to be a part of--but sometimes I just need to open my computer and "type happy."

That's what this Disneyland Kit is for me.

So the reason I'm writing up this post is because I want to know if there's anything you think needs to be included in this Disneyland kit.

Do you know of any bloggers who are already talking about this? Do you have any favorite books on the subject or best app recommendations for a smart phone?  Do you have any advice you're dying to share?  (You can check out our Power of Moms Facebook thread if you want to see what's already been said.)

And if you have anything else to add, please email me or leave your ideas in the comments.

(If you have specific questions you'd like me to address in the kit, please leave those, as well.)

Thanks so much!



  1. Ha! I get that same response when I tell people I worked in the weddings and catering offices at Disneyland ... Followed by "People really get married there?" And a song from me "yes they doooo!" Good days. Living there with littles, it was so nice to spend an hour or two on a morning with a pass. A whole vacation wrapped around it seems like a lot. I love your idea of a survival guide.

  2. fast passes and stroller passes - the combo to a successful Disneyland trip with babies or toddlers, but only really works if you have two couples. knowing where the baby centers are throughout the park, using the locker storages if u don't wanna carry around a ton of stuff, and knowing the best kid friendly places to eat and rest (like the awesome shows - Aladdin!) Always bring a change of clothes for the kiddos, a bjorn or similar carrier for a baby along with a stroller, and lots of baby stuff (even if you leave it in the car, the hiked up prices at the baby center are NOT worth it), as well as PJs if you're planning on staying late. Go to the visitor's center for a birthday pin or a first time pin if those apply, and I think it'd be really neat if you included all the secret insider info just for fun (not to help people per say, but such fun info to know - like how the windows when you walk down Mainstreet are not proportional because they are huger to make you feel like a kid, how they pump out different smells depending on seasons to make it oh so wonderful, how there's a basketball court for VIP people inside the Matterhorn, Club 33, etc. - it's just fun info to know about!) We went to Club 33 right before I left the firm and one of my girlfriends has an awesome blogpost about it with insider photos to the whole ordeal, but you can also wikipedia a bunch of info about it. Anyway, good luck! Sounds like an awesome idea - i just hope it doesn't mean longer lines for us when we go now that everyone will know how to do it right hahaha.

  3. Hi April. I am a Disneyland fanatic who knows the park like the back of my hand--and I really, really know the back of my hand. So I consider myself a Disneyland pro. However, trying to take two infants and my toddler in October on UEA weekend when half of Utah invades Anaheim, we had a very mixed experience. I studied up on it before going, of course, but much of my information was incorrect.

    I detailed the hits and misses of our last trip in the blog post called "Disneyland: A Post In Which I Admit I Was Wrong"

    I hope it's of use to you and others.


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