Disneyland | diysisters.com

Have you decided to take the plunge and plan a Disney vacation?  Maybe for spring break? In that case…

You’re going to Disneyland!

First, jump up and down and yell like a kid.  This is exciting stuff!

Next, take a deep breath.  Taking your kids to Disneyland is a big deal.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be too complicated.

When Nick and I decided to take our family to Disneyland last year, I started by poking around Pinterest and the Internet to gather information.  My recommendation?  Do this, but not too much.  There is a plethora of information and advice out there, and it is easy to become inundated.  (Like how I used plethora and inundated in one sentence?  Busting out the big words today!  Hey, I have to use that English double major somehow, right?!)

I quickly became overloaded with information.  And with that overload can come the pressure.  When you start to see how organized one mom was, and how prepared another was, you can start to feel like you have to use every idea and tip out there.  That’s how I felt.  That, coupled with pressure from myself to get the absolute best deal possible.

And then I realized, hey, we are simply taking our kids to an amusement park.  It doesn’t have to be so complicated.

I browsed around, searched the Internet, but did not make it my new all-consuming task (if you are my mom or my sisters, you know what I mean!).  We purchased our Disneyland tickets through MouseSavers.com.  We got four day park-hopper tickets for the price of three days.  It doesn’t matter if someone out there once upon a time got a better deal than you.  What matters is if you find a deal that you can live with.

I also poked around the Internet and we booked a room at Tropicana Inn & Suites.  Our criteria was location and price.  I wanted parking and breakfast included, but didn’t get it.  What I did get was a room right across the street from the main gate, with a fridge and microwave, for $99 per night.  That was for six of us (shhh) in one room.

One blog I read said that you needed to start planning your Disney vacation one year in advance.  Yikes!  Well, we certainly didn’t do that.  When we started planning we broke it down to make it easier.  Transportation.  Accommodation.  Disneyland.  We bought the Disneyland tickets.  We booked the room.  And we decided to drive the mini-van.  Pretty easy.

So then I spent the rest of the summer working on my Disney crafts (see list at bottom of post).  And I did continue to casually browse Pinterest.  I had a composition notebook (love these!) that I used to keep notes and make lists.  I am a total list person!

Disneyland | diysisters.com

 To get back to keeping Disneyland simple, we are thrilled with the way our trip turned out.  I read blog posts on how to map out Disneyland to make sure you fit everything in.  What we did instead was let the kids be our guide.  We asked the kids what was the most important thing to them that we do.  The overwhelming answer was to see Elsa and Anna from Frozen.  So that was the first thing we did on the first day.  And we waited in line for almost 3 hours to do it.  Mostly Nick waited, and I took the kids on the rides nearby.  It was totally worth it.  You are guaranteed of seeing Elsa or Anna, but we lucked out and saw both!  And they spent almost 10 minutes with our kids!  After that we had lunch, that we had brought in, and then we concentrated on Fantasyland.

Each day we mostly focused on one or two lands (areas of the park).  We planned around the lines and wait times, and tried to time things so we didn’t have to wait as long.  If we saw a ride with a short line we jumped in it.  We used wait time apps on our smartphones to help us with this.  And beyond that we went with what the kids wanted to do.  I didn’t want Disneyland to be a lot of “no” and “we have to go do this now.”  And I really didn’t want to spend all this time, energy, and money and go home with the kids remembering only that they didn’t get to do this or that.

Disneyland | diysisters.com

 So when Patrick really wanted to go on a horse drawn street car, we did, twice!  And when Olivia had her heart set on the Alice in Wonderland ride, we made sure to make it happen.  We waited until a time that the line was shorter, but we made it a priority.  And when Nora asked if we could visit a wishing well, we did!  We hunted down princesses, and waited in lines.  We rode the Monorail, which Nora was fascinated with and intent on riding.  We saw Minnie Mouse twice, because Olivia wasn’t wearing her Minnine Mouse visor the first time and really wanted Minnie to see it!  And when Nora saw the Royal Theatre and wanted to watch a show, we did!  We watched the parade, and saw the fireworks from our hotel room.  In short, we did everything the kids wanted to do.

Disneyland | diysisters.com

 And because of this, our trip was awesome!  It was very little stress while we were there.  Yes, it was hot, and yes, it was crowded, but there was something peaceful about just doing what the kids wanted to do.  Sometimes we had to make choices.  We didn’t have time for both the Mark Twain steamwheel boat and the sailing ship Columbia, so we asked the kids to choose (the sailing ship won out).  And we couldn’t visit Mickey Mouse the first time we were in Toon Town because Patrick was asleep, so we came back another day.

It all worked out, and we didn’t have to be tied to a schedule, or list.

So, in terms of keeping your trip simple, first, breathe, second, remember it’s just a trip to an amusement park, and last, relax and have fun!