When we told people we were going to take our two- and one-year-olds to Disneyland, we got some pretty varied reactions. I'd say anywhere from, "Oh, that will be SO MUCH FUN!" to "You guys are CRAZY." (Not to mention the few who were all, "Ew, Disneyland" to which I say YOU PEOPLE ARE MADE OF STONE.")
I was worried we were a little crazy, so I bought a guide book and read up on exactly how crazy it would be to take a two- and one-year-old to Disneyland. Just a little? Or wildly so? It was obvious Phillip and I wouldn't get to go on any of the big fancy rides. The book recommended taking advantage of this switching off thing, where you stand in line and one parent rides the ride, and when that parent is done the second parent can ride without having to get back at the end of the line. But we (or maybe I should say I) didn't want to do that. I don't like riding rides alone (especially the fast jerky scary kind) and I was going to Disneyland to have fun with my kids. Not ride the rides. So maybe it was a little crazy, because who knew if we'd go on any rides at all?
I read up on which rides were good for toddlers. A very few, if you're interested. They can GO on a lot of rides, but some are dark, some are anxious-making, some are confusing, some are disorienting. The Haunted Mansion is my favorite Disney ride, and the last thing I wanted to do was drag Jack into the Haunted Mansion, find out he was old enough to be scared, and have a kid at Disneyland for four days with no interest in going on any of the rides. When I was 9 my family went to Disneyland and I remember holding my sister in my lap in the Haunted Mansion, and not seeing any of the ride because I was busy being the Strongest Human Seatbelt in the world.
I read about strollers and which kind to take and how to make sure no one makes off with them. I spent an entire summer obsessing over hotels - within walking distance? On site? Suites? Bunk beds? I examined pictures of hotel swimming pools, trying to figure out which photos were the most altered. I pored through TripAdvisor (and if it wasn't six something in the morning and I had more of my wits about me, I would find for you this video of a British comedian making fun of people who write TirpAdvisor reviews OMG it is HILARIOUS and also TOTALLY ME.) So anyway, I was doing all of this stuff solely in the interest of making sure I wouldn't be TOO crazy for taking my two- and one-year-olds to Disneyland.
NOT TO WORRY.
Sure, it's hot. It's a long-ish walk. There are throngs of people and lots of waiting in line and standing around. And we've only been there one day so far, but my kids LOVE this place. Molly, who we've always known is a bit of a fearless daredevil, naturally likes the rides that whip her around. (And I'm not talking Splash Mountain here, give me some credit, more like the spinning teacups.) Her entire face disappears behind a huge and delighted open mouth, and her deep baby chuckles come gurgling out all at once. Jack, being older and therefore aware of what should make him nervous, held on to me for dear life when we met Mickey. But then he begged to go next door to meet Minnie. He likes anything vaguely reminiscent of a choo choo train (though Casey Jr. AND Storybook Land Canal Boats are both closed, BOO!) and I know this is super commercial of me, but I am DYING to take him to Playhouse Disney Live so he can see all his characters dancing on stage. Oh, and both those kids loved the parade, the few minutes we caught of it. There has been much dancing, a lot of pointing, a lot of "Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!" from Molly and "Wet's go see Mickey AGAIN," from Jack.
The hotel is awesome. The pool is double awesome. The walk is easy. The food is kid friendly. There are changing stations in every bathroom, mens' rooms included. I let Molly walk barefoot (wait, I HELPED her walk, this girl won't be walking for YEARS) because it's DISNEYLAND. It's CLEAN. We dropped some goldfish on the street and three seconds later a man was sweeping it up.
You will not be crazy to take your small children to Disneyland, my friends. And do it now, because once they turn three YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR THEM. And that? will be painful. This may be the happiest place on earth, but you pay for what you get!