For weeks and weeks before hand, I research and research the things that I want to show my family. Some things to consider when you start planning for your family.
1- Dining. If you are going to want to eat at any sit down restaurants in or around the park, CALL and make RESERVATIONS. There were so many places where people were hoping to get a spot for dinner. We made reservations for Ariel’s Grotto Princess Breakfast, Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast, Cafe Orleans and Storyteller’s Cafe Character Breakfast 60 days from arriving.
2- Places to stay. Are you staying on site, Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier or Grand Californian? Or off site?
3- How many days are you going to be going? If you are able to spread apart your days, you might get a more enjoyable stay. If not, consider prioritizing the must see, do and eat items of each person in your party.
4- Over health, age and demeanor of your party. Example: traveling with a toddler can make you move slower or help you get rider swap tickets. Are you going to be going across park or in a circle?
Over the next few days, I’ll be breaking down the different items in our trip. Half for memories sake and half for helpful tips.
Here is the timeline that you should consider as you start to plan your trip:
1 year out: Determine your budget for your trip. Do some research on costs, call a travel agent or two for quotes. Check into hotel costs, dining options in and out of the park. Every time we go, the trip ends up being about $1000 a person for 2-3 days in the park. You can drop that price significantly if you stay off site. Figure out your downpayment amount and divide the last parts of the payment by 10 payments and that is what you pay every month.
Download a ride app: Begin tracking the rides that you might want to ride and make note of patterns you see. Example: The Jungle Cruise drops in wait time immediately after the fireworks because people want out.
11 months out: Start putting money on to gift cards to pay for meals. Get a customized gift card from Disneyland for each kid and begin putting money they earn on it for Disneyland. Set up a planning binder to hold all your reservations and schedules for the trip.
60 days out: Begin to call for your dining reservations.
30 days out: Plan your rides and shows based on the lowest height of the smallest person in the party. Make your final payment for Disneyland.
20 days out: Begin to watch and expose your child to characters they might see and ask what they might ask them if they ever met them.
10 days out: Begin buying cheap glowsticks and light up items for night events.
5 days out: Purchase snacks and water bottles for the trip. Begin packing for trip, setting aside clean laundry and Disney items.
Enjoy your vacation!