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  1. #1

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    Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    I've started a series of Disneyland Tips for Toddlers on my website, DaddyDan.net, and I thought I'd share them here on MiceChat:

    Just before the Babito's 1st birthday, we bought annual passes for Disneyland, and it has been a great investment. Since that time, we've taken him 34 times. Sometimes our visits are for the entire day and other times we just stop by for a few hours.

    Through these many visits, I've learned a lot of useful tips that have made our trips more enjoyable. I'm going to share these tips here, through a series of posts. I hope it will make your trip to Disneyland all it can be.

    Today's post will cover parking at Disneyland. It may seem like a boring topic, but these tips may save you a lot of hassle, especially if you're taking a stroller with you.

    Most people just drive right into Disneyland's massive parking structure and park. Let's walk through that daunting experience with a stroller.
    Once you get a parking spot you have to make your way to the elevators, where you may or may not be greeted with a long line. This line is nothing compared to the long lines, and waits, you'll experience at the trams.
    I have tips for handling the parking structure at the end of this post, but first, I have a better alternative.

    On Harbor Boulevard there is a small parking lot with 15 minute parking for passenger drop-offs. We always stop there and I drop off my wife, the Babito, and, most importantly, the stroller. The entrance to Disneyland is a very short walk from that parking lot.



    I then go park the car and meet them inside. There are several advantages to this gameplan:
    • You avoid the long lines for the tram. It's much easier to get on the tram if you're by yourself. My tip is to go to the back of the tram, where strollers are allowed. The non-stroller section of the last car usually has a very short line. It's especially important to avoid the tram at the end of the day, when the lines to take the tram back to the parking structure are really long.
    • It gives your toddler extra time in Disneyland. In the morning, my wife usually takes Babito on a ride or two while I park the car. In the evening, she'll shop in the souvenir ships or change his diaper while she waits for me to get the car.
    • If your toddler is asleep at the end of the day, you won't have to wake him up. You are required to remove children from strollers while riding on the tram.
    • When you enter through Harbor Boulevard, the line to get through security is a lot shorter than the security line on the tram side.
    The sea of strollers at Disneyland:





    If you don't want to do the drop-off at the Harbor Boulevard parking lot, or can't because you're alone with your toddler, here's some helpful hints on parking:
    • The front and back cars of every tram allow you to load your stroller without emptying it and folding it up.
    • Always use the back car of the tram. Disney uses the front car for the handicapped as well as strollers, so the line will take longer.
    • When you go through the gate to enter parking, ask the cast member if you can park in the Pinocchio or Chip & Dale parking lot. These lots are on the ground level close to the trams. Sometimes they'll let you and sometimes they won't, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
    • If the lines are especially long for the trams, there is a pathway where you can walk to the Disneyland entrance. The walk takes less than 10 minutes. That's usually what I do when I'm there alone with Babito.
    • Don't leave right after the fireworks. The lines for the tram are crazy. Leave shortly before the fireworks or stay around a while after the firework show is over. Another option is to watch the fireworks from the main entry plaza between Disneyland and California Adventure and head for the trams as soon as the show is over. You can also get a good view of the fireworks from the parking structure.
    One last tip: Don't rent a stroller from Disneyland. They seem uncomfortable for the kids, they're expensive ($12), there is not much room for storage, and most importantly, no drink holders!

    Here's a picture of the strollers Disneyland has available for rental:



    I hope these tips are helpful. If you have any additional tips on parking, I'd love to hear about them.

    My next post in this series (at DaddyDan.net) will cover Toddler-Friendly Rides at Disneyland.


  2. #2

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    Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    Hey thanks for these great tips! Will you ever discuss a sample itinerary for the day at DLfor toddlers on your site?

  3. #3

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    Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    Great post, thank you. I am usually alone with my grandson. We go early in the morning, so the lines for the elevator and tram aren't too bad. Of course, he considers both of these "rides," so a short wait isn't a problem. We do walk to the entrance about half the time.

    He is old enough now, that I let him hand the parking pass to the attendant. He enjoys it and it makes him feel that he has an important role in going to Disneyland.

  4. #4

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    Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    Those are some great tips!

    I especially like the one about dropping your spouse and child off on Harbor Blvd first. I wish I'd thought of that when DIP Jr was a toddler.

    The only thing I don't think is a good idea is asking the CM to park in Pinocchio or Chip and Dale. This goes for any of the parking lots. I think you need to be courteous to the other guests in line waiting to park and not ask unnecessary questions at the booths. I've been stuck behind people having conversations with the booth CMs that last several minutes and it is very frustrating when you are trying just to park your car so you can enjoy your day at Disneyland. If you drop your child off ahead of time it shouldn't make any difference where you park. If it is too far or inconvenient you can pick them up on Harbor as well.

    Also, if you are dropping them off on Harbor I wouldn't drive to the structure to park. You might as well park in the Harbor Blvd area lots such as Timon, Pumbaa, and now Gardenwalk. These lots are much more convenient than the structure anyway so you may as well take advantage of the fact that they are closer to the park and the Harbor drop-off area.

  5. #5

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    Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    Had never thought of the drop off at Harbor Blvd. The only problem I have with that is that my daughter and wife actually LIKE riding the tram (or the 'choo-choo' as the daughter calls it).

    I definitely recommend the rear car on the tram, you don't have to fold up your stroller! When it's full of diaper-bags and merchandise, not having to unload it is awesome.

    In the park I can give you a couple new tips:

    While there are many place in the theme parks to park your stroller, you will want to take it with you on the Monorail and the Disneyland Railroad. Much like the trams, you will have to fold up the stroller, so for us the Monorail is only used as actual transportation from DTD to the park or vice-versa. As passholders it's great to use the Monorail to get into the park, especially in the morning when the lines at the turnstiles get long.

    With the railroad you have to be more careful though, some of the stations don't accomodate Strollers very well (ToonTown is especially bad), and CMs don't usally allow you to use the Wheelchair entrance. Without a stroller, the railroad can be a great way to get from one side of the park to the other without the hassle of walking, but when you add in the stroller it doesn't make much sense.

    When we have to park the stroller to go on a ride, we usually take a blanket and cover up the storage portion. That way if it is accosted, we know it's been tampered with, and it keeps your diaper bag cool! Try not to leave anything valuable in the stroller either, there are thieves in the happiest place on Earth, unfortunately.

  6. #6

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    Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    Great tips for parking and such! Thanks.

  7. #7

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    Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    Dan:

    Dude, you are making me feel OLD!! I cannot believe it, but my little baby girl just turned 17!! No more strollers for us...but they sure were nice while they lasted. I don't know about you, but we always loved the convenience of having the stroller, as it allowed us to have more supplies (water, jackets, etc.) than we take now. But DL was definitely not as crowded as it is nowadays, so this makes your tips even more important. Keep them coming - those with children will most definitely learn from your wise advice!

  8. #8

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    Cool Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    GREAT TIPS!!! I have a 18 month old and going to Disneyland with a toddler can be a hard time but you want to make it enjoyable. I look forward to reading more tips. I am checking out your website right now!

    Thanks!
    Jennifer
    http://www.facebook.com/cadensmama
    Disneyland Cast Member - Class of 2006 - January 2006 - July 2006 Fanstasyland Stores Lead




  9. #9

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    Re: Tips For Toddlers: Disneyland, Part 1 (Parking)

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    Also, if you are dropping them off on Harbor I wouldn't drive to the structure to park. You might as well park in the Harbor Blvd area lots such as Timon, Pumbaa, and now Gardenwalk. These lots are much more convenient than the structure anyway so you may as well take advantage of the fact that they are closer to the park and the Harbor drop-off area.
    That's great advice! I'll need to remember that. The lines to get into the structure have been crazy lately. Thanks!


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