We’ve got your packing list, must-visit stops, where to purchase forgotten diapers, and so much more

If you are eager to go to Disneyland with a baby or toddler, but overwhelmed by the logistics of how to do it, we’ve got just the recommendations for you. We chatted with Allison Mertzman (aka Adventures with Allison Wonderland), Disney Vacation Planner and owner of an “Earmarked” agency, and got all her tips for what to bring, where to go when your kids need a break, how to maximize your time in the parks, and so much more. While these tips are specific to families looking to bring toddlers (and babies) to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, most of them would help any family making a visit to the parks.

Is it worth it to go to Disneyland with a baby or toddler?

Allison says it definitely is. (We see where you’re coming from, Allison!) Kids are free until they turn three years old so you don’t have to worry about a ticket for them. By the time your little one is two, they likely can recognize characters like Mickey Mouse and the Disney princesses and will love the magic that Disney brings. In addition, Disney has done a great job making it a multi-generational destination for everyone from 0-99 so, yes, bring your little one along!

What are the best Disneyland attractions for toddlers?

Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Here are Allison’s Disneyland recommendations for this age: 

  • Top pick: Allison raves about Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room for families as it is quieter than other areas of the park, there is A/C, you don’t usually have to wait too long, and best of all, you can bring your own food! Plus, most of the action is overhead so kids can easily see.
  • Anything in Fantasyland
  • Mickey’s Toontown. This part of the park just re-0pened after a massive renovation (more details on Mickey’s Toontown below). Toddlers love seeing Mickey and Minnie and riding Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh are great rides for this age.
  • It’s currently under renovation, but the Adventureland Treehouse is a top pick for little ones.
  • Don’t miss the Magic Happens Parade!
  • What about the Haunted Mansion? Allison says that if you start them early, kids will know what to expect and won’t be afraid.

What to expect from the new, re-imagined Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland

tips for taking a toddler to disneyland
Disneyland Resort

For 30 years, Mickey’s Toontown has been delighting kids and adults alike—and recently received its own renovation as part of the park’s centennial celebration. Check out the highlights below—from interactive play areas like CenToonial Park to toddler-friendly amusement rides, it’s the must-go spot for anyone with small kids and contains some of the best rides for toddlers at Disneyland.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway: This family-friendly adventure is full of surprising twists and turns—so much so, you’ll want to ride this one again and again. 

Chip ‘n’ Dale’s GADGETcoaster:  This fun-sized coaster is a great introduction to roller coasters for kids that may be too intimated (or too small) to ride the larger ones at the park. There’s just enough speed, twists, and turns to thrill without scaring even the youngest of riders. 

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin: Just like Roger Rabbit, the cartoon, this is a zany, fast-paced ride that spins and turns throughout. For kids that are easily scared, we suggest skipping this one as its dark, loud, and some of the characters might be considered frightening.

Disneyland Railroad: Located at the entrance of Mickey’s Toontown, you can easily climb aboard the steam-powered Disneyland Railroad for a scenic tour around the park.  

Character Sightings Galore: The beauty of Toontown? All the characters hang out here so you and your toddler can visit with Goofy, Mickey, Minnie (and visit inside each of their houses!), as well as the park’s newest cast member, Pete. 

Good to Know: Good Boy! Grocers, one of Toontown’s roadside stands offers a variety of grab-and-go drinks, snacks and novelties. Want to make it extra special?  Pick up the “Perfect Picnic Basket,” a limited-edition, novelty basket that includes up to three snack-sized items. You can even add the “Perfect Picnic Blanket” to go with your basket. 

What are the best Disney California Adventure attractions for toddlers?

  • Disney Junior stage show—it has all their favorites!
  • The Little Mermaid ride is great for little ones because it is slow-moving and quiet with familiar songs.
  • Everything at Pixar Pier (minus the Incredicoaster)
  • The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is a great spot for families when you need to get away from the crowds. Toddlers can run around here and explore the play structure. There’s never a wait.
  • All of Cars Land
  • Web Slingers and Monsters, Inc. are great rides for this age.

What are the easiest ways to meet characters at Disneyland?

toddler visiting Disneyland
Laura Green

The great thing about Disneyland is that characters just walk around the parks. You’ll find them greeting you when you walk in. They also gather around the train station on Main Street and are also found under the awnings near Disneyland Presents Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Character meals are a guaranteed way to meet some of your favorites. The Disney Jr. show in DCA is another good option. If you want to find a specific character, use the app to locate them.

What are some strategies for making the most of your time at Disneyland and DCA?

Allison says that Genie+ works great at these parks because of their smaller footprint, and she recommends families take advantage of it. You can only start using it once you are in the parks so you are only fighting for Lightning Lane privileges with those already in the parks.

Rider Switch is also a great option for families with little ones. You choose the ride you want to go on and approach a Cast Member there to let them know you are interested in rider switch. Adult 1 would wait in the normal queue, while Adult 2 stayed with the kids outside the ride. Once Adult 1 has completed the ride, Adult 2 returns to the ride and boards through the attraction return line and doesn’t have to wait in the normal queue.

Should you bring your own stroller to Disneyland? Or rent one at the park?

Laura Green


The benefit of bringing your own stroller is that you’ll have it available to use from the hotel or parking lot, whereas strollers rented at Disneyland can only be used inside the park. Also, the strollers available at the park are not infant strollers. You’ll be in better shape if you can bring your own stroller or take advantage of various companies that will deliver a stroller to your hotel in advance of your arrival if you don’t want to travel with one.

At the parks, there will be designated stroller parking. Figure out a way to differentiate your stroller from the hundreds of other black strollers that will be there. Or, better yet, put an AirTag on your stroller so that if it gets moved by a Cast Member for some reason, you’ll be able to find it.

Are there baby changing stations and nursing rooms at Disneyland?

Yes! There are Baby Care Centers at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. In Disneyland, it is located at the end of Main Street by First Aid, and in DCA, it is in the new San Fransokyo near Ghiradelli. Forget to bring extra diapers? You can grab some here! They even have toddler food, baby formula, sunscreen, over-the-counter medications, and pacifiers in the vending machines. There are toddler-size toilets, feeding stations, and microwaves for warming meals.

What should you do if your toddler is getting overwhelmed? Are there low-sensory areas?

In Disneyland, the area in Critter Country near the Hungry Bear Restaurant tends to get less traffic. You can watch the canoes and Mark Twain River Boat go by.

The Grizzly Peak area in DCA gets less traffic and is a great spot to go with little ones.

What are some tips for making mealtime easy at Disneyland?

Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort
  • Bring your own food. You can bring in whatever you want so pack those snacks so nobody gets hangry.
  • If you are going to order lunch, place your order early, like 9 a.m. You can always move the pick-up time to later but it’s almost impossible to move it earlier once the lunch rush starts.
  • Book dining reservations 60 days in advance when reservations open. The only in-park character meal is Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn so it books up fast.

Should you stay on property when visiting Disneyland?

Yes, because there are some exclusive benefits. You’ll get 30 minutes of early access to the parks before the regular guests which allows you to walk on the rides without a wait. You also get an exclusive entrance to the parks, thus avoiding the long lines at the main entrances. You won’t have to deal with parking before entering the park.

What do you need to bring with you to Disneyland?

Here’s Allison’s packing list:

  • neck fans and stroller fans
  • sweaters, ponchos, sunscreen, and stroller cover for changes in weather
  • diapers and wipes, more than you think you need
  • snacks (yes, you can bring in your own food!) and a reusable water bottle (you can ask at any quick-service station for a cup of water)
  • purchase a fuel rod from Amazon before you go (it’s cheaper) or buy one in the park. These allow you to charge your phone and then when it’s dead, you can swap it for a fully-charged fuel rod for free.
  • Magic Bands (if you are using them) and mouse ears (always!)
  • your phone—you’ll need it to take pics and use the Disneyland app.

Related: The Secret Disney Vacation Packing Tricks (From a Mom Who Just Got Back)

Why should you use a Disney Vacation Planner to book your trip?

Allison Mertzman


You are going to be spending quite a bit of money to go to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure so you’ll want to make the most of your visit. Hiring an expert like Allison or a member of her team means you’ll get recommendations from someone who is super passionate about Disney and the Disney vacation experience. Allison’s team includes a military veteran who is well-versed in using military benefits at the parks. There’s also a mom with special needs kids who can give you advice on visiting with special needs kids or adults.

For more tips, check out Allison’s Instagram, and for additional information on hiring Allison’s team to plan your Disney vacation, head over to her site.

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