OUR TIPS FOR DISNEYLAND!

Tips For Disneyland!

Over the last several years, we have become a Disney family. We’ve always loved the movies and my husband and I went to Disney World a few times when we were both kids, but once we went as a family with our own kids, that was it. Officially hooked, I am drinking that Disney kool-aid and I love it. We’re not annual passholders (yet!) but I have made it a hobby (obsession) to collect tips, tricks, new food, pretty much anything Disney related! I’m absolutely not sharing it all, but if you ever have a question, please just let me know! Here we go!

Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!

MaxPass! First things first. MaxPass. GET IT. If you don’t know what MaxPass is, it’s a feature on the Disneyland app that allows you to grab Fast passes (a pass that allows you to skip the normal line) on your phone instead of having to run to the ride to grab the paper Fast Pass. It is updated in real-time so if a popular ride like Radiator Springs runs out of Fast Passes, and someone doesn’t use theirs, it becomes available on the app and you can grab it! It is an added cost, but it is absolutely worth the extra money to be able to avoid long lines and it includes as many photos from the park photographers as well! It’s seriously the number one thing for us. Must have, won’t ever go without it. Not ever.

Where to stay: There are many really great options for hotels within walking distance to Disneyland. The Disney hotels are amazing of course, but if you’re looking for a more economical hotel, there are some great ones! We love the Howard Johnson Anaheim. We like to get their kids suit with a kids bunk bed room and a separate king bed room for the parents. This was life-changing. Having a family of 5 crammed into one hotel room is rough. Having the suit let us all have our space, made naps easier during the day and the kids just loved the bunk beds! They also have a really fun water playground for the kids. The Howard Johnson is definitely walking distance, but there are some hotels that are even closer that we would like to try out some day and compare. It will be hard to beat that suit!

If you are going with extended family and you will likely need several hotel rooms, look into a house rental! There are some really great options with all of the perks - some are even walking distance to the parks - and you get the bonus of the whole family under the same roof and sharing in the cost.

Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!

Doing Disneyland With Toddlers: We have two toddlers (1 year apart) and if you’re not prepared with some kind of game plan, I can see how this would seem like an awful idea to take them to Disneyland. But we love it! They are both under three, so they are free. You gotta love that!

Baby Centers: Take advantage of these if you can! While all of the facilities at Disneyland are well kept, the baby centers are seriously a pleasure to change your little one’s diaper in. We actually ran out of diapers one day at Disneyland - with two kids wearing diapers! And the baby center came to our rescue. They have just about anything you might need for your little one. Forgot a pacifier, they’ve got them. Need to warm up some baby food, they have a microwave! If you have a baby or toddler, definitely keep the baby centers on your radar.

Toontown: opens an hour after the park opens and is downright adorable. This is where Mickey and friends houses are and there are cute little playgrounds, photo ops and some shops and snacks too. This is a great place for letting toddlers run and get some energy out! When Toontown opens, some characters often are there to greet the crowds and welcome them in. On our very first visit, we happened to be at the gates when they opened and Mickey grabbed my then five year old’s hand and walked him all the way through Toontown and into Mickey’s house. It was a such a fun and magical experience! So I highly recommend getting to Toontown before the gates open!

Rider Switch: If you have little ones at Disneyland, you need to know about Rider Switch. With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the little ones while those who are big enough, can go and enjoy the ride. Then, they simply switch roles to allow the other adult to ride without waiting in the regular line again. Another tip, you can take another person with you on the ride! So in our case, I ride first with Elliott, then swap with Preston so he can ride it and he takes Elliott again! It’s heaven sent and you need to use it.

Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!
Tips For Doing Disney With Toddlers!

TAKE BREAKS! We are not annual passholders and it was so very hard for me to feel like I was getting my money's worth and still leave the parks for a few hours to let the toddlers take naps and just take a break from the hustle and bustle and stimulation that is the magic of Disney. But! Now that we have done both (gone ALL day and taken a break) I can hands down say that it is better to take that break. It makes your time at the parks a lot more fun for everyone when you don’t have tantrums every five minutes!

Let Them Lead: Let them lead the way when possible. There are so many nooks and crannies in the parks, so much to explore! When you can, let the little ones lead the way. A great way to pass time if others in your group are off riding big rides. let the little ones decide what they want to do. Get a churro, walk around and look for characters, ride small world. It’s so much fun for them and you too!

Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!
Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!

Characters! If your kids love characters - and believe me, mine do! This will be one of your priorities. Here’s a little tip - for the characters that REALLY matter to your family, have your little ones dress up like the character! In our experience, we get the VIP treatment when we do this and I mean, it makes for the cutest pictures. Another tip for characters is to stalk them on the Disneyland app! You can track where certain characters are supposed to be and even what time. For us, Buzz and Woody are our little guy’s FAVE. So on the app I saw where they would be and when and we were there ready for them when they arrived. First in line to meet them and the cast members (and people passing by) go gaga seeing this little human dressed up like Woody and giving him a huge hug. It’s THE best!

Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!
Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!

What To Wear To The Parks: I have kind of an addiction to finding cute and affordable disney clothes. It’s so fun! You just have to be sure to shop those sales on some of these sites. We get a lot of our Disney clothes from H&M, Cotton On, Gap, Target, Shop Disney, Zara, and even Amazon has some cute stuff! In general, keeping it cute and comfy is best. And of course, wear the most comfortable shoes you can get your hands on!

What To Bring To The Parks: It can depend on the time of year, but in general we always bring; Snacks - I pack a few lunch boxes with some freezer packs with some snacks I know my kids will eat. You can bring food into the parks, just not a giant cooler. Water Bottles - Bring your own and fill them up at various spots throughout the parks! Also, most restaurants in the parks will give you a cup of ice water if you ask. Portable Charger - I love to have a few small chargers and a cord on hand because I take a million pictures and am using the Disneyland app all day so yeah. I will need to charge my phone before the parade starts. Light Jackets - we don’t usually need them very often, but I bring them just in case - we LOVE these hoodies! Souvenirs - If I have any to give to my kids throughout the day, I have a dedicated bag for these. Some souvenirs I like to give out after a certain experience to make it a little more memorable. For example, right after we all rode Dumbo together, I handed my kids these fun Dumbo toys that looked like the ride. They loved it and they still talk about going on the ride when they play with the toys. Baby Gear - Diapers, wipes, pacifiers, you know the drill. You know what they will need and want. If you want your little one to try and nap in the stroller but they need their white noise machine or a favorite stuffed toy, don’t forget it! Also a change of clothes for little ones is usually helpful! Rain Gear - if rain is possibly in the forecast, come prepared!

Tips For Doing Disneyland With Toddlers!

Souvenirs: My biggest tip for this is to set a budget. We do this by buying Disney gift cards with a certain amount and once it is spent, it is spent! We also love to buy souvenirs before we go on our trip to give to the kids throughout our vacation. This is usually much cheaper, and helps keep the kids feeling like they don’t need or want every. Single. Thing.

Another fun thing to do is to have the souvenirs ready for them on their beds when you get back to the hotel at night. It’s a great way to keep the magic alive when you’re not in the parks and eventually the kids catch on and look forward to their little gifts every day! These can be as big or as small as you want, one night we did new Disney pajamas for everyone, one night everyone we had a family gift of a Disney Moonlite to have story time before bed and one night they each got a Disney Pez dispenser! It’s really whatever you want!

We are also into pin trading. I will buy some on ebay for pretty cheap and give a handful to each family member to trade while we are there. It’s super fun, cheap and an instant souvenir!

Tips For Doing Disney With Toddlers!

Food At The Parks: We are big Disney food fans! There is so much unique and delicious food to choose from! I feel like the food at Disney needs it’s own post (or two) but my biggest tip with food is to SHARE. You can try more food if you share with everyone instead of just getting one thing for yourself. It really is the best way to try more and not get too full!

Tips For Doing Disneyland!

Tickets: Disney doesn’t normally have deals on tickets, but there are still good deals to be had through third parties! Get Away Today is a go-to favorite of ours. I love planning our Disney trips and they help me to plan ahead, set a budget and get a great deal on tickets and our hotel.

Another way to save a little money is if you have a Sam’s Club membership, you can buy Disney gift cards on their site at a discount! We use these to buy food, souvenirs and sometimes our tickets too. It’s not a giant discount, but every little bit counts, right?

Tips For Doing Disney With Toddlers!

Strollers! Even if you don’t think you’ll need a stroller, bring one. We have to have a double stroller for our family. If for nothing else, t’s a great thing to have for storage, so you don’t have to carry all of your souvenirs, blankets, sweaters, etc. Disney has a new rule restricting what size stroller you can use in the parks. So be sure and check and make sure yours will work! I can’t imagine arriving to the parks all ready for our magical trip only to be turned away because our stroller is too big! We have and LOVE the Zoe double stroller. It is the perfect size and has pretty much everything we need from a stroller.

Tips For Rainy Days At Disneyland!

Disney In The Rain: I'm going to be 100% honest about this. Lots of Disney bloggers and accounts on Instagram say that rainy days are some of their favorite days at Disney because the lines are so much shorter etc. I can see that being the case for some, but not so much for us. I came totally prepared, and for the most part it was great! We had great ponchos, I found THE most amazing rain shoe covers that kept our feet completely dry and our feet were comfy in our favorite shoes, but when it came to our double stroller, I got a rain cover for it but my kids would not let it be. They were constantly ripping it off, getting themselves and the stroller soaked. So I guess my only bit of advice for rainy days would be to be prepared and prep your kids! Even practice maybe? The only other reason we didn't love the rainy days were some of our favorite rides were closed and which means all of the people who happen to be at the parks are all going to the same few rides that are open. So all in all, I prefer a sunny day, but of course you can't control the weather and no weather should keep you from going to Disneyland!

Tips For Rainy Days At Disneyland!
Tips On Doing Disney With Different Aged Kids!

Disney with an older kids and little ones: We have a seven year gap between our oldest and second kiddo. So tackling Disney and keeping everyone in the family in mind can be hard! Luckily for us, Elliott makes it easier. I have a strong feeling he will be a kid at heart all of his life. He loves ALL of Disney. Meeting the characters (all about those autographs!) riding all of the rides, from Space Mountain to It's A Small World and just wandering Main Street looking for penny machines! Even though he loves it all, it was important for us to give him some big kid fun. It's easy to get swallowed up in watching your little ones experience the magic, so we wanted to make sure he got his share of attention and fun as well! Every day the little ones took their break, Either Preston or I would stay with Elliott at the parks and DO. IT. UP! All of the big rides, all of the treats, pretty much everything he wanted to do, we did it!

Tips On Doing Disneyland With Different Aged Kids!

That’s it - at least for now! If you are headed on a Disney trip, I am jealous and have so much fun! I hope your found some of the tips helpful. And if you have any additional tips or the like, please comment below and share!

Tips On Doing Disneyland With Kids With An Age Gap!

GIFT GUIDE FOR BABY!

Baby guide.jpg

Shopping for baby can be tricky, there are so many stages while they are still a baby! I tend to buy gifts that they will soon grow into rather than what they are ready for now. Just to get some more time out of it! Shopping for baby is funny because really, let’s be honest. They don’t want anything, you want them to have it. So it’s kinda like a gift for you too!

1. This placemat goes everywhere with us. We have several! It’s perfect for babies just learning to eat independently. I love that it suctions to the table and stays in one place too! 2. We love the blankets from Milk Snob! They are beautifully made and so so soft. 3. The cutest little shoes for tiny feet! 4. The most adorable set of science books for baby. It’s never too early to start in on quantum physics, right? 5. This colorful baby toy is a definite favorite in our family! The colors are adorable, and all of the little rings and knobs make it easy to grasp and fun for baby. 6. Who doesn’t love a banana toy? We love this teether! The texture is interesting and I love how realistic it looks. 7. Possibly the most beautiful play gym ever! Simple and just gorgeous! 8. A fun little onesie! The best part about this one? It’s only $5! 9. We are big ball pit fans over here. My little ones play for hours in ours! I love the soft sides and while I can get on board with a grey scale for sure, I think I would love to get some pretty colorful balls to fill it with. So fun!

GIFT GUIDE FOR TODDLERS!

Toddler Gift Guide.jpg

It’s gift guide time! Toddlers are probably my favorite to shop for. Everything is so fun and cute! This roundup is pretty gender neutral and I love it all! It’s also pretty practical, because what is more fun than a practical gift. Happy shopping!

1. This adorable book and really needed, don’t you think? 2. I love these little feminist books for Pepper! 3. Triangle crayons! I had completely forgotten about triangle crayons! They are perfect for little hands and bonus, they don’t roll away! 4. The softest and cutest plush toy for kids of any age! I especially love these because each design has a different message for your little ones. 5. We have this balloon animal night light and it is the best! You just squeeze the leg to turn it on and it is on a timer so it will automatically turn off! 6. These rainbow Vans are the cutest little shoes I have ever seen. I actually have these for myself and love them. I would die to get some for my littles! 7. These magnaformers are heaven sent. They keep little hands busy and happy for a long time, perfect for outings where you would prefer your kids aren’t screaming, running, you get the idea. 8. We love all of the clothes from Whistle + Flute, this mac & cheese shirt would be adorable paired with paints or a skirt and so comfortable too!

DIY SCRATCH OFF VALENTINES

DIY Scratch Off Valentines With Free Printable! | And We Play

You know when you have an idea and you get down-right giddy thinking about it? That was me with these Valentines! I love the fun lotto ticket feel these have - and no, I don't condone gambling! Ha! These are perfect for handing out to little friends and classmates. You can attach a small treat to the back if you want too! Kids will LOVE getting these. The thrill of scratching off those dots to see if you're a winner is just the best! And making them is easy peasy. Just download the cards here, print onto your choice of colored cardstock, cut them out, write in a secret message for your valentine, stick on the scratch off stickers and you're good to go! Have fun and good luck not putting these stickers on everything you see!

DIY Scratch Off Valentines For Kids | And We Play
DIY Scratch Off Valentines With Free Printable! | And We Play
DIY Scratch Off Valentines With Free Printable! | And We Play
DIY Scratch Off Valentines - Click Through For The Free Printable! | And We Play

10 YEARS OF FUN WITH ELEPHANT & PIGGIE!

Party with Elephant & Piggy! | And We Play

We love Elephant & Piggie at our house, so we were SO excited to partner with Disney-Hyperion on a party to celebrate 10 years of the series! We wrapped up some fun books, including the new book The Good For Nothing Button, we decorated lanterns (so, so fun), had some snacks and of course, read! Pepper loves books, and Elliott loves reading to her. Needless to say it was adorable! It was a fun and super easy way to celebrate one of our favorite book series. Check out more below as well as a GIVEAWAY!

Party With Elephant & Piggie! | And We Play
Party With Elephant & Piggy! | And We Play
Party with Elephant & Piggy! | And We Play

I mean, can you even handle the cuteness?

Party With Elephant & Piggie!
Party With Elephant & Piggie! | And We Play
Party With Elephant & Piggie! | And We Play
Party with Elephant & Piggy! | And We Play

Now, about that giveaway! Here's what you will win:

One (1) winner will receive:

- The Good for Nothing Button

- 4 books from the Elephant & Piggie series

 - Elephant & Piggie stress balls and temporary tattoos!

To enter to win, just leave a comment here, and make sure to include your email address! The winner will be chosen at random and contacted. Easy, peasy. Good luck! Giveaway open to US addresses only.Prizing provided by Disney-Hyperion.

AND just in case the Elephant & Piggie series is new to you (you are in for a treat!) here are our top 10 faves to get you started:

1. Elephants Cannot Dance!

2. Can I Play Too?

3. Should I Share My Ice Cream?

4. Happy Pig Day!

5. My New Friend Is So Fun!

6. I Will Take A Nap!

7. The Thank You Book

8. Listen To My Trumpet!

9. Should I Share My Ice Cream?

10. Are You Ready To Play Outside?

Thanks again to Disney-Hyperion for sponsoring this post! We love these books and we are pretty sure your family will too.

 

EASY PEEP CHALK!

This is seriously the easiest and most fun project I have done in a while. I might be a chalk making addict now. These are absolutely perfect for little Easter baskets and I mean, they're just freaking adorable, right? Let's make some!

Easy DIY Peep Chalk for Easter! | And We Play
Easy DIY Peep Chalk for Easter! | And We Play

They are SO easy to make. All you need is paris of plaster, water-based color powder (I LOVE these!), this peeps mold, and some ziplock bags. Now, in a ziplock, just mix one cup of plaster with 3/4 cup of cold water and add as much color as you want. Keep in mind, the deeper the color the more vibrant they will be for drawing! Make sure the mixture is really, really mixed. No clumps! Then snip off a corner of the bag and carefully pour the mix into the molds. Wait for them to dry and you are DONE. See? So easy.

Easy DIY Peep Chalk for Easter! | And We Play
Easy DIY Peep Chalk for Easter! | And We Play
Easy DIY Peep Chalk for Easter! | And We Play

MOVIE NIGHT WITH SING!

This post is in partnership with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 

Movie night with SING! | And We Play

It's nothing new to say we love movies. And we really love family movie night! With Elliott being such a musical dude (he's constantly singing) we thought it would be fun to surprise him and have a movie night with the new SING Special Edition Blu-ray release! We put out our favorite treats, and made this super easy and fun confetti featuring characters from the movie to have a fun and easy movie night at home.

Movie night with SING! | And We Play
Movie night and DIY character confetti | And We Play

To make the confetti, you'll need this print-out, some white card-stock and a 3/4 or 1 inch hole punch. I used a circle and a star. Just print, and punch! So easy and your kids will love picking out their favorite characters.

Movie night with SING! | And We Play

Elliott loved the movie and Pepper even watched a little too! It was funny, heartwarming and had great music that was perfect for Elliott to entertain us with our own little impromptu concert. The movie features over 65 songs including a new song from Stevie Wonder! Needless to say, Preston and I really appreciated that.

Movie night with SING! | And We Play

SING is filled with music and comedy, PLUS the new Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD includes over and hour of bonus content that incorporates three new mini movies with the case from SING! We love us some bonus content!

Movie night with SING! | And We Play

You can pick up a copy of the SING Special Edition Blu-ray now for your own family movie night! Don't forget the confetti!

Watch the trailer below and find out more about the movie:

From Illumination, the studio that brought you The Secret Life of Pets and the Despicable Me franchise, comes an animated comedy about finding the music that lives inside all of us. SING stars Academy Award® winner Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an eternally optimistic koala who puts on the world’s greatest singing competition to save his crumbling theater; Academy Award® winner Reese Witherspoon as Rosita, an overworked and unappreciated mother of 25 piglets desperate to unleash her inner diva; Scarlett Johansson as Ash, a punk rock porcupine with a beautiful voice behind her prickly exterior; Taron Egerton as Johnny, a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; as well as Seth MacFarlane, John C. Reilly, and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly. SING is the musical comedy event of the year!

WE LOVE: HAPPY HEART KID

Happy heart kid games and activities are perfect for kids | And We Play

We have been fans of Happy Heart Kid for a while now and they just keep coming out with great, fun and educational things for kids. These are especially great for kids who are just learning some social things like manners, for example. Elliott just turned 8 and he still loves them! 

Happy heart kid games and activities are perfect for kids | And We Play
Happy heart kid games and activities are perfect for kids | And We Play

There are lots of craft activities they can do which will keep little hands busy for a while (you're welcome, moms!) Elliott's favorite is the Mind Your P's & Q's game. He loved being able to create the little people that you use on the game board. Check out all of their kits and games, they make great gifts too!

Happy heart kid games and activities are perfect for kids | And We Play

STUCK ON YOU VALENTINE TATTOOS

Stuck On You Cactus Valentine Temporary Tattoos | And We Play

Valentine's day is just a few days away and if you are in a crunch to come up with something cute, I've got you covered...get the pun? Ha! These temporary tattoos are super easy and fast to make. Just download, print onto temporary tattoo paper, and cut to hand out to little friends. These are great as a no-candy valentines for school which we have mixed feelings about in our house. 

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Stuck On You Cactus Valentine's Temporary Tattoos | And We Play