10 Tips For Navigating Disneyland With Three Under Three

We just pulled this off. It wasn’t easy but we made it work. We did this last year for our two boys birthdays and again for their birthday this year with Fox about to turn 3 and Jet 2, and with the addition of our 5-month-old girl. This year we got a great SoCal resident deal, 3 days for $150 (This deal ended in May 2017). I booked a hotel close by for three nights, and so our Disney adventure begun.

We arrived Sunday around 10 am and although we couldn’t check into the hotel yet we could park and walk to Disneyland from there. Our tickets were one day per park (as opposed to the park hopper tickets), so the first day we visited Disneyland, then crossed over to California Adventure and back to Disneyland on the last day.


We were prepared having looked up the list of what you can’t take into the park. Click to see the NOT PERMITTED LIST. Surprisingly you can bring your own food and drink into the park, as long as it doesn’t conflict with the Not Permitted List. So we stocked up a small ice chest as they do mention on their list that any ice chest over a six pack size is not permittable. We had snacks and drinks with freezable ice packets, it worked perfectly, especially as it is a soft chest with an extendable bag strap handle, perfect for hanging over the stroller handle. Most importantly the sunscreen, as we were caught out in the hot sun with not much protection for most of the day.


One thing I’d like to point out early on which we had no idea about until 10 pm on our last evening is they had a photography special. Daily special download prices from all of the photos captured by the Disney Cast Member Photographer. We never really participated in this before and didn’t know the great value we would get by utilizing this service for a full day. On our last day we visited Mickey’s house and had some photo’s taken greeting Mickey and a family one capture on the way out of Mickey’s house. After we realized that the shots we got in Mickey’s house didn’t turn out I was interested in seeing the ones that the Cast Members took. And hence we discovered the great deal we didn’t utilize, we had only 11 photos taken and they turned out amazingly. For $39 you can get a digital download of one day of photos. I highly recommend looking into this when you first arrive as it’s too late to discover when you’re on your way out of the park. We are going to pay the day rate and get our 11 photo’s anyway but had we know we would have kept an eye out for photographers throughout the day. You have 45 days to download the images before they delete them.

Designed in Canva


I thought we would get through so much more, but it was hot, it was crowded and we weren’t prepared to stand in long lines with two toddlers and a baby. I am surprised at how many rides we could actually go on as a family and the highlight for us was The Pirates Of The Caribbean, which we managed to get to not long after opening on our early morning entry, and thank god as when we exited the ride the line had more than tripled and was winding up around the road and over the bridge.

Before you go it’s a good idea to get an overview of the rides, which ones are kid-friendly and which ones have no height restrictions, what the height restrictions are for other rides, and which rides are family friendly. See the list below or visit the Disney site See Full Details Here.


The Fastpass system lets you go to a popular ride, insert your park-entry ticket into a kiosk, and reserve a spot on that attraction for a particular time later in the day.

Then you can return to that ride at the appointed time and bypass that long line.

Typically, you can hold only one Fastpass at a time. If you have a hopper pass you can reserve a fast pass at each park, although that means there will be a lot of walking in between parks.

Disneyland Park Fastpass Attractions 

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Haunted Mansion Holiday (not available for the regular version)
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Hyperspace Mountain  (& Ghost Galaxy version)
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Disney California Adventure Park Fastpass Attractions 

  • California Screamin’
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • World of Color  [&”Season of Light” holiday version]


Especially if you are toting small children, consider entering the park early, leaving midday for lunch, a swim, and a nap at the hotel returning at night for more fun. This way everyone has had a chance to rest their feet and have a cat nap so hopefully, those toddler tantrums stay at bay. Hopefully, everyone is refreshed enough to stand in some lines and experience some more rides.


Money saving tip as well as keeping everyone happy for longer. Have a big breakfast before you go in, it will give you a good couple of hours before you have to refill, which will allow you do get more done. We stopped at MiMi’s Cafe for a big breakfast before we went in, the kids ate scrambled eggs, fruit and had muffins, and we got the eggs benedict, just what we needed. Eating meals in the park can get expensive. When we did eat at the park we got a meal to share between all of us.


With Magic Morning, an early admission option, Disneyland Resort Guests (with valid 3+ day ticket) enjoy one early admission (during the duration of theme park ticket or Southern California CityPASS) to select attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland park for one full hour before the parks open to the general public on select days.

We learned upon entry that only a small section of the park is actually open for the first hour, so on our early morning entry, we managed to get in Snow White, Toad and Peter Pan, after 9 am hit we headed over to The Pirates Of The Caribbean and were met with a relatively short line compared to what the wait normally is, we felt like we achieved a lot that morning.

Magic Mornings at Disneyland Park are available during these select days: Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday. Select areas of Disneyland open one hour before the entire park opens to the general public. While specifics can change without notice the rides normally open during Magic Mornings are:


  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures


  • Astro Orbitor
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Disneyland Monorail
  • Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Space Mountain (Hyperspace Mountain/Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy)
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue


Disneyland Magic Morning vs. Extra Magic Hour

There are two different types of early morning entry so don’t get Disneyland Magic Morning confused with the Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure Park.  The Extra Magic Hour is available only to guests staying at one of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels. If you stay at either Disney’s Paradise Pier, the Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, in addition to multiple Disneyland Magic Morning days, it’s the only way to get into Disney California Adventure Park before it opens.

Extra Magic Hour Attractions at Disney California Adventure Park

Disney California Adventure Park has almost all of their most popular attractions available during Extra Magic Hour. Here they are:

Paradise Pier 

  • California Screamin’
  • King Triton’s Carousel
  • The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!

Cars Land 

  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Radiator Springs Racers

Grizzly Peak Airfield 

  • Soarin’ Around the World


Many of the day trippers with children start to leave or settle down for the parades in the late afternoon, decreasing line sizes for many attractions. Do some rides when the fireworks or parades are on many of the lines disappear during these times.

There is no “hard close” as such, Disneyland is open till midnight, they don’t kick you out at 12 o’clock on the dot. You can stay and play until the last minute, then take your time exiting, perhaps even stopping to pick up a souvenir along the way. (The shops stay open past closing time.)


We purchased the Southern California residents deal which is now over for the year, unfortunately. It allowed us to visit the park for three whole days for $149 – or we could have made it a park-hopping for $189. Compare that with the regular cost of a one-day ticket at $105 or a regular three-day ticket at $255 for adults.

The tickets could be purchased through May 22nd, 2017. Blackout dates applied and our tickets were only good until May 25th, 2017.

This deal is over but you should check in time to time so see if Disney is offering and special deals. Of course, there are other options like multi-day discounts, Military, AAA and so on. To check out special deal Click Here

Parting advice

This is a vacation, not a to-do list. So don’t stress about seeing and doing absolutely everything, especially if you have little ones. Decide on two or three priorities, get these out of the way early, at the very end of the day, or with Fastpasses, and then allow time to relax a little and discover.

If you have any questions for Disney Parks you can jump on the Disney Parks Moms Panel to ask.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. Bev Thoms says:

    What a fantastic holiday. Love those little ones. Great pictures and I bet there will be more trips to Disneyland.

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