Heading on a family vacation to Disneyland? We're sharing all our tips and tricks for tackling the park with a preschooler and even our full 3 day Disneyland Schedule!
Thank you to the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort for hosting our stay.
And just like that, summer vacation is HERE! If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that we just got home from a really fun family vacation. We spent three full days at Disneyland, and it was a TOTAL blast. The weather was perfect, we hit everything on our Disneyland schedule, and stayed WALKING DISTANCE to the park. I got a ton of messages from you guys, asking about our hotel and how we managed to get everything on our must do list done……so I wanted to share the details of our trip and our Disneyland Schedule.
Where We Stayed:
We do live within driving distance of Disneyland…..but it's not THAT close. In LA traffic, it tends to be almost two hours. When we decided to do a family staycation, we knew we wanted to be close to the park. Enter the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort. When I say that it's walking distance to the park, it's REALLY walking distance. I timed the walk from our hotel room door to Disneyland's security check point……and it was about 10 minutes each day (including a light, crossing the street and going down in the hotel elevator). It's definitely the closest we've stayed to Disneyland……and we LOVED it!
The Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort was IDEAL for families…….and had a ton of magical touches. From the adorable Disney themed wall in our room, to the balloons and stuffed Mickey and Minnie waiting for Lydia when we checked it…….they truly made us feel at home. On a practical note, they had GREAT onsite dining options that helped us stick to our schedule. Their third floor has a Pizza Hut, Seattle's Best Coffee, a great Marketplace to stock up on snacks, and even an arcade to keep the kids entertained while you fuel up before hitting the pavement for the day. Our room was PERFECT for family sleeping arrangements, we had a large King sized bed and a couch that pulled out into a kids' size bed for Lydia!
This schedule was the perfect way to do three days at Disneyland with a preschooler. We hit ALL the Disneyland rides that Lydia listed in advance as must do choices, we saw ALL parades, and almost all the shows that the park has to offer. I loved that we allotted sitting time for shows and parades, it really helped us to get some breaks in.
If you're visiting Disneyland for multiple days…..try not to bounce between parks. You'll get WAY more done if you stick to one park each day. We started planning by selecting parades and shows that we wanted to see, then worked around those (since obviously they're set times).
We did get Maxpasses on all three days. These passes are $10 a person, and allow you to get Fast Passes for certain rides within the Disneyland app. They also give you unlimited pictures with the PhotoPass. So that means any picture that a photographer takes will be loaded into your account.
We arrived at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort around 1 pm. We got settled, fueled up on pizza from the Pizza Hut onsite, stocked up on water bottles, and headed to the park. I loved being able to eat a quick lunch FIRST while we unpacked.
3:15 Disney Junior Dance Party – This is one of Lydia's FAVORITE things to do in California Adventure…..and one of mine because it has air conditioning. If you've got a preschooler, there are multiple shows each day, and it's a great way to sit and relax (plus the show is ADORABLE)!
4:00 Monster's Inc Ride / Snack Break
5:00 Frozen Show at Hyperion Theatre – This was our first time seeing the Frozen show ( I know, where have we been)…..and we all LOVED it. Be aware, it's about an hour long. But the show is AMAZING, very well done and Lydia LOVED it.
6:00 Jumping Jellyfish Ride
6:20 Dinner at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill at the Pacific Wharf – This is one of our favorite quick service spots to eat in California Adventure. It's delicious, there is always PLENTY of seating, and the line moves quickly (remember you can order food on the Disneyland app now if you'd prefer).
7:10 Pictures at the Buzz Wings Wall – The new Buzz Wings Wall went up three days before our trip….so obviously I HAD to leave a time to take pictures in front of it. It's ADORABLE and by 7 pm isn't in direct sun. If you're on the hunt for the Buzz Wings Wall, it's right next to the famous blue wall on the Hollywood Studios Back Lot (near the Monster's Inc ride).
7:20 Save seats for the Paint the Night Parade / Meet and Greet with Anna and Elsa in Animation Academy / Grab treats at Trolley Treats / Meet and Greet with Minnie – This was divide and conquering at it's finest. One of us snagged spots to watch Paint the Night about 90 minutes in advance (directly in front of AnimationAcademy) and then we took turns taking Lydia to character meet and greets close by.
8:50 Paint the Night Parade – This is MY favorite parade, and it was Lydia and Robbie's first time seeing it. It's stunning, and a ton of fun to watch!
9:45 Soarin' Around the World (got a Maxpass earlier in the day) – It was all of our first times on Soarin' Around the World, and we LOVED it. It books up quickly (we snagged a Fast Pass when we first checked in to the park and the only spot left was the last session of the day). Totally worth the wait!
Day 2 (Disneyland):
8:50 Plaza Inn Breakfast – The Plaza Inn Breakfast is one of our favorite ways to see characters. We made reservations a few weeks in advance, and they were totally worthwhile.
10:00 Mad Tea Party
11:00 Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique appointment (made 3 months in advance) – This may have been my favorite part of our whole trip. We totally surprised Lydia with a trip to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. She got a princess makeover, and we even had a princess dress from home ready for her to wear for the rest of the day!
12:15 Royal Hall to Meet Princesses
1:15 Toontown: Gadget's Go Coaster, Donald's Boat, Goofy's Playground – This was our first time on Gadget's Go Coaster, and we all LOVED it! Toontown is the perfect place to relax, enjoy the playground and eat snacks.
3:00 Storyteller's Theater and Meet and Greet with Rapunzel and Flynn
4:30 Dumbo Ride
5:10 Hold spot on Main Street for Pixar Play Parade – While one of us held a spot on Main Street (near the Fire Station) the other took Lydia to see all the fun windows on Main Street. Perfect entertainment (we also made a Starbucks run for iced coffee).
6:00 Pixar Play Parade
7:00 dinner at Alien Pizza Planet – That cheeseburger pizza is a MUST eat!
8:00 Astro Orbiter
8:45 Walk Back to Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort to View Fireworks – Our hotel was in the PERFECT location to view the fireworks. We changed to pajamas, watched them from our window, and then went straight to sleep.
Day 3 (California Adventure):
8:00 Breakfast at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort – Perfect way to start the last day, we packed and ate. We fueled up with breakfast and coffee from the Marketplace on the 3rd floor and even grabbed one more cup of coffee to guzzle as we walked over to the park.
9:30 Mater's Jamboree
10:15 Luigi's Rocking Roadsters
11:00 Jumping Jellyfish
11:45 Symphony Swings / Pixar Pals – While one of us (the less scared of heights one) took Lydia on the Symphony Swings, the other waited in line at Paradise Gardens for the Pixar Pals meet and greet.
12:30 Meet and Greet with Woody and Buzz
1:15 Lunch at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill at the Pacific Wharf
2:00 Golden Zephyr
2:30 Lemon Ice cream from Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats
3:35 DJ's Dance ‘n Drive
4:00 A Bug's Land – Tuck and Roll's Drive ‘Em Buggies / Francis' Ladybug Boogie / Flik's Flyers / Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
5:30 Little Mermaid ride
6:00 Redwood Creek Challenge Trail – This is a ton of fun for preschoolers! It's filled with rope bridges, a slide, and SHADE!
7:00 Walk Back to Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort – To end our day, we walked back, grabbed a quick dinner at the Panera onsite at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort, climbed into our car, and headed home!
Did this Disneyland Schedule help you plan YOUR trip to Disneyland? Feel free to leave any questions in the comments!