Visiting the Disneyland® Resort with a toddler is not always the Happiest experience on Earth. Here are some tips to help make it more magical for everyone!
My family went to Disneyland® Resort when my daughter was two years old. While waiting in line to see the princesses at Fantasy Faire, my daughter saw two older girls with churros. She made it quite clear that she REALLY wanted a churro. We responded with the typical, empty parent promise, “later.”
Well, “later” happened a couple hours down the road when we were walking to Casey Jr. Circus Train. We passed a churro cart, which reminded my daughter about her craving. I told my husband to get one churro for the whole family to share. The look on my daughter’s face when Daddy was bringing the churro back was one of pure happiness!
That is, until my husband broke off a piece of the churro and handed it to her. She did NOT want a piece of a churro – she wanted the WHOLE thing!! The meltdown was epic. I was in the process of documenting her first Disneyland® Park churro, so I have photographic proof!
In situations like this, I think it is important to remember a few key tips that helped de-escalate a bad situation.
Tip #1: Home expectations should not be the same as theme park expectations
At home, our response would have been strong and firm. “You’ll have a piece of the churro or none of it.” But consider the facts: we woke up at 6 AM, got to Disneyland® Park before opening, toured all morning and afternoon until 4 PM when our daughter’s meltdown occurred. That is a lot for an adult, let alone a toddler. Our kids, especially toddlers, are pushed beyond their normal levels from home. They can be much more tired and overstimulated.
Tip #2: Find time for rest
Sometimes we get going so fast and then our parenting adds fuel to a fire. Our two-year-old was a good napper and this was the first time we had tried to skip a nap. The Churro Meltdown changed our minds – well, okay, mostly my husband’s mind. (What can I say – I get a little Disney crazy!) The next two days, we found quiet spots in the parks and our daughter took a nap. And an added perk to the nap time was that my husband and I took turns going on the bigger rides!
Tip #3: Remember that everyone is on vacation, even your toddler
Disneyland® Park is the Happiest Place on Earth! Enjoy yourselves! Let your kids enjoy themselves! Don’t feel like you must be strict, by-the-book parents while at the parks. You can let little things slide here and there, within reason of course. You and your kids will have more fun if everyone is a little more laid back than usual.
So in the names of peace, grace, and being on vacation, we gave our daughter the WHOLE churro. And she even spared a couple bites for Daddy and me!
This ended up being my favorite trip to Disneyland® Resort and the Churro Meltdown has become one of the most memorable moments of the visit.
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