Disneyland is a little bit further away from where we live, compared to Ocean Park, but it is also a great day out – we just have to pack and plan a little in advance, to make the most out of the visit.
Here are a few of my tips to make the visit as enjoyable as possible:
1) Only go for a few hours
Of course that is easier said than done – but if you have an annual pass (which is not too expensive, if you get the weekday one) you do not need to spend hours in the park. Just go for a little while, enjoy the rides and shows, and when the little one is tired, head home. Some days we only go for the morning and early afternoon, other days we go later in the day and stay after sunset. It just really depends on how we feel that day. But it is almost impossible to see every show and go on every ride, so you will have to save something for the next visit.
2) Pack essentials
We usually bring our own water bottles and fill them up at the water fountains throughout the park, and we also pack our own sandwiches and snacks. Officially this is not allowed, but I know what my little one likes and does not like to eat, and so it is much less of a hassle when we are out at Disneyland all day. Most of the food options are not that great otherwise, either burgers and chips, or depending on when you go during the week, some restaurants are not open and the choice is limited. But if we eat at Disney, we usually go to the Explorer’s Club Restaurant at Mystic Point, as they serve food from Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia (and my kids like dishes with rice).
What irks me the most is that it is hard to get any decent coffee or tea – the tea is a 3-in-1 mix and for coffee you need to head to the bakery on the main street. The waffle stand next to the bakery is great, but if you are at the other side of Disneyland you might not want to track all the way back to Main Street.
3) Plan ahead
Some of the rides always have big queues – so try and get a fast pass for Winnie the Pooh, and go and queue for the Dumbo ride either right at the start of the day, when the park opens, or during the times of the parade. Otherwise you’ll have to queue quite some time. We often go to the Orbitron instead of Dumbo, because technically it is the same ride, just with a different theme.
Also check out when the shows are, and we usually try to see one of them when the little one is sleeping (but we have to carry her as strollers are not allowed inside) – but that way we can enjoy Lion King as otherwise it is too long with its 30 minutes for a 20-month old. She can’t sit still for that long, and then she gets bored and wants to leave.
Hong Kong Disneyland does not have any big rollercoasters yet and Lina can go on many rides together with an adult, but so far she has been too small for the Toy Soldier Parachute, Hyperspace Mountain and the Big Grizzly Mountain Ride – but then I doubt she’d be that adventurous. For her, the best ride still is It’s a Small World. She just loves it and we usually go twice if not more times during a one-day visit.
4) Check the weather forecast
Unfortunately there is not too much shade in Disneyland, and unless you are stuck in a queue it is unlikely that you will be covered from the hot sun and maybe even a fan will blast cold air at you – so that means either bring your own umbrella, or try not to go on a scorching hot day. As far as I know, there is currently only one water area for little ones to cool down – the Geyser Gulch in the Grizzly Gulch (the Liki Tikis in the Adventureland dispose just some mist).
The shows and rides continue in a drizzle but stop in thunder and lightning – so do check the weather forecast. You might want to pack ponchos and even bring spare clothes for the little ones. Also either way, don’t forget to bring a long-sleeved top – some of the shows are in rooms with strong air conditioning.
5) Prams and stickers
I usually just bring a carrier – but now that Lina is getting older, I might consider a pram so we can carry all our stuff around the park. You can hire a pram from the Main Street Fire Station complete with rain covers – but just be mindful that the seats are hard and do not flip down to a lying position so they are unsuitable for a small baby and might be uncomfortable for a toddler. But at least you can cart around your bags and also a tired toddler.
And a final tip: All the cast members have stickers in their pockets that they love giving away to kids. While Lina is not really interested in the pictures on the sticker, she loves playing with them – and we always try to collect a few to take back home, to make the ride home much more fun for her.