For Spring break this year, we decided to take our blended family of 8 down to California and do Disneyland with kids. I guess you could be asking yourself if not with kids, in what other instance would you do Disneyland? The fact of the matter is that the best times I’ve had at Disneyland prior to this vacation, have been as an adult and so yes, you could do Disneyland without the kids; but hey the kids deserve a vacation too and Disneyland is the perfect place to take them. Besides, I’ve gotten to be an expert on planning getaways and that makes a huge difference in the outcome of your vacation.
Meet the crazy parents that did Disneyland with Kids (6 of them)
If you are new to reading our blog, I’m Carmen and my husband Ben and I, are like the Brady Bunch. We have a complicated life and 6 kids at home, yet we love to travel and we travel a lot.
Sometimes we travel without the kids, and other times we take them along. On those instances we do family vacations like this one when we traveled to Disneyland with Kids; with 6 of them to be precise.
To make it more interesting my youngest one, who is 4, is autistic and so I will be covering in future posts things like the Disneyland Disable Access Service or DAS, which it was a lifesaver to every one of us, but selfishly speaking to me mostly. This is one of the reasons we decided to do Disneyland with kids, because they have a reputation to accommodate kids with disabilities, and I have to say they definitely stepped up to their promise.
This Disneyland with kids trip, was unique because it included 6 kids from ages 12 to 4.
We have the cool tweens, the intrepid middle sister, the shy middle brother, the clingy baby girl, the kid in the autistic spectrum plus everything in the middle, and I’m not kidding you. Whatever personality your kid is, we have it in our family!
Trust me when I tell you, there wasn’t any dull moment on our family vacation, but at the end of the day it was fun and we built memories that will hopefully stay with us forever.
The kids grew closer together and they laughed, smiled and experienced things together.
In my opinion, every second and every penny we spent on this getaway was worth it; even though at times it felt like I was trying to contain monkeys hopping freely in the sky.
Why Disneyland with Kids is a fantastic idea for your family vacation?
When Ben and I are traveling with all the kids, the price of the flights is a big determining factor. Imagine how much it costs to take a family of 8 anywhere?
To add even more fun to our planning criteria, my baby boy, who is 4, is autistic and this was the first time I was going to take him in an airplane since he was a baby that I could sit on my lap. Now he is 4 years old and 65 pounds wearing size 8 clothing, he’s just plain big. The thing is that it’s getting more and more difficult for me to contain him and control him.
So in order to make this trip work, I needed to find a good deal in airfare tickets, good accommodation for 8 people and the schedule that met those demands.
Our accommodation needed to be a condo where we can cook our meals and a place that had plenty of space or all of us. A hotel, in this case, would not cut it. Thankfully there is VRBO!
Then there is the flight. Flying Anchorage to Los Angeles direct, was the most affordable ticket I could find. Flying to Los Angeles gave us options like exploring LA, Anaheim, San Diego.. We decided in Anaheim this time because Disneyland with kids gave us something to do every day with the kids in a controlled (basically I could plan every day for us) environment that was fun, loving and happy. Not for nothing they call it the happiest place on earth.
Getting to Disneyland with Kids
We decided to take the red-eye flight from Anchorage to LAX, and because of that, I had all kind of anxieties around how was my little one going to react.
If you have a kid in the spectrum you understand why I was anxious. If you don’t, let me just say you never know what’s going to happen, and basically, you can’t plan enough. Ever!
So being the planner and perfectionist that I am, I was freaking out about flaws in my plan and things not going the way I planned them to go, but then I decided to lower my expectations and just try to have fun with all the kids and Ben and make sure everyone did the same thing.
I think that was the best thing I did because I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome than what happened.
Not only he was totally fine through TSA and waiting at the airport, but he slept through the entire flight. Since he is so heavy and difficult for me to carry, I decided I wanted to go through TSA when he was awake, and wait at the airport rather than put them to bed at home, wake them up and deal with all that at 10 pm. So we basically ate dinner and went to the airport around 8 pm.
My oldest complained that we were at the airport for 4 hours, but honestly, that could have been our layover if we were traveling with a stop. So yes, I would do it exactly the same way again.
We had an entire row (both sides) and then 2 seats in front of us. My daughter, my little one and I were on one side of the row, that way he could stretch between my lap and her lap.
Hank sleeping through the flight obviously made me a happy camper…
Planning our Disneyland with Kids vacation
Planning this vacation took a lot of time and energy. So much more than you would imagine.
This is because I needed to make sure I got the best deals, the best prices, the best value of everything we booked for a trip; I mean dollars don’t grow on trees and our bank account isn’t unlimited after all.
I had to plan for everything from:
- Disneyland Park Tickets
- How to get from LAX to Disneyland
- Where to stay in Disneyland
- What parks to do: California Adventure vs. Disneyland
- Because of my little one I needed to learn about the Disneyland Disable Access Service
In the end, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that I know I rocked it. We were able to do this vacation, gave our kids a memory of a lifetime and still want to do it again. All because of good planning.
It took me months to plan this trip, literally. In the process (and after planning many trips) I developed a checklist to make sure I had thought about every single detail every time. From booking to packing.
I’m happy to share that checklist template with you here. Don’t worry, it’s free!
When you download my checklist you will get a guideline of what to do when from a timeline perspective, and you can use it for any type of vacation or getaway.
It really doesn’t matter if a trip is a romantic getaway or a family getaway, the steps are the same.
If you are on the fence about going to Disneyland with kids, you should just do it. Trust me! There isn’t a better family vacation that I can picture right now.
Go places, take your family places and always remember:
Life is a Getaway!