Traveling with toddlers!

Bria Snyder

It’s no secret that my family has quickly become known as “That Disney Family” on social media. I recently asked on instagram what are a few things you may want to know about Disneyland or Disney in general and got a lot of great suggestions. I decided to take this to a full blog series! (Part 2 coming soon)

You may be wondering, “ What in the world does she mean, ‘How to keep the kids entertained’, it’s Disney that’s the whole point”. You aren’t wrong. The whole purpose of Disney is to bring happiness to kids and adults of all ages, but have you ever had to drive 5hrs each way, twice a month, with two toddlers in the car? Or how about hotels, I am not one to splurge on a resort hotel, especially not as frequently as we go. Because of this, we have stayed at quite a few BASIC (aka questionable) motels. There’s no fancy pool, no Disney decorations filling the halls, etc. For this reason, I have to get creative in keeping my kids entertained in the car and the hotel.

One of the best ways that I have found for taking a road trip with kids is timing. If it’s one of my husbands long work weeks we usually leave as soon as he gets off work around midnight, I have found that keeping my kids up until he gets off works out best for us. They tend to sleep in the car nearly the entire trip and wake up right as we pull into Mickey and Friends Parking Structure, their timing is amazing. If it’s a short work week then we wake them up early and head out around 5am. This is when I have to keep them busy in the car.

When we got our annual passports back in Feb 2019 I ordered these adorable Disney mini backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids with our last name embroidered on them. Our first trip I filled the bag with a few things I had picked up for them to use in the park such as their light/bubble wands and a pair of ears and snuck them up to the room and onto the beds before they went in. It was the cutest way to start the Disney Magic from the time we entered Anaheim, CA. Every trip since I have filled the backpacks with various things to keep the kids happy in the car and hotel. They never quite know what I’m going to put in there and they don’t get to find out until we hit the road!

After over 20 trips here are some of my favorite things to pack their bags with,

1. Snacks, Snacks, Snacks: Pepperidge Farm makes the cutest Disney themed goldfish! I almost always include the princess or Minnie Mouse ones in my daughters and the Mickey Mouse or Avengers in my sons. I will sometimes also add a few packs of Avengers and Frozen fruit snacks.

2. Quiet Entertainment: I’m not a “no screen time” parent, but you can only listen to Frozen on repeat so many times before you lose your mind. Pinhole Press has these absolutely beautiful kid friendly picture board books. You can completely personalize them on their website to make them extra special for the little ones. I ordered Wrigley and Lennox each their own in the gloss finish and they were a HUGE hit! I’d go as far as to say they have been the highlight of their bags.

3. Coloring: Lennox loves to color, unfortunately he has proven time and time again that he isn’t ready for crayons or markers unsupervised. Don’t worry, I have a solution if you’re kid is like mine. Jaq Jaq Bird! They make these adorable dustless chalk and wipeable coloring sets that are absolutely perfect for traveling. We originally discovered them at my favorite Natural Parenting Store in San Diego, Wonderful and Wild. Bonus: The owner is amazing. I actually buy all of my cloth diapers here as well. (since this was written, Wonderful and Wild was forced to close their brick & morter store but they can still be found online).

4. Drinks: This is something that is important for both the car and in the parks. Long days in the California sun can be draining on the kids. They don’t tend to eat properly during our trips and they exhaust themselves quickly. I ordered the matching thermos bottles from Pottery Barn Kids and keep them filled with Pedialite. The kids think it’s a treat, we don’t often give them juice of any kind, and they can really benefit from the extra electrolytes. The only downside is that Lennox has a thing with throwing items out of the stroller, constantly. Luckily I found these awesome custom Orbit Labels from Inch Bug that neither she or Wrigley have been able to get off! They have been a real life saver. The latest addition as been Disney Zevia pop (soda for you non midwesterners) my kids love it and all it is, is flavored carbonated water in a cute Disney themed pop can. Zevia is spendy however, so I wait until Target has it on sale and stock up.

5. Bubble Wand and/or Ears: You cannot walk anywhere on Disney property without getting blasted in the face by a kids bubbles from their Disney Bubble Wand. It’s probably the only place on earth that it’s completely acceptable and expected. To keep the Disney Magic alive, I only allow our kids to have their wands during our trips. Every few trips I also add a new pair of ears. If you’re looking for baby ears ( the park does not sell ears small enough for babies) I order all of ours from Vanaguelite on Etsy, the owner is a sweetheart and her work is beautiful!

6. Others: For our big Disney World trip we took in December I added a few additional things to their bags including Crayola Mess Free Disney coloring books, Lipsmack Avengers and Princess chapstick, kid digital cameras I found on amazon for around $30 each, and a Captain America fanny pack and Minnie Mouse purse also on amazon for $10-$20.

Have a Disney question or topic you’d like to know more about?

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