I just back from my first trip to Disneyland (California Park). Being a Disney newbie, I didn't know what to expect but along my magical adventure I gleaned some tips to share...
1st time visitors. When you get your tickets at the box office mention you are a 1st time visitor. They give you a souvenir pin (FREE). As you would expect, souvenir shops are a plenty on the park grounds (and pricey) so to keep your souvenir budget down—keep your ticket stubs and take lots of pictures for your scrapbook.
Stroller Parking. I was amazed at the organized stroller parking at rides. On the baby-at-Disney topic—I loved that there were at least four changing stations in women's washrooms so you didn't have to wait to change a diaper. Also, smart Disney has a nursing area, extra diapers and formula for purchase at the child services office (saved my bacon!).
The Parade. Get your curbside spot at least a half hour before the Disney parade (spots fill up fast). Blankets are good to sit on or wrap up if the evening is chilly.
Switch pass. While waiting (meaning walking back and forth with baby in my arms) for my dh and big kids to ride autotopia a Disney cast member gave me this good tip...if you have a child unable to ride (like a baby) you can ask for a switch pass—whereby when the adult and big kids who are riding are done you the "waiting parent" hand off baby and bypass the same ride line to ride get your turn to ride with the big kids.
Shows. There are Disney stage shows throughout the day at different locations. Be sure to ask a cast member for a listing of where and when the shows are running (a Disney cleaner gave us the listing).
Crowds. We went on a long weekend (bad idea—it was le crazy!). If you can schedule to visit Disney mid-week you can probably have a more magical experience.
Want some more Disneyland tips? Check out these from blogger Sarah Deveau.
How much further?! Are we there yet?! I'm bored! Whether you are traveling by boat, plane, train or bus...these 5 activities will keep your kids entertained so you can drive, sleep or tweet (not all at the same time of course).
The dreaded e-entertainment. Yes, we live in a world where electronics can babysit our kids—like it or not. From a Sesasme Street video podcast to playing fruit ninja to learning baby sign language there is a ton of hand held electronic entertainment available for all ages.
A dollar store toy on the hour. Load up on a variety of dollar store items and hand one out every hour of the trip. The pro is that the items are new and new is generally entertaining in the kid world. It is also a relatively small investment so if something gets lost en route you aren't out big bucks.
Crayons & paper. Old school, yet still cool—crayons and paper can provide heaps-o-fun. From tic tac toe to hangman to drawing pictures to writing a thank you card to a flight attendent that gave out extra snacks (yes, we did that!)...crayons and paper are easy fun.
Snacks. Good Ghandi thank blog that snacks can be entertaining. Keeps hands busy and mouths closed. Need I say more?
Alphabet brainstorms. My kids LOVE this. Go through the alphabet and have them come up with an answer. "Name a fruit that starts with C." "Name a country that starts with S." You can do it with almost anything. Cost is free. And no batteries required.
My kids had a lesson in black history during a trip to the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, MI (one of THE best, kid-friendly, museums we have visited) this past summer. As we walked through the museum, we entered a room and saw this bus.
The Rosa Parks bus. And my kids got the chance to board that infamous bus—exploring history hands-on while reading how Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. It sparked a big conversation between my kids and me about civil rights and human rights.
Because it is Black History Month, I thought that this experience could be an interesting discussion activity to have with older kids...Can you imagine being sent to the back of the bus? Would you move or would you stand your ground?
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a page on Black History Month In Canada which could also spark some conversation.