So my wife talked me into taking our 2 year old girl to Disneyland for the first time. I admit that I was dubious about going with her this young. All I could imagine was her whining and crying for the drive (12 hours each way) and then being too small to really do anything in Disneyland.
I don’t say this often so it is probably not wise to post this for all to see. My wife was right and I was wrong. Disneyland with a 2 year old (okay almost 2 and 1/2) was a really great experience. Sure there were some hiccups but all and all it was a great trip and Sabrina loved it. She begged me most the day to day to go back to Disneyland.
She did great on the drive. We hooked up our portable DVD player and brought a bunch of Disney movies. We figure we want her to be able to recognize as many characters as possible. Sure we left around 3 in the morning hoping to get more sleeping time on the drive. Our little girl was so excited that she didn’t sleep for the first 3 or 4 hours of the drive.
So getting the drive out of the way without too many problems made me hopeful for the next day. My main worry is my daughter likes to be held in people’s arms. I could only imagine standing in a 45 minute line with her begging me to hold her (she is a daddies girl) and my arms feeling like lead from holding her.
We took the hotel shuttle to Disneyland and my little girl felt that was the day. She had been begging to ride a school bus for the last couple of weeks. Luckily she considered this hotel shuttle a school bus. It dropped us up we walked right over and got our passes and pin on button to wear around the park. My daughter got “First Timer” button and loved it. Sure she didn’t keep it on but she knew it was hers and asked for it to be pinned on repeatedly.
We walk into the park and Goofy is standing right there taking pictures with the guest. We think this is a great opportunity to get a picture with one of her favorite Disney characters. This is when we hit our first hiccup. She was terrified of the big silly dog. The closer we got the tighter her grip got and the more tears were on the verge of coming.
We laughed it off and headed to ride the Peter Pan ride. She had watched parts of Peter Pan on the drive up and has always been a fan of the movie and Tinkerbell. The line isn’t too long at all and she seems excited as we wait. The closer we get to the front of the line (20 or 30 minutes later) she starts to get more and more scared. So by the time we made the last turn to get on the Peter Pan boat she is in a total panic and full on crying.
So what to do with your crying girl when you are at the happiest place on earth and headed to a ride you are sure she will like when she gets on it. We made the decision not to push her. This is her trip so we walked out of the line. This could have been a mistake I guess. Maybe if we had pushed her she would have realized there was nothing to fear. But maybe she would have been miserable the rest of the day.
Then we figure lets try the merry go round right by the Peter Pan ride. she seemed okay and even excited. But then the fear came alive again. She screamed when we tried to put her on a horse. So for the whole ride I stood next to the horse holding her as we went around in circles. So needless to say we are 0 for 3 so far.
I won’t go through the whole 2 days step by step that would be too much. She fought fear all through the days. Some rides we got her on and others she refused. Most when we got her on she liked. Her favorite was It’s a Small World which she affectionately refers to as The White Castle (no not the burger joint).
On thing I thought coming in as a waste of time I felt was one of the better experiences was the Disney Princesses. When i heard you could wait in line to get you picture with the Princesses I thought it was a waste of time. Looking at the pictures of the trip it are these that are my favorite. I even have one of her hugging Belle as my wallpaper on my work computer.
She got to see Rapunzel (Tangled is her favorite movie) even though Flynn Ryder scared her and had to stand on the other side of the room. She got a hug from Belle, Mulan, and Tinkerbell. High fives from Ariel and another fairy. The characters were awesome with her. They all got down to her level and spent time talking to her. I have noticed the first thing she will mention is one of these characters or that Peter Pan is scary.
If you are thinking of taking a 2 and a half year old to Disneyland would I recommend it? Yes. It might have been a tad too early but she loved it and this vacation will lead to some great memories in the future.