Disneyland is a great place to visit with young children. We are big fans and have taken both our girls frequently since before they were one year old. Here are some tips to make the trip more enjoyable for both the kids *and* the parents.
Tip #1 - Use a Stroller and Backpack
Having a stroller at Disneyland is a must with young kids. Even if they like to walk, or be worn or carried, it carries all of your stuff! And for those times when they just need a little downtime, or a place to eat a snack while walking, or even take a nap, it's great. In my opinion, a good hefty stroller with a more substantial basket that can handle bumpy surfaces is better than a small umbrella stroller. In general, the park is really stroller friendly and it's not inconvenient to stash the stroller while on rides. In dozens and dozens of trips to the part, I've never had a single thing disappear from the stroller.
The only time the stroller is inconvenient is riding the parking tram, or the train or monorail inside the park. This is why it's a great plan to pack a backpack that can fit under the stroller, but is actually holding everything - diapering items, snacks, jackets, etc. Just pop the backpack out, fold the stroller and voila! Plus, when actually looking for an item, it's easier to pull out the backpack than be kneeling down and rooting around in the stroller basket.
Tip #2 - Eat at Sit-Down Restaurants
There are several sit-down restaurants in the park that are very kid friendly. Once all the math is done, they are only marginally more expensive than the restaurants with cafeteria style service and save from having to handle kids, trays of beverages and hot foods and strollers at the same time. The sit-down restaurants also have conveniences like water service, extras like bread and butter and often little dessert treats with the check. Are they expensive
The Blue Bayou restaurant (for lunch) and the Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square both feature Disney's famous Monte Cristo sandwich which is not to be missed (with meat and cheese-only varieties). The Carnation Cafe on Main Street has great food for adults as well as a really fun PB&J sandwich for kids that comes open-faced with fun little toppings like mini-marshmallows, banana slices and raisins so the kids can make their own creation before eating it. You can even make reservations in advance to reduce waiting either before your visit or on the day of your visit (space pending) by calling Disney Dining at 714-781-DINE (3463).
Disneyland can be great experience for families with young children with just a little bit of knowledge. Watch for more articles in the Disneyland with Kids series, coming soon.