i figured i'd add a few real mom tips for a disneyland vacation, too. so here goes...
1. if you have a friend that does disney a lot, pick their brains! they're full of tons of helpful. my soy friend amanda gave me a ton of help, as well as my friend heather. they linked me to helpful websites, reservation lines, gave me hotel tips, ride tips... it was an amazing help!
2. february (not during president's day) is a GREAT time to go to disney. the lines were 15 minutes or less on every ride. (thursday it was a little busier, and we did wait in one line for 40 minutes, but that was only once). wednesday was the least busy day.
3. staying at the disneyland hotel was totally worth it! this was my first time staying there, and man-o-man, it was great. we were able to walk to everything. the peter pan pool was fabulous. when we got soaked riding the grizzly river run (in california adventure) we just walked back to the hotel to change. the convenience was one of the big perks, but the other was that disney just knows how to do things right. the service was great, the room was perfectly set up for families... they really are #1 at making an experience.
4. if you head to california, fly into john wayne airport rather than lax. it's smaller, less busy, shorter lines, all for about the same price.
5. if you can spring for a character meal, it is the way to go for seeing the disney characters. we had breakfast at goofy's kitchen on wednesday morning. the characters come right to your table, autograph the table cloths (paper) and everything. you'll get lots of pictures with no lines. that and the food was kid heaven. they had every kind of kid-tastic food you can imagine. there was the gummy worms in the pudding thing, cobblers, crepes with fruit, custom made omelets, tons of meats, pb&j "pizza", soft serve ice cream... i mean, there was EVERYTHING! goofy even came out a couple of times and did these singing routines & the kids got to participate. very fun. oh, and the bonus is that the meal price includes tax & tip, so you don't have to worry about that.
6. dusk is a great time for getting pictures. the light is wonderful, and some of the areas are less busy with a lot of people on the rides. that's when i got the pic of the girls & the walt disney statue with the castle in the background.
7. if you're planning on doing any dining at the disney restaurants, you can make reservations ahead of time. of course, i was a procrastinator... so we made them the day we arrived. we picked "off times" so they'd be a little less busy. we ate at the blue bayou (the one that overlooks pirates of the carribean) at 4pm, and did our goofy's kitchen meal at 7:40am. it worked out well, and was a little less busy than typical meal times. oh, and if you're a fan of southern food, the blue bayou makes a mean jambalaya. yummo!
8. if you go on the grizzly river run... bring a poncho, a change of clothes or stay close! we got all of our riding done in a row... we rode three times in a row, got soaked, then went to change.
9. keep a gallon sized ziplock bag in your pocket for stowing your camera on the water rides.
10. ride the water rides in the evening for smaller lines. we were able to ride splash mountain a bunch of times with no lines after the sun went down.
11. if you're a member of the military (active or retired) disney is offering HUGE discounts right now. you can pick up a free ticket for the service member and up to 5 three day park hoppers for the price of a one day at MWR. they're also offering hotel discounts if you call the disney reservation line!
12. if you have a "big daddy" (i.e. digital slr) camera, it is very much worth lugging it around. we brought stan's point & shoot camera, too, but the pics were just so much better on the nikon. we only carried the p&s around the first day. as a side note, i used my nikkor 18-200mm lens for the trip.
those are all of the things i can think of right now. i figured i better write a few of them down while they were fresh in my mind... since i quickly forget stuff! lol.