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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Walking to Disneyland - Tips of the Trade

The other day I was talking to Exceptional Mom Mary. Although a Disneyland veteran, she was parking in the Mickey and Friends structure for the first time and did not know that you did not have to take the tram to get to the park entrances. "You can walk from the structure to the main gates?" she asked, "How?!"

This made me realize that I take for granted those little routines I have developed over time for visiting Disneyland. Thus by popular demand, in today's column I share with you my handy tips!

Tip number one: Walking from the Mickey and Friends parking structure to the Disneyland Resort's main gate.

Yes, you can walk from the Mickey & Friends parking structure to the resort, it's actually not that far
Yes, you can walk from the Mickey & Friends parking structure to the resort, it's actually not that far

My husband and I frequently choose this alternative now that we're hauling our double stroller around. It is much easier for us to get a little exercise than to unload the stroller, fold it for the tram, and get our boys on and off the tram. Even when the tram crowd is light enough that we don't have to fold the stroller, it can be a hassle. If I am alone with the two boys, forget it!

At the end of the day, we especially appreciate this option if our almost 3- year- old is asleep in his stroller. Taking the tram requires us to remove him from the stroller but walking back to the structure does not.

The tram loading area on a busy day - looking south towards the resort
The tram loading area on a busy day - looking south towards the resort

Before we proceed, let me mention the front cars in the trams. These cars have extra room for wheelchair users, and cast members (CMs) often offer these seats to families as there is plenty of room to leave strollers unfolded. I politely decline these seats each time they are offered to me, because what the CMs do not tell you is that you will be sitting directly behind the diesel engines pulling the trams, and inhaling fumes from their exhaust. Conversations are difficult to conduct at best because the noise level is very high directly behind the engine. If you choose to ride the tram, I suggest the cars furthest from the engine.

The simplest route from the structure to the parks is about a half- mile long, and it takes me about 15 minutes to walk it. When you come out of the elevators or down the escalators from the parking structure, the tram loading area is on your left. To your right is the Pinocchio outdoor parking lot. The crosswalk to this parking lot (in the photo below located near the top of the parked tram) is easy to spot, with a cast member always on duty to serve as a crossing guard.

Again looking south towards the resort - this is the view to the right of the photo above
Again looking south towards the resort - this is the view to the right of the photo above

Once in the Pinocchio parking lot, looking south towards the Disneyland Hotel you'll see Magic Way, a road that crosses between the Pinocchio parking lot and the Downtown Disney / Disneyland Hotel lots. There is a path marked with white lines that directs pedestrians to Magic Way (shown above). Once at Magic Way, turn left and walk towards Disneyland Drive - where you'll encounter the crosswalk shown below.

The Disneyland Drive and Magic Way intersection - looking east - resort entry is to the right
The Disneyland Drive and Magic Way intersection - looking east - resort entry is to the right

After you cross the Disneyland Drive intersection (above), you spot a path to follow, turn right on it - again heading south.

Almost there! Downtown Disney is ahead - take a left here towards the resort
Almost there! Downtown Disney is ahead - take a left here towards the resort

After a few moments, you'll arrive at a split in the path with a sign (shown above) - and as the sign indicates, you continue on the walkway to the left. This path will take you to the tram unloading area at Downtown Disney, just outside of the World of Disney store and Naples Restaurant. Continue walking past it and Downtown Disney.

The main entry plaza
The main entry plaza

Once you pass the yellow and orange water fountain, you are almost to the Main Gates. Straight ahead (shown above) you see the ticket booths, to your left will be Walt Disney's original Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, and to your right, (where you see the Golden Gate Bridge) is Disney's California Adventure.

Tip number two: Over the years, I have been fortunate to learn wonderful tips from my friends who are moms. With these in mind, I present...

What's in your bag?

The logical place to begin is with the bag itself. When I was expecting with Spencer, I knew I wanted to upgrade my diaper bag. I needed something sturdy, big enough to haul loot for two children, and something that would stay somewhat organized. After talking to other moms and our resident bag expert, Lani Teshima, I decided that the way to go would be the Eagle Creek Parent Survival Pack. It sells for about $65 online and is worth every penny!

Photo © Eagle Creek. The Eagle Creek Parent Survival Pack

I love that this bag has many compartments so I can organize everything, including park guides, sunglasses, keys, ointments, medications, wet wipes, diaper wipes, diapers, sippy cups, crackers, and clothes. Inside the main compartment, you find a zippered nylon pocket that is perfect for wet or dirty clothes.

Although this bag comes with a diaper- changing pad and pockets perfect for baby bottles, it is not just a diaper bag. As you can see from the photo, it is a versatile bag. I can hold its two handles at the top with one hand, over my back with the backpack straps, or over my shoulder with the detachable shoulder strap. When I'm not carrying this bag, it hangs over my stroller handle where I have quick access to anything when I need it.

Diaper wipes are great for wiping dirty tushies, but for sticky hands and faces, I prefer the individually wrapped wipes. Drug stores and general department stores sell them, but I prefer a restaurant supply store such as Smart and Final. I recently purchased 100 wipes there for under $3.

Shout Wipes are available online from

Exceptional Mom Mary introduced me to Shout Wipes. These serve a dual purpose. First, they clean up a mess so that you don't have to walk around all day wearing that drop of ketchup you spill on yourself at lunch. Second, they catch a stain quickly before it has time to set in. This is especially handy if you're on vacation storing soiled clothes in a suitcase for days before you can get home to your washing machine. Shout Wipes even come with a handy dandy vinyl carrying pouch for storing them neatly in bags, backpacks, or purses.

Exceptional Mom Mary also showed me Rubbermaid's Litterless Juice Boxes -- although we refer to them simply as sippers. Mary fills hers with milk. and brings a small cooler on her stroller to store them. I fill mine with water; this is much less expensive than buying water at the parks, the portion sizes are perfect for Matthew, and I would rather give him his own bottle than share mine. I can also use them to create a diluted juice mix, which Matthew prefers.

One last little gem from my bag is a small bottle of bubbles. These are the kind that you can find in party supply stores. Their "party favor" compact size makes them easy to carry. Bubbles bring quick smiles to impatient little ones standing in line for rides, and they also can bring focus to excited and distracted children who are busy fidgeting in line. Before I bring out my little bottle, I ask the people around me in line if they mind bubbles. I also do my best to blow them away from other guests.

What tools of the trade do you keep in your bag? Please e-mail me or stop by the MousePad Message boards to share your best tips with us!

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.



Adrienne gathered experience taking children to amusement parks when she worked as a day camp counselor and director. She was an elementary school teacher before she started her favorite job: being Matthew and Spencer's mom.

Adrienne, Matthew and Spencer visit Disneyland several times a month, usually with Daddy.

Besides Matthew and Spencer, Adrienne and her husband Kevin created and maintain the award-winning Happiest Potties on Earth here at MousePlanet.

You can contact Adrienne here.


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