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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
More Christmas and More Relaxing in the Park
Santa in Town Square

Santa greets young guests and listens to wish lists every day in Town Square. Although he's available through the day without even taking breaks (except to run back stage for some milk and cookies, after which he almost immediately reappears,) be forewarned: about 15 to 30 minutes before the start of the Christmas parade, Santa goes backstage to be in the parade.

Santa in the parade
Santa in the parade

Because of Santa's location so close to the Main Gate, he seems to be busiest first thing in the morning. Young guests see him and are enticed to speak with him right away. In the early morning, when the Main Gate opens before rope drop, Santa is one of the few non-shopping attractions open on Main Street. He's especially busy then! You'll find the lines shorter if you come back later in the day.

As with other character locations in the park, Disneyland photographers will take a photo of your child with Santa. You can later purchase the photo from the Photo Shop on Main Street. You can also snap up plenty of pictures with your own camera.

As for my son, Santa Claus has no clue what Matthew wants for Christmas. Santa will probably bring him a box of tissues because every time Matthew gets near Santa, Matthew starts crying and screaming loudly. It's part of his general reaction to characters. After her recent trip to Disneyland, reader Susan sent me this suggestion:

We carried Abby up to the characters instead of letting her walk up to them, this way it didn't frighten her. I noticed if parents let their little ones (toddlers) walk up to the character their children were scared and the parents ending up pushing their children to the character.

This is a great idea, Susan. I'm sure it will work much better for several toddlers. Mine, however, doesn't buy it. It used to be that if the character had a face (such as Belle, Aladdin, Jasmine, Santa Claus,) Matthew would be ok. These days it seems that anyone with a grand costume is too scary for him. Most recently he "rejected" Santa Claus and Mulan (dressed as a Chinese princess.) However, Matthew did let Jasmine give him a hug, so maybe there's hope!

The Christmas Parade has begun, plus more Christmas Fireworks information

It's the same old parade that they've had for years, but I do have a soft spot for it. I think younger children will be more interested in this than older children.

Beauty and the Beast in the Christmas Parade
Beauty and the Beast in the Christmas Parade

As for the snow on Main Street: The word is out! Main Street has been packed during the fireworks. Al reported in his 12/5 update that Disneyland has added snow machines to areas in Fantasyland and near the Rivers of America. Before you claim your spot on Main Street for fireworks, consider how well you and your children will react to the tightly packed crowds you can expect! Don't let the stress of the crowds spoil what can be a "Magical" moment. I would consider wandering further up towards Fantasyland myself.

After watching the fireworks one evening, reader Jason wrote:

Seeing the crowds already filling Main Street from end to end, we decided to leave our stroller, minus valuables, in the stroller parking for Plaza Inn for the duration of the fireworks show. This gave us the freedom to wriggle into the crowd.

The Weather Outside Gets Frightful

I know that we don't have nearly the cold weather that other parts of the country do, however, the temperature does tend to dip in the evenings, so if you're planning to stay at Disneyland into the night, don't forget to pack sweaters, jackets, and hats. In the same email I mentioned earlier, Jason suggested:

Cold weather tip: under the jacket and all that layering sometimes lies a stinky diaper. Make sure to leave yourself a way to "get under the hood" without completely disrobing your child.

You can also warm up with Hot Apple Cider from Blue Ribbon Bakery or Mexican Hot Chocolate from an Outdoor Vending cart. Which reminds me, if you haven't checked it out yet, do read Fab's comprehensive list of Special Holiday Treats. She also includes an expanded list of cookie decorating locations. In addition to the Main Street Firehouse and New Orleans Square, Fab found the Toontown cookies which have not been listed in Disneyland maps

More On Relaxing in the Park

From Reader Robin:

Thanks Adrienne for your pregnancy column- it gave plenty of sage advice without being preachy. I just found out I am pregnant with my second, and although I am not planning a trip to Disneyland in the next 8 months (darn!) I have often thought about what it would be like to go while I was pregnant.

I have gone to Disneyland when my son was an infant, therefore I was unable to ride the restricted rides. There is plenty to do at Disneyland without going on those rides! I recommend going on Storybook Land Canal Boats, one of my favorites. It is relaxing and has great things to look at. I also like to go on Mark Twain for some rest, especially when you can snag a chair at the front. There are more: The Tiki Room, Jungle Cruise, sitting in Toontown and watching the kids play and grownups testing the doors, mailboxes, etc.

And of course, Disneyland has a rather cute selection of infant clothes / toys in several shops and it's fun to look for something Disney for your baby to be. My mother's favorite thing to do to relax is to go on the railroad for as many laps as she wants. You only wait in line once and get to see some fun things along the way! I can think of tons of places to relax and I'm sure the rest of your readers will repeat many of the things I mentioned.

Thank you for taking the time to write, Robin. And I hope your next few months go by quickly even if you can't get to Disneyland! Meanwhile, Readers, please keep sending in your lists of great places to relax in Disneyland!

Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Adrienne here.

More Tips!


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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