Joanna Anastasia

travel with kids

I always wanted to visit Disneyland with my kids: I imagined it being fun and colorful and I knew there would be some rides and a princess or two. But what we have experienced on our trip last week have exceeded my wildest dreams! And now I know why people call Disneyland the most magical place on earth!

See, I used to hear friends saying they won’t go to Disneyland before their kids hit a certain age, and I even used to think that it’s not a fun place for adults without kids.. But let me start with saying that Disneyland is so much more than a place with Disney characters walking around and some rides!

What I have experienced is that Disneyland has something for everyone- young and old, crazy or calm, adventures or reserved! There is plenty of exciting rides for the thrill seekers, there is lots of calm attractions for the calm types, there is plenty to do for both little and big kids, and the food scene is amazing! And if you’re an adult who likes to travel to beautiful cities and sightsee, like I am, then you’ll be amazed too!

Actually the food is so good that I’ll be sharing a separate post all about Disney food- stay tuned!

We traveled with our three young kids, who where 7 months old, 5 and 7 years old, and we have mostly focused on the little kid attractions. Before going though, here’s what I suggest to do:

  1. Upload the Disneyland app– it will help you plan your days in Disneyland, help you know the park, show you the waiting times for the rides, let you make food reservations and order your food ( yes, you can order your food on the app and then just pick it up! Such a great life hack with kids!)
  2. Make dinner reservations– while there are plenty of snacks on the go, some of the more fancy restaurants do need a reservation! Good news is that sometimes you can do it even the day before!
  3. Check the weather and pack “layered” clothing– it tends to get a bit chilly in the evening, so it’s good to have a jacket or hoodie! And don’t forget comfortable shoes! You will be walking a lot!
  4. Get your tickets online, and get the Max Passes too– they will let you skip the waiting lines ( very important with little kids!) and once you’ll get them, make your ride selection in advance too!
  5. Check if your travel stroller/umbrella stroller is in a good shape. If your kids are younger than 4 years old then I would suggest a stroller, though you can always rent one in the park!
  6. Note where are the Baby Centres– if you’re suddenly out of diapers or baby food you’ll be happy to know where’s the closest Baby Centre!
  7. Plan which Disney characters you want to meet and check on the app where they are!

So if you are wondering if you should go to Disneyland with your little kids, and if so, what are the best things to experience while there, here’s my top 10 :

1.Pixar Pier – this new beautiful part of Disneyland has everything – from the ultimate thrill ride to the best ice cream, it’s simply lovely and was my favourite place to hang out both by day and by night! What not to miss :

  • The Pixar Pal-A-Round Ferris wheel – perfect for kids and anyone who enjoys a beautiful view – bonus- the not swinging cabins are a great attraction to experience with babies, and you can even breastfeed while on the Ferris wheel in peace!
  • The Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff – absolutely the cutest shopping and treats spot!
  • The Incredicopter – definitely THE ride for the thrill seeker ( my hubby went on three times!)
  • Lamplight Lounge & Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats- The foodies dream spot- with the amazing menu, over the top drinks ( both alcoholic as non alcoholic) and a beautiful sunset water view- definitely a must ! ( and it’s kids friendly too!)
  • The World of Colour – breathtaking after dark show!

2. Paradise Garden Parks – best little kid friendly rides! What not to miss :

  • The Little Mermaid Undersea Adventure– my girls did it twice and where begging for more- and this in another ride that you can do with a baby on your lap!
  • Golden Zephyr and Jumping Jellyfish rides- perfect for the preschoolers ( they just need to be higher than 40 inches)
  • Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta– with all the palm trees and the loveliest of architectures this place feels like a destination dining experience on it’s own!

3. Mickey’s Toontown: The cutest place for toddlers and preschoolers, full of little kid friendly rides and yummy snacks! What not to miss:

  • Mickey and Minnie meet and greet – while you can meet all of the Disney characters throughout the park ( use the Disney app to plan who and where to meet) meeting with these two who started it all is an experience of a lifetime !
  • Visiting Mickey’s and Minnie’s house– your kids will feel like in a cartoon while discovering the singing kitchen appliances and all the cuteness hidden inside!
  • Little kids rides: Chip “n Dale treehouse, Gadget’s Go Coaster and Donald’s boat- all are perfect for little kids!

4. Cars land– is the home to the the beautifully made Grand Canyon, the best ever Car’s inspired ride, a 50ies style diner with amazing breakfast lunch and dinner, and a family friendly ride that will delight all Cars lovers- definitely a must see ! Here’s what not to miss:

  • Radiator Springs Racers– is a fun ride for anyone higher than 40″ -With the desert landscape of the Disney·Pixar movie Cars and a fast but not too scary it’s a perfect family attraction!
  • Flo’s V8 Cafe– a perfect spot for breakfast lunch or dinner- with the most on the spot 50 decor, will make you feel like you traveled back in time!
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree– great little kids ride ( from 32″ and up! )
disneyland with kids

5. New Orleans Square– my personal favorite, and a biggest surprise of our trip- the beautifully recreated Louisiana inspired setting, with the loveliest architecture, the most amazing food and fabulous atmosphere! What not to miss:

  • Cafe Orleans– Best lunch spot ever with the most epic fried grilled cheese and best fancy fries I have ever had!
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island– this is a great place for little kids (there’s no height requirement) and especially great for toddlers and preschoolers who need to run around!
  • Mark Twain Riverboat- a lovely sight seeing tour on the old-fashioned steam-powered vessel, is yet another attraction that you can do with both little kids as babies!
  • Haunted Mansion- a must do ride with no high requirements!
disneyland guide

6. Fantasyland – an absolute must with little kids! Here’s where you’ll meet the princesses, hop non a ride with Alice In Wonderland and experience the fairy tale magic! What not to miss:

  • Mad Tea Party– this classical spinning attraction that is perfect for everyone-there’s no height requirement do you can even go with your baby ( though my baby was napping so he missed the pleasure!) This one is an absolute blast and a great photo spot too!
  • Alice in Wonderland ride– another great ride for young kids and toddlers, with the storytelling agde!
  • King Arthur’s Carousel– an old fashioned carousel that my girls loved!
  • Dumbo the flying Elephant– also a great ride for the young kids!

7. Pixie Hollow– a fairytale house and literally a hidden gem! Also, a great place for snapping the instagram perfect shoots! Why visit? :

  • Meet and greet with fairies
  • Calm down and rest in the shade ( good option for tiered toddlers!)

8. Hollywoodland– this is where you’ll feel like you’re visiting the glamorous city, listen to life jazz music and watch the best shows! What not to miss:

  • Frozen show- need I say more?
  • Superhero meet and greet – my girls loved meeting Superman!
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue ride- any age and any high ride! Perfect for families with little kids!

9.Grizzly Peak– if you’re in to camping and forest adventures, you’ll feel right at home! But also, it’s a really great place to explore with the little kids! Here’s why:

  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail– after braving the rides and sitting in the stroller, little kids will love to run and explore this forest trail ( and if you have a busy toddler you’ll love how calmed down he’ll be after that!)
  • Soarin’ Around the World – absolutely beautiful and surprising ride, feels like flying over the continents and was definitely one of my favourites! Bonus- it’s good for kids as small as 40″ so most likely you can do it with your preschoolers too!
  • Hot Fresh Churros- do I even have to say anything more?

10. Character dining– breakfast or dinner with one of your favourite Disney characters? Happy and amazed kids? Yummy food? Should I say more? Here’s where you can experience it:

  • Storytellers cafe
  • Goofy’s Kitchen
  • Napa Rose Restaurant
  • Plaza Inn

I really hope that this list will be a great starting point for your first family trip with little kids to Disneyland! Though of course Disneyland has so much more to do, see and experience – you just need to go and see for yourself!

And to help you plan your Disneyland trip I prepared this printable planning checklist:

You can download it here!

Also, if you are a Canadian Resident, then there’s a great promotion happening now : you can purchase an adult 3-day, 1-park per day ticket in advance for as low as $207 USD total―that’s just $69 USD per day! See here for more details!

And for all things food and drinks- stay tuned for the ultimate foodie guide to Disneyland, coming soon!

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Disneyland Canada, all opinions remain exclusively my own!

Why you should travel with kids- even if it seems difficult

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” – Roy M. Goodman

Since our first daughter was born, six and a half years ago, we traveled as a family to Poland, Croatia, France, Barbados, and Cuba. We visited far regions of our province Quebec and while at times it was difficult, it was also something that I’ll never forget.

Because travelling with kids is being really present in the moment, it’s enjoying the unexpected and not planning too much. 

Of course, travelling with babies and toddlers isn’t for the weak: kids might sleep bad and whine half of the time. Sometimes the planned sightseeing attraction can turn out to be the-biggest-tantrum-trigger-ever, but then the unplanned stop to soothe a crying baby can turn out to be the most magical place on the way!

why you should travel with kids

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

Traveling with kids is also a patience test : the time it takes to dress, the time it takes to get to the beach, the time it takes to look at all the rocks and flowers on the way.

But it also means that while traveling with kids, you see more details. And sometimes they’re so lovely, you’re happy you took time to slow down.

So if you’re still doubting if your family is ready to travel together, here are the reasons why I think you should give it a try:

  1. Family bonding.  While family bonding can happen anywhere, it’s during travel that families bond the most. Sharing new experiences with people around us leaves us with the feeling of closeness, and having more time together then usually, mixed with the lack of every-day responsibilities, results in stronger attachment and bonding!
  2. Natural learning.  Instead of teaching kids about other cultures, show them other cultures! They’ll remember much better the differences between renaissance and middle ages architecture if they’ll get a chance to see that architecture in person.
  3. Developing self esteem. Kids who travel and are put in new and challenging for them situations – such as ordering food in a new language, making new friends on the beach, helping with packing and travel organization – grow to feel competent and mentally strong.
  4. Language skills- we all know that learning a new language at home with a book is never as efficient and fun as being emerged in that language. And even if the trip lasts only a week, it can sparkle the motivation and curiosity needed to learn a new language!
  5. Making memories that will help in dark moments. We all have moments of self doubt, sadness and loneliness – even our kids. Having a bank of happy memories to look back at during these moments can help dealing with stress and anxiety.
  6. Time passing slower- with lots of things happening within one day, our brains get tricked in to experiencing time differently then during the day filled with repetitive every-day activities. When we travel we get to see so many new places, people and things that our brains are much more busy then usually with processing it all –  and in the end, we have an impression of the time passing slower, and our days happier then usually.

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

 

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

And in the end, I really believe that travelling kids is like depositing coins in their own bank of happiness- and ours too. Even if we’re traveling with a baby who won’t remember anything on a conscious level – they will take in the atmosphere of excitement, smiles of relaxed parents and sound of a new language. And I think that this is truly priceless.

why you should travel with kids

And if you’re wandering HOW to make travelling with kids easier, here are my best tips for traveling with a toddler, and here are my best tips for camping with kids! Also I’ll be sharing more of my tips and tricks for plane travel soon, so stay tuned!

if you're wandering if you're ready to travel with your kids- here's WHY you should and why you'll love it!

 

One trick that makes travel with kids easier

If you have been following me for a while then you know that I love travelling with my kids. Just this year we went together to Cuba, Poland and lastly on a week of a road trip around the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. And while I’m the first to admit that it’s not always easy, I really believe that traveling with kids is like deposing coins of happiness into their inner bank of memories! I think that nothing really can replace the bonding that happens while we travel as a family. And I’m convinced that nothing can grow their curiosity more than exploring new places and trying new foods. Not to mention how it can open their minds on new cultures just by seeing all the different ways in which people live around the world.

One trick that makes travel with kids easier

[bctt tweet=”I really believe that traveling with kids is like deposing coins of happiness into their inner bank of memories! ” username=”TwittingLazyMom”]

But being honest, regardless of all the benefits of travel, the transfer part from place A to place B with kids is always the one that’s most complicated, and the one I used to dread the most. And what I really used to hate was caring big car seats with me all the time, like this last time in Poland! I had to carry car seats with me everywhere! It was so tiring.  And then there where times when we couldn’t go somewhere only because we didn’t have that big car seat with us. Not to mention the frustration of trying to install the car seat in the new car. I’m sure you’ve been there too!

One trick to make travel with ids easier

So you can only imagine my excitement when I discovered the Mifold booster seat at my local Canadian Tire! It’s small and foldable, fits in my purse or in my daughters little backpack, takes minutes to install, and makes travel and changing cars a breeze!

My five-year old Lili learned pretty quickly how to attach herself, and if you’ll look at her sitting next to her sister in the car, then you’ll see the real difference in space that this seat makes in the car!

how to travel easier with kids

One trick to make travel with kids easier

One trick to make travel with kids easier

easier travel

So on our recent trip to Gaspesie, Lili was in charge of her car seat, and she could easily switch from our car to her grandparents car, and travel with whomever she felt like that day!

And I just love this car seat for how it facilitated our travel! Not to mention that it’s safe, practical, and can be used by the kids of age four and up. So as you can imagine, I’m already planning more family adventures for us this summer!

One trick that makes travel with kids easier

One trick that makes travel with kids easier

Disclosure: this post was brought to you by Canadian Tire, all opinions remain my own.

10 reasons to travel to Lower Silesia

10 reasons to visit Lower Silesia in Poland and why it's the perfect family vacation destination in Europe

While travelling with young kids isn’t for the weak of heart, it’s so worth it! Even if they might sleep bad and whine half of the time, the bonding that happens while out of the everyday routine is priceless!

And I deeply believe that traveling with kids is like deposing coins in their own bank of happiness!

Why you should visit Lower Silesia in Poland10 reasons to visit Lower Silesia with kids

10 reasons to travel to Lower Silesia

So this year I decided to take my girls to come and visit my home city, where I was born and raised, Wroclaw, in the region of Lower Silesia, in Poland. I seen it with a fresh perspective, and have visited it as a tourist with kids would. And here are my top ten reasons why you too should travel to this beautiful region, with kids

1.Kid friendly restaurants and coffee shops: One of the first things that I noticed upon arrival was the quantity of restaurants and pretty coffee shops with dedicated kids corners and changing stations. My girls would sit and play while I had my meal in peace! Almost every place we visited had a little corner full of toys and books! This alone makes vacation with kids so much easier!

2. Old city centre- AKA the Rynek; it’s the place of all the restos, coffee places, ice cream and lovely streets full of pretty stores. In the summer, it’s often filled with music, giant bubbles that kids can play with, fountains on every corner and street artists. Cars aren’t allowed there, so kids can run safely and parents an really relax!

Lower Silesia

reasons to visit Lower Silesia

3. Easy transport: If you’d stay in a hotel in the city centre then you can either walk everywhere, or take the public transport. Wroclaw has lots of pretty tramways and new low buses, so even with a stroller you can easily get everywhere. It’s very affordable, and kids travel for free! And since the public transport is much more developed there then here in Montreal, we never waited longer then 5 minutes on a tram stop!

4. Amazing ice cream! Forget the Italian gelato, and try the all natural, organic Polish ice cream! You can find them all around the city, and my favourite where the sweet cream and the lemon with parsley. So good, I already miss them!

5.The gnome hunt around the city: Wroclaw is know for it’s gnomes, and you can find over 100 of them around the old city centre: some are alone, some in couples, some eat pierogi and some play on instruments! My daughters loved running around Rynek and looking for them!

6.Fairy tale like castles surrounding Wroclaw, in Lower Silesia, like the picturesque Ksiaz castle, located only 40 min drive outside of Wroclaw!

Visit Lower Silesia10 reasons to travel to Lower Silesiareasons to visit Lower Silesia

7.Lots of parks and green spaces: everywhere we went, there was a fun park to stop by, and play.

8.Food truck festival and seasonal Markets: In the Rynek, during the winter and summer there’s a lovely market where you can buy authentic food and artisanal objects, and at the end of May we had a chance to visit a food truck market!

9. Great food that kids love: from all sorts of pierogi’s ( you need to try the strawberry pierogi!)  to polish gnocchi ( kluski) and soup served in bread, Polish food is particularly kid friendly! I was so happy to see my girls devouring every meal!

10. Activities for kids: We visited the impressive Zoo, and the huge park ( that looks like a forest) around the Hala Targowa ( don’t miss the huge fountain spectacle!). Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go on a boat ride around the city, nor to viit the Hydropoils museum, but for sure we’ll do this next time!

Visit Lower Silesia

Also, last but not the least, Wroclaw is the night life city of the region, with countless bars and clubs, and the food scene is particularly strong, with the big popularity of fresh and organic based meals. Plus, everyone speaks English! No wander it’s a weekend travel destination for many Europeans looking for a fun and colorful place to visit!

visit lower Silesia

reasons to visit Lower Silesialower silesia

So, next time you’re planing a trip to Europe, don’t miss the Lower Silesia region of Poland, as I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do! 

visit lower Silesia