Category Archives: Kiddo Fieldtrips

Kiddo Fieldtrip // A peek inside the adorable TANTRUM

Here we are, as promised!  You all went gaga for the amazing stop motion video i posted last week. Let’s take a little more indepth look at the adorable new San Francisco shop, TANTRUM. Folks, this shop is a must see for all vintage loving parents—and even if you don’t have kiddos, you’ll fall quickly to Tantrum’s charms. We sat down with shop owners Amanda Weld and Michelle Spear to find out a little more information about this lovely store!

KIDDO: Hey ladies! So wow….Tantrum! We’re officially in lerve! It’s so lively and fun.  What was it that brought you guys together?

TANTRUM:  Well, we’ve both always loved vintage. We both sourced some great props for Michelle’s wedding last October and had so much fun that it started sparking ideas for possible collaborations together. Amanda appreciated Michelle’s eye for decor and entertaining and Michelle loved Amanda’s originality and boundless creativity. When the opportunity for the space came up, everything just snowballed and we went for it! We’ve both always loved vintage—especially the toys, housewares and accessories from yesteryear. Together we hit estate sales, yard sales, flea markets etc and started pulling our inventory together. I have to admit, countless things came out of our houses. Amanda’s personal collection took quite the hit actually!

KIDDO: You also have some really special modern pieces, which I love too. It’s a great mix.

TANTRUM: Thank you! There are so many excellent modern brands that were just a perfect fit. We especially love the retro cool of Woven Play and the handmade modern style of brands like Bla Bla and Zid Zid.

KIDDO: So let’s talk about the decor. That red and white striped curtain is fantastic. What was the inspiration for this colorful, kid-centric wonderland??

TANTRUM: Aw thank you! Our biggest inspiration? Mid-century carnivals! The lights, graphics and colors of the tents and costumes, the raw hollywood glitz paired with the grit of traveling carneys, props and trunks. We love how they had to fit a huge spectacle into very small traveling units and then break them back out again from town to town. We had to do that with every event we’ve hosted. Although the curtains go down for us instead of up 🙂

KIDDO: The space itself is so funky. I have to tell you, I love the dark grey walls.

TANTRUM: Yeah, we had a lot of skeptics with the dark gray color we picked for the walls but we stuck to our guns and knew that the vibrant colors of the 50’ and 60’ would really pop in front of it. Plus its exactly as a carnival is: dark under layers and layers of wild color and excitement on the surface. Amanda’s husband Richard did most of the painting—everyone seems to really like the color. We even had a lady from the neighborhood borrow a pint to see how it would look in her house! She used it too!

KIDDO: Haha, I love it! See, you’re already adding color to the neighborhood! Opening a store is exciting, but I know it’s a lot of work. Was the store front pretty much ready to go or did you find you had to do a lot of prep work?

TANTRUM: Oh there was a lot of work to be done, but we knew we had a great old place to work with and couldn’t wait to dig in through all of the layers! The original walls have this great wooden horizontal wainscoting and were exactly what we were looking for to create that ‘traveling circus wagon’ look. First though we had to remove a wall and  rip out bits of this and that that had been layered on top of it for years. When redoing the walls we actually found a cool old receipt from 1945 for an electrician that was signed ‘Verra’s Hair Salon.’ What’s even more interesting is that after weeks of pulling off layers of linoleum flooring we found that dear old Verra had left bobby pins and bits of hair all over the wooden floors and just slapped the futuristic linoleum floors right on top without even sweeping first! Needless to say we gave the place a good clean up too.

KIDDO: OK, so just a few more questions. I know the shop is your baby, but do you guys have kiddos of your own too?

TANTRUM: Amanda has two little ones, Henry (age 7) and Thisbe (age 3). She’s been giving Henry vintage carnival themed birthday parties since he turned one. For his 1st birthday, she dressed him up as the strong man and even rented a vintage carousel and spun cotton candy in the front yard! (She has yet to out do that first party…) Her daughter Thisbe is too obsessed with purple pink and MAGENTA to make it work! Ha! Michelle is recently married and planning to have kiddos herself. Especially now that she is living and breathing kid-centric awesomeness!

KIDDO: I highly recommend it. Especially now that you have this awesome shop. I know Wolfie was pretty smitten by the place when we popped in.  Do you remember how we stopped by after we had just done the Color Run and were both filthy with color?? haha! I was so embarrassed yet totally thrilled to see Tantrum up close and personal! And I remember the vintage type writer and the fabulous seal were two of Wolfie’s faves. Oh speaking of, what are some of your favorite items in stock?

TANTRUM:  It’s hard to say, we love everything so much. We always have great stuff ‘in house’ all around but I have to admit some of the one-of-a-kind vintage items are super hard to see go. One thing we hope never to part with is our seal! He is an authentic mechanical-coin operated ride from the 50’s and the kids (as well as grownups) love him!

KIDDO: So what’s next on the horizon for the Tantrum Girls?? Any big plans? I have heard rumblings of an amazing baby shower that went down over there, which is such a genius idea!

TANTRUM: Yep! It was a really fun event. We’ve actually hosted a few birthday parties too and we hope to do many many more events. For our grand opening, we hired a clown and a magician and had all of the kids sit on our hand made benches to watch the show. It was such an exciting moment for us. A really special memory was when an old timey version of  ‘Home on the Range’ was playing on the stereo and Amanda and I looked out at the sea of smiling children and our stripey curtain and our eyes met and we both burst into tears from excitement, pride and exhaustion!

We are really looking forward to being more involved in the community and offering things like art classes, story time, reel to reel movie nights and more. Oh, and of course then there’s HISSY FIT!

KIDDO: Yes indeedy! Shall we tell everyone about Hissy Fit?

TANTRUM: Totally! While the majority of our shop is geared towards kiddos, we have so many people ask us about grown up vintage. Both of us have quite a bit of vintage clothing so we had this idea to have a pop up shop….HISSY FIT, Tantrum After Hours! And we enlisted one of our favorite vintage bloggers—ahem— to come along for the ride!

KIDDO: Haha, yes it’s true!  Hissy Fit is a Tantrum + Modern Kiddo Power Hour! If you’re a Bay Area local, be sure to stop by December 6 from 7:30-10:00pm. We’ll be having a special holiday sale loaded with lots of pretty party dresses and coats and sparklies—guaranteed to make you a stand out at any of the upcoming holiday parties you’ll be attending!

TANTRUM: Oh, and don’t forget. A portion of the proceeds will always go to a children’s charity—our last sale was in honor of the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center. We’re so excited for the sale. We’ll have fun giveaways too!

KIDDO: It’s going to be such a blast! I hope I see lots of Modern Kiddo readers out there shoppin’ up a vintage storm! Hey girlies, thanks SO much for stopping by. We LOVE what you’re doing over there! I can’t wait to see what you have cooked up next.

Tantrum is located at 858 Cole Street (between Frederick St & Carl St)  in San Francisco, CA 94117. Phone: (415) 504-6980

sneak peek at the cutest vintage store ever :: tantrum

What would happen if modern kiddo and jonathan adler had a baby? Lemme tell you friends, you’d get TANTRUM! This is an amazing new shop that opened up in San Francisco that is TO DIE FOR. Beautifully curated, stylish and fun. It’s chock full of mid-century inspired goodies and a healthy dose of authentic vintage as well. The majority of the goods are “kid-centrric” but there are also loads of amazing housewares and other items that are sure to have mama and papa swooning too. {OK. So maybe papa won’t be “swooning”. Unless he’s a blogger, of course.} Adorable shopgirls Michelle and Amanda are totally doing it up right! We have a fantastic interview and shop tour coming up Monday, but seeing as this is Black Friday and all, I wanted to give them a shout out just in case you local folks might want to pop on over to Cole Valley and check ’em out!

The ladies also created the cutest video EVERRRRRR which you must watch immediately!!! It’s short. It’s sweet. And it’s brilliant—totally capturing the spirit of these two fun-loving gals and their amazing shop.

See??? How cute is that?? You have to watch it at least two times, no? By the way, Greg Wolfie and I are down in Palm Springs enjoying the sun (a totally random but excellent Thanksgiving getaway!). You can see pix of groovy Palm Springs on my instagram (@galexina). Have a great weekend and I’ll see ya Monday!

Kiddo Fieldtrip // Renegade Crafts fair with Wolfie

Soooooo….the Hootenanny. I’m so sorry I haven’t done one in the last 2 weeks but I’ll tell ya why. I just haven’t been online much. Which means I haven’t been stockpiling cute things for you. Which is highly unusual for me….but life has been busy aaaaand so it goes! But here’s something fun. Last weekend Wolfie and I hit the Renegade Craft Fair!

If you’ve been to Renegade before, then you know how much fun it can be! If you haven’t been…well, imagine tons of hipster crafty arty goodness all crammed under one roof. To be honest, it probably wasn’t Wolfie’s idea of a dream day. He’s such a sweet little fella, but shopping for crafts and jewelry isn’t really a Top 10 choice for little 8 year old boys. He’d rather be playing kick ball or checking out the Lego store. But I always think its good to expose kids to things they might not choose themselves—I’m  always encouraging Wolfie to try and find the unexpected fun in situations. And hey, some things just might surprise you and be better than you thought! OK…I admit, I also told him I’d let him pick out something fun to buy. Hey, a little bribery never hurt anyone, right??

SF Renegade is always at Fort Mason, and it’s SUCH a pretty water-front location. The weather was just glorious! {Oh you might notice Wolfie in two diff shirts in this post….the Cali shirt was under the stripey one… got a bit hot, so he took the striped one off!}

We loved these super cute pencils (like these Classic Hip Hop ones!) from One Up Designs.

Wolfie picked out this cool artwork from artist Annie Galvin, from 3 Fish Studios as his item. We love animals. We love bears. We love California. And we love color. Yup. This one was a no brainer!

Heh. This little hipster teddy bear had me cracking up—and swiping a swig from his little felt PBR. He even has a little mini mole skiene notebook. From LetsBeFriends.

It’s fun to run into pals, and we loved chatting with Robert Mahar (Mahar Crafts) and Cathy Callahan (vintage crafter extraordinaire cathy of california)! They’re both so talented and super sweet. Robert is making new party popper kits that are really cool and Cathy has some really fun new necklaces.

We also ran into cute Lisa, from Zelma Rose—I love her constellation pendants.

I was really into these book safes, made from old, recycled books. There was a version that hid a flask too. hee. From pomme frites charming home decor. I forgot to go back and get one. Gotta remember them. It’d be a fun gifty!

Wolfie especially loved this Super Mario “Power Up” mushroom poster from Row Boat Press.

There are always tons of fun graphic tees at Renegade. Because we were having so much fun, I told Wolfie he could also pick out a tee shirt and this “Make Me a Taco” one was a big hit! From the kooky guys over at Seibei.

We also poked around the Gnome Enterprises booth. They have great stuff for big folks, and the little ones too!

I spied lots of fun Midwestern goodness from The Social Department. Go Michigan!

The guys at Seibei gave Wolfie a free tote to carry his goodies in….which was SUPER nice.

Wolfie really threw himself into the day and was so cute and charming and polite, I was SO proud of him. We also cracked up the entire day. We kept giggling because there was a sauerkraut vendor (which was a BIG mistake, friends!) and the whole area near the food smelled like one big fart. It’s true. And folks, nothing is funnier than a toot. OK, back to the goods. I always love looking at jewelry. I didn’t snap many photos but I loved this felt stuff from Homoko. So pretty!

Oh, and these plush guys from Mimi Kirchner were SUPER fun. The tattooed man was very clever, but I loved the Fantastic Mr. Foxy.

Sooooo even my special little awesome shopping buddy reached his limit….and despite all the laughing and fun we had, he finally said, “That’s enough! No more quirky hipster goodies, ironic moustaches and wooden ties mama!!!! I’m over it!” OK fine, maybe what he really said was closer to “My feet hurt!! I’m not walking any more. Let’s call daddy!!” I asked him to pose for one last photo and this was what I got:

Hahahaha. He’s a ham, my boy. And really we had the best time together….have you guys been to Renegade? How’s your weekend going?


Kiddo Fieldtrip // The Moving Rainbow Explosion of Fun

This weekend Wolfie, Greg and I participated in one of the coolest things ever: The Color Run!

The Color Run is a unique 5 kilometres event unlike any other. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that is less about speed and more about enjoying a crazy colorful day with your friends and family. All levels of experience are welcome, all that matters is that you participate—and that you wear white clothing! Why? Because at every 5 kilometer marker, runners get blasted with colored powder, turning the procession into a moving rainbow. And friends, it’s AMAZING!!

Soooooo, the run fills up really quickly and spots in the San Francisco run were all full. But that didn’t stop us! We decided we’d show up anyway to support the runners and check it all out. We weren’t sure if we could bring Sammy  (technically, I think dogs weren’t supposed to be there) BUT he’s such a big love, everyone just lit up when they saw him and ran over to pet him. With his big smile and wagging tail, he sort of became the unofficial “Happiness Mascot” of the SF Color Run!

We started hanging out at the pinkie red kilometer color marker and as you can see, Sammy really got into the spirit of things!

We decided to check out the blue team, and those guys were all was jealous that Sammy was all pink, so they got in on the action too—giving Sam a pretty baby blue bath. The powder, by the way, is an all natural non-toxic mix. It’s corn starch and color—and it’s safe to eat, although the warn you it’s highly caloric. Don’t taste the rainbow…

The race starts out slow….you see a handful of runners coming through, with a lil splash of color. And then suddenly you see a SEA of people and the color cloud gets bigger and bigger!


We didn’t make it over to the yellow station but it was SO great because we could see it in the distance and all you saw was this POOF of yellow. Even if you don’t run, you will still get lots (LOTS) of color splashes.

The finish line is one big colorful dance party…they toss out extra packs of color (and you can buy larger packs like that one up there) and people are just throwing color all over the place. Everyone is bouncing around and grinning. SO. MUCH. FUN! The whole scene looks like a futuristic, candy colored, post apocalyptic water color painting! Hmm, never thought I’d type THAT phrase!!

They gave away free Slurpees and Coconut Water too… Whoo hoo!

I can’t recommend this enough. And it’s a great thing to do with kids (whether they run or simply enjoy the color mania). They have Color Runs all across the country, through out the year. Even if you can’t run, you should head on down and check it out—in some ways its even more fun just volunteering and observing. There was so much happy energy in the place! Everyone was smiling {Special howdy do to our sweet pal Nuala from tea collection, who we ran into there!} Wolfie thought it was the coolest thing ever and wants to start training to run for next year!


We were soooooo filthy when we got home, and it took a while for us all to get cleaned up. So we decided to wait to bathe Sammy til the next day. Um…mistake. The blue dye is reeeeally tricky to get out! He’s nearly white, but still has little blue paws and tail.


This is the video that Wolfie and I watched back in January, and it was what sold us on the event! I hope you watch it with your kiddos too!

Modern Kiddo Goes to Disneyland :: Travel Tips for the Magic Kingdom.

{note: this post is about Disneyland, because we are in California, BUT everything here holds true for Disney World! I’m not including California Adventure or Epcot.}

Friends, I love Disneyland. I think going there is a totally AWESOME experience. I love it because it’s colorful, fun and best of all CREATIVE! I find most amusement parks these days rely on cheap thrills and scream rides. The minute you walk through the front gates of Disneyland you can tell you are somewhere special. SO MUCH thought was put into all the rides at Disneyland. If you love the movies, you’ll love Disneyland. If you are a child at heart, you will adore Disneyland. If you are into design, you’ll appreciate the level of concept and detail (the type faces! the architecture! even the trash cans and bathrooms are “themed” to match the different “lands”!). And if you have a child? It can be utterly magical.  I also love that Disneyland is a very clean park. There is never any trash on the ground, sticky bubble gum or popcorn spills. In fact, they don’t even sell chewing gum because they want to avoid people stepping in a gooey mess. They work hard to create the mood of “happiest place on earth” and it shows.

Of course, the reality is that going there with kiddos can be overwhelming. It’s a theme park and that means you’ll have moments of stress and frustration and potential melt downs. Here are some of my tips for navigating your way around the park! I’ll be following it up with a Guide to Rides for Kiddos soon.
OK, on to some tips. First up? Logistics!


It all depends on your child—their demeanor and your patience. For younger children (especially the 2-5 year old set), Disneyland can really be an extremely magical experience. They won’t have the stamina of an older child, but seeing this fantasty world through their eyes is pretty priceless. Wolfie was just under two his first visit and I remember him being SO in awe of all the lights, colors and characters—really believing that it truly WAS Mickey Mouse and Goofy that he saw! If your child loves trains they’ll be in heaven. Every cart looks like a choo choo, not to mention the numerous REAL trains you can ride. They will love the experience. Be sure to factor in timing (eg going in the summer when lines are long and the sun is HOT can be tough with a little one). OH, and children under three? They visit FREE.

This all depends on your budget and personal preference. You can totally have fun in one day, but you definitely won’t see it all. A 2-Day Pass is ideal. You won’t feel as rushed and the pressure to do and see it all is greatly reduced. A 3-Day Park Hopper pass is more of a splurge but totally fantastic! If you can swing it, I say go for 2-days. You’re already spending money, might as well go for it!

Everyone wants a little slice of The Happiest Place on Earth, so honestly it’s pretty much always packed. That being said, there are times when it is a little less crazy. January and Early February are traditionally less crowded (I’m guessing since everyone has just spent money during the holidays!). Also the fall, mid-September and the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas (which is also fun because the park undergoes a transformation for Christmas with lots of lights etc).  Among the most crowded times are “Spring Break” (Mid March-thru April), all of Summer, holidays like Presidents Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Years (for a more in depth list, check out here). The upside to the busier times? The park stays open until midnight. Also, avoid weekends if you can. The crowds are always thicker Saturdays-Sundays.

I personally think it’s a great idea to stay as close to the hotel as possible! You’ll avoid the parking lot and can easily go back to your hotel when needed. If you are ready to splurge, the Disneyland Resort Hotels (the Disneyland Hotel, Paradise Pier, and the Grand Californian) are pretty fabulous and are all a quick walk to the entrance gates.We haven’t stayed there in years, but I remember how special it felt to board the monorail right from my hotel. In more recent times we chose to stay at hotels that are walking distance from the park. If you aren’t splurging on the Disney Resort, then I say go for the cheapest (but safest/cleanest) hotel. You will hardly be spending any time there, so no need to spend extra money. We stayed at the Best Western Anaheim. It was nothing fancy but we could literally walk across the street to Disneyland. Priceless! And we were only in the hotel just for a nap time and to spend the night and  it was perfectly fine. Some good ones that are walking distance to the Park: Howard Johnson Anaheim, Candy Cane Inn (cutest name!), the Del Sol Inn (no frills but super close).  You can find a full list of hotels close to the park here.

MousePlanet is an amazing resource and has tons of good info on ticket discounts and park updates. I always check their “Ride Refurbishment/Closure” list, so we won’t have any nasty disappointments when arriving at the park (for example, It’s a Small World was closed a few years back for refurbishing and while we were bummed, it was helpful knowing in advance). Check them out here! I think it also pays to familiarize yourself with the park in general, especially if you’ve never been. Most of the rides can be viewed on YouTube, which can be a good way to check out a ride if you are unsure whether your little one will like it.

If you are visiting in the summer, remember Anaheim can get pretty darn hot. Like 90s. Be sure to bring sunscreen and apply a chapstick or lippy with SPF. I would pick up some of those fan/water mister combos to keep everyone cool while waiting in line. There are several rides that are air conditioned, so if you are wilting, head for them (we’ll get into those specifics in RIDES OF DISNEYLAND later on!).

Top clothing rule? Make sure you (and your kiddos) all wear comfortable shoes! You’ll be doing SO MUCH standing and walking around. You can still look cute, but trust me, don’t sacrifice for comfort. The park can get cooler at night, so dress in layers. If you go during the warmer months, bring a hat (or you can always buy a fun hat there). For the ladies, I recommend bringing a small/medium cross-body bag (as opposed to a handbag/purse) where you can store your wallet/camera/phone etc. You’ll want to be “hands free” while walking around. An easy-access front or side pocket (that snaps/zips shut) is best for quickly grabbing your camera/phone and snapping photos. Plus you’ll be able to grab to your Tickets and Fast Passes quickly.

I think technically you aren’t supposed to bring outside food into the park, but stuff for little kiddies is usually OK—and will save you some money. Think easy snacks like goldfish/pretzels/graham crackers/peanut butter crackers/popcorn/apple slices/bagels/sandwiches etc. Don’t forget bottles of water and of course a sippy cup. Like most amusement parks, the food can be pricey….but I have to say you get over it and it’s fun to get a mickey-shaped ice cream bar or mickey pretzel when you’re “in the moment.” It’s also definitely worth it to sit down for lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants at least once just to relax. It’s not that much more than the food stands and it’ll be air-conditioned and a great break from the hub bub. We have never done this, but I hear the “Character Meals” (where you eat at the restaurants and get an appearance from several Disney Characters) are supposed to be really fun for kids. Read more here.


To avoid the longer lines, I highly recommend trying to get there as early as possible. When the park first opens is ideal. Disneyland opens at 8am during the summer and is typically least crowded from opening until about 11:30am or so. Use that time to hit the most popular rides (like Toon Town, Peter Pan or It’s a Small World…if you have bigger kids or are traveling alone, hit Space Mountain or Indiana Jones etc).

Technology has come to Disneyland in a big way, with iPhone/Android apps. We used MouseWait when we went and it was awesome. It’s a FREE app for smart phones that shows Disneyland line wait times. The times are, of course, approximate, but it’s pretty spot on! Get yours here.

I *highly* recommend bringing a stroller or renting one from the park. Not just for tired little feet, but also because you can use it as a portable locker to schlep yer stuff around. Wolfie is obviously too big for a stroller and MAN I miss it! You’ll notice that there is informal “stroller parking” all around the park (you’ll see rows of strollers outside of rides). People are pretty cool and your stroller is relatively safe. Obviously don’t leave a sack of cash or your camera…but we’ve always left our jackets/hoodies, snacks, water bottles etc in the bottom basket and it’s been fine! (We’ve even left it in a spot for an hour or so and ran back to get with no problem—not that I recommend doing this!) If you have a pretty common/popular stroller style, tie a ribbon or scarf or other identifiable marker around the handle so you can easily spot it in a crowd.

These are not available on all rides, but for select (popular) rides, Disney offers a FASTPASS—and these are GREAT. You’ll notice what looks like little ATM machines near these rides. You insert your ticket and it spits out a FASTPASS that shows you the time you can come back and hop into the FASTPASS line—which is always much shorter than the regular line. It’s an awesome way to cut your wait time down significantly! Keep in mind, you can only get one FASTPASS at a time, but as soon as the window on your ticket expires, you can collect another FASTPASS. You usually have about 15 minutes or so past the window listed on your ticket to ride the ride.


You can now get a FASTPASS for two of the more popular shows! If you have plans to see the awesome World of Color show at California Adventure, be sure to grab a FASTPASS upon entering. The World of Color FASTPASS gives you priority seating for the show. (You can get this FASTPASS up by Grizzly River Run.) Holding this pass will not stop you from retrieving other FASTPASSES. You can also get a priority seating FASTPASS for Fantasmtic! Again, this will not stop you from retrieving other FASTPASSES.  (Grab this FastPass by Big Thunder Trail in Frontierland.)

This is also called the PARENT PASS or RIDER SWITCH PASS and can be great for parents who want to ride on the more adult/scarier rides but their younger child doesn’t want to. Your whole family stands in line for the ride. When you get to the front of the ride, one parent (with or without an older child) climbs on board the ride. The remaining parent gets a Stroller Pass and waits to the side with the younger child. (A good time to pull out a little treat for your patiently waiting tot!) When your family is done riding, you turn in your pass and the remaining parent gets to go straight on the ride (without having to wait in line AGAIN). Pretty great! Folks with one small child can consider this option as a way for mom or dad to get a chance to ride something other than Dumbo and Small World!

Disneyland is always packed. Whether you have a large family or if “3’s the magic number” like Wolfie, Greg and I….wear something that makes you easily identifiable in a crowd. We saw families in matching tees, which sounded a little dorky, but man I spied the “Purple Shirt” family from a mile away! This last visit, I had a bright yellow cardigan on so Wolfie and Greg could always find me in the crowd. It’s also helpful to have a “home base” if for some reason you are at all separated. (Pick a spot at the start of the day.)


No matter how much you plan, things never go quite as expected. Try to keep a positive attitude and set your expectations to “go with the flow”. You might end up going on It’s a Small World or Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters SIX TIMES (when you secretly are dying to hop on Pirates of the Carribean…sigh). Or that fantasy you have of getting the perfect photo with Mickey might go awry when your child unexpectedly becomes very nervous about “meeting” characters. (Wolfie was delighted to see them but was verrrry nervous to go up to them! See above.) Try to remember you’re there to have fun and share this day with your kid(s). Be flexible!


My biggest piece of advice for families (and for everyone really) is REMEMBER TO TAKE BREAKS. It sounds silly but it’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement. Even if your child seems like they are TOTALLY happy and excited, they will suddenly crash without their nap time (or if they won’t nap,  make sure they get quiet time/down time). You can go in and out of the park (they will stamp your hand but keep that ticket stub!) so don’t be afraid to head to your hotel if you need a break. If your hotel is far away….not to worry. In between Disneyland and California Adventure is something called Downtown Disney. It’s like an outdoor mall….there is a fountain courtyard where different street performers play, and little shops and restaurants. It’s a great place to take a load off. When wolfie was little we made sure we left the park and hit that area just to get a mental break from LINES! RIDES! and all that jazz. Even if the kids seem like they’re doing ok, I still say take a sit down break. We made the mistake of not doing that one time when Wolfie was really little and he had the worlds most colossal melt down!


When night time falls, Disneyland transforms into a twinkling, magical wonderland. Consider letting the kiddos stay up late—you’re on vacation after all! Of course make sure everyone gets a good nap earlier in the day, but then let your hair down when the sky gets dark. There are wonderful light displays, all the rides are still running, there is a special evening parade and OMG THE BEST FIREWORKS YOU HAVE EVER SEEN IN YOUR LIFE. Trust me. They are spectacular. Remember that the temperature dips at night, which means bring a sweater or jacket with you.


What? Bring souvenirs with you? Yep! The gift shops are loads of fun but can be deadly to the pocket book. If you are on a budget, shop for little Disney trinkets before you get to the park  and hand them out when you are in the park. (eg Mickey stickers, little stuffed animals, even Mickey/Minnie/Princess/Buzz Lightyear tee shirts from Target etc.) Your toddlers won’t know the difference! Alas, older kiddos probably won’t be so easily fooled. Also, if your girl is a princess fan, consider bringing a dress/wings or other accoutrements along. It’ll be much cheaper than buying a new one at the park.

The Disney Guest Relations desk is near the entrance to each park. Swing by to pick up a free “My first visit to Disneyland” for your first timer.  They also give pins out for Birthday visits. Wear them and you just might get a little special attention from Disney Cast Members (as employees are called!).


All the Disney Characters will gladly sign autographs. If you are on a budget, this can be a fun thing to do with the kiddos. They sell autograph books at the park but you can easily bring a little notebook with you to save money. Don’t forget to bring a pen too, or you’ll have to buy a fancy $5-$10 pen at the park!

If you need a lil pick me up, the cafe on Main Street USA offers free coffee refills all day long—just keep that receipt!

If you have a really young child, take advantage of the Carnation Baby Center. This is a hidden gem if you have any kids under 5. This room just off Main Street has three main sections, lobby/feeding area, nursing/pumping rooms, changing/toilet room.

Disney Cast Members are terrific and they honestly want you to have an awesome experience. If you buy a balloon and it pops or is damaged, they will replace it. That new light saber you bought your boy suddenly isn’t lighting up? They will usually replace it. I’ve even heard tell of instances where a little kiddo dropped an ice cream cone and before the tears could even form, a Cast Member was there to offer a replacement, while another was immediately cleaning it up. SWEET!

WHEW! So there you have it. Did I forget anything?? Just let me know! And if you have any awesome tips, please add to our list! Don’t forget, Part 2, the Kiddo Guide to Rides will be up next!

NOTE: This is NOT a sponsored post, just me sharing my info with you!