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A fellow blogger, Kendra from have mercy recently went to Disneyland in California. Without spending a fortune. Without a nervous breakdown. With two kids. So I had to ask her to write a guest post about how she’s done it ;-).

Our family recently visited California. With seven-year-old twins, a boy and girl, the drive from Nebraska was exhausting, so we spent our first day in California with friends at the beach. The next day, we relaxed at our friend’s home, making sure the kids got a nap in the afternoon. They typically only do quiet time, but there was some lack of sleep because of driving 1000 miles in two days. And we knew Disney had the potential to overwhelm them and wanted them refreshed.

The afternoon before visiting Disneyland, we checked into the Hyatt Regency Orange County. We chose it because it’s considered a luxury hotel that’s also family-friendly. Because we stayed with people the rest of our trip, we could afford to spend more on our nights here. Its best features were the shuttle service to and from Disneyland and having a separate seating area from the bedroom. This meant while the kids fell asleep, Brian and I could sit and plan for the next day on a comfortable couch rather than a toilet! We chose a room with a refrigerator to save money by packing a meal to eat at Disneyland and making our own breakfast. This was the only way we could get to the parks (which open at 8 am) on time.

being mesmerized in DisneylandWe bought tickets for two days at Disneyland because it’s divided into two sections. The newer of the two is California Adventure. We spent our first day in the other area, called Magic Kingdom. It was exhausting for the kids – who’ve never been to an amusement park. There was some stress about if rides would be scary and by mid-afternoon, Cadence’s loose tooth was bothering her so much she begged to go back to the hotel. Thankfully it came out and after she was comfortable, she got a second wind!

We didn’t ask the kids to carry anything, partly because we didn’t want to keep track of it and partly to conserve their energy. When they spotted toys they were interested in purchasing, we told them we’d get one toy at the end of the day, rather than carry it all day. My husband carried a backpack with sunscreen, camera and our packed lunch. It didn’t weigh much, so even when I’d take a turn carrying it, it didn’t wear me out. We ate supper at Harbour Galley, which offered a bread bowl with broccoli cheddar soup for less than USD15. The kids’ got yogurt, carrot sticks, apple slices, and goldfish crackers.

You’ll read about Kendra’s second day in Disneyland on Thursday! If you enjoyed this post, sign up to receive updates to my blog by e-mail. And if you want to share your tips for Disneyland, please comment!