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Why Visit Disneyland with One Kid

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Sure, a Disney vacation with the whole family is always fun. But there’s something very special about visiting Disneyland with one kid. Here are five reasons to leave the spouse, the siblings and the grandparents at home for a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth with you and one kiddo.

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Why Visit Disneyland with Just One Kid

1. Disneyland with one kid = peace

My kids love each other, but they also fight. When I embark on an adventure with just one of my children, my little hellion is replaced by an angel. At Disneyland this means no arguments about who gets to sit with whom and zero whining about waiting in line for an undesired ride. On a recent mother-son Disneyland trip, my son was blissfully able to be silly, sing songs and laugh as loud as he liked without his big sister rolling her eyes or complaining about his “annoying” behavior.

Mother-son Disneyland trip

My son was free to ride “little kid” rides without judgement during our mother-son Disneyland trip (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. The joy of saying “yes”

When you visit Disneyland with one kid, you get to be the hero who says, “yes.” Of course we can ride Grizzly River Run again. Sure, we can eat at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port. Yes, we can wait in line to meet Mickey Mouse. Whatever you want, kid!

Root beer floats at Disneyland

Yes, we can get root beer floats! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. More time to do what you want

The more people in your Disney crew, the more opinions there are about which ride to go on next, where to have dinner and whether to watch the parade or head back to the hotel to swim. With only one other Disney goer, it’s easy to make compromises to please each other. That means rather than shoving your wishes to the bottom of a long list, you can easily negotiate with your travel partner to make sure that you get to visit your favorite Disneyland attractions and eateries, too. Rather than juggling the needs of many, your day will be freed up to squeeze in just the things you two want.

"It's Tough to Be a bug" at Disney California Adventure

Being silly at “It’s Tough to Be a bug” at Disney California Adventure (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Let kids be kids

When my son and I arrived at Disneyland, at first he shied away from getting his photo taken with any of the characters. He’s at that age when he’s too old to do “baby” things but still young enough to worry about being cool. I told him that everyone gets to be a kid again at Disneyland, even grown-ups. Without another child around to judge him, he happily rode little kid rides like It’s a Small World, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo, and Winnie-the-Pooh.

Disneyland with just one kid

Disneyland with one kid is a joy! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Improve your relationship with your child

Just as romantic couples need time alone to strengthen their partnerships, so do other relationships need we time. Often when dining out, my husband and I chat about “boring” adult stuff while the kids color their menus and play tic-tac-toe. During Disneyland meals and while waiting in lines with one child, however, I focused entirely on my son. We discussed his favorite comic book (Spiderman) and what he wants to be when he grows up (a baseball player, scientist or construction worker). He even opened up to me about sensitive stuff, like that mean kid at school and a big (secret!) fear of his. Without any distractions at Disneyland, we held hands more, hugged more, and I heard a lot more I love you’s and thank you’s than I would have if we’d visited with the whole family.

After visiting Disneyland with one kid, I bet you come home with a big ol’ bunch of special memories and a tighter bond. I know my son and I did!

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Have you ever visited Disneyland with one kid? Would you? Let us know in the comments below!

Consider booking a character meal to add even more magic to your visit. Read our Disneyland character meal reviews to choose the best one for your family.

A Note from The Travel Mama: Disneyland hosted our visit. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. Going with one kid will be fine but in my view we can enjoy the vacation with the whole family and have loads of fun.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      True, true. I don’t mean to swap out visiting Disneyland with the family, but to ADD a duo trip to Disneyland. If you can’t do both, you could consider splitting up during your family trip to allow some one and one time.

  2. Might be one of my favorite posts. I’m sure this will prove valuable advice for Mom’s and Dad’s out there. Oh, one more advantage to taking one kid versus the whole family…a lot less expensive! 🙂

  3. Nick @ Goats On The Road says

    Haha, I love this post! I think these 5 simple things are awesome ideas for parents and their children. One-on-one time is definitely needed every once in a while. 🙂

  4. Lyla G - Globetrotting Mommy says

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. It would have been great to take a trip without my sister growing up : ).

  5. Little Teether says

    Definitely agree with your post. At least, you just need to take care of one kid and you don’t need to worry with other things but to one child alone. But I’m sure for other people, they love to bring the whole family. It’s more fun for them if they’re complete.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Little Teether – Thanks for your comment! I love doing both: a trip to Disneyland with just one kid AND trips to Disneyland with the whole family. I like going sans kids, too! Each type of trip has a different feel and is great for different reasons!

  6. Going with one kid will be fine but I have four children 🙂

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Juli – I hear you! It would be hard to sneak away with just one of your brood to Disneyland but perhaps you could set up a tradition of doing a special mom/child trip for a milestone birthday with each kid. Maybe age 10?

    • jessica gadsby says

      I have 4 also and Im starting to consider small trips with each kid or groups of 2. Shouldnt be a problem teaching kids that they each get their own time with mom.

  7. I would love to be able to take each of my children on a special trip. Right now, we make sure each kid gets “best girlfriend” or “best boyfriend” time in the park. Whether it be a ride, a special snack, or shopping, it is some of my favorite time in the parks!!

  8. I’d feel too guilty leaving one at home…lol… but when we went to DL last May my husband took one girl and I took the other a few times. It was a lot of fun to even have a few hours with just one kid at a time. I think I’ll make this a tradition because we enjoyed it so much!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      I always love one-on-one time with my family members. Even a few hours is enough time to create some wonderful memories together!

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