Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Nielsen's Take Anaheim Part 1 (or how we survived a 9.5 hour road trip with a one-year-old)

(I wrote this post months ago and never posted it! No idea why, so here it is.)

Yup, we're Those People, the ones who are crazy and take a baby to Disneyland. I'll be writing more about visiting the parks in future posts, this one is about the drive.

Things really couldn't have gone any smoother. We broke the 9.5 hour drive into two days on the way there, which was the perfect length of time for Evie. Here's what I packed that made our drive go oh-so-smoothly:
  • Favorite books with lift-the-flap and tactile features
  • Stacking cups
  • Wooden puzzles, the kind where the shape lifts out like this
  • Shape sorter similar to this one
  • Felt quiet/busy books
  • Magnetic toys and a small magnetic white board or metal cookie sheet (we borrowed some magnetic spinning gears from a cousin)
  • DIY pompom sorting game (cut some holes in the lid of a plastic container and get some pompoms from the dollar store, let your little one poke them into the holes)
  • Matchbox cars
  •  Koosh ball
  • Stacking toy
  • Favorite shows on the iPad, with a handy car mount so the rear-facing passenger can watch (four episodes of Baby Signing Time saved us!)
  • Kids music ready to go on your phone with Spotify Premium (we like Disney's Greatest and Dan Zanes best)
  • An app or two your little one likes (Evie likes Baby Phone)
  • Snacks, snacks, and more snacks! Here's our list: Goldfish crackers, Teddy Grahams, Fig Newtons, freeze-dried fruit, Pop Chips, baby food squeeze pouches, and plenty of water in a straw-cup
 We tried to find places for Evie to walk around and play at every pit stop. The options in Barstow were grim, but we made it work! She got so excited to walk around, she was all smiles and would clap as she toddled. It was adorable.

On the drive home, we got ambitious and decided to do it all in one day. It was a mistake. While she was happy at the halfway mark, by the time we were about 1.5 hours from home, she was just done. She ended up falling asleep in the car when we were about 15 minutes from home, which made our arrival quite traumatic. We made it, it wasn't horrible the whole time, but there were probably 2 hours of badness, which felt like forever. As much as I wanted to be home, next time I'll definitely stick with the two-day journey!

What are your road trip tips?

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