Disneyland is famously called as the “happiest place on earth”. But it can easily become the most tiring and frustrating place to be if you don’t know some basic tips and tricks to enjoy your vacation at this magical amusement park.
Recently, Disneyland park announced that from May 1, 2019, strollers wider than 31 inches or longer than 52 inches and wagons won’t be allowed into the park.
Here are the top tips you should know before you go to Disneyland parks in California according to seasoned Disney travelers and travel bloggers.
UPDATE 2022 March
Disney introduced Genie Plus and Lightning Lane system and removed FastPass system. So, check the tickets and purchase Genie Plus if needed. For super popular park days, having Genie Plus would be the perfect way to enjoy the magic because the Lightning Lane would be much quicker than the standby line. Also, photo downloads are included. But keep in mind that Guardians, Spiderman and some other rides may require extra purchases.
1. Travel Off-season
Daisy from Beyond My Border blog says: Off-season in Disney is one of the best ways to travel on a budget. Avoid the summer holidays by visiting the parks between January and February (right after the Christmas break) or October and November (following the start of the school year). During these months, Disney can be much cheaper as children will be back in school.
Both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Park will cost $97 per adult ticket during the off-season, as opposed to $124 per ticket during peak season. Not only will you be avoiding mobs of tourists, but you can also land hotels at a lower rate!
2. Shorten your wait-time
Jessica from the Uprooted Traveler blog says: Want to cut down on waiting in line? Head to a single rider line to limit your wait time to half an hour or less at some of Disneyland’s and California Adventure’s most popular rides. In order to cut down on wasted empty seats, certain rides have a “single rider” line, filling in the gaps on rides for uneven parties. Not only does this significantly cut down on your wait time, this perk is available for a bunch of crowd-favorites, like Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland and Incredicoaster and Radiator Springs Racers at California Adventure.
Although the rides that have this benefit are clearly marked on the map, finding the single rider entrance can be a little tricky- you usually have to enter through the exit or through the handicap entrance. So who says going to Disneyland has to include waiting in line for hours on end? Not me!
3. Caring for your pet
Shandos from Travelnuity blog says: While unfortunately your dog isn’t allowed to enjoy the day at Disneyland with you (unless they are a service animal), there is an alternative on offer. They can spend the day at the “Happiest Kennel on Earth” instead, otherwise know as the Disneyland Kennel Club.
Located just outside of the entrance to the Disneyland Park, tucked away next to the stroller hire, the kennel opens half an hour before the park. Drop off your dog, making sure you have proof of the required vaccines, and pay the fee (currently $20 per pet). It’s recommended that you pop back every few hours to check on your pet, including feeding them and exercising them (there’s a convenient relief area inside the kennel). And don’t forget your dog needs a photo at Disneyland too, although from outside the entrance!
4. Stay hydrated for free
Sara from Our Kind of Crazy blog says: Disneyland on a hot Summer day can be extremely miserable. Especially if the kids get hot an cranky. You might tend to try to stay inside and miss out on all the fun that Disneyland has outside. And that water bottle you brought in is gone really fast.
One thing we learned about our Summer trips to Disneyland is you can get free cups of ice water at just about any restaurant that serves fountain drinks. You don’t even have to buy anything. Be sure to stay hydrated and keep your kids happy, and grab lots of those water cups throughout the day.
5. Stay at a Disneyland property
Cassie from White Sands and Cool Breezes blog says: Whether you have kids or not, one Disneyland tip is to stay on the Disneyland property. Granted this might initially seem more expensive but if you think about the time and hassle of your other options you’ll see why this is a great option.
My family recently took a trip to Disneyland and after much deliberation we stayed at Disneyland Hotel. It’s an easy walk to the park from there or you can grab a tram ride.
The walk is fun too because it goes past several restaurants and shops to enjoy and visit on your way back and forth. Not only that but staying on property will allow you early or late access to the park depending on the days or times. You won’t have to worry about waiting for a shuttle from an off-property hotel, going or coming.
6. Stay at an AirBnb
Ania from The Travelling Twins blog says: Disneyland is great fun for the whole family. But the more of you are going there, the pricer it gets. Hotel accommodation especially can be a deal-breaker. My tip to enjoy Disneyland without the cost burden of big groups is to stay at an Airbnb property.
There is an excellent selection of Airbnb roosts in Anaheim, an easy walk from Disneyland. It’s a great solution, especially for the high season when prices in the resort can almost double. Staying at Airbnb also allows you to cook meals. This is an extra cost-saving and a critical issue if, like us, you have kids with food intolerances.
If you want to pay even less and don’t mind using a car to get to Disneyland, then look for accommodation around Huntington or Seal Beach. Both are approximately 15 miles from the Park. There you can stay even longer and enjoy the West Coast beaches as part of your Disneyland California trip.
7. Use the Disneyland App
Priya from Outside Suburbia says: One of the most time saving tip we learned from our Disney resort’s planning services was the use of Disney App to make your FASTPASS reservations. You can plan out your rides and make some Fastpass reservations online before your visit. From Disneyland Paris, Disneyland California to Disney World each park has a different Disney app where you can make selections for attractions and entertainments and even order food. This makes getting to some of the popular rides and visiting the park so much easier!
If you are an early riser get to the park 30 minutes before it opens, you will get to the popular rides first with no lines. Rides like Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, It’s a small world, The Barnstormer, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Under the Sea – Journey of Little Mermaid, Space Mountain are always popular.
Schedule your FASTPASS for a little later when the park gets crowded and the lines get longer. You can only make 3 fast pass reservation at a time – once you get through the first 3, you can keep adding one more fastpass at a time.
8. Walking in Walt’s Footsteps Tour
Janine from Fill My Passport says: If you’re passionate about the nostalgic side of Disneyland and want an ultimate experience, take the Walking in Walt’s Footsteps tour. Although a pricier activity at the Disneyland park, this tour is perfect for guests who wish to learn of Walt’s vision, the only park he walked through, and secrets of one of the most influential visionaries of all time.
This 4-hour morning tour includes a very informative guide, VIP experiences on 3 attractions, lunch, a special keepsake for taking the tour, and the ultimate privilege of setting foot in his apartment above the Fire Station on Main Street. I don’t recommend the tour for young children as it is long and does divulge some of the magic. But for adults who love the historical and legendary side of the park and the man behind the magic, this tour is the perfect addition to any trip.