As someone who has been immersed in what I call a Disney life, it is easy for me to get so self absorbed in my Disney bubble, that I completely loose track of who has an has not visited the Happiest Place on Earth. So many people have yet to experience the magic that is Disneyland. For these first time visitors we have put together this post of insider tips.
Know before you go – Having an awareness of your surroundings, must dos, and general knowledge of the resort will help avoid losing time during your day getting your bearings or figuring out the basics.
Review Maps – Look at the maps for the entire resort area, find your hotel on the map. Check out the ART bus system if you plan on using it to get around. Make yourself familiar with the maps of the parks, you don’t need to know it like the back of your hand, but be familiar with general points of interests or at least the lay of the lands.
Fast Pass – Get a quick how to on the FP system, it is different than Walt Disney World, and there are some rules to this free program.
Check Entertainment schedules – If seeing the nighttime fireworks spectacular will make or break your vacation, know what days during your stay you will be able to catch them light up the sky. Do this early in your trip so that things like weather, or equipment issues don’t cause cancellations on the single night you selected to watch them.
Magic Mornings and Extra Magic Hour – When you purchase multi-day park tickets or stay on site at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, there are a set number of Magic Mornings, and Extra Magic hours allotted per guest. The times vary based on normal operating hours, and the parks availability alternate days of the week. For the most up to date information review the park hours at Disneyland.com.
Dining Reservations – Although Disneyland is not as heavily riddled with dining locations that require reservations, having them will save you time. Reservation accepting locations fill up, or require long wait times for a table, so to avoid hangry moments: make your reservations here.
Prep a park bag – Keeping a bag packed with daily necessities will keep the budget down, and everyone in the group happy in line or in between meal breaks. Snacks, activities, change of clothes or shoes will up the comfort level and keep the melt downs at a minimum.
Plan in your breaks – Nap time is a sacred time for many families with small children. However, adults need their naps too. Or maybe a lounge at the pool?
Pictures – If you want photos taken note the PhotoPass and PhotoPass+ offerings. There are PhotoPass photographers stationed around the resort ready to snap a picture of you and your group at any time. You can get a PhotoPass card from the photographer, they will scan it and load the photos onto the card. Each photographer after that will be able to scan the same card and load more photos. This enables you to collect photos from your entire trip and sort through when you get home. The PhotoPass+ program allows you to pay a flat fee for unlimited images during your stay instead of having to pay per photo at the time of download/purchase. Check out the website for more in depth information Disneyland PhotoPass.
Holiday Offerings – There is always something special going on at the parks, know what offerings are going to be available during your trip to catch some of the magic.
Kids – Check out some of Julia’s posts on bringing the whole family to the parks, her Parenting in the Parks series has proved to be extremely helpful for all types of families.
Refurbishments – Disneyland puts out a calendar of attractions that will be closed ahead of time, this will help alleviate any surprises or melt downs once you arrive.
Comfort Counts – Everyone wants to look good, but sometimes wearing those worn in tennis shoes, slightly loose jeans, and well loved hoodie is completely reasonable. Comfortable clothing and foot wear will literally make or break your day. It will be the difference in needing to stop to rest your feet, and making a mad dash across the park to catch one last spin on Space Mountain.
Rentals – Getting around the park is vital, we have some great vendors to help with this:
Lockers – Available in the Esplanade outside the park , Buena Vista Street in DCA and on Main Street in DL. Prices vary from $7-$15 a day based on size and location. These are available during park hours only and not available for overnight storage.
Patience – Be prepared for crowds, as with any theme park it will be crowded, there will be lines, and packing your patience will do wonders for the overall moral of your vacation.
For all of your travel plans and questions check in with our Disney Darlings Travel Concierge . Don’t be shy, take a look at some of our Travel Tips series that give some great suggestions on how to pack, transportation and making hotel life a little easier for the whole family.