Top planning tips for Disneyland
I am not a Disney fanatic but I love Disneyland! I have visited many times with my kids and without them too. Disneyland is truly for every age and it is always a good day there, especially if you plan ahead with all my tips!
1) Buying Discount Tickets
I have searched and searched for the best prices on tickets for Disneyland. The best deal I have found is on Getawaytoday.com. They have great deals and will always be less expensive than buying directly through Disney. Currently, they have a great deal where you can save up to $31 per ticket!!!
2) Check the crowd calendar
This is super important! There is nothing worse than being in the happiest place on earth and it being so crowded that you can’t enjoy it! I always check Undercovertourist.com and Isitpacked.com for the most up to date crowd forecast.
3) Buy a multi-day park hopper ticket
I have done Disneyland several different ways and I have found the best value to be the 3 day Park Hopper Ticket (you can hop between both Disneyland and California Adventure all day). I feel like 3 days is the perfect amount of time and you get the most value for your money.
4) Fly into Long Beach Airport
This has to be one of my very favorite airports in the entire world. It is small and so convenient. From Salt Lake, I take a quick flight on Jet Blue and travel is super easy. Disneyland is under a 30 minute drive from the airport! Jet Blue, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta, American and Southwest all fly into Long Beach.
5) Rent a car onsite at LGB
There are a few car rental agencies located onsite at the airport. They are Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National/Alamo. You can literally walk across the street to grab your car. I found the best booking price for these agencies at the Long Beach Airport on Priceline!
6) Book your hotel and tickets in a package
If possible, I would book your Disneyland Tickets in a package with your Hotel. Most of the time, this will save you a ton of money. I have booked these together at Getawaytoday.com in the past and it was awesome. If you are wanting to stay at a Disney hotel, Disneyland is currently offering a deal for the holidays too for up to 25% off!
7) Stay at a hotel within walking distance
I avoid having to park in the Disneyland parking lot at all costs. It saves you money and time to book a hotel within walking distance to the resort. My favorite is the SpringHill Suites at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center. It is a quick 15 minute walk to the park, it has free breakfast, my whole family can fit in one room and it has a CVS on the ground level. It is always my number one choice. It also has a pool on the roof just in case your kids still need to get some energy out. My second choice is The Hyatt House at Anaheim Resort/Convention Center. It is also about a 15 minute walk to the park, fits my whole family and includes free breakfast. I also like that they offer rooms with small kitchens.
8) Make sure your hotel includes breakfast
So much money can be spent at Disneyland on food alone. Starting out the day with a big hotel breakfast can make all the difference. Hotel Breakfasts can get really crowed between 7:30-8:30am. We always try to beat the crowds and grab breakfast by 7am.
9) Bring a cooler
I always bring groceries or buy them there to make lunches every day. Bring a small foldable cooler to put your food in for the day. You can bring any food you want into the park! I pack sandwiches, lunchables, snacks and water bottles. That also saves us a ton of money!
10) Book restaurants or any character breakfasts in advance
Disneyland and California Adventure have so many really unique dining experiences. If you are wanting to have dinner at the Blue Bayou in Pirates of the Caribbean or any of their other cool restaurants, make sure you book reservations in advance. They can fill up fast! You can now book almost any restaurant in the parks and in Downtown Disney ahead of time. The more popular dining experiences can be expensive but a once in a lifetime activity. You can have a 3 course lunch and watch the theatrical production of Frozen. You can have dinner while watching Fastasmic in the reserved section. And of course, you can book a character breakfast or lunch which the little ones always love.
11) Buy Disney ears and apparel ahead of time
There are so many stores now that carry really great Disney themed apparel that is perfect for your trip. I found matching Mickey Ear hats at H&M (in store only) that my kids and I wore together last year. they were awesome and we got compliments everywhere we went. H&M, Target, Old Navy and Walmart also carry really cute stuff.
12) Bring a stroller
My kids are getting older and would not normally use a stroller. In fact, the thought of it makes me laugh. But at Disneyland, if you have kids 10 or younger, bring a stroller! I think all my kids take a turn in it at some point. And it is also a great holder for all our stuff. I stick my backpack on it and my cooler underneath. I park it at the ride we are on, and take my backpack with me. If you forget a stroller or don’t want to fly with one, you can rent one in the park. Disneyland strollers are awesome! They are $15 per day and you can rent them right outside the main entrance to the right.
13) Bring a Jacket
The temperature can change quite a bit from morning to afternoon and then cool off again in the evening. Unless you go in the dead heat of summer, I recommend bringing a jacket for everyone so that you are able to be comfortable all day long. Jackets are also a necessity for rides like Splash Mountain to protect you from getting wet.
14) Pack a Portable Charger
Being Disneyland can really drain your battery. Be prepared with a portable Charger like this one. Be sure that it is at least 10,000 mAh so that you are able to charge your phone multiple times if needed.
15) Download the Disneyland App
THIS IS THE BEST TIP! The Disneyland App has gotten better and better! It is a necessity for both Disneyland and California Adventure. There is a map of the parks with wait times for the rides. You can find show and parade schedules for the day. You can (and should) upload your tickets onto the app. You can collect all ride pictures and your pictures taken by Disney photographers on there. And you can now place food orders on there too! The best part of the app is the MaxPass Fastpass. It is awesome and I will go into detail about it on my next post on Disneyland.
16) Load your tickets onto the App
Once you have your tickets mailed to you or you purchase them at the gate, upload them onto the Disneyland app. This will save you a ton of time throughout the day. And once they are in your app, screen shot them just in case your app won’t load when you need to scan your tickets. This has also saved me a lot of time when my internet all of the sudden decides not to work. If you buy your tickets on Disneyland.com, you can automatically have them them load in your app and you can also add your MaxPass Fastpass ahead of time. Otherwise, you can add MaxPass fastness once you enter either of the parks.
17) Load your Credit Card in the app ahead of time
Once you have downloaded the app, make sure you enter all your personal information and credit card information. This will save you a lot of time and frustration once you get into the park. You will easily be able to purchase things in the app like fast pass and food, etc.
18) Surprise your kids with a trip
Theses last tips are fun! One year, I surprised my kids with a trip to Disneyland from Santa. It was not easy to figure out how to do it. I purchased our hotel and tickets through Getawaytoday.com which made it super easy. When you purchase through them, they send you a whole package full of goodies in a cute envelope. This trip was from Santa so I had to be extra sneaky about it.
19) How to put the surprise together
I found big Mickey shaped balloons at our local party story and perfect gold boxes too. I put each of their tickets inside the boxes with Mickey confetti and a little mickey stuffed animal. And I put the envelope right in the middle with all the trip details.
20) Holidays are so much fun at Disneyland
I think I enjoy Disneyland any time of year but going during a holiday is pretty special. Halloween is super fun because the Villains come out and there is Mickey’s Trick or treat. You just need to buy a separate ticket for that. Christmas time is my favorite because it really puts you into the Holiday spirit. It even snows on Main Street every night!
Stay tuned to my next post as I share all my Disneyland tips once you get there. They are good ones! What is your best Disneyland tip? What else would you like to know about? Leave your tips and questions in the comments!