A day at Disneyland was childhood dream of mine.
We finally made it happen on a warm spring day and we can certainly say that we maxed out on the our day at Disneyland and California Adventures: We relied on our friends to guide us, so didn’t prepare much, but crammed so much into our day that it’s insane. Was it as magical as I had envisaged? Not really. But was it fun? ABSOLUTELY!
If you aren’t as lucky to have real Disney insiders, like our friends, as your chaperones here are some awesome tips I picked up for making the most of your Disneyland visit:
Top tip #1. Pack a waterproof poncho for the day
… even if you have lovely weather, with no rain forecast.
…you’ll thank me for it after your Grizzly River Run, which is one most fun rides, and having the best view for the Waterside spectacle.
Top tip #2. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks
…tucking into these while queuing not only saves you $$$, but it’s the perfect way to keep energy levels up, keep hangry pangs away and make the most of dead time spent in queues…because even with fast passes you will be queuing!
However, don’t forget to savour some real treats at Disney.
(The only one I wouldn’t recommend is the roast turkey leg, because as delicious as it is, it contains some sort of additive that made it sit in and upset our stomachs for a loooooong time…)
Top tip #3. Use the toilets at the car park as soon as you arrive
… Using the toilets at the base of the car park saves time at the entrance, where everyone else uses them.
Top tip #4. Take a pushchair for kids under 6 years old
… honestly, your legs and neck will thank you. Max hasn’t sat in a pushchair since he was probably 18 months old, but by the end of the day we were sure glad to find some abandoned rental strollers! (Yes, there are rental strollers. Do book this in advance though.)
It can be utter stroller chaos near the attractions more popular with little ones, yet it is still worth it, if you plan on a jam-packed day.
Top tip #5. Download the Disney app
…this will help you with orientation and give you queue times for rides.
Unlike me, download it when you book your tickets and us to plan your day.
Top tip #6. Max passes are fantastic!
…They allow you to book a fast passes for rides, figure out where you are and download all your photos. They were only $10 per person when we went ( March ’18) and we found them very good value for money.
Top tip #7. Set your alarm
…You can book fast passes for rides every 90 minutes, set your alarm for 90 minutes later after making each booking…being on the ball like this could mean an extra ride on your favourite ride at the end of the day.
Top tip #8. Be sure to meet your favourite characters
… We all have Disney characters we adore, right? Check out the times your favourite characters are greeting guests (you’ll find these on the Disney app) and don’t leave it to chance to meet them and have your picture taken with them. During our visit we kept on missing our favourite characters through lack of planning or being at the wrong place to catch them. ( This happened because our focus was on the bagging as many rides as possible.)
Top tip #9. The souvenir tip- Don’t buy tat, but do spurge on limited series collectables
…there is so much “stuff” for sale, that won’t really stand the test of time and will end up in landfill. However, if you are a big Disney fan, love collecting and have some dosh left after the entry fees, check out some of the shops selling unique Disney gifts only available at the park. We saw some gorgeous dresses and artwork.
Top tip #10. Watch the water show
…it is truly spectacular! If you’ve packed a poncho, like I suggested in tip #1, then standing right up front, in the wet zone, will give you an uninterrupted, more immersive experience, literally.
Top tip #11. Check the opening times and max it out!
We arrived as the parks were opening and stayed till midnight, when the park closed that day. Yes, we were wilting by the end, but Disneyland was so much quieter after 10pm (California Adventures had closed at 10pm) and we got to tick off some amazing rides with little or no queues. To keep the kids going we kept plying them with nuts and muesli bars and plenty of water, which give good sustained energy. (See tip #2)
Top tip #12. One day at Disneyland is not enough!
With hindsight, booking for 2 or 3 days becomes much better value per day, local hotels offer accommodation and park packages… None of these are cheap, but give you time to really immerse yourselves in the Disney expereince. I would’ve loved to spend at least another day to meet our favourite characters, attend a workshop, watch a show and take more rides.
If you can afford the time and cost, spend at least another day.
Bonus tip: Choose the timing of your visit well
I booked our trip for the beginning of March, outside of our school holidays, several weeks before Easter, thinking that the weather will likely be decent and the park will be empty.
How wrong I was!
The US has Spring break and that can extend to a month before and a month after Easter. Disneyland and Disney California Adventures were almost as full as in high season in the summer months. 😀
Are you heading into Los Angeles too… here are some tips:
Do you have any tips for making the most of Disneyland and California Adventures?
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Disneyland website: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/destinations/disneyland/