After receiving several emails each week asking about Disneyland, I thought it was time to create a post about planning all things Disneyland.
Firstly, if you haven’t joined my new Disney Mums Australia Facebook group, you can JOIN HERE! You’ll find lots of Disney travel and product advice from fellow Disney mums. As most of you know, I’m a self-proclaimed Disney addict, along with my family, who love Disney as much as I do. I’m in the process of planning our first trip to Disney World, and I can’t wait to come back and share that post with you soon.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your trip to Disneyland, California
Disneyland California is made up of 2 parks: Disneyland and California Adventure Park. They are both located in Anaheim, California, and are side by side.
Australian and NZ residents can purchase a 10-day Disneyland & California Adventure Park hopper ticket, which is around the same price as a five-day park hopper. It can only be purchased here in Australia from travel agents or online via sites like Expedia. You can’t purchase it from Disneyland direct, so make sure you don’t wait to purchase it at the gate. On redemption you need to show your passports, but we didn’t show them again for the rest of the trip.
Prices as of May 2019 for the 10-day hopper
Adult (Ages 10+) $647
Child (Ages 3 – 10) $618
Where to stay
This really depends on your budget. If you can afford to stay in a Disney resort or hotel, do it! You really can’t get that Disney magic anywhere else and the Disney customer service is worth it alone. If, like us, you have a bigger family and are travelling on a budget, check out some hotels right across the road that offer breakfast and are only a short walk to the park.
Things you should do before you arrive
Download the Disneyland app
The Disneyland app will allow you to see wait times, access park maps, use and view the FASTPASS system, book and manage dining reservations, order food and locate characters.
Get to know the FASTPASS system
The FastPass system can be a little confusing on your first trip, so it’s great if you can understand how it works before you arrive. Disneyland now offer a paid MaxPass option ($15 USD per person) which I personally think is worth every cent! Less time standing in lines and more time having fun. Here is a link to a site that explains the FASTPASS and MAXPASS in more depth.
Reserve your Disney dining
You can reserve your Disneyland dining 60 days in advance, and I recommend you do it as soon as you can, due to limited availability. Each Disney trip, we make sure we do at least one character breakfast and one dinner.
Reserve your child’s spot at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
This can be a little expensive and not within everyone’s budget, but it is really magical! My girls have done it on both of our trips to Disneyland and they still talk about it regularly. Kids are made to feel super special and get the royal treatment with each package.
What to take to Disney
I don’t like to overpack when we go to Disney; with the long days and all the walking we will be doing, the last thing I want to do is carry a heavy backpack around all day. Disneyland does have limited lockers available but it’s such a big park and I find it a hassle to walk back to the lockers to get things.
• Water bottle
• Change of clothes for younger children
• Jumper or jacket depending on the weather
• Portable phone charger
Things to do at Disney
This might seem like silly tips because there is just so much to do at Disneyland, but there a few things that you really don’t want to miss!
Visit City Hall in the main street to get your first visit or celebration button
You can get your button (or badge, as we call them in Australia) from City Hall for most celebrations and your first visit to Disneyland. You’ll also find some buttons at select food stands – for instance, the dole whip stand has “my first dole whip” buttons available.
Make sure you utilise your magic hour and get to the parks before they’re open to the general public. Magic hour or morning gives you access to the parks one hour before opening to the general public.
Get a signature book and pen for the characters to sign
Each character you meet will sign their name in a signature book if you have one. You can get them before you go online from eBay, or buy them in the park. I like the ones that have a spot to stick a photo next to each character’s signature.
Watch the parades
You don’t want to miss the magic of the Disney parades. Make sure you check out the app for the times and locations of each one and go early to grab your spot.
Buy Disney’s ears
One of the first things we do on each Disney trip is to buy a new set of Disney ears. They are a MUST for all your special Disneyland photos.
Get photos with the characters
You’ll find the times and location of all the characters on the Disneyland app.
Eat your way around Disney
There a few “must eats” that you need to try on your first Disneyland trip. Make sure you try a dole whip, visit Main Street bakery for Disney-inspired treats and try a giant turkey leg in California Adventure.
Watch the fireworks
It isn’t a trip to Disney if you don’t get to watch the magical fireworks at the end of the night. Fireworks are on select nights, which you’ll be able to find via the Disneyland app.
World of Color
World of Color is an amazing water and lights show that brings together all the Disney classics with music. In order to see the World of Color you will need either a FASTPASS or World of Color dining package.
Hot tips you should know!
If you have children too little to ride, you can ask the attendant for a rider switch. One parent rides while the other adult or supervising guest (14 years or older) can wait with non-riders. Then, they simply switch roles to allow the supervising guest to experience the attraction without waiting in the regular queue again. You can read more about how it works here.
When the park shuts, the main street stays open for another hour or so (unless there is an event on). Wait until the crowds disappear, and use this time to take photos in front of the castle and check out main street without the crowds. It’s a fun, unique time to explore and the perfect opportunity to get photos without the crowd.
Save all your precious memories with a Disney PhotoPass. View all your Disney PhotoPass photos, then purchase photo downloads and prints to share.
Let me know if there is anything I missed or anything you would like to add on the comments below!