Lance’s cousin Nicole emailed us asking for Disneyland tips. I put together this guide, and am sure I’ll have things to add to it as the years go on 🙂
Buy them online and/or on your phone through the Disney app. This way you’ll avoid the ticket lines and you’ll get a Magic Morning (if you buy a 3-day pass).
Unless you’ll only be there one day, I wouldn’t suggest getting park hoppers. Actually, even if you only plan to go one day, I wouldn’t suggest it. There is so much to see and do in both parks and it takes too much time and energy to go back and forth between them. It’s way more fun and efficient to tackle one park per day.
If you can’t park in Pumba (it’s the best but it’s sometimes closed) park in Toy Story. Avoid Mickey and Friends. Though it’s closer to the park, the lines are craaazy.
Do whatever it takes to make it to rope drop every day. (That means parking, going through security and entering the park at least 30 minutes before the park is open. You’ll have access to Main Street but entrance to everything else will be roped off. Right at park opening, cast members will drop the ropes and you’ll be able to walk/run to the land of your choosing.)
It’s SO worth waking up early to be able to wait 5 minutes or less for almost every ride in the park! We always run to Peter Pan — it’s the only way we’ve gotten on without waiting 40-50 minutes.
Avoid going to the park on Magic Morning days if you don’t have a Magic Morning. Magic Mornings at Disneyland are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Magic Mornings at California Adventure are on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
We generally pack a lunch, so we don’t have a ton of suggestions. Nothing we’ve had is that good … other than the treats! The churros are amazing, and we love Dole Whips (only available in Adventureland).
Most restaurants offer free ice water (even if you don’t buy anything) so don’t worry about packing tons of water bottles.
Download the app:
It’s great for checking wait times, show times, fast pass distribution times, park hours and finding bathrooms, restaurant menus, characters etc.
With the app, you can choose to pay $10 extra per person to get the Disney MAX PASS, which has extra perks like getting fast passes from your phone. The MAX PASS also includes photos taken by photographers throughout the park. Only one person needs to get the MAX PASS for this benefit.
A few helpful links:
Rider switch pass: https://disneyland.disne
Height requirements: https://disneyla
*One last thing:
The arrival section is my No. 1 tip. Most people get to the park entrance two hours after it opens — which makes the parking lots and security lines a zoo starting at about 30 minutes after park opening. Then they stay til closing to “get their money’s worth.” Buuut by evening the park is crowded and everyone is exhausted. Why not make it to rope drop and practically have the park to yourself? You’ll check off so many rides in the morning that by evening when it’s crowded if you want/need to leave early, you can!