After the dozens of messages and emails I’ve been getting about Disneyland, I thought I’d just put it all in a blog for you to refer back to should you be planning a vacay any time soon!
It’s safe to say that Disneyland is still what I remember some 25 years ago! It is basically its own bloody city and there is so much to see and do!
It is also on a completely other level, unlike any other theme park I’ve ever been to. The attention to detail on their rides, the sets and even down to the ‘cast’ members they have working in the park. It feels like you are actually in a Disney film, everything is exactly how you see in the movies!
It’s without saying that Disneyland is a must on the ol’ bucket list and I’ve compiled my best tips, the must do and the ones that I wouldn’t be too fussed about – all below!!
Plan and Book Ahead
We booked things like the character breakfast in about a month prior – and even at that stage, a lot was full!! I had to search around for a date and time – so lucky I did it when I did.
What About Tickets?
We had Hopper Tickets, which meant we could ‘hop’ between both parks. This would be my suggestions as both parks are AMAZING (I’ll tell you my favourite park below hehe). It is also heavily discounted for the second park and much more cost effective to buy Hopper Tickets!
Now!! Back to the tickets – they are actually different prices if you’re just booking the one day, based on what day of the week and peak time! We went mid-week so it meant the tickets were cheaper (we were very kindly gifted our tickets by Disney, but I had looked this up before that was the case).
However, should you be buying multi-day/parks then it becomes a set amount regardless of days!
Download The Apps
Because life is basically all online now, it’s no surprise Disneyland has its own app for the parks. Everything from our restaurant and cafe booking to the details of our accommodation came up in the app.
It shows you all the info you need like park open times, parade times, which park as Magic Hour and you can set up reminders and schedules!
A nifty bonus – it also has ride wait times, which is a lifesaver when you’re hauling around small children and helps you plan your day.
Stay At A Disney Resort
This is a big one as I think it changed our entire Disneyland experience. If you can stay at the park it means you get access to Magic Hour (I’ll talk more about this below) and if you’re staying at California Grand Hotel you even have a sneak side entrance to beat the crowd.
Also, if you have little ones, then chances come lunchtime they’re over it. If you stay at the resort then you can just head back for a little nap and relax and wander right back in later in the arvo just in time for all the parades. Maybe pop back for dinner and then right back in again!
It also meant we got to see the characters roaming around in the lobby and grabbed a cuddle and photo rather than waiting in line for them within the park! This is actually where we got all our opportunities to meet our favourites as sometimes in the park the lines got super long!
Magic Hour is MAGIC!!!
Like I said, if you’re staying at the resort you have access to the parks an hour before the general public. It alternates between the two parks each day, but it basically means you can get to your favourite rides early and hopefully with little to no line!
Just make sure you use your Magic Hour wisely, as we took a few days to learn that you need to know the rides that form a long line early.
It’s also great if you want the token ‘Disney’ photos like Sleeping Beauty’s Castle with no one in the shot! 😉
Don’t Be Stupid, Take A Pram!
So we were those Wallys who thought we could wing it. HELL NO DON’T DO IT!! Mind you they do have pram hire and it’s very affordable ($15 or $25 for 2) but seriously just take it from me – take the pram!
Don’t Underestimate California Adventure Park
I will be honest, this was actually our favourite of the two! The newer of the two parks, it has some epic rides, Cars Land, A Bugs Life and the newly opened Pixar Pier. I think for the girls these were the films and characters they knew and loved.
Be Strategic About Your Rides
I mean, you HAVE to do the Teacups, It’s A Small World and Dumbo – but don’t make this your first priority. The lines for these rides are not actually as bad during the day as others.
Study the app and the wait times when you first arrive! I’ve popped below which I think should be your priority when you first get in:
Disneyland: Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain
California Adventure: Incredicoaster, Radiator Springs Racers, Toy Story Midway Mania
So speaking of apps, there is also the MaxPass app which allows you to buy FastPass for the rides should you not want to wait. It costs $10 per day, per person.
You can also get your FastPass near the start of the rides. But best to check availability. There will be a sign with wait time at the ride and next to that what time FastPass holders can return!
What About The Little People
A lot of questions I had was “Is it good for little kids”. Teddy is 2 and she was able to go on about 1/2, Annabelle is 4 and could go on almost all of the rides, maybe 2/3. But to make it easier there is also an age and height section within the app that tells you what they can and cannot go on!
Places like “A Bugs Land”, Cars Land, Little Mermaid, Toon Town and around the Alice in Wonderland rides are REALLY good for little kids and the lines are never too long!
A little hot tip! Some rides have a ‘single rider’ line which is great for parents who want to go on rides their kids can’t! Jezz got onto the Radiator Springs Racers ride actually quicker than FastPass holders because they needed to fill the ride 😉
Spending & Costs
As we were staying at the resort, we charged everything to our room and just had one bill at the end! I was actually really shocked at how much we spent – as in, not as much as I thought. Our bill for three days was under $400!! And I had quite a few poolside cocktails 😉
The most expensive by far is the character breakfast, but that’s totally worth it if you ask me 😉 it’s a must do!
Also, you cannot forget your ears, $35 but totally worth it! Oh and a bubble wand, you have to get one – it keeps them entertained for hours! Haha