If you’re booking a vacation to “the happiest place on Earth” a.k.a Disneyland, it’s safe to say the planning process is quite overwhelming. You’ll want to cover as much ground as you can during your trip, therefore, every tip can make all the difference. Well, friend, we’re here to help! Here are 25 tips you’ll need to make the most out of your Disneyland extravaganza.
1. If you’re visiting the park for a special occasion, visit Main Street City Hall. They have a pin for just about any celebratory event—first time at the park, recently engaged, or birthday.
2. Does your little one have a favorite character? Use Disneyland’s websites to locate specific characters. Findingmickey.com has all of the details on the whereabouts of your favorite friends and other details on hidden Mickeys.
3. Save money and bring your own meals into the park. Disneyland allows guests to bring in their own meals and snacks—which can be a huge money saver. Hit the grocery store before venturing out each day, and you’ll also save time on trying to figure out where you want to take the family to eat.
4. Purchase souvenirs ahead of time. Avoid high prices and buy souvenirs before leaving for your vacation at a local Disney store in the mall, Walmartm or Amazon. Odds are that your child already has a favorite character so shopping for souvenirs should be relatively easy.
5. If you’re looking for an affordable souvenir, be sure to visit the Disneyland penny-press machines. There are a ton of options to embed onto the pennies and the best part is that the little trinket cost a whopping 51 cents!
6. Disneyland has a few popular eats that you won’t want to miss out on. Check out the dining coupons and discounts that are available. If you are planning on eating out, plan ahead of time by making dining reservations. Since Disneyland is known for their long lines, the last thing you’ll want to wait on is food. To beat the food lines, aim to eat lunch between 10:30 AM and 11 AM and dinner between 3:30 PM and 4:30 PM.
7. Believe it or not, there are free souvenirs available. Ask any cast member at the Jungle Cruisem and they’ll hand over a free antique style map. If you ask the captain on Mark Twain’s Riverboat to “steer the vessel” he’ll award you with a special certificate. Even though the Haunted Mansion no longer hands out death certificates, you can print out a free one here.
8. If you decide to shop during your time at the park, ask the store cast members to send your purchases to will call. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, guests can send their purchases directly to their room. Not having to worry about additional bags while you’re enjoying the park will be a huge relief.
9. When you arrive at the park, skip the crowds by visiting attractions that do not offer Fastpass benefits. Visiting these rides when the park first opens will cut your overall wait time. Peter Pan’s Flight is just one of the popular non-Fastpass rides that you can take advantage of—the park opens at 10 AM
10. If you’re looking to stretch your dollar, plan your vacation in the summer. Disneyland stays open until midnight during the summer time.
11. Time your meals during the parades and other special events. Get a front-row seat to the show by sitting on the curb and enjoying your meal—a win-win situation! Check out the special events page before visiting the park, so that you can plan your day around the various parades. If you don’t get a front-row seat, don’t get upset because all Disney characters in the parade are elevated so you’ll still get a great view.
12. If you need to rest your legs, hop aboard the Disneyland Railroad. The ride takes about 20 minutes and provides educational information about the park’s history.
13. Save money on your vacation by opting to stay at a hotel that’s within walking distance of the park versus one of the resort hotels at Disneyland. Most hotels offer free shuttles to Disneyland, which will also save you the $17 Disney shuttle fee. Camelot Suites has a lot of cost-effective lodging options that include tickets and many other amenities such as a mini-fridge, pool, and complimentary breakfast for all guests.
14. Want a family picture? Ask a Photopass photographer and they’ll snap a picture on your cell phone for free. All you have to do is ask.
15. Disneyland offers discounted tickets for military personnel, D23 fans, and AAA members. Also, AAA members can waive their Disneyland parking fees by presenting their membership card.
16. Purchase a Fastpass to avoid the long lines and cut down on the wait for the attractions your family wants to visit.
17. Utilize apps such as Disneyland Wait Times to help you predict, and possibly avoid, waiting at your favorite attractions. The app also provides a map of the park.
18. If you don’t already have one, consider getting a Disney Visa card. Cardholders receive exclusive meet-and-greets at the park. Present your card, and you’ll be ushered to a one-on-one meet with a surprise Disney character. As an added bonus, you’ll get to visit with the character as long as you want and take as many pictures as you’d like—you’ll even get a free 5” x 7” printout of any picture that you choose.
19. If you opt to rent an electric scooter, keep in mind that it’s also equipped with a built-in USB port to charge your phone.
20. Traveling with a baby or toddler? Check out the Baby Care Center on Main Street. The facility offers changing tables, microwaves for heating formula, and a private area to nurse.
21. Are you planning on watching Fantasmic? Go to the second showing as there usually are fewer people.
22. The Disneyland Resort offers free cups of water at any restaurant—all you have to do is ask! If you bring your own water bottles to the restaurant, the staff will fill them up as well. It’s important to stay hydrated, and this is a great option that is completely free.
23. If you think your child is too old for a stroller, you may want to rethink that thought. Disneyland offers stroller rentals for $15 a day. If you’re struggling with a fussy kid, a stroller could be exactly what you need.
24. Be sure to check the height requirements on the rides you think your children will want to ride. Height requirements are strictly enforced. The last thing you’ll want to do is wait in a long line, just to find out your kid isn’t tall enough to ride.
25. Do a little Googling beforehand and search for discounted Disney gift cards. These items can be used to pay for purchases at Disneyland. Target stores oftentimes sell Disney gift cards in store–sign up for the Target Red Card, and you’ll save five percent off of the Disney gift card purchase. The five percent can add up to big savings.