Best Tips for Planning your next Disneyland Vacation
Taking and planning a Disney vacation can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be! Take a look at our best tips for planning your next Disneyland vacation. Then, let’s plan your next magical trip!
Stay on property or close by
If you can afford to stay at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels, do it! It’s so nice to be immersed in the Disney magic for your entire stay. You’ll also be within easy walking distance to the parks. Plus, you can have access to the parks 30 minutes prior to opening! If the Disneyland Resort hotels aren’t in your price range, try to stay at a Good Neighbor hotel that is within easy walking distance to the parks. That will save you from having to drive to the parks and pay the parking fees.
Arrive at the parks early
I am not a morning person unless I’m at Disneyland. Mornings are the least busy times at the parks and the best times to get on the more popular rides! Especially the popular ones that don’t have Lightning Lane, like Peter Pan’s Flight. When you arrive at the parks before they open, you’ll be one of the first into the parks!
Arriving early is also great for avoiding long lines at the Individual Lightning Lane attractions. You can beat the crowds and avoid paying for Lightning Lane access for those rides. The two at the Disneyland Resort are Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland and Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure.
Don’t Forget Park Pass Reservations!
Park Pass Reservations have been required to enter the parks (along with valid admission) since they reopened after the pandemic. That system doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Once you purchase your tickets, you can make your park pass reservations up to 120 days in advance.
Use the Disneyland Mobile app
Download the Disneyland Mobile App before you arrive! It has wait times, show listings, character locations, park maps, restaurant menus and so much more. You can link your park tickets on the app and then you’ll only need to show your barcode at the gate for admission when you first arrive at the park! Your park pass reservations will also show up on the app. Having the Disneyland Mobile app is necessary for using Disney Genie+, and Mobile Order is great for skipping some food lines.
Purchase Disney Genie+
Disney Genie+ is worth the price if you utilize it correctly! The price starts at $25 per ticket per day and gives you all PhotoPass photos and allows you to schedule Lightning Lane access from the Disneyland Mobile App. You can even make Lightning Lane reservations for a ride in Disney California Adventure Park while you’re over in Disneyland park if you have Park Hopper tickets! Besides the convenience it gives for Lightning Lane, I really love the PhotoPass deal it comes with! You get unlimited downloads of all your PhotoPass photos, including ride photos.
Use Rider Switch
This tip is mainly for families with smaller children. When going on a ride that not everyone in your party is tall enough for, you can take advantage of what’s called the Rider Switch or Rider Swap pass. Take your whole group to the entrance of the ride and get a digital Rider Switch return window added to the supervising parent’s park ticket.
One parent can supervise the smaller guest(s) while the rest of the party rides, then once the riders return, the supervising parent can have a turn to ride while skipping the line. We took advantage of the Rider Switch pass a lot when our children were younger.
Wait until evening to shop
There are so many stores with so many enticing souvenirs! But wait until the evening to do your shopping. There are a couple of reasons I wait until the end of the day for shopping.
- It’s a pain carrying around the bags of stuff that you purchase!
- My kids always change their minds! We let them pick out one item as their souvenir and it always happens that they see something they want but change their minds later! We have started taking pictures of what they like and letting them go through the photos on our phone at the end of the day to choose what they really want.
- The shops on Main Street USA stay open an hour after park closing, so why use up valuable time shopping?
Do shows later in the day
There are a lot of great shows at the Disneyland Resort. Since the parks are least busy in the morning, don’t take time to watch shows until later in the day. The shows are also a great way to rest your legs and cool off when the weather starts to warm up.
Pack your own food & drinks
Disneyland allows you to bring in your own food and drinks! This is a big money-saver as food inside the parks can be expensive. It’ll also save you on hangry meltdowns when your kids are waiting in line and need a snack (right now!). Just make sure you don’t bring any glass containers or alcohol into the parks.
Use Mobile Order Service
Many quick-service locations at the parks and some at the resort hotels offer the Mobile Ordering Service. You can order food from the Disneyland app. Make a food order while you’re in line for a ride, at the back of the long restaurant line or even in your hotel room. Just stop by the Mobile Order window and pick up your food when it’s ready.
Use the Walk-Up List for Table-Service Restaurants
Advance Dining Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance. That doesn’t always mean you will get a reservation for your favorite restaurant though. Many table-service restaurants also have a “Walk-Up List”. If you weren’t able to snag that must-have reservation, check the walk-up list the day you are in the park. There’s a good chance you can still dine at your favorite spot!
What are your favorite tips for planning your next Disneyland vacation?
If you’d like to start planning your next Disneyland trip, contact me today! I am the preferred travel agent of Disney Addicts, my services are complimentary, and I’d love to help you plan a magical vacation!
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