Disneyland – Top 12 Travel Tips – 10 Wasn’t Enough)

With all of the times I’ve been to Disneyland, I’ve picked up a few pointers. It’s one of my favorite places, filled with magic, fun, and wonder… if you do it right! Here are my Top 12 Travel Tips when visiting the Disneyland Resort in sunny southern California.
The best advice I can give is to get a multi-day Park Hopper pass. With two theme parks, there is so much to see and do. Even in non-peak season (when the parks are less crowded), I would always at least get a 3-day or longer Park Hopper pass. If you have the time, a 4 or 5 day would be even better. This allows you to see all of the attractions, shows, parades and other events at your own pace. You won’t feel rushed, and you’ll be able to experience your favorites a couple of times.

Take advantage of the FASTPASS. This is easily one of Disney’s better inventions. With the FASTPASS, you receive a ticket (like a place in line) to all of the biggest, funnest attractions. All you do is insert your theme park ticket into a FASTPASS booth, and out pops an additional ticket with a return time to your favorite ride. Keep in mind, you may only have one active FASTPASS at a time, so use them wisely. With the FASTPASS, every guest feels like a VIP.

Buy your tickets before you go on vacation, because you’ll have access to specials not available at the gate. For example, Get Away Today Vacations offers a Bonus ticket that includes an exclusive 2 early entries to Disneyland and is $20 less than the price you’d pay at the park with no early entries!

If you want to avoid crowds, there are many times to choose from. Generally as a rule, some of the least crowded times to go are any time school is in session, like between Presidents Day and Memorial Day, but avoiding Spring/Easter Break. If you want to go during the holidays, which is an incredibly popular time to visit, one to two weeks before Thanksgiving is a good bet and early December through one to two weeks before Christmas, and the week after New Year’s through are excellent times to visit. If you can’t avoid the peak season time, weekdays are normally less crowded than weekends throughout the year . Plus, with California’s temperate climate, anytime you go, you’ll normally find pleasant, mild weather.

If you are traveling during the off season, make sure that at least one of your days includes a weekend. Remember…Dreams Come True, the fireworks spectacular, only takes place on weekends during slower times of the year, and it is worth sticking around for! During busier times, the show takes place every night.

The best seats in the house for Remember…Dreams Come True are right in front of the castle. You may want to grab dinner an hour or two before it is scheduled to start and grab a spot in front of the castle for a picnic. You’ll have a little bit of a wait, but it’s worth it!

If you want to watch the Parade of Dreams, but don’t want to spend a lot of time sitting, try catching it on a weekend during the first parade. Instead of going to Main Street where you’ll be waiting a long time for the parade, stay by “it’s a small world” or in front of the Matterhorn. The parade starts near “it’s a small world” so you’ll see everything right as it comes out, or along its path. You’ll have more time to play (and shorter lines) while others are watching and waiting on Main Street.

For a quick, free snack, visit The Bakery Tour and the Mission Tortilla Factory in California Adventure. You’ll not only learn how sourdough bread and tortillas are made, you’ll learn how great they taste fresh!

For some real character interaction, make a reservation for a character meal. If you have girls, Ariel’s Princess Celebration at Ariel’s Grotto is a must. There are three other character dining locations: Chip ‘n’ Dale Critter breakfast at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Lilo & Stitch Aloha Breakfast at Disney’s Paradise Pier, and Goofy’s Kitchen is open for breakfast or dinner at the Disneyland Hotel. You do not have to be a guest at one of these hotels to enjoy the magic of these interactive experiences. Just make sure to call in advance. Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance by calling 714-781-DINE (3463).

During the Year of a Million Dreams, Disneyland is offering many immersive expriences where guests can become honorary pirates, princesses, and jedi knights! These interactive experiences are offered only at certain times of the day. To find out all scheduled times for interactive experiences, you can reference the map you get when entering the park, or check online at Disneyland.com before you go.

For magic from beginning to end of your Disney vacation, stay at one of the hotels of the Disneyland Resort. Each of the three hotels has its own personality and is Disney through and through. Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel has a Disney beach theme with a boardwalk pool. Out of the three hotels, this property has the largest standard room size and has the lowest prices. Guests here have access to a private entrance to Disney’s California Adventure at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. The Disneyland Hotel is the most classic Disney and has a Peter Pan Neverland themed pool. Guests who stay here can take the monorail inside Downtown Disney straight into Tomorrow Land, or can use Disney’s Grand Californian’s private entrance. Disney’s Grand Californian and Spa is the most deluxe of the three properties and is the only hotel that is located inside a theme park! It boasts a gorgeous lobby, a selection of guestrooms with bunk beds, and three amazing swimming pools.

Most importantly, ENJOY! Your kids won’t know if you’ve been on every attraction, so don’t rush yourself and miss the moment. These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

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