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Tips and Tricks for Disneyland

Part of the reason we had such a great trip to Disneyland was all the great advice I received from friends and family.  For anyone planning a trip in the near future, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the great tips.

  • My friend Erin suggested that we find a hotel that serves a complimentary breakfast.  Not only does it save money, but it also saves a whole lot of stress each day.
  • My sister-in-law Marcie was a wealth of information.  She suggested that we take a soft-sided cooler filled with water bottles, snacks and even lunch.  If the cooler is smallish, it will fit into the large lockers on Main Street Disneyland.  The large lockers cost $10 a day, but you’ll save mucho $$$’s in return.  You can always find a quiet spot right outside the Main Gate to eat your lunch.
  • Marcie also suggested we carried a small backpack with water and a few healthy snacks.  If we ran low, we would grab a few more water bottles out of the cooler.
  • She also told us not to miss the Dole Whips at the Tiki Room.  This a great attraction to visit in the afternoon, when you are hot and tired.  Grab a Dole Whip and enjoy the show.  Thanks Marcie, they were delicious!
  • Ben’s wonderful teacher told us about a software program called RideMax.  We had found the program online already, but we weren’t sure how well it worked.  Based on her recommendation, we purchased it for $15 before the trip.  It gives you a schedule for riding your rides.  We used RideMax for the first day or two, and once we figured out it’s method, we didn’t need it after that.  But it was an invaluable resource.  We never waited in a long line… our longest being 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Arrive early at the park everyday.  We were able to walk right onto multiple big rides every morning because we arrived early.  We typically arrived 1/2 hour before the park opened, so we were ready to go.  Once opened, we headed straight for the Matterhorn, Dumbo, Space Mountain, or Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The early bird really does get the worm at Disneyland.
  • Pick up Fastpasses early in the day, when the waits before riding are short.  If your Fastpass says return to ride between 9:30 and 10:30, you can get another Fastpass for another ride anytime after 9:30.
  • Don’t ever try to ride a big ride without a Fastpass later in the day.  It will sink your day waiting in line.
  • My mom suggested not missing Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.  We were lucky enough to visit that attraction with her.  It was wonderful and loved by all of us.  It’s also a great attraction to visit when you are hot and tired in an afternoon.
  • Be sure to use the internet for advice before leaving for your trip.  There are some real experts out there who generously share their advice.
  • We gave our kids a set amount money for their souvenirs. Then they got to choose what they wanted to buy.  It was a great way for them to have limits on what they wanted.  They felt in charge and it was fun to watch them figure it out.  “If I buy this, I still have extra money for that.  Or if I buy this, that’s the only thing I can buy.”  Plus they weren’t constantly asking me to buy them something.
  • Don’t miss the fireworks! A very nice Cast Member suggested we watch the fireworks in front of It’s a Small World ride.  That was a less crowded and delightful spot.  The front facade of Small World has projected images during the fireworks that are delightful.
  • That brings up another great tip.  Don’t be shy about asking Cast Members for help.  They were always informative and extremely nice.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt that we were friendly to them in return.  More than once they gave us excellent advice and once a cast member even gave us a FastPass that could be used anytime, anywhere in the park.
  • And here’s my advice.  Take time to relax on Mainstreet on at least one of your evenings. On our last night we had an ice cream cone sitting on park bench at the end of Main Street.  The sites were truly magical with the street all lit up, and the glowing castle at the end of the street.  It was a perfect way to end a wonderful trip.

Thanks to my family, friends, and even a few strangers who gave us great advice!

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5 Responses to “Tips and Tricks for Disneyland”

  • Thanks Calli, you make me want to go there and I’ve never even been a fan of a Disneyland vacation. I’m sure I’ll be going with grandkids in a few…

  • Thanks for tips. Hubby and I are going to Disney World in early October for my birthday. I’ll be using some of your tips for our trip.

  • Greener-Picture:

    Thank you so much! Love the tips! :D

  • Teresa:

    Which hotel did you pick? This will be my kids (8&10) first time. We are going the 2nd week in January. My friends have also suggested finding a place that offers a breakfast and suite. Thanks, Teresa

    • Calli:

      Hi Teresa, We stayed at the Ayres Inn Orange/Disneyland and were extremely happy with our choice. The rooms were very clean (my most important criteria), the beds were nice and comfortable, and the complimentary breakfast was awesome. They served things like pancakes, eggs and really yummy fruit. Price was a big motivator for us… but not to the point of staying someplace dirty or rundown. The Ayres Inn was the perfect balance of being really nice, but in our budget. They include a free (very convenient) shuttle to Disneyland, free parking, free wifi, and the free full breakfast of course. The only downside was that it was not a suite, which meant the whole family went to bed at the same time and woke up at the same time. My husband and I were worried about it before the trip, but it ended up not being a problem. We were just as tired as the kids by the end of each day and being on the same schedule worked great for us. I booked through Get Away Today http://www.getawaytoday.com/ after lots of reading and shopping around for the best hotel at the best price. At the end of our trip, we decided to extend one day and did a Priceline for a hotel for one night. We stayed that last night for a great price in a very nice Marriott suite. Even after the night in the suite we still preferred the Ayres Inn.

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