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Just about everyday someone asks me for my top Disneyland tips. Well, here they are! I’ve finally written down all of my top 10 Disneyland tips for a magical day, just for you. No need to thank me. Just put them to good use and have a wonderful time at the Disneyland Park!
Planning a trip to the Disney theme parks can be stressful! I totally understand that. You’re putting in a lot of time, money and energy into this vacation and you want it to be perfect. It’s going to be great! By implementing a few simple things, you can make sure that your vacation is memorable and as stress free as possible! Soon, you’ll be at the happiest place on earth and all your efforts will be worth it!
I’ve got a podcast episode about my top Disney tips. Make sure you check it out!
If you’re looking for Disney planning tips, and the latest Disney park news you’re in the right place! I also talk about Disney park history, the storytelling behind the attractions, and my latest Disney park adventures. I’m here to help you plan your Disney vacation with a little extra magic mixed in. Join me!
Today I’m talking about my top tips for a great Disney vacation. Don’t head to the parks until you’ve listened to this. I’ve got everything you need to plan a magical trip! I also talk about the essential things you need to pack in your park bag to make sure you’re prepared for any situation. I’ve thought of everything, so you can just enjoy the day!
As promised, here’s a link to all the items I talked about on the podcast:
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In This Post
Top 10 Disneyland Tips
1. When To Visit
Choosing when to visit the Disney parks is incredibly important. Are you wanting to visit during a special holiday or event? Are you trying to avoid long lines for the most popular attractions? Are you planning on taking your kids out of school? There’s really pros and cons to visiting at any time of the year. I have a whole post to help you decide when to visit Disneyland. I have a crowd calendar for each month, a list of events, weather and even a packing list! You can find it here.
2. Buy Your Tickets In Advance
Park tickets AND Disney park reservations are required to enter Disneyland. Have your tickets purchased well in advance so you can make your park reservations as soon as your able. You can make park reservations 120 days in advance. Please don’t pay full price for your park ticket!
My partners at Get Away Today have the very best deals on tickets and hotels. Their tickets are always discounted off the gate price and they partner with the best hotels around! They offer a park hopper ticket or one park per day options and you can add Genie Plus if you like.
Whether you want to stay on property at the Disneyland Resort Hotel or prefer something more budget friendly, they can help you out. I prefer to stay at good neighbor hotels within walking distance of the parks. Get Away Today’s customer service is top notch and they even have layaway plans! If you use my code MSM10 you can save $10 on packages. Check them out here.
3. Have A Plan
Show up to the parks with a game plan. Seriously, this is the best way to have a great day. It’s in my top 10 Disneyland tips for a reason! You don’t need to have every second planned out, but you do need a general idea of how you’d like your day to go.
Which park will you be visiting? Disneyland, Disney California Adventure or both? Will you be park hopping? What time will you arrive? Which ride will you hit first? What rides are most important to your group? Are there any characters you must meet? Are you planning on enjoying parades or shows? Will you be watching the fireworks? How will you deal with crowds?
These are a few questions that you need to think about before you arrive. If this seems overwhelming, don’t fret! I’m here to help. Check out my downloadable touring plans. I also have custom planning packages and phone call packages to take all the stress and worry out of planning your day at Disneyland. I also have a free touring plan for each park that I update every month that might be helpful for you. You can check it out here.
4. Arrive Early
I can’t recommend this enough! This is my top Disneyland tip in my top 10 Disneyland tips list. The parks will open their gates and start letting people inside 20-30 minutes before the parks open(even earlier on very busy days). You can enter the park, take a few pictures, maybe see a character or two, browse a shop and be lined up at the castle when the park opens. This is called “rope drop”. You can find out more info here.
When you rope drop you will have about 1-2 hours of low crowds. This is the best time of the day and you will be able to accomplish so much! While everyone else is getting to the park at opening and waiting in a long line to go through security and then another long line to get their ticket scanned you will be riding on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and blessing my name.
This is the best way to experience some of the most popular rides with very low wait times. I recommend arriving at the park (not the parking lot – if you’re parking you’ll need to add more time) one hour before it opens. Trust me. This is the best way to enjoy shorter lines and fewer people.
5. Use Genie Plus
Genie Plus is the new system that replace the old MaxPass/FastPass/Virtual queue system. Now, if you purchase Genie Plus, you are able to enter select attractions using the Lightning Lane. This will save you tons of time waiting in line, especially during peak times.
Adding Genie Plus is an additional fee and I realize it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you’re able to add it to your Disneyland vacation budget, it’s a great way to save time. Is it right for you? You can find more info here to help you decide.
6. Use The Disneyland App
The Disneyland app will become your best friend while you’re in the parks. You can use the app to book your Genie Plus Lightning Lanes, mobile order food, check show times and even find the closest bathroom. See, I told you it would be your best friend. You can even check wait times on your favorite rides like Haunted Mansion, small world and Rise of the Resistance.
The Disneyland mobile app is a game changer. Make sure you download it before you arrive and put your tickets on it so you are ready to go when you arrive at the gates. Mobile ordering food is my favorite way to use it! You’ll be walking down Main Street and ordering beignets from Mint Julep Bar on your phone while everyone else is stuck waiting in line. This tips is a game changer, so of course it’s on my top 10 Disneyland tips!
7. Use Rider Switch
Rider Switch is a great option for guests with young children. It’s a free service that anyone can use and you need to be taking advantage of it!
If you have young children who are too small for an attraction or don’t wish to ride then rider switch is going to be your best friend! Rider Switch(also known as Rider Swap) is designed for groups who have young kids(or bigger kids who don’t want to ride) so that everyone who wishes to can experience the attraction.
With Rider Switch, one adult or supervising Guest (14 years or older) can wait with non-riders while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. Then, they simply switch places to allow the supervising Guest to experience the attraction without waiting in the regular queue again.
It’s a genius system! Such a great way to experience some of the attractions with height requirements like Indiana Jones and Grizzly River Run. You can find out more info on it along with height requirements here.
8. Be Prepared
Be prepared, just like a boy scout. Be ready for any and all situations that might arise. Check the weather and make sure you are prepared for hot days(check out my post on beating the heat at Disneyland here). Or, their might be rain in the forecast and you’ll need to be prepared for that! Check out this post for rainy day tips.
Be ready with bandaids, hand sanitizer, chapstick and Advil. Make sure you have a few snacks on hand. Bring a sweatshirt or jacket(those Southern California nights can get chilly!). Bring a portable phone charger. You will need it. I’ve got a complete list of Disney park bag essentials here. I’ve also got a list of what to buy on Amazon before your visit that will be helpful.
9. Take A Break
In my experience, at some point in the afternoon a good portion of your group is going to fall apart. At this time, you are going to wonder why in the world you brought these ungrateful souls to Disneyland. This is normal. I call it “the witching hour”. This is the perfect time to take a break.
Seriously, people get grumpy mid day and need a break. For some families, that means leaving the parks for a nap. For some disney fans, it’s taking a break in the parks. Either option is fine, but you really should make time for a short break.
If you want to stay in the parks, I suggest a show, parade or just a ride on the train around the park. You need some down time. A shady corner or bench is a good place for a break. A snack will also help. I recommend a churro and a big diet coke.
However your break looks, it is needed. Once you’ve regrouped everyone will be happier and ready for the rest of your magical day.
10. Have A Good Attitude
This may be the most important tip in my top 10 Disneyland tips. Having a good attitude can make your break your vacation.
There are going to be crowds, there’s going to be heat(or rain, or wind). There’s going to be crying(probably your kids, but you might cry too) and someone might pee their pants. Unfortunately things are not going to go smoothly at some point. That’s just how life works.
There is no such thing as a perfect day at Disneyland. However, if you bring a good attitude and realistic expectations, you will have the best vacation ever! Those tough moments are far outweighed by the magic and the memories that will be made.
I’ve got bunches of information on planning a Disneyland trip that will be so helpful for you! Start with my complete guide to visiting Disneyland. It’s a step-by-step guide for planning your vacation that will be helpful. Make sure you check out my downloadable touring plans if you’d like a step-by-step guide to the parks!
I have a planning phone call that’s super popular! In this phone call, I can answer all of your Disneyland vacation questions and give you lots of tips and info tailored just to you and your group!
I hope you can use my top 10 Disneyland tips for a magical day! I’m so excited for your Disneyland Vacation. It really is the perfect place to create magical memories and now is the perfect time to go!
If you have any questions while you’re at Disneyland, make sure you ask a cast member! They are happy to help you in any way they can.
Make sure to check out my podcast for lots of Disney planning information! You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search for “Mix In Some Magic” Follow me on Instagram for more Disney tips and lots of Disney fun!