Disneyland IS indeed the happiest place on earth. When my family had annual passes we spent time with Mickey and Minnie a couple times a month. Living back in Arizona we now visit a couple times a year. Over a two part series I have twenty Disneyland Tips For First Timers to share with you.
Disneyland has been a top vacation destination of mine since I was a child. That passion has been passed down to my boys. Our family has been to Disneyland & California Adventure in every month and during several holidays over the summer, fall and winter. I can confidently say that we have just about covered it all. (In fact, I am not sure what it might be that we have not covered except Walt Disney’s secret apartment.)
Disneyland Tips For First Timers
If your travel dates are flexible begin planning your first visit to the happiest place on earth by checking the events calendar for dates that you may want to avoid. Disneyland hosts a couple marathons every year and several Halloween parties in the fall. Unless you plan on attending one of the marathons or purchasing a ticket for the Halloween party I recommend you avoid those dates. Halloween time at Disneyland is fun and festive however the park closes early for those who do not purchase on of the limited Halloween party tickets. Disneyland also decorates the entire park for Christmas. Both holidays are beautiful.
Once you have your dates set for your first visit to the happiest place on earth you will need to decide which ticket option is best for you. If you will be in Anaheim more than one day I highly recommend the “park per day” pass over the park hopper pass. There are pros and cons to both. My family has found that it is more relaxing and efficient for us to concentrate on one park at a time.
Download the official app for the Disneyland Resort before you go. I have compared several Disneyland apps and in conclusion this is the only app you need. The Disneyland Resort app has it all: maps, wait times, show times, your photopass, parade times, dining reservations and much more.
Plan your day ahead of time. Or at least prioritize the attractions you don’t want to miss ahead of time. Check the app periodically before your visit to get an idea of wait times and which rides are the most popular. My family has a standing order of our “musts” at both parks; those will be shared in a later post.
Plan at least one ‘sit down’ meal every day. Our Disneyland favorite is Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square. Sitting down, eating off of ‘real’ plates and having someone cheerfully fill your glass of iced tea is a magical way to recharge for the afternoon.
Disneyland Tips For First Timers
Make any character meal reservations as soon as possible (before you go). Including Goofy’s Kitchen (inside the Disneyland Hotel) and Chip ‘n Dale’s Breakfast at the Storyteller Café.
When you are planning your day it is important to know that Mickey’s Toontown closes early on nights that fireworks are displayed. (All week long during the summer months.)
Fantasyland is extremely popular. PACKED popular. The best ti
me to visit Fantasyland is after dusk when the littlest of Princesses and Princes have retreated for the night. If your family includes royalty with early bedtimes then be sure to visit Fantasyland before noon.
Downtown Disney is an outdoor mall area adjacent to the Disneyland Resort Hotels and the park entrance. It is a great place to take a break, grab a bite to eat or do a little shopping. Check the app (or website) for the list of stores & restaurants. (Some require reservations.)
Depending on the age of your children THINK STROLLER. My husband’s advice is to take a stroller as long as your child will fit in it. Forget age. Just two months ago we were pushing our six year old birthday boy around in his Joovy jogger (which we love). Disneyland is the only reason that we still have that jogger and we are thankful every time we go. Not only do strollers hold your kids, they those drinks, bags & everything else you acquire throughout the day. (Don’t worry if you don’t have a stroller, there are joggers available to rent.)
Backpack essentials: sunscreen, hand sanitizer, snacks, water bottles (there are fountains throughout the park to fill them), wallet, cell phone, mini phone charger, band-aids, pain reliever, chapstick, sunglasses, camera, extra socks for the kids, ziploc bags, a blanket or beach towel and lightweight hoodies if you plan on staying very late.
Don’t miss my part two of my Disneyland Tips For First Timers series. Check back here to read all about your day inside the park. If you would like a notification sign up for my newsletter or join me on facebook.