Last month I went to Disneyland for my very FIRST TIME! Well, I went when I was two but I don’t remember it at all. So this was my first time in memory! My whole life I’ve heard about the magic and now I know, it’s totally real. I wish I lived at Disneyland.
Lucky for me, I went with my husband’s family and my brother-in-law, who we started calling “Disneyland Dad”. He is a well-oiled Disneyland machine. He legitimately told us that his favorite meditation technique is picturing himself walking through Disneyland. Needless to say he has the entire place memorized and has went multiple times each year since birth. So with an expert as our guide, and my very prepared family in tow, I’d like to think we absolutely conquered Disneyland!
Ok friend, without further delay, here are the 15 tips I learned to make your Disneyland trip absolutely amazing.
1- Don’t pay full price for your tickets
You can literally find discounts for Disney tickets everywhere. There’s even a store right across the street from the park called “Discount Tickets” where you can see if you qualify for any deals. There are also certain perks through AAA Insurance or being a military veteran. It’s never too shameful to ask for a discount.
2- You can bring a backpack
Disney is genius because you can take a backpack on literally every single ride. So don’t worry about shoving your pockets or leaving anything behind.
3- Line Games
Lines can be so boring. We downloaded some games on our phones to play as a group, including charades and trivia. It made the time pass more quickly. Heads Up! is a great one.
4- Bring your own drinks and snacks
You can also take food and water into the park, which is awesome! We took clementines, carrots, water bottles and grapes.
5- Most things shaped like Mickey are delicious
Mickey is literally EVERYWHERE! Which is honestly exactly what I expected. From the caramel apples to frozen treats, basically everything is delicious. My #1 pick however would definitely be the Mickey beignets in New Orleans Square. Pair it with a mint julep and you’ve hit the jackpot!
6- First timers pin
My mother-in-law actually got this for me and I thought it was adorable. You can get this pin inside City Hall and should definitely wear it proudly along with your Mickey ears for the rest of the day.
7- Shop Downtown Disney
There are a LOT of souvenirs in Downtown Disney that you may not necessarily find in either theme park. Plus if you’re a foodie looking for a nice dinner, there are a lot of great options along this street.
8- Fast Pass like Mad
Fast Passes are absolute magic. They’re totally free and help you jump to the front of many lines. The trick is you can only get one Fast Pass every 1-2 hours, so check the time printed on your Fast Pass to see when you can grab another one.
9- Magic Morning is totally worth it
If you’re not super into crowds, this was made for you. Magic Morning allows visitors to enter the park an entire hour before anyone else. You pay extra for this bonus, but it’s super worth it because you can get in a lot of rides that typically have gigantic lines.
10- Take a picture of your ride photos
I love that Disney lets you snag a photo on your phone instead of having to pay for the pictures they take of you on the ride. After quite a few rides there are tv screens displaying your pictures from the ride and you’re allowed to take a picture of the screen. It’s obviously not high quality, but if you’re doing Disney on a budget it’s a nice way to remember those moments without purchasing the professional photos.
11- Store your souvenirs
Storing souvenirs is fantastic. You can ask for your purchase to be held at the information booth right by the exit, that way there’s no need to carry around that giant stuffed animal.
12- Bring LOTS of money
Sadly, Disneyland is just plain expensive. It makes sense because of all the novelty type items and silly experiences it provides, but seriously. I paid $10 for an average sized bag of caramel popcorn. Prepare yourselves.
13- Get the Disneyland App
This app is fun because it is frequently updating about the park. It lets you know the approximate wait times for all the rides, where the current shows are, helps to make dinners reservations, and is a park map. I’m sure you can even do more things on there but those are the features I liked and used.
14- There’s more after the Firework show
The last night we were there, the park had to cancel the firework show. I was low-key devastated. Fireworks are pure magic to me and I thought this was going to be the most magical way to end my Disneyland adventure. Since it was too windy for the fireworks however, my husband and I decided to go on one more ride before leaving the park. IT. WAS. MAGICAL. All the babies were gone because it was too late at night, most of the adults were eating treats and we had absolutely no lines! We literally walked on to Pirates of the Carribean, Indiana Jones, and Big Thunder Mountain. No lines for any of them. Staying late is definitely worth it.
15- Just Look Around
Sometimes we get so caught up in where we’re going next we forget to look around and enjoy where we are now. Disneyland is FULL of magic and happiness, and half (if not 3/4) the fun is just enjoying the atmosphere and allowing yourself to run away to Never Land for as long as possible.
Also- take a picture with your favorite childhood character. You may feel a little silly or like a 5-year-old, but trust me, you won’t regret it!
Let me know your favorite Disneyland Tip or memory in the comments! Also don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @FindingInnerAwesome.