We love Disney Parks! Planning ahead and tips can be essential to making the most of your time at Disney. Because of the cost, we’ve only been a few times as a family, once to Disneyland and twice to Disney World. But by planning ahead we had a blast each times!
We made our first family trip to a Disney Park when our oldest was just a year old. In August. It wasn’t really a choice, but we were in Florida anyway to watch my graduate school experiment lift-off on the Space Shuttle mission STS-93. We had fun but learned some valuable lessons. Don’t go to Florida in August! Oh my, the heat. Well, we already knew that, but we didn’t schedule the space shuttle launch, so there we go. But we did learn something more valuable – Lines were much, much longer than they were when we had visited over a decade before as kids.
For our bigger family trips, I planned ahead. I read books and scoured blogs and websites. We got to see and do SO MUCH MORE!
Planning ahead and tips from others are essential to making the most of your time.
My daughter is making another trip to Disneyland, and here are some tips I collected for her to make the most of her trip to Disneyland California
The best tips for Disneyland California
My Best Tips from our trips to Disney Parks – Disneyland California
- Because of the size and the weather, our first trip to Disney Parks as a full family, we went to Disneyland. I definitely recommend that as a first time Disney Park experience. At the time, our kids were 4, 6, and 8. It was a great age for their first trip.
- Don’t forget to just enjoy the experience! Don’t just rush from line to line and then spend all your time waiting in them. Stop to “smell the roses” and gaze in awe at the magical architecture around you. Browse the shops that are themed. There is lots to see when you just pause to look around!
- At least at Universal, and probably at Disneyland, they will let you wear a fanny pack on rides where you’re required to store backpacks and purses. Sometimes you will have to put it in a pouch on the ride, and small fanny packs can fit best. This can save time if you have to go to storage lockers that aren’t near by, but is also more secure than leaving things in cubbies at the ride.
- Take earbuds for rides that might be extra loud. Sometimes ride sound, especially indoor action rides, can have sound turned WAY up.
- Bring at least 2 pair of shoes, or shoe inserts to make one pair feel like two different ones. Two different types of socks can help as well. Wear them on alternate days to the park. (More things to pack for Disney and Universal Theme Parks.)
- Bandaids. Take them with you! Use them when you feel the rub, before the blister starts to form! (Check out my list of things to pack for Disney Parks.)
- Watch for single rider lines to cut wait time enormously. If ride vehicles are big, 2 of you still might get to ride together but you have to be prepared for all single spots. You will miss some elements that are designed for people who have to wait in line, so sometimes this is best for repeat rides. Also, sometimes these lines can actually be longer, so make an assessment before you get in line.
- Take an extra battery for your phone. Disney parks will drain your smart phone battery in a hurry. For more tips, also see Travel Mamas.
- Save that smart phone charge. Use wifi and put your phone in airplane mode when you can. In the past, Disney had a few phone charging areas, but there are no longer outlet locations to charge your phone easily – Disney sells portable batteries they will recharge for you, instead. But if you get in a jam, Cockeyed Traveler has some posts about locations of random outlets that you may be able to find. There are photos that might help you find these hidden single outlets. Electrical Outlets for phone charging in California adventure. and Electrical Outlets for Phone Charging in Disneyland “…almost every bathroom has an outlet just inside the doorway.”
- Hours can vary every day, so know the Disneyland park hours before you go.
- Ride lines are shorter during big shows, parades, and fireworks. (Fireworks usually are scheduled for after 9 pm.)
- It’s good to have a plan before you enter the park. Here’s a sample 1-day plan at a site that has great information. Disneyland® Resort 1-Day Park Hopper Park Plan. In the past, I would mark out the rides we wanted to do ahead of time, then just do them in the order on a plan, skipping rides that were a lower priority for us. For example, most of the rides in California Adventure would be a low priority for us, but there would also be some must-do’s like Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Here’s a good quick visual guide to Disneyland: Disneyland® Park Things To Do.
- Here’s a good quick visual guide to California Adventure: Disney California Adventure® Park Things To Do.
The last time we visited, smart phones weren’t as smart as they are now, and apps were slow and cumbersome. For further tips, check out the new best updated tips I found for this trip to Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure – 9 Best Updated Tips for Disneyland California and Disney California Adventure and the best websites to plan your trip!
And I have more post from our past trips: