I’ve seen Frozen at least 5 times, I own a set of Minnie Mouse ears, and I know every word to the “Belle” song from Beauty and the Beast – it’s safe to say I’m a Disney fan! While I’ve made it to Disney World 4 times, I had never been to Disneyland until I did a trip to LA with two friends in November. It was a quick trip, so we only took one day for Disney, but boy did we manage to cram in a lot (16 rides to be exact). I should also note that the day we went happened to be Mickey’s 100th Birthday, so the crowds were even heavier than usual (but we did get a free, commemorative pin!).
Here are some tips if you are planning a trip of your own:
- Stay at a hotel with a shuttle, so you don’t have to deal with the time and money it takes to park at Disney. We stayed at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel, which was about a mile from the park and had free shuttle service. We hopped on one of the first shuttles of the day and made it to the park around 8am, which helped us ride 4 or 5 rides in our first hour in the park.
- Splurge for the Park Hopper pass even if you’re just there for one day. Both parks are distinctive and awesome, and you literally need to walk just 100 feet to get from one park to the other. I was completely surprised by how close together they are. We started at California Adventure, hopped to Disneyland around lunch, hopped back to California Adventure around 5pm, and went back to Disneyland to finish the night because it’s open later.
- Pay for Max Pass – this is the Disneyland version of Magic Bands. It lets you grab a fast pass as soon as you set foot in the park, and you can use the app to see which rides have the longest wait time to help you make your decision. Plus, it lets you download any of your pictures from the rides. It only costs $10/person and is definitely worth it.
- Wear comfy shoes. I cannot stress that enough. I ended up being in the park for 14 hours and walking 11.5 miles. I’m a fit, active person and my feet and legs were still DEAD at the end of the day. But it was so worth it!!
- Carry a backpack. It’s so nice to have your hands free. I got a cute little backpack from Target for $30 that I filled with a small water bottle, sunglasses, external battery for my phone, small sunscreen, chapstick, hand sanitizer, phone, and my wallet.
- Come with a game plan. What are the rides you don’t want to miss? Are you wanting to take time to meet characters and go to shows? Download the Disneyland app in advance so you can check wait times for the tides you are most interested in. For instance, we knew we wanted to do Soarin’ and that it has crazy long wait times, so we went there when we first got in the park and got on the ride in about 15 minutes.
- Utilize the single rider line, even if you’re in a group. The three of us used it to ride the Radiator Springs Racers in Cars land. At that time I believe the normal wait was 90 minutes (and fast passes were sold out for the day). The single rider line took us less than 30 minutes. We didn’t get to be in the same car, but we were still able to chat while we were in line together.
One of the memories I won’t forget from our Disneyland trip is when there was a glitch while we were riding Space Mountain, they stopped all of our spaceships and turned on the lights (it’s usually a dark ride). A Disney employee literally had to give every spaceship a running push to get it started again. We said he was the MVP of the night!
And of course, I had to get the iconic Dole Whip from the Tikki Hut
Next time, I’m going for the Micky Mouse beignets!