When most people think of Disney, they think of the parks in Florida, but did you know that Disneyland in Anaheim, CA was the original location? When visiting, you are truly walking in Walt’s footsteps. How neat is that? The cool thing is both sites offer the same Disney magic but with very different attractions and vibes. Planning for a Disneyland vacation is much more laid back than planning for Disney World. Nevertheless, you want to have all of your ducks in a row to ensure your trip goes off without a hitch. I recently sat down with Amanda Henderson, Disney expert and owner of Time to Travel, Inc. Amanda, along with travel planners Rachel Trantham and Mary Webb, developed these awesome tips for planning your next Disneyland vacation. Take a look!
10 Tips for Planning Your Disneyland Vacation
1. Disneyland app: Download the official Disneyland App at anytime to your phone. During the planning phase, you can make reservations through the app. Upon arrival, link your tickets to the app. Very similar to Disney World’s My Disney Experience app, the Disneyland app will guide you through your trip reminding you of reservations, offering maps, providing schedules of events/shows and much more.
2. Dining: Unlike Disney World, there is not a dining plan at Disneyland; however, there are numerous delicious restaurants on site. You can decide a la carte which meals you’d like to eat in the park and which ones outside the park. With that being said, you still need to make reservations for table service restaurants and some quick service restaurants. Dining reservations can be made online, through your app or by phone.
3. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique: As with dining, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations can be made 60 days in advance online or via phone. There are currently 10 or more packages to choose from including a Knight package. This experience is for children ages 3-12.
4. MaxPass: Disney MaxPass combines the ability to make Disney FastPass attraction and entertainment selections from your phone with unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from the day—and you can do it all for just $15 per day, per ticket. Be sure to talk to your travel planner about the MaxPass so that you understand all of the amazing benefits. It’s definitely something you’ll want for your trip.
5. Park hopper: Just like in Disney World, the park hopper is a MUST for your trip. Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park are side by side. You will appreciate the flexibility to jump back and forth from park to park throughout the day.
6. Magic Mornings: Disneyland Resort guests (with a valid 3+ day ticket) enjoy ONE early admission to certain attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland Park for one full hour before the park opens to the public. Magic Morning days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Magic Morning guests with the MaxPass can start making mobile FastPass selections for the day upon entrance to the park. FastPass arrival windows, however, will be issued only for times when that experience is open to the general public. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge is currently unavailable as part of Magic Morning at Disneyland Park.
7. Magic Hour: Every day of their stay, registered Disneyland Resort guests enjoy admission to select attractions, stores, entertainment and dining locations in Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park for one full hour before the parks opens to the public. For Disneyland Park, the current Extra Magic Hour schedule is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, one hour prior to park opening. For Disney’s California Adventure Park, the schedule is Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, one hour prior to park opening.
8. Temperature & proximity: When packing and mentally preparing, there are two very key differences between Disney World and Disneyland. First, the weather is variable in Florida, depending on when you go. During the summer months, it can get very hot. In contrast, Southern California has a pretty moderate temperature year-round. While you still need sunscreen and other sun-related items, the heat will not be as excruciating. Second, unlike Disney World where the parks and resorts are spread out, Disneyland is landlocked within the city of Anaheim, which makes everything close in proximity.
9. New events for 2020: All Disney locations work hard to bring visitors back year after year. In 2020, there are a few new things to look for at Disneyland. Starting February 28, there will be a new parade called “Magic Happens,” the park’s first new daytime parade in over a decade. Also, the highly anticipated Avengers Campus is coming in Summer 2020. This is a MUST for all you Marvel/Avengers fans out there.
10. Other Southern California attractions: Along with Disneyland, there is so much to see and do in Southern California. Along with Disney planning, your Time to Travel planner can add other area attractions such as Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Universal Studios, an LA tour and so much more. You don’t want to leave SoCal without seeing some of these famous sites.
If you’ve been thinking about a trip to Disneyland, now’s the time!