Ahh Disneyland… arguably the closest experience to a real-life fairytale. A place where both children and adults alike can spend a day or more basking in the glory of childhood wonder and excitement. It’s no secret, though, that a trip to Disneyland can be rather rough on the pocketbook, and depending on when you visit, the nerves.
Everyone wants a taste of that Disney magic, and as such the park has a tendency to be overpriced and overcrowded. Yet those of us that live nearby and have become, shall we say, frequent visitors, have learned a trick or two that you may find helpful as you plan your Disneyland adventure.
Without further ado, here are our tips for experiencing Disneyland:
You Will Find Your Favorite Characters
One misstep many park-goers make is running around all to find Mickey Mouse, or whomever. As it happens, there’s a website that can help you discern the whereabouts of your prized character.
Get Your Gear Ahead of Time
You just know the little ones in tow will see Minnie Ears, Star Wars paraphernalia and who-knows what else, and decide they are must-have items. Understandable, more than one adult falls prey to the Disney-garb snare, but guess what? All of those items are for sale at Disney stores and outlet malls for a fraction of the price, so our recommendation is to seek them out ahead of time.
Save $ For the Absolute Must-Have Food Item
Though it isn’t a secret, many folks are unaware that it’s A-OK to bring your own food into the park. That being said, the delicious smells and lovely sights of the park food and deserts can be hard to pass by, so we suggest packing some food, and saving money for that one meal or ice cream cone that you simply can’t resist. No one blames you, we’ve all been there!
All You Have to do is Ask
Not all souvenirs cost money, many of the rides have little tokens that are either readily available, or can be provided upon asking. A great example of this the Jungle Cruise – free antique maps are happily given to anyone who asks.
Plan Your Ride Strategy Ahead of Time
Without proper planning, the vast majority of your day could be waiting in line for rides. Our suggestion is to figure out which rides are a priority. Upon entering the park, immediately go to your favorite rides that offers a fast pass, and get the fastpass. Next step, go to a ride that doesn’t offer a fastpass and ride it before it get’s later in the day when the wait times become unimaginable. You can only get fast passes every few hours, so plan out which rides you want to go on between fast passes. With a little planning and a little luck – you will hopefully be cutting your overall line time down significantly!
With all that time you’re saving, you can schedule yourself a spa treatment!
Rain is Your Friend
Southern Californians go into hiding when it rains. Since SoCal has no snow, tornados, or other extreme weather days, rain (even when it’s light) is our version of a snow day. Expect Disneyland to significantly empty out if drops begin to fall. If you’re from a part of the country where rain is common, you’ll rejoice because SoCal rain is typically light and quick, and you probably won’t be bothered much, and now you can enjoy a less-crowded Disneyland.
More For Your Money
Disneyland is open for longer hours during the Summer, so if you’re debating when to go, but know you will only have one day, we suggest a Summer day since you’re getting more bang for your buck!
Best Times to Visit
When it’s all said and done, the best tip of all is how to experience Disneyland when it’s least crowded. Other than the rain, the only way to avoid crowds is to visit when most people can’t.
Here are a few times to consider:
- When School Starts (especially the SoCal schools)
- Weekdays during non holiday times, basically weekdays during school months, clearly avoiding the entire season of Spring break, Summer break, and Holidays.
- End of August, beginning of September, first weeks of December, first week of January, end of April through beginning of May.
Without a doubt, Disneyland has an air of magic that will ensure your visit is phenomenal. Even if you end up only being able to visit during a busy day, even if the lines are long and the day is hot, the Disney magic will still work it’s way into your system.
But, we hope that one or more of our tips will help make your day(s) at the park even more special and stress-free.
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If you’re visiting the Los Angeles area for a while, and Disneyland is just one of many attractions you intend to visit, it’s general best practice to select a hotel that is 1. Away from the hustle and bustle of the Disney area, and 2. Centrally located to all the region’s attractions. L.A. is a huge area, and while Disneyland, Hollywood, Universal Studios, and Knott’s Berry Farm are all wonderful places to visit, they aren’t exactly next door neighbors.
Staying somewhere such as Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Commerce Casino, which is centrally located between all of those attractions, is your best bet! You can adventure all day, and relax all evening in the calm oasis that Crowne Plaza provides.
Good luck in your adventures, and we hope you have a relaxing and fun trip!