Growing up in California always meant one thing, weekend trips to Disneyland are a must. For those of you who have never been or are unexperienced in Disneyland trips here are some tips and tricks I have learned over the years:
- Backpack: I’m not talking the massive hiking backpacks but, your typical JanSport, Dakine, North Face, or Osprey ones do just fine. My go to Disney backpack is the Osprey Comet. Also, if you don’t feel like carrying your backpack around all day you can rent a locker for $8 a day. My next 5 tips will all go in your backpack!
- Reusable water bottle (no glass!): Buying a water bottle in Disneyland is expensive, especially if you are buying multiple water bottles for multiple people. Disneyland has loads of water stations where you can fill up those reusable bottles.
- Snacks: This will help you save money and give you more time for riding all the rides.
- Sneakers and Sandals: The greatest debate of all time when it comes to amusement parks. My opinion is to pack both (which is why you bring a backpack). Sandals are a must when it comes to water rides and when its hot out and your feet need some fresh air. But, the sneakers are a must with all the walking. There are so many times where I only wore sandals for the day and I could barely walk the second day in the park. So, to make the most of the trip constantly switch in and out of sneakers and sandals. The best time to make the switch is while waiting in line or sitting down for a meal.
- Light jacket: No matter the time of year always pack a light weight jacket. Nights in LA can be unexpectedly chilly in the summer and definitely cold in the winter. The jacket is also perfect for water rides when you don’t want your shirt to get wet.
- Hand sanitizer: Keep in mind people travel sick all the time (especially kids) and as clean as Disneyland is, one thing that constantly happened to me was coming home sick after a weekend vacation. So, bringing some hand sanitizer helps keep those nasty germs away and keeps you healthy.
- Portable charger: Having this on hand makes sure you are always prepared for taking pictures and videos with the friends and family. Also, below I will be talking about the MaxPass trick and why you’ll need the portable charger for your phone.
- Selfie Stick: They are forbidden in Disneyland. DO NOT BRING THEM! They will be confiscated with no way of getting them back after you leave the park.
- MaxPass: This is brand spankin’ new! For an extra $10 a day you can buy the MaxPass, which gives you the opportunity to download and share all photographs taken by Disney photographers and the action photos from the rides. But, the best part of it is you get to reserve FastPasses throughout the day with shorter return times. You also don’t have to walk over to the ride to get the FastPass. It is all done electronically through the Disney app on your smartphone (which is why you need that portable charger). This past weekend my group consisted of 10 people, so when we purchased the MaxPass we designated two people to be in charge of booking FastPasses on the app. It was such a smooth operation that the longest ride line we waited on was for Peter Pan (30 min wait).
- FantasyLand: The best time to visit FantasyLand is after the fireworks or during the Magic Morning Hours. The lines are outrageous during the day but once the kids go back to their hotels or before they are awake for the day you can walk right on most of the rides with no more then a 10 minute wait.
- Planning: Have a plan before you enter the park. Decide what ride you want to go on first so that once your group is through the entrance you can book it the ride and be one of the first ones to get on.
- Shopping: Do it at the end of the night. The park closes at midnight but they leave Main Street, USA open until 1am for all those shopping needs. And trust me, it is not as crowded as you think it would be that late at night. The park is mostly empty after the firework show ends. Also a plus, if you are staying in one of the Disney Hotels on site you can purchase items throughout the day and have it delivered to your room while you stay and enjoy the park. Just ask the teller when checking out that you want it brought to your room.
- World of Color and Fantasmic: Look into buying the lunch or dinner packages for these shows. If you do, you get front row reserved seating with the purchase of the packages (They are around $30 per-person) and so worth the view of the shows.
- Celebration Buttons: I was in Disneyland this pass weekend to celebrate my Aunts birthday and of course to show our Disney spirt we got her a birthday pin to wear and everyone else in the group got “we are celebrating” pins to wear. The coolest part about it — almost every cast member we interacted with said happy birthday to her or had us all sing the happy birthday song. It makes the Disney magic a little brighter when wearing the pins.
- Matterhorn Macaroon: A must eat that runs out quickly. You can purchase it at the Jolly Holiday Bakery. My cousin and I got it around 10am and there were only 7 left. I must say, it is so worth it — coconut macaroon with white chocolate and sprinkles on top.
- Candy/Caramel Apple: Grab one from the Candy Palace on Main Street, USA! It is a delicious treat to bring back to the hotel for a midnight snack or you can just eat it in the park. My favorite is the Apple Pie one (it is also in the shape of Mickey Mouse — the ears are made with marshmallows).
- Baby Groot Cup: Just the fact that it is Baby Groot makes it a must. It is a limited time offer for the Summer of Heros event in California Adventure.
- Dole Whip: Amazing refreshment on a hot summer day in LA. The trick for this one is to go into the Tiki Room show and stand in that line as the one outside the entrance of Adventure Land is always gigantic.
- Groot Bread: Delicious sourdough bread in the shape of Groot’s head. What more can you ask for!?
- Boudin and Ghirardelli Store: In California Adventure you can walk into the stores and get free chocolate and free pieces of fresh made bread. It is a great way to get a little snack on the go. Also, in the Boudin Factory you can actually watch them make the bread that is sold in the parks (such as the Groot, Mickey, and Mater bread).