In my previous blog post, I mentioned I just recently returned from Disneyland in California. I had never been to Disneyland before and had no idea what to expect or what to prepare in advance. The trip had been a Christmas gift from my lovely partner, Nick. So from a noob’s experience, here you have my ten strongest suggestions on how to prepare for Disneyland.
Please note these tips and trips are specifically to Disneyland and California Adventure in Anaheim, California. I have never been to Disney World in Florida but I am aware there are some very big differences in the parks! I also travelled to the park kid-free (well, because you know I have no children yet) but I did try to tailor these tips and tricks to be family-friendly and all inclusive.
10. Do your research
This is huge. The park is huge. Granted, it is the happiest place on Earth (seriously, it is. Feel your serotonin levels rise) but it can also be extremely overwhelming. Prior to our trip, I researched everything that I could about Disneyland. Down to what to pack, what to carry in the park, what the best times of the year to go was (even though our trip was set), weather, everything. For example, we went in February. Naturally, this is their off-season but as this year is the 60th anniversary of Disneyland all the rides were open and nothing was under maintenance.
9. Pack snacks and avoid eating in the park
The restaurant’s are enticing. The food looks and smells delicious. You’ve been walking for 8 hours… one corn dog wouldn’t hurt, would it? Not if the corn dog wasn’t close to 8 DOLLARS. For just a corn dog! A big regret we had from this trip was our lack of preparedness in food. Whether you are eating in Disneyland itself, Downtown Disney or California Adventure prepare to dish out the big bucks for small meals. Food and drinks could cost you a kidney. We did bring a water bottle, but were extremely disappointed to find limited water fountains and when we did find a fountain… the water tasted disgusting. Now, I’m already not a huge fan of non-bottle water like the Princess I am, but perhaps the California drought has just led to putrid tasting water. That, or I’m just extremely picky and sensitive to water taste. Anyway, besides the point. Pack snacks. If you do eat in the park, try to eat a big meal like lunch to carry you on through the day.
Edit: I have just learned that any restaurant that sells fountain drinks will give you free ice water! Thank you to all you Disney pros out there!
8. Prepare to get wet.
I was not prepared. At all. Ironically, I did not get soaked on the rides meant to soak you such as Splash Mountain or Grizzly Rapids. Nope. Instead, I got absolutely drenched on the Matterhorn Bobseld’s…. this is supposed to be a sprinkle. Now Nick was prepared, in our backpack he had extra underwear, socks and a t-shirt. I waddled around in soaking wet leggings, shirt and underwear for about an hour. It’s not fun.
7. Prepare for the weather!
We were extremely lucky with our weather. The entire time we were at Disneyland the temperature was 28 degrees (or 82 fahrenheit). This was super warm for February, even according to my research. The week before we left the temperature high was 15 degrees (59 fahrenheit) and the week after was even lower. Look at weather forecasts. Even with the beautiful day time weather, we found (even as Canadians) that night time was super chilly. We packed light coats in our backpack to keep us warm.
6. COMFORTABLE SHOES.
Those super cute gladiator sandals may go with your outfit, but you will be upset with yourself when your pinkie toe has gone purple.
5. Bring bandaids.
Please see above note about comfortable shoes. I thought breaking in my new Converse shoes would be a good idea. No. Bad idea, Jo. The worst idea. Thank heavens I had bandaids to heal my poor little feet. Not only are they great for your feet, but if you trip running towards your favourite Disney character and scrape your hands, you’re covered. If you forget the bandaids, don’t fret I’m sure the first aid stations some snazzy frozen bandaids to keep you covered!
4. Spend the little extra and get the “Park Hopper” Pass
The Park Hopper pass made our two-day Disney adventure even better. We were able to jump between Disneyland and California Adventure without any problems. Often if we had a fast pass for a ride in California Adventure (such as we got our Fast Pass for Soarin’ Over California at 11:30 am and our ride time wasn’t until 3 pm) we hopped over to Disneyland to do the rides we had missed the day before.
3. Utilize the beauty of Fast Pass and all it’s glory!
Once you get a map of the park you are at that day, pick the rides you absolutely need to go on and GET A PASS. There are limited Fast Passes per set time limit, and they will sell out. As I mentioned, for Soarin’ Over California we got our fast pass at 11:30 am and our ride time wasn’t until 3pm later that day. Fast passes also saved us loads of time waiting in line. There is no way we would have been able to get Disneyland done in two days without using our Fast Pass. I am aware that in Disney World you can book your Fast Passes before on an app (like I’ve said, I’ve never been there but this is what I hear) but Disneyland has ticket stations near the rides that have the Fast Pass feature. The rides with fast pass will be listed on your map.
2. Have a game plan!
Although Disneyland in California is two parks as opposed to like eight hundred in Florida, it is still huge. Once you get your map, my suggestion would be to plan your route of what you want to see the most and work your way back. If you start jumping between sections you will lose tons of time walking through the crowds. Although you don’t need to be on a schedule, do have an idea of where you would like to see.
1. Don’t Stress, and have fun.
This is the most important. Disneyland is like nothing I have ever experienced before. It is literally the happiest place on Earth for any one of any age. Have fun, enjoy every moment and get lost in the little bubble that is Disney.
What tips and tricks do you have for Disney! Comment and let me know! xo