Planning a trip to Disneyland? Don’t go before checking out these Disneyland tips we have for you. As a family of 8 who are frequent Disneyland visitors, we’ve got all the inside tricks for you.
My kids love the magic of Disneyland! In my opinion, there are few things more amazing than seeing that magic light up your child’s eyes and giving them memories that will last a lifetime.
While my family has had the opportunity to visit numerous other amusement parks, nothing seems to compare with the experiences my family has a Disneyland.
But as my family has gotten larger, the costs have gone up exponentially. We have learned to get creative to get the most out of our time at the park and save money at the same time.
Here are my top 10 tips you need to know before visiting Disneyland
Ticket Prices – This is obviously the largest cost for anyone attending the park. Discounts are hard to come by but GetAwayToday and AAA do offer a few dollars off. Stay away from individuals selling tickets as Disneyland now photographs people entering the park and your resold passes will likely not work. Also, as kids under 3 years old are free, you can easily save $100 or more going before that 3rd birthday.
Crowds – Disneyland now adjusts their prices based on how crowded they predict the park to be that day. My recommendation is if you can avoid it, don’t ever go on a day when the costs are high. Not only will it cost you more money but you will ride less rides because of the crowds. IsItPacked.com is a good tool to help you estimate the crowds before you go.
FastPass – Take advantage of FastPass tickets as often as you can and get the tickets for the rides you most want to ride early in the morning. Right now, Radiator Springs Racers in California Adventure usually gives out all their FastPass tickets for the entire day by around noon, earlier on busy days.
Rider Swaps – If you have members of your party that can’t ride a ride for any reason (kids aren’t tall enough, etc), ask for a rider swap when you get on the ride. This will enable up to 3 people to ride after you get off by going through the FastPass line.
Parking – Most of the time you will be directed to the Mickey and Friends parking structure. You then take a shuttle from the structure to Downtown Disney. There are several sections of the tram where you don’t have to empty and fold your stroller. Right now parking will cost $18 per vehicle. We actually prefer some of the other overflow lots better as you don’t have to fight the crowds to get on the tram at the end of the night. If you are staying at a hotel nearby, look for one that offers shuttle service or is walking distance to the park to save on parking costs.
Strollers – I recommend bringing a stroller even if you are not bringing young babies. Strollers work very well for carrying food, jackets, and tired kids at the end of the night. Just make sure you don’t leave valuables in them when you leave it to get on rides.
Food – There are lots of places in the park where you can now get meals for under $10 per person but that still adds up with a group, so we bring lots of snacks. Our favorite right now is the Uncrustables pre-made sandwiches. You can buy them frozen at any grocery store and they thaw throughout the day, keeping them from getting smashed. Bringing your own food means you can go the entire day without paying extra for food, or you can use your savings to splurge a bit for a nicer dinner. If it is in your budget, I highly recommend the character dining experience at Ariel’s Grotto. Check out our experience as a family of 8 at Ariel’s Grotto.
Drinks – Especially if you go during a hot day, you have to stay hydrated. Many people don’t know that any restaurant in the park that serves fountain drinks will give you ice water cups for free and they typically already have them ready (no need to wait in line, just walk up to the counter. If you want some flavor, I like to bring some single serve Crystal Light packets to dump in the free waters. No where in the park does Disneyland offer free refills of fountain drinks.
Parades/Shows – There is no real way around this. If you want a seat, get there early. Main Street is always the most crowded for the parades but also has the most seats. I recommend trying up where the parade begins by Its a Small World. If you are not that interested in the parades or if you have already seen, this is an excellent time to go on the rides that typically have long lines.
Hotels – Staying at the Disneyland-owned hotels give you the advantage of Magic Mornings (you get into the park an hour before everyone else) but if you are not wanting to pay those prices there are lots of other options that are within walking distance so you don’t have to pay the $18 for parking at the park. Our favorite is the Convention Center Residence Inn. It opened in summer 2016, offers free breakfast and has huge suites that will sleep up to 8. The Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort is the closest to the park and has Disney-themed rooms. The Courtyard Anaheim Theme Park Entrance has a cool Disney waterslide at opened in 2015.
Enjoy your time making magic memories at Disneyland with your kids.