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All You Need to Know About Disneyland Tickets

One of the major expenses of your Disneyland vacation is your Park entrance ticket. Disneyland tickets are paper (no Walt Disney World MagicBands here!) They are also your “ticket” so-to-speak for grabbing FASTPASS throughout your vacation. Naturally, with something so important there’s a lot to learn. Here’s the scoop on what you need to know about Disneyland tickets including how to use FASTPASS, buying discounted Disneyland tickets and more.

This post was originally published July 16th, 2016 – Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

You’re Here Because You Want Cheap Disneyland Tickets!

Everyone planning a trip to Disneyland wants to save money on Disney tickets. Why pay full price when there are places that sell discounted tickets?Keep reading for the best ways to save on Disneyland admission, then check out these other money-saving Disney tips.

My number one tip on buying Disneyland tickets is….

Don’t wait to buy your park tickets when you get to the park.

Seriously.

You are able to buy park tickets on the Disneyland website. Buy Disneyland tickets from travel agencies, AAA, credit union or at Costco. They even sell tickets at the Disney Store in the mall. Some of the Anaheim Good Neighbor hotels sell them. You can even buy them at Southern California grocery stores. I recommend purchasing online through my affiliate partner Get Away Today because they are an authorized seller of discounted tickets.

Do not buy tickets at Disneyland…that is, unless you like to stand in line for 30+ minutes when you could be getting into the park. Or if you like paying full price instead of getting a possible discount by doing a little shopping around!

If you buy your tickets elsewhere, read the fine print that comes with it. Sometimes you can go directly to the front gate and they will trade your ticket in whatever form it is (it might look like a plain print-out or like a plastic gift card) for an official park ticket right then and there. Other pre-purchased tickets will request that you go to the ticket booth in advance. If you have to do this, I suggest trading them for your actual park tickets on the day before you enter the parks to save time.

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

Lined up in the morning at the box office…when they could be in the Park!


LOOKING FOR MORE PLANNING TIPS? THE Disneyland with Kids: Ultimate Resource Guide IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!


What a Park Hopper and Should I Buy One?

A Disneyland ticket with a Park Hopper option allows guests to visit both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park on the same day. “Hopping” between Parks is generally quick (they are just across a short esplanade from each other) though re-entry to Disneyland specifically can sometimes take longer on busy days.

Park Hoppers do add a bit more cost to your ticket price. If you are staying for only 1 or 2 days, I would highly recommend a Park Hopper option. This way you’ll be able to make the best use of your mornings by hitting popular rides, grabbing FASTPASS and going back and forth between the Parks. If you are staying for 3+ days, I would purchase non-Park Hoppers because you’ll be able to spend more time exploring each Park thoroughly by staying in one each day. You’ll also get a better rate on 3+ day tickets.

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

Inside Disneyland (on the train) and you can see the entrance to California Adventure – that’s how close it is to Park Hop!

Are There Cheap One Day Disneyland Tickets?

Generally the more in-park days you purchase upfront, the better discount you’ll be getting. Consider one of the Annual Passports if you plan on going back at any point during the year or if your vacation is going to be longer. If you purchase a Signature annual pass, you’ll have no blackout dates, receive free parking, food discounts and some retail shop discounts as well.

Where Can You Get Discounted Disneyland Tickets?

Can you get cheap Disneyland tickets at Costco. Yes, you can also purchase Disneyland park tickets at AAA, but often the cheapest way is via authorized ticket sellers online.

I highly recommend purchasing tickets from Get Away Today online as they are an authorized seller of discount tickets for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and LEGOLAND . They also offer the SoCal City Pass which includes tickets to Disneyland as well as other Southern California theme parks. You’ll save buying the set of attraction tickets versus buying individual tickets for each park.

Stay at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels and book one of their travel packages, which can include park tickets at a discounted rate. Of course, staying at a Disneyland resort hotel is going to cost more than an off-site hotel. Get Away Today also offers discounted vacation packages, so I’d definitely request a quote from them first! You can even place your vacation on layaway with Get Away Today and pay in installments.

Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount). 

https://www.getawaytoday.com/?referrerid=7529

If you are a Southern California resident you often have the advantage of receiving discounted prices on short visit tickets during certain times of the year. You’ll need proof of residence upon entry to the Park. Military, teachers and some other professionals may receive discounts through your employer.

Keep in mind that a 1-day ticket price has seasonal pricing based on when the Park crowds are “peak” (more expensive ticket), “regular” or “value”(less expensive ticket). You’ll pay more to visit on the weekends and holiday seasons. Unless you are very tight on time and only have one day, you should definitely avoid the 1-day ticket.

How Do I Use My Ticket for a FASTPASS?

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

First I should answer, “What’s a FASTPASS?”

FASTPASS is a way for you to get a “reservation” in a shorter line for a particular ride. FASTPASS is free so there’s no reason not to try it! Each of the following attractions have a FASTPASS Distribution Area where you will scan in your park ticket and in return be given a special FASTPASS “return” ticket. This will have a window of time printed on it for you to come back to the attraction and be able to take a “short-cut” by using the designated FASTPASS line instead of standing in the regular line-up.

You’ll be using your Park tickets to redeem FastPass – Keep your Park tickets close at hand inside a coin purse on a lanyard, like these:  Mickey and Minnie Mouse Lanyards with Detachable Coin Purse


Tips and Rules About Using FASTPASS

always use FASTPASS whenever possible. Of course there are days you won’t need to use it, like if the park isn’t terribly crowded. I’ve even encounted days when Disneyland doesn’t offer the FASTPASS because the lines are short enough already.

However there are certain rides I absolutely will not wait in the regular line-up and will only use FASTPASS for. Radiator Springs Racers is one ride that you should grab a FASTPASS for first thing in the morning. Any newer attractions, like Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! will have a long wait in stand-by so nabbing a FASTPASS if you want to see it is imperative.

The best use of FASTPASS is to have a game plan of things to do until the FASTPASS time is ready. For instance, the Star Tours line is always long and I always get a FASTPASS for this. You’ll have about 40 minutes to wait until your FASTPASS is valid so you could ride the Disneyland Railroad all the way around the Park, go on the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, watch the Star Wars show that’s close by or go inside the Star Wars Launch Bay for a while. The point is to do something else while you are waiting for your FASTPASS time to come up. Make the best use of your time and find something else in that area to occupy you until your FASTPASS time is ready!

How To Use Your Tickets for FASTPASS

When you approach the FASTPASS Distribution Area for a particular ride, pay note to the time frame that you will be asked to return. If the Park is really crowded your return time might be a few hours out. There is even a chance that FASTPASS will not be available on extremely busy days because they will be “filled up” very early in the day. This happened to us for Soarin’ last time we visited on a busy weekend. It was about noon and the FASTPASS times weren’t available until after 6pm!

Each person in your party will need their own FASTPASS. This means you’ll have to individually scan in each person’s ticket so they will each get a FASTPASS.

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

What About MaxPass?

MaxPass eliminates your need to use paper tickets for FASTPASS, booking them on your smart device instead. You’ll still need your ticket (or to scan the app in your device) when you return to the time at your scheduled time. For more tips on MaxPass, read Top 21 Disneyland MaxPass Questions Answered by my friend Leslie at Trips with Tykes.

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

Do Babies Need a Disneyland Ticket?

If your child is under three years old, their admission is free! Check out these posts with tips for traveling to Disneyland with a baby –

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

Kids under three don’t need a Park ticket.

Annual Passport

You may decide mid-vacation that you’d like to upgrade to a Disneyland Annual Pass. You can apply the amount that you paid for the ticket (so long as it hasn’t expired) to the cost for the Annual Passport. If you buy the AP, consider which pass makes the best sense for you and your family. Different AP have certain blockout dates so check the calendar before deciding which one is best for you.

Keep in mind that you can mix and match AP within your family to get the best deal that works for you. When I had AP, my boys had the SoCal Passport and I had the Premium (now called Signature). This meant that I could get free parking and a discount on food and some merchandise. There was no reason for the kids to have the Premium because they would never be at the park without me. I would be making all the purchases, so I was the only one who needed to have the higher costing AP with the best discounts.

Annual Passports have a monthly payment option (after an initial down payment) so you can take the year to pay the price of the Passport off.

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

My husband having his photo taken upon entering the park for the first time with our multi-day Park Hopper ticket.

What NOT to Do When Buying or Using Tickets?

  • Don’t buy tickets on Craigslist or on Ebay. You have no way of looking at the tickets and knowing if they are valid or legal.
  • Don’t buy tickets from anyone selling them outside the Park. Buy only from an authorized dealer.
  • Don’t buy anyone else’s multi-day ticket from them. You have no way of knowing how many days are still valid on that ticket! Also your photo will be taken the first time you use your multi-day ticket and verified each time you enter.
  • Don’t lose your ticket!
Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids

Take a photo of the backside of your ticket in case it gets lost.

Your park ticket will allow you entrance in and out of the park for the day. You’ll also use it frequently for FASTPASS  -So don’t lose your ticket! I recommend that you take a photograph of the backside of your ticket. Capture the bar code/date stamp. You’ll be able to get a replacement at Guest Relations should your ticket go missing. Make sure everyone in your group and all the tickets that were purchased are with you.

Everything you need to know about Disneyland tickets, from discounts, FASTPASS, Annual Passes and where NOT to buy your Disneyland tickets! #Disneyland #Disney #DisneyTickets #DisneyonaBudget #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids


Complete Guide to Everything Scary for Kids at Disneyland

Disneyland is called the “Happiest Place on Earth”. However that doesn’t mean it’s all happy, all the time. In fact, there are some rides, shows and attractions that might be downright scary for little (and not so little!) kids. If you have some concerns with your kids and are wondering about the possibly scary things at Disneyland, keep reading. I’ve outlined the rides, shows and attractions that might be too scary for kids at Disneyland. I’ve made additional suggestions on what rides to try instead. I also have ideas on easing fears with your kids inside the Parks.

Things that Are Scary for Kids at Disneyland

There is so much to see, do and experience at the Disneyland Resort. For newbies at the Parks, you might not be aware of what things may scare kids. Some are easy to detect from the outside of the attraction (Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain). Other things may seem innocent enough and still have frightening elements. But, what are the scariest rides at Disneyland? That’s going to vary for each kid! Of course, only you know your children and how far to push things when it comes to trying new experiences. For more advice about encouraging kids, keep reading for my tested tips.

Please note that I use affiliate links in my posts. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is faster than it looks.

Disneyland Dark Rides

Dark rides are exactly what they sound like. These are indoor rides with the lights off. They are generally slow moving and the vehicle you ride in moves through different rooms and scenes. While some “dark rides” are bright and have a lighthearted theme, others might be frightening (or have certain scary scenes).

These are dark rides with scarier elements:

  • Haunted Mansion
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

Dark Rides – Start with These:

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – It’s a dark ride that’s more brightly lit and has a sweet theme. It’s the perfect first dark ride for Disneyland with toddlers.
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – wield a laser to aim at targets throughout the ride. Kids who don’t like the dark will be so enthralled with shooting the targets they probably won’t even notice how dark it is.
  • Alice in Wonderland – dark inside, but still lots of bright and whimsical moments. There is also a break mid-ride that takes your caterpillar vehicle outside for a ride on the leaves.
Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

Interestingly, the Haunted Mansion Holiday during Halloween is LESS scary than the usual Haunted Mansion!

Attractions That Have Potentially Scary Moments

Disneyland Railroad – For the most part the Disneyland Railroad is all outdoors, with an overview of the Park. There is one section that you may want to avoid if you have a skittish kid. The section of the train that leaves from Tomorrowland Station takes you through a dark diorama. This is the Grand Canyon and Primeval World – Land of the Dinosaurs. It’s a very realistic scene that lasts about 5 minutes but includes large dinosaurs, dramatic music and an erupting volcano.

The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – most of the ride is bright and fun, with cheerful music. There is a section where you’ll go “under water” and your clam shell vehicle gently tips backwards. This slight movement made my toddler daughter very nervous. There is also a dark section with Ursula the sea witch.

Soarin’ Around the World –  My son was very nervous to ride this after hearing that he’d be “flying”! Kids might be worried about the initial lift off which takes you off your feet. You will be safely buckled in and once lifted, there is minimal movement. Your ride vehicle will rock back and forth gently, coordinated with the film you’re watching. You may not even notice that you’re moving once the film begins. Have your kids pay attention to the pre-boarding video which shows exactly what happens during the lift off.

Scary Moments – Start With This:

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room – While the majority of this attraction is sweet, with fun songs there is a small dramatic section at the end. See how your child reacts to the surprise change in mood (loud drumming and a thunder storm).


Save Money on Your Disneyland Vacation!

Purchase discount Disneyland tickets and vacation packages from my affiliate Get Away Today. Use the Promo Code REWRITTEN and receive an extra $10 off any 2-night or longer Southern California package. (Hotel and 2 ticket minimum purchase to qualify for the discount).


Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

Grizzly River Rapids – steep drops and you will get drenched!

Disneyland Rides with Drops

Exactly how big is that drop on Splash Mountain? It’s a steep 52.5′ from top to splash down! The drop inside Pirates of the Caribbean on the other hand is a shorter 14′ but it’s in solid darkness. The drops on Guardians of the Galaxy can’t be predicted. Each ride varies and there are multiple drops both big and not-as-big.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean 
  • Splash Mountain
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!
  • Grizzly River Rapids

Rides with Drops – Start With These:

Dumbo the Flying Elephant – Yeah, this might look like a “baby ride” but for kids who don’t like the feeling of drops, this mild ride is a perfect place to start. Plus they can control the dips themselves.

Jumpin’ Jellyfish – This one is all up and down, but it’s outside where you can get a good vantage point of the Park. Most kids like this tummy-tickler!

Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

The unpredictable drops are sure to be a fright for most kids.

Disneyland Thrill Rides

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Space Mountain
  • Indiana Jones Adventure :Temple of the Forbidden Eye
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Incredicoaster

Thrill Rides – Start with These:

Gadget’s Go Coaster – If you think your little one is ready for their first coaster, I recommend starting with Gadget’s Go Coaster in Toontown. It’s super-short (one minute long), has just a few tummy tickling dips and max speed of 22 mph.

Radiator Springs Racers – This hybrid dark ride and roller coaster has a cool indoor/outdoor effect. Maybe because you’re sitting inside of a low sports car vehicle, my young ones weren’t scared of the roller coaster section. Plus you’re racing against the car that’s on the other track, so the competition element might encourage your kids to want to go faster!

READ MORE: Thrill-Seekers Guide to the Disneyland Resort

Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

Radiator Springs Racers is a high speed race that most kids will love.

Potentially Scary Rides That Spin

If your kid doesn’t like the feeling of being out of control, these spinning rides may be frightening. Note that the Mad Tea Party and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin can be controlled slightly, so spinning can be minimized. Kids can also control the up and down movement on the Astro Orbitor.

  • Mad Tea Party
  • Astro Orbitor
  • Golden Zephyr
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

Rides That Spin – Start With These!

  • King Arthur Carrousel
  • Flik’s Flyers
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

Flik’s Flyers in “bug’s land” is a great first spinning ride.

A Ride With Height

Pixar Pal-A-Round – I’m not a fan of heights and the Ferris wheel is top of my list of scary rides! However these gondolas are fully enclosed and you can choose the swinging or non-swinging version.

Ride With Height – Start With This!

Silly Symphony Swings – This ride smoothly combines height, spinning, drops and lift. Consider the tandem chair that seats you right next to your child so you can hold hands or comfort them if they’re nervous.

Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

Nervous of heights? Try Pixar Pal-A-Round at night when you can’t judge the height as well! (Photo Credit: Jeff Holz)

3-D Disneyland Ride

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – This indoor 3-D ride simulator puts you right into the action of a Star Wars feature. This can be incredibly intense with loud noises and the feeling of flying (and crashing!)

3-D Ride – Start With This:

Toy Story Midway Mania – While you’ll be experiencing 3-D this interactive ride is also a competitive game where you shoot at the screen simulator to score points. There is plenty of spinning and 3-D elements but it’s all done in a fun and playful atmosphere.

Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

The 3-D effects and simulator movements can be frightening for some kids (and adults!) – Photo Credit: Jeff Holz

Shows That Are Scary for Kids at Disneyland

Fantasmic! – It’s a nighttime show of good versus evil, which means lots of villain appearances and a huge fire-breathing dragon. It’s an impressive show with dramatic music and effects, which means it might be too intense from some kids.

Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple- Even kids who are familiar with the Star Wars franchise might still have a fingernail-biting moment when Darth Vader and Kylo Ren appear in person.

Shows Without Scary Elements:

  • Disney Junior Dance Party!
  • Mickey and the Magical Map
  • World of Color
  • Paint the Night
  • Frozen Live at the Hyperion
Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

Mickey and the Magical Map live show…nothing scary here!

Too Scary for Kids at Disneyland – Helpful Tips to Ease Fears

Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland

King Arthur Carrousel is a nice ride to start with that gets kids used to spinning, up and down movement and loud music.


Headed to Disneyland but concerned that certain rides, shows or attractions might be too scary for your kids? If you have a kid who doesn't like fast rides, drops, spinning and frightening elements this is a must read guide with tons of helpful tips. #Disneyland #Disney #CaliforniaAdventure #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #California #SpecialNeeds


A Spur of the Moment Disneyland Weekend – Trip Report

Bandleader Mickey at Disneyland!

Mornin’ Mickey!

I run a tight ship when it comes to my Disneyland vacations but well, sometimes life gets in the way and things don’t always go on schedule. It’s best to be flexible! Turns out that pretty much any day spent at Disney is a magical day, no matter how you slice it!

We got up up just after 6am to get ready for the drive. Fortunately we’d packed up mostly the night before so after a quick breakfast we were in the car and on our way. We did have to pick up the stroller from Grandma’s house and fill up the gas tank which added time to my already 20 minutes late time schedule! We live in San Diego, around 90 minutes drive from Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort. This day however would prove to be about 2 hours though, since we ran into a bit of traffic on the way up. The Santa Ana winds that blow in from the desert were warming up the air, which was nice (it was near 80 degrees on this January day!) However we were also getting the crazy fast winds that blow dust and tumbleweeds across the freeway!

About an hour into the drive it dawned on us that we’d forgotten our preschooler’s shoes at home! Ugh…so, after a quick side trip to Target for new kicks, we were soon pulling into the Woody parking lot. To be totally honest, I had no idea that there was a Disney resort parking lot in this area. I knew about the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and had parked at one of the other “off-site” lots but didn’t realize that there was this lot until we passed it on the way to the Target. Parking was so much easier here than at the Parking Structure! We simply boarded one of the Toy Story buses that drove a few miles down the road and dropped us off right in front of the esplanade. There was no waiting for the trams and no long walks, I loved it!

Taking the Disneyland shuttle from "off-site" parking lots

We picked up my daughter’s Disability Access Service (DAS) card at Guest Services and found out that the system has changed even since our recent visit in October. I’ve outlined the system here. Guest still visit the special kiosks scattered through out the Park to receive their designated return time for a particular attraction. However now instead of receiving a small paper log with a return time, guests are now instructed to turn over their Park tickets at the return/Fastpass line of each ride.

New Disability Access Service (DAS)

Cast Members have scanners which scan each ticket and a photo pops up on their screen with the number of people in the party and the designated return time for verification. My daughter wasn’t cooperating that morning and refused to pose for the photo inside City Hall but the Cast Member was kind enough to take a photo of a photo from my husband’s camera phone so there would be an image for the scanner. The new update to the system worked out nicely and the process was much quicker without the Cast Members having to log rides and times on a piece of paper!

New scanners at Disneyland for the Disability Access Service

After receiving the DAS, my daughter was moody and upset and didn’t want to ride anything at first. I took the boys on the King Arthur Carrousel so my husband could get her relaxed and acclimated to the Park atmosphere.

2014-01-22 17.09.08

The entrance bridge through Sleeping Beauty Castle is currently closed, presumably in preparation for the big Diamond Celebration, Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary! Snow White’s Grotto and the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through are also currently off exhibit.

2014-01-22 17.10.21

After a snack and a rest in the shade, Alonna was ready to join us for a ride. We kick started the day with a bang…Big Thunder Mountain Railroad! Dillon just turned three only two months ago, but at 40″ high we were ready to have him try a few of the Disneyland coasters. He’d wet his feet on a few of the coasters at Legoland a few weeks ago but we weren’t sure how well these more “high speed adventures” would go over! We needn’t be worried…while he’d  scream throughout the rides and grip onto the bars tightly, afterwards he was all smiles and excitement. He kept saying, “That was AWESOME!” And so we marched on!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Disneyland CA

After riding a few more favorites, we made our way across the esplanade to Disney California Adventure Park. As Disney Chase Visa members, we receive a personal Character meet n’ greet and a free 5″ x 7″ photo! We met up with Minnie, who was greeted warmly with a big hug from Dillon like they were old pals!

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In the same area (Hollywoodland), FROZEN FUN is currently taking place! It’s a highly popular (and highly populated!) new area that features a meet n’ greet with Anna and/or Elsa, a sing-a-long theater show, real snow play, specialty foods and snacks, shopping (naturally) and warm hugs from Olaf himself. My kids love the movie but none wanted to participate in the activities since it was quite busy in this area. They were anxious to get on more rides, so we drove ourselves over to Carsland!

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It was my son’s first time riding the Radiator Springs Racers and he was so excited! At each ride that had a 40″ height requirement, Dillon was checked several times through the ride (first at the entrance and then again, usually half-way through the line). This is such a wonderful ride, we were so glad he was able to join us on it this time. And he, of course, loved it! More, “This is AWESOME!!” greeted us through the exit line!

2014-01-22 19.56.01   2014-01-22 20.04.022014-01-22 18.51.21

We took a spin on Tow Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree before jogging through the underpass and onto the Pacific Wharf for lunch.

2014-01-22 18.54.03

I’d not eaten at the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill before and it did not disappoint. Large portions that we shared between the five of us, vibrant flavors and we were accompanied by the darling Mariachi Divas. My husband loved the spicy pasilla-tomatillo sauce that came with the tamales. My Hacienda chicken Caesar salad with pepita dressing was enormous and really hit the spot! Total bill for this meal was $35 and it fed all five of us (we didn’t purchase drinks but brought in Gatorade and water bottles). You receive 10% with your Disney Chase Visa or Disney Redemption Card from the Disney Chase Visa program.

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One of my favorite parts of a Disney day is the Character interaction. We happened upon Donald alongside Paradise Pier looking so dapper in his nautical get-up! He was delighted to see himself not only on my son’s t-shirt but featured on his hat too! Donald even tried to put the hat on and danced about a bit, to the joy of my son.

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The big kids went with Dad on California Screamin’ while Dillon and I watched the riders whizzing by! A spin on King Triton’s Carousel, Toy Story Mania and the Jumpin’ Jellyfish followed.

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We hit up Bug’s Land and then headed back over to Disneyland Park for ice creams and more adventure. While in line for waffle cones, nap time happened and Dillon missed the special treat. It’s okay, we splurged and got ice cream again after dinner too!

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The little guy woke up ready for more! We rode Star Tours as well as Space Mountain! I wasn’t sure how he’d like being in the dark with all that spinning but he did great and again, it was “AWESOME!”

As evening came we headed for our favorite dinner spot, the French Market in New Orleans Square. We ordered the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, veggies and a roll, the grilled chicken with double-veggies and a roll and a bread bowl overflowing with steaming hot corn chowder. Again, we received 10% off for being Disney Chase Visa card holders and the total bill was $35. It was all so delicious (but too dark for photos at this point).

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My eldest son, who suffers from occasional migraine headaches was starting to develop one, so after dinner we stopped off at First Aid for children’s acetaminophen and an ice pack. We took things easy for a bit, allowing the medication to work and walked slowly over to It’s a Small World, which was still decorated for the holidays. Somewhat odd, it being a month since Christmas to still have the holiday overlay but I believe it comes down this week. We hummed along to “Jingle Shells” with the mermaids all the same!

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While using the restroom, we happened upon the beginning of Mickey and the Magical Map, a newer show that I’d not yet seen. The show had just begun and Cast Members had already roped off the entrances. I’m not sure what my husband said to him but we were escorted through the ropes and down into a special area with padded bench seats and an amazing view! So bright and fun with wonderful dancing and costumes. And the live singing was fantastic, we absolutely loved this show!

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Earlier in the day I’d picked up Fastpass tickets for the 8:45 Fantasmic! show. With the new viewing areas we were going to be able to stand in specific sections to watch the show. Unfortunately the crazy wild Santa Ana winds that had been plaguing us all day reared up again and the show was “delayed”. With my son still not feeling well, we decided to call it a night and beat the crowds by leaving a bit early. Within ten minutes we were boarded on the bus to take us back to the truck. I have the feeling the Fantastic! show as well as the fireworks display must have been fully cancelled because the winds never did die down.

In any case, even with the abbreviated evening, we still had a magical day. So much fun being able to ride so many things with my preschooler for the first time. It was nice not to have to wait at the stroller with him too. It will definitely be a new phase in our Disney vacations from now on, with all of us being able to ride together! Even though our day didn’t go exactly as planned, it paid to be flexible and we still had a wonderful Disney day!

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As a blogger, I received two complimentary 1 day Park Hopper passes from Disney; all thoughts and views are my own.

Take a Tour of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Take a Tour of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Set inside Disney California Adventure Park, the 12-acre Cars Land will completely immerse you in the town of Radiator Springs from the movie Cars! You will have a hard time believing that this mini-Route 66 hasn’t existed for centuries; the road is appropriately cracked, the road signs rusty and the buildings careworn. And at the end of the road in Cars Land is a stunning mountain range you’ll have to see to believe!

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

You could take all day in Cars Land just appreciating the atmosphere. There are so many fantastic details, I captured a few on our last few trips. And when you’re done “oohing” and “ahhing” at all the beautiful rustic details, it’s time for rides!

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Take a high-speed race through the Ornament Valley on Radiator Springs Racers. This ride is the highlight of Cars Land and consistently has a lengthy wait. I definitely recommend that Guests get to the Park early (30 minutes before opening, in fact) to acquire your FastPass for this ride. The FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers is just outside the entrance to “a bug’s land”.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

If its food you’re after, Flo’s V8 Café is a quick-service restaurant serving up hearty roadside classics. Cozy Cone Motel offers snacks in cones, naturally! You can usually meet Mater or Lightning McQueen in front of the Motel. Disney’s PhotoPass photographers can take your picture with them.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Cars Land has some fantastic details that you’ll miss if you race past them. At the end of the road you can take a photo op with Stanley, the “founder” of Radiator Springs.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Look closely around you and you are sure to find cool surprises all around, like this adorable bed of “flowers”.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

Cruise back in the evening when Cars Land lights up the night! You can take a stroll down Route 66 under the glow of neon lights. Souvenirs and snacks are sold inside some of the other buildings from the movie.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

There are two other rides in Cars Land, or at least there will be two when refurbishment is completed.

Luigi’s Flying Tires has been deflated. This ride is currently being reimagined into something new. Guests used to be able to steer their own giant tire above a cushion of air. I’d never been on this one as my toddler was not tall enough but had watched my husband and two older kids ride it several times. It wasn’t one of their favorites and according to my ten-year old son, “It’s too much work!” I’m looking forward to seeing what new ride develops.

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

The square-dancing tractors in Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree will spin you silly! This was my toddler’s favorite ride on our last trip. Larry the Cable Guy (voice of Mater) sings along with Billy Hill and the Hillbillies on several tracks that play during the ride. I love the down-home hoe-down!

I think you’ll love Cars Land as much as we do! Make sure to take a pause on Route 66 for a shot of your family by one of Disney’s PhotoPass photographers before you high-tail it out of town!

What to do at Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park


Have you taken the trek to Cars Land yet? Share your memories in the comments! 

You’ll want to get into the Park at soon as possible in the morning. I recommend purchasing your ticket online through Park Savers (affiliate link). You’ll save time at the gate and also a few dollars off the cost.

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