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How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!)

Going to Disneyland is a celebration for all senses, taste included!  In addition to the top-notch attractions and entertainment, there are also countless unique and delicious meals and treats only to be found within the Disney Parks. But what if you’re aiming to eat more healthfully? Then probably a giant turkey leg or stacked marshmallows dipped in chocolate on a stick aren’t a part of your diet. No worries, there are lots of great dining and snack choices throughout the Disneyland Park that will keep you on track! You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself.

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

This post was originally published Sept 23rd, 2015

You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine.

Sandwich purchased at La Brea Bakery Cafe in Downtown Disney District & brought in to the Parks.

Eat Healthfully at Disneyland

I hate to say it, but Disneyland calories totally count if you’re watching what you eat! Sure, there’s cotton candy around every corner and calorie-rich fried delights at Disneyland. But read the menus closely and you’ll see that there are healthy foods to eat at Disneyland at just about every dining location.  Keep reading for the tips on how to eat healthfully at Disneyland, including where to eat, what to choose and healthy snacks to pack.

You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine.

La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney has healthy sandwiches to go

1. Finding a Healthy Breakfast at Disneyland

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, right? Consider eating breakfast before you come to the Park. The smell of frappachinos, buttery pastries and vanilla-scented Mickey waffles will be wafting through the air from the Starbucks and Jolly Holiday Bakery as you walk down Main Street, U.S.A! If you’re trying to eat healthfully at Disneyland you’ll want to fill up your tummy with healthier options before setting foot inside the Parks.

  • Bring food to store in the hotel fridge and fill up at daybreak with Greek yogurt, a banana and fibrous flake cereal. My kids usually enjoy granola bars and fresh fruit.
  • I also suggest dining in the Downtown Disney District before the Parks open. La Brea Bakery Express is a great breakfast location and you can grab things to go or eat on the patio. Skip the breakfast potatoes and see if you can opt for fruit instead.
  • If you have a leisurely morning planned you can also sit inside the La Brea Bakery Cafe restaurant. They serve filling and delicious egg plates, vegetable frittatas and oatmeal.
  • Jamba Juice can make you a delicious smoothie (choose the low-sugar option).

How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!)

  • If you want to dine inside the Park, River Belle Terrace has a plate of fresh, seasonal fruit (skip the Biscuits n’ Gravy!)
  • Order the fruit platter at Flo’s V8 Cafe and you’ll also receive an oat bran muffin and low fat yogurt.
  • If you choose something healthy like the Spinach and Tomato Egg White Fritatta from Carnation Cafe, request that heavy toppings (like sour cream or fried potatoes) be served on the side so you can control the portion size or share them with someone else in your group.
How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!)

Fill up on fresh fruit

2. Healthy Snacks at Disneyland

There are snack carts placed all over the Parks so be prepared when that heavenly popcorn or cinnamon-scent of churros hits you! Knowing where to go for the healthiest options is smart.

  • Some carts (like Tropical Imports, Fillmore’s Taste-In and Fairfax Market) also offer fresh fruits, like bananas, apples, grapes, mangoes and pineapple spears. They even have veggies and hummus.
  • Need a little something heartier? Swing wide of the corn dog cart and pick up an Outback Vegetable or Banyan Beef Skewer from Bengal Barbecue. Dipping sauces can contain lots of sugar so it’s best to skip.
  • Craving something sweeter? The Dole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar is light and refreshing with pineapple soft serve and pineapple juice.
  • You can get vanilla ice cream with no sugar added at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain. No sugar-added butter pecan is available at Clarabelle’s & Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor. Have it served in a cup instead of a sugar cone.
  • A frozen banana is also a decent choice as it’s lightly coated in chocolate and nuts. It will also take a little longer to eat since it’s frozen so you won’t devour it as quickly.
How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!)

A frozen banana is a healthy indulgence on a hot day


Heading to Disney World? Read this post from Britni at Play Party Plan about snacks & sweets at Walt Disney World!

3. Your Own Snacks to Pack for Disneyland

Did you know you can always bring in your own snacks to the Park! Soft sided coolers are allowed (no hard-sided coolers, nothing on wheels and no glass allowed). We like to pack an insulated backpack with a few frozen bottles of water to keep our snacks chilled throughout the day. These are some ideas of the healthy snacks to bring to Disneyland:

  • Packing cut veggies or melon is a great way to eat healthy on your trip.
  • Dole individual portions of nuts into small zip bags.
  • Pack pouches of tuna with crackers (pack the crackers into a plastic tub to prevent breakage). You’ll be able to find mayo and relish at quick service dining stands for mixing into the fish.
  • Dried fruit like plums, mangoes or cranberries are a sweet treat.

READ MORE: Packing your own snacks is a great way to save money on food at Disneyland! Click the link for more food budgeting tips.

You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine.

Skip the sugar and calorie heavy snacks and pack your own healthy foods!

4. Healthier Food Options for Disneyland Lunches

Consider having a filling breakfast and a hearty snack and you might be able to stave off a big lunch and just have dinner instead. Or make one of these healthy lunch choices!

Salads can be a great idea for lunch and there are lots of salads available at the Disneyland Resort.

  • If you’re watching calories, ask them not to add cheese.
  • Avoid salads served in a tostada shell.
  • For salads, always request dressing on the side so you can control the portion.
  • Italian or oil and vinegar are going to be lighter in fat & calories than creamy dressings like Ranch or blue-cheese.
  • The Picnic Salad at the Hungry Bear is a nice mix, including turkey breast, strawberries and Feta cheese.
  • The Crescent City Salad at Cafe Orleans comes with either blackened chicken or Atlantic salmon (just ask for it without the sugary caramelized pecans).
  • The River Belle Terrace offers Becky Thatcher’s Vegetarian Chopped Salad that includes hearty and filling proteins like hard-boiled egg, garbanzo & black beans.
You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine.

Sandwich on fresh baked Boudin sourdough in the Pacific Wharf area.

Additional Light Lunch Options at Disneyland

  • The Troubadour Tavern offers a baked potato with broccoli and cheese sauce. Just ask for the cheese on the side so you can control the portion or eliminate all together.
  • Village Haus and Smokejumpers Grill have a Garden Veggie Burger (hold the cheese).
  • Tomorrowland Terrace offers a chicken breast sandwich with fresh veggie toppings and avocado salsa. Choose the fruit side over fries.
  • Storyteller’s Cafe (at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel) has a Grilled Albacore Tuna Sandwich that comes with a side of fruit.
How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!)

Hacienda chicken Caesar salad at Cocina Cucamong

5. Disneyland Drinks

If you’re eating healthy, you already know to avoid sugar-laden sodas. Alcoholic drinks are served at Disney California Adventure Park and guests can indulge in frozen margaritas and beer on tap in the Paradise Pier area and wine at Wine Country Trattoria. Keep in mind that alcohol contains additional calories so if you’re trying to be healthy, don’t drink your calories…save them for food!

  • You can bring in bottles of water with you into the Parks to re-hydrate throughout the day.
  • You can request free ice water from any counter service restaurant.
  • Pack your own water bottle and refill at the fountains.
  • Snack carts offer a variety of waters for sale, including coconut water.
You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine.

Stay hydrated with bottled water that you bring in with you


6. Delightfully Healthy Disneyland Dinners

Dinner is a great time to consider sharing a platter of food. Even if the dish is more indulgent, it’s not quite as bad if you share between 2 or 3. For more Disneyland dining ideas, see this post on The Best Meals for Sharing at Disneyland.

  • The Citrus-fired grilled chicken platter at Rancho del Zocalo is large and delicious (ask if they can sub black beans for the refried).
  • The oven-roasted chicken platter at French Market Restaurant is another favorite to share.
  • Platters at Plaza Inn are enormous. We buy two plates of fried chicken and share between the five of us. With the sides of mashed potatoes & green beans, we all have enough to eat (and if you’re really watching the calories, you can always remove the skin from the chicken and request no gravy on the potatoes).
How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!)

This is ONE THIRD of a platter from Plaza Inn! That’s plenty of food, enough for sharing.

More Disneyland Dinner Choices

  • You can’t go wrong with the Mediterranean skewers at the Paradise Garden Grill. The grilled meat and veggie/tofu skewers are served with rice pilaf and cucumber salad, making them a light and refreshing meal (skip the baklava though!)
  • At Tomorrowland Terrace, choose a portobello sandwich with loads of veggies. Ask for cheese and aioli on the side and fruit instead of fries.
  • The soups at Pacific Wharf Cafe are so delicious, but opt for broth-based rather than cream. And try to minimize the nibble to the sourdough bread bowl!
You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine.

Flo’s V-8 Cafe has a roast beef sandwich on the Kids’ Mickey Check Meal

  • At Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port and Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta you can order a single slice of pizza. Both locations offer a version that skips the fatty meats and tops your slice with seasonal veggies. Round out your meal with a small side salad.
  • Carnation Cafe offers the Chef’s Vegan Burger made of beans & veggies and served with lots of fresh vegetable toppings on a multigrain roll.
  • The Hacienda chicken Caesar salad at Cocina Cucamonga is large and filling.
  • Lamplight Lounge serves up healthier seafood options like tuna poke and a crab and tuna roll.
How to Eat Healthfully at Disneyland (and Still Treat Yourself!)

Platters of fresh Mexican food, enough for four people to share.

More Healthy Dining at Disney Tips

  • As a rule when ordering, avoid anything that is fried, battered, smothered, candied or has a creamy sauce. Look for grilled meats and veggies served without sauces.
  • Don’t be afraid to request a substitution. You can swap fruit instead of fries at counter service restaurants.
  • When ordering at full-service restaurants, ask the Cast Member to put toppings on the side so you can control how much you want to add or leave off. If there is any question about the dish, ask them how it is prepared so you’ll know before it’s in front of you.
  • If you’re ordering at a quick-service restaurant, consider ordering for yourself off the kid’s menu.
  • If you have special dietary requests or food allergies, read this section from the Disneyland website and know that you can speak directly to the restaurant staff or chef with your concerns.
You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine. #Disneyland #DisneyFood

The kid’s menu options often allow you to sub fries for fruit! And adults can order off the kid’s menu at quick service dining.

  • If calorie-counting, it’s best to skip the buffets. Unfortunately this eliminates all Character dining experiences!
  • Kids can eat healthy at Disneyland too! When choosing kid’s meals, simply look for the Mickey Check. Mickey Check meals meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines as a complete meals. Some Mickey Check kid’s meals are also vegetarian.
  • Enjoy just one bite. If you and your family would love to indulge in something fun or decadent, buy a corn dog. Treat yourself to a caramel-covered apple. Get that frozen treat or stacked marshmallows dipped in chocolate on a stick. And then share it between all of you. Everyone gets a few bites and you all can enjoy the treat!

If you’re looking to indulge, check out this post of must-try Disneyland snacks from Britni at Play Party Plan!

You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine.

Buy a piece of fudge and then divide it up between the family so everyone gets a taste!

What are your favorite tips for healthy eating at Disneyland? Share with me in the comments!

You can eat healthfully at Disneyland and still treat yourself! Find out the tricks for eating healthy at Disney including what snacks to pack & where to dine. #Disneyland #DisneyFood #TravelwithKids #FamilyVacation #Disney #DisneyDining #DisneyFood #HealthyEating


Disneyland in the Heat – Ultimate Summer Vacation Guide

How can you prepare if you know the weather is going to be really hot at Disneyland? If you already know there will be a heatwave at Disneyland, you can prepare in advance. You’ll want to keep cool so you and your family won’t be cranky, tired and wiped out by the heat mid-day. Find out exactly what you can see, eat and do at Disneyland in the heat. With these tips you’ll have fun and stay cool at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park.

Please note that I have included affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

What Can You Do When It’s Hot at Disneyland?

Sure, summer in California is usually warm and sunny. However even though summer may wind down that doesn’t mean the temperatures start to drop. At Disneyland early August heat is when things start to really warm up! In Southern California, August, September and October are usually the warmest months of the year. There might be pumpkins on Main Street USA but the thermometer is still reading 100 degrees!

Things to Do on an Off-Day at Disneyland Without Leaving the Resort

Disneyland Hotel pool

We’ve also been known to get 90 degree temperatures in February, when the rest of the country is blanketed in snow. Unlike the moist warmth in Orlando at Walt Disney World, the heat in California comes in from the desert so it’s a dry heat you might not have experienced before. After scorching under the hot sun all day you’ll be wishing for Elsa’s frosty touch! Keep reading for all the warm weather survival tips at the Disneyland resort.


Read on for my tips on how to do Disneyland in the heat!

California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Princess Dot Puddle Park at Disney California Adventure park

Seek the Shade Inside at Disneyland & California Adventure

  • Get toddlers out of the heat and inside the adorable Disney Junior Dance Party!
  • Take the Bakery Tour, Hosted by Boudin Bread. That’s about ten air conditioned minutes and you’ll get a snack!
  • Watch The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. A restful theater and cool air. Some guests admit they come here to take a brief nap.
  • I love the Enchanted Tiki Room and it’s especially refreshing on a hot day. Pick up a Dole Whip before going inside (you can snack during the show).
  • Soak in a glorious Broadway-like production at the Hyperion Theater. It’s a Frozen-themed show, how appropriately cool!
  • In the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough you can enjoy the a/c and take as long as you like to admire the dioramas.
  • The Disney Animation Building hosts a variety of indoor activities that can take up the hottest part of the day.
California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Little Mermaid’s Underwater Adventure at Disney California Adventure park

Survive Disneyland Heat and Stay Cool on a Ride

  • Hop aboard The Disneyland Railroad for an 18-minute grand circle tour. You’ll be shaded in the open train cars and get a great breeze as the train takes the trip around Disneyland.
  • Haunted Mansion offers a rest for weary souls with bone-chilling a/c. All thrills viewed from the comfort of your Doombuggy.
  • Take a long, cool walk in the shady queue for Indiana Jones Adventure.
  • “it’s a small world” – The happiest cruise that ever sailed. And it’s 15-minutes of lovely air-conditioning accompanied by music!
  • What could be more refreshing than going under the sea? The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Underwater Adventure.
  • A windy spin on the Silly Symphony Swings will cool off any sweat drops!
  • Yo-ho! 15-minutes of dark caverns and the swarthy Pirates of the Caribbean will have you rested and ready to take on the sun again.


Avoid meltdown at Disneyland when it's hot with these practical tips on what to do, see and how to stay cool at Disneyland when the temperatures soar. #Disneyland #SummerTravel


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


Places to Get Wet at Disneyland

  • If you’re really looking for a soaking, try Grizzly River Run. Rarely does anyone escape without at least one article of clothing sopping wet.
  • Princess Dot Puddle Park at bug’s land is the perfect play space for a good drenching. Bring an extra change of clothes!
  • Splash Mountain includes 3 dips and a massive waterfall…you will get wet!
  • Take a swim break back at the hotel pool mid-day. That’s definitely one of our family favorites.
California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Stay hydrated with bottled water that you bring into Disneyland park with you

What to Bring With You During the Summer at Disneyland

Park Tickets- Purchase your tickets ahead of time from my partner at Get Away Today. You’ll not only save a few dollars, you’ll avoid standing in a long line to buy tickets at the gate.

Sunscreen- Always. SPF 30 and reapply often, especially if you are sweating.

Deodorant- If you find that you need to reapply mid-day when the weather is hot, do your queue-mates a favor and bring in deodorant!

Frozen bottles of water Pour a little off the top before freezing them and pack them in your bag or soft-sided cooler.

Change of Shoes- In particular, it’s nice to have a pair of plastic flip-flops or sandals that you can change into before going on wet rides or in water-play areas.


What to Wear at Disneyland in the Heat

Chill Towel- So refreshing to rinse a chill towel in cool water and wrap around your neck. Doing this will lower your body temperature several degrees.

Hat- Wear one to block direct sun off your face and the top of your head (I always tend to get a burned scalp when I forget my hat and wow, does that hurt!)

Sunglasses- Nothing like squinting into the sun all day to give you a headache.

Warm-Weather Shoes – I’m a fan of open-toed shoes during the hot weather. For more tips click through for the best shoes to wear at Disney Parks.


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 

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


California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Cool off with a refreshing mint julep in New Orleans Square, Disneyland Park

What to Buy at Disneyland Park to Keep Cool 

Parasol Pop it open and you’ll be made in the shade! Sold at a cart in New Orleans Square. Price comes with handpainted name personalization and either hearts or flowers (additional designs offered for extra cost).

Mint Julep Stick around New Orleans Square and pick up a mint julep (or two) . You can get them either at the Mint Julep Bar and sit in the shaded patio of French Market Restaurant or seek the cool comfort inside the Blue Bayou Restaurant.

Misting Fan – These are sold in kiosks throughout the park. This is a squirt bottle with an attached fan and strap to hang from your neck. On a hot day, it’s priceless! I’d suggest saving a few dollars and buy one before you go on your trip (see this post for the other souvenirs you should buy before you go!)

Sundaes Eat an ice cream sundae (big enough for two) and catch a show inside The Golden Horseshoe (my favorite is the mint chocolate chip!). With 8 toppings and 8 scoops of ice cream, the Earthquake from Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop will chill everyone in your group! And the classic Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is the place for people watching…and waffle cone ice creams!

Change of Clothes When the sweat is unbearable, seek shelter inside a shop and buy yourself a fresh new tee or tank. You’ll feel (and probably smell!) so much better.

California summers are fun in the sun! What can guests see, eat and do when it's hot at Disneyland.

Sunhat and sunglasses are a must when coming to Disneyland!

Things to Remember When It’s Hot

Water- Drink lots of water. You can always ask for free ice water at walk-up dining locations. I like to bring several empty bottles with me and keep them filled with water from the drinking fountains.

Stay out of the sun –As often as you can, keep in the shade. On busy days, a shady spot might be harder to come by. Seek out shady areas in out of the way spots.

Avoid High Noon Get to the Parks early, leave mid-day when the sun is hottest and return to the Parks after a swim and a rest in your room. Or simply retreat to an indoor show or shopping when the sun is blazing. Find out how to maximize the first two hours at Disneyland.

Heat Illness – If the heat has you feeling sick, stop by First Aid at any time. Symptoms include dizziness, confusion, nausea and cramping.


Avoid meltdown at Disneyland in the heat with these practical tips on what to do, see and how to stay cool at Disneyland when the temperatures soar. #Disneyland #SummerTravel #Disney #FamilyTravel #TravelwithKids #California #Summer #SummerVacation #SoCal

What are your favorite ways to spend the day at Disneyland in the heat? Share them in the comments!


 

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.

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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.

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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 –

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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.

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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!
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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.

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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!

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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.
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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).


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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!

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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

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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
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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.

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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.

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

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

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


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FREE 2018 Disney Vacation Planning Video

Planning a Disneyland, Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise vacation can be overwhelming. But if you know what to expect from the beginning, Disney vacation planning can be so much fun and that much smoother. I think that planning a Disney vacation can really add to my overall experience and watching videos before my trip really helps!

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!


Disney Vacation Planning

We ordered our Disney planning video several years ago and it’s honestly one of my kid’s favorite things to watch! We’ve watched it over and over, even when we’re not planning a Disney trip because it’s just a great video.

There are two separate Disney vacation videos you can order. Even if you’re just casually considering a Disney vacation or Disney Cruise, go ahead and order the video – they are totally free and there are no strings attached! In fact, you may even receive special vacation discount codes just by ordering the video.

Click the images to get started and keep reading for more vacation planning tips for Disney! If you have a friend planning a trip, be sure to share this post with them so they can order the video for themselves. I also have the images for Pinterest, so you can share there as well!

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Watching these videos before your trip can help prep your kids before your Disney vacation. This is especially helpful if you have anxious kiddos or kids who just like to know what to expect.

Planning a Disneyland vacation? See how you can get your own FREE Disney vacation travel planning video to find out all you need to know about your next California Disney vacation.

Disneyland and Disney World Vacation Planning

If you’ve never been to Disneyland or Disney World, ordering this free vacation planning video is the perfect start. You’ll get an overview of the Parks, the resort hotels, attractions and dining. And even if you’ve been on a Disney vacation before, watching this video will help everyone get even more excited about the vacation planning process!

If you’re a Walt Disney World vet going to Disneyland or a Disneyland fan going to Disney World for the first time, watching these videos is A MUST.

I think that if you’re planning a Disney vacation surprise or gifting Disney to your family for a special occasion, having the video ready for viewing is perfect. Turn the video on and present it with the surprise news, “You’re going to DISNEY!”

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Planning a Disney Cruise Vacation

A Disney cruise is definitely on my short-list of things I’d LOVE to do on vacation!

This free video shows an overview of Disney Cruise Line destinations and ports-of-call. You’ll find out what’s included on a Disney cruise and get to know a bit about the ships. Plus you’ll find everything you need to know about cruise dining, entertainment and activities.

Did you know that Disney has their own private island, Castaway Cay? YES! And many of the Disney Cruise ships plan stops there for guests to enjoy.

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Holidays at Disneyland – Visiting Tips For Busy Days

Disneyland during the holidays is simply so magical! Sleeping Beauty Castle is dusted with the magic of snow! Parades and shows have a holiday thAll Postseme. Several rides and attractions have holiday overlays. There are stunning themed winter decorations in both Parks. There are even special winter treats, like peppermint bark and limited hand-crafted candy canes. Naturally all this extra pixie dust also brings in extra crowds! And for many families, the holiday season is the only time they are able to visit the Disneyland Resort. So what do you do on busy holidays at Disneyland? Here are tons of tested tips for visiting Disneyland during the holidays!

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!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle glistens with snow-topped turrets, holiday garland and shimmering icicles.

Holidays at Disneyland – When Are You Going to Visit?

Some days will be more crowded than others during the holiday at Disneyland season.

Thanksgiving Day – crowded in the morning with slightly lighter crowds in the evening (when some families leave for Thanksgiving dinner)

Christmas Eve & Day – extremely crowded

New Years Eve – the Parks will reach capacity – over-the-top packed!

Other busy times include the entire week of Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas all the way through to New Years.

Want to experience the holiday season but with lighter crowds? Consider early November (before the week of Thanksgiving). Or the week after Thanksgiving all the way to the week before Christmas. Weekdays (in particular, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday) will be less crowded than weekends, Monday and Friday during this time period.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Love the auto-themed holiday decor in Radiator Springs, Cars Land

Buy Your Tickets in Advance

On busy days, you might be standing in line to get your ticket upwards of an hour! Consider pre-purchasing your tickets to save time. Even better, purchase a package (I recommend Get Away Today). You’ll have the assistance of a dedicated travel agent (at no additional cost to you) and your package will help you to save both time and money.


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

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Advance Dining Reservations

While you might not normally need Advance Dining Reservations (ADR) at Disneyland, during the holidays, you should make them. The wait will be very long for a table service meal during busy times. Best to have the ADR, especially for coveted Character dining, special holiday meals and favorite restaurants like Carthay Circle and Blue Bayou.

If dining full service isn’t important, you’ll be able to eat at quick service locations. No ADR necessary! Check out this post about dining at Disney without Advance Dining Reservations.

Download the Disneyland App

The Disneyland Resort now offers WiFi, though it’s still sketchy at times. However the app is extremely helpful so be sure to download it pre-visit. You’ll be able to see live where characters are greeting guests, attraction wait times, view PhotoPass pictures, read restaurant menus and access your FastPass return times (with purchase of MaxPass).

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Extra Magic Hour

Stay on Disneyland Resort property and guests are allowed early entry on certain days. Extra Magic Hour allows registered Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests with (their valid theme park admission), entry one hour prior to the official Park opening. Here’s the schedule: Disneyland Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Disney California Adventure Park on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Always Rope Drop

Not an Extra Magic Hour day for the Park you want to visit? While others are sleeping in on vacation, you should be arriving to the Park gates at least 30 minutes early for “rope drop”. Even better? 45-60 minutes before the Park opens officially. Early birds may have the opportunity to walk on Main Street U.S.A. and line up at the “rope” when the Park opens.

We met Pluto during rope drop – the Park wasn’t even officially open yet but he was meeting guests on Main Street U.S.A.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Pluto is one of the characters dressed in winter finest inside the Disneyland Resort

Have a Plan

You can’t just show up on a busy day and expect to be able to see and do everything. Have a plan in place on your top 5 essentials for the day, whether it be a ride, attraction, show or parade. Make those things happen first and anything else that happens after that will just be extra special fun!

Use MaxPass

This new Disneyland app feature allows guests to schedule their FastPass reservations remotely via their mobile device. On a busy day, this will save you SO much time from having to walk physically to the attraction on order to grab your FastPass. MaxPass is an additional charge to your Park ticket. Given that MaxPass also includes unlimited PhotoPass downloads, the extra cost is well worth it.


Seasonal Overlays

The holiday season takes over several Disneyland Park attractions, adding to the seasonal magic! These attractions are ALWAYS popular during the holidays. Grab your FastPass ticket for the World of Color – Season of Light first thing in the day. Book your FastPass asap for Haunted Mansion Holiday because this is a beloved seasonal favorite and the wait can be very long. it’s a small world Holiday is delightful! Don’t miss the beautiful light display on the building outside too.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

it’s a small world Holiday

What to Do In Line?

Lines are gonna be LOOOONNNNGGG. Some lines can be avoided via strategic use of Extra Magic Hours, rope drop and MaxPass. If a stand-by line is longer than 30 minutes you might be better off skipping it. Otherwise you’ll be using up a lot of your Park time in queue. Consider only visiting those most popular rides during the early hours or very late at night when the crowds have thinned.

Other lines, like those for the bathroom or quick service dining can’t be helped. Keep fidgety kids busy with the strategies on this post about standing in line at Disney.

My kids enjoy the World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game. It’s small, requires no batteries or charger and young children can play too.

Rest in the Park, Not at the Hotel

Usually I recommend to vacationers that they leave the Parks mid-day and return to their hotel for a swim and nap. Then, once recharged, to return back to the Disneyland Resort for evening fun. However…if the Parks are at max capacity on very busy days, if you leave the Park you may not be allowed back in. Even if you have your Park ticket! Instead of leaving the Parks on these days, consider resting inside the Park by finding a dining location or bench to relax on.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Decked out with whimsy in Toontown


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Meeting Santa

Guests can meet and greet with Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail inside Disney California Adventure park. He’s also been spotted inside all three of the Disneyland Resort hotels (I’ve personally seen him in the lobby of the Grand Californian with a very short line!) Times haven’t been released yet.

If meeting Santa at Disney is high on your list, make that top priority of the day. We waited until about 8 pm, thinking the lines would slow. We STILL waited 45 minutes! I’d recommend meeting Santa first thing in the day if possible (before your kids meltdown or fall asleep!)

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Meeting Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail

Shows and Entertainment

A Christmas Fantasy Parade is absolutely delightful, with charming seasonal spirit including dancing reindeer, gingerbread and lots of Disney characters in their holiday best. We like to watch from the it’s a small world mall. Considerably less crowded than Main Street U.S.A (but you should still find a place to sit about 45 minutes early).

Disney California Adventure park offers the Viva Navidad Street Party. The Three Caballeros host dancers, musicians and traditional puppets in a South American holiday fiesta.

At night, Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle twinkles to life with beautiful lights, icicles and snow-capped turrets.

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Viva Navidad!

Stay After Fireworks

The Believe…In Holiday Magic fireworks spectacular should not be missed.  If you want to see it from the front (to view the castle projections), you should stake out a spot on Main Street U.S.A. several hours before the show. However you can totally watch the fireworks from other locations, including the Rivers of America or the it’s a small world mall.

After the fireworks, massive crowds will rush out of the park, tiny tots in tow! Try not to get hung up in the crowds (that’s why we watch the fireworks from the it’s a small world area). Fantasyland will be closed for a while after the show but other areas will remain open for fun. We were able to stay until closing and my kids rode The Matterhorn Bobsleds twice in a row without any wait!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Seasonal treats at Marcelline’s in Downtown Disney District

Other Holiday Things at the Disneyland Resort

Because you know that lines will be long for everything, take advantage of what you can as it comes! When we visited last holiday, we arrived to Disney California Adventure park around 2 pm and there weren’t any lines at all for the Festive Foods Marketplace. However by 6 pm, lines were 20 guests deep! If you see something with a short queue, go for it right then and there because crowds do build as the day goes on.

Festive Foods Marketplace serves up multicultural food and drink at Disney California Adventure park during the holiday season. Each of the kiosks offers something different including gourmet appetizers, comfort food, draft beers, and fancy drinks (alcoholic and non). The holiday desserts (mocha yule log!) are not to be missed!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland

Festive Marketplace kiosk with yuletide offerings

I absolutely adore just admiring the gorgeous holiday decor that’s all over the Disney parks. From the enormous tree on Main Street U.S.A., the auto-themed holiday decor in Cars Land and even the whimsical holiday spirit in Toontown, almost every area is decked out! Be sure to take the time to look at the decorations and take plenty of photos.

If the Parks are overcrowded, consider taking a stroll over at the Downtown Disney District. Guests can dine and shop amidst holiday decor, seasonal touches and live music. Grab a seasonal treat from Marcelline’s and just wander, soaking up the holiday magic!

These tips for Holidays at Disneyland will help you navigate crowds & enjoy the most magical winter vacation! #Disneyland


For more Disney Holiday fun,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


One Day Itinerary – Insider Tips for Disneyland with a Toddler

Planning a trip to Disneyland with toddlers? I’ve been taking my little ones to Disneyland since they were babies. I’ll admit that vacationing with a toddler at Disneyland can be a challenge. There are definite considerations and adjustments that need to be made in your trip when you have a toddler in tow! If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland with toddlers, check out my ideal one-day Disneyland with a toddler itinerary.

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

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Disneyland With a Toddler

Before your trip, here are a few ideas and additional posts for Disneyland tips with toddlers about what you should plan ahead of time.


Disneyland With a Toddler

This is a one-day Disneyland itinerary with a toddler. I’ll outline what things you can see, do and eat in a single day at the Disneyland park with your toddler. You won’t be able to do EVERYTHING (you’d need more than a single day for that!). But these are the essentials that your toddler will enjoy!


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 

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


Extra Magic Hour and Rope Drop

Most toddlers are early birds, which will make it easy for you to get to the Park before opening. Have a quick breakfast at the hotel or do what I do with my toddler – Give her a granola bar or dry cereal and a cup of milk, and let her nibble in the stroller while we’re walking to the gates!

Guests staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours to enter the Parks one hour before official opening. Not all attractions are open but Fantasyland is! And Fantasyland is the perfect place to start with your toddler. Note that there are specific days that the Disneyland Park is available for Extra Magic Hour so check at the hotel for the schedule.

If you aren’t staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, you’ll want to take advantage of “Rope drop”. This happens in the 30 minutes before the Park opens officially. If you arrive during this time, you may be able to enter onto Main Street U.S.A. before the rest of the Park opens. There are often character greetings and the shops are open for browsing.

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Character Greetings

Toddlers are fickle little people. Some toddlers LOVE the characters. And some toddlers HATE the characters! I recommend letting your toddler watch from afar at first and judge from there if you really want to do the character meet n’ greets. There are plenty of characters around the entrance and hub of Main Street U.S.A. and if you’re there right at rope drop, you’ll be able to meet with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and more.

Check out this TravelingMom post with tons of tips on how to meet characters (with practical advice from a mom whose toddler is scared of Mickey!)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Fantasyland

The first two hours inside Disneyland are important to maximize! Many vacationers will sleep in and arrive to the Park later in the day. It’s good to be an early bird and take advantage of the lighter crowds during those first few hours. I recommend hitting Fantasyland first with your toddler. Walk straight down Main Street U.S.A., across the Sleeping Beauty Castle drawbridge and into Fantasyland!

Most of the rides and attractions in the Fantasyland area are toddler appropriate (save for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which have a 42″ minimum height requirement). I’ve included all of the attractions here with key notes for taking your toddler –

  • Alice in Wonderland -Most toddlers enjoy this ride
  • Casey Jr. Circus Train- MUST DO
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – MUST DO
  • “it’s a small world”- MUST DO
  • King Arthur Carrousel- MUST DO
  • Mad Tea Party-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (fast moving)
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Peter Pan’s Flight-Most toddlers enjoy this ride, however it is dark inside
  • Pinocchio’s Daring Journey-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (lots of stairs to climb, which toddlers usually enjoy!)
  • Snow White’s Scary Adventures-Can take Toddler but they might be scared (dark elements)
  • Storybook Land Canal Boats-Most toddlers enjoy this ride (slow boat ride, storytelling & miniatures)

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Lunch with Littles

Most dining locations offer toddler meals on their menus. And of course you can always request an extra plate and feed your toddler from your own meal. Feeding your child who has not yet turned three at a buffet location is free. I have more dining tips for little ones at Disney on this post.

I’m not a fan of full-service dining with a fidgety toddler. When toddlers are hungry they want to eat NOW! Also, my toddler tends to eat quickly and then clamor to get out of her highchair. This means I’m usually having to rush my meal or take it to-go!

Character dining can be hit or miss with a toddler. If your little one loves the characters, then yes, by all means book one of the character meals. But if your toddler doesn’t like the characters, I’d definitely skip the pricey character dining experiences.

Here are my favorite places to eat for lunch with my toddler at Disneyland:

  • French Market in New Orleans Square- outdoor covered patio dining with roast chicken, meatloaf and corn chowder. The restaurant often offers live jazz music.
  • Red Rose Taverne in Fantasyland-indoor dining. My toddler liked sharing the flatbread and fries.
  • Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country-outdoor covered patio dining with chicken nuggets on the kid’s menu.


Disneyland With a Toddler Requires Play Time

Toddlers can only take so much of being strapped into a stroller. They need to get out, run around and play a bit (best to do right before their regular nap time).

There are places for you to let your toddler walk (like Main Street U.S.A. and the plaza near “it’s a small world”) that aren’t too congested. Other areas like New Orleans Square and Tomorrowland tend to be very crowded and it’s easy to get separated. Here are a few places to let your toddler out for free play (for more details and more locations, check out this DisneyBaby post about play areas at Disneyland).

  • Mark Twain Riverboat
  • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse
  • Toontown Play Areas including Donald’s Boat, Goofy’s Playhouse, Minnie’s House and Mickey’s House

This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Nap Time

Do NOT skip the nap! I repeat, do not attempt to skip sleep with your toddler! It’s tempting to want to power through your Disneyland day but you’ll pay for that skipped nap with tantrums and meltdowns!

You have several options for nap time, whether it be returning to the hotel, finding a quiet location or letting your toddler stroller sleep (my personal choice). Read more on this DisneyBaby post about ways to encourage naps at Disneyland.

Toddlers Love a Parade

You can’t miss the Pixar Play Parade or Paint the Night! Toddlers will love the vibrant colors, familiar characters and dance-able tunes. I keep my toddler in her stroller and roll it right up to the curb during the parade. This allows her a front row view to the show!

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Dinner at Disneyland

As dark falls on the Park, thoughts turn to dinner. As I noted at lunch, I recommend sticking to quick service locations. These are my favorites:

  • Plaza Inn on Main Street U.S.A.- Both indoor and outdoor dining. The fried chicken, veggies and mashed potatoes can’t be beat and the large platters are perfect for sharing.
  • Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland – Outdoor dining. I love the atmosphere here at night, with the beautiful colored lanterns that hang over the dimly lit patio. The Mexican food offerings are good. Just be sure to check the menu before sharing because some of the items are on the spicy side.

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


Other Must-Do Toddler Attractions

Any ride or attraction that does not have a height restriction is a-okay for your toddler! Rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion do not have a height restriction but use your best judgement before bringing your toddler aboard. Skittish little ones who do not enjoy the dark aspects or “spooky” elements likely will not enjoy these attractions!

I’ve noted the following attractions that are must-do with your toddler-

  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Enchanted Tiki Room (snacks are allowed inside!)
  • Jungle Cruise (there is a loud gunshot during the ride; the Cast Member “Skipper” will alert you to cover your ears)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (let her wield her own “blast” gun!)
  • Finding Nemo Submarines
This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day!

Inside Finding Nemo Submarines – Toddlers can stand and look out the porthole.

Nighttime Entertainment

If your toddler doesn’t mind the noise and can stay up late, the fireworks spectaculars at Disneyland are amazing. Another excellent nighttime show is Fantasmic! I recently viewed this show with my toddler and have a few pointers. You’ll need to collect a FastPass ticket for Fantasmic! early in the day to have standing room viewing. Note that you’ll be arriving to your designated location about an hour early and standing to wait for the show. That’s a LONG time to hold a squirmy toddler. By the time the show came my arms were spent!

I highly recommend booking a Fantasmic! Dining Package in advance. You’ll receive a meal at one of the designated locations and a seat to watch the show front and center. I’m totally doing this next Disneyland trip!

 

Thinking about taking your toddler to Disneyland? This one-day Disneyland with toddlers itinerary has all the insider tips for a magical day! #Disneyland #toddler #disney #FamilyTravel #California #TravelwithKids #Toddlers #ToddlerTravel #TravelTips

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What’s New, What’s Returning and What’s Coming To Disneyland?

So much exciting news has been developing at the Disneyland Resort this summer! From the Marvel-inspired Summer of Heroes, new and updated rides and attractions, the release of MaxPass and the building anticipation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s tons to explore! Find out what’s new, what’s returning and what’s coming to Disneyland Parks.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

I received complimentary Park Hopper tickets and MaxPass for myself and my children to attend a Family Media Day event at Disneyland. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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

#SummerofHeroes

As you enter Disney California Adventure Park, you can’t miss the huge Marvel-style signage above the entrance. It’s the Summer of Heroes at Disneyland and there are several new things going on in the Parks. Some of these events will be ending when Halloween Time arrives. Other attractions are here to stay!

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Entrance to Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure park for Summer of Heroes event.

Check out this video from Disney Parks Blog that outlines what’s happening at Disney California Adventure park for the Summer of Heroes event:

Super Hero-Style Dining

There are some super bites for guests to enjoy representative of Summer of Heroes! I’m mean, how cool is that Groot Bread! I had the chance to try several dishes. The yummy Obviously Nachos are made with fried blue corn tortillas and topped with red pepper cheese sauce, mojo-marinated chicken, chipotle crèma and green onions. Multiverse Parfait was rich and delicious (Chocolate cake layered with white and dark chocolate mousse and cherry jelly, topped with chocolate ganache).

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT

The jewel of the Summer of Heroes is the most grand attraction, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT. This ride opened to guests earlier this summer. While my three kids rode, I stayed behind with the baby. I thought since this new ride had previously been The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror there might be some similarities. As my eldest explained, “It’s nothing like The Tower of Terror!” I’m looking forward to visiting again soon so I can ride and see for myself!

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT attraction remade over the Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park.

MaxPass

I’ll admit that I was a little fuzzy on the details of MaxPass up to our recent visit. This new feature had debuted about a week before my trip and I’d not done much research. Fortunately it’s a very easy program to use and saved us immense amounts of time!

Here’s an outline video from the Disney Parks Blog on how MaxPass works:

A few of my own thoughts about MaxPass. At a cost of $10 per ticket, per day (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads) I found this to be a good value. My family and I were able to experience 24 rides on our single day visit (over the course of 13 hours). This was on a summer Saturday in July!

While we were leaving one attraction, I was able to arrange a MaxPass reservation for our next ride. I appreciated being able to access the app to see which times were available next. This allowed me to pick and choose the next available time for an attraction that was nearby. This allowed us to maximize time and eliminated unnecessary running around.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

I also liked that I could quickly scan all available open MaxPass and pick and choose which attraction I wanted. This meant I didn’t have to physically go to the attraction to see the return time before choosing that reservation.

I even found that I was able to hold several MaxPass at the same time, something that didn’t happen for me when using the old FastPass system.

MaxPass Tips!

  • Start the day with a fully charged mobile device battery and bring an external charger as well. Using MaxPass all day really drains the battery! I brought my external charger and even after a full charge, my phone battery still died before the end of the night.
  • Before “locking in” on a MaxPass reservation, scroll through all the available options. Some attractions had several hour waits before we’d have been able to redeem our MaxPass reservation. Other times we were able to find some attractions with only a 5 minute wait!
  • MaxPass works between the Parks. This means you can book a Disneyland Parks MaxPass even while at Disney California Adventure. This was an awesome feature, being able to book a reservation for the opposite Park just before Park Hopping!
  • FASTPASS tickets that are printed are only your reminder of the return time. With MaxPass you won’t be printing anything so you’ll need to view your return time on your mobile device.
  • You can use either your Park tickets or your mobile device as the proof of your reservation. I used my Park tickets each time (simply to save phone battery). This meant I was pulling my tickets out to show them to Cast Members over and over throughout the day. I can see how easily this would mean losing them (in fact, my daughter DID lose her ticket, about an hour before closing). Keep your tickets in a safe place. I’d recommend a water proof lanyard.

I feel that MaxPass truly did maximize our visit and streamlined our time spent in queue. We never spent longer than 20 minutes in any one line all day, even for the E-Ticket rides like Radiator Springs Racers, Space Mountain and Guardians of the Galaxy. Here is my video review of how MaxPass worked for my family:

New FASTPASS Opportunities

Two new FASTPASS locations means that lines will be moving more swiftly! For the first time guests can book a FASTPASS for Toy Story Midway Mania and the Matterhorn Bobsleds. These two attractions are also available on the MaxPass system. FASTPASS continues to be complimentary to any ticket holders for the duration of your visit. MaxPass costs $10 per ticket, per day.

Another change is that the FASTPASS ticket that is printed is only a reminder of the time. You’ll need your actual Park ticket to redeem the reservation. The only exceptions are for special shows like Fantasmic! and World of Color, as you’ll still need the actual FASTPASS ticket to redeem when arriving for your reserved time.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Paper FASTPASS is only a reminder. You’ll need your park ticket to redeem FASTPASS.

 

Rivers of America

The Rivers of America re-routing and Railroad track construction is complete. This means that the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes are back on the water! And Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island has reopened as well.

Here is a video from Disney Parks Blog that celebrates their return.

Disneyland Railroad

After being closed for a year, the Disneyland Railroad reopened on the day of our visit (July 29th, 2017). Several elevated trestles have been installed along the tracks and for the first time the train makes a left turn along the route.

What's new & what's coming to Dis

This new view of the Mark Twain is taken from atop the bridge for the Disneyland Railroad

With the Railroad reopening another often-forgotten attraction has been rejuvenated as well. Just after leaving the Tomorrowland Station, the train enters The Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas. This attraction has always been one of my favorites and the new updates don’t disappoint! The dioramas look refreshed and have been updated with projections that add even more interest to the dramatic scenes.


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Entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

With the reopening of the pathway between Frontierland and Fantasyland, guests can now access the path that will lead to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Though this new Land won’t be opening until 2019, the excitement is already building for what will be an amazing new addition to Disneyland Park.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

This is to be the entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The pathway leads under a new bridge for the Disneyland Railroad.

Here’s a “fly-through” of the model that will be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from the Disney Parks Blog:

Red Rose Taverne

This new restaurant opened to guests earlier this year, in celebration of the feature film Beauty and the Beast. The Village Haus Restaurant in Fantasyland has been transformed into a French chateau, the Red Rose Taverne.

I dined on the Beast’s Burger, which was over-the-top yummy. A Gray Stuff Gateau (white chocolate mousse and red velvet cake with a sweet raspberry center) is offered here for dessert. We’ve heard mixed reviews so we skipped it this time.

This restaurant is being called a “limited time offering” but it’s still going strong several months later and I’m not sure when it will be ending.

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

Fantasmic!

This long-running nighttime spectacular returned to Disneyland Park mid-June with updated technology. Guests who wish to watch Fantasmic! should grab a FastPass early in the day. This will allow you entrance into a reserved viewing area (you are unable to watch the show with this ticket).

There is a Fantasmic! Dining Package available, which offers you a meal along with that reserved FastPass ticket. Choose from Blue Bayou, River Belle Terrace or Hungry Bear Restaurant. The dishes look delicious and the desserts are even more amazing.

(Image: Disney Parks Blog)

Check out this Sorcerer Mickey “Fantasmic!” Dessert, with milk chocolate mousse, bananas foster sauce, milk chocolate pound cake and a chocolate glaze…wow!!!

Here’s a sneak peek video of Fantasmic! from Disney Parks Blog:

Save money at DISNEYLAND!

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). 


 

What's new & what's coming to Disneyland? Find out more about MaxPass, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and more!

 

Is It Worth It To Stay At a Disneyland Resort Hotel VS Off-Site?

When considering a Disneyland vacation, you really have some outstanding options when it comes to accommodations! With Disneyland located in the middle of city there are a bounty of “off-site” hotels to choose from. So why would anyone choose to stay at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotel when there are hundreds of other lodging options surrounding the Parks? What are the benefits of staying at a Disney resort hotel? I’ll break it down and determine whether it’s worth it to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel…or not.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!


Should You Stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel or Off-Site Location?

My family and I have stayed at all three of the Disneyland Resort Hotels over the course of many years. We’ve also stayed at dozens of the off-site locations and found some of them to be nicely accommodating!

So which one should you choose – A Disneyland Resort Hotel or an Off-Site Hotel? Are Disneyland hotels worth it? Or are off-site Disneyland areas hotels just as good? I’ll be giving you many discussion points to review before you book your Disneyland-area vacation hotel.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

Disneyland Hotel monorail pool after dark

What Hotels are on the Disneyland Property?

The Disneyland Resort area is smaller than Walt Disney World and includes only three resort hotels – Disney’s Paradise Pier, The Disneyland Hotel and Disney Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Each of the Disneyland Resort hotels have themed rooms and pool areas that offer a full day of entertainment. Each hotel offers a unique Character meal. The hotels are located within walking distance of the Parks. Some of the hotel areas are more “Disney” than others. Each of them offers great customer service and that feeling of being inside the “Disney Bubble” while on vacation.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

Disney’s Paradise Pier – Always the lowest cost of the three resort hotels (but still not “inexpensive” by any means!) The hotel has a whimsical beach theme with a rooftop water slide and great views of Disney California Adventure park.

Disneyland Hotel – This hotel is a classic. The entire hotel is heavy on the Disney theming, from the Mad Tea Party teacups in the lobby to the imaginative light-up musical headboards in each room. A fantastic pool area with Monorail-themed water slides make this a magical place to stay.

Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – The closest hotel to the Park and hosts it’s own Resort guest-exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure park. The dramatic lobby and more sophisticated style with subtle Disney details add to the upscale nature of this beautiful hotel.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

Disney fans will appreciate the nods to Walt inside the Disneyland Hotel.


CLICK THIS IMAGE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE DISNEYLAND & DISNEY WORLD VACATION PLANNING VIDEO


What are the Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels?

Good Neighbor Hotels are off-site Anaheim area hotels that Disney promotes on their website. Not sure if these are actually hand-picked and approved hotels by Disney or if the hotels pay to be listed under the “Good Neighbor” umbrella?

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

Castle-themed room at Anaheim Majestic Gardens

I’ve stayed at over a dozen and there is a vast range in quality, from low budget basic rooms to elegant family suites. Bottom line is that some of these hotels are better than others. Some of them are downright lousy, if I’m being honest!

Tips for choosing the best Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel:

  • Do your research!
  • Read Yelp reviews.
  • Take a look at the area map. Some hotels are close enough to walk & some are many miles away.
  • Do a Google search.
  • Ask a friend or join a Disneyland planning group to ask for advice.

Two of my favorite off-site Disneyland area hotels:

For more ideas, see my post with 5 favorite off-site Disneyland area hotels.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

A suite with a view! Watch fireworks from this window at the Holiday Inn & Suites.


Save Money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 

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


Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

Why Should I Consider an Off-Site Accommodation?

Cost

Far and away the best reason for booking off-site are the more reasonable low costs for a room. Hotel accommodations can be the major expense of any vacation and with Disneyland resort hotel rooms at $300+ per night, you might want to consider off-site lodging that is considerably less cost.

Walkable

Many very good off-site hotels are within walking distance of the Disneyland Resort. In fact, some are even closer to the front gates than the Disneyland Resort hotels!

Be sure to look at a map of the area before booking though. Some off-site locations boast that they’re across the street from Disneyland only to find out that you’ll still have a long walk to get to the entrance!

More Dining Options

There are restaurants and fast food places located all around the Disneyland area, many of them inside off-site hotels. Many of the off-site accommodations also have a complimentary breakfast – sweet!

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

Free breakfast at the Holiday Inn is awesome!

Shuttles or Public Transportation

Even if the off-site hotel is a mile away, many of them offer free or low cost shuttles to the park entrance. Public transportation (like the ART) stops near other hotels for a nominal fee (definitely cheaper than parking your vehicle at the Disneyland parking lot!)

Variety of Room Options

The rooms at the Disneyland Resort are all pretty standard sized. If you need something with more space or a suite on a budget, looking off-site will give you what you need.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.


What are the Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel?

Extra Magic Hour

Want to get inside the Park early and avoid extra long queues? Disneyland Resort hotel guests can take advantage of Extra Magic Hour for each day of their stay.

Staying in the Magic

If you prefer to avoid the “outside world” while enjoying a Disney vacation, you’ll love the Disneyland Resort hotels. You’ll never have to leave the area or step outside of the Disney bubble!

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

Wall of historical photos inside the Disneyland Hotel.

Special Guest-Only Offerings

When you check in, the Cast Member will give you a calendar of items that are happening at the Resort during your stay. This may include pool-side activities, Disney movies under the stars, early access to shops in the Downtown Disney District or free tours.

A History Like No Other

When you take a look at this wall of photos in the Disneyland Hotel you can see the rich history of the resort and what it has meant to so many. That’s a history that many Disney fans will love to soak in!

If you want to know more check out these valuable reasons to stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel.

Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

The beautuifl lobby inside Disney’s Grand Californian


Save money at DISNEYLAND!

Purchase discount 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). 


 Disneyland Resort Vs. Good Neighbor Hotels? Tips on how to choose the right spot for your family vacation in California with advice on picking the hotel that works for you.

For more opinions on what is & isn’t worth the splurge at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Orange | Is It Worth It? Loop:


Best Books to Buy When Planning a Disney Trip

I’m all for doing my online research ahead of time. I search Google for everything far and wide so I can get the most information when planning a Disney trip. But there’s just something about having all the tips in one place – A book! To have a book in hand is invaluable; to be able to flip the page, see photos, tab and highlight favorite sections – That’s one of my favorite parts of Disney vacation research! See my recommendations for the best books for planning a Disney trip.

Books For Planning a Disney Trip!

Whether you’re just in the research stages, getting the kids familiar with Disney or looking for some background and history there is a Disney book for everyone in your family! You can even take some of these books along with you for the trip. There are some very helpful books for planning a Disney trip – or even just some good reading to put you in the Disney vacation mood!

For more Disney book suggestions, check out 7 Books for Kids to Read Before a Disney Vacation.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and purchasing through the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Planning a Disney trip? Pick up one of these recommended Walt Disney World or Disneyland books for everyone in your grou

1. Research Books to Help You Plan & Stay Organized

If you read this blog at all you’ll know that doing your pre-vacation research is an important way to save money and time on your trip! These Disney vacation research books will help you properly plan and be prepared. The Unofficial Guide was my go-to research book when planning my first vacation to Walt Disney World.

   

  

2. Books for Kids to Get them in a Disney Mood

Get the kids on board by supplying them with a few Disney themed titles. They can help with vacation planning or just get in the Disney mood with a few storybooks. My son owns several of these Disney Storybook Collections and they are a bedtime favorite leading up to our vacation day whenever we’re planning a Disney trip. My older kids have read and loved the Kingdom Keepers series.

     

            

3. Books for Little Ones

If this is baby’s first Disney trip you’ll want to make them familiar with characters. These sweet books are ideal. The encyclopedia is great for acquainting kids with the characters and you can take it with you on the trip to have each character sign inside!

     

4. Books with a History and Background

Ready to dig a little deeper into Disney lore? You want a book with a bit of history or that gives you some background into the Disney experience?
I’m wanting The Disney Book for myself, it looks like an amazing read!

  

                    

5. Books to Use When on a Disney Trip

Once you’re on vacation, there are a few books that you can bring with you to maximize your Park experience. They also help alleviate boredom when standing in line or waiting in restaurants! I think my preschooler would get a kick out of finding Hidden Mickeys on our next visit!

               


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Planning a Disney trip? Pick up one of these recommended Walt Disney World or Disneyland books for everyone in your group! They are sure to make vacation planning easier and help you get into the Disney vacation mood too! #Disneyland #DisneyWorld