These Disneyland Tips For First Timers are going to help you plan the best first time trip to the most magical place on earth.
Things at Disneyland have changed so much over the years. The days of just showing up to the park day of and buy at ticket at the gate are over.
A trip to Disneyland takes more planning than in the past. And although it can be overwhelming, these tips can help you plan a great vacation and have the best time.
My first tip is to make sure you get the best deal or prices for your trip. You can use my travel partners Get Away Today to get discounted Disneyland tickets and great rates on hotels. If you’ve never used a third party travel agency, here is Why I use Get Away Today to help me plan my Disney travel.
Not only do they have discounted tickets over the Disneyland website, they work with over 50 Anaheim area hotels to bring you the best rates. And if you use code: LIZONCALL when purchasing a hotel and ticket vacation package, you can save even more.
They have so many ticket options available so you can find the right ticket for you and your family.
Once you have your Disneyland tickets purchased, you can make reservations to the park. That’s right! Disneyland and Disney California Adventure now require BOTH a park ticket and a park reservation to enter. Discounted tickets purchased from Get Away Today have the option to make park reservations 180 days in advance.
Disneyland Tips for First Timers
First and foremost, get familiar with the Disneyland App BEFORE your trip. You will use it all day everyday. The disneyland App is where you will:
- Keep your tickets
- Make reservations to the park and to restaurants
- Check wait times
- View Restaurants and Menus
- Mobile Order your food
- navigate the parks (restrooms/entertainment/etc.)
- Where you will use Disney Genie + (the new paid fast pass system in the parks)
Getting familiar with the app before your trip will help you save so much time and headaches when you are on your trip. It will be so much easier to find just what you want while you’re there. Because you will be using your app and your phone so much, you will want to make sure and bring an external charger and cord to keep your battery on your phone charged all day.
For a full list of suggested items to bring to the park with you, check out what I have in my Disney day bag. I usually have all of these items with me on every trip.
Best Tips for Disneyland
These are the Best Tips for Disneyland. Guaranteed to help you have the best time at the Parks.
Get to the Park Early
It’s usually best to get there at least 30 minutes before the park officially opens. This is what we call getting to the park for rope drop. Disneyland will start allowing guests to enter the parks about 30 minutes before official park opening time. So make sure you know what time the parks are opening during your trip.
Once you are through the turnstile, they allow guest to go all the way down Main Street where there will be a rope to stop you from going any further. And right at park opening, they lower the rope and you can start riding rides.
If you get to the park early enough, you can get a lot of the big rides done in the morning before it gets too crowded and hot. If you can’t make rope drop work, just try and ﬁnd the rides with the shortest wait time to be your ﬁrst ride once you are finally in the park.
Another new rule that Disneyland has is for park hopping. If you purchase a park hopper ticket, you can visit both parks in one day. Park hopping is not allowed to happen until 11:00.
How to Get the Most Rides Done at Disneyland
If you can and want to aﬀord it, I highly recommend getting the Genie + for your disney day. It costs $25 per person and allows you to select a lightening lane return time to ride some of the most popular rides in the park. You can purchase Genie + through the app once you go through the turnstiles at the gate. And then make your ﬁrst ride selection.
When your time comes up, you go to the lightning lane entrance at the ride and redeem and scan your lightning lane selection to by pass the regular standby line. Once you scan that pass, you can select another lightning lane for a diﬀerent ride. If this is something you are interested in learning more about, you can ﬁnd a whole blog post I wrote on it at Genie + at Disneyland.
Take advantage of single rider lines at some of the bigger rides. Especially if you are with older kids and you don’t care if your party is all in the same ride vehicle. The rides with single rider options are:
Single Rider Rides at Disneyland:
- Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run
- Splash Mountain
Single Rider Rides at California Adventure:
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Grizzly River Run
- Goofy’s Sky School
Food at Disneyland
Mobile Ordering your food is the best thing. Be thinking ahead and order your lunch and dinner at least an hour or so before you actually want to eat. Meal times get really busy and the lines can get long. You don’t have to mobile order, you can stand in line and order food if you want to do that. And not all places oﬀer mobile order. But if you can use it, I recommend it.
Did you know that you can bring your own food into the parks? You can and we do it all the time. Here are some of the Best Snacks to bring into the parks. Along with what you can and can’t take into the parks.
Nighttime Entertainment at Disneyland
For watching the ﬁreworks and parades. People start lining up or claiming their spot for those things hours in advance. If you don’t want to sit for hours waiting, you can watch them over by It’s a Small World and see the same projection show on the Small World buildings as they show on the castle. It’s usually easier to ﬁnd a spot when it gets closer to that time.
Even if you are not wanting to watch a parade or fireworks, which you can find information about in the Disneyland app. You will want to make sure what time they are happening and try to avoid the areas people will be waiting or lining up to watch them.
The parade route is from Town Square, down Main Street, down by Matterhorn and Alice in Wonderland and ends are It’s a Small World. For fireworks, you will want to avoid the area in front of the castle and the partner’s statue as well as Main Street.
How to keep Realistic Expectations at Disneyland
Rides will break down and we have no control over that. It can get frustrating when you’ve been standing in line and this happens. It’s easy to get a little frustrated in these situations, so it’s good to have realistic expectations and go with the ﬂow for the most part.
I always ask everyone what their number one ride they want to do is. If we can get that one ride in for them, the rest is a bonus. In fact, I created a printable Disneyland and DCA To Do List printable to help you know what everyone wants to do.
If you are going to be traveling with babies and toddlers, you can still have the best time! There is so much to do with babies at Disneyland. It’s what makes it one of the best options for a family vacation. Here are my tips for Disneyland with kids.
Sometimes rain happens in Southern California. Especially if you are planning a trip in the winter or early spring. Keep an eye on the forecast in the weeks before your trip. And if you see there is rain, these rainy day tips for Disneyland will definitely be helpful.
If you have any other questions about traveling to Disneyland I would be happy to answer them! You can leave a comment on this post, email me or find my Disney Instagram. DisneyFoodNFun has so many great tips, food recommendations, and hotel tours that will help you plan the best trip!
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