A great Disneyland tip for anyone wanting awesome pictures is to buy MaxPass. For only $15/guest you can purchase MaxPass. MaxPass allows you to make FASTPASS reservations through the Disneyland mobile app instead of having to go to the machines in front of the actual ride. This is such a huge time saver! Once you walk into the park, start making your reservations and just hit the rides. You can also get unlimited free Disney PhotoPass downloads (if you purchased that plan). This is a big money saver, because often you have to pay to download those pictures.
I highly recommend downloading the Disneyland mobile app for your phone. Through this you can get a FASTPASS reservation (with MaxPass), see the park showtimes, park hours, wait times for each ride, make mobile food orders, and see your GPS location inside the park. Mobile ordering is a really cool feature on the Disneyland mobile app and will totally save you some time getting your food. You can use the Disneyland mobile app to order your food and beat the line. You pay through the app and just pick your food up from the window once it’s ready. This is awesome when you are at Disneyland with toddlers. You can also use the Disneyland mobile app to find the locations of all the characters in the park. This is super helpful when you’re visiting Disneyland with toddlers. The Disneyland mobile app is very helpful in navigating the parks to get the most out of your visit. You will use this app more than you imagined during your stay. READ MORE: The 21 Best Travel Apps You’re Not Using (But Should)
If you are visiting Disneyland on multiple days, I highly recommend purchasing Park Hopper tickets. Park Hopper tickets allow guests to go to multiple parks in one day. The regular entrance ticket only allows you to enter 1 park per day. The Park Hopper tickets allow you greater flexibility during your visit. If one park is really packed and the lines are long, you can open up the Disneyland mobile app to see if the other park has shorter lines. I use this hack often, especially at Disneyland Park. Disneyland Park is the busiest park, and thus has the longest lines. If you run out of FASTPASSes and can’t stand to wait in long lines, check out the other park to find better ride options. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure are right next to each other, as in a 2-minute walk across from each other. It’s super easy to get from one park to the other.
You basically have 2 ticket options when going to any Disney park: admission to one park per day or a Park Hopper ticket. The difference being you are either confined to one park per day or you can bounce between the different parks with your ticket. When going to a Disney theme park I highly recommend getting a Park Hopper ticket. This is especially true if you are spending multiple days at the parks. The benefit being, if one park is super crowded, you can just hop over to the other park with shorter wait times. A Park Hopper ticket also gives you the opportunity to get in more rides each day at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. These tickets are more expensive, however, in my opinion they are totally worth it. One of my favorite Disneyland tips and tricks is to buy tickets through a 3rd party vendor to save money. After visiting several sites, the one I found with the best prices was Undercover Tourist. For a 3-day Park Hopper ticket purchased through Disney was going to be $355. Whereas through Undercover Tourist it only cost $329. That’s a savings of $26 for 1 person – a total win in my book! I recommend you print out the e-ticket they send and bring it with you to Will Call at the entrance to get your actual ticket. You might be able to just pull up the email to show it to them and receive your tickets. However, I always recommend printing out the email and bring it just in case. You do not want to travel all the way to Disneyland only to be told that you can’t get a ticket because you didn’t have the printout. Take a look at the table below to see how you can save up to $29 per Disneyland ticket by purchasing through Undercover Tourist!
Disneyland Resort is super expensive, especially if you are with a family. Paying for snacks, meals, drinks, sweets, and souvenirs really adds up. Good news is that Disney theme parks allow you to bring in bags, food and drinks. You cannot bring a cooler, however, everything else is pretty much fair game. I always bring drinks (like Gatorade and water) and snacks. Protein bars are great because they give you energy throughout the day without having to splurge on a meal. Also, stopping for meals cuts into your time spent on rides! For kids, bring juice boxes and whatever snacks they like. You can bring your refillable water bottles and fill them up at select locations throughout Disneyland Resort. Disneyland and DCA offer free cups of water at all counter service restaurants. Just be really nice and ask. If one place shoots you down, go to the next one. I never had any difficulty having my water bottles refilled. Often times the cast members would ask if I wanted ice, too. Be polite and you’ll get hooked up.
Hey, you’re out there walking around all day, lugging kids around and standing in line. There’s nothing quite like having a beer or cocktail to get you through the day. Both Disneyland and DCA have alcohol for sale, but those drinks are hella expensive. The only place to get any alcohol at Disneyland Park is at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There is a way to have easier access to alcohol and save money while at Disneyland. A simple little hack I do is, well, I just bring my own alcohol on the DL!
Have a loose idea of your plan of attack for the day. Wandering around aimlessly just wastes time. Pick out which ride you want to go on first, then select your next rides from attractions nearby. This is the most efficient way of going on rides. You waste a lot of time crossing back and forth around the park. Select a land and do what you would like in that area before moving on to the next land. Another solid move is to go get a FASTPASS for the really popular rides. Those times will be spread out in 1-hour increments throughout the day. In-between those FASTPASS times, hit up the other attractions you want to experience (hopefully the ones with short lines). That being said, sometimes things change. There are meltdowns, a sudden rush of people, or an attraction closes/breaks down. When that occurs, have a plan B in mind.
You and your partner are at Disneyland and your child is asleep when you get to the front of the line at Space Mountain. Instead of just leaving or forcing the kid to wake up, just let the cast member know you will be doing a rider swap. Rider swaps allows your group to go on the ride, while someone (or a couple) stay back with children that are not riding. This is one of the best Disneyland tips and tricks for families! The cast member will have the one(s) watching the kid(s) wait in a designated area while the rest of the group rides. Once the ride is over, you just swap places. Whoever was doing the watching lets the cast members know they are doing a rider swap and now they get to ride. It’s really easy and an awesome feature to utilize when you go to Disneyland with toddlers.
The days of having to whip out your credit card to pay for stuff is coming to an end. You can use Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Android Pay and Samsung Pay at both Disneyland Resort parks. I love using these contactless payment methods. I have an iPhone and Apple Watch, and use Apple Pay all the time. It is so easy to set up and use and really saves you time at checkout. No more digging through your purse or wallet to find your credit card. Just tap your phone or watch to the card reader and the transaction is done. Welcome to the 21stcentury everyone!
Looking for a way to stretch your dollars a little more and save some money during your trip to Disneyland? Stay at a hotel near the park! There are several that are under $150/night. There are about 5,000,000 hotels within 15 minutes of the park that are much more affordable than the Disney hotels. Some are walking distance away, some a short bus ride away (yes, the buses and public transportation in California is safe), and others are a short Uber away. If you stay at a hotel near Disneyland, you will never have to pay for parking. There are much cheaper and easier options available to you.