One of my favorite places to snack. This German caramel influenced bakery has some of the best treats in Disney, plus they even sometimes give out free samples of their delicious and chewy caramel corn.
Got a question about what’s on the menu? Need help finding a restaurant? Need wine pairing suggestions? Don’t be afraid to ask. Cast members are always there to help.
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.
If you are not going to rent or bring a car and don’t plan on visiting the other places in Southern California, then I recommend staying at one of the Disney resorts. All the Disney resorts have easy access to the Monorail and park entrances. Hotel guests can board the Monorail either from the Downtown Disney or Grand Californian Hotel and Spa stops. You can skip the park entrance and be dropped off in Tomorrowland! Another really cool benefit is you get to enjoy select attractions before or after regular park hours with their Extra Magic Hours. Disneyland Resort guests get access to 1 park on select days. Disneyland Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and Disney California Adventure Park on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Unfortunately, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is not available as part of the Extra Magic Hour. Visit here for more information on Disneyland Resorts. Guests staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa also get to use a special entrance into Disney California Adventure. This is a great option to avoid having to pay for parking or renting a car.
Getting out of Disneyland at the end of the night can be a nightmare. There are tens of thousands of people all being ushered out of the park and into a line for the shuttles to get back to the parking structure. There are a few options with this. You can dip out a little early to beat the rush or look through the shops (they stay open later) while everyone else waits in line. Or you can just go out with everyone else and wait in a long line for the shuttles back to the parking structure. My recommendation would be to wait out the lines by going through the shops on Main Street or Downtown Disney. The stores on Main Street will be busier than the ones in Downtown Disney. However, this will be the perfect time to pick up souvenirs and get an ice cream, coffee, or that final churro before you leave. I have also found that it is quicker to get back to your car and on your way home when parking at the Toy Story parking lot off Harbor Blvd. Their are a lot of shuttles to take people back, so you get to your car quickly, and it’s not as difficult to exit the parking lot.
A fanny pack, like this water-resistant fanny pack, is super helpful and convenient when you visit a theme park. It’s so nice not stashing everything you need in your pockets. I keep a portable charger, a couple snacks, sunblock, and my sunglasses at the end of the night and when I’m on a ride in mine.