Disneyland - Anaheim

My tips on how to tackle Disneyland:

It is best that you have a plan (prioritise) on what rides to go on in Disneyland before you go. Otherwise you will waste lots of time looking at the maps etc and get overwhelmed. You can view the rides if you are unsure on Youtube. The official Disney website also has a good outline of all the rides and the height requirements for kids. There are also free travel planning videos on the Disney official website too: https://www.disneyplanning.com/?sourcecode=20696

Rest Days- It’s a good idea to have ‘rest’ days planned no matter what your age. We deliberately planned rest days as we were advised by others beforehand and we were so glad we did.  We would go shopping (Orange county outlets) on the Rest days or hang around Downtown Disney, or the pool. The Orange county outlets can be reached by buses that depart from Downtown Disney. It is better to do two days, then a rest day, then another two days.

How many days? - As many days you have the time and money for. Ideally you would want two days in Disneyland and two days in California Adventure Park. Yes, the parks are smaller then Walt Disney World parks - however  they are jammed packed full of rides and shows. There is not a lot of spare wasted 'space'. We did 2 days in each park, and a park hopper for the 5th day. We chose our favourite rides and re-rode them the final day. 

It is also very easy to 'Park hop' between the parks. They are literally just a 5 minute walk across a mall from each other.

Jet Lag - If you are coming from Australia, you will probably have jet lag for about a week especially if you fly during the day time (try and get a night time flight as you won't get jet lag that way). Jet Lag is another good reason to add a few rest days to your schedule. In my experience, kids get it worse. All the usual advice to stay awake until nighttime goes out the window.  They will sleep anywhere, in spite of attempts to keep them up during the day.
Lines at Disneyland/Disney Californian Adventure Park– Always have a Fast Pass going (you don’t have to use it), and use the Single rider lines if you can’t get that and don’t’ want to wait in a long queue. The queues though in Disneyland are rather ‘distracting’. As they wind around, you often forget that you are in a queue as you go past different scenery, sometimes upstairs and downstairs!  Also, during the parades and night fireworks, often the lines are very very short. We waited 5 mins to ride Indiana Jones ride twice in a row during the fireworks!! AVOID a weekend or U.S school holidays! There are crowd calendars on the official Disneyland website to consult and an app you can get for your phone about waiting times. Some rides, you can also do the ‘Child swap’ where you line up as a family, and one parent rides and the other stays with the child, then the parents swap roles, and the other parent rides. We did this for the Indiana Jones ride as daughter A.J refused to go on it a third time!

Disneyland Rides – Don’t miss Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Star Tours and Haunted Mansion. Alice in Wonderland ride is very fun too!

Tom Sawyers Island in Disneyland, if you have read the books, is amazing. There are caves to explore, treasure to find, pirates stuff etc and you get there by raft…although really all Disneyland is amazing.

Rides and scenery in Disneyland are also different in the day and the night! Disneyland at night is all lit up with pretty lights. 

Daughter A.J loved the Enchanted Tiki room (animated robot birds that sing. It is quite unusual!). It’s a good place to have a rest, eat, and has air conditioning. There is no queue. There is however a queue for the pineapple icecream (Dole Whip) though! Don't make the mistake of waiting 20 minutes in a line like we did - that was for the icecream and not the Enchanted Tiki room!(I think we were so used to lining up, we just thought it was just another line!)
Enchanted Tiki Room

Dole Whip Icecream (Pineapple flavoured)
A.J rated the Pirates of the Caribbean ride a 0/5, as she didn’t like the 2 drops (it’s a boat ride, with two drops that feel like maybe one metre which are there basically to keep the boats moving. It is in the dark though. It’s a 20 minute ride and is fantastic as you see all this ‘misty’ pirate scenery and are “transported back in time”). There were a lot younger kids riding the ride who were enjoying it, but if you have a child who is afraid of some dark rides, this might be one!

Buzz Lightyear – You can get a free picture taken and can email the picture to yourself. Our ride broke down on us suddenly, so we managed to get some cool photos taken whilst inside the ride and walk through the rest of the ride!

Jungle Cruise – You can ask for a free map after the ride is over. It is not advertised - and the Cast Member may ask you a question about the ride before they will give you a map! This is one of the original Disneyland Rides when the park opened back in 1955! Walt Disney wanted to have real animals, but was told by advisors, the animals would most likely be asleep when the guests arrived. So, he made all the animals animatronic. There are all sorts of things happening on this cruise. Some say the best thing about this ride are the corny 'Dad' jokes!

The Jungle Cruise - don't forget your free map at the end!

Jedi training academy – daily at Tomorrowland Terrace theatre. About 12 kids get picked at each session to fight Darth Vader and Storm troopers
Jedi Training Academy
The real R2D2 from the movies is kept here on view!

Never eat in Fantasyland – according to all the guidebooks - its expensive and not so good. We ate in Toontown (cheese pizzas), but we also would go out into Downtown Disney and eat or take food into the park from the local 7-11 store (sandwiches) or Subway. You can get to Earl of Sandwich from Disneyland via the Monorail (the monorail has a train stop outside of Disneyland in Downtown Disney). We also visted Subway and the 7-11 Store (pictured below). There was a huge selection of sandwiches in this 7-11 store (there are others, but this was a good one for fussy eaters).

The 7-11 store was on the corner of W Katella and S Harbor Blvd Roads. Across the road there was Subway. We would stock up on Sandwiches and breakfasts foods at 7-11 which had a great selection. Subway also has kids meals with apples!

The Mousesavers website has a wealth of information.

Some of the foods for sale in Downtown Disney

Discount Coupons: Check out this discount website for Anaheim before you go, it changes with the discount deals daily and is definately worth a look http://visitanaheim.org/deals/coupons

Free Water: You can get free drinks at any of the counter service restaurants in Disney/CAP. Just ask for some ‘ice water’. In winter, they apparently give you ‘warm water’. This will save you heaps of money as you get thirsty doing the rides and you also won't have to carry around with you huge amounts of water.

PhotoPass, MaxPass and FastPasses:
Are all now interconnected through MaxPass which costs about $10 per day. All the information you need is here on how the FastPass works. Maxpass is a way to get your fast passes electronically through the app AND get your Disney Photo pass photos for the day. You can get a FastPass for either park once you scan into one park. If you leave Disneyland you can still get FastPasses for when you return later the same day. This differs from regular FastPasses where you have to physically go to that rides FastPass kiosk to get a FastPass. So the Maxpass saves you time walking. You do need to be on site though. With a regular Fast Pass you can get one every 2 hours. With a Max pass its every 90 minutes. See photo below of one of the Photo pass photos. We had no idea Tinkerbell would appear in the photo.

The Purple teacup apparently is the 'fastest'

Mimi’s Café/ Earl of Sandwich -Only sign up to Mimi’s café and Earl of Sandwich email subscriptions less then a week before you go.  Earl of Sandwich is in Downtown Disneyland (like a huge outdoor shopping Mall, right nextdoor to Disneyland and CAP), and is also located in Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas. Ask for ‘light’ for sauce (or no sauce), otherwise they will smother it in sauce. They have free Wifi at Earl of Sandwich too. Your first email from Earl will be a free sandwich! But they always had a discount on something. Mimi’s café first email have a free packet of 6 muffins if you spend $10 or something like that.

Internet/Phone – I searched for ages what to do about my phone, and as a last resort I think I was going to buy a cheap phone over in America (Target!). However, once I got there, most places had free wifi, and I didn’t really need the phone at all, wifi was sufficient to send emails and check websites. Hotel Ménage (Anaheim) has free wifi. We had to pay $30 extra at Las Vegas hotel, we stayed at the Luxor (Pyramid) but was worth it). This site someone gave me was: http://www.telaway.net/Australia/American-USA-prepaid-sim-card/HomePage.aspx and it seemed reasonable, but it was in the end incompatible with my phone- so check compatible with your phone before signing up. Sounded like a bargain though if you need a phone! There is now free wifi in the Parks  and Earl of Sandwich, Downtown Disney).

Shopping Outlets – We went to the  Main Place Mall in Santa Ana. Very easy to get there by the Disney busses. There were plenty of shops there including a great Disney store where we got several bargains (cheaper than Disneyland! yet official Disney products). Other shopping bargains however were very limited indeed. Across the road was a Barnes and Noble bookstore (2 floors, was huge) and we do recommend a visit there. They had quite a good selection of Disney books too. 

We also went to 'The Outlets at Orange' shopping outlet. We didn't find too many bargains there at all, which might have had something to do with the Australian Dollar not being that great when we went. Lots of brand name shops. Just not great bargains.

We also went to a Walmart as had heard what great bargains they had and to get a broader food supply to take back to the hotel. We went to the one in Euclid street. There were only a handful of Disney items for sale - but they were cheap!

All the outlets/shopping malls we were able to get to via the Disney Shuttle buses. Just find the bus number that takes you to where you need to go. It was all very easy and convenient.

Disneyland Anaheim Pins
I didn’t know what Pins were in Disneyland until we got to our first Disneyland. In some Disney shops, there are walls and walls of them, in whatever theme you like. If you like Alice in Wonderland for instance, they have Alice, the Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, Mad Hatter etc etc, all in this lovely shiny enamel, and I think they make lovely Disney souvenirs. People wear them in the parks, on jackets, lanyards etc. They range from about $8-20 US, so they are not exactly cheap if you get more than a few. I have quite a collection now and have them in a wall display box with black felt backing and have started collected them from other Disneyland’s too. I have collected Pins from my favourite rides as a nice keepsake. We didn’t participate in any Pin Trading with Cast Members as wasn’t sure what I would be trading was a ‘trade up’.  Most importantly, if you go to Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland, they have significantly fewer Pins, particularly Tokyo. In Tokyo there seemed to be a ban on them quite a few years ago when people were buying up and onward selling them just outside the park. So Tokyo Disneyland cut the supply. You can still get Pins though at all the parks, including Tokyo, just the Anaheim park selection is ENORMOUS! I believe this is true for Disneyworld Florida too. I have other Pins displayed on my other Disneyland pages. One thing you should note however, Disneyland Pins sold in Disneyland are generally not available online from the Disneyland store. They usually have a few specials on the Disneyland store, but then the prices for postage and packaging are quite ridiculous and prohibitive ($40 US for postage). Of course there is always EBay and Amazon to buy cheaper pins and trade them in the parks.

To read more about other Disneyland's and other theme parks in the U.S.A, please check out the following links:

Disneyland Anaheim 
Why Halloween is the best time to visit a Disney Park 
Disneyland in One Day 
Interview with an Annual Passholder of Disneyland Anaheim
And other theme parks:
San Diego Zoo  
San Diego Sea World
Universal Studios Los Angeles   
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This Website is neither endorsed nor affiliated with any Disney Park or Universal Studios park worldwide. This website is unofficial. To avoid disappointment please always check the official websites for current details of rides etc.  Please read my full Disclaimer here.


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