Disneyland Summer Adventure
How to make an easy trip to Disneyland THIS summer!
If you ever felt intimidated by the amount of planning it takes to attempt Walt Disney World, then you should consider a trip out to Walt’s first park, the original Disneyland. A totally different world (or land) – you don’t have to decide what restaurant you want to eat in 6 months before. You also don’t need to figure out your fast pass selections when you have no idea what your children will ride (boycott) when they get to the park. Nope, you just show up. Not to say you don’t do ANY planning but you definitely do a lot less. Here are some ideas on how to do minimal planning that has massive pay-off.
Stay on site…or don’t
Yes, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is opening on May 31, but can you believe there are reservations still available at one of the three on-site hotels? Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa all get you an automatic reservation into the land from May 31 through June 23. (After June 23, you won’t need one of these elusive reservations.) The Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel are both located around the entrance to Downtown Disney. The best part is walking 5 minutes through all that Disney magic to get to Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa actually has an entrance into Disney California Adventure Park and the Downtown District. The best parts of staying on-site are the convenience and total Disney immersion.
If you are planning on arriving after June 23, then you could also consider one of the many Good Neighbor Hotels. These hotels are super close to the Disneyland Resort – sometimes even closer than the on-site hotels. For instance, Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance Hotel is one of the closest. This one is a 5-minute walk to the parks and also perfect for kids. It has an awesome pool that looks like a mini water park and you can even get bunk beds in your room. What kid doesn’t like the opportunity to scare their parents on that top bunk?
Please use Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning
If you do find yourself in one of the three on-site hotels then you qualify for an extra magic hour EVERY morning. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park alternate days but typically Disneyland Park’s extra hour occurs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays while Disney California Adventure Park’s occur on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. You can get a lot accomplished in that extra hour!
If staying off-site, make sure to get a 3-day or more park ticket and you will qualify for one Magic Morning of your choice. I suggest you use your extra hour for Disneyland. Keep in mind, only Tomorrowland and Fantasyland are open for the extra hour and Galaxy’s Edge will NOT be available.
Get there early
So here’s the thing, get to the park early – like at least an hour before park opening! (Several hours early if trying to get into Galaxy’s Edge after June 23) When you are one of the first through the ticket line, you can get on so many attractions that will have long lines later. Hustle for the first 2 hours and then it’s smooth sailing (touring) the rest of the day. Now, this won’t work if you don’t have access to that extra hour and are going after on-site hotel guests have already been in the park for an hour. If you don’t have access to that extra hour, choose the park without it. This creates an even playing field for everyone.
Take Advantage of Max Pass
With Max Pass, you will have access to fast pass on your phone. As soon as you scan your ticket and enter the park, you are able to purchase Max Pass. Go ahead and find an attraction that you definitely want to visit and make the reservation. (Keep in mind, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run will not be available to Fast Pass.) You will get a window of time to return to the attraction and another window of time that is acceptable to make a 2nd Fast Pass and so on. Between getting to the park early and Max Pass, you should not be waiting in any lines all day! Max Pass also gives you unlimited downloads of Photo Pass Pictures for the day and it costs $15 per person, per day to use.
Buy the Park Hoppers
Seriously, park hoppers actually work at the Disneyland Resort because both parks are close to each other. To be a park hopping pro, just start at the park with the extra magic hour and go until it gets too busy, then hop! Also, if you have Max Pass you will be able to choose attractions to Fast Pass in BOTH parks. Park hoppers are especially important if you are visiting with kids – they love some repetition. If they find an attraction they have to do every day of their trip, park hopper tickets allow for that. They can be a good way to ensure everyone gets what they want out of their vacation.
So, get out there!
Whether you want to be the first to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or just want a more laid back vacation with less planning, head out to the West Coast and experience the Disneyland Resort. Then bottle up some of that southern California weather and those awesome memories you just made.