In early 2018, my mom decided it was finally time to take me and my sister to Disneyland. We had an absolute blast! It was my first time to Disneyland California(although I did spend a day at Tokyo Disneyland close to 20 years ago). This proves that Disneyland is awesome at any age!
You can fly into Los Angeles or Santa Ana….I found it cheaper and there are more options when flying into LAX. If you’re visiting Anaheim and Los Angeles, LAX is in the middle of both cities and each is about an hours drive from the airport, depending on traffic.
We used Super Shuttle to get from LAX to our hotel in Anaheim. It takes around 1 hour, and is shared with other travelers. Cost is $25CAD per person
Where to Stay:
Kings Inn -nice rooms, and they look like they were recently renovated. Lots of room for 3 people. There is a pool if it’s warm enough to swim. The staff was friendly, the breakfast included was decent but not a lot of tables in the breakfast room. Especially when everyone wants to eat at the same time to get to the park for opening hours! Basic cereal and toast, with a waffle machine. Disneyland is a 20 minute walk from the hotel.
If you want to stay closer to the park gates, try the Desert Inn and Suites or the Castle Inn. Or if you feel like splurging, stay right in Disneyland at one of their resorts.
Anaheim Garden Walk Mall – beside the Kings Inn Hotel. Lots of restaurant options, and the House of Blues for drinks and entertainment. We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. Lots of choices for different and unique styles of pizza.
We did one breakfast at Denny’s , conveniently located right across from the park entrance walkway. The hotel breakfast couldn’t cut it for 4 mornings!
Tips for Disneyland:
If you’re going in the winter, chances of rain in California are low but it does get cold in the evening. Best to bring a jacket or a warm sweater just in case.
Give yourself an extra day for arriving. By the time we got to the hotel it was late afternoon, and it would have been a waste of our Disney pass. We went for a nice dinner, and then chilled at the hotel with beer and wine.
Best to go to Disneyland mid week; Tuesday and Wednesday are slower times. I researched the best times to go, so we arrived the day after President’s Day. We are 3 adults, so we wanted to go when there would be the least amount of kids…haha, terrible I know.
You can bring your own water and snacks into the park; if you’re going as a family with children this makes sense. If not, it’s not that expensive to have a meal in the park as opposed to a neighboring restaurant outside the park. We loaded up on breakfast, brought protein bars and water inside, had a late lunch and then grabbed a late dinner when we left the park.
The Park Hopper pass is more convenient for the extra money. We had 3 days, so rather than decide which park to spend 2 days in over 1, we went back and forth. More freedom. And definitely take advantage of Magic Morning…you can hit one or two popular rides without massive line ups, and the park is a bit quieter. Best to go early though…there is a big lineup for the park opening at 8am.
Wi-Fi is available in the park; it was hit or miss but it was hugely convenient! I suggest downloading the app for info on ride wait times, the park map and where the characters are making an appearance so you can stalk them for a photo.
My, what a guy, that Gaston!
Most rides are “dark” and “scary” at some point or another. The reason for it being dark inside the rides is to enhance the vibrancy of the paints when black light is used.
Single rider line is available for most of the major roller coasters in Disneyland and California Adventure Park. It is brilliant. A one hour wait became 10 minutes or less. This is great if you don’t mind splitting up for the convenience, or you go with people who are too chicken to ride (this was my case, haha).
Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is the perfect spot for photos. It is beautiful during the daytime, but come back at night too. Looks just as beautiful when it’s all lit up. In front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle is a flower garden with a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands. Great place for a photo.
At night, a lot of characters hang out in the Great Moments with Lincoln Theatre. This is where I finally found Minnie Mouse!
Best time to ride: late at night, during the last Fantasmic! show around 10:30. The show lasts half hour, and the park empties out pretty quickly after that. But hey, the park is actually open until midnight! One night I was able to ride 3 popular rides without waiting in line.
Opinion – I can’t understand why people would want to bring really young kids here. Especially if you have to lug around and park a stroller. Since most of the rides are scary to some extent, I’d want to wait until my child was old enough to understand. And old enough to walk on their own. And the amount of women walking around with babies! OMG leave them at home! I would never want to bring my baby here( I don’t have any babies, but that’s besides the point!)
Always be prepared for the unexpected and keep your eyes and mouse ears open. We saw an area roped off in front of Sleeping Beauty castle, with cameras and people in matching black shirts. We watched for a few minutes, but it didn’t look exciting. We even asked an employee what was going on; they “didn’t know”. Which actually goes against Disney standards (they are not allowed to say “I don’t know” to the guests)! We found out later on……Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon and f’n OPRAH made an appearance to promote their new movie A Wrinkle In Time. Then they went over to California Adventure Park for a screening of the movie and gave out ride passes. Kicking ourselves!
Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how to take your Disneyland trip to the next level. Look for my next blog installment, reviewing the “Lands” within Disneyland….