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Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA

Walt Disney Statue

One of the happiest places on earth. True Story! I haven’t been to any other Disney theme park, cruise, resort, or event.. I am sorely lacking in experiencing these other places in order to form a more solid opinion on WHICH location is actually THE happiest place on earth. For me, for now, Disneyland, CA is definitely THE happiest place on earth. :)

See her face? Pure Excitement! I had to act fast to get this one!

I’ve put together a few photos of our adventures so far, along with a few must know facts and tips to have for before you go!

BEFORE YOU GO

We’re all a little mad around here…

1. Plan, plan, plan.

  • If your trip is going to be guided/stilted by time (2-4 day tickets) then you want to experience all of the things that you can WITHIN that amount of time. It is not as simple as just going early and running yourself to the bone at night, (although that’s the method most utilized).

  • Get the maps of Disney and the Adventure park online at the Disneyland Official Site, download the app… get very familiar with the layout because there are times you’ll want to grab a fast pass and explore a different area, eat, or rest while waiting for that ride. (See fast pass info below)
Princess Tiana And Kaitlynn
  • Choose days that aren’t so popular. Monday through Thursday are great days if it isn’t a holiday week before, during, or after!
Take time to take oddball photos! They are the favorites after!
  • Bring in two bottles of water for everyone in your party. For a party of four, that’s a $40 dollar savings. Water is expensive, but it’s necessary. Bring your own bottles! There are refilling areas sporadically (I can remember two locations, one in each park) but I prefer carrying it in and having it on hand when I need it.
Have ALL the fun!
  • Bring in your own snacks! So long as you aren’t bringing in drugs, alcohol, or glass you’re pretty safe. They search your bags at the entry gates and generally comment on the snacks I bring, but only in the context of ‘ooooh BBQ pork skins, YUM!’!
$20 sandwhich… but worth every penny!!
  • Whether you have a child or not, consider a stroller. I use this one to carry our drinks, snacks, and bags while we’re are navigating the park.
  • Invest in a backpack style bag. Whether it’s for your diaper bag, or regular purse, a backpack takes the burden off your arms. And more than one person per group can carry and share the burden too! I recently bought this one by Leke Sky because it doubles as a purse and a backpack and a laptop bag (as well as fitting onto a plane as a personal item)
Upcoming Attractions & Closures
  • Be prepared for closures. Know before you go! Check here for closures before you get there and dissolve into tears! You want to forewarn your babies (even the adult ones) that they may not get to see something. You NEVER know when they’ve heard of a ride from a friend and are looking forward to it, the disappointment is easier to handle over time than standing at Disney watching those little lips quiver. (I may or may not be referring to my own when I saw the castle was under wraps for repair this spring ahem)
Lessons in line!

CHOOSE YOUR CLOTHING WISELY. Some things are not advisable for the average person.

  • Like heels? Great! But know that at Disney you WILL walk approximately 20 miles in a day give or take a mile. Your shoes should be comfortable, broken in (not new), and prepared to go the extra miles. Literally.
Disney Artists
  • Pants/Shorts/Skirts/Dresses : Again, wear what is crazy comfortable. When you get there you are excited and everything is great! Ten miles in, your undies are chafing, your socks feel sweaty, your carrying every layer you can remove, and those tight jeans you think look great feel horrible and tight after all the exhausting walking, climbing, carrying, standing, waiting, etc. So at the end of the day, spend more time packing so that you have the oh so comfy moisture wicking under layers, socks, etc.
Disney Artists at work
  • Unless it’s crazy cold in California for some odd reason, the most you’ll need for the cooler mornings is a long sleeve shirt. I carry a thin long sleeve with me when we leave early, and every single day it gets hung over the stroller and not used. But I always worry.
More Disney Artist Rooms.. These are my favorite!
  • If there is any rain in the forecast, buy a poncho BEFORE you get to the park. Check walmart or dollar stores to get a cheap one. They are super light weight and can be rolled up tight and stuffed away after. You do not want to add in the weight of a rain coat to your load!
Dumbo!

2. FAST PASS! (Bet you thought I was done, ha!)

So the fast pass system is brilliant! There are multiple rides that have the fast pass service attatched. The link will show you the list of rides, the rules, the free and the not free option.

Mary Poppins!

THE FREE OPTION WORKS GREAT! If you can afford it, then the cost is fine. But we use the free option and it works great.. truly. So here’s a sample of how we maximize our fast pass time…

Guardians of the Galaxy
  1. We go to Indian Jones and get a fast pass ticket. The return to ride time is an hour and 10 minutes from now.
  2. We head on over to the Jungle Book Treehouse and explore, ride the Jungle cruise line and explore a couple of shops until it’s time for our ride.
  3. We go back, ride the Indiana Jones ride and then head to our next big ticket item. Haunted Mansion, return time is one hour and 15 minutes from now.
  4. We go back to Pirates of Caribbean and wait in line for the 25/35 minute wait time to ride.
  5. After, we explore the shops of the New Orleans Square.

And on and on and on… You WILL wait in lines. There are lines for most everything (except the restroom which I find amazing). But use your time wisely. Wait in lines you HAVE to wait in, don’t double up on yourself because you don’t know how Fast Pass works.

3. Mobile Ordering! This is new since we were here last time, so I was excited to see an alternate option to standing in food lines. If you don’t have any allergies, you can move through the mobile order line pretty quickly. (See Allergies Below). The Disneyland app is your friend, your guide, your savior at the park! You can also use it to reserve dining!

Look at EVERYTHING! You just never know what you’ll see!

4. Pin Trading! (You may know about this and if so, move on along lol) This is the most amazing thing I have ever found at Disney! I originally stumbled onto the  trading stuff by accident.. and man I am so happy I did!

Here’s what I’ve learned :

  • Pins are expensive! I have 9 grandbabies and buying ONE pin for each child would run between 100 and 150 buckeroos. That is ONE HUNDRED and ONE HUNDRED FIFTY. Just so we’re clear. I love my grandbabies but come on, that’s a crazy expense for an enamel pin. (NO matter how cool they are)
  • There are cheaper ways to dive into Pin Trading, and it allows you to trade for cooler pins! Check Amazon for lots of 25 or 50. You’ll pay approximately $1.00 per pin and you have NO emotional attachment to them. So they are super easy to trade for other pins that you DO feel drawn towards!
  • The pins you trade rarely are the more expensive pins seen for sale at Disney. But we have got some and they were well worth the trade!
  • Some days are better for trades than others… Monday – Wednesday are the best trading days! People that come over the weekend and hear about or lightly dip into the trade world will sometimes trade off better pins out of pure excitement and fun.
  • YOUR valuation of a particular pin may not be the same as mine. I fell in love with a pin simply because it had Minnie Mouse in a cute pose. The pin doesn’t have the rest of the collection and may not be worth a penny… but it means the world to me!

You can learn more here :

5. This is in fact the most important tip I can give you. The cardinal rule, the all important bit of knowledge that will change your life at Disneyland.

Have fun! Let your kids have fun! Touch things! Let your kids touch things! But do watch your kids, keep up with them and guide them

It sounds like I’m accusing you of being a strict parent, but I’m not. I’m also not advocating you let your children run wild. My first trip, I was too tough on Kaitlynn. I worried about her touching things, any thing and everything ..

But you know, it’s a once in a lifetime (mostly) event.. It’s special, YOUR time is special too… Spend some time running your fingers over Mickey’s reading chair, play.. touch.. take photos in odd places.. have ALL the fun! It’s worth it.. I promise!

Treehouse Selfie!

Don’t forget to take photos… lots and lots of photos… with characters! Hug Mickey! Giggle with Chip and Dale! And get at least ONE super great photo of your kid that makes you have all the feels that your trip did!

 

 


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