You may not be able to spend a whole week at the park but that’s no reason you can’t enjoy the best of Disneyland in less time. We’ve compiled a variety of day trips that will help you plan your visit and have a great vacation.
Disneyland in 1 Day
One of the good things about Disneyland is that it’s smaller than its Florida counterpart, and the entire park and all it offers is doable in one day.
1. Plan in Advance
Before you even leave we recommend formulating a game plan ahead of time. It may infringe a bit on spontaneity, however if you want to see and do as much as possible it will be beneficial in the long run. Check out the official Disneyland website to scope out park operating times, ticket prices, the daily entertainment schedule and dining. You can even print out a park map.
Arrive early before the park opens to maximize fun time. Plus, its usually less crowded immediately after opening. If you can, try to visit during the off season and in the middle of the week as opposed to summer vacation, breaks, or a weekend.
As for rides; avoid the ones with long lines. You don’t want to waste the bulk of your time waiting on those, especially if its super hot outside. If there is a very popular ride you must go on, check out getting a FASTPASS. This will enable you to set a time to go back to a specific ride with no waiting, while you enjoy the rest of the park.
4. Dining Options
Disneyland offers the ability to book dining in advance if this is what you choose to do, especially if its a sit down restaurant or character dining. We also recommend eating at an off time when places may not be so crowded. You can also bring food in the park and store it in a locker if saving money is a concern.
5. Must See
There are a few rides unique to Disneyland such as Alice in Wonderland and Mr. Toads Wild Ride and both are original from when the park opened. Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, the Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean are all very popular and considered “must see” when visiting. At the end of the day, scope out a spot for the Fantasmic! show, complete with pyrotechnics, lasers, and music.
Disneyland in 3 Days
1. All of the Above
No matter how long you plan to visit, planning ahead of time is recommended, along with determining what rides are most important for you enjoy, and dining options. Now that you have a few more days, lets look at some more “must-dos and sees.”
2. Vacation Packages
There are vacation packages to choose from on the Disneyland website. They also offer a myriad of discounts for California residents, pass-holders, military members, and more. If you choose to stay off site, there is also a list of over 40 good neighbor hotels with offers. If you purchase a good neighbor deal you receive a souvenir ticket for either the Park or California Adventure, one early admission, an ESPN game zone card, a photo at your choice of select attractions, and a collectible pin and lanyard.
3. California Adventure and World of Color
California Adventure has 8 other lands to visit and explore. It is an entirely different park with its own attractions, dining, tours and entertainment, including the popular World of Color. A nighttime spectacular, the show features film clips on a background water screen, along with special effects such as fog and lasers.
The Monorail can be boarded outside the Park, and will take you on a scenic 13 minute ride through the resort. The ride allows you aerial views of the park. It has to be cool if they made a board game for it.
5. Parade & Fireworks
Firework shows are often shown at special times of year so be sure to check the website for times and information. Currently there are three parades offered all year long, Mikey’s Soundsational Parade at the main Park, plus two more at California Adventure Park.
Disneyland in 5 days
You have planned and planned for this vacation. Now, with almost a week to spend in California, how else can you maximize your time?
1. Guided Tour
There are a number of tours to choose from; like the VIP Tour which offers a personalized service to tailor your park visit, or the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour. There is even a Holiday Time tour with stories about Disneyland during that time of year. Whichever you choose you’ll be sure to have a fun behind the scenes experience. Don’t ask Ariel for a tour. Chances are if you see her on land, she won’t be able to speak, and if you see her in the water you have to be able to hold your breath very long.
2. Downtown Disney
The Downtown Disney District is a promenade featuring dining, shopping, and live entertainment, including ESPN Zone, Rainforest Cafe, a movie theater, jazz club, and outdoor musicians. Downtown Disney is accessible even if you aren’t visiting the Park itself, and within walking distance of the Disney Resort if you are.
3. The Royal Treatment
The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique offers both girls and boys to be transformed for a day. Choose your favorite Disney princess or knight and your own Fairy Godmother in Training will guide you through.Unfortunately, not all of us can enjoy the boutique and will have to live vicariously thorough our children.
4. Character Dining
And this is why we can’t have nice things Evil Queen! There are a few options for character dining around the Park. At Ariel’s Grotto you can meet Disney princesses, but at Disney’s PCH Grill you never know which favorite characters will pop in to share breakfast with you!
5. See Southern California
If there’s time, check out one or two of Southern California’s popular destinations. Universal Studios, the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, and KNott’s Berry Farm are all nearby. You could even venture into Hollywood to see the Walk of Fame!
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