2018 Disneyland Guide
I am so excited to share my Disneyland guide with you guys today! I had the most magical (and jam-packed) day there this past month, and I am already planning my trip back! I went the first day of the Halloween celebration, and the decorations on point. It’s until October 31, so if you have the opportunity to go this month, it’s worth it just for the pumpkin decor :P I’ll be talking about must-not-miss rides, shows to see, places to eat, and of course the best shops to get the ultimate souvenirs. Use the links throughout to go the page on Disney’s site for more info and exact location in the park!
1) California Adventure Park
California Adventure is full of amazing rides with twists, turns, thrills, you name it, the rides have it! The park has several smaller lands within it, and each of them has something unique to offer. On hot days, you can ride the Grizzly River Run rapids for an instant cool down. There’s also Cars land, which Disney World does not offer, that includes a super fun racing kiddie-coaster (Radiator Springs Racers) that’s a fast-pass must (see general things-to-know section for more about fast passes). There is a mini version of both Hollywood and Sunset Blvd where you can get snacks and see short shows. It’s also home to the terrifying Mission: BREAKOUT Guardians of the Galaxy theme ride (basically the upgraded version of Tower of Terror). For those of you brave enough to try it, make sure you plan ahead because lines get long.
My absolute favorite part of this park is the brand new Pixar Pier. Home to the park’s only adult-size rollercoaster, the Incredicoaster, Pixar Pier has attractions for all ages. The rollercoaster has loops, drops, and fast dashes to mimic all the superpowers of the Incredibles. My favorite ride was the 3D shooting game, Toy Story Mania, where you play against a partner to rack up points from hitting targets.
The main thing about dining in Disney is reservations for the highly-desired spots are a must. My friend and I were able to get a reservation only a day beforehand, but that’s not always the case. We had dinner at Wine Country Trattoria, which is this adorable Italian place that has the most delicious bread. Their menu didn’t have many option in my opinion though. We also had Ghiradelli ice cream at the Ghiradelli store located between Pixar Pier and Cars land.
Paint the Night Parade:
This parade is the only parade I’ll say you should definitely make time for! It’s at 9pm (ish) every night and features all your favorite Disney and Pixar characters! Woody, Buzz, Rapunzel, Ariel, they’re all there for you nerd Disney lovers like me :P But the best part is all the neon lights and electric, boppin’ music! We had an amazing view of the parade from where we ate dinner, so I suggest to get a spot near the entrance to Pixar Pier. Below you can find a parade route for easy planning ahead.
Disneyland. Truly one of the most magical and happiest places on Earth. It’s a lot like the Magic Kingdom in Disney World for those of you who’ve been to Orlando, but it has unique fun too! Home to classic rides like Dumbo, Peter Pan’s Flight, “It’s a Small World”, you’ll feel like a kid again loving every minute of these do-not-miss attractions. My favorite character growing up was Wendy, and my family always makes fun of me for loving the kiddie Peter Pan ride, but its’ just so magical and cute! I’m a kid at heart, what can I say?
My favorite ride (not in Disney World anywhere by the way), was Indiana Jones Adventure. My friend had to convince me to ride it because I’m a ride scardy-cat, but I’m so glad I tried it! (It is super tame for those of you like me just to be clear lol). You ride on a track in a Hummer, which bumps around and the effects are amazing!! Other things to make sure to check out are the Haunted Mansion (complete with Halloween-theme overall this month), Pirates of the Caribbean (which is a log ride and has a drop for those of you with friends that don’t tell you ahead of time :P), and all the Star Wars attractions (because if you thought I was lame already, now you for sure do, but trust me Star Wars is awesome, and you’re wrong if you disagree).
Ah Main Street USA, aka the ultimate Disney souvenir lane! They have shops (that are all connected inside for easy browsing) that has literally everything Disney you could ever want from t shirts, hats, keychains, jackets, toys, and even jewelry and Christmas ornaments. And if that’s not enough, Downtown Disney, a separate area nearby that is exclusively shops, will have what you’re looking for. You don’t need a different ticket to check it out, and you can even go there without a park ticket! Make sure to buy at least one thing in order to get validated parking. They also have some of your faves shops like Sephora and Starbucks just FYI :)
3) General Info
Unlike Disney World, planning your trip to Disneyland is relatively simple. Since the parks are just a short walk away from each other, no need to plan which to go to when. You can also go back and forth throughout the day as many times as you’d like. In order to go to both Disneyland itself and California Adventure, you have to buy a Park Hopper ticket. Mine was a small $167 (the main downfall about Disney is the price), but it was so worth it. For transportation, it is definitely the easiest to Uber or Lyft to the park from where you’re staying, especially if your hotel is close by. They’ll drop you off right at the park entrance.
The other main thing to think about ahead of time is Fast Passes. You can either purchase Disney Max Pass and then download the Disneyland app to your phone to buy and change fast passes easily on your device or you can find the ride’s respective fast pass station in the actual park to by the day of. We did the second option, but next time I would get the Max Pass because you get whatever time is available when you go to the stations and sometimes they’re already sold out. If you do it through the app, you get to select the time you want, and it’s ahead of time, so those things you really want to do that are also really popular will hopefully be available. Know it’s not uncommon to have to get Fast Passes weeks in advance to get your first choice. There are also limits of how many fast passes you can have at once, so make sure to read the info via the link above. (And for those that don’t know, a Fast Pass allows you to cut the long lines and go straight to the fast lane to get on the rides in less than 5 minutes).
What to Bring:
Do not bring very much! That’s my best advice. I just brought my Mickey Mouse fanny pack (which mine is unfortunately no longer available, but similar styles are easily found online!). I brought money, my phone, and chapstick basically lol. Some people prefer to bring a larger bag in order to carry snacks, sunscreen, a water bottle, etc, so it’s your preference how much you want to lug around. Just know you will buy stuff, so then that’s just more to carry. There are plenty of affordable snack options and places to get water, so I thought it was just fine to not bring either of those things.
What to Wear:
Anaheim, CA is always hot. Always. We went during the hottest time of year (it was 85-90 at the warmest), so it was a must to wear shorts and a tank top. I would advise some type of athletic short because there are some rides you can get wet, and denim is a pain with water and gets uncomfortable. Also I would highly recommend wearing tennis shoes because we walked over 12 miles in one day! Even though it is very hot during the day, I would also bring a sweater to wear at night because it cools off to about 70 when it’s dark! Since I’ve only been the one time, I’m unsure about other times of year, but just know it’s pretty much always summer in LA.
Hope everyone’s first Disneyland experience is as magical as mine was! Please let me know what questions or thoughts you guys have using the comment section below! Whole Cali travel guide coming soon!