The author McKenna Mobley posing for a photo near the trolley tracks on Main Street in Disneyland

75 Disneyland Tips (A California Local’s Insider Secrets)

Veterans and newbies alike are always learning new Disneyland tips. Disneyland California has changed a lot since its opening day in 1955, and guests are constantly developing more efficient ways to help every Disney adventure sail smoothly.

As a Southern California local, I have spent hours upon hours at the Disneyland parks. From my first-hand experience, I have developed this epic list of 75 tips you must take into consideration the next time you visit the “happiest place on earth.” 

From when to visit Disneyland to how to save time in line, each tip will save you a ton of guesswork. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

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75 Travel Tips for Disneyland

Make a Reservation

The author with her father and crowds at the Main Street during holiday season
My dad and I pose on the decorated Main Street during the crowded holiday season

As of 2020, every guest now needs a reservation to enter the Disneyland parks. In addition to purchased theme park tickets, Disneyland guests must also present a reservation made on the official Disney website for admission. 

The dates on both the ticket and reservation must match or else you will be denied entry. If you have a multi-day ticket, you must also have a separate reservation for each day you enter the park.

Starting this year, guests can now change, cancel, and modify their reservations on the official Disney website as well.

Browse the Disney Calendar to Find the Best Ticket Prices

The author's family member during a ride at the It's a small world attraction in Disneyland
My family members on a nighttime ride of It’s A Small World during the holidays

Check the official Disney website before you buy your admission tickets. You can view the prices of each calendar day and decide on the most convenient prices for you.

If you are set on purchasing the cheapest tickets possible, then you may need to be flexible. The online Disney calendar shows that dates around holidays and school breaks are the most expensive. Be prepared to take some time off work to score the most inexpensive tickets.

Download the Disneyland App

The author carried by her brother in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle
My brother carrying me in front of the busy Sleeping Beauty Castle

Guests need the Disneyland App for almost everything Disney related these days. The app provides easier access for reserving dining options, purchasing fast passes, and linking your Disney admission ticket.

Tickets can still be purchased at the Disneyland entrance but the app is the future of admission tickets.

Stay at a Hotel in the Disneyland Park Area

A woman stretching while on a hotel bed

Where to stay at Disneyland is top of mind if you’re visiting from out of state. Disneyland hotel guests are allowed earlier entry into the parks than regular guests. Don’t miss out on this major perk and be one of the first people to ride the usually-crowded Disneyland rides.

There are three Disneyland hotels- Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, and Disneyland Hotel. Pick either one for the convenience of walking from your room to the theme park ride entrances within a matter of minutes.

👉 Bonus Tip: You can reserve your stay at Disneyland Hotel here.

Be a Single Rider 

The Matterhorn covered with snow during winter season
You can be a single rider on rides with long wait times like The Matterhorn

You can opt for a single-rider position on almost any Disney ride to bypass long wait times. Single rider lines are usually more than half the wait time of the regular lines.

Single-rider lines allow you to go on as many Disney rides as possible. The only downside is being separated from your friends and family, as single-riders are used as placeholders on empty seats for the rides. 

Riding solo is a small price to pay for the opportunity to go on every Disney ride possible.

Make a Reservation at Olga’s Cantina 

People taking their order in Olga’s Cantina
Olga’s Cantina looks exactly like the Star Wars movie set

Olga’s Cantina is the hottest new bar in Disneyland Park. Located in the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land, a reservation is required to visit Olga’s Cantina or you may be forced to wait hours in the standby line.

Besides delicious alcoholic beverages, Star Wars maniacs flock to Olga’s Cantina because it resembles the movie set to a T. You won’t believe you aren’t in a Hollywood movie set when you see how perfectly dressed the cantina is.

Because it is the most popular place to get a drink in Disneyland, reservations fill up fast. Make a reservation a few weeks in advance to ensure your entry into another galaxy.

Wear Comfortable Walking Shoes

The author with her brother watching a nighttime parade in Disneyland
My brother and I watched a nighttime parade after walking around the park all day

Disneyland Resort guests usually end up walking a few miles during their Disneyland trip. Because the parks are so spread out, you will want to wear your most comfortable shoes to avoid lethargy while at the park.

Sneakers or hiking shoes are the best types of shoes to wear while you unleash your inner child walking around the different Disney lands. You don’t want to go home early because of foot pain, so be proactive and wear your most comfortable walking shoes.

👉 Pro Tip: Salomon Ultra Raid shoes are my favorite for walking around the Disney parks all day.

Bring a Backpack

A baby Yoda backpack hanging on a store in Disneyland
(photo: ZikG / Shutterstock)

Although Southern California weather is pretty typical and mild, you still want to be prepared for anything. Bring a backpack rather than a purse to Disneyland Resort to accommodate all of the just-in-case items.

Besides extra clothing layers and a rain poncho, bring a backpack for extra food and water. You can also skip the plastic and fit your new Disney souvenirs in your backpack.

👉 Bonus Tip: Here are some Disney backpacks that won’t break the bank.

Reserve a Locker 

The author with her family during Christmas Season in Disneyland
My family and I layer up in the wintertime at Disneyland

Lockers are available to rent in both Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure. While bringing a backpack is essential, it may be a bit heavy to carry around all day.

Rent a locker to store everything you won’t need while going on Disney rides. This includes extra nighttime layers and just-in-case items like extra water and phone chargers.

There’s a locker room inside Disneyland on Main Street that is highly coveted and fills up fast. If you don’t reserve one on time, there are also lockers located outside of the main Disney entrance.

Pay for Fast Passes 

A group of friends screaming while riding the roller coaster

Fast Passes used to be free until very recently. You no longer need to get to the parks early and run to the most popular rides to snag a fast pass.

Instead, you have to pay for them via the Disneyland App. Now called Lightning Lane, guests can pay for shorter wait times for up to two highly-demanded attractions each day.

Lightning Lane ticket prices vary per day depending on the park’s busyness but do not usually exceed $20.

Be a Part of the Pin Community

View of a Disney's Seven Dwarfs souvenir displayed in a store on Disneyland
You can find pins of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs (photo: Aisyaqilumaranas / Shutterstock)

The pin community is alive and thriving in Disneyland. Purchase an official Disneyland lanyard and your first pin to be inducted into the pin establishment.

Individuals who collect pins can trade with other Disney guests who also collect pins for no extra fee. Buy Disney character pins from an official Disney merchant store at the park and trade them with other lanyard-wearing guests to make new friends.

Get a Celebratory Pin at Town Hall

The author posing for a photo at the main entrance of Disneyland
Me in front of the busy Disneyland entrance

Are you celebrating an event or anniversary during your visit to Disneyland? If so, you must stop by Town Hall to receive your celebratory pin.

Located near the main entrance, Town Hall gives guests birthday, anniversary, first-time visitor, and other special event pins. Guests around the park will congratulate you or wish you a happy birthday as a part of Disney hospitality.  

Buy an Autograph Book and Meet Your Favorite Character

A Winnie the Pooh character during a parade in Disneyland
Winnie the Pooh characters during the parade (photo: Thitisan / Shutterstock)

Autograph books are a great way to meet your favorite Disney characters. Fill up the book with as many signatures as you can for a fun pastime activity in the park.

Characters are often in their specific lands inside of the park. For example, you can hope to find Snow White or Maleficent in Fantasy Land and Maribel from Encanto in Adventure Land.

Catch Live Music Inside Disneyland

The author's family members smiling for a photo while on board Peter Pan’s Flight
My family members on board Peter Pan’s Flight

You can catch live music inside Disneyland almost every hour of the park’s opening. From a live marching band in Tomorrowland to a prodigy piano player on Main Street, you are sure to always find musical entertainment in the “happiest place on earth.”

You can also always count on live music in New Orleans Square and the Horseshoe Piano Player at the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland. Fantasyland also welcomes the Pearly Band, complete with drums and a tuba.

Hire a Private Guide

The Disney logo through a magnifying glass
(photo: Marko Aliaksandr / Shutterstock)

For a lump fee, you can hire a private guide to chauffeur you and your family around Disneyland. This is a great idea for first-time visitors who need informational assistance at the park.

The guides will often provide their guests with top Disneyland tips, secrets, and fun facts. In recent years, guests with private guides have been allowed to skip long lines and head right to the front. Check with your guide ahead of time to see if this is included in your package. 

Learn the Disney Secrets

The author's family member smiling for a selfie in front of the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle
My family members posing in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

Disneyland is filled with hidden secrets and splendor around the park. One of the most fun Disneyland tips is to buy a book or learn word-of-mouth exciting secrets of Disneyland. 

Identify real movie props on some of the Disney rides or look out for the hidden Mickey Mouse ears around the park. Find the Tomorrowland ground stone that echoes only when you stand on it and a secret passageway into Sleeping Beauty’s castle. 

The secrets are tenfold in Disneyland and the best way to uncover them is to start looking.

Bring Your Own Food

Healthy foods on lunchboxes

One of the best Disneyland tips to save money is you are 100% allowed to bring your own food to the Disneyland parks. Although the restaurant food and snacks in the parks are delicious, they may be out of budget for some guests. 

Bringing your own food and drinks is the best way to save money at Disneyland. It’s smart, eco-friendly, and totally accepted.

Buy a Park Hopper Ticket

Lightning McQueen displayed in Disneyland
Lightning McQueen, the prominent figure of Cars Land (photo: Sandronize / Shutterstock)

Did you know that California’s Disneyland consists of two theme parks? Most visitors go to Disneyland and entirely skip the entertaining Disney California Adventure Park.

Disney California Adventure completes the ultimate Disney vacation. Don’t miss out on the exciting Incredicoaster or the Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land and buy a park hopper ticket.

Another great Disneyland tip is taking a break at Disneyland when the ride lines are too long and visiting Disney California Adventure for shorter wait times.

Establish a Meeting Ground for Your Family in Case They Are Lost

A silhouette of a woman holding her daughter's hand during sunset

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are huge and all the people traffic can be overwhelming for your little ones. Establish a meeting ground in case a family member gets lost.

Also, remind your children to always consult a Disney worker if they are lost in case they forget where your meeting spot is. The worker will personally walk them over to the child lost and found themselves. 

Go on an International Soar Around the World

Roller coaster and ferries wheel with a sun on it and the rides reflection on the lake
(photo: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock)

Disney’s Soarin’ Around the World is a California Adventure classic. The original Soarin’ Over California ride has recently changed to accommodate international locations as well.

Strap up as your seat takes you eye-to-eye with a huge IMAX screen that has scenes from beautiful international destinations around the world.

One of the best parts about this ride is the reliable air conditioning on a hot summer day.

Cool Off in the Summertime with the Rapids

A group of friends enjoying river rafting during summertime

Depending on when you visit California, one of the best summertime Disneyland tips is to go to Disney California Adventure and do the racing rapids ride. It’s the perfect way to cool off in the hot Southern California summer months.

Hope to get splashed as you twist and turn down river rapids in an inflatable raft. The Grizzly River Run ride accommodates up to 8 people, making this the perfect ride for the whole family.

Try the Most Famous Disney Treats

A Mickey Mouse shaped bread in Disneyland
(photo: Maciej Badetko / Shutterstock)

Disneyland is internationally famous for its delicious Disney food. There are even Disney foodies who venture to the theme parks for the sole purpose of eating their favorite Mickey-shaped treats.

With over 160 restaurants and food carts to choose from, your taste buds are sure to be satisfied at the Disney parks. Some guest favorites include the giant turkey leg, Dole Whip pineapple ice cream, a Disney churro, and a Mickey Mouse pretzel.

Shop for Souvenirs After the Park Closes

A souvenir shop in Disneyland decorated on the outside during holiday season
Old-fashioned Main Street souvenir stores (photo: Thitisan / Shutterstock)

Shopping for Disney souvenirs during the day takes away precious time that could be spent on famous rides like Space Mountain or watching iconic Disney parades.

Most of the shops on Main Street close an hour after the theme park closes, making this the ideal time to shop for souvenirs. Because most people don’t know this, the checkout lines are shorter and the stores are less busy at this time. 

Watch the Aladdin Show

View of the Aladdin's Magic Lamp and a smoke coming out of it
Aladdin’s magic lamp

Located in Disney California Adventure Park, the Aladdin Show is a Disney hidden gem. Because the show isn’t advertised that much, many guests miss out on the opportunity to watch a magic carpet take flight.

The show is also wildly entertaining and surprisingly comedic. The actors touch on pop-culture events to engage the audience while still maintaining a traditional Aladdin charm.

One of the best things about the Aladdin Show is the air conditioning during the summer months. The theater is known to be one of the most refreshing spots in the Southern California park heat.

Visit Disney California Adventure Park During the Food & Wine Festival

A group of people toasting with their glass of wine

Each spring, Disney California Adventure hosts its annual Food & Wine Festival. This event showcases delicious local California foods and adult beverages.

You can find many dishes flavored with California staples like avocados and oranges, as well as some of the best local wines in Southern California. 

Admission is free and the food booths line the Disney California Adventure walkway between the Avengers Campus and the Pacific1 Wharf.

Save On Ticket Prices by Buying Multi-day Park Tickets

Mickey and Minnie Mouse waving their hands during a parade in Disneyland
(photo: George Sheldon / Shutterstock)

Save an impressive amount of money when you buy multi-day Disneyland tickets. This is the best ticket option if you’re visiting from out of state or from Northern California and require an overnight stay.

This is one of the only Disneyland ticket deals available, so make sure to bundle up if you plan on spending a few days at the park.

Multi-Day Tickets Don’t Need to Be Used on Consecutive Days

Blurred photo of people queuing in Disneyland
Eager fans waiting to get into the theme park

Not only will you save money on Disney tickets by buying multi-day tickets, but you are also not obligated to use them on consecutive days.

In most cases, you have an 8-day grace period to use your multi-day Disneyland tickets. Double-check if that is still the case before you purchase your tickets because rules and regulations change constantly. 

Stick Around Rise of the Resistance When It Breaks Down

The author's family members taking a selfie in front of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon
My family members in front of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon

Rise of the Resistance is one of the newest rides in Disneyland. Located in the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land, it is one of the most high-tech and popular rides.

Due to its sensitive technology, the ride is known for frequent breakdowns, but it is one of the best rides in Disneyland California so you should stick around when it breaks down. 

Most other guests will leave the line to go on other rides, meaning you have a shorter wait time when the ride is back up and running. 

Get There Early to Go on the Best Rides First

Jack Skellington in front of a full moon
Jack Skellington from Disney’s Haunted Mansion

If you’re taking a day trip from elsewhere in Los Angeles, then note that you are allowed to line up at the Disneyland gates before it opens. This is one of the best Disneyland tips because it allows you the potential to get on the best rides before the thousands of late-comers.

You are also sure to snag a locker if you are early to the park. Another perk of early arrival is first dibs on the best souvenirs before they sell out at the end of the day.

Pre-order Food From the App and Skip the Lines

A goulash on a bread bowl

Everything is easier through the Disneyland app. You can now pre-order food from the app at your favorite Disneyland restaurants to skip the lines.

Some popular restaurants accumulate long lines towards the afternoon and well into the evening, so this helpful Disneyland feature will help satisfy your appetite right away.

Don’t Visit During Grad Night

A dj holding disc on his both hands over his head

Many Southern California high schools celebrate their graduation at Disneyland’s “Grad Night” event. While it’s fun to watch excited teenagers celebrate the end of an era, the parks are incredibly busy at this time.

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure also close early so the graduates can have the whole parks to themselves at night. 

If you were planning on experiencing Disneyland at night or wanted to watch the famous fireworks show, look up when Grad Nights are ahead of time, and don’t visit Disneyland those days.

Make a Reservation at the Blue Bayou Months Ahead of Time

The Blue Bayou restaurant from the outside
The Blue Bayou is styled after the New Orleans French Quarter

Like Olga’s, the Blue Bayou restaurant in Disney’s French Quarter is usually booked months in advance. This is one of the coolest places to dine in Disneyland Resort because the restaurant is situated inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. 

The luxury restaurant is so coveted because its dimly-lit tables are next to the calming waters of the Pirates ride, in the heart of the deep south. It’s an incredibly romantic environment and many proposals take place at the restaurant.

Make a reservation at least 6 months in advance if you are visiting Disneyland with a romantic partner.

Get in Line Early for World of Color

A rainbow colored Mickey Mouse ears
(photo: Ink Drop / Shutterstock)

You don’t want to miss this fantastically vibrant show at California Adventure Park. Disney stories come to life in the mist during this nighttime performance.

Witness water, light, and music evoke your nostalgia in this astounding show. This show is only viewable from a standing perspective, so line up early to get one of the best standing spots in the park to view this amazing show.

The World of Color show is sure to be your new Disney performance favorite. 

Enjoy Free Chocolate and Bread in Disney California Adventure

A bread with white powder on top of it

You’ve often heard the saying, “nothing in life is free,” but that isn’t exactly the case at Disney California Adventure Park. Hungry guests can enjoy a free chocolate square at Ghirardelli and a free piece of sourdough bread at the bread factory.

You can also go inside Ghirardelli to order a delicious ice cream cone, or learn about how sourdough is made at the interactive sourdough factory tour.

Eat From Food Carts to Skip Long Wait Times

Mexican chimichangas on a plate
Delicious chimichangas

Disneyland restaurants often have wait times of over an hour. Eat from various food carts around both parks to save time waiting in line hungry. 

Some of the best Disney foods can be found at these food stands. Try the giant turkey leg, a chimichanga, McDonald’s french fries, or a corn dog to satisfy your hunger without having to wait over an hour.

Brush Up on Your History With President Lincoln Himself

The author with her brother and father at the main entrance of Disneyland
My family in front of the main entrance

This Disneyland California exhibit is very often overlooked. Situated just after the main entrance and right before Main Street, learn about great American history at Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln.

You will find a historic museum in the waiting lounge to occupy your time before the doors open for the theater presentation. You will watch a short historic movie before an animatronic President Lincoln comes out on stage to give his most famous monologue.

This destination is also a great place to take a nap for exhausted parents or to give your feet a break from walking all over Disneyland.

Stay Off-Property to Save Money

Buildings of hotels near Disneyland Park
​​Hotels near Disneyland Park

While the Disneyland Resort hotels are convenient and festive, they are on the expensive side. Save money during your Disneyland vacation by staying elsewhere near Disneyland in Anaheim

You will still be able to walk to Disneyland Resort if you stay in the Anaheim Resort Area or Southwest Anaheim. 

There are hundreds of affordable hotels in Anaheim so if you want to splurge on multi-day tickets or eat out for every meal, save money by staying in an off-property hotel near Disneyland. 

Watch the Fireworks From Thunder Mountain

Colorful fireworks on the night sky of Disneyland

This is one of the most underrated Disneyland tips. A ride on Thunder Mountain during the fireworks show gives you the best of both worlds.

You still get to see the fireworks show from this outdoor ride. Although there are some indoor parts of Thunder Mountain, it is mostly under the stars and is the perfect spot for viewing the show.

Pack a Poncho Just in Case

View of the stormy sky when you look up on Disneyland

Southern California is pretty predictable with the weather but it never hurts to be over-prepared. It usually rains between late winter and late spring so if you visit Disneyland during this time, it’s best to pack a rain poncho.

Umbrellas work for walking around the park but ponchos allow you to ride outdoor rides like The Matterhorn or Dumbo while staying somewhat dry. 

👉 Bonus Tip: Forgot to bring your poncho? You can purchase one from inside the theme park to save the day.

If You Have a Handicap Placard, Make Sure to Bring It

A handicap symbol signage painted on the parking lot's ground

Make sure to bring your handicap placard to Disneyland if you have one. You will get front-row parking access in the Disney parking structure, which makes your car incredibly easy to locate at the end of a tiresome night.

Bring a Portable Charger

The author posing for a photo near the trolley tracks on Main Street in Disneyland
Me, standing next to the trolley tracks on Main Street while the castle poses in the background

There’s so much to do at Disneyland that guests often spend upwards of 8 hours at the park, even if they don’t plan on it. You will want to bring a portable power bank and phone charger to keep your phone alive for access to the Disneyland app and to take photos.

There are various phone charging stations inside both parks. In Disneyland, there’s a charging station at the Main Street lockers, near The Star Trader, and in Pooh Corner among other places. Disney California Adventure Park has stations at Mortimer’s Market, Gone Hollywood, and Ramone’s House of Body Art in Cars Land.

Find All the Hidden Mickeys

A Mickey Mouse shaped cactus under the clear blue sky
Get creative when you look for the hidden Mickey Mouse ears

Did you know that each Disneyland California ride has hidden Mickey Mouse ears on it? This makes an exciting scavenger hunt for the whole family while enjoying as many rides as possible to find all the hidden gems.

You can purchase a Disneyland book to guide you in the right direction or simply be on your best alert on the rides. 

👉 Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to look up while on Pirates of the Caribbean.

Fly Into John Wayne Airport

An airplane painted with Pixar Pier up in the clear blue sky
(photo: Ian Dewar Photography / Shutterstock)

Unless you plan on doing some Los Angeles activities, don’t make the mistake of flying into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for your Disneyland trip. John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana is much closer to Disneyland and will save you rideshare money.

John Wayne Airport is only 20 minutes away from Disneyland whereas LAX is 45 minutes. Start your fun Disney trip sooner by flying into Santa Ana.

Explore Downtown Disney

View of The Disney Store from the outside
(photo: Scott Naidow / Shutterstock)

Visit Downtown Disney if you have extra days in the Disneyland area or don’t want to pay for a Disneyland admission ticket. The downtown walkway leads to the front of the Disneyland parks and is a perfect way to spend your evening outside of the theme park.

Shop from Disney souvenir stores or eat at delicious Downtown Disney restaurants. This is the closest you can get to Disney magic without actually entering the park. 

Go During the Holidays for the Best Photos

The author with her brother and father posing for a photo with the giant Christmas tree on the Main Street
My family and I pose under the ginormous Main Street Christmas tree during the holidays

The holiday season at Disneyland is the most cheerful time of the year. The park is decorated gloriously and there are special holiday events happening throughout the parks.

Take a photo of your little one on Santa’s lap or in front of the giant Mickey pumpkin during Halloween for the best photos to commemorate your Disney trip.

Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

A hand holding a yellow metal reusable water bottle

Water bottles are expensive in Disneyland. You are at full liberty to bring your own reusable water bottle into the park to refill at the various Disney water fountains.

Use Your Annual Pass for Discounts

A Mickey Mouse statue displayed in Disneyland
(photo: Rut_Luecha / Shutterstock)

Annual pass holders can enjoy various discounts around the park. These include 10% off at various restaurants and souvenir shops throughout both parks.

Not every restaurant and store offers these discounts, however, but it never hurts to ask before you pay full price for something.

Ride the Train When You’re Tired of Walking

The Disney Monorail under the clear blue sky in Disneyland
The Disney Monorail (photo: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock)

The Disneyland train is a great way to give your tired feet a break from walking. The train rides on the outskirts of the whole park.

There can be wait times on busy days but they never surpass the wait times of popular rides. You will experience a side of Disneyland you never knew existed when you ride the train as you pass by secret exhibits.

Take a Canoe Ride if Lines Are Too Long

View of the Native American Disney exhibit
A Native American Disney exhibit that’s only visible from a canoe or steamboat ride

Put your arm strength to the test by going for a ride in a canoe around Tom Sawyer’s Island. This is one of the only ways to get a good workout at Disneyland besides walking.

The lines to go on a canoe ride are seldom long so opt for a ride on the water if wait times for other attractions are too long. The Tom Sawyer Canoes are near Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion so keep an eye out because they’re easy to miss.

Visit Starbucks for a Pick-Me-up

A blurred photo of people enjoying their drinks from the Starbucks Coffee shop

There is one undercover Starbucks in Disneyland and another one in California Adventure. They camouflage into their surroundings and are purposefully easy to miss so big-name corporations don’t steal any of the Disney magic.

The Disneyland Starbucks is located on a corner on Main Street right next to the Disney lockers. Be aware that this Starbucks usually has an insanely long line no matter the time of day.

The California Adventure Starbucks is in a small food hall just before you round the corner to go to the Soarin’ Around the World ride.

Explore the New Avengers Campus

A illustration of the Avengers Team

The Avengers Campus is one of the newest additions to California Adventure. Channel your inner superhero as you walk the campus in hopes of stopping crime.

If you’re lucky, you may also get to take photos with your favorite superheroes who are patrolling the campus. The super possibilities are endless in a world of heroes. 

Take a Picture When You Park Your Car

Aerial view of cars parked on a parking lot

The Disney parking structure is several levels high and very easy to get lost in. Take a picture of the level letter and number where you parked to easily locate your car at the end of the day.

The multiple levels are themed after different Disney characters, so remember who represents the level you parked in to take the correct escalator back to your level at the end of the night. 

Listen to the Main Street Dapper Dans

A hand drawn of retro images

One of the most unknown Disneyland tips is that you can find live music almost every hour in the park. From opening to closing, live music serenades the various lands of the park.

The Dapper Dans are a barbershop quartet acapella group that has been a part of Disney tradition since 1959. Catch their old-timey live performances for a blast back to the beginning days of Disneyland.

Lost an Item? Stop by the Lost and Found

The author with her brother posing for a photo in front of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land
My brother and I pose in front of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land

There is only one lost and found location at Disneyland Resort for both Disneyland park and California Adventure. This includes material objects and wandering children.

The lost and found is to the left of the main entrance at Disneyland. It is open during park hours so don’t wait until it’s too late to recover your item.

Ride the Mark Twain Riverboat

The author with her partner taking a mirror selfie on the old American-style steamboat
My partner and I pose for a photo on the old American-style steamboat

While most Disneyland guests are quick to get on the fastest, most popular rides, many skip over the opportunity to go for a calm boat ride and enjoy Disneyland at a much slower pace.

Cruise around Tom Sawyer Island in an old-fashioned steamboat into the “heart of the American frontier.” You will pass by eager canoers on your journey and even get to see Native American exhibits on the water that aren’t accessible by foot. 

A cruise on the Disney river is a great way to rest your feet and take photos with your loved ones.

Expect Rides to Break Down and Have Backup Rides in Mind

A carousel ride in Disneyland

Some rides, like Indiana Jones, are notorious for breaking down due to mechanical issues. You can check ride maintenance schedules before your Disney trip to save the disappointment when your favorite ride is down.

Others, however, sometimes break down without warning. Be prepared for an unexpected breakdown and constantly check the Disneyland App to see if the ride is back up and running. 

Line Up Early for Fantasmic!

Colorful fireworks during the nighttime Disney show

This nighttime Disney show is a classic! It was unfortunately closed for a while but is scheduled to debut again this month. 

As one of the most popular Disneyland shows, you will want to line up early to get a good standing position. The Rivers of America by Tom Sawyer Island transform into an extravagant floating light show. 

Go on a journey as you follow along with Mickey’s dream as it turns from a brightly colored Disney fantasy to battling it out with the Maleficent dragon. This show should not be missed if you are in Disneyland after dark.

Drivers Under 16 Can Try Their Luck Behind the Wheel

Children ages 8 and up can try their luck behind the wheel in Tomorrowland. Autopia is a blast for Disney guests who haven’t learned how to drive yet and supportive parents who glimpse the future of their child behind the wheel.

Tucked away at the far corner of Tomorrowland, make sure to get on this ride if you are visiting the park with your little ones.

Vegan Options Are Available Upon Request

Cookies decorated with Mickey Mouse face
(photo: elisa galceran garcia / Shutterstock)

Various restaurants and food stands offer vegan options upon request. A guest favorite is the vegan jambalaya bread bowl in the New Orleans Square.

The Blue Bayou also offers vegan pasta, Carnation Cafe offers a plant-based burger, and River Belle Terrace has a BBQ tofu dish that’s completely vegan.

Vegan snacks from food carts include a Disney pretzel, fresh fruit, the big Disney pickle, french fries, and more.

Watch the Disney Junior Dance Party

Kids enjoying their day on a disco

Most people visit Disneyland to ride the rides and take photos with the characters and they miss many of the fun special events in the park. 

Bring your little ones to California Adventure to enjoy a 30-minute high-energy dance show.

Take a Test to See Which Disney Character You’re Most Like 

A small Snow White costume hanging outside

There are many activities to do in California Adventure besides going on rides. Stop by the Animation Academy to take a test to see which Disney character you’re most like.

This is a fun activity for children and adults alike. You can purposefully choose a villain or regular Disney character depending on how you answer the questions. After you know who you most resemble, try to find that character around the park to take a twin photo with them.

Get Your Daughter’s Hair Done Like a Princess

A little girl dressed like a Disney Princess

If you are visiting Disneyland Resort with your young daughter, you must visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique right after you go through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

Ages 3-12 will undergo a royal transformation from commoner to fairytale princess. Children get to choose their own princess hairstyle, makeup, nail color, and accessories. 

Young boys can also undergo the transformation from commoners to royal knights.

These makeovers are extremely popular and it is advised to make reservations up to 60 days in advance to secure your majesty’s spot.

Dine With Real Disney Characters

View of tables decorated with Disney's Frozen characters
(photo: wiratho / Shutterstock)

If you have an absolute favorite Disney character, character dining at Disneyland Park is the best way to ensure a meet and greet with them.

Make sure to bring your autograph book because you are sure to meet multiple Disney characters over a delicious meal. 

Stop by the Minnie and Friends Breakfast at the Plaza Inn or the Disney Princess Breakfast at Napa Rose in California Adventure among other locations to dine with the characters. 

Attend the Viva Navidad Street Party

Traditional folklore dancers performing in Disneyland
Traditional folklore dancers

The Viva Navidad Street Party is a celebration not to be missed. Beginning in November each year, enjoy cultural performers from Mexico and Brazil in Disney California Adventure. 

This fabulous fiesta hosts folklore dancers, mariachi bands, samba dancers, drummers, and a special appearance from Mickey and Minnie dressed in their fiesta best during the holiday season. 

Take a Ride on the Disney Monorail

The author's father posing for a photo and the Tomorrowland’s Astro Orbiter Ride on his background
My dad striking a pose in front of Tomorrowland’s Astro Orbiter ride

The 2.5-mile journey on the Monorail flies past Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Peak, Buena Vista Street, and Downtown Disney at lightning speed.

It was the first kind of transportation in its time and is a Disneyland classic. Taking the Monorail is an efficient way to get around the Disneyland Resort, especially on hot summer days. 

There are 2 Monorail stations at the Disneyland Resort. You can board the high-speed train in Tomorrowland or in Downtown Disney.

Try Being a Shooting Cowboy in Frontierland

View of a duel between two cowboys

Visit the old-timey Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition to take aim at 100 different targets and rack up points. Styled after Tombstone, Arizona, this wild west shooting game is the perfect escape from long-line rides.

You can always count on an open spot at the rustic log cabin cowboy game but be aware that an additional fee is required to “take yer best shot.”

Watch a Show at the Golden Horseshoe

People inside the Golden Horseshoe Saloon
The Golden Horseshoe’s classic American interior before a show starts

This old Western saloon/theater hosts shows from the wild west in the heart of Frontierland. Enjoy the Showdown at the Golden Horseshoe show for wild entertainment.

Watch dueling piano players go head-to-head inside the saloon while you devour delicious western treats. The rowdy performers take guest requests and engage viewer participants in the show.

👉 Bonus Tip: You may just get picked on if you are sitting in the front row.

Show Off Your Dance Moves at the Guardians of the Galaxy Dance-off

Groot displayed on a table
(photo: Luan Rezende / Shutterstock)

Take your little ones to show off their moves in front of the Guardians of the Galaxy Disney cast. Peter blasts his legendary mixtape and the guests can’t contain themselves from dancing. 

This is a lesser-known, casual Disney show that is missed by many. If you like to dance, make sure to check the dance-off times from the official Disneyland website.

👉 Bonus Tip: Keep an eye out for Groot who likes to arrive fashionably late!

Watch the New Encanto Projection On the “It’s A Small World” Ride

The Encanto movie poster displayed on a cinema
The Encanto movie poster (photo: Sarunyu L / Shutterstock)

The Encanto projection on It’s a Small World is one of the newest additions to Disneyland and is a kid favorite. The projection pays tribute to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and gets the guests dancing.

This is a limited-time-only show that premiers after the sun sets. The visuals are only 2 minutes long so check the times online to not miss this catchy show.

Popped Balloon? Get a New One for Free

Colorful Mickey Mouse ears shaped balloons in Disneyland

Children and adults alike love the various Disney balloon styles for sale inside the park. It may be a hassle to go on rides with a balloon, however, and they often get popped.

There’s no need to be sad over your popped balloon because Disney cast members will give you a new one at no extra cost if you present your popped one to them.

Take a Ride on a Traditional Trolley Car Pulled by a Real Horse

View of a Disney trolley horse in Disneyland
A Disney trolley horse at work (photo: RaksyBH / Shutterstock)

The Disney horse-drawn streetcar is a traditional attraction in the park that has been operating since opening day. Catch a ride through Main Street and be a part of Disney’s history.

Ride up and down Main Street in style. Although the ride is short, it’s a memorable experience and one of Walt Disney’s old favorites. 

Meet Dapper Disney Pals on Buena Vista Street

A bus painted with Buzz and Woody from the Toy Story movie
(photo: Cassiohabib / Shutterstock)

The character costumes are adorable in California Adventure’s Buena Vista Street. Mickey and his friends are dressed in their dapper best to pose with guests of all ages.

This traditional character costume styled from the 1930s is a guest favorite and reminds them of the olden days. 

Get a Great View of the Whole Park on the Pixar Pal-A-Round

Roller coaster and ferries wheel with a sun on it and the rides reflection on the lake
View of the Pixar Pal-A-Round with both feet on the ground (photo: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock)

The Pixar Pal-A-Round is one of the highest rides in all of Disneyland Resort. Similar to a Ferris wheel, take a ride on the Pal-A-Round for some of the best aerial photos of California Adventure.

More adventurous guests can choose the moving boxcars for a thrilling experience high in the sky. As the Pixar Pal-A-Round turns, the moving boxcars slide from one side of the rail to the other. Make sure your belongings are secure if you choose the more adventurous seats.

Go Bowling in Downtown Disney

Toy Story movie characters displayed in Disneyland
(photo: enchanted_fairy / Shutterstock)

Besides the Toy Story Midway Mania and other California Adventure pier games, there aren’t too many arcade games in Disneyland. Guests love bowling in Downtown Disney for some competitive fun.

Take Your Little Ones to the Royal Theater for a Storytelling Performance

Beauty and the Beast characters merchandise displayed on a store
The Beauty and the Beast characters (photo: enchanted_fairy / Shutterstock)

The Royal Theater shows reenact Disney fairytales with fun twists. Only 25 minutes long, the shows don’t take away precious ride time and they offer a rest from walking all day. 

Located just to the left of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the open-air, medieval-style tent is usually a child’s favorite. Make sure to check up-to-date times on the Disneyland App before you go.

FAQs About Visiting Disneyland

How much does it cost to go to Disneyland?

Disneyland ticket prices vary depending on the day. Single-day tickets are cheaper than park hopper tickets. The cheapest ticket is $104 and the most expensive ticket is upwards of $200 for a park hopper.

Is Disneyland better or Disney World?

Both Disneyland and Disney World are one-of-a-kind parks. They are unique theme parks that offer different amenities and rides. Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World are worth visiting.

How many Disney theme parks are there?

There are 12 Disney parks in the world. The locations include California, Florida, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Paris.

In which country is Disneyland located?

Disneyland is located in the United States. There are also park locations in Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Paris.

***

Now that you’re up-to-date with magical Disneyland tips and tricks, you’re ready to start exploring! If you’re also visiting Walt Disney World on your ultimate Disney trip, make sure to check out the best Disney World tips before you go.

Enjoy your trip to Disneyland! 

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