A perk of living in Las Vegas is it’s a short drive (under 5 hours) to Disneyland! Our family loves to go. Here’s 10 tips for your next Disneyland trip.
Tips for Disneyland
1. Get to park entrance 30 minutes before park opening
Be at the park entrance at least 30 minutes before park opening. The first two hours there are shorter lines for rides.
2. Genie +
Genie + definitely is a game changer for older kids. My 5 year old never had to wait more than 15 - 20 minutes for any ride with Genie +.
For kids under 40 inches, Genie + isn’t as valuable (there aren't many rides on Genie + for young kids) so be sure to check out the list of rides you can use it on before purchasing.
At Disneyland we usually purchase Genie + for our entire family, but at California Adventure we only purchase it for one adult and my 5-year-old. My 3-year-old is only 37 inches so there aren’t many rides he can use it on at California Adventure.
It’s a bit of a learning curve so learn how to use it before your trip.
3. Non-ride activities
When ride lines get long our favorite non-ride activities at California Adventure are Animation Studio, Crush the Turtle, Disney Junior Dance Party, and Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.
Don't forget to stop and meet the characters! The lines move faster than you'd think and it's such a fun memory for kids. The characters will sign autographs again and will take up-close pictures.
4. Get Rider Switch
If there is a ride one of your young kids isn't tall enough for you can get a rider switch. Ask a cast member at the line entrance. You must have the people riding and the people siting out with you when asking for a rider switch. The rider switch will allow the adult sitting out, plus up to two more people, to skip the line after the first group is done.
Dining reservations for several restaurants at Disneyland, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney open 60 days in advance.
For casual dining at the parks I recommend using mobile order.
6. Smashed Pennies
My kids love smashing pennies! We picked up a penny book at the park ($15). My 3 year old loves to smash the pennies while we wait for our 5 year old to get off a bigger ride or when we are waiting for our lightening lane time.
For MOST of the penny machines in the parks you do not need to bring your own coins. You just insert the cost (credit card or cash) and the penny is already in the machine. Most smashed pennies cost $1.
7. Bathroom breaks before lines
Before going into a long line, make sure and ask your young kids if they need to use the restroom! We forgot a couple times, and it makes it tricky when leaving and re-entering the line.
8. Where to Buy Tickets
Buy your tickets from Target! If you have a Target Redcard you get 5% off your tickets.
9. Ticket Date Reservations
After you purchase your tickets, you must make a reservation for specific date(s) on Disneyland's website.
During the holidays some dates sell out. If there is a specific date that is sold out that you would like to attend, if you stay at one of the Disneyland hotels they will help you get a reservation for that date! I've used this trick before and it works great.
10. Things to Bring
You’ll need to use your phone to book lightening lanes, mobile dining, rider switch, take photos, etc. so your phone battery will drain fast. We have had this battery pack for years and just recently got this battery pack.
Refillable Water Bottles
Save money on water bottles by bringing your own refillable water bottles. The restaurants will give you cups of water, plus there are plenty of water stations around the parks.
Here's my favorite water bottle for adults, and my favorite water bottle for kids.
If you are going during a warmer month, stroller fans are a MUST! They help so much.
Extra Clothes and Sandals for Water Rides
If our kids get wet, especially during colder months, it totally ruins their experience. We bring extra clothes and bring sandals for the water rides. We keep them under the stroller, but you can also rent lockers.
Pen for Autograph Books
Characters are available for autographs again! We bought an autograph book in the park ($10) but be sure to bring your own pens (pens in the park are $10 each!)