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Disneyland Anaheim Tips: It’s Not Just a Smaller Disney World

Last Updated on July 24, 2021

Disneyland is amazing. The rides are fun, the food is good (for a theme park), and MaxPass is awesome. Its reputation as the red headed stepchild of Disney World is undeserved. It is a haul for people who don’t live on the west coast, but it is definitely worth a trip. What Disneyland Anaheim tips do you need to maximize your vacation?

What Disneyland Anaheim Tips Do You Need to Know?

1. Why is Disneyland Special?

2. Disneyland Anaheim Location

3. What Does the Disneyland Resort Offer?

4. Buy MaxPass

5. What Rides Are Unique to Disneyland Park?

6. Watch the Afternoon Parade Sans Dining Package

7. Fantasmic! is Worth it

8. Disneyland Fireworks Are Canceled Frequently

9. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Dining

10. Disneyland Anaheim Tips to Save on Tickets

11. Disneyland Anaheim Tips to Save on Hotel Stays

12. Disneyland Tips and Tricks to Save with Miles and Points

13. Make a Touring Plan

14. Download the Disneyland App

15. Arrive Early

16. Don’t Forget to Make Disneyland Parks Reservations

17. Dress for the Weather

18. A Baby Care Center is Available

19. Check a Crowd Calendar

20. Don’t Overpack

21. Utilize Rider Switch

22. Mobile Ordering Food is a Must

23. The Second Shows Are Less Crowded

24. Park Closing Time is Not Park Closing Time

25. How Many Days Do You Need for Disneyland?

26. Bring a Portable Phone Charger

tips on Disneyland Anaheim LEGO

Disneyland Anaheim Tips

1. Why is Disneyland Special?

Disneyland in California is smaller, more walkable, and less of a machine than its Orlando counterpart. Everything the Disneyland Resort has to offer is condensed into a small area. No buses required.

The Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure are directly across from each other. The entrance to both theme parks is through Downtown Disney. You can also enter California Adventure directly from the Disneyland Grand Californian hotel.

Disneyland also has a rich history that cannot be found at Disney World. Fans of Walt Disney will also find more to appreciate. Walt had an apartment located above the Fire Station on Main Street. Check out the lamp in the window that represents his spirit. There is some Haley Joel Osment stuff happening there.

2. Disneyland Location

Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California at 1313 Disneyland Drive. You can make it to Los Angeles in less than an hour, San Diego in two, and LEGOLAND California within an hour and a half.

The Orange County airport is your best bet if the flights make sense, but LAX is a decent alternative.

3. What Does the Disneyland Resort Offer?

The Disneyland Resort consists Downtown Disney, three hotels, and two theme parks, all within walking distance of each other.

4. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for MaxPass

Update: Both FastPasses and MaxPass are currently suspended due to COVID-19.

Disneyland’s System

During normal times, at Disney World, each guest is able to book three FastPasses prior to arrival, then add additional FastPasses after the first three have been used or expire on the Disney World app. FastPass+ does not cost extra and is available to all guests.

There is no free system in California on the app. If you want to use the app to book FastPasses, you need to purchase MaxPass.

MaxPass Cost

As of the time of this writing, MaxPass costs $20 per person per day.

Why is it Worth it?

The MaxPass system may sound annoying, but remember, not everyone purchases it. The competition for these passes on the Disneyland app is light. While it sucks to pay for this, do it.

Disneyland without MaxPass is not ideal. You have to run around the park and grab paper Disneyland FastPasses 2002-style. You will get a ton of FastPasses each day with MaxPass, many more than you can get with Disney World’s free system.

PhotoPass is Included MaxPass

As an added bonus, MaxPass comes with free PhotoPass downloads. If you are going to purchase photos anyway, MaxPass is a no brainer.

I take a hard pass on Memory Maker at Disney World because I don’t need reminders of what my hair looked like in the Florida sun, but the humidity in California is much more forgiving. Without MaxPass, we would not have photographic evidence of this A+ parenting moment. “Stop whining and get on the ride. It will be fun.”

Disneyland pictures Splash Mountain

5. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Attractions

Disneyland is reminiscent of Magic Kingdom at Disney World, but there are plenty of unique attractions as well. Some of the rides that can be found at both parks also have slightly different versions.

Attractions in Disneyland Anaheim Main Street, U.S.A.

Disneyland Anaheim Main Street Vehicles

The Main Street Vehicles drive you around in front of the Sleeping Beauty Disneyland Castle.  They include carriages, fire engines, horse-drawn streetcars, and an omnibus.

Disneyland Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is Disneyland’s version of the Hall of Presidents. This is a great place to settle in for a nap. When we were last there, we had the theater basically to ourselves, and the guy working the attraction seemed excited to see us. Like it had been weeks since he had seen a person.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Adventureland Rides and Attractions

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room Disneyland Anaheim

This Disneyland Adventureland tiki room is a show with outdated animatronic birds singing and squawking at you. It is an odd, but classic, Disney attraction. There is never any wait for this attraction and it is in a blissfully air conditioned room, so it is definitely worth a stop in the afternoon. 

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Adventureland Jungle Cruise

The Disneyland Jungle Cruise ride is a slow moving boat ride through a jungle with animatronic animals.  This is an ancient attraction, so you appreciate the nostalgic feel. You are guided by a skipper who tells jokes. The quality of the skippers varies wildly. If you get a good one, it is entertaining.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Adventureland Indiana Jones Adventure

The Disneyland Indiana Jones ride is a rough trek through a cursed temple. You may or may not feel like you have just been in a minor car accident when you exit. It is exciting. It is also dark, loud, and scary for some kids.

Height Requirement: 46″

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Adventureland Treehouse

Tarzan’s Treehouse is similar to the Swiss Family Treehouse at Magic Kingdom. It is a walk through attraction full of stairs and areas to climb and explore. If your toddler isn’t that into walking, this will make for a great arm workout.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland New Orleans Square Attractions

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is a slow moving boat ride through rooms filled with animatronic pirates making poor decisions. The music is fun and the level of detail is awe-inspiring. 

It might be scary for small children, but most kids will be fine. Your bigger concern should be whether you are ready to talk to your kids about vandalism, theft, and alcohol consumption when you get off.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Railroad

The railroad is a mode of transportation around the park, but the ride itself is enjoyable. It also stops in Main Street, U.S.A., Mickey’s Toontown, and the Disneyland Tomorrowland Train Station.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Multiple parks)

Disneyland New Orleans Square Haunted Mansion

Disneyland Haunted Mansion is a slow moving ride through a dark, haunted house. The amount of detail is incredible. A lot of it is silly spooky rather than straight up scary, so most kids should be fine.

Pro tip: There is a stretching room you enter prior to boarding the ride that might bother children.  You can ask an employee to skip this section.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Critter Country Rides

Disneyland Splash Mountain

Splash Mountain is a slow moving boat ride through scenes from Song of the South. It ends with a substantial drop that will get you wet.  This is not a ride for a cold day without a poncho. This ride is currently slated for a remodel to a Princess and the Frog theme (because Song of the South is racist), but construction has not begun as of the time of this writing.

Height Requirement: 40″

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a Disneyland kid ride indoors through the Hundred-Acre Wood.  The ride starts cute and ends acid trip, but your kids don’t know what acid is anyway, so all good.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes

If you feel like manual labor on vacation, this is the ride for you. Here, you actually row the canoe. Kids are useless, so the adults and the employees do the heavy lifting on the 20-person boats.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Not Anymore

Disneyland Star Wars Land: Galaxy’s Edge Attractions

Disneyland Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge can be found at both Disneyland and Disney World. The land in general is well themed. I am not a big Star Wars person, and even I can appreciate the work they put into it. There is no shortage of places to blow a bunch of money on merchandise and Disneyland lightsabers.

The nerds team members are deep in character, complete with a different language, to convince other nerds guests they are in Batuu. Stormtroopers mess with children and more nerds adults. If you, like me, are annoyed by crowds, try to visit during a less busy time of day to avoid an arrest for dropkicking Yoda.

Disneyland USA Star Wars

Attractions in Star Wars: Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge

Disneyland Star Wars Rise of the Resistance Ride

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is the newest ride at Disneyland, and people have officially lost their minds. You need to get into a Disneyland virtual queue to ride because it is so popular, and the spots are gone within minutes.

The ride itself is a trackless dark ride with a ton of detail.

Height Requirement: 40″

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Hollywood Studios)

Disneyland Star Wars Millennium Falcon Ride

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is a Disneyland Star Wars ride with a motion simulator. During the ride, your pilots a ship. Riders are assigned jobs as pilots, engineers, and gunners. The technology in this ride is awesome, but it is not for the easily motion sick. Once is definitely enough.

Height Requirement: 38″

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Hollywood Studios)

Disneyland Frontierland Rides

Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island

Tom Sawyer Island is an area to explore that you access via raft. Unlike at Disney World, you don’t have to worry about alligators floating nearby.  It is a great place for kids to burn energy. 

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Mark Twain Riverboat

Mark Twain Riverboat is a large boat that cruises slowly down a river like Liberty Square Riverboat in Magic Kingdom.  It is a bit of a snoozefest, but you never have to wait and get a nice view of Disneyland.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Sailing Ship Columbia

Sailing Ship Columbia is another slow moving boat ride, but this time, the ship looks like it is from the 18th century.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is an outdoor roller coaster on a train through boulders and caves. The ride is fairly mild. Most kids can handle it.

Height Requirement: 40″

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Mickey’s Toontown Disneyland Anaheim Rides and Attractions

Pro tip: The attractions in Mickey’s Disneyland Toontown close for the fireworks. Don’t wait until the end of the day to visit.

Disneyland Toontown Goofy’s House

Goofy’s Playhouse is a play structure with a walk through Goofy’s house and backyard. It is definitely geared toward small children.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Donald’s Boat

Donald Duck apparently lives in a leaky boat. I guess this makes sense given the whole duck with an anger problem thing. It is cute, unique, and its target audience is small children.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Not Anymore

Gadget’s Go Coaster

This Disneyland Toontown roller coaster is for small children, similar to the Barnstormer at Disney World. The line moves like molasses and it isn’t special, so you might want to distract your children when you get to this area.

Height Requirement: 35″

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse

Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse is a walk through the home of the chipmunks. Said residence has very elaborate floor detail for a treehouse and comes with some steep stairs.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Toontown Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey

Mickey Mouse lives in the nicest Disneyland Toontown house of them all. It has an oddly large amount of furniture for a mouse. You can also meet Mickey there.

Pro tip: You need to wait in line to meet Mickey, but not to walk through his house. If you don’t care about seeing him, don’t get in that line.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Not Anymore

Disneyland Toontown Minnie’s House

Minnie Mouse lives in her own, hot pink abode. I assume they haven’t yet gotten married because of the drastic difference in their taste in decor.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Not Anymore

Disneyland Toontown Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is like a scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I find the placement of this ride in this section of the park geared so heavily toward small children interesting. Kids can definitely ride, but I don’t think small children have seen this movie, nor do I think they understand what is happening.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland vs disney world rides pluto

Disneyland Fantasyland Rides

Pro tip: Fantasyland closes during the fireworks. Don’t wait until the end of the day to ride these rides.

Royal Hall and Royal Theatre

This Disneyland Fantasyland theater allows you to meet princesses and see short live shows based upon fairy tales. Kids can sit on the floor during the show, but there are benches for adults.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey

Pinocchio’s Daring Journey is a slow moving, dark ride with animatronics. It’s a little weird. Clowns make an appearance. It may be scary for small children.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Snow White’s Scary Adventure

The Disneyland Snow White ride is another slow moving dark ride that is scarier than it should be, although I guess you are technically warned by the name. Kids will be fine with the movement of the ride, but it may be too much for small children.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

Similarly to Disney World, you enter the park onto Disneyland Main Street with a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Unlike the castle at Disney World, you can walk through this one. There are pages of a Disneyland book with the story of Sleeping Beauty to read during the walk. Disneyland definitely wins the day in the castle department.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Anaheim Tips Castle

Disneyland King Arthur Carrousel

King Arthur Carrousel (not a typo) is a simple merry-go-round on white horses. Like Prince Charming Regal Carrousel (also not a typo) in Magic Kingdom, the horses are nothing special. However, there is something magical about riding with a view of the castle.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Casey Jr. Circus Train

Casey Jr. Circus Train, not to be confused with the train that transports you around Disneyland, is a small train geared toward young children. It is one small step above LEGOLAND Express speed-wise, but there is more to see. It takes you through scenes from famous stories.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Dumbo the Flying Elephant Disneyland Anaheim

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a ride in a circle on an elephant. The ride itself is not exciting, but you will be hard pressed to find a more iconic Disneyland ride.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Anaheim Tips Dumbo

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

This gives your kids a glimpse into dorm life. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is in fact wild. It has lots of neon lights and freaky things happening. Kids can definitely handle the movement itself, and will probably be fine on the ride as well.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Peter Pan’s Flight

Peter Pan’s Flight is a slow moving flight over the story of Peter Pan.  The animatronics are fun.  The ride is calm. Everyone can ride.  This is one of the best rides at Disneyland for toddlers.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Anaheim Mad Tea Party

Mad Tea Party is another iconic Disneyland attraction.  You sit in teacups and control how fast they turn. If you get nauseous easily, you can “help” your kids spin.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland is a slow moving dark ride through the story. The animatronics are cute and fun. Everyone knows this. This line gets stupid long. Get there early.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Anaheim Pixie Hollow

Pixie Hollow is a character meet and greet with Tinker Bell in a random corner secret forest.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Matterhorn Bobsleds

Remember when I said Indiana Jones wasn’t for those with degenerative disc disease? This ride will cause a herniated disc. Some maintenance to the ride would go a long way.

In this Disneyland Yeti ride, animatronics randomly jump out and roar at you while you travel through a mountain. It may scare small children.

Height Requirement: 42″

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Fantasyland Storybook Land Canal Boats

Storybook Land Canal Boats is a slow moving boat ride through several stories. The level of detail is impressive. This is a perfect ride for small children.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

“it’s a small world”

Disneyland it’s a small world is a very long boat ride through several rooms representing different cultures. There is a ton to see. Some of the animatronics are subtly racist by today’s standards. Other than that, this is a great ride for everyone.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Tomorrowland Rides

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is a little strange. You walk down very steep stairs to enter this submarine then just stare into a porthole to watch some Finding Nemo stuff. It is definitely a one and done.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Tomorrowland Autopia

Autopia is the Tomorrowland Speedway of Disneyland. Kids drive the cars and you hang on for dear life. Unlike when your teenager drives for real, the cars cannot leave the track, so you aren’t actually in danger. This will give you a good idea whether your children should take Driver’s Ed more than once.

Height Requirement: 32″ to ride with an adult, 54″ to ride alone

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: No

Disneyland Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Wars Launch Bay houses props from the movies and replicas created for the attraction. You can watch a documentary and buy stuff (shocker). You can also meet Disneyland Star Wars characters Darth Vader and Chewbacca.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Hollywood Studios)

Disneyland Space Mountain

Space Mountain (sometimes Disneyland Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain) is an indoor Disneyland roller coaster. It turns sharply and moves quickly in complete darkness.  If you like roller coasters, it is not to be missed.

Height Requirement: 40″

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Disneyland Tomorrowland Star Tours – The Adventure Continues

Star Tours – The Adventure Continues is a motion simulator with shaking and nausea-inducing movements. Universal would be proud.

Height Requirement: 40″

MaxPass Accepted: No

Available at Disney World: Yes (Hollwood Studios)

Disneyland Tomorrowland Astro Orbiter

Astro Orbiter is another ride where you spin in a circle, except, this time, you travel in rocket ships much faster. This is also one to avoid if you have issues with motion sickness.

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters is a slow moving, indoor ride during which you shoot at targets with lasers. Nothing like a little healthy competition between siblings. The kids were bound to get into a fight anyway, right?

Height Requirement: None

MaxPass Accepted: Yes

Available at Disney World: Yes (Magic Kingdom)

6. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for the Afternoon Parade

Update: The afternoon parade is currently suspended due to COVID-19.

Disneyland has a midday parade that changes periodically. All of the parades are super cute. The floats are intricate and brightly colored. There is no shortage of popular characters at whom to wave. It is a must see if your children like characters.

Pro tip: The parade starts around the entrance to Small World. This is a good place to watch because you can cut out and get in line for a ride while most other people are still watching the end of the parade.

Skip the Dining Package

Disneyland offers dining packages that grant you access to priority seating for the parade. Special seating cuts down on the chances that you will get arrested for choking someone, so I get the appeal.

Priority seating sounds fancy, right? What that actually means is you sit in a roped off section of asphalt.

When we paid for this package, a jagoff still rolled in at the last minute and parked her stroller in front of everyone else. There is plenty of seating available to the public. Paying extra for the dining package to sit in this section is wholly unnecessary.

7. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Fantasmic!

Update: The nighttime shows are currently suspended due to COVID-19.

Fantasmic! is an elaborate evening spectacular with two showings each night. The show is about a half an hour long. It includes fireworks, characters, screens, water features, and a pirate ship with people swinging around on it.

Pro Disneyland park tip: Noise canceling headphones are key if your kid doesn’t like loud noises.

Disneyland MaxPass for Fantasmic!

You can reserve seating for Fantasmic! using MaxPass, but that is not the best idea as it limits the number of Disneyland rides you can book during the day.

Priority Seating for Fantasmic!

You can get priority seating through a dining package. Like the parade, you sit in a roped off section of asphalt. Unlike with the parade, paying for the priority section might be a good idea for this show if it is important to you. People set up shop early to wait for Fantasmic! to start.

8. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Fireworks

Disneyland has fireworks if the weather allows (which it often does not). They come on shortly after the first show of Fantasmic!. The fireworks are good Disneyland fun. They feature projections and loud noises, two of Disneyland’s favorite things.

Pro tip: If you don’t want to watch the fireworks, the lines for the rides are dynamite during this time.

Priority Seating for Fireworks

There is a Disneyland Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience. This is an attempt at a dessert party like the one offered at Disney World, except if the fireworks don’t happen, you don’t get your money back. It also comes with an obstructed view.

As of the time of this writing, it costs $50 per person for guests ages three and up. Hard pass.

Pro tip: One of my favorite tips for Disneyland is to stay in your seat after the first showing of Fantasmic!. You will be able to see the fireworks from there if they happen.

9. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Dining

Outside Food Policy

Do you actually want to bring food in? Is the hassle of carting stuff around worth the savings? Disneyland has some decent food. You may want to work it into your budget.

If you decide to bring it in, Disneyland has a generous policy regarding outside food. You can bring in anything that isn’t alcoholic or in a glass container. There is a disclaimer in the policy that the food’s odor cannot be pungent. I can only imagine what happened to prompt the need to include that on the website.

Pro tip: Disneyland quick service locations will give you free cups of ice.

Bonus pro tip: Adults can order off the kids’ menu, and there is nothing stopping you from sharing food.

Disneyland Anaheim Dining Reservations

Disneyland dining reservations can be made 60 days in advance. Disney World used to be 180 days, but has since followed suit and switched to a 60 day window in the wake of COVID-19.

Although they are on the same schedule, it is not the same experience. Disneyland reservations are easier by which to come. No need to wake up at 5:00 a.m. on day 60. The reservations will still be there when you wake up, and the day after that, and probably the day after that. You get what I’m saying.

Don’t Expect to Be Seated When You Arrive

We saw a pattern throughout our time at Disneyland and California Adventure. Without fail, we arrived at our reservation time, observed 40 open tables, then waited 20 minutes to be seated. Most of these times, my kids were hangry and bouncing off the walls.

If your kids really need to eat at a specific time, make your reservation for a slightly earlier time.

Disneyland Dining with Allergies

Disney goes above and beyond when it comes to allergies at most of its properties. Disneyland is no exception. You will find an allergy menu at most locations and great measures are taken to avoid cross contamination. Some restaurants are better than others.

Cafe Orleans Disneyland Gluten Free

Cafe Orleans is the best Disneyland restaurant we visited. The food is much better than you would expect from a theme park. The gluten free shrimp and grits in particular are bomb.

Pro tip: You can order the Monte Cristo (Cafe Orleans’ signature item) gluten free at Disneyland California, but you must do so in advance.

Jolly Holiday Bakery Disneyland Gluten Free

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe is a Disneyland quick service with lots of gluten-filled bakery items. Here, you can order a prepackaged allergy free cookie or brownie. These Disneyland gluten free desserts are everywhere in the park. This is not an ideal location for Disneyland gluten free food.

Disneyland Rancho Del Zocalo Gluten Free

Rancho del Zocalo is a quick service Mexican restaurant. The food is decent and worth the Disneyland price markup. The enchiladas are particularly good for fast food at a theme park.

You should definitely mention your dietary restrictions to an employee if you are sensitive to cross contamination to make sure they handle your food properly.

Plaza Inn Disneyland Gluten Free

Plaza Inn is bad. It just is.

We purchased the Plaza Inn Dining Disneyland Package to minimize the odds of ending up in Disneyland jail for battering someone who tried to slide in front of us at the parade at the last minute.

The Disneyland dining package comes with a ridiculously overpriced meal and asphalt priority parade seating. The menu is preselected. There is a disgusting amount of OK at best food. I would have been much happier with half the amount of higher quality Disneyland food.

As of the time of this writing, it costs $40 per adult and $25 per child. Bring your brass knuckles and save the money.

Disneyland Anaheim River Belle Terrace

Disneyland offers Fantasmic! Dining Packages. You can dine at Blue Bayou or River Belle Terrace.

As of the time of this writing, River Belle Terrace will run you $45 per adult and $25 per child for both lunch and dinner. Disneyland Blue Bayou is $62 per adult and $29 per child for lunch and $75 per adult and $30 per child for dinner.

The food at River Belle Terrace is awful. We made this reservation to maximize our park time, but when we left, the server told us to arrive an hour before the show. By the way, you stand during the show. How is having to arrive an hour early and stand priority? You can do that for free. Anywhere. Save your money.

10. Disneyland Anaheim Tips to Save on Tickets

Types of Disneyland Anaheim Tickets

Note: Ticket offerings are constantly changing. As of the time of this update, the Disneyland pass program is temporarily suspended. Check availability at the time of your visit to determine what makes the most sense.

Disneyland California Tickets for Single Visits

You can purchase single park per day and Disneyland Park Hopper tickets which allow you to bounce between the two parks. Park Hopper tickets cost more.

Pro tip: In normal times, if you purchase a ticket of three days or more, you get Magic Morning, early access to the park one of the three days.

Should You Park Hop?

Are Park Hopper tickets worth it? If you will move around, I believe they are. We never purchase Park Hopper tickets at Disney World because traveling between the parks is a giant time suck, but at Disneyland, it is easy to move around. However, if you don’t want to incur the extra expense, it will not ruin your day. You will have plenty to do at Disneyland on its own.

Disneyland Annual Passes

If you plan to visit multiple times, an annual pass may make sense for you. Check your options and do some math.

Ways to Purchase Tickets

Disneyland Resort Tickets Direct Sale

A great way to save a substantial amount on tickets is to purchase them from the Disneyland website using Disney gift cards purchased at a discount. A direct purchase is not your best option unless you use gift cards on which you saved money.

Pro tip: Tickets expire, so make sure you will be able to use them in time before you purchase them.

Note: Gift cards are great for saving, but if you cancel your trip, your refund is coming to you in the form of Disney dollars, not real dollars. There were plenty of people hit hard by the pandemic who would have much preferred the money be returned a bank account rather than a Disney gift card. Consider your tolerance for risk.

Disneyland Discount Ticket Broker

If you do not want to juggle Disney gift cards, consider a discount ticket broker like Undercover Tourist. You can usually find Disneyland ticket prices below rack rate. You can still add MaxPass to your ticket if you purchase it from a broker.

Again, watch for expiration dates on your Disneyland park tickets.

Disneyland Military Discount

Disney sometimes offers a military discount. You can’t get one all the time, but check to see what is offered at the time of your visit.

Check Your Local Grocery Store

Some local stores sell tickets at a discount, including Target. It doesn’t hurt to check.

11. Disneyland Anaheim Tips to Save on Hotels

Are the Disneyland Hotels Worth it?

Disneyland hotel prices are bananas expensive. There are plenty of hotels near Disneyland at which you can stay for much less. Are the Disney hotels worth it?

While it is true that they cost more, being in the Disney bubble is a magical thing. Everything is well themed and within walking distance. In normal times, you also get into the parks earlier than the general public every day of your trip.

If you are concerned about cost, off property is the way to go. If you can swing it, it is worth it to be on property.

Rent Disney Vacation Club Points

You can stay at the Grand Californian on rented Disney Vacation Club points at a substantial discount.

Points can be rented through brokers like David’s Vacation Club Rentals or DVC Rental Store. These companies act as the go between and can ensure you actually secure your reservation.

You can also rent directly from people born on Tuesday who committed to paying Disney annually until the sun burns out and everyone moves to Mars. The rate will likely be cheaper than if you go through a broker, but it comes with some risk. There is no guarantee you won’t get scammed.

Note: Make sure you understand the downsides to renting Disney Vacation Club points prior to committing.

Pool

12. Disneyland Anaheim Tips to Save with Miles and Points

Disneyland costs a small fortune, but you can get more bang for your buck with miles and points credit cards.

Disney Visa from Chase

The Disney Visa credit cards rarely give you the best value, but you do get some perks. These include six months of interest free payments on your Disneyland vacation packages, ten percent off at select locations at Disneyland, and exclusive character meet and greets for card members.

It is worth holding one of the cards for the perks while traveling, but you should not use this card for all of your spend.

As of the time of this writing, there is an introductory bonus of a $300 statement credit after spending $1,000 on the card in the first three months on the Disney Premier Visa. That card has a $49 annual fee.

Pro tip: There is a no annual fee version available. If you are interested in the card, take out the Premier, earn your introductory bonus, then call for a retention offer when your annual fee posts the next year. You always have the option to switch to the no annual fee version.

Bonus pro tip: Chase will not approve you for a credit card if you have taken out or been listed as an authorized user on five or more cards in the last two years.

Capital One Venture

Capital One’s Venture cards allow you to erase travel expenses from your credit card statement. If you charge a Disneyland package on this card, you can erase it later.

13. Make a Disneyland Touring Plan

Disneyland Anaheim has a lot to offer. One of the most important tips for visiting Disneyland is to make a touring plan. This is key to maximizing your day and minimizing whining. Unless your kids like lines. Then just wing it.

Pro tip: The free version of Touring Plans allows you to input what you want to do. It provides you with a proposed itinerary to minimize Disneyland wait times that can be updated throughout the day.

Bonus pro tip: Fantasyland is often a good place to start if you arrive right when the park opens.

14. Download the Disneyland App

The Disneyland app will give you information about tickets, show times, and characters. The single biggest reason to use it is for the wait times for the rides on the Disneyland park map section of the app. Get ready to ignore your children to obsess over it. You can bond later.

Grab a paper Disneyland map for easy reference as well.

15. Arrive Prior to Disneyland Opening

Don’t make my mistake. Wake up early. Disneyland looks like a ghost town in the morning. The lines are the shortest they will be all day. You will be amazed how much you can get done in the first couple of Disneyland hours. If you sleep in, you miss out on the best part of the day.

Buena Vista Street

16. Don’t Forget to Make Disneyland Park Reservations

As of the time of this update, you have to make Disneyland theme park reservations to enter the theme parks. It is unknown whether this system is here to stay, but confirm you can get into the parks before you make the trek.

Pro tip: Check the Disneyland reservation calendar to see if there is availability for the date you want to visit BEFORE purchasing your tickets.

17. Dress for the Disneyland Weather

Anaheim is no Orlando. The weather is mild, not very rainy, and sometimes even a bit chilly. Check the weather when packing to ensure you are comfortable.

Average temperatures are as follows:

Winter

Average high: Low 70s

Average low: High 40s

Spring

Average high: Mid 70s

Average low: Mid 50s

Summer

Average high: Mid 80s

Average low: Mid 60s

Fall

Average high: Low 80s

Average low: High 50s

18. Baby Care Center

Disneyland with a baby just got a little easier. There is a Baby Care Center on Main Street. Here, you will find a nursing room, changing tables, high chairs, a sink, bottle warmers, a microwave, and a vending machine that dispenses necessities you forgot. This facility is a better option than whipping it out on Splash Mountain. Take advantage.

19. Check a Crowd Calendar

If your travel dates are flexible, check a crowd calendar when selecting your dates. If school is in session, the parks will be less crowded. The hours may also be shorter, so factor that into your decision.

20. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Packing

When it comes to packing, less is more. You don’t need all that junk. Make a reasonable Disneyland packing list and stick to it. In a real pinch, you can always pick up what you need from a gift shop. Disney will take your money.

21. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Rider Switch

Is your short child affecting your fun? Great news. Disneyland offers Rider Switch.

This program allows adults to switch places while the other watches the third wheel child so you don’t have to wait in line twice. If you have an older child, he or she can ride with both parents.

Pro tip: If you don’t want to deal with Rider Switch, the single rider lines at Disneyland are generally much shorter than the regular standby lines.

Stitch

22. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Mobile Order

Disneyland doesn’t want you breathing all over its employees after being shut down for a year. Ordering food at a counter is a thing of the past. You now have to order your food on the Disneyland app. This is actually a great system because it cuts down on waiting.

Pro tip: Mobile order pickup times fill up. You can place your order for a specific time any time you would like. Start early before your first choice is gone.

23. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Shows

Disney fans have FOMO. This deep-rooted issue causes them to flock to the first offering of most things. If there is a show that plays more than once, particularly at night, go for the second one unless there is a good reason not to.

24. Disneyland Anaheim Tips for Park Closing

Disneyland has a posted park closing time, but all guests are not expected to vacate the park at said time. If you get in line for an attraction one minute before closing, you will not be booted out. The line will close behind you, but they will let everyone in line ride.

Right before park closing is a great time to get in line for a ride with traditionally long waits. It’s a jerk move at your local restaurant, but they expect it at Disneyland.

25. How Many Days Do You Need for Disneyland?

It will be difficult to ride every single thing in Disneyland in one day. If it is your first time, try to spend a total of three days at the Disneyland Resort, two of which should be dedicated at least partially to the Disneyland park.

Pro tip: Disneyland hotels will store your luggage for you while you’re at the parks. You can visit the parks for two days with only one night at the hotel without having to worry about your hair straightener getting stolen.

26. Bring a Portable Phone Charger

The Disneyland app drains the battery on your cell phone faster than a group of thirty something suburban moms can take down a case of White Claw. You need the app for wait times. Bring a portable charger to keep the phone alive.

Disneyland Anaheim Tips and Tricks – Final Thoughts

Disneyland is a great park. It has a lot of the best rides in Disney World without the humidity. The ability to walk between the parks and the resorts is amazing. Consider investing in MaxPass to maximize your day. Implement the Disneyland Anaheim tips that work for you, and plan your trip.

Visit Disneyland theme park. You will not regret it.

Disneyland Anaheim Theme Park Pin

Related Articles to Disneyland Anaheim Tips:

Disneyland Vacation Packing List for People in Touch with Reality

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Disney California Adventure Park

Grand Californian Hotel in Disneyland: Best Location Ever

Disneyland Trip Planning: Save Money and Maximize Your Trip

Disneyland Anaheim Tips

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