Updated: Nov 23, 2018
When Heidi asked me to be a guest on her blog, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. My favorite place to travel is to Disneyland with my family! After taking this trip a few times, I've become quite comfortable with being prepared and ready to walk all day long and navigate the crowds.
Check out my tips & tricks and contact me through Instagram to share yours!
This has got to be one of my favorite trips to take! I have a 5.5 year old, so I get the excuse to visit Disney theme parks for a very long time!! Although... I'm pretty sure I would still want to go all the time even if I didn't have my son. In this post, I just want to give you some tips on visiting and show you some of my favorite parts.
Let's start by saying that I love this weather change whenever I head to California; and this was very early in the morning!
Tips & Tricks
Planning is extremely important when visiting any theme park, but I would say Disneyland and California Adventure in particular. Here are some tips that I've discovered work very well in the times I've been.
- Timing: Plan on visiting during a non-peak time. This is typically during colder months, and during back to school time. This guarantees you the shortest lines.
- Tickets: I highly recommend getting park-hopper tickets. It's not that much more expensive and it gives you more flexibility during your stay.
- Meals: Make dinner reservations for each night you are staying. I'll show you where the best places are here in a bit, but this makes a huge difference at the end of the night when you're tired and don't want to wait or hunt around for food. This is especially helpful if you have little ones (just be careful because they might fall asleep at the dinner table!) This allows you to make breakfast and lunch work around your plans for the day. We typically do Starbucks on the way into the park in the morning, and then something lighter for lunch in park knowing that we have a sit down dinner planned out. Packing food and bringing it in is always an option too. Just make sure your hotel has a fridge for you to store what you want to bring and hit the grocery store on your way to your hotel from the airport to get everything you need for the entire week.
- Clothing: Wear comfortable walking shoes. I can't tell you how many times I see people in flip flops and I can't imagine that they feel that great by the end of the day. Make sure you check the weather ahead of time and pack clothing that will keep you cool all day long.
- Plan your day: You don't need to plan every second of your day, just go in knowing the general idea. If you know you want to catch a particular show at a particular time - work your way there. Don't start there and then go all over the place just to go back. Trust me... You'll get enough walking in. This one helps a lot! Also, pay close attention to those little schedule pamphlets they have at the entrance. The fireworks at the castle are typically only on the weekends. Get fast passes for the rides that maintain higher than a 35 minute wait. Rides like Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Radiator Springs Racers are known to fill up very quickly, so be sure to use fast passes for those ones.
- Fun: Make it so fun! Don't let it stress you out if there's a line, or anything else. Make sure everyone has a great time!
These were some of our favorite places to eat at and all which we had reservations at to make our lives easier. you can make reservations online on Disney.com in advance of your trip.
- Blue Bayou (located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland) Pricey but totally worth it because everything on the menu is delicious!
- Wine Country Trattoria (located near Paradise Pier in California Adventure) Feels like an Olive Garden but with better food.
- Naples (located in Downtown Disney) Probably some of the best pizza I've ever had!
- ESPN Zone (located in Downtown Disney) Casual and pretty good. Big TVs if you want to watch sports.
- PCH Grill (located in the Paradise Pier Hotel) Awesome breakfast buffet with characters visiting your table.
- La Brea Bakery (located in Downtown Disney) Super good and reasonably priced. Right outside of the security check, so good spot for breakfast or a quick dinner.
- Plaza Inn (located inside Disneyland) Awesome waffles, conveniently inside the park and lots of characters.
- Storytellers Cafe (located inside the Grand Californian Hotel). Huge buffet with comfortable seats. Lots of food to pick from; almost too much!
Things to See
- The Haunted Mansion - Disneyland During the time of year that I visited, the Haunted Mansion is decked out in Nightmare Before Christmas! I love this!! There's so much attention to detail and it truly makes for a very good ride. Bonus: Super air-conditioned. So if you're warm and sweaty, this is the place to go! And as a special treat, they pump gingerbread scent through part of the ride that makes you want all things holiday!
- Paradise Pier - California Adventure This is the prettiest part of California Adventure! I love this part because this is where World of Color takes place! It's a must see - you cannot beat how amazing it is to see what they can do with water and images on water. It's so well thought out!
This is also where my favorite roller coaster lives - California Screamin! And I will admit, I've had to go on this one all by myself, but you better believe that I'm in the front seat for this one! And I know exactly where to pose for the camera!
BONUS - Universal Studios Hollywood As a surprise ending - we went to Universal Studios Hollywood. And let's be honest, we pretty much went to check out Harry Potter! The food inside of Harry Potter land is not that awesome, so I would recommend sticking to Butter Beer and then trying a different food place. But the atmosphere is amazing! And the ride inside of the castle; Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is so much fun! Minus the spiders... I didn't like that part very much!
Traveling is Amazing I could go on and on about how amazing this trip was... I love taking pictures and having memories to share. On our way out, we hit the beach and took in the beautiful Californian coast. Then headed to the airport for some coffee before mimosas in first class!