Tips for a Great Trip
I have been a Disneyland annual passport holder since 1994. I guess that means I have a few hours of Disneyland knowledge and experience under my belt. However, Disneyland is always changing and adding to their Parks. This means I’m always learning new tips and tricks myself. It keeps the adventure and excitement going .
Being born and raised most of my life in Southern California, I started going to Disneyland back when I saw very small. I have great memories of those days with my mom and Grandparents.
As I grew older, I started going with one of my Disney crazy friends and my sister. When I meet my husband, he joined me on my Disneyland adventures. Eventually we added our to kiddos to adventures. Now they both have been to Disneyland more times then they can remember. There have been a lot of changes in our trips since adding kids and now with not living an hour down the road, we have new change to our trips. Over all this time and with such different circumstances, we have learned a lot of tips. I get asked quit often what tips I would recommend. I don’t think I could ever share them all without writing a book. Plus there are already sooooo many amazing blogs out there with great advise. dedicated just to this topic. However,I thought I would share a few of my favorite ones with y’all.
Buy Gift Cards
I know this might not sound like an amazing tip, but let me tell you why it is.
- Reason One: We get 2X fuel points at our local grocery store when we buy gift cards. If we time it right we can get 4X fuel points. That means you can buy a gift card to use to buy your entrance tickets when you get to the park, food, ect. FYI a lot of the food carts do not take gift cards but most food stands and restaurants do. All those points help us fill our tank before our trip for less. Sometimes as much as a $1 off a gallon. Plus you can start adding a gift card or two for your trip when you go grocery shopping and it helps off set the cost of the trip when the time comes to go.
- Reason Two: Our kids earn their gift cards. When it’s time to cash in what they have earned we buy a gift card for them. This works great because when we are at the park they know when their gift card is empty that they are done shopping.
Items to Buy Ahead of Time
I love to go to the dollar stores and buy items that we can use at Disneyland. Here are a few things I pick up there.
- Cotton Candy – We don’t normally let our kids eat cotton candy but it is a Disneyland treat. I like to buy the bag or even better the buckets so the can eat a little then put the lid back on. Trust me, when they see everyone carrying around those big colorful bags of fluffy goodness they will ask foe some. At least mine do.
- Glow Sticks and Toys – Disneyland has the market covered when it comes to glowing toys for when the sun goes down. If you don’t want to be spending money on all those things, buy some glow toys from the dollar stores or Target $1 bins . We also put a string of led lights on our stroller to add to the fun and help us find our stroller in the big mess of strollers that they keep moving around while we are on the rides.
This item is not from the Dollar store but something I love to have for our Disney Days.
- Mister System – I few years ago we looked up the weather forecast for our trip. The temperatures were forecast to be in the 100’s !!!! I started to look for options to help us stay cool for our trip. I know they sell the spray bottle with a fan attached but for $20+ no thank you!!! I headed to BIG 5 to see if I could find some there. Not only did I find them for $9, I also found and amazing mister system that required no batteries and was super portable.
Plus only $14 SCORE!!!! This system sprays enough to keep us all cool plus anyone walking close enough to us. 😉 This is a must have for hot weather. I also recently found very small fans with a spray feature at Wal-Mart that the kids use in the stroller or in line. The are small and easier for them to carry with them.
Item to Make Ahead of Time
- Mickey Ears – We love our Mickey ears. They are just one of the things that help make the magic of Disneyland come alive. After buying a couple different pairs that wee so tight they hurt our head after a couple hours plus not having the ones my kids wanted, I decided to start making our own. They have helped us have special moments with characters, free food and goodies and lots of fun interactions with others. Here is a video on how I make them.
Be creative and try. They are very easy to make. If this seems a little to much for you then check out Etsy for some great mickey ears.
- Autograph Books – Our little ones (6 &9) still enjoy meeting the Disney characters. They have had some amazing interactions with them that will be life long memories. Honestly I feel bad for the families behind us in line because of the special treatment and time some of the Disney characters have spent with them. Were talking up to 15 minutes. But the memories they have of those interactions are priceless. Having an autograph book is just one way to break the ice with the characters. Since we now live close to a Hobby Lobby, making a personal one is easier then ever. Here is a video on how I make them.
Of course, if it’s to much work, you can buy one at the park but the price will be triple.
We always keep a VERY VERY close eye on our kids at Disneyland. However, the crowds can be crazy and unfortunately we have had a couple creepy experiences that have caused us to raise our guard even more. This is a big reason we still bring our stroller even though both kids could probably walk all day. When the crowds move out after a show it is crazy. I know with my kids in the stroller right in front of me I can see them and they aren’t getting trampled over by the packed crowd trying to move. However, I know it is possible to get separated so our kids wear ID necklace tags. My sister had some made for us one year but we also found them at Disneyland in Downtown Disney. There are a couple machines located through Downtown Disney but the least crowed one seems to be the one between Haagen-Dazs and Wetzels Pretzels.
Of course my daughter knows our phone number but should she be upset and crying, would someone be able to understand her. We saw this happen and it broke my heart to see the girl so upset she couldn’t even talk. You can also order tattoo stickers with our phone number and name on Esty or worse case scenario, use a sharpie and write it on your kids arm.
Best Food for the Price in
Sometimes eating in Downtown Disney is a fun place to go. It works great for us because we often meet our old friends there and enjoy a meal together.
This one is not necessarily the best food for the price but what the food lacks, the atmosphere makes up. The Rainforest Cafe is especially a big hit for kids. One thing to keep in mind is it can be hard to talk to each other because it is very loud in the restaurant. The other bummer is the menu is getting smaller and smaller while and prices are getting bigger 😦 I still think everyone should try it out at least once but it is not a regular for us.
Tortilla Joe’s is a great choice for those that are on a smaller budget. The food and service is nice while the appetizer Nachos are a great choice for a couple to share. We share it among all 4 of us!! Plus free chips ans salsa while you wait for your food is always a win!
Across from Tortila Joe’s is the Jazz kitchen. There is a small express window that has fresh Beignets that are little bites of heaven in my opinion. If you’ve never tried them DO IT!!!! I promise you will not regret it. Well maybe all the calories but not the taste. We like to share a family bag after we split the plate of nachos from Tortilla Joe’s. It’s more then enough food for the 4 of us.
After our dinner and dessert, we like to go to get a white chocolate mocha from Peet’s coffee located inside Haagen-Dazs. This is something we like to do the day we arrive since we don’t go into the park that day. If the kids earned a gift cards for Build-a-Bear, they usually get to make one on this night, while we sip our coffee.
Best Hotels Near Disneyland
Of course staying at one of the Disneyland hotels would be fun, but I have never been able to justify the prices of their rooms. We never are in our room that much anyways so why pay $200+ to sleep. I know you can get special rates from time to time but I like to know we can stay at a place and get pretty much get the the same rate. We use to stay at a hotel right next door to Disneyland called the Candy Cane Inn. This is a great hotel as far as location and the rooms are fair. Their breakfast is enjoyable as are the grounds of the hotel. However, over the past year we have received not so friendly service from the staff and decided to look for a new hotel. Customer service is big to me and when paying $149 a night I expect a little of it, ok maybe a lot! This was a hard decision since we have been staying at this hotel since 1993. You can see the hotel grounds and room in this video as well as a few other tips.
The first hotel we tried was the La Quinta Inn and Suites. This was based on our need to bring our dog with us on this trip. This is a pet friendly hotel and unfortunately the hotel looked that way. It was dirty and a pretty long walk to the park. However, the room was very large and we could watch the fireworks from our room. Here is a video of my review of this hotel.
Our last trip we tried the Howard Johnson Hotel and Water Playground. This was by far the cleanest hotel I have stayed at in a long time. The grounds were clean and we felt safe walking back to our room late at night after the park closed. It was a good walk to the park but a very do able one. The water playground was a BIG hit with our kids. I did a very detailed review of this hotel in this video and hope it helps you out with deciding where too stay.
You don’t think I would not tell you my tips for Disneyland and not share my Top 5 Young Living Products
Check out this video and see what they are.
So there you go! Those are a few of my Disneyland tips. I still have so many more so be sure to follow my blog to learn more.
Until next time…
Have a Beautiful Blessed Day,
* I am not being paid by any of these companies to say these things. I am simply giving my honest opinion of them after paying to go, use or stay myself.