10 Disneyland Do's & Don'ts
Updated: Apr 9
On your way to the Disneyland Park soon? Below are my personal tips and tricks as an avid Disney-goer to ensure that you have the most memorable, cost-efficient, and magical day possible. This is a MUST-read before you go!
Having had a pass for almost 13 years (in August!), I've developed some of the best advice to help guide you through your special day. Whether you're attending the park for the first time or the tenth, this list is a compilation of things I've personally learned over the years that I would love to share with you all to make your day at the parks as magical as possible :)
DO plan your outfit! One of the best things you can do for yourself is not only prep for your long day but prepare efficiently. For super cute and inexpensive Disney gear (tees, tanks, shorts, and sweatshirts) look no further than Forever21 and Target. If you're looking to save money but still want to strut your Disney style, definitely look to these businesses to help ya out. People are always shocked to hear that I buy my Disney attire from these two places. Otherwise, if you're wanting to wear something else (totally fine too) try to make sure you plan it ahead the night before so as to eliminate any stress the morning of. Remember comfortable shoes!
DO pack a backpack and BYOS. A medium-large sized backpack will work perfectly for you; if others in your group are planning on using it as well, I recommend a larger one. So what is BYOS?? Bring Your Own Snacks! Stop at a Walgreens, Target, or another grocery store on the way there to fill up on cheaper, larger quantity-sized snacks that you and your buds can enjoy together. You should also pack your own water bottles or other drinks because I can guarantee you it'll save so much money. If you run out of water, you can always ask for a small iced water for free at any one of the restaurants. This is extremely refreshing! Don't forget to also pack sunscreen, tissues, Tums, Ibuprofen, chapstick, sunglasses/glasses, a small brush, hand sanitizer, your wallet, a portable charger, plastic bags for electronics during wet rides, and a sweatshirt.
DON'T waste your time standing in lines all day. Once you step foot into the park, figure out which ride is the longest or will be the longest later that you want to go on, and get a FASTPASS immediately (these will typically be Space Mountain, Matterhorn, Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones, and Haunted Mansion). You can get multiple of these at once so long as you wait until after a specific time printed on the bottom of your FASTPASS. I cannot stress this enough- continue to get as many FASTPASSES in a day that you possibly can, and while you're waiting for those return times go on other rides with shorter lines! Seriously, this is the most strategic way to go, guys. Disney's "Fantasmic!" show is a must-see at least once, especially up close. If you want the best seating possible make sure you get a FASTPASS! in the morning near the Mark Twain ship. If you can't find it, just ask a cast member. If you decide against this, no worries. There are plenty of other great viewing sites (standby) such as the bridge next to Pirates of the Caribbean, spots around the New Orleans Square, or anywhere a tier above the water. Make sure you get there early and set up camp because these locations will fill up quickly!
DO download the Disneyland App on your phone. This application will allow you to access so much information instantly at your fingertips. You will find a displayed map of the entire park, wait times, park hours, showtimes (for parades, fireworks, and Fantasmic!), and photos taken of you on rides or by Disney photographers around the park. If you have either the Signature Plus Pass, Disney Premier Pass, or have purchased the Disney MaxPass separately you can see and save these wonderful shots to your phone for FREE. So take advantage of the Disney Photographers (especially by Sleeping Beauty's Castle!) walking around in various photo locations and make sure to download the pics later from the app. Their Nikons take really good-quality photos and they know just how to pose you/lighting!
DON'T waste time during the day in Fantasyland. This is one of the most packed "lands" in Disneyland during the day because parents want to take their young children here while they're (both) still energetic and awake. If you're taking your children to Disney for the day then definitely visit this whenever you can, and it's totally fun during the light hours too! But if you're going with friends or want to beat the crowds, my advice to you is to wait until after the fireworks show when the land re-opens. Seeing as this will be past 10 o'clock, the lines are almost half the wait times as earlier, and it's just not as hectic and busy. The Peter Pan ride around 10:30pm-11:30pm is typically around 30ish minutes, while during the day it could be over an hour. Just putting it into perspective!
DO have at least one meal at the park. There are so many fun dining options in Disneyland! Although they may not all be 5-star meals, the atmosphere, and options are certainly worth the price at least once. A more expensive dining location is Blue Bayou, a restaurant located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean. I absolutely love this one! Just make sure you call ahead to make a reservation. Others (no reservation needed) include the Alien Pizza Planet ($) in Tomorrowland, Cafe Orleans ($$) in New Orleans Square, French Market ($) in New Orleans Square, The Golden Horseshoe ($) in Frontierland, Plaza Inn ($$) on Main Street, Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante ($) in Frontierland, and more.
DON'T stress. Your time in the park is supposed to be nothing but magical, carefree, and fun. You're trying to leave the stresses of the real world outside the gates. Try to plan with your group at least two rides ahead or what lands to visit before you all start walking.
DO try to get on all of the rides if you bought a ticket but DON'T expect that you will get on everything. This is just unrealistic sadly, especially during popular vacation times like the holidays or summer. Just try to get on as much as you can and enjoy every second of it.
DO watch the Fireworks show and get a good spot. The fireworks show is spectacular and certainly something to stay for. Thirty or so minutes beforehand, get a good spot on Main Street facing the castle! You won't regret this view.
DON'T wait in the line outside of the Tiki Room for the Dole Whip. This line gets so long...and rightfully so! The Dole Whip Juice Bar offers fresh, yummy pineapple treats that are so delicious on warm or cold days. From the Dole Whip Pineapple Soft-serve to the Pineapple Juice and Floats, this place is always poppin'. BUT don't be fooled! If you walk into the Tiki Room outside the waiting area, you'll notice that they also serve the Dole Whip on that side and the line is normally a lot shorter. You need to try the Dole Whip Soft-serve though, really friends! PLUS it's non-dairy!! Yum yum yum
Wherever the day takes you, just remember to embrace the magic and love that Disneyland has to offer :)