Growing up in Southern California had it’s perks. Beautiful weather, family nearby and of course my good ol’ pal, Mickey Mouse. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know we visit California quite often. I travel to LA for work occasionally or we will schedule trips to visit family. You may remember that my mom was also a school teacher for several years. When I was young, I remember her students in California would all pitch-in to get her season passes to Disneyland. (Was that one heck of a room mom or what?) With Disney practically in our backyard, it was easy for us to visit frequently.
Though I love my home here in Dallas, I do sometimes miss sunny California. So whenever an opportunity to go to California arises, we always jump on it.
Over the past few years, I’ve posted our Disney adventures on Snapchat and Instagram. Each time, I have several emails and messages requesting a Disney post or general questions about our trip. I finally decided to share a few of our tips, but I am proceeding with caution as I am not a professional Disney go-er (yes, there is such a thing!). There are tons of other amazing Disney bloggers out there who study the park and have it down to a science. I don’t have children so I cannot speak for that, but I will try my best to include all the tips that my family has followed throughout the years!
I hope this helps! Please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you have any suggestions of your own, I would love to hear them. Thanks! xx Ashley
Oh and this post is dedicated to my wonderful Mom. Despite making us have a Disney themed game room at an embarrassing age and forcing us to get pictures with the characters every trip, I’m thankful for and cherish all of my Disney memories. Love you, Mom!
BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE
Buying your tickets early will save you precious minutes in line (a very long one at that) however, it is still recommended you arrive early. Occasionally, they will close entry due to max capacity. Prices also vary depending what day you go. If possible, I would avoid weekends or Monday/Friday at all cost. Disney is a happening place and can get very very crowded. Be prepared to go through a security line as well. Sometimes it takes us 15 minutes to wait in line and sometimes it can take around 45 minutes. My rule of thumb is the earlier you arrive the better! Austin disagrees 😉
We have not been during Magic Hour but I hear it is so worth it if you have children. Essentially, the park opens an hour early to allow select guests time to enjoy the park when it is less crowded. I believe it is only open to guests who are staying at Disney Resort Hotels, however I am not 100% sure. This article is helpful on those interested in Magic Hour.
CAN I BRING MY OWN FOOD?
So this surprised me. Every time we got to Disneyland, we see several (SEVERAL) families with small backpacks filled with sandwiches, granola bars and even plastic water bottles. When my family and I went last month, we packed a few granola bars in my purse and it was no issue at all. However, I just went to reference the official website and it states that you are not allowed to bring food unless you have a dietary restriction. I wish I knew more about this, but I would call or email before bringing in food for the family. If you have any information on this, please share below!
MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
So if you do decide to eat in the park, get ready because you are in for a treat. Seriously, Disneyland is known for have some of the best theme park meals! One of my favorite places to eat is the Blue Bayou. It’s on the pricier side, but you can’t beat the experience. You get to eat inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and enjoy the bayou atmosphere. The food is amazing too. Be sure to make reservations at least a month in advance.
Another favorite (and more affordable option) is Pizza Port. They have my favorite pizza salad and Austin loves the pasta. We go here every time! Disney is also known for their Clam Chowder Bread Bowls. You can get one in New Orleans Square at Royal Street Veranda. Oh my goodness they are delicious!
MY FAVORITE DISNEY SNACKS & SWEET TREATS
If you’re looking for a festive treat, you came to the right place. Don’t judge, but Austin and I have tried almost everything here through out our several trips. These are our top favorites: Churros (Austin’s favorite), Mickey Mouse Soft Pretzel, Ice Cream from the ice cream parlor on Main Street (always a long line), Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Sandwich, and the frozen banana. Please know we did not consume all of those in one setting 🙂
HOW TO USE A FAST PASS
Fast Pass is a ticket that allows you to get through the line must faster than the normal stand by line. Do not throw away your park ticket stub as you will need this to get your fast pass tickets. They are free, however there is a limited number allowed. You will see fast pass distribution machines located near the popular rides. I would definitely be strategic when getting your fast passes as you can only use a certain amount per day. We usually get to use 3 in a day. Here is a good example of a fast pass ticket.
MY FAVORITE RIDES
Keep in mind, we don’t have children so these rides are definitely geared towards adults. We love Space Mountain (now called Hyperspace Mountain), Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours and Big Thunder Mountain. The lines for these get very long! We always use our fast pass for Hyperspace Mountain, Indiana Jones, Star Tours or Splash Mountain as they tend to have the most lengthy lines.
THE BEST FIREWORKS SHOW I’VE EVER SEEN
I think this is self explanatory. But seriously, Disney puts on the most spectacular fire work show ever! You can use your fast pass for this, or just claim your seat early. People start looking for seats about an hour before the show starts.
MICKEY EARS (to buy or not to buy at the park)
I purchased a pair of sequin minnie ears (seen here) a few years ago. However, there are so many more fun options on Etsy! I love this flower version or these pink sequin minnie ears (might order these for next time).
There are several options to buy at the park and you can get a pair for around $20, but if you want something unique, I would purchase off Etsy.
WHAT TO WEAR TO DISNEY
This is the most popular question I get asked regarding Disney. For me, comfort is key! I also like to pack layers since it gets chilly at night (even in the summer). For my most recent trip, I wore this cardigan, white tank top (I went up a size in this, follow US sizing in parenthesis), and denim (full look here). We came here last July, and I wore a floral blouse, green jacket, shorts and sandals (full look here). Last year we went to disneyworld and I wore a cotton dress, long sleeve plaid shirt (perfect to throw on at night) and sneakers (full look here). The dress was a little tricky getting on and off a few rides, but not unmanageable. I always wear flats or comfortable sandals. You are on your feet literally the entire day.