If you know anything about me at all, you will know that I LOVE Disneyland! I grew up watching all those fun animated films, and when I got my first chance to visit this iconic theme park, I jumped at the chance!
Disneyland Resort is a Disnerd’s paradise. It’s been around since Walt Disney himself oversaw the construction of the theme park in 1955. There is a ton of themed rides, shows, and attractions. And did I mention that they’re all based on Disney movies? While I visited there, I got to visit Cars Land (based off of the movie Cars), then there was Tomorrow Land, and all the Star Wars themed attractions you can imagine.
Your Complete Guide to Visiting Disneyland Resort
Because Disneyland Resort is such a huge place, you will want to make sure to plan more than one day so that you can see all the fun things it offers.
Where to Stay
For the most immersive Disneyland experience, stay on property. There are three onsite hotels
- Disneyland Hotel
- Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel
- Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
They are all themed hotels and super creative with a ton of Disney touches. If you stay on any of those properties, you can experience the Extra Magic Hour benefit which gives you one-hour early access to either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park.
This benefit will help reduce your waits on the most popular attractions (talkin’ about you, Radiator Springs Racers).
But — if you’re looking to save your money for souvenirs and food items at Disneyland, you may want to try staying off property to be sure and check out many of the California apartments close by.
Use Your Map!
Disneyland Resort is a jungle and it is very big! The whole park is made up of multiple “lands” with different themes, and it’s easy to get lost and disoriented because of how many there are. So you’ll want to pick up a map from their staff or download the Disneyland mobile app.
The app is actually helpful because it allows you to view not just the map of the resort, but also the attractions with the shortest lines. That way you can really make the most of your time there.
Grab a Fast Pass
I would also recommend taking advantage of their Fastpass system. With the Fastpass, I was able to bypass the long lines on most attractions and get right on the rides with little wait times.
The FASTPASS system is one of the best ways to maximize your time at Disneyland. In case you’re not familiar with the system, certain attractions in both parks allow you to insert your park ticket and get a pass, called the FASTPASS, which gives you a return time to the specified attraction. We used this a lot when I visited and I was amazed at how much this pass cut down on the time.
However, you should know that you can only use the FASTPASS during the specified one-hour return time window (although you can arrive 5 minutes early and up to 10 minutes late).
FastPass is not always available as many attractions do run out by evening, especially at Disney California Adventure.
Disneyland Park FASTPASS Attractions
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion / Haunted Mansion Holiday
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
- “it’s a small world” / “it’s a small world” Holiday
Disney California Adventure FASTPASS Attractions
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy—Misson: BREAKOUT! / Monsters After Dark
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
- World of Color (does not affect obtaining ride FASTPASSes)
Things to Do
Where do I even start? Disneyland Resort has so many rides and attractions, it would take forever for me to list them all. For starters, Main Street USA is hard to miss, as it’s the first thing that welcomes you to the park.
You can also check out the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Being such a huge fan of the movie, stepping inside and reliving Aurora’s story through animatronics and special effects was such a treat!
I didn’t get to visit The Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! but on my next adventure to Disneyland, I will be hitting this ride up for sure!
Where to Wind Down
Roaming around and experiencing the joys of Disneyland Resort is bound to make anyone exhausted — I know it did for me. The Downtown Disney District is home to a ton of restaurants and cafes that are bound to sate your appetite.
We chose one of the restaurants at the end of the day to sit, relax and have a great meal. Then, we watched the parade and ended the night. It was truly magical and one I will remember for the rest of my life.
Disneyland Resort is the perfect place for you and your family to relive your childhood and be kids once again. I never understood all the hype until I experienced it myself. Now I cannot get enough and want to go back SO BAD!!