I may not be the ultimate Disney fanatic (I don’t have a Minnie Mouse tattoo, I don’t have Disney bumper stickers and I don’t have more than 3 pairs of Minnie ears), but as a SoCal resident, I’m no stranger to the Magic Kingdom. I tried to count how many times I’ve been to Disneyland since infancy and lost count at 35 trips. So naturally, I’m sharing my tips for an awesome Disney Day at the Magic Kingdom.
Disneyland is a pretty big, freakin’ deal to us Californians. In fact, it’s almost a rite of passage once you’re financially stable enough to afford a Disney annual pass. (Most of us Disney fans purchase the less expensive SoCal Select Passes, SO WE CAN AT LEAST TRY TO HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE OF D-LAND).
So, as a frequent park goer, I’m sharing my tips on how to have the best day at Disneyland! Whether you’re flying into California or driving in from an hour away, these tips work for everyone.
1. Pick the Right Time
If you are traveling from out of state, Fall to Winter is the best time to visit Disneyland. Kids are back in school, parents are earning back that Christmas money, and the weather is cool yet enjoyable.
You’ll be able to hop on most rides with only a 5-10 minute wait and meet your favorite characters instantly! Seriously, you’ve never known the joy of meeting Minnie Mouse after a 5 minute wait.
You may not be able to skip rain during your travels to California, but with our recent drought, your odds are pretty good. Just be flexible with which day you eventually go to Disneyland.
Local Southern California residents? Try visiting Tuesday through Thursday for the least crowded days.
Obvious, right? But this ain’t a Disney Day list without this ‘duh’ tip. You’re going be in lines or waiting for your kids while they’re in lines ALL DAY. Save your skin and get the 100 block! Bra strap tans are not cute, trust me.
3. Pregame in the Parking Lot
And by pregame, I mean stuff your face with free food from home.
Whether you’re coming from the greater LA area for a half day or starting bright and early in the hotel, it’s important to save as many bucks as possible, especially since you can’t bring in any food into the park.
But don’t go for the Mickey pancakes just yet! Make sure you load up on protein first. Protein will keep you energized and fuller, longer whereas starting your day with sugar will lead to a crash and some crabbiness. Which brings me to…
4. Pick Your Poison Wisely
In the land of ‘EVERYTHING SMELLS LIKE HEAVEN,’ it’s easy to get carried away. Between churros, lollipops, ice cream, fudge, candied apples and beignets (my favorite), you’re not only going to break your bank, but your waistline and energy gage.
Now, if you’re there for your first time, for one day only, and have dreamed about this day since forever… then bulk up on PeptoBismol and eat it all!
However if this is your 3rd time or mayyybe you’re trying to last more than 1 day at Disneyland, respect your body and your wallet. Stick to 1 or 2 sweets all day long and SEARCH AROUND for tasty, protein-packed dishes at Disneyland. I promise you, they are there. And I promise, you’ll thank me when it’s over.
In addition to eating protein and limiting your sugars, make sure you stay hydrated!
This will help keep you energy levels high and your hAnger pangs low. Unfortunately, it’s a tad difficult to bring your own water from home. So bring some water for the walk/car ride there and revert to tip #3!
When you get into the park, make sure to load up on Smart Water and not Dasani. Dasani water has magnesium sulfate and potassium chloride which make you actually feel more thirsty and keep reaching for more (as well as other horrible side effects)!
5. Fast Passes are your BFF
And you can never have too many BFFs.
Unfortunately, you can only have 1 fast pass per hour. However, once that time is up, you’re free to get another one! You will be able to ride twice as many attractions if you manage to have a fast pass in your pocket while waiting in line for a different ride.
6. Do a Little Research
I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to ride every single ride in one day, but then again, why would you want to? There is so much to be seen at Disneyland, it’s important to determine what your favorites are and stick with that!
If you’re traveling in a group, all the more reason to see which you will be compromising so that you can all have fun. Utilize the Disney Park map app, the waiting lines app, and a good old fashioned Disney program upon arrival.
7. Limit Your Gadgets
There’s one, subtle thing that can ruin your Disney Day like no other: technology.
Yes, there are the apps that you can use on the phone as mentioned above and you’ve gotta share your adventures on
Snapchat Instagram Stories (#picoritdidnthappen), but don’t forget to enjoy the scenery!
To help with this conundrum, limit your gadgets or promise yourself you will only use 1 type of social media app at the park (the horror!). This will help keep your eyes off the screen and on the magic.
8. Make Sure to Watch At Least One Parade
Probably one of the most magical moments of Disneyland is when I witness a parade. They’re all so beautiful and exciting! Seeing the colors, the costumes and the characters make you feel like a kid again. And to see the joy on the actual children’s face… le sigh… priceless.
From seasonal parades to the World of Color to the Paint the Night Parade, you will have plenty of options.
Good seats require a half hour wait. GREAT SEATS will require you to find a spot 2 hours before the show. So use this time to relax and snack or have the tired member of the group go ahead and find the spots for you. Best spots to view the parade are right in front of the Sleeping beauty Castle or directly on Main Street.
9. Rock that Comfy Swag
Mickey Ears, Star Wars backpacks, shirts, Disney chucks… rock it all! There’s nothing like getting in the spirit with some Disney gear to get your spirit-o-meter at an all time high.
But don’t wear those super-cute skinny jeans that ride up your crotch. Or your red Minnie Mouse lipstick that will smear all over your face when you eat a turkey leg (guilty).
Eating, running, sitting, standing in line will call for the most flexible and high functioning outfit. And just to let you know, there is no such thing as too much Disney swag. Trust me.
10. Search for Legendary Hidden Treasures
There’s much more to Disneyland than meets the eye! Instead of having your ho-hum trip to Disney, try having a scavenger hunt for an offbeat and unique experience! Search for the famous Club 33 in the New Orleans Square, try to spot as many Hidden Mickeys as you can, or find out where the bones of Pirates of the Caribbean ride really came from.
11. Don’t Overpack
You don’t need extra baggage at the happiest place on Earth! You only really need a few items:
- A blanket to sit on during the parade
- Wipes or Antibacterial
- Extra layers (Disneyland is hot in the day and pretty cool at nights)
If you’re one of those groups who have lots of kids or babies, you’re pardoned. Good lord… the baggage…