As annual passholders, my kids and I visit the park pretty regularly. I’m basically a pro (though I’m always learning new tips and tricks – if you have one, please post it in the comments). Here are some tips I’ve learned the hard way… I thought I’d share them with you so that you can learn them the easy way! I hope these are helpful to you.
1. Tip for Bulky Strollers: Choose the First and Last Car When Boarding the Tram
If you park in the Mickey & Friends parking structure, the first and last cars of all trams accomodate larger strollers that are not folded. Children cannot be left inside the stroller for safety reasons, but this is still convenient for many parents. Many parents don’t know this, and some parents who do know this fact may only think the first car is reserved for this purpose and so the line for the last car is often shorter than the first one. Alternatively, if you can fold the stroller, the middle cars of the tram have the shortest wait.
2. Or… Take the Walking Path from Mickey & Friends
Sometimes it is more convenient to not even bother with the tram (either because the kids are sleeping or because I don’t want to deal with loading/unloading the stroller or if the lines are very long). On those days, I will walk instead of taking the tram. The walking path from the Mickey & Friends parking structure can be found by turning right when you exit the structure. You will notice a cast member guiding pedestrian traffic across the pathway where the trams are arriving. You do have to cross the street and it is about a 10 minute walk, but it’s good exercise and sometimes it is faster than waiting in line.
3. Save Money by Packing Water, Snacks and/or Meals
Don’t take this tip lightly! Unless you have a large budget with plenty of money to burn, you should really try to pack plenty of water (bring this if you bring nothing else), juice, snacks, and/or meals. The prices for these items are very high in the park, and since they allow you to bring outside food there’s really no reason not to. Many parents choose to plan to have one meal in the park (I highly recommend the fried chicken at Plaza Inn on Main Street). Eat breakfast prior to arriving and eat your packed snacks throughout the day. Bonus tip: Freeze one or two water bottles and refrigerate the rest, then put them all in an insulated bag with food items if possible. Refrigerated bottles will get warm by the end of the day if left alone (especially in hot Anaheim summers), but frozen bottles will slowly melt by the end of the day (for a refreshing afternoon drink of water) and in the meantime it will help keep other water bottles and food items cool.
Did you know that you can save money on Disneyland and Disney World theme park tickets, merchandise EASILY with this trick from Target Stores? Most people don’t realize how easy it is! Click here to learn my secret!
4. Save More Money by Bringing Disney-Themed Merchandise Gifts for your Kids
Take a secret trip (without the kids!) to Walmart or Target, or my preference – order online from Amazon, and buy some gifts for your children to surprise them with at the park when they start to notice all the cool stuff that is sold pretty much everywhere all over the park. The cost for these items will be less expensive at a local store than at Disneyland, obviously. Here are some ideas of items frequently sold in the park:
- Stuffed animals of your child’s favorite Disney character (Mickey & friends, Toy Story, Disney Princesses, Cars, and pirates are all very popular in the park)
- Disney Hats
- Bubble guns
- Disneyland Candy, Lollipops, etc.
- Disney-Themed Cups or Water Bottles
- Light-up or flash toys, bracelets, and glow sticks for night-time
5. Use a Child Harness!
If you have ever lost someone at Disneyland you know how very scary and devastating it can be. Sure, some people may think it looks like a dog leash, but who really cares? You are doing it for your child’s safety and shouldn’t care what other people think. Kids can get very bored when standing in the longer lines and that is when these become the most useful. It can be tiring for a parent to have to carry the child and it gives the child a small amount of freedom (about 3 feet). There are some really cute plush monkey or animal backpacks that are also child harnesses. Check them out and don’t be afraid to use them.
6. Label Your Kid
It’s also a good idea to write your cell phone number on your child’s hand or buy an engraved bracelet with your contact information (I’ve seen these in vending machines at Walmart). You can also buy these nifty safety tattoos from safetytat.com. Also, know where the Baby Care Center is located in the park, as this is where lost children are sent to be reunited with their parents. This way in the event that your child does wander off, you can hopefully locate the little cutie as quickly as possible.
7. Speaking of the Baby Care Center – Use It!
I have been going to Disneyland for years and of course I never knew about the Baby Care Center before I became a mother. If you can believe it, this place is like a quiet little nursery and is located right at the end of Main Street (just before the Plaza Inn and the corn dog stand). They have booths for nursing, high chairs for feeding toddlers, diaper pads for changing, and little toilets for potty-trained children who need a child-size potty. There is even a weird giant toilet that washes cloth diapers – if that’s your thing. It is also nicely decorated with baby photos of Walt, as well as his bronzed baby shoes. Too cute! The cast members there are very warm and helpful as well.
8. Forgot Sunscreen? Visit the First Aid Center
Hopefully you won’t need to come here, but just in case someone in your family gets a minor boo-boo, a tummy ache or a headache, this is the place to go. They have nurses on staff ready to provide guests with basic first aid care. Also, you might be able to score some free sunscreen if you ask nicely! My son was once playing with those light up neon bracelets and it broke open and some radio-active-looking goop came out and some got in his eyes! Luckily, the First Aid Center was just around the corner and they took care of him immediately. Anyone in need of major treatment, however, would be sent to a nearby hospital. The First Aid Center is located right behind the Baby Care Center.
9. Dress Your Children in Obnoxious, Brightly Colored Clothes
This makes it easier to spot your children at a glance in a crowd of people. Also it can be cute for pictures to have all your kids dressed alike
10. Need an Afternoon Break? Here is a List of the Longest Rides with a Shortest Wait Times
The Disneyland Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, and It’s a Small World
11. Come Prepared with a Jedi Training Academy Sign to Make SURE Your Kids Get Picked!
Make your child’s trip extra magical by taking them to the Jedi Training Academy in Tomorrowland. I have found that parents who bring signs for their children ALWAYS get picked… so I tested it and, sure enough, it works every time! I have created 2 adorable FREE printable Jedi Training Academy Signs available for you to print and make your child’s experience extra magical! Plus you will be the coolest parents in Disneyland!
12. Replace Broken Toys and Damaged Hats for Free
Thanks to the great customer service at the Disneyland Resort, I have been able to replace embroidered hats that were damaged (broken mickey ears), broken Buzz figurines, cracked water bottles and more – months, even years after the purchase was made. I just return to the same store where it was purchased, and sometimes even without the receipt (in the case of the Mickey Mouse embroidered hat) they would replace the item with a brand spanking new one for exactly $0.00 and no hassle.
13. Get FREE Pinback Buttons at Ticket Booths, Store Counters
Ask a cast member at a ticket booth or any shop if you can have a button. They have special occasion buttons (“1st Visit”, “Happy Birthday”, “Happy Anniversary”) or just generic buttons (“I’m Celebrating”). I love the birthday buttons because they write the birthday person’s name on the button and cast members and other guests will say “Happy birthday, Nancy!” or whatever your name is It makes kids and grownups alike feel really special on their birthday!
Another birthday perk – get a free birthday phone call from a Disney character. Just stop by City Hall, located on Main Street, and you can receive a phone call from a friendly voice wishing you or your child a happy birthday. My son has done this for the past two years and he feels so special and excited!
15. Save Money on Disneyland Park Tickets, Disneyland Food and Disneyland Merchandise