When it comes to visiting The Happiest Place On Earth, aka Disneyland Resort California, a little forward planning really goes a long way. It just ain’t another theme park, it actually contains two; Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Both of which sit alongside one another in Anaheim, California.
Planning well in advance and making all your bookings is the top tip our Flight Centre consultants give out on a regular basis, but for a little more detail, we asked our experts Josh and Chloe. Read on for their top tips on getting around the parks, where to stay, where to eat and really making the most of your time there.
When to visit, how to get there, and how to get around
Disneyland Resort is about a 45-minute drive from Los Angeles International Airport, but a popular option is with Karmel shuttles, a transport company that run direct shuttles from LAX to Disneyland Resort, and return.
If you’re wondering ``When is the best time to visit Disneyland?” Well the good news is that the resort is open every day of the year! We recommend planning a mid-week visit anytime from September through December if you want to avoid the crowds, and of course avoiding the holiday periods. Alternatively, significant holidays like Christmas and Halloween can come with perks, including special ticketed events on select dates. But if that’s your thing, book well ahead to avoid missing out.
Wondering what type of ticket to purchase? That’s one of the most common questions we get asked, and our recommendation is The Park Hopper ticket. It lets you hop between
both parks on the same day and really offers great value. We recommend a 3-Day or longer ticket because with over 100 attractions, shows, parades and more, you really want to make sure you have a chance to see it all at your own pace. If you’re a true Disney junkie, then you might want to look into the 10-Day Ticket that’s exclusive for Australian and New Zealand visitors.
Two theme parks you say?
Yes, you read correctly. Two whole parks! Disneyland Park is Walt Disney’s original vision and is made up of nine themed lands, including Main Street, U.S.A; Mickey’s Toontown; Fantasyland; Frontierland and, the highly anticipated and recently opened, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Some of our favourite attractions in Disneyland Park are:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
- Mad Tea Party!
- And of course…Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. A 14-acre galaxy far, far away
Disney California Adventure Park is where you can find attractions and rides like:
- Cars Land
- Hollywood Land
- The Incredicoaster
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
- Radiator Springs Racers
When it comes to making the most of your time across these parks, our recommendation is to use Disney’s FASTPASS service which basically allows you to skip the que. Bonus: it’s free with every ticket purchase! Alternatively, for a small fee, I encourage customers to add the Disney MaxPass to their ticket once they have arrived in the Resort. This can be done via an app which allows you to book FASTPASS selections and includes a digital download of all those fun and very flattering on-ride photos that are snapped throughout the day. The app also shows live wait times for rides, shows and parade times. It is super handy and our customers are always glad to have it on hand.
Shopping & dining in Disneyland Resort, California
It doesn’t get much more iconic than walking around the buzzing streets of Disneyland Resort as showtunes beat and happiness exudes from every angle, while eating a Mickey Mouse pretzel. Mickey (or Minnie) ears worn at all times of course. But if your appetite calls for a little more than a Disney shaped snack, we have a dining option for every budget. Our favourite spots in Disneyland Resort are:
- Napa Rose for Southern California cuisine
- Flo’s V8 Cafe
- Cafe Orleans for Cajun and Creole favourites
- Lamplight Lounge for creative cocktails
- You can even dine with your favourite characters
- Goofy’s Kitchen where you can fine with your favourite Disney characters
- Storytellers Cafe, another great spot for spotting a famous Disney face
- The World Of Color Dessert Party is the ultimate spot for our sweet toothed friends
- Oga’s Cantina is a must if you’re a Star Wars fan
- Tiki Juice Bar is great for snacks (tip: try the Dole Whip)
Downtown Disney District has even more options like Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and the Splitsville Luxury Lanes, for a spot of bowling with your meal!
Where to stay in Disneyland Resort, California
Another top question we get from customers is this one, because figuring out where to stay can be overwhelming at times with so many options, and should be done in advance.
For the true Disney experience, we recommend staying at one of the three hotels of the Disneyland Resort. These include Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Hotel and (our pick!) Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. This one is great due to its park accessibility. You can walk straight out of the hotel and into Disney California Adventure Park! All three hotels give guests access to Extra Magic Hour, when you’re able to enter the parks one hour earlier than the general public. That is a real bonus in our opinion.
For more information about Disneyland Resort, pop in and see your Flight Centre Travel Expert in store.