Tips For Your Next Disneyland Resort Trip

Heather Hust Rivera

by , Vice President, Consumer Products

Today, we’re offering help to guests planning their next trip to Disneyland Resort.

First, keep it simple. Start with your park ticket — buy it online at and you can skip the ticket line and go straight to the gate. Next, try to take the monorail. It opens at the same time as the gate and you might be able to enter the park faster.

Also, remember to utilize the FASTPASS Service. You can usually get another FASTPASS ticket before the first one has expired. For example, if you get a FASTPASS ticket for “Space Mountain” at 10 a.m. and it says to come back and use your FASTPASS ticket at 2 p.m., you can still get a FASTPASS ticket for another ride at 12 p.m. The trick? Just look at the time at the bottom of your ticket, and the fine print will tell you the next time you can get another FASTPASS ticket.

Shopping and eating can be an easier adventure as well. The best hours to eat are during off peak hours. That would be an early breakfast, late lunch or early or late dinner. Reservations always make life easier, call 714-781-DINE. It’s also best to do your shopping during peak ride hours. More guests tend to be on the attractions between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., so stroll through the shops during those times. It also saves you some wait time in the lines for attractions. If you need a second or third cup of coffee during a visit, the Market House on Main Street, U.S.A gives free coffee refills for same day visits (and has since 1955).

Over at Disney’s California Adventure Park, there is no charge for lockers for up to 2 hours at Grizzly River Run, based on availability. This is helpful for those hardcore river rats who know they will get soaked. You can stash your dry clothes in the locker and change afterwards.

The video below has more fun tips from guests and Cast Members.

Do you have any tips to share?


  • Thnks for the tips Heather. This is really cool stuff!


  • When I went about 3 years ago there was an awesome shop in Fantasy Land right near the castle that you can get your family name history researched, including it’s origins, what it means and the original family crest and what the symbols on the crest mean. Then you can get a simple print out for around $25. You can get even nicer options as well, including having it framed and then shipped to your home. I hope this shop is still there!

    Also, the rider switch is an awesome tip!

  • my tip is to ask for a rider switch pass at rides your tiny ones cant get on!

    before getting in line for a ride ask a worker for a rider switch pass. This allows you to and a older child or quest to ride while the other person wait at exit with your child. after the ride you get the other person at the exit and get on the ride through the exit. This is a life saver for my family!

  • Thank you for the great insider tips! We have so many families staying in our vacation homes that visit your parks every week, I am eager to share this with them!

  • I never knew about the free coffee refills! I’m definitely going to use that tip next time. My tip would be going into the Disney Animation building.

    Just sitting there to cool off or relax is amazing. The screens show off incredibly high quality art work from different Disney animated movies. It’ll take your breath away.

  • Great advice! I’ve been to Disneyland over 300 times and didn’t know many of these tips! Excellent help.

  • We always save our plastic containers from trip to trip. On our last trip in March, we had about 5 of the popcorn buckets (with handles and lids), so we each had our own personal snack container to use during the day. They were big enough to hold snacks and a bottled water. Plus, at the end of the day when the snacks were gone, we refilled them with popcorn at a vendor for cheaper than it would cost to buy a new one from them!

  • Tip 1: We bring our lunches and store them in the lockers in the picnic area to the left of the main gate. The lockers are shaded, there never seems to be a big crowd in the picnic area, and we save a good chunk of change (to spend on dole whips).

    Tip 2: Check the website before you leave to make sure of park hours, and to check which attractions may be closed for refurbishments. Also check the days of special events such as grad nights and marathons – they can effect the park’s operating hours.

    Question about the monorail: In the past, I’ve tried to board the monorail at park opening, but was told that the monorail was only for Disneyland hotel guests at that time. This was in the summer – does the monorail allow guests who parked in the parking structure to ride the monorail into the park in the off-season?

  • Cups of ice water or hot water are free in the parks. So this means you can bring hot chocolate packets for the cold nights to mix in the hot water and lemonade powder packs to mix with water during the hot days. When we want to save money on dinner, we bring in cup o noodles to eat using their free hot water.
    Another tip is that they allow you to bring in snacks and food as long as there is no glass. We like to bring our packed lunches onto Tom Sawyer island to have a picnic on the benches there.

  • What great tips!! I’m from Southern California, and have been to Disneyland every year since I was about a year old until we moved to the Bay Area in ’98, and I never knew about the Magic Shot!!!!! We need to do that on our next trip!

    Our best tip was an accident….we needed a hotel–fast, since we had just got into town–and trying to find somewhere cheap near Disneyland, we ended up at the Maingate Motel 6. Not only was the price cheaper than I thought, but taking the shuttle to the park, taking the shuttle back to the hotel for rest, then the shuttle back again for night at Disneyland. Going back to the hotel for a little break was the best thing ever!! We were energized to enjoy the rest of the night and didn’t have to worry about finding our car and driving back to a hotel that night.

  • tip 1: get the WHIP at the dole stand by the tiki room! you can bring it inside and eat it during the show, too!

    tip 2: for those with food allergies, like me, the pizza port will make gluten-free pasta – just go to the pasta area and request it!

    tip 3: for birthdays, call ahead to arrange a special cake decorating workshop, or buy the pirate chest or princess chest cake box at the blue bayou (and I think a few other places have it as well!)

  • My tip is avoid the high priced restaurants and eat at the Mexican restaurant in frontier land you get a good amount of food and far cheaper then the Blue Bayou.

  • I second the idea of visiting the Blue Bayou! It wouldn’t be a visit if we didn’t dine there! I even have the honor of saying that I revived a man in 2000 there in cardiac arrest.

  • There’s more tips to use. Having the Deluxe Annual passes, my family have learned the tricks of the trade.
    First, you can’t buy a one-day, one-park ticket online. They are not available. The only ones you can buy are the mulit-day ones.
    If you shop while roaming the park, you can drop off your bags at the located drop-offs within the park. Frontierland has one in the trading post. The main gates have one. New Orleans Square has one next to Pirates.
    Best time to see Fanstamic is at the 10:30pm showing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. As soon as the firework show is over, head right over to the Rivers of America. The wait time is less than waiting for the 9pm showing.
    To get to the Monorail to go inside the park is located in Downtown Disney.
    If you have a dog, you can bring them to Disneyland Resort. No overnight stay though. For $20 and an updated shot record, you get to visit your pet during your visit. The staff feeds for free and the kennel are air condition. Pets are allowed to ride on the tram from Mickey and Friends parking lot. My dog loves the ride. You can also ask for ground parking when you bring your dog.
    At the Haunted Mansion, there is a pet grave site at the left of the Mansion. Ask a cast member and they’ll let you see it.
    Try to visit Disneyland and DCA in the middle of the week; less crowds.
    Grab your food while waiting for the 9pm showing of Fanstamic and the firework show. It makes the time go by faster.
    Check to find out what rides that are not running. You can also check to find out what times shows are at.
    Also get a chance to see “Billy Hill and the Hillibillies”. It’s a great show to take a break from the crowds and lines. You can enjoy eating ice cream as you watch the show.

  • Love the tip about the kids and the train. Also using the monorail to get to Nemo quick! Going to try that next month!

  • when you enter the park, send someone from your part to Space Mountain to get fast passes, while you and the rest of your group get in line at The Matterhorn. Mattherhorn does not have fast passes, but the line grows quickly. Also fast passes will be honored even if you arrive after the listed time frame. You just can’t show up early.

    Grapes are the best snack in the hot months. Chill them first and they offer a way to cool down, but also since they are mostly water, they are a great way to keep hydrated.

    The Boudin Bakery on Pacific Wharf in DCA sells loaves of bread, and they will slice it for you if asked. We love to take our own lunchmeat in a cooler, leave it in a locker between the parks, and get a loaf of bread from the bakery to make sandwiches. You can find condiments too!

  • Great video, My tip is to travel to Disneyland in either May or September after school is in session. Short lines and the ability to REALLY enjoy the park. Also don’t miss the blue bayou restaurant. The atmosphere is great and the food outstanding.

  • My tip is if you are into pins, carry an extra “give away” pin for those small ones you may see crying along the way. It is sometime hard for the little ones to keep up with us bigger kids and can sometimes become overwhelmed. I will try to take a minute to talk to kids and with parents permission ask the child “where are your pins?” and give them one of mine. It isn’t a reward for bad behavior, just sometimes it is the wait a minute moment the parents need to calm a situation.

  • We have been going to Disneyland every other year in May. We heard from a local person that May is the best time of year to go as it’s warm but not hot. The spring break crowds are done but the summer crowds haven’t started. And we’d have to agree.

  • Each attraction has a “hidden Mickey Symbol”. It’s a great game to play as a family. See who can find the most or who can find them first. Hint: In the Haunted Mansion pay close attention to the table in the ball room.

  • Mid afternoon, when it’s hot and the feet are getting tired, is a great time to take in a movie at the AMC in Downtown Disney.

  • I completely recommend the Aladdin show at CA adventure. it is wonderful, I see it every time I go, and a lot of people I talk to have never heard of it.

  • love the free coffee refills. never new that and my dad drinks coffee like water.

  • Bring plenty of water bottles and snacks, especially if you want to save money by not buying them in the park. One that I like is beef jerky cuz it doesn’t take up much room in my bag and it’s pretty filling between meals.

  • The time of year that you go is very important. We travel from Northern California and always plan our trips just after the first of the year. We try to go during the week usually starting on a Monday. There are fewer people and shorter lines.

  • What a great video! Thank you for all the wonderful tips!

    My favorite tip for Disneyland that I always share with everyone I know who is planning a trip there is to have a meal at the Blue Bayou. There is no experience like it anywhere & it is our family’s very favorite, never-missed event for every trip! The ambiance of the restaurant is just incredible & the food is great too! It’s such a special place! We just love the fireflies & crickets!

  • Very helpful tips, thanks! Sunscreen yes.

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