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Guide to Planning Your First Trip to Disneyland

Guide to Planning Your First Trip to Disneyland

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When planning your first trip to Disneyland, you might be wondering how to plan your day in the park.

There are a few things you are going to want to know before you head to the parks.

Knowing a few Disneyland tips are going to make your day at Disneyland less stressful and a ton more fun.

And that’s the point of going to Disneyland with your family, right? You are there to make memories to last a lifetime!

It is called The Happiest Place on Earth for a reason!

Unfortunately, some people don’t do their research before they go to Disneyland and end up overwhelmed and stressed out.

They spend money needlessly because they forgot something they needed or missed out seeing the parade because they didn’t know to get their spot early or rides because they didn’t know how to use the Disneyland Fastpass system.

But you are lucky, because you have found this article, and you are going to ready for your first trip to Disneyland!

Entrance to Disneyland

Planning Your First Trip to Disneyland

When it comes to preparing for your Disneyland trip, there are a few things you need to know:

Guide to DisneylandDiscount Disneyland Tickets

The first thing you are going to want to do is get your Disneyland Tickets in advance. If you wait to buy your tickets at the park entrance, you are going to waste time and money.

Disneyland admission prices change according to the time of year and demand.

You will find peak season for tickets coincides with the times when the kids are out of school (holidays and summer).

The tickets will be the cheapest during the off-season (think February, September).

Single-day tickets at both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure are $97 for value days, $110 for regular days, and $124 for peak days.

Disney wants you to remain at the Disneyland parks as long as they can, so you will find that the ticket prices per day will go down the more days you add park tickets to your stay.

The best way to save time & money on your Disneyland tickets is to order your tickets in advance and to buy your tickets through a reputable Disneyland Ticket seller.

Disneyland Parking TipsDisneyland Parking Tips

Parking in Disneyland may seem complicated, but it isn’t so bad. It is expensive though. You will want to make sure that you carefully watch for the signs bringing you into the parking area. If you don’t, you will be circling around trying to find it!

Where you can park in Disneyland

There are three parking areas: Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals & Toy Story Parking Area. We have always parked at Mickey & Friends.

Daily Parking Rates

  • $25.00 per car or motorcycle
  • Daily Preferred Parking $40.00 per vehicle
  • $30.00 per over-sized vehicle, motor home or tractor (without trailer) – at the Toy Story Parking Area only
  • $35.00 per bus or tractor (with extended trailer) – at the Toy Story Parking Area only

Don’t waste your money paying for preferred parking. You will find that there is an escalator that will take you from whatever level you are parked on to the main level where the tram will pick you up and carry you on to the actual entrance to Disneyland park, California Adventure park and Downtown Disney.

Do remember where you are parked! You will want to know the character and the section. You will find it helpful to take a photo of the closest marker before walking away from your vehicle.

Disneyland Fast Pass System TipsDisneyland Fastpass System

Disneyland has a FREE system that allows you to skip the line at some of the more popular rides and attractions. All you will need is a park ticket to use the service.

Simply, insert your park ticket into one of the Fast Pass machines located outside of each participating ride (not every single ride has a Fast Pass) and choose a time to ride.

Tickets will then spit out giving you the ride name and time to use your Fastpass. These tickets are for no other purpose than to inform you. You will use your actual park ticket when you are ready to ride the ride.

Just be sure to arrive at the Fastpass Return line with your regular park ticket. You will scan your park ticket to gain entrance to the ride.

Once you’ve used your Disneyland Fastpass, you can repeat the process to be issued another.

Disneyland in CaliforniaDisneyland Park Tips

In order to better understand the layout of Disneyland, you need to know that it is divided into different lands and each land has its own rides and attractions.

When Disneyland opened in 1955, there were only 5 lands: Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Since then, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown and Galaxy’s Edge have opened.

Disneyland Celebration Pins

When you arrive through the front of Disneyland park, the first place you will encounter is Main Street USA. Before you do anything else, you will want to go to the City Hall to pick up your FREE First Trip to Disneyland pin!

This pin will get you noticed and might even get you a little extra attention since Disneyland Cast members are going to want to make your first trip to Disneyland something to remember!

Disneyland Main Street USA

MAIN STREET USA

Main Street USA is built to look like a small town in the 1920’s. You will find souvenir shops, restaurants and different places to explore.

Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle

The focal point of Main Street USA at Disneyland is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. You will find many different cast members waiting to snap your picture to give you the perfect backdrop of the castle.

Adventureland in California
Courtesy Disney

ADVENTURELAND 

Adventureland is full of adventurous rides! This is where you will want to grab a Fastpass for one of the most popular rides, Indiana Jones.

Disneyland Jungle Cruise

Another must experience ride in Adventureland is the Iconic Jungle Cruise. You will take a boat cruise around Adventureland with a tour guide who loves to bring humor to his tour.

Dole Whip in Disneyland

Not to be missed is one of the BEST treats in all of Disneyland, the Disney Dole Whip. This delicious pineapple (NON DAIRY) creamy treat is tangy and cold. The perfect dessert to keep you cool!

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride in Disneyland

NEW ORLEANS SQUARE

New Orleans Square makes you feel as though you have arrived in the bayou. Walk along the water and enjoy the shade of the trees!

There are two rides that you will want to make a point of getting Disneyland Fastpasses for: Pirates of the Caribbean & the Haunted Mansion.

Thunder Mountain Railroad Disneyland

FRONTIERLAND

Frontierland takes you back in time to the Wild West where you will get the chance to take a ride on Big Thunder Railroad (one of my favorite rides in Disneyland).

If you need a break and want to do something less adventurous, take a ride on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

Critter Country in Disneyland

CRITTER COUNTRY

Critter Country is where you will find one of Disneyland’s two water rides: Splash Mountain! This log ride takes you through the story of Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit ending with a drop down a waterfall!

Lines can get very long for this ride, so consider getting a Fastpass.

Meet Winnie the Pooh in Disneyland

If you are making your first trip to Disneyland with little ones, they will want to go on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

This super cute ride takes them on a journey where they will see Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends. You can also meet Winnie the Pooh nearby.

Fantasy Faire in Disneyland
Courtesy Disneyland

FANTASYLAND

Fantasyland is the main focal point of all of Disneyland and this is where you will find most of the crowds. 

Disneyland Tea Cups

Here you will find some of Disneyland’s most popular rides: Peter Pan’s Flight, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Mad Tea Party, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Dumbo and It’s A Small World among others.

Disneyland Mickey's Toontown

MICKEY’S TOONTOWN

Those bringing small children to Disneyland for the first time, you will want to visit Mickey’s Toontown. It is where you will find Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and other Disney characters.

You will be able to tour the homes of Mickey and Minnie where everything is cartoon-like. Be sure to explore with your hands because many features are interactive!

Hyperspace Mountain Disneyland California

TOMORROWLAND

If you are visiting Disneyland for the first time, you are going to want to ride one of the most popular rides in all of the Disney theme parks: Hyper Space Mountain.

This roller coaster is has been re-themed in recent years to give it a Star Wars experience.

Star Tour in Disneyland

Tomorrowland is also where you will find Star Tours, another Star Wars themed ride outside of Galaxy’s Edge.

Buzz Lightyear Ride Disneyland

If you are traveling to Disneyland with the kids (and even if you aren’t), you will have a blast at Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run in Disneyland
Courtesy Disneyland

Galaxy’s Edge

You don’t have to be a Star Wars fan or on your first trip to Disneyland to enjoy the newest addition to Disneyland park.

This place is pretty amazing and filled with plenty to do and see as it is now the largest land in all of Disneyland.

Inside the Millennium Falcon at Disneyland Galaxy Edge

One of the hardest rides to get a Fastpass for in Disneyland is Galaxy’s Edge: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, but you are going to want to ride it.

On this adventurous ride, you will access the Falconcockpit and take the controls as pilots, gunners or flight engineers on a mission to deliver smuggled goods.

Galaxy Edge Marketplace
Courtesy Disneyland

If you are looking for Star Wars souvenirs, you will find it in Black Spire Outpost.

Black Spire Outfitters is full of clothing, Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities has some great hard to find items, and you won’t want to miss Creature Stall for all things Star Wars.

Meeting Minnie Mouse in Disneyland

Your first trip to Disneyland is going to be an amazing experience as long as you plan your trip in advance. We hope that this guide to planning your first Disneyland trip is helpful!

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