When you are planning your first trip to Disneyland, you might find yourself overwhelmed. Make your first time at Disneyland a magical experience by reading through this guide which will tell you everything you need to know to navigate Disneyland with ease.
Planning Your First Trip to Disneyland
When it comes to preparing for your first Disneyland trip, there are a few things you need to know:
Discount Disneyland Tickets
The first thing you are going to want to do is to 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 or September).
2023 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.
Looking for tickets to Disneyland or Disneyland California Adventure? Get Away Today is the best Discount Disneyland Ticket broker and the one we use when booking our Disneyland Resort stay.
You can take an additional $10 discount off your vacation package when you use our exclusive promo code INSIDER .
Disneyland Genie+ & Lightning Lane
For those unfamiliar with the Disneyland Genie+ system, there is a way for you to “Jump the line” for various rides & attractions with the use of Lightning Lane.
Disney Genie+ service is available for $20 per ticket per day and is worth every penny.
Individual Purchase for Lightning Lane Entrance
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Entrance
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- “it’s a small world”
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Where to Stay in Disneyland
Disneyland Hotel (SEE RATES)
Just a 10-minute walk from the Disney parks, this hotel offers an all-in-one experience.
There are 3 outdoor pools, 2 on-site restaurants, a fitness center, and a spa tub.
While you can stay on Disneyland property at places like The Disneyland Hotel, it is more budget-friendly to stay at one of the many hotels within walking distance of the parks. In fact, many even offer free breakfast!
Here are some of our favorite places to stay in Disneyland that also include a free breakfast:
Disneyland Parking Tips
Parking in Disneyland may seem complicated, but it isn’t so bad. It is expensive though if you choose to bring your own car.
There are three parking areas: Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals & Toy Story Parking Area. We have always parked at Mickey & Friends where you are shuttled into the park by a tram.
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 park entrance.
Uber Drop Off & Pick Up at Disneyland
If you are staying at a hotel or live nearby, you can always Uber to Disneyland. There is a drop-off circle right in front of the entrance.
Disneyland Park Layout
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.
MAIN STREET USA
Main Street USA is built to look like a small town in the 1920s. You will find souvenir shops, restaurants and different places to explore.
Before you do anything else, you will want to go to the City Hall to pick up your FREE 1st Visit 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!
Adventureland is full of adventurous rides! This is where you will want to use Lightning Lane for one of the most popular rides, Indiana Jones.
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.
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!
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 Lightning Lane for: Pirates of the Caribbean & the Haunted Mansion.
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 is where you will find one of Disneyland’s two water rides: Splash Mountain! This log ride is currently under renovation.
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.
Fantasyland is the main focal point of all Disneyland and this is where you will find most of the crowds.
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.
It is a place where you will probably spend most of your day, especially if you are traveling with small kids!
For 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!
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: Space Mountain (that on occasion changes to Hyperspace Mountain to be a Star Wars experience).
Tomorrowland is also where you will find Star Tours, another Star Wars-themed ride outside of Galaxy’s Edge.
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.
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.
Galaxy’s Edge has two great rides: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and you will probably be wanting to ride both. The key to being able to do this is to purchase Genie + Lightning Lane service.
If you are looking for Star Wars souvenirs, you will find them 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.
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!
Disneyland Planning Information
There is so much to think about when it comes to planning your Disney vacation. We encourage you to check out our entire site, but if you are just getting started with planning, we have some posts you should begin with.
If it’s your first trip to Disneyland, you will want to know things like what to pack for your Disneyland trip, where to find Hidden Mickeys or whether or not you should purchase Genie+ and Lightning Lane.
Bringing little kids to Disneyland? We have some great tips for bringing toddlers to Disneyland including a guide to Disney Toon Town, a list of where to meet characters and the best rides for little ones.
Lastly, if you want to get the best deal on your trip, we can show you not only how to travel to Disneyland on a budget, but we can give you ideas on how to save on Disneyland tickets and where to book your vacation so that you get the best price.
Remember that we aren’t travel agents, we are regular Disney travelers just like you, but have been blessed with the opportunity to visit the parks regularly. Because we’ve been so much, we’ve learned many valuable Disney insider tips that we can share with others.