The Happiest Place on Earth is a huge drawcard for kids of all ages to California, but it can be fraught with tantrums and meltdowns if you don’t have a plan.
Here are my tips for making the most of your trip to Disneyland:
1. Where to Stay
If you choose to stay at one of the three Disneyland hotels, you’ll be entitled to access into the parks one hour earlier than the regular folk. Yep, that means up bright and early and ready to hit the rides at 7am. But believe me, it’s worth it. Not everything is open at this time, but you can ride without queuing and can easily cross four or five off rides your list before the throng comes herding in.
Grand California Adventure Resort and Spa is Disney’s premium hotel. It’s the closest hotel to the parks, quite literally on the doorstep of California Adventure with some rooms facing the rides. There are several pools including some with private cabanas with flat screen TVs and internet. The luxurious Mandara Spa is also located inhouse.
The Disneyland Hotel is an easy walk from the main gates via the shops and restaurants of Downtown Disney. The hotel was refurbished with cute touches like faux fireworks in the wooden bedheads and Mickey Mouse-shaped bathroom taps and wall lights. The pool complex has three pools and two water slides. But for something really over the top, book one of the five Signature Suites; themed to Pirates of the Caribbean, Mickey Mouse, Fairy Tale and more.
Disneyland’s Paradise Pier Hotel has a rooftop pool with slides and beach themed rooms (look for the hidden Mickeys). One and two bedroom family suites are available and some rooms sleep up to five if you want to all bunk in together.
Don’t want to stay on site? That’s ok too. There’s plenty of 3-3.5 star hotels nearby which are pretty popular with Aussies. Try the Hilton Anaheim, Desert Palms Hotel & Suites or the Anaheim Fairfield Inn by Marriott.
2. Buy a two-day Hopper pass
Expedia’s Aussie Travellers usually spend 3-4 days in Anaheim and with a two-day Hopper Pass, you can spend a full day in each park. And you can pop back and forth between the two whenever you want. Catch the World of Colour one night and the fireworks the next.
3. Skip the Lines
Fast passes are a great way to save you time waiting in lines. These are free tickets you can take from some of the most popular rides with a time to return later in the day and whiz through the Fast Pass lane.