Going to Disneyland as an adult can still be a magical experience! The rides are exciting, the shows are well done, and the park is beautiful in the evening – especially decorated for the Christmas season. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Disney and here are the top seven things I wish I knew before going to Disneyland.
1. Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure Park have different target audiences. Disneyland has a better selection of rides and attractions for older children and adults, whereas California Adventure Park is geared toward younger children or families. If you can only go to one park and don’t have small children – pick Disneyland.
2. You can only get alcohol at Disney California Adventure Park. The important thing to note here, is that if you look under 30 years of age, they will deny you service unless you have a government-issued ID. That’s kind of normal, except if you’re from outside of the United States, and then they expect you to carry your passport. To a theme park. Where items of value should not be brought in the off-chance they are stolen, misplaced, or lost on a ride. You can read the official policy for complete details.
(Jokes on Disney! I got served a beer by one of their employees in the early afternoon. Guess I looked at least 9 years over the drinking age to them!)
3. Pay attention to ticket prices! You may think the Park Hopper pass is saving you money, but check out this example:
Option 1: Purchase four individual value tickets at $97 each ($388 total or $194 each). Each ticket grants you to admission to one park, per day.
Option 2: Purchase two, 2-day tickets for $199 per pair ($398 total). Each 2-day ticket will grant you admission to one park per day.
Did you do the math? It costs $10 dollars more for the exact same thing! If you’re going on a weekend, you can’t purchase the value tickets, but there is a calendar of value dates on the website. For a larger family, or longer duration, the savings could be more substantial.
4. The Disneyland App has great features to make your day easier. With the app you can see ride wait times, have GPS in the park, get digital FASTPASSES (for a cost) and see character locations. You can check out the full listing of services on their site, However, it is possible to get around and get free FASTPASSES without the app.
5. FASTPASS wisely. Some rides offer you the ability to by-pass the line (or at least most of the line) by getting a FASTPASS. In short, the FASTPASS allows you to come back (usually in more than an hour or two) to skip the line to the attraction of your choice. And what do you do with the two-hours you are waiting to use your pass? You stand in line for another ride, of course! We used a few FASTPASSES while we were there, but would suggest using them only on the most popular rides (with 60-80 minute waits), or it isn’t worth it. Check out the full FASTPASS listing and details on the Disney site.
6. You can bring food and drink into the park with you, but leave your selfie stick at home. Surprisingly, Disney lets you bring in your own beverages and food items into the park. This is pretty great for many reasons, the most obvious being the fact that everything is overpriced once you get inside. However, don’t bother bringing a selfie stick because you won’t get past security.
7. Skip Disneyland and go to Walt Disney World in Florida. That might be a little harsh; perhaps my childhood memories are making Walt Disney World seem more magical. But here are the facts… Walt Disney World has a 189-foot-tall Cinderella Castle, four theme parks, two water parks, better shopping in Downtown Disney (in my opinion), and many Disney Hotels to choose from. Plus, who doesn’t love EPCOT? I still talk about my EPCOT experiences and it’s been more than 15-years since I’ve been there.
Is bigger better? You can decide for yourself. For further reading on the topic, these blogs go into more detail: 8 Major Differences Between Walt Disney World and Disneyland and Smackdown: Disneyland vs. Disney World.
Overall, we enjoyed our time at Disney and hope these tips help anyone planning a future trip. If you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comment section below!