Everyone at some point dreams of going to Disneyland; whether it was during your childhood days, your forever 21 phase or even your present self. It’s the dreamiest, happiest, and incidentally one of the busiest places in the world, believe it or not. Depending on your level of patience, a day at Disney California Adventure Park can be as magical and fairytale-like, as much as it can be overwhelming and confusing, especially as a clueless first-timer. Thankfully, I’ve put my own experience and knowledge from my maiden visit to the park in this post, to ensure your visit is as smooth sailing as you’d desire, making fewer mistakes than I did, and leaving without thinking you didn’t fulfill as much as you set out to. It’s very helpful to have strategies in place when you visit the parks, so with the tips below, you should be able to make the most of your day, and have a grand time at the only Disney theme park, that Walt Disney personally walked.
It goes without saying that it’s wise to plan in advance for your day trip to Disneyland. So your first move considering you would’ve decided on the date you want to visit the park, is purchasing your ticket online. This way you’re able to save time and avoid long lines at the ticket booths. You’ll simply proceed to the entrance and go through security screening, then proceed to Downtown Disney. Which brings us to the next point, security screening.
Go Through Security without much hassle.
Again, this comes back to preparedness and pre-planning. Ensure all your bags are visible and open for the cast member to look through. All keys, cellphones, belts and other accessories which may be detected by a metal detector should be placed in the trays provided. It may seem pointless for all of that but bear in mind that Disneyland goes above and beyond to ensure that safety of Park patrons is paramount, so just kindly be polite and compliant.
While you’re reading this post, there are thousand of others just like you, searching for tips and planning their own trip, so there is a 100% chance the park will be crowded when you visit. Needless to say, you’d want to arrive early, in fact, arriving before the park opens isn’t such a bad idea, since you wouldn’t want to waste much time finding parking space (if you’re driving), and again avoiding long lines. It’s also important to note that the park has capacity limit unfortunately, and reserves the right to deny admission to guests after it has reached that limit. Just be early, especially during peak season. The same applies if you’re just going for the night shows, as by late afternoon, finding parking space becomes quite the challenge.
Download Disneyland App.
The moment you get to the park and realize the sea of patrons you’ll be glad you did, as it comes in handy with virtually everything, from dining options and menu’s, to park maps and show times, downloading the app before you arrive is a total life saver. One important thing to note however, is that if your park tickets were purchased using the app, it’ll be required of you to show your bar code at the entrance when you first arrive for admission to the park. The app also comes in handy if you’ll be hunting your favorite characters, as it advises of the time and location at which your favorite characters will be making appearances.
Take Advantage of FastPass system.
It’s simply genius, especially with the demand for certain rides and attractions. The fast pass system allows patrons to maximize time at Disneyland, when it comes to select attractions. You’ll simply have to insert your ticket into a bar code reader, and redeem a return time pass to the particular attraction. Return times may vary based on demand, so don’t be surprised if your return time is 3 hours. Just bear in mind that you have to return to the attraction at the exact time given, and you can only hold one fast pass at a time, so be wise in your selections. It’s not hard to imagine that the more popular attractions do run out of fast passes, so the earlier in the day you arrive at an attraction, the earlier your return time will be. Here are the attractions at Disneyland California Adventure Park to which fast passes are applicable:
- Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: BREAKOUT! (This is the most popular attraction, my return time was 180 minutes)
- California Screamin’
- World of Color
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Grizzly River Run
- Toy Story Mania
Go the Single Rider route.
It’s quicker than the fast pass system. It’s quite infrequent for park visitors to be by themselves, and even more unlikely they’d want to ride the attractions alone. This is the only scenarios in which you’ll see shorter lines and also waits for attractions. So if you don’t mind enjoying your own company, and riding with complete strangers, join the single rider lane on the following attractions:
Grizzly River Run
Goofy’s Sky School
Radiator Springs Racers
Remember the cameras.
There are several rides at the park on which cameras have been installed to capture your picture while riding. But by the time you get to the park you’ll forget. So just in case you don’t get too lost having a good time, before you go for a ride on California Screamin’, remember to look out for the camera’s. Though you’ll be busy screaming (literally) and holding on for dear life on this stomach-dropping roller coaster ride, the cameras go off right at the end as you sweep down on your way back to the loading dock, after you’re through all the major drops, having passed through a series of mini drops. At this point, the coaster is nowhere near it’s peak speed, so the camera should be easy to spot.
Bring your own snacks and don’t forget water.
Disneyland is as pricey as you imagine, so if you don’t plan to break the bank on your visit, it’s a good idea to take your own snacks. This of course saves you money of course, and also saves the time it would take to purchase food. Be mindful that you’ll be on your feet and walking all day so having your own water as needed is pretty wise, just don’t have it in a glass bottle, because those are inadmissible to the park. But if you’re not so worried about your pockets, then you’re in luck, as dining options, candy stalls and food trucks are at virtually every corner of the park, so you won’t have to walk too far.
Motion Sickness Rides.
If you are like me, then you would want to pay close attention to this point, because I get motion sickness if the person beside me is moving more than usual. Disneyland does declare that patrons should be free from motion sickness as it concerns certain rides, but what is the point of going to the park if you’re going to allow your motion sickness to hold you back. If you struggle with this demon, and still wish to ride attractions that will trigger it, just be wise in your decisions and exercise caution. For starters, never eat or drink before or right after your ride. Remember it’s okay play it safe and sit this out. You more than likely will have to be taken breaks between rides anyway, so take your pills/medicine if it’s that extreme, and avoid getting on another ride right away. It’s also important to know your body and what works best for you, but just a little heads up, here a the attractions at Disney California Adventure, which may cause motion sickness:
- Goofy’s Sky School
It’s Tough to Be a Bug
- Muppet Vision 3D
- Radiator Springs Racers
Tower of Terror
Visiting With Toddlers
There needs to be en entire manual for those who wish to bring their little ones along for a day at Disney California, but for the purposes of this post I’ll give a few tips based on my observations. Worry not about the stroller, every most major rides have secure stroller parking with ample space, so don’t give it a thought. Since some rides may be a bit too much for the younger one’s, you may want to substitute attractions and see the parades instead.
With these tips in mind and proper planning, you are in for a great time on your first visit to Disney California Adventure Park. Just be mindful that it is quite hot in Southern California, so dress accordingly. If you intend to go on the wet rides, it would be wise to bring your own poncho.
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONCENTRATES MY OWN EXPERIENCE ON A 1-DAY TICKET TO DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE PARK.