A First Timer’s Guide: Top Things You Need to Know About Disneyland

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Disneyland is the original Disney theme park. If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, you need to at least once in your life! There are some similarities to the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, but there are also elements that make this park unique. Here are some things that you need to know before your first trip:

  • No Gum-Gum is not sold anywhere in Disneyland. Walt Disney wanted Disneyland to be a clean theme park so he came up with the idea to not sell gum inside the park in an effort to keep the ground clean. You can bring in your own gum but you won’t find any for sale in the park.
  • Walt Disney’s Apartment-As Disneyland was being constructed, Walt Disney wanted a place to stay and watch the activity. He had a special apartment constructed above the Main Street Firehouse. It was a place where he could do quiet work or enjoy time with his family. Be sure to look up in the window as you pass by. A lantern in the window is kept lit as a tribute to Walt.
  • FastPass-Some rides and shows in Disneyland offer a FastPass which allows you to come back at a specific time and wait in a shorter line. FastPasses at Disneyland are paper tickets and you can only have one at a time (with the exception of show Fastpasses). Fastpasses can be retrieved from kiosks near the rides that offer them.
  • Rider Swap/Single Rider Lines-Disneyland is a great place for families but sometimes not everyone can go on a ride. When that is the case, be sure to take advantage of the rider swap pass. Ask a castmember at the entrance to the ride for a pass. Then one parent goes through the standby line while the other parent sits out with the child(ren) that can’t ride. When the first parent is done, the second parent can then take the rider swap pass and go through the fastpass line. Also, look for rides that have a single rider line. Those will help cut down on the time your party has to wait in lines!
  • Park Hopping-There are two theme parks at the Disneyland Resort-Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. The entrances to each park are only about a football field’s length apart. This makes park hopping super easy! I highly recommend getting the park hopper option with your park tickets when visiting Disneyland.
  • Hidden Mickey’s-There are hidden Mickey’s everywhere in Disneyland. A hidden Mickey is a representation of Mickey Mouse that’s been inserted subtly into the design of a ride, attraction, or other location in the park. Looking for these can add some fun to exploring Disneyland and even waiting in lines. There are also guide books that help you search for the hidden Mickey’s throughout the park.
  • Hotels near Disneyland-There are three Disneyland Resort hotels near the park and many more Good Neighbor hotels. The three resort hotels are all within easy walking distance to the parks as well as the Downtown Disney District. There are also some great Good Neighbor hotels within easy walking distance to the resort. If you stay at a Good Neighbor hotel but can’t or don’t want to walk, most offer shuttles to Disneyland for free or a small fee.
  • Magic Morning/Extra Magic Hours-Guests staying at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels get the added perk of entering a park an hour before opening each morning with what’s called “extra magic hours”. The hours for Disneyland are on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The hours for Disney California Adventure are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Guests who don’t stay at a resort hotel but have a 3-day or more park ticket get one “magic morning”. It’s pretty much the same thing as an extra magic hour but it’s only good for Disneyland and not Disney California Adventure.
  • No Dining Plan-If you are a frequent guest of Walt Disney World, then you know about the dining plans that are offered there. Disneyland does not have a dining plan. The closest thing available is meal vouchers for character and/or premium character dining.
  • Celebrity Sightings-Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California, not far from Hollywood. And guess what? Celebrities love Disney as much as we do! Disneyland is a great place for celebrity sightings. An easy way to spot them is they’ll usually be with a Disney guide. Have you seen any celebrities at a Disney park?
  • Disneyland Dream Suite-Just as there’s a secret apartment above the Main Street Firehouse, there’s also a luxury hideaway in New Orleans Square. Originally built for Walt to entertain VIPs in the park, it was not completed before Walt passed away. From 1987 to 2007 the space housed the Disney Gallery. At the end of 2007 it became the Dream Suite-a beautiful apartment with a balcony overlooking the Rivers of America. The only way to get to stay in this amazing suite is to win a stay.
  • Disneyland Mobile App-Similar to Walt Disney World’s ‘My Disney Experience’ app is the Disneyland app. It’s free and contains so much information! From park hours and wait times to character locations and even restroom locations, you can find it all on this app! You can even purchase your park tickets through it.
  • Cats-Probably one of the most random facts about Disneyland is that there are feral cats living in the park. Kind of ironic that the home of the most famous mouse also houses cats that help keep the mice population at bay!

If you are a regular Disneyland guest, did I miss any tips for first timers? Let me know in the comments!

If you’d like help planning your first Disneyland vacation, or would like more information about the park, email me at sarasolberg@worldofmagictravel.com or follow me on Facebook. I’ll find the best promotion available for your trip and my services are FREE!


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