Everything You Need to Know to Plan a Trip to Disneyland Resort

Heart - Add to profile
Book Flights

May 01, 2017

Brought to you by Disneyland Resort in California.

Chances are your kids have already planned their Disneyland Resort itinerary: a walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle, a spin in the Mad Tea Party teacups, hotdogs and ice-cream for lunch, a rollercoaster ride at Paradise Pier, a trip to Cars Land, then more hotdogs for dinner followed by fireworks. And that’s just day one! If you arm yourself with a few practical tips before setting off, you can hit the ground running and jam-pack fun and excitement into every hour of your visit.

Getting there

You can reach Disneyland Resort easily via several Californian airports but flying into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the best option.

Once you’ve cleared airport security, catch the Disneyland Resort Express shuttle – it’s a simple way to reach the park. Exit the baggage claim area, proceed to the centre island and wait for the bus under the green sign in front of each terminal. There’s no need to book ahead but you must buy a ticket for the 40-minute ride (depending on traffic). Prices vary depending on your destination hotel.

Where to stay

Booking into one of Disneyland Resort’s three hotels – Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – will give you and your family easy access to the parks. The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, set in the Disney California Adventure Park, even allows guests to enter the park through a special gate. Each hotel has its own pools and restaurants and the option to receive wake-up calls from your favourite Disney character – fingers crossed you’re not waiting on Sleeping Beauty!

Staying at a Disney hotel also offers one huge advantage: Extra Magic Hour. On each morning of your stay, for a full hour before the gates open to the public, you can enjoy selected attractions in one of the theme parks without the crowds.


©Disney

The tickets

Organise your tickets ahead of your trip through your local travel agent. Tickets to spend three days or more at the resort will give you extra time to explore and if you’re planning on an epic Disney adventure, 10-day tickets are only available from Australia travel agents.

To travel between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park on the same day buy a Park Hopper ticket. It gives you the freedom to go back and forth for the duration of the ticket.

Once you’re in the park, a FASTPASS will help save you time in line – simply insert your admission ticket into the machine near the entrance of select attractions to receive a FASTPASS ticket specifying the time to come back and enjoy the ride. This service is already included in the cost of all Disneyland Resort them park tickets.

When to go

There’s never a bad time to visit Disneyland! Rainy days are rare in LA but keep in mind the temperature can skyrocket during summer; those with young children might prefer an autumn visit.

Crowds tend to be thinner on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between mid-September to mid-November, mid-January to mid-March and mid-April to mid-May. Keep in mind that extended opening hours apply during the Christmas holidays and in summer, between June and August, allowing more time to explore the parks.

To check opening hours and learn whether any attractions are closed for refurbishment see Disneyland Resort’s Park Hours.


©Disney

What to wear

This isn’t the place for sandals – supportive footwear is a must when it comes to exploring the expanse of two theme parks. Comfy clothes (shorts or jeans, a t-shirt and jacket) are your best bet. And, of course, your Mickey Mouse ears.

There are appropriate attire rules, so avoid wearing clothing that’s excessively torn or could create a trip hazard and cover any tattoos that could be considered inappropriate.

What to bring

Bring a hat, sunscreen and swimsuits during summer and pack layers to keep warm at night during winter. Take an umbrella and an extra jacket year-round, just in case. If you plan to take a child’s stroller, check ahead to make sure it fits the park’s size requirements. 

If you’re over 21 and dream of sipping a trademark tropical cocktail at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, keep your passport with you. An original passport is the only valid form of identification for guests visiting from outside the United States.

©Disney

Where to eat

The array of food and drink options in both theme parks and the Downtown Disney District is dizzying. Grab and go from kiosks scattered through the parks, eat at quick-service restaurants, share a meal with Disney characters or experience fine dining complete with sommeliers in some hotel restaurants.

Food purchased outside the park isn’t allowed through the gates but the picnic area near the main entrance is the perfect place to stop and eat your sandwiches before hitting the rides.

Most table-service restaurants and some quick-dining options have special menus for those with food allergies or intolerances. If you have questions about dietary needs, email Special.Diets@disneyland.com for more information.

Apps and websites

Download the official Disneyland App for iOS and Android to purchase tickets, see wait times for different attractions and track your favourite character’s movements for a happy snap!

The Disneyland Resort official website has all the details you need, while disneyparks.com.au is the go-to site for trip planning.

Use these maps to get your bearings.

Visit Los Angeles International Airport for flight information.