We all know Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth, but navigating the parks of Southern California can be a challenge if you're trying to do it all in one day, so here are my tips, tricks and must do’s to make the most of your magical day!
You can't do it all in a single day, so keep an open mind when planning your trip and have an idea of the rides and experiences you don’t want to miss out on! The Disneyland Resort has had some amazing new attractions open in the past year, the highlight being Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. With the expansion came Rise of The Resistance which in my opinion the best ride experience in Disneyland. To get on the ride you have to score a boarding pass on the Disney mobile app or wait for the ‘rope drop’, because passes are gone in minutes.
What is a rope drop? Rope drop is when you arrive to the park before opening, guests are welcome in the parks approximately 30 minutes prior to the parks official opening. At that time, Disney employees -- lovingly called ‘Cast Members’-- drop the ropes allowing guests to enter the lands off Main Street USA. If you want to make the most of your time in the parks, take advantage of early mornings to hit bigger rides before the lines get long. Also take this time to book your fast pass, as passes go quick, especially for Radiator Springs Racers in Disney California Adventures.
If you aren’t going with little kids, plan on skipping most of fantasy land. While the rides are cute and nostalgic, they aren’t going to offer a thrill worth an hour long wait! But, If the lines are shorter than 25 minutes and you love old school Disney go for it. The rides are classic and can bring a sense of childhood joy.
Seeing if you can ride all the mountains in one day is a fun challenge, my advice would be to get a fastpass for Space Mountain, hit the Matterhorn, then Big Thunder Mountain and last but not least Splash Mountain! Even if you don’t try the mountain challenge make sure you try to get in Splash Mountain before they retheme the ride to Princess and the Frog.
If you want to hit up DCA, for sure try to ride Radiator Springs Racers at sunset, it's magical! However in my opinion the best ride in the park is Guardians of the Galaxy:Mission Breakout, there's a few different drop patterns and different songs so you never know what you are going to get! Also if you need a drink, head over to the wharf and grab a frozen margarita I prefer the lime to the strawberry but your flavor choice is all you.
While we’re on the topic of food let's talk what to drop your money on and where to save. If you are in the parks early I’d recommend the breakfast burrito from the Galactic Grill in Tomorrowland. It's so so good! The restaurant to skip in Tomorrowland is for sure Pizza Port. It is so overpriced for what you get and really it's not that good! Do head to New Orleans Square and get Mickey Beignets from The Mint Julep shop they are to die for, also check out what their special seasonal flavor is, and don’t forget the Mint Julep on the side! If you want dinner the Fried Chicken Dinner from The Plaza Inn is absolutely worth the price, the chicken and potatoes together are a good chef's kiss good! However if you are in DCA make your way to the wharf and grab a bread bowl so good and so filling the clam chowder is for sure my favorite! Don’t waste your money though on the corndogs, people rave about them but honestly they are just okay. Do give into the hype though when it comes to Dole Whip it comes in three flavors, pineapple, orange and raspberry but the original pineapple is by far the best, pick those up at the Tiki Juice Bar or at the Tropical Hideaway.
Talking about the Tiki Room, it's a classic, if you want to catch a quick show this is the one to watch! Honestly there isn’t a bad show in The Disneyland Resort. The Fantasyland Theater, Mickey and the Magical Map, Frozen Live and even the Dapper Dans each show has something special but my two top recommendations are World of Color at DCA or Fantasmic at Disneyland, but shows are water based and absolutely beautiful!
The Disneyland Resort is currently closed due to Covid-19, but downtown Disney is set to open July 9th under new safety measures. If you are going to head down, don’t forget your mask, be kind to the workers and grab a sprinkles cupcake! Disneyland has not announced a new reopening date after they canceled the July 17th reopening, but hopefully we’ll get to experience some Disney Magic soon!
This article was written by Felicia Vasquez