It's that time of year. Time for the family to head to Disneyland. Of course, for the past three years, it seems that every time you check Facebook, the family is heading to Disneyland. Seriously, how many times can a family of 7 fly from Colorado for this vacation? Not enough, I say.
However, it has made us all experts of sorts. We have made this trip almost every year since my youngest was 2 and the oldest was 8. We know how to travel in diapers and car seats. We know how to appease teenagers. We've gone the Disney travel route. We've (mostly) done the plan it yourself route. Have a budget? Yep, we worked on a get there budget, a scrape the change out of your car budget, and a skies the limit budget. We've eaten in the park and out of the park. Fast Passes aren't that scary either, when you know about them. Disney trips are nearly stress free now and it is our quest to help you have a stress free Disneyland vacation as well.
So begin looking for my HAVE KIDS WILL TRAVEL segment. (There is also a tab on the side bar that you can follow them in order and by category.) The family is pitching in too. Each of the boys, and hubby too, will be giving you their quick thought on each topic. If it's ratable, we're rating it for you!
Have questions about anything? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to incorporate your questions.
This blog and its contents are the opinions of Bernadette Marie only. This blog is not associated with Disneyland or the Disney brand. Those copyrights of images and names belong to them. I have not been paid or compensated by Disney for my opinion. The tips I provide are based on my experience alone and all other experiences for/from others may vary.
Have Kids Will Travel...Choosing your Destination in Anaheim, CA. Disneyland vs Disney's California Adventure (Post #2)
Planning your destination.
As this blog is specifically focused on the California Disney experience, I’ll be discussing Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Though we are addressing topics for travel to California and these specific destinations, my tips will come in handy for any travel experience.
When traveling to Anaheim, California to visit the Disneyland Resort, you’re going to want to first decide on which park you want to visit. They are both Disney properties, but both very distinctly different. If your budget or time is limited, you might find yourself having to choose between them. Honestly, if you can do both parks, my opinion is to do so. But lets examine them.
The original is everything you’ve heard and more! This iconic park will transport any child into a living dream and any adult back to their childhood. In 2015 the park began their 60th DIAMOND ANNIVERSARY celebration. You will find updates to both parks with a sparkling diamond reminder of the longevity of this fantastic park.
From the moment you step foot through the gates of Disneyland, you are greeted with that magical feeling you only get from Disney. A friendly cast (employees) is there to guide you through your experience at every turn. If you ever need anything, you will certainly find it by a kind and courteous cast member.
DISNEYLAND is separated into lands. Each land is as unique as the name and the attractions within that land. Whether you’ve been to DISNEYLAND or not, you’re probably familiar with the lands inside such as TOMORROW LAND, FANTASYLAND, FRONTIERLAND, NEW ORLEANS SQUARE, and ADVENTURELAND. Such iconic rides as SPLASH MOUNTAIN, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, HAUNTED MANSION, SPACE MOUNTAIN, and IT’S A SMALL WORLD live within these lands.
Equally as important are the characters that frequent these lands. Any child or adult can come face to face with their favorite DISNEY action hero, princess, or villain. Bring your autograph book! Each character will sign their distinct autograph. Let’s not forget that Princesses are often spotted beyond the entrance of SLEEPING BEAUTY’S CASTLE. (During the 60th celebration, you don’t want to miss the glitz that has been added to this also iconic site.) Likewise, STORMTROOPERS and DARTH VADER have been spotted roaming through TOMORROWLAND daily.
Aside from your original Disney characters, such as MICKEY MOUSE and GOOFY, you will only find princesses and Jedi in Disneyland. (Elsa and Ana excluded.) Keep this in mind if you have a princess looking for that moment with their idol.
You simply can’t go wrong by visiting Disneyland on a trip to Anaheim. Note, that this park IS the most popular of the two and you will find it busy at all times. However, the genius that is Disney, built the park to be accessible and moving at all times. With parades, meet and greets, fireworks, and FAST PASSES you can ensure a fun filled day that keeps moving and line waits can be kept at a minimum.
Again, Disneyland will bring out the child in everyone.
DISNEY’S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE
The newest of the Disneyland Resort parks sits just across the square from Disneyland. This park celebrates California itself.
You enter a main street, just as you do in Disneyland, lined with shops. Your setting is California 1920’s. On BUENA VISTA STREET, you will find most of your favorite Disney characters to visit, such as MICKEY MOUSE, MINNIE MOUSE, and GOOFY. From there you choose your destination.
HOLLYWOOD LAND offers younger Disney lovers a chance to meet their favorite DISNEY JUNIOR characters. Here you’ll find the art studio where you can learn to draw your favorite Disney characters (and cool down if the day is super hot,) as well as a few indoor interactive attractions. This is also where you will find the meet and greet for Elsa and Ana.
For the thrill seeker, you can’t miss the TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR.
A BUGS LAND offers the younger rider and their parents a unique perspective from an ant sized view of the world. The great thing about Disney attractions, parents can always ride with their children.
CARS LAND cannot be missed if you are a fan of the CARS movies. The amazing Disney designers brought Radiator Springs to life! Though the neon is blaring at night, this land is mostly meet and greets with the stars of CARS, shopping and dining. You do have RADIATOR RACERS which drives you though the amazing canyon. (You’ll want a fast pass for this ride. It is super popular!)
PACIFIC WARF offers some great food! PARADISE PIER hosts the bigger rides such as CALIFORNIA SCREAMING and the iconic Ferris wheel. If it’s a hot day, you certainly want to visit GRIZZLY RIVER RUN, the water ride. You’re guaranteed to cool off and get wet.
In my opinion DISNEY’S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE offers a great deal of fun for the older kiddos. The park is certainly not as crowded as Disneyland, therefore, you can move from attraction to attraction with ease. This park also has some of the best parades and don’t forget the WORLD OF COLOR at night. FAST PASSES are available for most of the bigger attractions here as well.
WHAT TO CHOOSE
You can buy passes to each park individually. You can also buy passes to both parks that allow you one park a day. When we travel we buy the PARK HOPPER ticket which allows us entrance into each park, each day, all day. (This will be covered in another blog post.)
Looking for more information on each park? Here are some helpful links.
Disneyland official site
Disney’s California Adventure
Information on Disneyland
Information on Disney’s California Adventure
What does This House of Boys have to say?
Stanley: Loves CALIFORNIA SCREAMING! (Found on Paradise Pier at Disney's California Adventure.)
Tony: Loves the ambient music which always plays! (Very unique answer!)
Nick: Loves BUZZ LIGHTYEAR ASTRO BLASTER! (Found in Tomorrowland at Disneyland)
Garrett: Loves SPACE MOUNTAIN! (In Tomorrowland at Disneyland)
Stanley O.: Loves STAR TOURS best! (In Tomorrowland at Disneyland)
Jack: Loves CALIFORNIA SCREAMING too!
and even though you've gotten all my opinions...Bernadette Loves TOY STORY MANIA (found on the Midway at Disney's California Adventure.)
Happy Travel Planning!
Have Kids Will Travel...When to visit Disneyland (Post #3)
Regardless of what time of year you go to the Disneyland Resort, busy or not, you're going to have a great time. Of course there are better times to go if you're looking to avoid crowds. We travel with school aged kiddos. Our planning has to be made when they are out of school.
We often travel over the 4th of July holiday, which is my birthday. (My twins' birthday is on the 5th.) The main purpose of traveling on these days is to celebrate our birthdays in the park. Believe it or not, this holiday isn't busy during the day. Traditionally, Independence Day is a day for barbecue and picnics. We stay away from the beach this day and travelers stay away from the park. Usually, we play all day and leave before the crowds begin to pile in around Disneyland to watch the firework display. (Yes, I'm a 4th of July baby, but fireworks are not my thing.)
You certainly will find the parks are busier during traditional school vacations times. If you can avoid going during winter break and spring break, you'll avoid most of the crowds. Christmas through the first week in January is a fun time to see the decorations, but be aware that you are going to be elbow to elbow with people the entire time.
If you're kids are younger than school age, try to plan your trip mid-week during the school year. The park might be more manageable than when there are significant crowds. Remember that Disney's California Adventure is much less crowded than Disneyland. Families with younger kids and strollers migrate to Disneyland. Believe it or not, thousands of strollers take up a lot of space.
If you're not in a hurry or planning your trip soon, download one of the wait apps for the parks. They will show you real time wait times for attractions and rides. This will give you an idea of what's going on at the park at that time. (We do this just for fun when we are not there too.)
The official Disneyland website also offers a wealth of information on when to visit the park to avoid the crowds. This also includes the park times which vary during the year as well.
You can find that information here: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/when-to-visit/
***Note, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure are property of The Walt Disney Company. The opinions on these parks are simply mine. To find the most up to date and accurate information on the parks and their travel times, visit https://disneyland.disney.go.com
When searching for a place to stay when visiting the Disneyland Resort, your options are nearly limitless, unless you're traveling with a bigger family (such as we do.)
Disney has multiple hotels on property, just a hop, skip, and a jump from the park. The Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, and the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa all sit on the property. Each has its own perks such as themed swimming pools, character meals, direct entrance into Disney's California Adventure, and Magic Mornings. May of the rooms are themed, so if you haven't had enough Disney magic, you can lay your head down at night still surrounded by it. Check out these amazing hotels on the Disneyland website at : https://disneyland.disney.go.com/hotels/
Of course staying on property isn't the only option. The streets around Disneyland are filled with hotels hoping you'll chose them for your vacation. Some are as close as a short walk to the front gate of the hotel. Sometimes even closer than those on the property.
Disney works with many of these hotels and those that have the Good Neighbor status have been rated on categories such as amenities, service, price and location. These hotels can be booked individually or through Disney travel. Many of these hotels offer suites to accommodate larger parties. My family is a party of 7. In a standard hotel this usually means we have to book 2 rooms, and hopefully they are adjoined. We have stayed in a number of Good Neighbor hotels that offer suites to accommodate the larger families. Some of these hotels are within walking distance to the park or on the ART (Anaheim Resort Transportation) route. Continental Breakfast is served at a number of hotels and most of them have swimming, parking, and laundry facilities. You can find links to these hotels at https://disneyland.disney.go.com/hotels/good-neighbor/
In upcoming posts I will be ranking the hotels we have visited. If you have stayed at a Good Neighbor hotel and wish to share your experiences please email me at email@example.com
***Note, this blog is not associated with The Walt Disney Company. The information and opinions are based on my experiences only. I have not been compensated for my opinions.***
Staying off property from the Disneyland Resort means traveling to the park. Many of the Good Neighbor hotels are within walking distance, if you don’t mind a small hike for a few of them. Disney has an onsite parking garage which currently (7-2015) costs $17 per day for a regular car. This can be ordered online to save you time. (Link below.) They also have a few nearby parking lots as well. Some of the bigger hotels will also offer shuttles right to the front door of the park. Check the amenities with your hotel prior to travel.
The Anaheim Resort Transportation (ART) is a great way to get around town, if you forego the rental car or the resort is further than you wish to walk. The ART has stops all over Anaheim. They had stops at nearly every hotel/resort. They offer passes for 1, 3, and 5 days. The rates are very reasonable and you can buy your passes online or at many of the hotels. (Check to see if your hotel sells these passes. I have found sometimes, you can get them cheaper, but they certainly aren’t expensive.)
The ART busses run from 7am-midnight, seven days a week. Just as a regular city bus system, each bus is numbered. You’ll need to find your bus number and closest stop. The busses will deliver you right to the front door of Disneyland. They will also pick you up at the same place and busses return every 15-20 minutes.
The ART busses are air conditioned (which is a blessing after a long, hot, Disney filled day.) They are clean and have some of the most amusing drivers! Don’t be surprised if you find yourself engaged in some Disney trivia or a sing along.
With a pass, a guest can travel to multiple amusement parks, shopping areas, hotels, and restaurants in the Anaheim area. You can also make as many travels in the day as you wish. Pick up/ drop off locations are found on their website.
For Parking Information: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/guest-services/parking/
For ART Information: http://rideart.org/how-to-ride
***Note, the information for the items in this article can be found at the links above. All opinions on these items are strictly my own. I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions.***
Have Kids Will Travel...
Disneyland, CA (Post #1)
Choosing your destination~ Disneyland vs. Disney's California Adventure (Post #2)
Have Kids Will Travel...When to visit Disneyland (Post #3)
Have Kids Will Travel...Where to stay when visiting Disneyland (post #4)
Have Kids Will Travel...Transportation and Parking for Disneyland, CA (post #5)