Planning A Family Disneyland Vacation

Going to Disneyland can truly be a magnificent, magical experience for all ages. Unfortunately, the trip doesn’t plan itself, and you may have several questions about planning the best vacation possible. Here are some tips and tricks you should know before planning any Disneyland adventure.

On-Site or Off-Site?

Convenience is easily one of the biggest benefits that you’ll get out of staying on-site. The park can be as close as hopping on a shuttle or the monorail which takes you directly to the park. This means less time travelling and more time enjoying the park.

Disney makes it their quest to provide the most magical, Disney-esque experience possible. Choosing an off-site hotel won’t diminish the Disneyland Park itself, but it won’t be continuous 24/7 Disney like on-site hotels.

Some off-site hotels offer the same perks as the resort, however, as there are 40 off-site hotels partnered with Disneyland to provide similar deals to the on-site hotels. Call your hotel to see if and what perks they offer for staying at their specific chain.

Unfortunately, there are no value resorts at Disneyland. If you’re looking for a cheaper rate or something within a budget, you might want to opt out of on-site hotels. Hotels in the area could be half the cost of staying at a Disneyland hotel with just as great of service.

Smaller amenities for staying off-site also include free breakfasts or free Wi-Fi which isn’t available at Disneyland hotels, or will cost you extra. Hotels also run “fourth night free” promotions to allow for an additional saving. Finally, off-site hotels will have more updated rooms.

Perfect Timing

Some of the worst times to visit the parks are on holidays. Avoid Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, Washington's Birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, or any other national holiday you can think of. Spring break is also a horrible time to go. Finally, the summer will also warrant higher crowds. Does that leave any time to visit?

Disneyland is generally a ghost town in the middle of a regular week. Try to schedule a time when the family can take off when others normally do not. This will give you a better vacation with fewer people. The first half of September, weekdays in November, the first half of December, and weekdays in January (except New Years) are your best bets. Weekdays are generally your safest choices.

Pack Wisely

Lanyards are fantastic for holding your tickets and money. You can buy one or purchase a money belt to keep all of your valuables safe while you’re travelling around the park. The parks are generally safe, but if you’re worried, invest in a moneybelt.

Snacks can be essential, even if you’re on a budget. Your family may get hungry or thirsty in line.

Don't forget the sunscreen! Bring sunscreen with you, and have it on you at all times. You don’t want you or your family to be burnt to a crisp while waiting in lines or enjoying the various attractions Disneyland offers.

You might think chargers are an odd thing to pack, be sure to bring these, also. There are several plug stations throughout the park so you won’t run out of battery. You'd be surprised how quickly taking pictures and videos drains your cell phone or camera battery.

Autograph books and pens can cost you a pretty penny in the park, so get one before you arrive at the park itself.

Ticket Types Galore

Of course, remember your tickets. Buy them online or through another reputable seller, but don’t plan on standing in the ticket line. That could take you hours. Plan ahead of time.

There are several different types of tickets you can buy for your family. There are, of course, the one- and two-day pass tickets, but there are also 3- to 5-day passes which offer a “Magic Morning” passes. This allows you to get in an hour before general admission.

You can also buy a “Park Hopper” ticket which will allow you to visit multiple Disneyland resorts in one day based on your location. Special event tickets are also available for holidays, if you choose to go, and are easily found on Disneyland website.

Finally, there are “passports.” Based on location, the Disneyland park may have a passport which will give you annual entry as well as other perks like 10% off select dining and 10% or more off select merchandise.

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