Some of my (too long) Disneyland Tips

This post is way too long and uninteresting,
***Please skip if this is too DULL!***
it was written in case someone out there might be planning a trip to Disneyland.

First off, I think Disneyland is fun and an experience that everyone should try at least once in their life.

Almost every ride can be enjoyed by everyone of every age in your family together.
I love all the sights, sounds, magic, landscape, people watching, etc. of being at Disneyland.
It's clean, the staff is friendly, the park keeps everything running smoothly, they have a lot of efficient ways to keep lines moving, and everyone getting on rides easily.  They have fast passes, child swapping, bathroom breaks, a child gets scared at the last minute, etc. ways to help families get on and off rides easily. I like that! Kids need to be 40 inches to enjoy almost all the fast roller coasters.
Disneyland park usually has longer hours than most amusement parks.

 The jungle cruise, I like this ride!

But, it's not everything and there are lots of things you can do as a family to make good memories and traditions instead of a trip to Disneyland.
Most states, and cities have smaller, amusement parks, with just as much fun, if not more fun rides as Disneyland, and they are often less expensive too.

If you're up for the trip:
I think it's a good idea to get a book or two from your library about Disneyland.
I like this one, The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland by Bob Sehlinger. I have the 2007 edition.
It includes actual touring plans of the park.

For ex, if you are going to spend 1 day it tells you what rides to start with to avoid long lines, and crowds. I have found the touring plans to be quite accurate and helpful once you first arrive at the park. They have touring plans for 2 days+ , adults&teens only, little kids, etc.

Going to Disneyland at the right time is also important!
Crowds and summer heat, is not pleasant for enjoying your trip.
The best times are: after Thanksgiving through the week before Christmas, the Fall time, Jan. - 1st week of Mar,  and after Easter through Memorial Day.
The busiest times are: Christmas Day -New Year's Day, Thanksgiving weekend, week of Washington's b-day, spring break -two weeks around Easter

Getting to California
Since my husband can't take a lot of time off work (he's self-employed),
it's more cost effective for us to fly. For other families, it is cheaper to drive.

I use southwest airlines. You can subscribe to their Ding service or their email offers.
When you use the Ding service, it is usually for that month, when they are trying to sell empty seats at the last minute. You usually have to purchase your tickets within 12 hours. But, the prices are cheap!
Emails alert you of current sales and usually give you a few days to think about your decision.

If you purchase tickets through Southwest and later you find the prices is lower than what you paid,  you can get a price difference through southwest credits. For instance, for our recent trip the ticket prices went down another $10 per person, now I have $50 for a future flight I can use.

The cheapest I've seen from West Coast cities to LA is $84-90 one way.
That's about $180 (does not includes extra fees and taxes) per person to fly.

*Special Note:Southwest services to 4 different airports near Disneyland.
On different days/months the prices vary. Check out each airport to get your best price.
One time we flew into one city an flew out another city to save money.

We usually rent a car so we can go the beach.
Southwest on their website shows the different rental car companies,
when you put in your car choice it will show you all the different prices so you can get the best deal.

You can use a shuttle bus from the airport .
I've never done it, but it seems like it would work just fine.

Disneyland usually offers a deal every year. Look for the deal.
This year, you could do an act of service in your town, and get a free day pass to Disneyland.(This deal has ended, it was open to 1 million, and they've already had 1 million people sign up for this deal.)
Last year, you could go to Disneyland for free on your b-day.
Another year, adult tickets were the same price as a child's ticket.

Here is Disney's website ticket prices

I love staying here. Affordable, right across the street from the entrance, so easy with kids and strollers. Free breakfast, indoor pool, free parking, microwave, refrigerators, etc.
Hard to recommend anything else.
I've price checked staying at Disney Resort hotels and packages, I could be wrong, but from what I've found you can get a better deal arranging your own hotel and tickets.

You can bring in your own food to the park.
They check your bags, but don't care about food you bring.
We get our free breakfast, then bring in snacks like: granola bars, fruit, carrots, drinks, etc.
I even brought a collapsible, cooler for cheese and gogurts
We snack on them throughout the day, even standing in line. Then get dinner at the park.
We still have little kids who eat half of things. We were able to spend about $30-40 for dinner inside the park. You can leave the park for cheaper meals, and the hotel has a microwave.
We've never done the Character meals, they look like fun, we haven't done them to help stay in budget.

We've never gotten souvenirs at the park.
Our souvenir is the trip to Disneyland,
and I make a photo book of our trip to remember the fun we had.

I heard someone once say they ran down to the local Anaheim, Wal-Mart and picked up a few things for their kids, that was cheaper than buying in the park.

We did bring an autograph book for the kids to get character signatures. They seemed to like that.
Since we brought the book from home it was cheaper than buying it in the park,
and I put a couple mickey mouse stickers on it.
Bring a BIG sharpie pen, the characters have big hands and need something large to write with.

The End

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