I’ve always loved anything to do with Disney. When I was a kid, my mum started a hardcover Disney book collection for me, which I still have to this day – I’m now 25 years old! I first visited Anaheim’s Disneyland parks when I was 3 years old, which sadly, I don’t remember actually doing. But I’ve been back quite a few times since then, and it never fails to amaze me.
Although I haven’t visited all of the Disney parks around the world, I like to think that I’ve learnt enough, to share this guide with you all. In this post, you’ll find a ton of useful information, tips and tricks for spending your day (or more) at Anaheim’s Disney Parks. I’ve included the cost for entry of both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, opening times and the best advice we could come up with, for anybody visiting for the first time!
Remember, this guide is for Anaheim’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park only. We have visited Tokyo’s Disney Parks too, though! For that guide, you can click here.
Table of Contents
- 1 Anaheim’s Disney Parks Guide
- 2 Ticket Prices & Opening Times – Disneyland & California Adventure Park
- 3 Disney Parks Guide: Disneyland Tips & Tricks
- 3.1 Always arrive at least 30 minutes before the gates open
- 3.2 Make Tomorrowland your first priority
- 3.3 Don’t miss It’s a Small World and the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups
- 3.4 Keep an eye out for Disney characters throughout the day
- 3.5 Purchase some custom embroidered Mickey Mouse ears
- 3.6 If you have kids, visit Disneyland in the morning
- 3.7 Grab a Map when you enter the park
- 3.8 Get a Free Badge from City Hall
- 3.9 Keep an eye out for Pressed Penny Machines
- 3.10 Bring your own water bottle and snacks
- 3.11 Don’t leave without riding Indiana Jones in Adventureland
- 3.12 Use your Magic Morning ticket
- 4 Disney Parks Guide: California Adventure Park Tips & Tricks
- 4.1 Make Cars Land your first priority
- 4.2 California Screamin’ is an absolute must
- 4.3 Head to Paradise Pier for Instagram worthy shots
- 4.4 Make use of the Single Rider Lines
- 4.5 Alcohol is available at some areas in California Adventure Park (For 21 and over only)
- 4.6 Head over to Hollywood Land to experience the refurbished Tower of Terror ride
- 4.7 If you’re a fan of ferris wheels, check out Mickey’s Fun Wheel at Paradise Pier
- 4.8 Don’t miss the Pixar Play Parade
- 5 Did you like this post? Pin it for later or share with friends!
Anaheim’s Disney Parks Guide
Anaheim is home to two Disney parks: Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Disneyland was the first and original Disney park, opening its doors on July 11th 1955. California Adventure Park was born 46 years later, on February 8th 2001. I’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time at both of Anaheim’s Disney parks, and I can honestly say, Disneyland truly is the Happiest Place on Earth. Here is some general information about Anaheim’s Disney Parks!
Ticket Prices & Opening Times – Disneyland & California Adventure Park
Note: All prices are in US dollars. Click here for a currency converter.
Park Hopper Tickets – Switch Between Both Parks on One Day
1 Day Ticket (Weekdays): Adult $157 – Child $151
1 Day Ticket (Weekends): Adult $165 – Child $159
2 Day Ticket: Adult $244 – Child $232
3 Day Ticket: Adult $315 – Child $303
4 Day Ticket: Adult $335 – Child $320
5 Day Ticket: Adult $350 – Child $335
Regular Park Tickets – One Park Per Day
1 Day Ticket (Weekdays): Adult $97 – Child $91
1 Day Ticket (Weekends): Adult $110 – Child $104
2 Day Ticket: Adult $199 – Child: $187
3 Day Ticket: Adult $270 – Child: $258
4 Day Ticket: Adult $290 – Child: $320
5 Day Ticket: Adult $305 – Child: $290
Tip: It works out to be a lot better value, the more days you choose to spend at the Disney parks. I highly recommend purcahsing the 5 Day Park Hopper ticket. In my opinion, it’s the best value for money, and you’re able to switch between both parks at your own pace. You also aren’t required to visit over five consecutive days, which is perfect if you’re spending an extended period of time in Anaheim.
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Where to Purchase Tickets
The best place to purchase tickets for both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, is on Disney’s website. You’ll be able to choose how many days you want to visit, and whether you want a Park Hopper.
Opening Times – Disneyland & California Adventure Park
The opening times for both Disneyland and California Adventure Park vary, depending on the day you visit and the time of year. During holiday periods and special occasions throughout the year, there are certain activities, events and parties that may change the opening hours for both parks.
As a general guide, Disneyland and California Adventure Park is open from 9am until 9pm each day during the week. On weekends, the park can remain open up until midnight. For up to date opening times, check the monthly events schedule and calendar on Disney’s website closer to the day of your visit!
Tip: If you purchase any of the multi-day tickets, split up your time over each day. For example, on the first day of your visit, arrive in the morning and spend a full day exploring either Disneyland or California Adventure Park. The next time you visit, arrive in the afternoon, so you can enjoy a bit of a sleep in and experience Disneyland’s incredible fireworks display! This will give you a chance to rest (both Disney parks are huge, meaning a LOT of walking) and you’ll also be able to experience the parks at different times during the day.
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Disney Parks Guide: Disneyland Tips & Tricks
Disneyland is wild and wonderful place, no matter how old you are. There are 8 different lands within the park, and each are themed differently. I don’t know about you guys, but I like to be well-informed before visiting new places – and theme parks are no different! This is especially important if you’re planning a visit during peak times throughout the year. This is generally over the summer period, no matter which Disney Park you attend.
That’s where this Disney Parks Guide will come in handy! Disneyland may be the Happiest Place in the World, but it can also be the Busiest Place in the World. If you aren’t prepared, and haven’t had a Disney experience before, it will seem overwhelming. So that’s being said, sit back, relax and maybe grab a notepad and pen. I’m about to share some insider tips about Anahiem’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park. You’re welcome.
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Always arrive at least 30 minutes before the gates open
This applies to both of Anaheim’s Disney parks. The earlier you arrive the better, as you’ll avoid having to wait in line for hours. Just wake up a bit earlier! It will be worth it, trust me.
Make Tomorrowland your first priority
Tomorrowland is home to Space Mountain, which is, in my opinion, the best ride on Earth. Before lining up for the ride, get yourself a Fast Pass Ticket. Simply put your park ticket into one of the machines located outside of Space Mountain, and it will pop out a second ticket with an hour time frame. Once you have your Fast Pass ticket, line up in the regular queue for Space Mountain. Then, during your designated hour, come back and ride it again! This may seem like a lot of effort (it’s really not) but it will definitely be worth it.
Don’t miss It’s a Small World and the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups
Head to Fantasyland and ride the awesome ride with an annoyingly catchy song, It’s a Small World. I also suggest riding the Tea Cups. Unless of course, you get motion sickness easily. Maybe give it a skip if that’s the case.
Keep an eye out for Disney characters throughout the day
They tend to come out quite often (less frequently and for shorter periods of time during summer), but they’re easy enough to find. Park maps and Disney’s website should have updated times of planned Disney character interactions. If not, you’ll eventually see one of two while walking around the parks!
Purchase some custom embroidered Mickey Mouse ears
These are so awesome, I have two pairs! You can have anything your heart desires, stitched to the back of your Mickey ears, so be creative! From memory, these cost around $14. The price might have changed since I visited back in 2013, but I wouldn’t imagine they’d cost any more than $20. They’re a great gift idea or souvenir for yourself or your kids!
If you have kids, visit Disneyland in the morning
This is even more convenient if you purchase a multi-day Park Hopper ticket. I don’t have kids, but after seeing so many tantrums and sleeping children by 3pm, morning visits definitely seem like the way to go!
Grab a Map when you enter the park
Your map will show you where every single ride and attraction is located within the park, and whether or not they have Fast Passes available. The map also shows where the toilets, ATM’s, smoking areas and first aid centres are located. There are also baby care centres spread out around the park, which you can find by looking at your map!
Get a Free Badge from City Hall
When you first enter Disneyland, use your map to locate City Hall. There are a few free badges available, including ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘My 1st Visit’. I’ve got about 5 First Visit badges, and a couple of Happy Birthday ones. It’s cool having people wish you a happy birthday while waiting in line for rides! It’s also a great souvenir, even if it’s not your birthday or first visit! I’m guilty of both of those. Oops!
Keep an eye out for Pressed Penny Machines
This is a super cheap and fun way to collect souvenirs around the park, and they’re pretty easy to find in each land. Check the stores outside of all your favourite rides – they tend to have themed pennies available!
Bring your own water bottle and snacks
This is a great way to save money, and will come in handy while you wait in those awful long lines. Other than having to pee, there’s nothing worse than being thirsty when you’ve still got 40 minutes left to wait for the next ride. Snacks are also a good idea to keep kids happy, distracted and far less bored.
Don’t leave without riding Indiana Jones in Adventureland
Whether or not you’re a fan of the movies, everything about this ride is awesome. The detail and thought put into the decorations, set and ride itself is incredible. Grab a Fast Pass early in the day, so you don’t miss out!
Use your Magic Morning ticket
This is only available to anybody who purchases one of the Multi Day passes. Your ticket will give you early access to Disneyland, for once day over the duration of your pass. Basically, for one morning, you’ll have (almost) the entire park to yourself and a handful of others. This is a great way to hit up your favourite rides before the long lines start to form. Definitely worth paying for a Multi Day ticket!
Tip: One of my favourite memories at Disneyland, was with my Contiki group back in June 2015. I did the Best of USA tour, and our group spent a full day at Anaheim’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park! Contiki is a great way to see a new city, and make awesome friends at the same time! You can read about my experience on Contiki here.
Disney Parks Guide: California Adventure Park Tips & Tricks
Make Cars Land your first priority
The last time I visited California Adventure Park, Radiator Springs was the most popular ride by far. The wait times were crazy long, and Fast Passes can run out fairly quickly, especially during peak times. So if you’re a Cars fan, definitely make this a priority.
California Screamin’ is an absolute must
It’s the only actual rollercoaster across both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, and it’s a LOT of fun. You can get Fast Passes for this ride too, and like Space Mountain, it’s definitely worth it. You’ll be turned upside down, do loops in Mickey Mouse’s ears and have a photo taken at the end that always provides a laugh. Make sure to experience the ride at night too. You’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the entire park, all lit up and sparkly!
Head to Paradise Pier for Instagram worthy shots
This is where everyone gets the classic rollercoaster and ferris wheel photos. It’s the prime location for incredible sunset photos, too. Make the most of the river in front of California Screamin – definitely one of the most Instagrammable spots in the park!
Make use of the Single Rider Lines
This applies to Disneyland too, but generally smaller children aren’t going to want to ride by themselves. For certain rides at California Adventure Park, I definitely suggest making the most of this. You can wait in line with your friends and family, you’ll just have to sit next to somebody you don’t know while on the ride. It’s totally worth it if you’re short on time and want to see as much as possible!
Alcohol is available at some areas in California Adventure Park (For 21 and over only)
Generally Carthay Circle and Paradise Pier are your best bet to enjoy some refreshing lunch time or dinner alcoholic beverages. I didn’t actually know alcohol was available until after I arrived home from my last trip to California Adventure Park. So I’m not sure of the prices or availability when it comes to purchasing alcohol.
Head over to Hollywood Land to experience the refurbished Tower of Terror ride
It’s now Guardians of the Galaxy, and although I haven’t ridden it myself, it looks amazing! The exterior design is awesome, and if it’s anything like the original Tower of Terror, it will be one you cannot miss!
If you’re a fan of ferris wheels, check out Mickey’s Fun Wheel at Paradise Pier
There are two types of gondolas on the fun wheel: still or swinging. If you’re daring, and aren’t afraid of heights, choose the swinging one. You’ll slide back and forth along the inside of the wheel. Not recommended after eating lunch, though! I’m not too good with heights, but I still found it quite enjoyable! Just quietly, I probably would have preferred the still gondola, but it was still fun!
Don’t miss the Pixar Play Parade
If for no other reason, than the fact the parade has the catchiest song ever, and you will definitely have it stuck in your head all day long. All of the Disney characters come out for this awesome parade, interacting with guests and children in particular. There are 5 floats in the parade: Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story. I definitely recommend scheduling your day around the parade, it’s worth it!
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Both of Anaheim’s Disney parks are definitely worth a visit. I guarantee you’ll have an amazing experience, and make memories that will last a life time. If possible, spend more than a couple of days in Anaheim. There’s a lot to cover across both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, and you’ll want to soak in every single second!
I hope you found this Disney parks guide helpful! Tell me in the comments below, which is your favourite Disney park? What is your favourite ride? I’d love to know!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. I only ever share my 100% honest opinion, and will never endorse a company or product that I would not personally use!