9 Things Families Should Know Before Visiting Disneyland

1-It's not Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is a gigantic complex that welcomes millions of people of virtually all nationalities, while Disneyland is smaller compared to the Orlando complex. Generally, when someone says “Disneyland” they are referring to the first park built: Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Disneyland vacations don't require as much advance planning as Disney World trips (in fact, that's one of the reasons we think Disneyland is better than Disney World). You still need a strategy, though.

2-Disneyland is a local hangout

Because it's close to Los Angeles, there are a lot of people who live near Disneyland, which means it's a frequent destination for annual pass holders.

For the best days to visit Disneyland, see the annual passholder lockout calendars. There are several days when lower-tier annual pass holders cannot enter the parks and as a result the crowds can be much more manageable

3-There are many airports nearby

When flying to Disneyland vacations, check out smaller regional airports whenever possible. Both Orange County John Wayne Airport (SNA) and Long Beach Airport (LGB) are substantially closer to Disneyland than to LAX.

You'll pay less for ground transportation and spend less time in transit. Their smaller sizes mean shorter waits for security, checking bags and pretty much everything else.

4-You don't need a rental car

Unless you're traveling throughout Southern California, renting a car isn't a necessity — and it can be a drag. Most hotels near Disneyland charge a hefty parking fee that can exceed your daily car rental fee.

If you think you might need a rental car for a short period of time and not for the entire vacation, there is another alternative to consider. There is an Alamo car rental desk located in the lobby of Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel.

Renting for a single day is often cheaper and more convenient for guests than renting at the airport for the entire vacation.

5-It is extremely walkable

What makes Disneyland so much more convenient than Disney World is its ease of walking. The two parks, Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure, are just a few hundred meters apart, making the park ride incredibly easy.

Of course, families with young children need to be prepared for all this trek. Even older children and preschoolers will likely need a stroller. If you choose not to bring your own, you can rent strollers from companies like City Stroller Rentals.

6-Off-site hotels may be worth it

Unlike Walt Disney World, where Disney hotels come in a range of prices, Disneyland hotels are all equivalent to a luxury Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

Fortunately, there are reasonably priced off-site hotels near Disneyland, many of them within walking distance of both parks. Some have larger family suites.

7-You don't have to wait in line

Families can easily reduce their wait times on a Disneyland vacation, though the strategy will vary depending on rides, family preferences, and your children's height and age.

New attractions such as Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance present a more difficult challenge. Believe it or not, there are strategies to reduce the queues and improve your odds, even for these very popular new rides.

8-Be there for the rope drop

It's vital that families arrive early - there's no way to sleep late on a Disneyland vacation! Visitors who "loose rope" for the park's opening will wait in much shorter lines for attractions that don't offer other shortcuts. My family is usually more fulfilled in the first two hours of the morning than the rest of the day..

To get the most out of it, plan to arrive about an hour before the park opens (between 8am and 10am, depending on the season). You will need time to go through security and queue to enter the gates. Arrive even earlier if you need to park and catch a bus

9-Take advantage of early entry

Although the rope drop is early, it is possible to enter Disneyland and Disney California Adventure even earlier. Guests at a Disney hotel, for example, receive Extra Magic Hour, which allows them to enter the Disneyland park an hour earlier on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays..

At Disney's California Adventure, Extra Magic Hour arrives one hour in advance on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Not every ride is open early, but many of the most popular attractions are

Guests who purchase park tickets for three days (or more) in advance will receive a Magic Morning quota. Magic Morning allows entry to Disneyland park one hour in advance on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays. A doesn't work on Disney California Adventure, but it's a great way to enjoy the kid-friendly Fantasyland rides that don't support FASTPASS.

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