Tips for First-Timers to Disneyland

This week, we were in Palm Springs visiting family and decided to take a day trip to Disneyland. I gotta say Disneyland is fabulous, but it is a bit confusing to navigate (dare I say daunting?) the first time. So here is what I learned on our visit:

  • The parking garage is massive and confusing. Have all people in your party take a picture with their smartphones of your parking space/aisle number. We decided to meet at the car and my mom got lost.
  • Bring a small stroller. After you park, you will go on a shuttle, and you will need to collapse your stroller and shimmy it between the seats. My gigantic jogging stroller was a huge pain to wrestle with.
  • Don’t bother buying tickets in advance online. You still have to wait in line to pick them up. When you first get off the tram from parking, you will see ticket booths with long lines. Walk past those and there are more ticket booths with lines about a quarter as long.
  • Apparently people make reservations at Disneyland for lunch. We wanted to eat at the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. They basically laughed at us for thinking we could just walk up and eat there. We did discover a fast-food version of the restaurant around the corner that only serves gumbo. It was sooooo delicious. We all left feeling like we had a yummy HEALTHY meal, which was surprising.
  • Bring a spare outfit and plenty of wet wipes and sanitizer. This place is germy!
  • We didn’t participate in this, but I was surprised to learn about this pin-trading game going on. You buy your child a necklace and pins that pin on it. The kids can then trade with other kids in line. Apparently the Disney characters also have them to trade, and theirs are the rare ones not sold in the stores. I about fell over listening to a dad brag about spending $20,000 on rare pins for his kids and they then just went and traded them for the cheap ones. That dad must seriously be kicking himself.
  • WEAR GOOD SNEAKERS!!! I threw on an old pair and my feet were killing me. In fact, they were aching two days later. I looked at the bottom of the shoes and realized they were beyond worn out. No wonder I was hurting.
  • If you have any old back or neck injuries, bring some anti-inflammatory backup. I was in an accident years ago, and every time I go on rides, the pain flares right back up. I had a hard time even with the tamest of rides. Pathetic that the grannies running around weren’t having trouble but I was kind of crumbling.
  • Wear layers. I would highly recommend layering for sun and a bit cool. In the sun, we were HOT in our tank tops, but by late afternoon, our light jackets weren’t close to enough; we were shivering.
  • I would recommend not having a huge agenda of needing to hit a million rides. Take it easy and enjoy. The long lines can be tough for little ones. Hayden was thrilled just being there and looking around.

OK, Disney experts, what tips do you have? Bring them on. I’m so excited to learn the ins and outs of the pros.

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