There are MANY ways to ruin a Disneyland day, and today I want to share a few of them that you may just be making for your next vacation. Don’t worry, there’s still time to fix them, so let’s fill in all the available space and discuss this one. (iykyk)
Not Getting Reservations
Yes, you have to have TICKETS AND RESERVATIONS (which means you can’t really buy your tickets at the gate). Currently, the days of “let’s head to Disneyland” on a whim are gone. You need reservations. If it’s busy you may need to book those a week or two in advance.
You also need to pick which park you’re going to be in. SO, if you want to got to Disneyland first thing, make sure that’s the park you reserve.
And yes, they will turn you away at the turnstiles. It’s crazy town, but true. Get that reservation.
Fun fact: Just because you need a Disneyland reservation, doesn’t mean you have to pay their high ticket prices. You can get the best prices right here through my exclusive link. Then, easily head to the Disneyland site to reserve your days. Yes, it may take an extra two minutes, but it’s worth it for how much you’ll save!
Too Many Days in the Park
Ok, while we’re on the vein of tickets, let me be the first to tell you that it’s real easy to add on a 5-day park hopper to your visit. Because the price of 5 days is just a few bucks more than a 4-day and you’re in your mind saying “gosh, that’s like a FREE day at Disneyland” and I’m here to tell you there is no such thing as a free day at Disneyland (did I mention my dad is an economist, and we had a LOT of talk about “free” growing up).
When you add that extra day you’re also adding:
- Stress of being at the parks
- Possibly another day of genie+ pricing if that’s what you choose to do
- Maybe another hotel night?
- Food in the parks
- Your feet will hate you 🙂
This isn’t to say that you have to cut your trip short. What it IS to say is that there is still a LOT to do around Anaheim that isn’t JUST Disneyland. You could head to the beach, check out some of the museums nearby or just hang out by the pool and let you feel chilll-lax a bit.
For some, that extra day will allow them to hang out more by the pool on the other days (coming back early or for a break), and that’s fair — it’s just how you’re going to spend it and if you really want that fifth day.
Personally, we’re all teens/adults in our family. We go hard core for 2 days and then we die. We’ve even done it in one day. It was magical. 🙂
Grab my trip planner here to get the most out of your days too:
Getting the Wrong Room
You may see the wide variety of prices of Disneyland hotels and pick just the cheapest one. And I get that, I feel you — I hear you. Let me just remind you of a few things:
- Room costs will be a much smaller portion of your trip cost than tickets, most likely.
- You should remember to factor in transportation to the parks if your hotel is not walkable (aka, uber, parking, shuttle)
- Every hotel in a 3 mile radius seems to think they’re walkable to Disneyland, and I don’t agree.
- A free breakfast is only helpful if your kids will eat it (and not just jump on the bench so excited to go to the parks).
For us, we get a tighter room and stay closer to the parks. I have a whole post with my favorite affordable rooms near Disneyland, and some are very walkable.
We also just put Gogurts in the room fridge and give each kid one of those and a granola bar as we walk to the parks. For us, that’s better.
When our kids were little we stayed a bit further out to give us all a bit more room and kids could run around as we died on the beds. We also had strollers, and buckets of snacks — so we just needed more room!
BTW, I do always book my hotel room with Get Away Today (since 1998). They really are the easiest & cheapest. If you’re stumped as to which room to get, just call them — tell them what’s important to you and their agents will share which rooms will fit you best (because they’ve visited the hotels and they know with their own eyeballs — love that about them).
You want options, right? You want to be able to head on over to California Adventure at your leisure — and I get that. I love options. A few facts to help you:
- Somehow, it is almost the entire span of the United States when you walk from Star Wars land in Disneyland to the boardwalk in California Adventure. You will feel like a complete pioneer by the time you get there. I have no idea how far it really is, I just know it feels like forever.
- Hopping doesn’t start til’ 11 am. (at the time of this writing), so you will have 3 hours that you don’t have options for — and then you can hop to your heart’s content (your feet will never be content with hopping though)
- There is plenty to do in each park.
- Hopping is a LOT of money to add to a short ticket, as you spread the price out across your # of days with multi-day tickets it doesn’t seem like as much — but saves you $60-70/person. Which, can add up.
This being said — if you want to get the VERY most out of your Genie+ we usually hop. I have older kids that love the big rides in California Adventure, but love the nostalgia of Disneyland. So, we hop. I also sit down and people watch a lot because it can be hard on the feets.
And if you’re wondering how much this is all going to cost — grab my Disneyland cost calculator right here:
Not Using Lightening Lanes Right
I hear so often that people got Genie+ but only ended up using it on like 5 rides, and I’m like — no. Stop. Immediately, no — you’re doing it wrong. Fix it.
I have my best genie+ tips in this post, but here are my top 3 tips in case you don’t want to read that article (which would be a mistake if you’re not very familiar with the system):
- If you’re hopping start gathering lightening lanes first thing (but ride other rides the first 1-2 hours that you’d like to ride twice)
- ALWAYS be holding a lightening lane after the first hour the park is open. As soon as you scan in, you can add another one add it (set a timer — because you’ll forget).
- Know which lightening lanes fill quickly, and add those early in the day.
Now, you can stack lightening lanes and often give yourself a break mid-day for some lunch — but all those tips are in that post from above, so don’t miss it.
I’m just here to say that if you don’t know how to use Genie+ you should either learn, or not get it. Those are your two best options.
Spring Break hotels ☀️ are already filling up for Disneyland 2024.
Grab your hotel at a great price today!
Hotels I ❤️:
– Best Western Park Place (so close)
– Tropicana Hotel (close, and a bit cheaper, more available)
– Anaheim Hotel (pretty close, great pricing)
– Cambria Hotel (GREAT for large groups)
– Camelot Hotel (close & good availability — a hidden gem)
I am actually staying at the Anaheim Majestic this next time, excited to try their free shuttle!
Caught-Up in Commercialism
There is a lot of cute merch at Disneyland. I have seen ears that I think are just adorable, but getting caught-up in Disneyland merch is something a LOT of people do, and then regret it when they get home — because they just aren’t feeling the joy of wearing a $80 spirit jersey outside of the parks.
Now, many of you will LOVE wearing that spirit jersey YEAR ROUND at home — and that’s amazing, and to you I say BUY IT.
But Many of you won’t — so I’d encourage you to remember that Disney dollars are the same as regular dollars and to ASK yourself if you plan to use these items later on. If not, maybe they are better spent elsewhere. and wow, my economist father is really coming OUT in this post!
So, those are six mistakes I see a LOT of people making. Do any of those ring true for YOUR next trip? Tell me in the comments. AND if I missed some mistakes you wouldn’t make, tell me there too!