Let’s talk about WHEN you should plan your Disneyland trip! I love how this episode reminds you that when YOU can go to Disneyland is the best time to go. AND, when it’s super crowded, Disneyland pulls out all the stops to make it a great visit anyway!
This episode introduces one of my favorite Disneyland Experts — Jessica Sanders from Happiest Blog on Earth and @disneylandplan on Instagram. She can even help you plan your next visit! What you can find on her blog:
- Special needs at Disneyland Resort
- Picking the right time of year/date to visit
- Placing rides in the optimal order
- Navigating Disneyland Resort with young children
Big thanks to this episode’s sponsor Family Routines. Because I KNOW you wish your family helped more when a vacation comes — check out my advice on encouraging kids to pack themselves!
In this episode we’re talking about:
- What happens at Disneyland throughout the year, what to expect during each season
- What to expect with the Halloween event
- What makes Christmas at Disneyland so jingle-bell exciting!
- What to expect during the Food & Wine festival
- More info on the “Super Hero Themed Land” (they just announced they are going to call it Disney Avengers Campus — Jessica has all the details in that post)
- When to find the lowest crowds (but, also what you’ll miss if you go at a low-crowd time)
- Why going at crowded times isn’t always a bad idea!
- Jessica shares her optimal time to go, her favorite ride (100% different than mine), and her favorite treat (which I have never tried) & her favorite age to take a kid to Disneyland.
It’s gonna make you ready to book a trip!
You can still book your Christmas trip 🎄❄️🎁 to Disneyland It starts November 10th! Click here to get the best availability for the best hotels (and the best price on tickets!)
Hotels I love:
– Cambria Hotel (GREAT one for larger parties, and I love their price)
– Courtyard Theme Park Entrance (this one has a WATER PARK and is SO CLOSE)
– Residence Inn at Anaheim Resort (still close and really nice)
– The Element (walkable and the BEST breakfast in the area!)
– Tropicana Inn (so close, adequate — all about how close it is)
Items & posts mentioned in this episode:
- Halloween at Disneyland / Jessica has a great post with all the Oogie Boogie Bash updates!
- Christmas at Disneyland / Jessica has a great post on Snow at Disneyland!
- What to do when it’s busy at Disneyland
- Taking Care of Your Feet at Disneyland
- How much does it cost to go to Disneyland?
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check-out my other travel podcasts:
Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys on episode eight of the pulling girls podcast we’re talking about DISNEYLAND!
It’s my favorite and I cannot wait to share. I’ve got my friend Jessica from the Happiest Hlog on Earth coming on. We’re going to talk about all the four seasons of the year and kind of what to expect during each of those areas. We’re going to talk about maybe some of the best times to go to Disneyland if you want to avoid crowds, but we’re also going to say some interesting stuff about crowds that maybe you hadn’t thought of and little known fact Jessica’s favorite ride is my least favorite ride. Find out which one it is. Let’s untangle it.
Welcome to the pulling girls podcast where we untangle everything from pregnancy parenting, home routines, even some family travel because heavnes knows our lives are tangled. I’m your host, Hilary Erickson.
Hey guys, today I want to introduce one of my very favorite people on this planet. She in fact is one of like three people who’s ever written a guest post on Pulling Curls that is in fact how much I like her. She is a Disneyland expert at the Happiest Blog on Earth. She helps you navigate special needs plan the best time of the year to visit make a ride plan and navigate Disneyland with small children because I know a lot of you guys have those issues. You can find her at @DisneylandPlan on Instagram I want to introduce you to one of my favorite people. Jessica Sanders.
This episode of The pulling girls podcast is sponsored by family routines how to automate your housewife life. ever wish life was more like you pictured it would be before you had kids being able to spend less time at the mundane tasks and more time teaching kids the fun and valuable life skills you know they need family routines teaches families to simplify daily tasks into routines that help them feel more peace and joy. Save 15% with a coupon code untangled you can find it at PullingCurls.com in the menu under courses or in this episode show notes.
Hilary Erickson 1:47
Hey, Jessica, welcome to the boys and girls podcast. I think this is gonna be the happiest podcast on Earth. What do you think
Jessica Sanders 1:53
I’m hearing? That’s the vibe we’re throwing out today. So I’m super excited.
Hilary Erickson 1:57
Yeah, this is gonna be awesome. So I know I get the email all the time, as I’m sure you do, since you do all Disneyland all the time, when should I go to Disneyland? So we’re going to talk about all the Four Seasons kind of what to expect any special events of a particular times. Good. So let’s jump into it. What do you think we’re in fall? So let’s talk about fall first. What do you think Jessica, what happens in the fall at Disneyland
Jessica Sanders 2:19
Fall to me is the new summer because more and more schools have fall break? Yeah. So people go in the fall and they expect lower crowds. And that’s not typically what you’re going to get. But my main idea for talking to people about when to go to Disneyland is also to let them know that there’s something for every season so that’s why we’re talking about all the seasons. Don’t let the crowd scare you away. There’s a reason they’re there because there’s so much going on. So starting with fall, we have Halloween time. And the Halloween party that is new this year called the boogie bash.
Hilary Erickson 2:58
Oh my gosh, it looks like so much fun. So the Halloween parties moved from Disney Land to California Adventure. So that’s going to be exciting. I have always loved how California Adventure was decorated for Halloween last year. I thought it was so fun with the bats coming out of what is it? Carthy circle.
Jessica Sanders 3:13
Hilary Erickson 3:14
I just think it’s so fun. Okay, so the Halloween Party, which is awesome. Now that’s an extra cost just so everybody knows it. It doesn’t it come with your ticket? Right? But and I’ve never been What’s it like?
Jessica Sanders 3:24
So there’s trick or treating. And this is for everyone, adults and kids. Everyone could dress up or you could decide not to, but you’ll really want to dress up if you’re going to be buggy bash. My husband was like, Oh, you guys go ahead and Trick or treat. And I was like, Oh, no, you are trick or treating. And by the first trick or treat, stop. If you have any reservations about it as an adult, you’re like, Oh, I’m totally in like When’s the last time you went trick or treating? It’s so fun.
Hilary Erickson 3:52
Oh, that’s awesome. That sounds like so much fun.
Jessica Sanders 3:54
Yeah, so that’s like the main part of the Ooggie boogie bash trick or treating dressing up. There’s exclusive entertainment, and you mentioned that it’s an extra cost because it is after hours but there’s so much going on during Halloween time at both Disneyland and California Adventure that you don’t need to feel left out if you decide not to purchase that extra ticket this year new in 2019 they are bringing the Halloween screams fireworks to Disneyland and before that was limited only to Halloween party guests so now this is for everyone. You don’t need a ticket to that special party just your regular Park ticket you can see those awesome Halloween screams fireworks
Hilary Erickson 4:38
Oh my gosh, I bet they are amazing. I love Disneyland fireworks they give me all the feels
Jessica Sanders 4:42
yes and the chills are Halloween time scary.
Hilary Erickson 4:45
All right. Are we ready to move into winter? Let’s do it. All right,
Jessica Sanders 4:49
So winter, you just have like pixie dust vomited all over Disneyland in the most magical jingle bell way we have sleeping beauties castle. That’s decked out with snow and lights and there’s snow throughout Disneyland Resort they have snow at California Adventure like snow falling fake snow falling enough to trick your kids. And if you like snow enough to trick yourself into thinking that the snow is falling new holiday parades, I mean not new this year, but they return at holiday season holiday fireworks and my favorite part is festival of holidays, which is that California Adventure they line the parade route with all kinds of food booths where you can try different foods and drinks they’re like smaller kind of light bite things not light and calories by any means. Um, last year alone, they introduced 75 seasonal desserts. Oh my gosh, desserts for the holidays. And I tried them all. No I didn’t. But I definitely made a dent.
Hilary Erickson 5:57
Oh that sounds we went we are going Christmas. Well, we’re going in November this year. So I’m super excited. But you walk down that thing and you’re just ever all the smells make you just so happy.
Jessica Sanders 6:07
Totally. There’s lots of things to make you happy, which is fantastic during winter months, especially if you live somewhere that’s not as warm as Arizona.
Hilary Erickson 6:16
Jessica Sanders 6:17
People love to come to Disneyland during the holidays because it really gets them out of that winter rut and just lifts your mood. Whether you come in November or like super early January, you’ll still get that holiday.
Hilary Erickson 6:29
That’s so awesome. I know for us in Arizona because we have a hard time kind of feeling the holiday spirit when it’s still 98 degrees outside. It’s super exciting. The kids love the snow. It was just so much fun. We’re super excited to go back this year.
Jessica Sanders 6:43
Yeah, that’s a good point too. If it doesn’t cool down enough to feel like it’s Christmas time. There’s no better way to make you in the holiday spirit then getting to Disneyland Resort during the holidays.
Hilary Erickson 6:54
Yes, gotta love winter. So January comes what happens well I mean, that’s still winter I guess. Yeah beautiful time of year as Arizona but it’s headed into spring. What do we I know this year we’ve got the new Star Wars ride launching but not every year. What happens in spring?
Jessica Sanders 7:12
Okay, so first, let’s say a little bit about like January February. Yeah, they do have Lunar New Year and January, February is kind of like a typical, slower season. But Lunar New Year celebrates prosperity and good fortune. And again, they line the parade route with food booths of Asian inspired cuisine. So if you’re going during that time, where typically the park hours are more limited, and a lot of things are under refurbishment, because — while they call it a slow season, I don’t say call it slow season because of the no one there. There’s always people there but there’s still something good to enjoy more food and more drinks and more rides. But in spring, I mean, are you sensing a theme here? We have food and wine festival food and wine Again, a lot like festival of holidays, but they have obviously a heavy focus on the wine and the drinks, but it is a family event. So this is not an extra cost. Food and Wine Festival is open to anyone that has a ticket to California Adventure Park. And you can choose whatever foods and drinks you want to try. They do have mocktails for kids, or those of us like me who don’t drink alcohol, and lots of things to try. And it’s usually California inspired cuisine. So these are things that are grown in California think avocados, strawberries, citrus, and they really celebrate the spirit of California. So you’re going to have some fresh, delicious things to eat and try during the spring.
Hilary Erickson 8:48
Oh man, that sounds delicious. I know we used to go the week after Presidents Day because we we get that off in California when we lived there. So that’s something to keep in mind that that week tends to be a little bit busier with winter break for California schools gap.
Jessica Sanders 9:02
There’s really school breaks all the time. People often ask me what are the school breaks in LA in Orange County. And really that’s not going to get you far because Disneyland pulls guests from all the neighboring states plus Canada, they have some different breaks there. So don’t necessarily plan based off of when as a school break, plan on what’s good for you and just have a good attitude about it and be excited about whatever is being offered because I guarantee something is going to be offered.
Hilary Erickson 9:33
Yeah, we went last fall break and it’s Arizona’s fall break and everyone at the park I swear is from Arizona, but it was so exciting. They had extra stuff open, and they’re still always so many fun things to do if you just keep a positive attitude, even though it’s crowded and busy.
Jessica Sanders 9:47
Hilary Erickson 9:48
Alright, so beyond that, as we had more into the actual spring months, what do we see at Disneyland
Jessica Sanders 9:53
So if you’re getting closer to Easter, they have some special events for Easter. One that’s geared more towards younger kids. They have an extravaganza it’s kind of an egg hunt. But these are stationary eggs. They’re large and the kids buy a map, they find the eggs and they get a little prize at the end again with food and wine that’s going on. And we start to see sometimes some new things opening up. You mentioned on the second ride for galaxys edge that’s actually opening in January. So we kind of passed over that. But if they’re opening new entertainment or new rides, a lot of times they do that the end of May. It’s just a guess. But that happens a lot.
Hilary Erickson 10:34
Yeah. And I know going in the future we’re going to start to see Marvel land open up not next year, but the year after that, right.
Jessica Sanders 10:40
So right now we say 2020, but we have no other information. By the time the podcast airs, we might have some more information. I’m suspecting I’m going to get some more information real soon. Maybe not a date, but possibly a name because for now, it’s called superhero themed land. We don’t know what it’s going Because at this point,
Hilary Erickson 11:02
Well it’s like having a baby. They don’t name until they see it. Right, right. All right, headed into summer. What do we see at Disneyland
Jessica Sanders 11:10
Summer is your all access pass. So you’re going to see a majority of rides and attractions open. They typically don’t do refurbishment in the summer unless it’s like a really extensive one. Right now we’re seeing with the red trolley, and that’s because of the superhero themed land where that track is just getting some makeover things. But right now everything’s open, you’re going to see a full schedule. So that means the park opens at eight, sometimes seven closes at midnight, and that’s general with Disneyland during peak season. So even on the weekends and through the holidays and things like that California venture always closes earlier than Disneyland. But in the summer, it’s 10 or 11, just depending on the days but you just have that much more more time to explore a lot of people are scared by summer crowds. There’s some things they’ve done to combat the crowds, such as blocking out certain level of annual pass holders and things like that. So really in the summer, you’re seeing the typical tourist. And and because you have such a big part of the calendar that covers summer break, you’re not cramming everyone into Disneyland at one time. You know, over the holidays, everyone has basically those same two weeks off, or at least that week off between Christmas and New Year’s. So that’s really where you see more crowds because everyone can go at one time, but summer, it’s a lot more spread out. So don’t be afraid to go and summer and then use those Park hours to your advantage.
Hilary Erickson 12:46
So go early, stay late.
Jessica Sanders 12:47
Yeah, take a break. If you want to spread out your trip. Definitely if you’re getting three or more days, I always recommend at least three days but spread those out. You don’t need to use your ticket on consecutive days and you can take a break so many of the hotels around Disneyland are just upping their game with the pools and water slides. You want to use that so take a break go back to your hotel or hit the beach take a day off your feet will definitely thank you
Hilary Erickson 13:16
oh yeah feet. thats the worst at Disneyland, my feet hate me. Alright so Jessica which is your favorite season at Disneyland Which one do you love to be there at?
Jessica Sanders 13:25
That is such a hard question. And I’m trying to like make myself think of an answer by saying like if I could only go once a year but that’s kind of the typical guests experience. I’m not a typical guests because I’m there all the time. But if I could only go once a year, I probably would pick sometime during the winter because I always get a little seasonal winter blues and I need that sunshine and I need something to warm my soul and Disneyland definitely does that. So whether that be during the holidays, or maybe like January, February. I would hit Disneyland at one of those time.
Hilary Erickson 14:02
Yeah, that’s a great idea. Jessica lives in Utah. And so it gets just dark and dreary and sad during the winter months. I know I remember that growing up there. So that makes total sense. My favorite time is Christmas for sure. I probably because we live in Arizona, it’s hard to get real festive in the heat. But it’s just so magical. Just like you said, pixie dust vomited everywhere. And I just love it.
Jessica Sanders 14:23
Yes, we’ll just grab all that pixie dust and take it home with us.
Hilary Erickson 14:27
So if people are really looking to avoid crowds, which I know is difficult, are there two or three times that you would say to kind of look at your schedule and if you can fit it in if you want to go at a less crowded time?
Jessica Sanders 14:37
Yeah, so let’s start with the beginning of the year, typically right after the holidays. And so it’s pretty much the after the first week of January. They take all the holiday stuff down, things start closing for refurbishment, and the hours are definitely cut back. So people are like what am I going for? Well, you can go at that time for lower crowds and That’s going to be before Lunar New Year starts. So you’re going to get this little in between space. That’s good. Spring Break, again, is kind of spread out, like we talked about summer, not as much, but I wouldn’t completely avoid it or worry too much about it in the summer. We talked about that a little bit. But if you can go right before memorial day week, like not that week, but the week before, that typically is lower. This year was an extreme exception, because we had Star Wars Galaxys edge opening the next week. And so everyone went that sweet spot before and they had some great ticket deals this year is just different because of those and many other factors. So when you start planning and if you say I’m going to go, you know, before Memorial Day weekend, and people say oh, last year that was awful. take that with a grain of salt because 2019 was a different beast. In the fall. I would Say right the week after Labor Day, so I would give it like because labor days on a Monday either that week starting like Wednesday and Thursday kind of thing or the following week because that’s when we know for sure everyone’s back in school. Some schools start earlier and later but we know for sure lots of people go back to school that week. And if you want to take your kids out during all their orientations, you know I hold no judgment.
Hilary Erickson 16:26
That’s your right that’s your right.
Jessica Sanders 16:28
Then we just need to talk about winter time when to go I say the first week when they I guess not winter but toward the end of the year, the calendar year like right after they open holidays, not the first week but the following week. Holidays people come and they want to see everything that’s brand new right up in the food right then so just wait a teeny bit, then go and the closer you get to Thanksgiving and the closer you get to Christmas, the busier the crowds are going to be for holiday season.
Hilary Erickson 16:56
Yes, but I honestly feel like they make it extra magical with more people there at Christmas. It was pretty crowded when we let last time, but I was just so happy. I didn’t even care. And I was like, everyone’s so happy. I’m so happy to be around all these happy people.
Jessica Sanders 17:08
It’s interesting that you mentioned that because there is something about having people with you, who were also excited that create an atmosphere that they want at Disneyland. This summer when galaxies edge opened, and the crowds weren’t there. It was a little eerie. I have to be honest, and you miss that kind of camaraderie and we had it definitely in galaxies edge, no doubt, but the other areas of the park it was quite spooky and empty.
Hilary Erickson 17:35
That’s so weird. I’m sad. I wasn’t there to experience that.
Jessica Sanders 17:38
I think a lot of people were sad, especially the people that don’t care about Star Wars. were like, dang it. I missed. I could have gone on Peter Pan 10 times in a row without waiting.
Hilary Erickson 17:49
I know. Oh, well, life goes on. All right. Let me just ask you some basic Disneyland questions that I love to ask people. All right. So what’s your favorite ride at Disneyland This is like picking between your kids
Jessica Sanders 17:59
Guardians of the Galaxy mission breakout and I even have a favorite song because there’s six different songs that rotate my favorite song is hitting me with your best shot.
Hilary Erickson 18:08
That is so funny. I’ve actually never been on that ride. That is the only ride I have never been on.
Jessica Sanders 18:14
I’ve taken so many people on that for the first time.
Hilary Erickson 18:18
There’s no way no way.
All right, what’s your favorite Disneyland treat?
Jessica Sanders 18:24
Okay, you’ve asked me this before and you were like you’re so boring. But I’m sticking to it. I am boring and proud of it. It’s a Mickey premium ice cream bar. Yes. vanilla ice cream with chocolate but it’s shaped like ickey and its so cute.
Hilary Erickson 18:41
Well, and when you’re hot, everything tastes better. Right? Totally. Yeah. Also something I have not tried. I need to get on that next time. Okay, and what is your favorite? I get this question a lot. What’s your favorite age to take a kid to Disneyland?
Jessica Sanders 18:53
Oh my gosh, seriously, it gets better and better as they grow. But I did take my two year old nephew this summer just for a half day auntie and my nephew. So he’s two years old, he’s still free. And being that it was just one on one, I was able to let him run the show. If you have the luxury where you’re not pressured for time, or this is your only trip, I mean, even if it is your only trip, there’s ways to make it super magical. But we went in the morning, I took him on a couple of my favorite rides and fantasy land. And then I let him lead the way. He said, Where is Mickey Mouse? We haven’t seen him. He’s a big talker, that younger age of two. And I said, Yeah, let’s find him. We found him. And it turned out that my nephew loved meeting characters. So I let him lead the way and we went on a character hunt. And it was just magical.
Hilary Erickson 19:49
Yeah, that’s so exciting. Because I think in our heads, we’re like we need to ride rides. Whereas to really make it magical. You have to let them decide what they want to do because their value isn’t placed in dollar bills.
Jessica Sanders 20:00
Yeah, I was surprised. Some kids obviously are leery of characters. But that was what he likes. So I didn’t push what I wanted to do on to him. And at certain ages, you know, we need to give and take, we need to feel what it is that they want to do. Let them give you a little direction.
Hilary Erickson 20:17
Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on. Jessica. This was really fun. And I hope everybody got some great information about their next Disneyland trip. I’m headed there in November. And this got me so excited. I’m going to go put on my minne ears and I’m going to have all the links down below where you can find Jessica on our blog and Instagram and she can even help you plan your next Disneyland trip if you want some help. So thanks for coming on.
Jessica Sanders 20:38
Yeah, for sure.
Hilary Erickson 20:39
Thank you so much for joining us on today’s episode. I think we just packed in tons of awesome information about planning your next trip to Disneyland. I hope you really enjoyed it. If you’d like to know more about planning your trip to Disneyland Be sure and check out the show notes. Now you can find that in three different ways. You can go to puling curls .comm and on any menu bar you can click on podcast and you can find this episode which is episode oh eight that will take you to all the information in the show notes which will be super helpful for your next Disneyland trip. You can also go to Pulling Curls.com backslash podcast or you can go to bowling girls com backslash podcast dash oh eight and that will take you directly to the show notes for this
I’m going to have information about Jessica how to plan your trip I even have a free Disneyland trip planner that you guys can totally take advantage of I think you will love it big thanks to our sponsor family routines, how to automate your housewife life if you’re interested on helping your kids pack themselves. I have a whole chapter on that I think you guys will love it. You can just google it or it’s even in the show notes. So check it out.
And again, Big thanks to Jessica for coming on. She is so helpful in planning Disneyland trips she is one of my favorite sources and knows all about taking families to Disneyland so do not miss checking her out as well. If you liked today’s episode, be sure to share subscribe and review because I surely appreciate it. I hope to have you with us next time. Until then I hope you have a tangle free day!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai