10 Secrets to an Amazing Disney Vacation

As summer begins and vacation plans are made, Disneyland becomes an inevitable hot spot. Once you get past the excitement of Mickey Mouse, Cars Land, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the realization hits: It’s going to be a mad house. Crowds of people pushing and shoving, cranky kids, over-priced food, and sunburns galore. To avoid the hair-pulling anxiety, we have some suggestions to prevent you from suffering a nervous breakdown.

1. Check the weather
A common misconception is that Southern California is warm all day, every day. While the weather can be amazing, some nights can turn chilly. It’s also smart to bring a blanket, either for warmth, or to sit on while watching the fireworks.

2. Disney Parks Mobile Magic App
Know all the wait times for rides thanks to Disney Park’s free new mobile application. This is the official app for Disney Parks and displays other helpful information such as GPS-enabled Park Maps, Dining Guides and Reservations, and Games.

3. Sun block
Some ride lines are in the sun and the last thing you want is a gnarly burn from your fun day. Even if the weather is overcast, put the sun block on anyway. CNN reports that up to 80% of UV rays can still wreak havoc on your skin despite clouds!

4. Bring munchies
Bringing snacks means bigger savings. For example, a pretzel, churro, and popcorn cost about $14 at the park. If you’re a family of four, costs could easily add up to $56 — and that doesn’t include the cost of your meals. However, buying bags of pretzels, cookies, and popcorn from the local grocery store cost around $10 between four people.

5. Fast pass
A fast pass allows you to avoid a long, tedious wait in line; just grab a fast pass and then come back hours later to a shorter line. This is perfect for popular rides like Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Radiator Springs Racers, and Star Tours. So grab a fast pass as soon as you enter the park then visit other rides and attractions. Just remember — each individual can only be reserving two Fast Passes at once, so choose your rides carefully.

6. Water
There’s nothing worse than having the entire family dehydrated, cranky, unable to enjoy the park at night when it’s at its most beautiful — or worse — ending up in the hospital from dehydration. If you don’t want to bring water bottles, ask for a cup of water from the food stands. It’s free!

7. Restrooms
Here’s an insider’s secret. Before entering California Adventure or Disneyland Park, there are public restrooms that don’t see much action. Use those before finding a crowded bathroom inside the park. Other quiet locations?

Disneyland
Innoventions, New Orleans Square, and the restroom in between Plaza Inn and Tomorrowland (for the latter, be careful during meal times)

California Adventure
Hollywood Land, Grizzly Peak, and Pacific Wharf

8. Disneyland Railroad
This is a nice break if you’re tired and need some time off your feet and out of the sun. It offers a quick tour around Disneyland with some storytelling to go along with it. While you’re at it, be sure to view the Lilly Belle Presidential Train Car, a Victorian-themed parlor car with stained glass and gold stenciling. This car was Walt Disney ‘s dream, but was finally brought to life by Disney’s Imagineers with the help of Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian Disney, after his death.

9. Little known adventures
Everyone is always pumped about the major rides, but many other non-traditional attractions are just as fun. These include:

Disneyland
Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, Chip ‘n Dale Treehouse, Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes, Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island

California Adventure
Boudin Bakery Tour, Red Car Trolley, Turtle Talk With Crush

10. Fireworks
Fireworks are a perfect way to wrap up the chaos. If you’ve seen enough of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and you’re indifferent to hearing the music, watch the fireworks outside of the park between the entrance gates of California Adventure and Disneyland. As soon as they end, you’re by the trams and able to beat the rush from the parking structures. For some people, this could be the most magical part of the night.

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