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Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

How to Plan, Stay, and Play at the Disneyland Resort

Guests visiting the Disneyland Resort will enjoy special moments and create unforgettable memories with their friends and family, including their experiences at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland Park, and the new Avengers Campus, opening in 2020 at Disney California Adventure Park. Beloved nighttime spectaculars, immersive attractions, parades, and entertainment offer countless ways for guests to make the most of their vacations at the Happiest Place on Earth. There are plenty of tips for guests as they plan to stay and play at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, the three on-site hotels, and Downtown Disney District. Here’s what you need to know to plan, stay, and play at the Disneyland Resort!



1 – Official Disneyland App

The official Disneyland app offers useful information right at a guest’s fingertips, including attraction wait times, Disney FastPass return times, maps, entertainment guides, and other special features. Guests may also use the app to purchase tickets with their mobile device, look for character appearances in the park, find park hours, and even order food and beverage at select fast-casual and quick-service restaurant locations. Details about the Disneyland app are available here.

2 – Disneyland Resort on Google Street View

Guests can now explore the Disneyland Resort like never before – right from a phone or computer – on Google Street View. Disney Parks has launched a series of 360-degree panoramas at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney District to help guests plan their next vacation.

Main Street, U.S.A. Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

3 – Disney Vacation Planning DVD

Guests are invited to preview the magical experiences that await their next Disneyland Resort Vacation with a library of informative videos. To view these videos, go to

4 – Dining Reservations

To make the most of vacation time, guests may make dining reservations in advance at the resort’s award-winning restaurants. Special dining packages offer guests a full-course meal and reserved viewing for entertainment including “Fantasmic!” at Disneyland and “World of Color” and “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” at Disney California Adventure. For reservations, guests may call 714-781-DINE. Guests may also book a table online at



5- Stay in the Magic

Guests discover many special benefits when they stay at one of three Disneyland Resort hotels: the classic Disneyland Hotel and luxurious Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the sunny California beachfront-themed Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.

6 – Extra Magic Hour – Early Admission to the Parks

Guests staying at any Disneyland Resort hotel may enjoy Extra Magic Hour entry into Disneyland or Disney California Adventure one hour before the parks open to the public. This opportunity is good for the length of a guest’s stay, with designated days for each park. To check availability, daily times, and additional information, visit, and click on “Park Hours.” (Valid theme park admission and active hotel room key required.)

7 – Grand Hotel Experience

In December 2017, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa completed the most extensive refurbishment since the hotel’s 2001 opening. Guest rooms have been completely redesigned with a fresh sense of luxury and the pool deck has been refreshed with beautiful, new hardscapes to reinforce the Arts and Crafts style. Guests staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa enjoy an exclusive entrance to Disney California Adventure through the hotel. Nearby, guests also enjoy the Downtown Disney District, with its eclectic mix of entertainment, dining, and shopping opportunities. The new, elevated experience continues to impress guests and the hotel was named one of the Top Hotels in Southern California in the 30th annual Condé Nast Traveler’s 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards and in 2019 earned the coveted Forbes Travel Guide Star Award.

Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is a one-of-a-kind occasion where families can share special moments with Disney Princesses while enjoying an exquisite, three-course breakfast at the award-winning Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. The morning includes enchanting activities, intimate storytime, a private portrait location and premium keepsakes. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is located in Anaheim, Calif. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

8 – Storybook Vacation

At Disneyland Resort hotels, guests have the opportunity to share a meal and laughs with favorite Disney characters, relax by sparkling pools and enjoy a night on the town complete with dinner at one of several award-winning restaurants.

9 – Convenience and Legendary Service

Guests who stay at Disneyland Resort Hotels are treated to exclusive conveniences throughout their stay, including a Key to the Magic card for charging meals and merchandise to the guest room. The Package Express service delivers resort merchandise purchases right to a guest’s hotel. Hotel guests are treated to the legendary Disney guest service throughout their vacation.

10 – Multi-generational travel and large parties

Many families enjoy traveling to the Disneyland Resort with family members of multiple generations, or with family reunions. The Hotels of the Disneyland Resort welcome multi-generational travelers and large parties, offering multiple suites at each hotel that sleep parties of six or eight. Some of the suites connect to adjacent suites to accommodate the larger parties.

11 – Great Value

Guests can find great value in multiple-day tickets and vacation packages at the Resort hotels, or at nearby Good Neighbor hotels, by purchasing online. The latest special offers are available at



12 – Disney FASTPASS Service

Disney FASTPASS allows guests to maximize their time in the park by reserving a specific time window to enjoy their favorite attractions. When guests return during that time, they enjoy a shorter line reserved for FASTPASS holders. Guests are encouraged to pick up Disney FASTPASS tickets early for favorite attractions such as Radiator Springs Racers.

13 – Disney MaxPass

Guests can maximize their day with the ability to reserve digital Disney FASTPASS selections right from their mobile device using the Disneyland app while in the parks. Plus, it offers the opportunity to download, save, and share Disney PhotoPass photos captured during an entire day. Both services are included when purchased per ticket, per day. Disney MaxPass can also be purchased through the app.

14 – Disney PhotoPass Service

PhotoPass photographers at character, dining and special locations throughout the park ensure that everyone gets in the photo. Guests may link, view and purchase photos at or directly from the Disneyland app.

Radiator Springs Racers

15 – Play Disney Parks Mobile App

The new Play Disney Parks mobile app allows families and guests to interact with the theme parks, creating unique experiences and activities that bring surrounding environments to life. With group play that enables everyone to join in on the fun, guests can turn wait time into play time at select attraction queues, earn, collect and share uniquely themed digital achievements, test their knowledge of Disney trivia and listen to the music and sounds of Disney parks through curated Apple Music playlists.

16 – “A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps” Tour

Guests may follow in the footsteps of the man whose vision and creativity brought Disneyland park to life, Walt Disney. This 3 1⁄2-hour guided tour covers the life of Walt Disney and stories behind the magic of Disneyland. To book this, or other, tours offered by Disneyland Resort, call (714) 781-TOUR (8687).

17 – Portable Phone Charging Systems Kiosks

Guests recharge their batteries without missing any of the fun by using a convenient portable battery set that can be purchased from kiosk locations throughout the resort. When the portable battery runs out, guests may swap it for a fully charged replacement at any kiosk at no extra cost.

18 – Parent “Rider Switch”

A theme-park “rider switch” policy gives both parents a chance to enjoy their favorite attractions without double the wait. A parent who waits with a young child while the other parent rides the attraction may board the ride with minimal wait time once the first parent exits. Guests may ask a cast member about this option.

ANNA AND ELSA IN ‘FROZEN – LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A theatrical interpretation for the stage based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, Frozen is playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. (Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort)

19 – Enjoy the Shows and Entertainment

Oftentimes, children enjoy live entertainment and stage shows for the first time at the Disneyland Resort. Families may choose from multiple shows in the daily Show Entertainment Guide (available at the main entrance gate and at Guest Relations centers). These include character encounters, the new “Magic Happens” parade (Disneyland), and shows such as “Disney Junior Dance Party!” (Disney California Adventure) and “Mickey and the Magical Map” (Disneyland). Fans of Disney’s global film phenomenon, “Frozen”, will find the dazzling theatrical interpretation “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion Theater” at Disney California Adventure. Guests also may encounter performers and singers as they stroll through the parks, including the Dapper Dans at Disneyland, and Five and Dime at Disney California Adventure.

20 – Be Amazed by Projection Shows and Spectacular Fireworks

State-of-the-art projection shows and fireworks illuminate the sky above Disneyland park on select nights, choreographed to timeless music, and with surprise appearances by some classic Disney characters. Viewing locations are throughout Disneyland and top spots include: along Main Street, U.S.A., in front of “it’s a small world” in Fantasyland and along the Rivers of America in Frontierland.

21 – Character Dining

Character dining is a great way to introduce youngsters to Disney characters. At select locations, a cast of characters will visit guests at their tables. For reservations, call 714-781- DINE. Another tip: Many Disney restaurants offer children’s menus.

22 – Healthful Dining Options

While special treats are part of the Disney fun, families can also choose nutritious snacks such as nuts, trail mix, and fresh fruit from outdoor carts. Kids meals come with fruit or vegetables on the side, along with juice, water, or low-fat milk. Fries and soda are available upon request, at no additional cost. Look for the Disney Check symbol on menus, indicating the best nutritional choices for children. Additionally, for lifestyle dining options, or for requests from guests with food allergies or intolerances, there is a wide range of choices, from kosher to gluten-friendly and sugar-free. Disney menus also feature symbols that show guests which items are plant-based.

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


About Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!