Rides, food, and characters — oh my. There's so much you want to do on one Disneyland vacation that it may seem impossible to check off everything on your to-do list in a short amount of time. As someone who has gone to Disney my entire life, you can believe me when I say doing Disney in a weekend is totally possible. All you need to do is follow my simple Disney tips in order to have the most magical experience.
Even though I live about an hour away from Anaheim, California, it's sometimes really fun to book a room at Disney and have a semi-staycation. I recently booked a room at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa for a one-night stay. With two parks, it's pretty easy to do Disneyland in a small window, but it's even easier when you're staying on property. However, before you even pack your bags for this vacay, you need to set some goals.
My mission is to almost always find a few new things to eat for my Disney foodie Instagram, What I Ate At Disneyland, but your goal could be hitting up every ride, taking pictures with your favorite Disney characters, posing in front of the most Insta-worthy walls, or dining at some of Disney's best restaurants.
Knowing exactly what you want will make navigating the park a little easier. Before you head into the park, you should also download the Disneyland app on your phone. It's the quickest way to see wait times, reserve dining, and even get FastPass tickets if you end up going the MaxPass route.
If you don't know what MaxPass is, it's basically a super easy way for you to book FastPass through your phone and also download all your PhotoPass photos for the day for free. If you end up going this route, each person in your party will have to pay $15 per day, but it's totally worth the perks.
I personally love MaxPass, because it enables me to keep all my PhotoPass photos. It also saves me time by not having to physically walk to the ride I want to get a FastPass for. For instance, if I'm at Splash Mountain and want to get a FastPass for Space Mountain — which is on the other side of the park — I can easily book it on my phone. In my opinion, the $15 charge is definitely worth it. (If you'd rather save that money for Mickey-shaped food, though, I totally understand.)
If your only priority is having the classic Disney experience, take note of these suggestions that are tried and true by yours truly. Consider riding one of the iconic attractions such as Haunted Mansion, It's A Small World, or Space Mountain. Then, get a Mickey-shaped treat such as a pretzel or ice cream, and take a picture in front of the castle. Snap a selfie with your fave Disney character on Main Street. At the end of the day, find a prime spot to watch the fireworks.
Being able to stay in a nearby resort means you can take a break by going back to your room whenever you get tired. You can stay out as late as you want in the parks since you're only heading back to your resort. You could even do the nighttime shows at Disneyland and California Adventure on each night you're there.
It's still possible to do everything you want at Disneyland in a weekend, even if you don't stay at one of the resorts. Simply plan ahead of time, and be willing to roll with whatever comes your way. It's Disney, after all, so you're sure to have your very own happily ever after.