*TIP For Hotels: We have now been to Southern California over 10 times. My best deals have always come from Get Away Today's Hotel Specials (you can often get a night free or other perks), Or booking a vacation rental here. Before you book, always read hotel reviews. You can see all the hotels near Disneyland ranked here, or just check out our Disneyland Hotels Guide.
Here's the story how we first found Get Away Today (now the only Travel Agency we use):
It's official! We are going to Disneyland next month! I am so thrilled. We wouldn't have decided to go, except that we saw a deal on Plum District for a Disney vacation voucher through One Stop Travel. Being the suckers that we are, we bought one.
To make a long story short, the process of trying to use our voucher was nothing short of a nightmare. Unfortunately what sounded too good to be true actually was and it was far from a good deal. After almost deciding to give up on our vacation, I did some research on Get Away Today and couldn't find anyone that had experienced anything other than bliss. My sister-in-law used them last year and also had a good experience.
So I decided to give Get Away Today a chance before I completely gave up on our Disney dreams.
It has been night and day difference! They have been so helpful and so enjoyable to work with. I was so impressed with their customer service that I asked if I could be an affiliate and get a coupon code for my readers. Use code MOTHERSNICHE for $10 off (and use that $10 to buy some food at the park instead)!
Since I have to do tons of research anyway to get ready for our trip, I thought I would do a Disney Travel series on the blog. Everything from good tips, to free printables, to fun ideas for the kids! I will do at least one post a week until we leave, and then several posts when we get back. I hope you will follow along! And all you Disneyland fanatics out there (you know who you are), I would love to hear some of your best tips as well! All tips are via word-of-mouth and are subject to change.
- Ask the photopass photographers to take a picture for you with your own camera! They are happy to do so and they do it all day so they are experienced.
- Most food service counters will give you free ice waters upon request.
- Get a free sample of warm bread from the Bakery Tour store in California Adventure!
- Visit Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Pacific Wharf Area), for a free chocolate sample.
- If you are visiting Disney for the first time, or for a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, whatever..), stop by Guest Relations for a free souvenir Button!
Other Thrifty Disneyland Tips
- If your balloon pops, or your kid drops their ice cream cone, or your souvenir breaks, ask one of the vendors for a replacement. I have heard they are always happy to do so.
- Take a picture of the back of your tickets in case you lose them!
- Ice Cream Shop on Main Street: Buy the biggest size of waffle cone and purchase additional sugar cones (without ice cream). Scoop ice cream from the large cone into the smaller ones.
- Don't purchase tickets right at the ticket booth…not only do you waste time and money, but you don't get magic morning entries this way!
- Decide what meal(s) you want to eat in the park and pack the rest of your food in a soft cooler. You can rent a locker in the picnic area and still save a lot more money than buying all of your meals in the park.
- I've heard that at the end of the Jungle Cruise you can ask for a free map as a souvenir!
Other Helpful Disneyland Tips
- For nursing mothers (or moms with young kids): There is a Baby Care Center at the end of Main Street next to the Little Red Wagon corn dog cart. It has a dark room with rocking chairs, sanitized high chairs, changing stations, and mini potty chairs.
- Nurses Station: For Disneyland, it is at the end of Main Street before Plaza Inn, for C.A., it's next to Guest Relations on Buena Vista Street.
- Be sure to put ID bands or Safety tattoos on your kids so that someone can contact you if they get lost.
- If you ever have to pick between two lines, the right is usually a shorter wait.
- I've heard that there is a family bathroom over by Carnation Plaza that is sort of hidden (minimal waiting time).
- Ride lines are generally shorter at dinner time
- Start at Adventureland and go clockwise
- You can enter the park 30 min before it opens. Use this time to walk Main Street!
- Fantasyland is usually least busy 1st thing in the morning or after fireworks.
Disneyland with Young Kids
Part of the reason we hadn't considered a Disneyland trip before we saw the deal for the voucher was because our kids are little (they will be ages 1 and 2 when we go). I figured we would spend all of our time in the little kid area and that it wouldn't be that much fun. I had NO IDEA there was something called Rider Swap!
Rider Swap. If you want to ride a ride that one of your children are too little for (or too scared), you can request a ride swap which allows the first parent to ride, and then the other parent (and 2 additional people) can get on the ride afterwards without having to wait in line again! This is sheer genius! We are taking my little sister with us so that no one has to ride alone. Also, if you plan it right, this will enable you to have twice as many fast passes as those without young kids. Read more about this here: Disneyland Swap Pass
Free Park Entrance. Disney tickets can be expensive; however, if you take on of your children before they are 3 years old they are FREE! We were thrilled to hear this because both of our children will be free.
Free Food. Another thing that can add up fast is food at Disneyland. Children under 3 are free at Disney buffets and family-style table service restaurants.
*of course, if your kids aren't very good travelers (or they HAVE to be in their crib for naptimes), the benefits may not be as convincing. For us they are!
If you would also like to book through Get Away Today, I highly recommend them for smooth travel plans! They are so experienced with sending families to Disneyland and they can get you some great deals! Get Away Today found me a great deal for the #1-rated hotel in Anaheim for much cheaper than anything I could find. They had a promotion for 1 free night after booking 2 nights, and since we are going for 6 nights we got 2 of our nights FREE!
Use Code “MOTHERSNICHE” for $10 off of your travel package. You can Use Get Away Today to purchase entire vacation packages, or you can book hotels and tickets separately.
What are YOUR favorite Disney Tips?
To see part 2 of our travel series, go here: Free Travel Printables for Kids
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