7 Essential Disneyland Tips for First Time Visitors

Written by EJ Ray

March 24, 2022
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We hope these simple Disneyland tips for first-time visitors will help you create unforgettable wow moments in the Magic Kingdom!

Every child dreams of visiting Disneyland. And it is definitely worth it. From meeting all the characters you loved growing up to enjoying great rides, the theme park offers a fun and eventful trip for both adults and children. But, the trick to enjoying your time at Disneyland is to plan ahead. Research everything and then make a plan of how you will be spending your time there, what are your preferred rides, how much time you need in between to transfer, etc. Here are some essential Disneyland tips for first-time visitors.

Carefully Choose the Time of Year to Go to Disneyland

A well-known fact about Disneyland is that it is often very crowded. It can take hours of waiting in line only to take one ride. That is time lost and will make your time at Disneyland less enjoyable. One of the most essential Disneyland tips is to consult a Disneyland Crowd Calendar before you book your trip. This is a calendar that offers estimates of how crowded the theme park will be alongside the adjacent Disney California Adventure.

Disneyland tips for first-time visitors

Definitely pick a time that is less busy to take your first trip to Disneyland.

Be Sure to Also Make the Park Reservations

Since the pandemic, it is not enough to buy the tickets to go to Disneyland and just show up there. You will also need to make park reservations and respect the scheduled times. It is advisable to read how much walk time you have between the rides and see how long they last. You also want to budget some extra time before your favorite rides, just in case. There are several methods to see how much time you need, from checking travel blogs and videos to downloading the Disney Genie+ app.

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Check Your Documentation and Have It Ready

Depending on when you are going and what measures there are because of the pandemic, you may need some extra documents. To save time, you want to have them ready. You may need to show a negative PCR test and proof of vaccination. Be sure to check out the Disneyland website and, if you're visiting the US from abroad, US entry requirements on the State Department website. Depending on your preferred choice of transportation, you may need an international driving license. If coming from the UK, for example, and you plan on renting a car while you visit Disneyland, check online to see if an international license for the United Kingdom is needed to drive in California.

Get Perks by Booking a Hotel in the Park

There are three hotels in Disneyland and many perks come with booking a hotel room there. Mainly, the Extra Magic Hour is the one you want to use. Guests who book a Disneyland property get an extra hour before all the other visitors show up to experience the rides without waiting in long queues. It is also advisable to arrive at the gate at least 20 minutes before the Extra Magic Hour starts, thus having plenty of time to enjoy the rides.

Disneyland tips for first-time visitors

If you get in some advance planning, you'll have more time for fun during your visit to Disneyland. Photo by smckenzie via iStock by Getty Images

Hotels Nearby Will Save You Time

Budgeting time is the number one essential Disneyland tip, and believe it or not, some hotels nearby are actually closer to the entrance than the ones on the property. Some of them are only a 5-minute walk away from Esplanade. Not only will you save up time walking, but you will also save time on parking and waiting for the shuttle to the entrance.

Disneyland tips for first-time visitors

Some nearby hotels are actually walking distance to the front entrance. Photo by travelview via iStock by Getty Images

Download Genie+ and Use Lightning Lanes

Genie+ comes with a map of the park, which is the obvious reason you need to download it. But inside the app, there are many other perks as well. One of them is paying for Lightning Lanes, which allow you to go on a ride without waiting in a regular queue. Another reason to download it is that, with a small fee, you can have access to all the photos taken that day by the professional photographers on-site, so you don’t have to worry about the selfies being bad without your selfie stick. Remember, selfie sticks are not allowed at Disneyland.

Pro Disneyland Tip: Essentials for Your Backpack

While you want to travel light, there are some necessities to have with you in Disneyland, like a charger or an external battery. Between taking photos and operating the Disney Genie+ app, your battery will drain quickly. Sunscreen is another must-have, as well as water. The park is huge and California is usually sunny and hot. Take care of your skin and stay hydrated. Wear comfy shoes and pack a spare pair of socks for the water rides. 

Remember to leave behind the forbidden items: selfie sticks, balls, loose ice, pocket knives, whistles, etc. Another one of the essential Disneyland tips to cover: reserve a locker, it’s a life-saver. Leaving your things in a locker allows you to explore the park without keeping track of your bulky items.

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Planning Your Trip to Disneyland

We hope these simple Disneyland tips for first-time visitors will help you create unforgettable wow moments in the Magic Kingdom! While visiting Disneyland, consider also setting time aside to visit Los Angeles, which is only a short drive away. There are plenty of things to see and do there, like beaches, the Walk of Fame, Warner Bros Studios, and museums, including the newly opened Museum of Motion Pictures. Be sure to check out Wander for more to see and do when you visit California.

We hope these simple Disneyland tips for first-time visitors will help you create unforgettable wow moments in the Magic Kingdom! This can help make your dream vacation to California and a Disneyland vacation much easier for the entire family.


7 Essential Disneyland Tips for First Time Visitors

Written by EJ Ray

EJ Ray is a traveler at heart. It is part of her soul and she loves to share her travels through her words. She has traveled the world, seeking great food, wine, and experiences. EJ was born in the Eastern US but has lived across the country and in Europe and Mexico. She also took to the road for a while, exploring from her RV. EJ always seeks the next great sip, bite, and adventure.

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