Running Ronin

Disneyland Survival Guide

You're going to Disneyland?!? Hurray! Make sure to pack your camera and take great photos. Also read up on how to survive the experience and make the most out of it. Here are some basic tips from yours truly - my personal Top 4 (just cause I like to Keep things Simple).

1) Stay in a Disney Hotel
The Paradise Pier or the California Adventure might be pricey, but the benefits stack up. You get early access to the park. You get to park your car closeby. You get to be walking distance from the Park (like 5 minutes for the California Adventure, and 10 for Paradise Pier) to the Hotel. You get to plan some "midday" naps or relaxation moments. You can get rooms with views on the Park from which you can see (from a distance) World of Color or the Fireworks.

Yes, financially it will be a hit. But in the end it will be worth it. 

The Cheaper option: go for something like the Anaheim Hilton. Still close enough to be walking distance, and if reserved "right" you can get access to rooms that have a view on the park and from which you can see the fireworks.

2) Bring a backpack and check the Weather.
Its Socal, you should have good weather. But the evenings get chilly. So be prepared and have sunblock for the day and a sweater/jacket for the evening. If you followed advice under point #1, you can ditch your jackets at your close-by hotel till when you need it.

Also bring a good camera! You will want to take photos. And finally bring a couple of snacks, just so you don't fork over too much cash to eat.

3) Do it Right.
That's right - this is a simple principle on how to attack actually visiting the Park and it breaks into 3 suggestions:
  • Get there early. As early as you can! If you followed rule #1, you will have an extra hour granted to you by your official Disney Hotel.
  • Hit the Fast Passes: as soon as you get in, rush to get Fast Passes. Check on your map which rides have the fast passes. I personally go straight for the Splash Mountain and Star Tours. Then I go do Space Mountain. But everybody should develop their own system.
  • Use the Disney Mobile Magic App. It tells you the length of the lines! So no need to walk from Adventureland to Tomorrow Land just to find out that Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters has a 2 hour line.
4) The Park is for Snacks, but Eat your Meals Outside.
As said under Rule #2, take some snack with you, but feel free to indulge in your park favorite snack (mine are the churros). On the other side, avoid having meals in the park. 
Unlike Disneyland Paris (which has great park food) Disneyland Anaheim food feels like airplane food. Never good and causes gas. So head out to the Disney Village and get something at the Uva Bar or the Earl of Sandwich. Still pricey, but at least on the tastier side.

A few final notes:
  • If you have kids you might want to read up on some kids oriented survival guides for Disney. Find a few here, here and here. This one I like a lot (here). 
  • If you have limited time, avoid the Park Hopper and visit Disneyland (much cheaper). Its just my two cents, but if you have only 1 day and are choosing between a day only at Disneyland or only at California Adventure, you should always choose Disneyland.
  • The photos in this post were taken with my Sony Nex-7 during Xmas 2012.

Everybody has a Junk Food Favorite at, mine are the Churros. 

Some children might find a Small World to be too creepy for their tastes.
Dont let the clouds fool you. Its SOCAL - you will need some sunblock,