Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm going to Disneyland !! (Trip Planning Advice)

Well not really :( but I would love to help you plan your trip. {We have a new trip planned: Spring Break 15}

I have been a self proclaimed Disney Dork for a long time. Recently somebody called me an expert when it comes to trip planning. I think of it as more OCD and being anal-retentive but EXPERT sounds better! 

When I see friends or even strangers (friends of friends on facebook - not random people in the street) talking about a trip to Disneyland - I want to help. I love planning my trips and I haven't been as much as I would like in the last few years. Just so you know my background. I did an internship at WDW in FL and mainly worked at EPCOT. I had annual passes for years for DL in California and have been on trips with toddlers, preschoolers, elementary kids, middle school, teens and newbies. 

Here are some of my favorite places to find info about the parks or plan my trips:  This is a MAP of the area with local hotels and restaurants. It even has a walking feature so you can estimate how much of a walk it is from a certain hotel to the gates. The main entrance on Harbour Blvd is marked at the letter A across the street from the Best Western.

This is a great website that I have used for years. Not only do they have a weekly update for Disneyland (and WDW) but they have great articles, info and a discussion board. You can create an account and log in to ask a specific question or just search for an answer and browse.

If you plan on doing a character meal - which I highly recommend - you will want pictures. The best deal is Photo Pass+. For Disneyland it is $69.95 as long as it is ordered 14 days prior to your trip. (It must be mailed to your house and you have to bring the certificate with you.) It includes print and digital copies of pictures taken at the character meals ($35 per print package if paid separately) and digital copies of your ride photos (on their own $10 for digital, $15 for print). It includes a limited license for printing the pictures after your trip. You can edit them online and then they send you all the files on a CD. We had approximately 225 pictures on our 4 day trip this past fall.
I think Goofy's Kitchen is my favorite character meal. They have breakfast or dinner which is nice. It can get very noisy in there so take that into consideration. Priority Seating can be arranged 60 days in advance. It is best to wait until 60 days from the last day of your trip so you can plan all your meals at once. Disney Dining can be reached over the phone or you can even email them. 

Disneyland Calendar of events - (Edited: I hope this link works.)

GetAwayToday is the company I used for our trip this past October. {I used them to schedule our upcoming trip for #SpringBreak15 as well.} They had great deals on hotels and you can add on other attractions in the area or character meals. Make sure to watch that the hotel you pick is actually close to the main entrance of Disneyland. A lot of hotels in Anaheim will say they are close but they can be a 5-15 minute drive to the parking lot. I usually choose to stay within walking distance because I don't want to deal with buses or trams in the morning. An extra 5 minute walk in the morning is not a big deal when you will be walking 5 miles during the day in the park. Plus if it is close by, you can walk back for lunch or even a nap during the busy part of your day. I have never used this service, but I have heard good things about it. I wouldn't use it for a short trip. Helpful for a short trip to WDW.
I also like to read up on posts from this blog:

IF there are any other questions you have about planning a trip to Disneyland. Please leave it in the comments.

Have fun !