where to eat at disneyland

Celebrate Today ~ Disneyland Tips & Tricks

disneyland tips and tricks[trip style = sun + family] {more pics below}

Celebrate Today On a recent trip to Newport and Laguna California, going to Disneyland wasn't part of the plan, but when I realized it was only 20 mins from Newport, my husband and I thought we'd revert to our inner child for the day. When our GPS instructed us to pull up to one of the many parking lots, we were greeted by a big sign exclaiming "Celebrate Today." Yes indeed, we would celebrate today, how apropos since that just so happens to be the mantra of my EARLY 30s!

{For our third Travel Beauty Month contest, win some fab travel-sized Tarte make-up by engaging with our Facebook group.  Details Here. Contest ends this friday.}

Two Kids in Adult Bodies We only had a day, so we strapped on our backpacks, wore comfy clothes and runners, and conquered the park like two kids in adult bodies. As an adult, your experience at Disneyland is different: you think about best practices for conquering the parks, download the best Disney apps for ultimate efficiency and ask your social network about their best tips and tricks.  In other words, you don't just goand eat breakfast with Mickey like you did when you were a kid. You're grown up now, which means you plan then go, starting at Disneyland and strategically ending at California Adventure, so you can relax with a glass of California wine!

Disneyland Strategies

  • Time of Year
    • Try to go in low or shoulder season (fall and winter).
  • Parking
    • Disney's lots are plentiful and massive, take a pic of your lot and the aisle/row, so you don't forget your car's locale.
  • Best Practices
    • Go early, take breaks, stay late (this is if you only have 24 hours, but if you're there for a multi-day trip, many of the same tips and tricks apply, except for your breaks involve going back to your hotel and chilling).
  • Rides
    • Use the early/late philosophy. In other words, go to the most popular rides early morn (opening - 9.15ish), and later at night (8 - close) especially during shows, that's when you'll encounter the smallest lines.
    • People say to hit the rides during the afternoon parade. Note that in high season at least, rides were still not very empty at this time.
    • If you get motion sick, or just want to give your brain a rest, break up the big/fast rides with rest, refueling and main street browsing.
    • The Fast Pass is your friend. Use it to get into the popular rides!
    • If you're there as a small adult group or duo, using Single Riders saves HOURS.  Follow signs closely, you enter most rides with Single Rider access via the exit! For example, there were 2 -3 hour lines for Splash Mountain and Indiana, and doing Single Riders we got on the rides within 5-10 mins!
    • For rides that post pics like Splash Mountain, if you don't want to buy the picture, take a picture of the picture. See mine below, it's not like I'll frame it, but at least I have the memory...
    • The busiest Disney rides are still Indiana, Splash Mountain & Autopia.
    • Don't forget about the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney classics!
  • Day-of
    • You can bring in a modest amount of your own drinks and food. Do this, it's helpful to have water and an energy bar when you're spaced out from space mountain while waiting in a 45-min line for the nostalgic Autopia ride!
  • World of Colour
    • California Adventure's newest light show (think Vegas' Bellagio fountains meet an Under the Sea Calypso) World of Colour only has good viewing if you secure a Fast Pass to one of their three nightly shows. As soon as the parks open, get one at the Grizzly River Rafting ride, or, if it's 8pm and you realize you don't have a pass, buy a picnic at the Sonoma Terrace and your Fast Pass is included!

Eating & Drinking

  • Make reservations at restaurants like
  • Adult Bevs
    • Disney doesn't serve alcohol but California Adventure does!
  • Healthy Eating
    • There are healthy options like pickles, fruit and salad, but most of the food at the parks are deeply, deeply fried!  At the end of the day, you end up feeling fairly deep fried yourself.  But really, when in Rome...
  • Recommendations
    • Breakfast - either eat your own, or have a Mickey-shaped waffle at the Carnation Cafe.
    • Snack - Dole Whip = heaven on earth at the Adventureland Tiki Bar, & Corn Dog (like you've never tasted before) in a cart at the end of Main Street!
    • Lunch - The Monte Cristo Sandwhich at the Blue Bayou (deep fried sandwich with cheese, turkey & ham which you slather raspberry jam onto) is semi-weird but out-of-this-world good. Giant portions. We were full with one shared serving.
    • Dinner - Wine Country Trattoria
  • Tips
    • Use lunch and dinner as your opportunity to sit down, chill out and enjoy. Both options I've recommended above have table service---you'll spend a lot, but the rest and retreat from the hustle and bustle is well worth it!
    • If you don't have any restaurant reservations (don't worry neither did we), but still want the full-on Disney culinary experience, go to the Blue Bayou around 3.30pm when lunch is clearing out and dinner is about to start at 4pm. But don't leave it too late, the Monte Cristo isn't on the dinner menu!
    • The to-go picnics offered by the Sonoma Terrace at Cali Adventure are pretty decent and include a World of Colour Fast Pass. They come in a branded World of Colour reusable shopping bag,  as if you needed another one of those.

Disneyland Essentials

  • Comfy clothes & shoes ~ trust me ~ opt for function over fashion
  • Sweater and/or scarf for at night, even in summer, it really cools down at night
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Backpack or cross-body bag
  • Phone/Camera
  • Gravol (you might want it after the California Screamin' ride, I know I did...)
  • Small water bottle, healthy snacks (the only healthy thing you'll eat all day...)

Pictures disneyland magic kingdeom {The Magic Kingdom}

Splash Mountain {Splash Mountain picture of a picture. The girl behind me was hard-core, she'd been on the ride 25 times in two days---she rode a lot at night and as a Single Rider.}

Jungle Cruise {Fave Ride: Jungle Cruise}

{Us....at at Kodak picture spot}

Big Thunder {Classic Disney: Big Thunder Railway}

it's a small world {Love, Love, Love everything about the vintage, whimsical design of this ride}

glow cali adventure {Check out the Glow party at Cali Adventure---entertaining}

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