Recently a friend asked me why I enjoy going to Disneyland so much. She told me her last trip was stressful and hot with long lines and an unhappy husband and children. Disneyland definitely wasn’t the happiest place on earth for her. So what did I know that she didn’t?

I was intrigued so I dug a little deeper and asked her about her plans and how she executed them. This trip was supposed to help her get away from it all! They booked a hotel only a 15 minute drive from Disneyland and bought 2 day Parkhopper tickets. She and her husband looked at the Disneyland website and decided 2 days would be plenty of time since there are two parks. Her plan was to spend one day in Disneyland Park and one day in Disney California Adventure Park. She and her family got to the parks around 11:00 or 12:00 in the morning everyday. Since Disneyland was open until midnight, they thought twelve hours in each park was plenty of time! They wanted to eat lunch and dinner in the parks, but the restaurant lines were long and they were even turned away from some of the nicer restaurants. They used a few fastpasses but, several of the fastpass machines were “broken” because the lights were turned off. She was frustrated because she spent a lot of money on her trip and they haven’t been back since.

Disney should be magical, but what tricks should you use to avoid unhappy families?

Stay at a hotel close to the Park

Booking a Disneyland resort hotel or walking distance hotel can save you so much time! How? Driving in southern California traffic? Nope! Parking in the parking garage? Not for me! Forgot something in your room? 5 to 10 minutes and you are back in your room.

Three day or longer Park tickets

There is so much to do at Disneyland we can hardly keep up! New rides, lands, parades, and shows. The list goes on and on. The longer you can stay the less stressed you will be. My current favorite ticket is the 4-day one park per day ticket. It is less expensive than the 3 day parkhopper ticket. Plus an extra day!

Get there early!

I know how this sounds. Who wants to get up early on their vacation? Not me. I love to sleep in. I usually plan a couple of rest days while at the Disneyland Resort between park days to catch up on sleep. But on park days, I wake up early, get my bag packed mostly the night before and I am at the entrance before the park opens. The first two or three hours the parks are open are your most productive. In the early morning the lines are short and fastpasses are abundant. Use this to your advantage!

Plan your meals before you get to the park

My family is always on a budget when we go to Disneyland. We eat breakfast at the hotel, pack a lunch to be eaten while in line and then eat dinner at a restaurant in the park. Yes, you can bring in food! Read the outside food and drink rules here.  We eat at off times and always book a reservation for table service meals. Cafe Orleans is our favorite!

Use fastpasses wisely


If you follow rule number 3 fastpasses are a breeze. We can usually use 4 or 5 fastpasses in the first 3 or 4 hours. Make sure you check the bottom of your fastpass for when you are available to get another fastpass. Whenever we are in between fast pass times we take advantage of shows or fast moving lines like Pirates to kill time until the next Fast Pass is ready.



Use these tips to make the MOST out of your Disneyland vacation. Help keep all your campers happy at the Happiest Place on Earth.Interested in booking a Disneyland vacation? Let us take the stress out of planning your trip! Click here to fill out our Disneyland trip questionnaire.  Or email [email protected]


Sara puts the A in AWESOME deal-finding. She is a world traveler with Disney on the brain. Her 4 kids and fun-loving hubby keep her happy and healthy. In her spare time she browses the internet for crazy deals and location information, just look at our Pinterest account! She also enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, reading, all things Disney, exercising and ghost town exploring.