9 Tips on How to do Disneyland & California Adventure: NeonBeige Style
1. Download Disneyland App
The Disneyland App allows you to buy your tickets ahead of time, browse maps, check FASTPASS return times, locate Disney Characters and more! It comes in handy, and we definitely recommend using it to optimize your time at the park!
Waiting in line sucks - especially when lines can be more than an hour wait! Whichever park you do first, we highly recommend you send someone in the group to run over to the MUST DO ride of the day to get FASTPASSES. You'll be limited by quantity and time, so choose your rides wisely. The earlier you start, the better chance you'll have of obtaining more Fastpasses. Here's a list of attractions we recommend getting FASTPASSES for (in prioritized order):
California Adventure Must-Do Fastpass Attractions:
- World of Color (an absolute must if you'd like to get a decent view of the show - other options include an early stake out at The Cove Bar or a reservation to dine and watch)
- Radiator Springs Racers (If you miss this, hop in the single riders line and wait time will be cut!)
- Tower of Terror
- Bear Rapids (if it's hot enough)
- California Screamin' (last on the list, because the line moves relatively quickly)
Disneyland Must-Do Rides:
- Hyperspace Mountain
- Star Tours
- Indiana Jones
- Thunder Mountain Railroad (what used to be a relatively tolerable wait is now a very long one thanks to the new remodel!)
- Splash Mountain (if it's hot enough, otherwise you can wait until the end of the night when nobody in their right mind wants to get wet unless they're drunk.)
3. Best places to drink in California Adventure
Once you get your FASTPASSES, it'll seem like there has been a little too much prep for not riding any rides... so venture on over to California Adventure to drink some adult beverages! California Adventure has alcohol (Dinseyland does not)! Here are our top places to get your booze on:
- Cove Bar - You must ask to hear the drinks that are off menu. These are all Long Island Ice Tea based with a twist. Our personal favorites are the Black Pearl (Long Island Iced Tea made with blackberry liquor) and The Neverland (Also Long Island Iced Tea but made with Madori - it's just so pretty!)
*Bonus note: If you're hungry, grab a bite here. It's a little more bang for your buck & absolutely perfect for sharing bites with a group. Check out the menu
- Paradise Pier - Head here for a Margarita (ALWAYS upgrade to the premium-more delicious and has more booze) and a Karl Strauss beer! At the pier there's also free food at Boudin's Bread Factory (free bread sample) and the Tortilla Factory (free tortillas)
4. Downtown Disney
Fun fact: you can cut through the Grand California Hotel to get to Downtown Disney! If you're like us, you might want to slip out for a quick bite or drink outside the park before scampering off to the next park destination. Downtown Disney has amazing shopping and great food - if you're looking for souvenirs or some real food to eat we suggest frolicking here for a bit before heading back into the park for the rest of the day.
5. Quick Rides
We mentioned our top rides in #2 - but if you're wanting to hit up some quick rides and kind of get your money's worth, here's what we recommend: After about 6:30pm there are a lot of rides that go quick (especially in Fantasyland.) You can hit up Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White's Scary Adventure, Dumbo, Pinnochio and Alice in Wonderland and spend barely anytime waiting in line. In New Orleans Square - Haunted Mansion Pirates of the Caribbean lines are also typically pretty short as the night winds down. If you want to, head to Critter Country and jump on Winnie The Pooh - this ride goes super quick and is a must after a few cocktails!
Snacks >> Everyone gets hungry while at Disneyland. Even if you packed your own food (which you can totally do BTW! Disneyland allows outside food...And when I say "allows outside food", I mean, I've definitely stuffed roughly 6-7 sandwiches in my bag...Anyways,) you should probably incorporate at least one Disneyland staple:
- Dole Whip at Tiki Bar (an amazing pineapple soft serve)
- A Corndog (because when is the last time you had a corndog)
- A fresh, large pickle or pineapple from the fruit stand in Adventure Land
- Popcorn for an all day snack
- A T-Leg (a whole turkey leg!)
- A Cheese Pretzel (soft pretzel stuffed with cream cheese) Need we say more?
Cheaper Food >> Again, the cheapest food you can bring is your own.... but if you didn't pack yourself a lunch, here are some places that are a little less pricey than the rest:
A Quick Bite:
- Award Weiners (California Adventure)
- Corn Dog Castle (California Adventure)
- Bangle BBQ (Disneyland)
Pit Stop/Fill Up:
- Cove Bar (California Adventure) *Perfect for sharing!
- Carnation Cafe for Breakfast (Disneyland)
- Galactic Grill (Disneyland)
- Village Haus (Disneyland)
- Hungry Bear Restaurant (Disneyland)
In the Disneyland App you can see where all the characters are! These characters are actually in character... so play along! It can be weird when Cinderella asks you if you've seen Ariel because she wants to get her shoes back .... but if you pretend it's real, it makes the experience that much more "magical"! So, if there's something you've always wanted to ask a princess (or any other Disney character), nows your chance!
8. Disney Gems
Disneyland is full of surprises! There is SO much to do, but these are some of the things not everyone may know about. Our personal favorites are:
- Pixie Dust from Fair Godmother in Bibbidy Boppidi Boutique (That shit will get everywhere, but YOLO...)
- Animation Studio
- Sorcerer's Workshop: Play around with animation sound mixing, tour Belle's library, and much more!
- Animation Academy: Learn how to draw a Disney character!
- Walkthrough Princess Aurora's castle
- Hidden Mickey Tour (Buy the Hidden Mickey Guidebook & see how many you can find!)
- Ride the Fastest Tea Cups (Be the first to swoop the purple or orange cup!)
9. Clever Disney Gear
Shop NeonBeige #ERRDAYINMAY for some of our Disneyland inspired attire!
In conclusion, if you have just one day at Disneyland (even 2 days), it's quite a challenge to check off every single box on your list. The important thing to remember is, chill out! There's almost too much to do, so your best bet is to just relax, grab a beer, & leisurely enjoy yourself.