We may earn money or products from the companies or links mentioned in this post.
When you start planning a Disneyland vacation, it can be overwhelming. From booking your vacation to how to plan your days at the park, there are a lot of little details you are probably wondering about. Disneyland 101 will help get you on your way to a magical vacation. Today we are talking about where to park at Disneyland, Disneyland security, and the basic lay out of the Disneyland Resort.
So you are planning your first visit to the Disneyland Resort! Congratulations! You are about to experience some amazing magical memories. Planning your first trip can be overwhelming, so I am going to share with you some things to know before you go.
There is so much to know before you go that I will be breaking it up into several posts. I thought, the most logical way to do this is to go in the order you will, or should, encounter different sections or scenarios. So today I am going to give a general overview of the parks. Starting with where to park at Disneyland, bag checks at Disneyland security, and a few other things you will encounter before you even enter the parks.
Disneyland Resort Parks – A General Overview
Disneyland Park Hours & Schedule
Disneyland’s park schedule is based on anticipated crowd levels. They will be open shorter hours during slow times, and open longer hours when crowds will be high.
The Disneyland Park Schedule is available 6 weeks in advance on Disneyland’s site. Viewing the schedule will let you know what rides may be closed at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, show times, and more.
Where to Park at Disneyland
There are a few things you will need to know about Parking at Disneyland Resort. First, if you are not staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel, and are not within walking distance, you will need to use the Disneyland Resort Parking. There are 2 main parking areas, and a short term parking area near the Downtown Disney District (with an hourly rate). If you plan on going all day, you will want to park at either the Toy Story/Pumba parking lot, or the Mickey and Friends Parking structure.
When deciding where to park at Disneyland there are a lot of different factors to consider. First is where you are coming from. If you are heading south down I-5, there is a carpool lane exit for Disneyland Drive that takes you to the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and Downtown Disney area. This may make the decision of where to park at Disneyland easy for you.
If you are heading north to get to Disneyland, you will most likely be directed to the Toy Story Parking Lot.
Where To Park At Disneyland – Mickey and Friends Parking Structure
Our family prefers the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure for a few reasons. First, if we choose to take the tram, we do not have to fold up our stroller. The first row in the last car (and the first car if there are not wheelchairs needing it) allows you to put your stroller in without folding it. You will need to remove children from the stroller. Since my family utilizes the picnic area at Disneyland, we like to put all our coolers, dry foods, and sweaters in the stroller so we don’t have to carry it clear to the lockers.
We also prefer this lot because a lot of times we choose to walk to Disneyland through Downtown Disney. We find it is sometimes faster, and also, at the end of the night, we don’t like to stop moving because that is when we realize how tired and sore our feet actually are.
Where to Park At Disneyland – Toy Story Lot
Cost of parking at Disneyland
It may be worth it to see if your hotel has a shuttle service, or walk to save the daily parking fee. Also, at the end of the night, the lines to return to the parking lots are quite long, so you may want to just walk back to the parking lot. For more information on parking you can view Disneyland’s Parking Info HERE. You can also find rates for parking at Disneyland Resort Hotels at the same link (yes there is a charge for parking even if you are staying there).
Disneyland Security And Bag Check
There is a lot of confusion about what can and can not enter the parks. Many people believe you can not bring in any outside food (not true). To learn what is actually banned and things that you have heard are banned but really aren’t. You can check out the entire post HERE.
Buying Disneyland Tickets
- Tickets purchased at these booths will NOT include a Magic Morning Entry. This used to not be the case, but they have changed it over the last few years. We learned this the hard way when we bought tickets here, did not think about it, went for our Magic Morning, and could not get in. Tickets purchased either online or in a package contain a Magic Morning Entry (where you can come one day of your visit and enter Disneyland an hour early).
- If you purchase your tickets ahead of time it is one less line to wait in. You can even print your tickets right at home and go straight to the park entrance.
- Purchasing tickets at a local grocery store that sells them (Fred Meyer, Albertsons, etc) is a great option and the thing I love about them are those tickets are hard plastic tickets so they will survive the water rides better.
- Purchasing tickets through Tickets at Work or Entertainment Book MAY save you money. Be careful on this one though. Both of these sites add taxes and fees to your purchase at the end, so it is not always cheaper. Be sure to compare the total price (at the screen where you enter your payment info) to Disneyland’s price to see if it really is a savings. Our favorite place to purchase tickets is actually Get Away Today, or through Disney with gift card we bought using the “Target Red Card trick.”
Once you have your tickets, be sure to snap a picture of the backs of them with your phone. This way if they get lost or water damaged, you have all the info right there when you go to guest relations. I also suggest connecting your tickets to the Disneyland App on your smart phone for a back up.
Ready to book a Disneyland Vacation?
If you are ready to book your Disneyland vacation, we suggest booking through our friends at Get Away Today. They always have a great deal and can add on a lot of magical extras to your vacation. Just click the image below to book now.
Disneyland 101 is a series that I wrote in 2014 for several friends that were planning their first trip. It became our most popular series ever. Be sure to check out the entire Disneyland 101 series HERE.