Disneyland in Anaheim California
Guests at Disney California Adventure's Radiator Springs Racers careen through Cars Land at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner | Disneyland

Anaheim, California

  • 2 Theme Parks, Dining & Entertainment District, 3 Resort Hotels
  • Theme Parks: open to guests who are California Residents
  • Downtown Disney & Resort Hotels: open to all guests

Here’s where it all began.

In 1955, just beyond Los Angeles, Walt Disney invited everyone to enter into the world of his most beloved stories. Today, the pleasantly walkable Disneyland Resort includes three on-site hotels, Disney’s California Adventure park and the original iconic Disneyland. You’ll encounter state-of-the-art spectacles in a land that’s overflowing with charm. You can say without irony that it actually is “the happiest place on Earth.”

2024 Disney Travel Packages are now available.  For just a $200 refundable deposit, we can set up your ideal Disney vacation. But which hotels and dates are the best choice? And when should you book?

Disneyland’s hotels sell out months in advance. WIth just three official Disney hotels — including the newly renovated Pixar Place hotel — it takes smart planning to get the best options. Disneyland’s best Good Neighbor Hotels often sell out even more quickly than the Disney-owned hotels do!

You’ve got some big decisions to make. And you’ve probably got some big curiosities…

In the FAQ below, we’ve got an ultra-concise expert guide that answers all the most important questions. Give it a good read, and then contact us for today’s pricing. 

Free expert help — at your fingertips.

If Wishful Thinking sets up your booking, then you’ll have more than just our online guide below. You’ll have expert-level, up-to-date, authoritative assistance — just a text message away. 

We’re happy to help. For free.

We’re in Anaheim throughout the year. We’ve got heaps of first-hand insights & expert tips on everything from Genie+ to character dining. We can help you choose an Anaheim hotel, score the best promotions, snag the best Disneyland dining reservations, and create a smart itinerary to make the best use of your time. We follow your lead — we’ll help you plan as little or as much as you like. 

During your vacation, if something goes topsy turvy — which happens far more often than you might realize — simply shoot us a text message or give us a call.  We’ll leap to the rescue.

As soon as you’ve got travel dates in mind, we should start planning. The Disneyland area’s hotel rooms and theme park reservations fill up months in advance. 

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disneyland's Toontown glows with an inviting marquee and a whimsical Mickey & Minnie fountain

Disneyland Resort | FAQ

Curious about Disneyland’s two theme parks, three Disney-owned hotels, Downtown Disney dining and shopping district, and its dozens of Good Neighbor Hotels? We know what you need to know. We’ve got clear, concise answers to some of the most common questions:

• TIMING | How many days do I need to see Disneyland and Disney California Adventure? How many days do I need in each park? What’s the weather like during different times of year? When are the parks most crowded / least crowded? What are things like during Christmas, Halloween, or Easter / Spring Break?  | Get the answers ▸

• HOTELS | What are the best hotels at Disneyland Resort? The Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Paradise Pier Hotel / Pixar Place Hotel? How far is the walk from the hotels to the parks? What are the perks of Disney resort guests? Should I stay at a Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel instead? | Get the answers  ▸

• TICKETS | What’s the best way to get Theme Park tickets for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure? How does Park Hopping work? Should I pre-pay to add Genie+?  | Get the answers  ▸

• ATTRACTIONS, SHOWS, PARADES & SPECTACULARS | What are the best rides at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure? Which shows should I see? Where is the best spot to watch the Disneyland parades? How early do I need to get a spot to view the Disneyland fireworks? | Get the answers  ▸

• DINING | What are the best restaurants at Disneyland Resort? Where will I find the best snacks? How does character dining work? Are the restaurants in Downtown Disney easy to visit during a theme park day? | Get the answers  ▸

• AIRPORTS & TRANSPORTATION | How do I get to Disneyland Resort from the airport?  Should I fly into LAX, Long Beach (LGB), Santa Ana / John Wayne Airport (SNA), Ontario (ONT)? What if I drive to Disneyland — how does parking work? Can I take an Uber / Lyft? | Get the answers ▸

• TOURISM | What should I see and do in Los Angeles? How many days do I need for sightseeing? Where should I stay during sightseeing days in L.A.? Should I visit Disney before or after some sightseeing in Los Angeles? How  and when should I include a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood? | Get the answers  ▸

• DISNEYLAND VS. WALT DISNEY WORLD | What are the main differences between Disneyland and Walt Disney World? If I’m considering a visit to one or the other, how should I decide between the two destinations? Which is easier for international visitors? Which is better for small kids — or grownups? | Get the answers  ▸

These are just the first batch of questions you’re likely to have. Thankfully, we’re an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for Disneyland, experts on Orange County and Los Angeles. We can create a customized, no-obligation pricing proposal and help you plan every detail of your trip — for free.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT DISNEYLAND RESORT?

The weather in Southern California might surprise you — yes, it actually gets cold and rainy here. Therefore, you’ll want to be smart about timing your visit. How many days do you need? What’s it like during big holidays like Halloween, Christmas, or Easter / Spring Break? Do the USA’s school breaks impact the crowds?

Here are answers to the most common questions about timing your visit.

Q: How many days do I need to see Disneyland / Disney California Adventure?

A: If this is your very first trip, and if you might not ever return, you’ll want three days at least. Probably four. The majority of Disneyland’s guests are residents of California who visit regularly, so they’ve got an entirely different agenda. If you’re flying to California with Disneyland on the vacation itinerary, you won’t want to miss out on anything. Give it three days if you want jam-packed days of fun. Four if you want to include some rest & relaxation along the way.

For those who make regular visits to Disneyland and don’t intend to see & do everything, two theme park days is common.

As for the actual number of days in each park, we strongly, strongly recommending upgrading your ticket to include the Park Hopper option so you don’t have to worry about that decision. Disneyland’s two parks are directly side-by-side — it’s a one-minute walk between the two entrances. Unlike Walt Disney World, ‘hopping’ back and forth between these two parks is astonishingly easy.

Q: What’s the weather like in Southern California?

A: If you’ve only seen the movies, you might think that Los Angeles offers non-stop months of endless warmth and sunshine. Not quite. January through February is typically cold and rainy. In March of 2023, it even kinda snowed one afternoon at Disneyland. The winter months typically are sweatshirt / coat weather, with many days of grey overcast skies. 

Things typically warm up in the spring months of April and May, although it tends to really cool off in the evenings. June tends to offer cloudy mornings and warm sunny afternoons. From July through November, classic Southern California hot and sunny days are on order. December is a mixed bag — could be chilly and cloudy, could be warm and sunny. 

Throughout the rest of Southern California, the weather is often impacted by its distance from the coast — even 20 minutes inland can be 20 degrees (F) warmer. 

View Anaheim’s monthly average temps ▸ 

Q: When is it crowded at Disneyland / Disney California Adventure? How do school breaks impact crowds? What about weekends?

A: Three major factors draw crowds:

1) Good weather: See the weather patterns above. Summer’s busy. Even during heat waves. January through early March are always less busy times of year. If if the weather’s extra cold and wet, the parks tend to be practically dead. 

2) Weekends: Many of Disneyland’s visitors are local residents of Southern California, so Mondays through Thursdays are always less busy when folks are working.

3) School breaks: the actual schedule varies based on the state / local school district — the USA has no federal school break guidelines — but the school periods inspire families from across the country to visit. Therefore, Disneyland sees big waves across several weeks where the parks get very, very busy. Zooming out and looking at those patterns, here are the school break periods where you can expect the Disneyland Resort to be very busy:

  • Spring break | All of March into the first week of April
  • Summer break | From the first week of June through first week of September
  • End of the semester break | The last two weeks of December into the first week of January

Q: What’s it like to visit during a major holiday like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, or Independence Day?

A: It’s terrific. It’s magical. It’s very, very cool.  Pick your superlative. Disney goes all out for the holidays. Disney adds incredible decorations, holiday-themed entertainment, specialty treats and snacks, parades and character cavalcades, themed fireworks shows & evening spectaculars. It’s an incredible time to see Disneyland in all its splendor, especially if you can plan to visit the parks on weekdays. Here’s what you can expect:

Halloween | From early September through October 31st, both parks enjoy spooky décor, bewitching treats, and the return of the fan-favorite Haunted Mansion Holiday, when Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” takes over the Haunted Mansion. On select nights — about 3 times per week — Disney California Adventure hosts a separately-ticketed party, Oogie Boogie Bash, which is easily one of the greatest events at any Disney park worldwide. That party alone is worth a flight to California. 

Thanksgiving | Although Thanksgiving is a major American holiday — always the last Thursday in November — at Disney it tends to get kinda swallowed up by all the Christmas hullabaloo. Because schools are out, the parks are very crowded from Tuesday through Sunday. Several Disneyland-area restaurants — especially in the resort hotels — offer special Thanksgiving pre-fixe menus on Thanksgiving Day. Our top recommendation: Napa Rose.

Christmas | From mid-November through the first week of January — both Disney parks and the Disney resort hotels sparkle and shine with themed décor. Guests delight in the Festival of the Holidays at Disney California Adventure, and “it’s a small world” gets an annual remake that’ll have you jingling all the way. At this time of year, many local Californians make late afternoon / evening visits to the parks simply to see the holiday lights, catch the Once Upon a Christmastime parade, and take in the atmosphere. Mornings are notably less crowded.

New Year’s Eve | Historically, New Year’s Eve is the single busiest day of the entire year at Disneyland. Post-pandemic, things have changed — Disney is more restrictive on its park attendance limits — but it remains genuinely magical to ring in the new year with Disneyland’s stunning fireworks. Do note: Disneyland Park has no bars (other than Oga’s Cantina, which historically closes early on holidays). Hard liquor isn’t on sale, while Disney California Adventure has terrific cocktails, generous pours of California wines, and festive treats as part of its popular Festival of the Holidays. 

Easter | Fresh flowers and springtime pastel décor brightens up up Disneyland’s Main Street U.S.A., and you’ll find Easter Bunny-themed treats and character meet & greet surprises on the days leading up to the Easter holiday. 

Independence Day | The 4th of July is America’s biggest national holiday. Always one of the busiest days of the year. Expect patriotic musical performances from Disneyland’s own marching band, unique character costumes, and a jaw-dropping fireworks display. Typically, Disney presents Disney’s Celebrate America – a 4th of July Concert in the Sky on additional nights beyond the actual Independence Day holiday, so the jam-packed 4th isn’t your only chance to see it.

Q: How should I time my visit along with sightseeing in Los Angeles or a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood?

See our answers below ▸ 

 

Tell us about your travel dates & let’s start planning ▸  

Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Theme Parks aerial map

WHAT ARE THE BEST HOTELS AT DISNEYLAND?

Let’s explore the Disneyland Resort hotels. They’re all within easy walking distance from the theme park entrances. What are the unique perks & privileges of a Disney hotel? How do they compare to the best Disney-approved Good Neighbor Hotels? Which offer the best value & amenities, and which are the shortest walks to the park?

DISNEYLAND’S THREE HOTELS

Unlike the much-larger Walt Disney World resort in Florida, the Disneyland Resort has just three Disney-owned hotels: The Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel — which is currently transforming into Disney’s Pixar Place Hotel. Let’s take a quick look at each, then answer the most common questions.

THE DISNEYLAND HOTEL

The OG Disney hotel, recently updated & renovated with elegant whimsical flourishes. Three large towers — each themed after different lands of Disneyland — surround a courtyard of pools, gardens, and an iconic Monorail waterslide. Rooms are spacious and well-appointed, with floor-to-ceiling windows that gaze out toward the pools and the Downtown Disney area. A fourth tower featuring multi-bedroom villas (with full kitchens) opens in late 2023. Dining highlights include Trader Sam’s Enchated Tiki Bar and Goofy’s Kitchen, a fun-loving character dining experience.

DISNEY’S GRAND CALIFORNIAN HOTEL & SPA

California mission architecture meets Frank Lloyd Wright arts & crafts style at this luxurious property directly overlooking the grounds of Disney’s California Adventure. The dramatic cavernous lobby inspires awe; spacious rooms include nature-inspired decor with touches from Disney’s “Bambi.” The fantastic on-site dining includes Napa Rose — widely considered Disneyland’s best restaurant — and Storyteller’s Cafe, offering a family-friendly character breakfast and a tasty casual dinner.

DISNEY’S PARADISE PIER HOTEL (soon to be known as PIXAR PLACE HOTEL)

When Disney developed California Adventure, they bought a previously-owned hotel just across the street from the Paradise Pier area, gave it a seaside boardwalk theme, and converted it into Disney’s third hotel. In 2023 & 2024, a whole new set of renovations are going much further, with a completely re-imagined Pixar theme. A fresh new lobby, playful pool, and a stylish new restaurant will open in 2023, while floor-to-ceiling guest room renovations won’t happen until 2024.

Q: How far is it to walk from the Disney-owned Disneyland hotels to the theme parks?

A: About five minutes, depending on which entrance you use. 

All three hotels are located at the opposite end of the Downtown Disney shopping & dining district from the main entrances to the theme parks. To enter, you simply pass through security then walk (about 5 – 7 minutes) through Downtown Disney. There are no resort buses to the parks.

Alternate entrances: All guests heading to Disneyland Park may skip the walk through Downtown Disney by boarding the monorail for a speedy direct trip to Tomorrowland. Guests at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa may use an exclusive entrance right into the Grizzly Peak area of Disney California Adventure park. 

Q: What are the perks for guests at the Disney-owned Disneyland hotels?

A: The main perk is Early Entry. Guests staying at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels can take advantage of admission to Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park 30 minutes early to enjoy select attractions, dining and shopping locations.

Additionally:

  • ROOM FOLIO CHARGES | When dining or making souvenir / guest shop purchases, Disney resort guests may bill the purchase to your resort room folio if you’ve linked a credit card at check-in. 
  • DIRECT-TO-ROOM SERVICE | Check-in online (at disneyland.com or the Disneyland app) to skip the Front Desk and head right to your room. Unlock your Disney resort guest room door with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.
  • DINING | Disneyland’s resort guests do not gain earlier access to Disney dining reservations. All tables may be booked 60 days before the dining date. However, you do enjoy additional access to visit restaurants within your own Disney resort hotel after you’ve checked-in.
  • GENIE+ & LIGHTNING LANE | Guests may pre-pay to add Genie+ to their ticket, but no one may book any Disneyland Lightning Lane (or Individual Lightning Lane) reservations until after you’ve scanned through the turnstiles and entered the park. (Guests who take advantage of Early Entry have an advantage over non-guests.)
  • MAGIC BAND+ | At Disneyland, MagicBand+ does not currently unlock guest room doors or support payments in gift shops / dining locations. It’s scannable at Disneyland’s theme park entrances, Lightning Lane queues, PhotoPass photographers and Play Disney Parks interactive elements. The original MagicBand (without the +) does not function at Disneyland.

Let’s plan your trip to Disneyland ▸

 
Disneyland Hotel's famous vintage monorail waterslide sign glows at night in Anaheim, California

DISNEYLAND THEME PARK TICKETS

Do I need to buy Disneyland theme park tickets in advance? (Yes, you do!) Which ticket options are best? How does Park Hopping work? Should I add Genie+ and Theme Park reservations when I buy my tickets?

DISNEYLAND THEME PARK TICKETS GUIDE

We’ll start with the most crucial info, then dig into the nitty-gritty details.

What’s included? A park ticket gives you access to all park attractions, rides, shows, live performances, parades, nighttime spectaculars, and character experiences.

What’s not included? Parking, food, drinks, souvenirs. These all incur an additional cost.

Where are the tickets valid? A standard Disneyland Resort theme park ticket is valid for either Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, or both parks — depending on which option you select. They are not valid at theme parks beyond the Disneyland Resort (Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, etc). Tickets are not needed to visit / shop / dine at the Downtown Disney district or to visit / dine at any of the Disneyland Resort hotels.

Choose from 1 to 7 days. You may select single-day tickets or multi-day, and it’s always more cost-effective to buy multi-day tickets rather than pay for each visit one day at a time. 

The more days you buy, the more you save. As of 2023, a single-day park ticket begins at $109. However, once you get above 3 to 5 days, the cost per day declines dramatically. The price difference between a 3-day and a 4-day ticket is just a small additional cost.

You don’t have to use multi-day tickets on back-to-back days. All multi-day tickets allow you take days off in between use. Disney will clearly communicate when the ticket’s validity expires. For example, if you have a 5-night hotel stay but a 3-day ticket, you could use your tickets on your first, third, and fifth day of your stay. It’s up to you.

Optional upgrade: Park Hopper. Want to visit both parks on the same day? With a Park Hopper enhancement, beginning at 11 AM, you can ‘park hop’ back and forth between both parks until the final park closes for the day. This is a popular add-on, and If you do add this benefit to a multi-day ticket, it will be available for all your theme park days. (In other words, you can’t purchase a 3-day ticket but only add the ParkHopper for one of those days. It’s all or nothing.) 

EXPERT TIP: Adding Park Hopper to your ticket is smart at Disneyland. The two parks are just a hop, skip & a jump away from each other, and it’s extremely easy to bop back and forth on a fun-filled day. Most guests want to visit another park to catch a parade, a show at Avengers Campus, or see one of the nighttime spectaculars. 

Optional upgrade: prepaid Genie+.  With this enhancement, you gain the ability to book Lightning Lane reservations and ‘skip the line’ at select attractions in both theme parks. You may add this enhancement on the day of a visit — via dynamic pricing, up to $27 per guest — or you can pre-pay to add it to all the days of your ticket for a per-day-per-guest cost of $20. 

EXPERT TIP: Genie+ is also a smart add on here. It’s cheaper to prepay. Plus, far fewer Disneyland guests use Genie+ than at Walt Disney World, and it’s quite easy to dash from Lightning Lane window to Lightning Lane window for the bulk of the day. You can get a whole lot done!

Learn all about Genie+ and Lightning Lane at Disneyland ▸ 

A Park Pass theme park reservation is currently required for entry — through the end of 2023. Disney limits the attendance at each park each day. Therefore, to maintain control on how many guests enter each park on a given day, Disney wants to know when and where you plan to use your tickets. It’s best to book your Theme Park reservations when you buy your tickets — or when we set up your Walt Disney Travel Package — knowing that you can come back later and modify the dates (subject to availability). Better to make a plan & reserve something early, even if your plans might change.

Tickets are electronic. Tickets are a digital product, similar to an airline “e-ticket,” which are scannable via a bar code. That bar code arrives in your ticket confirmation email when you click / tap “View my eTickets.” After viewing your tickets, it’s best if you scan the tickets for yourself (and your travel party)  park into the Disneyland app, which unlocks the ability to make Lightning Lane and Virtual Queue reservations for your whole travel party. Upon request, Disney’s Guest Relations Cast Members can print up a paper ticket for you to scan throughout the park. 

MagicBand+ — new in 2023. Disneyland guests may now link their tickets to a wearable tech bracelet — called MagicBand+ — and scan their park tickets electronically via NFT technology. Unlike Walt Disney World, at Disneyland, MagicBand+ only works for theme park tickets, Lightning Lane entries, PhotoPass, and Play Disney Parks interactive experiences. It does not work for hotel guest room entry, resort folio charges, dining reservation check-ins, etc. 

Learn about MagicBand+ at Disneyland ▸ 

You use them throughout day. Your tickets aren’t only used for park entry — you’ll scan your ticket (or MagicBand+) when you enter the park, and also scan it for any Lightning Lane reservations, in-park photographers, or return-times for Disability Access Service.

Everyone needs one. Everyone (3 years of age or above) needs a theme park ticket to get into either theme park. Even if you have a dining reservation at one of the restaurants within a park, you still need a theme park ticket to get in. Guests who are younger than 3 may enter for free with their (ticketed) parent or legal guardian.

Arrive when you like. With most tickets, you can enter or exit the park at any time of its opening hours; they’re valid for a full day. However, some special event tickets (like After Hours events or holiday parties) only grant entry into the parks after a specific time.

Come and go. All ticket holders can depart and re-enter as many times as they like on the same day. No matter what type of ticket you have, after you’ve entered a park, you’re free to leave and then return to that same park at no charge. It’s common for guests to exit the parks to visit nearby resort hotels for afternoon naps, a dip in the pool, or a relaxing meal.

Start here: plan your Disneyland trip and set up your tickets ▸ 

   
 

ATTRACTIONS | SHOWS | PARADES | NIGHTTIME SPECTACULARS 

What are the best rides at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure? Which shows should I see? Where is the best spot to watch the Disneyland parades? How early do I need to get a spot to view the Disneyland fireworks?

Coming Soon…

We’re updating this section of our website now — please check back soon for our updates!

Let’s plan your trip to Disneyland ▸

   
 
At Lamplight Lounge in Disney California Adventure, a tasty burger and fries tempts diners on a sun-drenched terrace with a view of Pixar Pier

DINING

What are the best restaurants at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure? How does character dining work? What about Dining Packages for Fantasmic!, Magic Happens, or World of Color? Which snacks are the most popular? Should I eat at Downtown Disney during a day in the parks? Do I need to be a resort guest to dine at the Disneyland Hotel or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa?

Q: When & how do we make Table Service Reservations?

All the Disneyland Resort table service reservations open 60 days ahead. There’s no early access for Disney resort guests, unlike Walt Disney World. At 6 AM local California time, reservations come online, and it’s easiest to book your tables using the Disneyland smartphone app. Let’s go over some important rules & things to know:

  • Anyone can book a Disneyland Resort table service reservation — even if you don’t have your theme park ticket or hotel reservation yet.
  • Reservations are free to book & free to cancel, but you must cancel them at least 2 hours beforehand to avoid a cancellation fee of $10 per guest.
  • Dining in a theme park? All guests (3 and older) MUST have a valid theme park ticket for that day (and a theme park reservation as well)
  • Dining outside the theme parks? Anyone can dine in the Downtown Disney district, the Disneyland Hotel, the Grand Californian Hotel, or Pixar Place hotel. No ticket is required.

Q: What are the top recommended Disneyland restaurants?

We’ve got a curated list of the most popular tables which are the hardest to score.

TOP RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TABLE SERVICE RESTAURANTS

These are the tastiest, most popular restaurants that Wishful Thinking recommends most highly:  

Blue Bayou (Disneyland) | Cajun / New Orleans cuisine, in a charming candlelight ‘waterfront’ cafe inside the loading area of Pirates of the Caribbean. A Disneyland classic.
Lamplight Lounge (DCA) | American comfort food, glammed up a bit with a dockside setting and Pixar Studios memorabilia. 
Carthay Circle (DCA) | Upscale gourmet cuisine with a focus on California produce and wines.
Cafe Orleans (Disneyland) | Tasty Louisiana dishes in a very cute cafe alongside Disneyland’s Rivers of America.
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar (Disneyland Hotel) | An intimate vintage tiki bar with kooky bartenders who amp up the antics. Reserve a table to avoid a perennial long wait on the walk-up list.

Kindly note: none of the restaurants at Downtown Disney are among the Disneyland Resort’s most popular. Unlike Disney Springs, the dining at Downtown Disney is mostly about quick service locations (like the very good Black Tap Burgers or Salt & Straw ice cream). Many of the Downtown Disney restaurants are rather ho-hum. That said, new restaurants are on the way, and it’s easy to walk to each of these locations in the middle of a park day. Especially if you’re on your way to / from one of the Disney resort hotels.

CHARACTER DINING

There are four Disneyland area restaurants that offer meals where you’ll get to meet, hug, and snap selfies with Disney characters. Three of them offer huge, tasty buffets that appeal to just about everybody. The fourth is a truly gourmet experience with a multi-course high end brunch. Like all table service restaurants, reservations open up 60 days beforehand. (But it’s common to see early morning breakfast tables open up the night before, when guests decide to delay their alarm clocks!) Disney never guarantees that specific characters will appear — the Princesses, most especially, can sometimes have substitutes — but for the most part, here’s who you can expect to see at each of the Disneyland character meals:

Storyteller’s Cafe (Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa) | Buffet Breakfast / Brunch | Mickey, Minnie, Chip & Dale  
Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel) | Buffet Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Goofy, Donald, Chip, Dale, Pluto
Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie & Friends (Disneyland park) | Buffet Breakfast | Minnie Mouse & assorted characters (it’s really different from day to day, but you can expect headliners like Daisy Duck, Pooh, Tigger, and a villain or two.) | This is the only character meal inside a park — you must have a valid ticket for Disneyland. Helpful note: if you score a reservation for a time before the park opens to regular guests, you’ll be granted early entry — even if you’re not a Disney resort hotel guest.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures (at Napa Rose, inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa) | Gourmet multi-course brunch | Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocohontas, Rapunzel, Tiana

Q: What are the most popular quick service restaurants?

When you don’t want to worry about a reservation, Disneyland’s got terrific quick service restaurants — and some of them are so good that even Walt Disney World is jealous. 

TOP QUICK SERVICE RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS 

Bengal Barbecue (Disneyland) | Delicious grilled skewers — perfect for that kind of in-between-meals time when you want something savory but you’re not super hungry.
Plaza Inn (Disneyland) | Legendary fried chicken and a great selection of other American old-fashioned classics.
Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo (Disneyland) | The best food in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. American food with creative preparations and a retro space junk décor.
Pym Test Kitchen (DCA) | The best food in Avengers Campus. MARVEL’s Ant Man-themed restaurant where the food’s been enlarged / shrunk to comical proportions.
Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta (DCA) | Not the world’s greatest pizza or pasta, but tasty. Economical. It gets the job done when you just need to feed a bunch of hungry Mouseketeers.
Aunt Cass Café (DCA) | Delicious clam chowder, mac & cheese, salads and soups — served in freshly-baked Boudin Bakery sourdough bread bowls. (Formerly the Pacific Wharf Cafe)

Q: What are the most popular Disneyland & Disney California Adventure snacks?

Disneyland loves to offer limited-time treats, especially during various holidays and festivals, but these are the tried & true classics that have been delighting Disneyland guests for generations:

TOP RECOMMENDED SNACKS

  • Dole Whip | Famous swirls of frozen pineapple joy. Served in a few locations: the Tropical Hideaway, the Tiki Juice Bar, and Tangaroa Terrace (at the Disneyland Hotel).
  • Mickey macaron | A raspberry delight at the Jolly Holiday Bakery in Disneyland.
  • Churros | Legendary. Served fresh from carts throughout both parks.
  • Corn dogs | Nostalgic classics at Little Red Wagon (Disneyland) and Corn Dog Palace (DCA).
  • Mickey beignet | Warm, powdered sugar-coated goodness. In Disneyland’s New Orleans Square.
  • Cosmic Cream Orb | Whipped raspberry cheesecake cream puff delight. Found at Terran Treats beside Guardians of the Galaxy in DCA.

Q: What’s a Dining Package? How can I reserve one for Fantasmic, World of Color, or Magic Happens?

A Dining Package is Disney’s way of saying: “if you reserve this meal, we’ll reward you with a special perk: a priority viewing location for this outdoor show.”  A Disneyland Dining Package is an incentive. Disney strategically uses them to fill restaurants, time slots, and restaurants that aren’t always bustling. Disney’s smart about it – they often offer Dining Package reservations during the mid-afternoon lull between lunch and dinner. Or at restaurants that are a bit off the beaten path. All in all, they’re a good idea. You get a great meal and a primo spot to watch the show without battling a crowd.

Some dining packages are only available if you’ve specifically booked a reservation for it. For others, you simply must dine in one of the designated restaurants and then inform your server that you’d like the dining package. They’re not always available every day. During peak season, for example, when table reservations are already a hot commodity, Disney doesn’t need them. 

To learn about the offerings & availability during your visit, open the Disneyland app, search for Dining Package, and then explore each restaurant where you see an offer. 

Let’s plan your trip to Disneyland ▸

   
 
Tiana and Naveen from

AIRPORTS & TRANSPORTATION

How do I get to Disneyland Resort from the airport?  Should I fly into LAX, Long Beach (LGB), Santa Ana / John Wayne Airport (SNA), Ontario (ONT)? What if I drive to Disneyland — how does parking work? Can I take an Uber / Lyft? What is the typical travel time between Los Angeles and Disneyland? Can I take a train or a bus from downtown L.A.?

Q: How far is Disneyland from the airport?

A: Depends on which airport we’re discussing — and what time of day. Traffic can add hours to a commute time in Southern California. There are many airports throughout the region, but here are the three most convenient airports for Disneyland travelers:

LAX | Los Angeles International Airport | The primary airport for the Los Angeles area, with a large number of international arrivals. With typical traffic, about a 45-minute drive, but during rush hour, that can easily swell to two hours. Try to avoid the sluggish highway commute between 5 PM and 8 PM.

SNA | John Wayne Airport, Orange County | A smaller regional airport, serving nearly all American domestic airlines. With typical traffic, about a 25-minute drive.

LGB | Long Beach Airport | A smaller regional airport, primarily serving Southwest Airlines, with a small number of arrivals on Delta, United and American airlines. With typical traffic, about a 25-minute drive.

ONT | Ontario Airport. | Also a smaller regional airport, but located further away from Disneyland. Not a bad option if you’ll begin or end your trip in Los Angeles itself. With typical traffic, about an hour from Disneyland. But although traffic is typically smoother than the roads near LAX, things could get very slow.

Q: How should I get from the airport to / from Disneyland?

Again, this really depends on which airport you choose. But Los Angeles (and all of California) relies on car culture. Public infrastructure like trains, buses, and public shuttles are severely lacking. 

Post-pandemic, there are no convenient buses that bring visitors between the major airports and Disneyland. Nothing like Walt Disney World’s (discontinued) Disney’s Magical Express. You’ll have to rely on private transportation. Here are your main options:

Rental Cars | Each airport has ample rental car companies, and it’s easy to pick up a rental car at the airports. The question, really, is whether or not you’ll need a car during your Disneyland trip. Many guests opt to stay in hotels that are within walking distance. Driving to Disneyland each day means you’ll be paying for parking (see below). But if you can imagine wanting to drive to other nearby diversions — the beach, Universal Studios – Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Los Angeles itself  — then a rental car might be very useful.  
 
Rideshare from Uber or Lyft | The two main rideshare apps in the USA both operate for pickups and drop offs at the Los Angeles-area airports. Pricing varies widely. To predict what your fare might be, it’s best to download the app and perform an inquiry around the same time of day you expect to request your ride. Take note: ride shares in California can rarely accommodate more than 3 passengers per vehicle if you’ve all got luggage with you. Also, It’s very difficult to request a ride share vehicle with a child safety seat (which are required by law for all children who are 8 years of age or younger). If you’ve got young kids with you, it’s best to pre-schedule a private airport transfer.
 
Private Airport Transfer | Especially if you’ve got young children in your party or more than 3 passengers, a private van transfer is both convenient and more cost effective. We can schedule a private transfer for any client who books a Disneyland trip. For a semi-private transfer that’s shared with a few other travel parties, we recommend Karmel Shuttle.
 
Anaheim ART Bus | An affordable, regional / city bus that serves the main entrance of Disneyland Resort. Several good hotels are located near an ART bus pickup location, and the buses can be especially useful for guests who use a wheelchair. If you’ve got more than 2 or 3 people in your party, a rideshare is typically a cheaper option for transport from nearby hotels. Please note: the ART buses don’t arrive or depart very often, especially during the day, so it’s best to review the routes and maps here ▸ 
 
• Los Angeles Metro Bus | The Los Angeles-area Metro Express Line 460 bus connects Disneyland to many other bus and rail lines throughout Los Angeles County. It’s very safe, clean, and affordable, but the travel times are excessive — as long as 2.5 hours from Los Angeles to Disneyland — and buses are scheduled for very few hours of the day. We don’t recommend it. 
 
Trains | If you’re traveling to / from downtown Los Angeles or San Diego and you can easily carry (or roll) your luggage, you may want to consider taking the train to / from the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). It’s a sparkling, modern train station that’s a very short distance from Disneyland Resort. The station is served by the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and the METROLINK Orange County Line. Trains only arrive and depart a few times per day, so do your research before you plan for this arrival / departure method.
 
Q: How does parking work at the Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney and the Disney Resort Hotels?
 
Disneyland Resort has several private parking lots and parking garages, and each one has a name.
 
THEME PARK PARKING | If you’ll be visiting the Theme Parks, select one of these lots: 
 
  • Mickey & Friends Parking Structure | 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92802
  • Pixar Pals Parking Structure | 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92802
  • Toy Story Parking Area | 1854 S Harbor Blvd Anaheim, CA 92802

Disney runs trams to bring guests between the parking lots and the theme park entrances. Theme park rates begin at $30 per day. Advance parking reservations are not required.

DOWNTOWN DISNEY PARKING | If you’ll just be shopping or dining at Downtown Disney, this is best:

  • Simba Lot | 1739 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA 92802 | Near the Paradise Pier / Pixar Place hotel entrance

For Downtown Disney parking, the first hour of parking costs $10. With purchases and / or dining receipts, validations apply after the first hour of paid parking. 

RESORT HOTEL PRICING | Overnight guests of the three Disneyland Resort hotels who self-park pay $35 per night to park at their resort hotel. 

Learn more about Disneyland parking area and pricing ▸ 

Universal Studios Hollywood main entrance beckons visitors within Studio City, California on a blue sky sunny day

TOURISM | LOS ANGELES, UNIVERSAL STUDIOS & BEYOND

What’s the best way to plan for some sightseeing in Los Angeles, Hollywood, Universal Studios Hollywood and beyond?

Q: Should I visit Disney before or after some sightseeing in Los Angeles?

If this is your first big trip to California, you need to see California.

It’s a massive state. More than a dozen different microclimates. Giant snowy mountains, deep redwood evergreen forests, stark serene deserts, and 840 miles of sandy, scenic beaches. Where to start?

Naturally, Los Angeles. Disneyland is in Anaheim, which is a suburb in Orange County about 25 miles southeast of downtown LA. Depending on LA’s infamous traffic, it can take anywhere from a half hour to 90 minutes to get between locations.

If this might be your only visit to southern California, aside from Disneyland you should allow at least 3 additional days to see some of the sights. It’s best to visit Disneyland (and any other theme parks) on weekdays, when the crowds are lowest. Los Angeles is the most fun on weekends. As you’ll see below, there’s an endless supply of fun things to do.

Q: Should I stay in our Disneyland-area hotel for my whole itinerary? If not, where should I stay in LA?

You may want to add an extra night at your Disneyland-area hotel if you’d like to see Knott’s Berry Farm (see below) or one of the Orange County beaches (like Laguna Beach), but to avoid long, irksome commutes each day, it would be best if we set you up with an additional nights in Los Angeles. (It would ease your access to LA sightseeing and LAX.) 

We have a great shortlist of top-notch hotels in cool neighborhoods like Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Silver Lake. Get pricing ▸ 

Q: Is Knott’s Berry Farm worth a visit?

Short answer: If you like classic amusement parks with big roller coasters, yes. Only about a 20 minute drive from Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm is unique and charming. Great fun for a day. Knott’s Berry Farm has been warmly welcoming visitors since 1920. Now owned by Cedar Fair (of Cedar Point fame), in 2022 it was the 11th most-visited theme park in the USA. Advance tickets aren’t necessary, but it can sometimes help you save money. Save your visit for a good-weather day.

Q: What’s the best way to visit Universal Studios Hollywood?

A quick history lesson: Universal Orlando Resort is a sprawling resort with hotels, theme parks and a water park. Universal Studios Hollywood, however, is an actual, 365-day television and film production studio that happens to also have a terrific theme park.

Universal Studios practically coined the phrase “behind the scenes.” Studio walking tours first began in 1915; they began boarding tour trams in 1964. Today, some of Universal’s most beloved theme park attractions — like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the brand new Super Nintendo World — offer more than enough for a full day of fun.

Scheduling a day to visit Universal can be tricky if you’re staying at Disneyland. They’re on completely opposite ends of the greater Los Angeles area. With traffic, it can easily take 90 minutes to drive between the two locations (see a map). We suggest saving Universal for a day before or after your Disneyland days. You may want to pair it with a hotel stay nearby.

We’re a Preferred Agency with Universal Parks & Resorts — we can set up your theme park tickets, Universal Studios Hollywood VIP Tours, and more. We can also arrange for door-to-door transportation and set up your nearby hotel stay.

Get Universal Studios Hollywood tips & pricing ▸

Q: What else should I see and do in Los Angeles?

Let’s start with the must-sees:

Griffith Observatory | Ascend to one the most scenic overlooks in California. Marvel at the undulating ridges that stretch in every direction, and spy the iconic Hollywood sign in the hills. The observatory’s 1920’s Art Deco architecture alone is stunning, but treat yourself to the star show inside — that is, if you’d like to wish on some actual stars. Explore more ▸ 

Griffith Park | Walk through the hilly scenic park that’s set the stage for countless film scenes. But don’t miss the historic carousel where Walt Disney himself sat on a bench, watched his daughters spin, and spun up his own ideas for Disneyland. (The actual bench is now in Great Moments with Mister Lincoln.) 

Santa Monica Pier | A classic California photo spot. A ferris wheel, family-friendly roller coaster and touristy shops delight you as you gaze out across the big blue Pacific ocean. An excellent spot to see the sunset. Explore more ▸ 

Hollywood | Find the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland street: the sidewalks here form the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame. As you stroll along Hollywood Boulevard, you’ll tap your Tinsletown toes on inlaid stars bearing the names of film, music, radio, and television legends. Make your way to the TCL Chinese Theater — formerly known as Grauman’s Chinese Theater — to the unmistakable Hollywood landmark that Disney Imagineers recreated at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In the forecourt, sink your feet into the real footprints of cinematic royalty. Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Shirley Temple, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire — they’re all here. So are hundreds of Hollywood stars who have memorialized their hand and foot prints in the decades since, including Kermit the Frog, Tom Hanks, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, and countless more.

This location is LA at its most touristy, so brace yourself for tacky street vendors vying for attention.

Also consider:

Shopping | Gawk at the huge multi-million dollar Hollywood mansions as you drive toward Beverly Hills park, then step out and snap a picture at the lily pond: here’s the iconic Beverly Hills sign. High-end boutiques and prêt-à-porter fashion is yours along Beverly Hills’s infamous Rodeo Drive. Bop over the The Grove in Melrose for an inviting outdoor shopping mall that’s a bit more down-to-earth. Keep a sharp eye — there’s no telling which Hollywood celebrity you might bump into! For a walkable, casual neighborhood full of unique local shops, Coachella-esque fashion, and tasty cafes, stroll along Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach.

Live entertainment | Whether it’s a Lakers basketball game, a live concert at the huge outdoor Hollywood Bowl, or a thrilling night with Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic, there’s an incomparable chance to see today’s stars showing off their talents. In the mood to laugh? Catch famous stand-up comedians at The Laugh Factory or some of the world’s best sketch comedy at The Groundlings.  Bookmark Time Out Los Angeles for even more events and things to see in LA ▸ 

TV show audiences | What do The Price is Right, The Voice, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Jeopardy all have in common? A LIVE television audience! Tickets are always free, and they’re surprisingly easy to get. 1iota is a great one-stop-shop.

Dining | The greater Los Angeles area has an astonishing selection of restaurants, from once-in-a-lifetime locally-sourced gourmet dining to affordable and delicious taco trucks. Most notably, the city’s selection of Japanese, Vietnamese and Mexican restaurants are easily some of the greatest in the entire USA. California local wine culture is infamous. Get tasty recommendations at Eater ▸ 

Art & architecture | Architecture fans (and Instagram influencers) find gorgeous photo opportunities on the grounds of the Frank Gehry masterpiece Walt Disney Concert Hall. Art lovers should spend a few hours at The Broad or LACMA. It’s always wise to buy / reserve art museum tickets at least a few days before your visit.

Kid-friendly museums | Little explorers love the Natural History Museum’s world-famous La Brea Tar Pits & Museum — a truly unique geological and research site. The epic skeletons of giant mammoths, mastodons, elephants, and more were preserved here tens of thousands of years ago, and their ongoing excavation rewards curious youngsters with up-close experiences that no Jurassic-era movie can match. Older kids & teens dig the Grammy Museum, with permanent collections devoted to modern day music stars, red carpet fashions worn by the stars themselves, and high-tech production demos.

Want to personalize our recommendations for your travel dates & party? Let’s plan your trip to Los Angeles & Disneyland ▸

At the entrance to Disneyland Park, the historic attraction Great Moments with Mister Lincoln invites Guests to Disney's first Audio-Animatronic

DISNEYLAND VS. WALT DISNEY WORLD | COMPARISONS

Which is better — Disneyland or Walt Disney World? It’s a classic question that inspires debates from coast to coast! Let’s discuss the distinct features of each destination, compare the sizes and number of days you’ll really need to see the highlights. What should you expect on different days of the week or different times of the year?

Compare Disneyland to Walt Disney World

Disneyland is smaller.

 

The Disneyland Resort is 500 acres. Walt Disney World is more than 6 times that size, over 30,000 acres (as of 2023). Walt Disney World is roughly the size of San Francisco. Disneyland wouldn’t even fill Golden Gate Park.

 

Disneyland only has two theme parks.

 

While Walt Disney World in Florida boasts four enchanting theme parks, Disneyland Resort in California keeps it cozy with just two. The upside? A focused experience where you won’t find yourself overwhelmed by sprawling expanses. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park hold a treasure trove of beloved attractions, creating an intimate vibe that many visitors cherish.

 

Disneyland is older — and newer.

 

When Walt Disney’s dream opened in 1955, Disneyland became the first theme park in the world. But as Walt said, “Disneyland will never be complete,” and Disney often uses Disneyland to try out new things before they open in Orlando. Especially when it comes to entertainment, parades, and nighttime spectaculars, Disneyland often feels more here & now.

 

Disneyland is easier.

 

Less real estate, fewer transportation puzzles. Disneyland’s scaled-down size translates into smoother park navigation. Expect far fewer logistical acrobatics during your vacation.

 

Dining reservations don’t book up so far in advance. Far fewer experiences require advance reservations in order to experience them. But best of all…

 

Disneyland is more walkable.

 

The fact that you can literally walk from one park entrance to the other can feel life-changing. Compare that to Walt Disney World, where it can take an hour to commute from Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom. Considering the large number of hotels that are also within walking distance, the whole thing simply feels like… well, a walk in the park.

 

Disneyland has only a few Disney-owned hotels.

 

Walt Disney World has more than thirty Disney-owned resort hotels. Disneyland has three.

 

Walt Disney World offers huge, expansive resorts with lakes, beaches, marinas, tennis courts, jogging paths around lagoons, multiple pools, and a wide array of room types — from simple hotel rooms to multi-room condos or lakeside cabins with full kitchens and patio grills.

 

Disneyland has three lovely hotels with pools, some great restaurants, and a spa. It’s a much more intimate affair.

 

Disneyland is more crowded on weekends and less crowded during the week.

 

Crowd patterns at Disneyland and Walt Disney World are like mirror opposites.

 

On any given day, most Disneyland guests live within the giant population centers of Southern California. Therefore, Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days. Weekdays do pick up during summer and spring break, when American kids are out of school. And from Halloween through New Year’s Day, every late afternoon and evening can bustle and buzz as annual pass holders hop into the parks after work to take in the holiday festivities.

 

At Walt Disney World, most visitors fly in. And guess what? Weekends are unexpectedly mellow. Why? Because most folks plan longer multi-night stays, using Saturdays and Sundays for travel. The real hustle happens on weekdays, especially in the mornings. But come afternoon and evening, it’s a whole different vibe. Nap time, poolside relaxation, and evening entertainment options scatter guests in many different directions.

 

Disneyland doesn’t have fireworks every evening.

 

Weather permitting, the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT offer fireworks every night. (Although you may need a separate ticket to a Christmas or Halloween party in order to see the Magic Kingdom’s show).

 

However, Disneyland tight acreage means they’ve got a lot more neighbors who live within earshot. To make nice with the community at large, Disneyland Park doesn’t set off their fireworks absolutely every evening. Weekends, holiday periods, spring break and peak summer season are when you can expect to see fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle.

 

Otherwise, head to the Rivers of America, where Fantasmic! typically performs once or twice per evening (although it’s currently paused for restoration after a fire-breathing dragon got a little too hot-headed). Over at Disney California Adventure, the huge Pixar Pier lagoon bursts into bright fountains of color and light with World of Color. It performs once or twice per evening, every night.

 

Disneyland’s in-park dining is better than Magic Kingdom.

 

Many who say “the food is better at Disneyland” aren’t thinking about the delicious restaurants of EPCOT. They’re thinking about the Magic Kingdom, where yes — the cuisine could really use some improvement. Disneyland’s Plaza Inn, Bengal Barbecue, & Tropical Hideaway are standouts. Even their churros are better.

 

At Walt Disney World, the best restaurants are located at Disney Springs and the numerous resort hotels. Citrico’s, Toledo, & California Grill are even recommended by the esteemed food critics at the Michelin guide. (Capa earned a Michelin star).

 

Disneyland has far less character dining.

 

At Disneyland, only four restaurants offer meals where you have the chance to meet & interact with characters while you dine:

  • Plaza Inn | Disneyland Park | breakfast | Minnie & pals
  • Storyteller’s Cafe | Grand Californian Hotel & Spa | breakfast / brunch | Mickey & pals
  • Napa Rose | Grand Californian Hotel & Spa | breakfast / brunch | Princesses
  • Goofy’s Kitchen | Disneyland Hotel | breakfast / brunch / lunch / dinner | Goofy & pals

 

Walt Disney World, however, has character dining at breakfast, lunch and dinner within all four theme parks and six different hotels. There’s even a completely free campfire marshmallow roast sing-a-long with Chip ‘n’ Dale.

 

Disneyland is more MARVEL-ous.

 

Thanks to an exclusive licensing agreement that MARVEL struck with Universal Orlando Resort (long before Disney and MARVEL started making movies together), most MARVEL characters can’t appear within a Disney theme park east of the Mississippi River. The big exception: Guardians of the Galaxy (which is why they’ve got their own roller coaster at EPCOT).

 

California, however, has devoted an entire land to them: Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park. You’ll enjoy attractions themed to Spider-Man and Guardians, plus heaps of live character interactions & stunt shows from Black Panther, Iron Man, Black Widow, Ant Man & the Wasp, and more. Captain America’s even earned his own stage show: ROGERS, THE MUSICAL.

 

That said, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have pretty much the exact same amount of STAR WARS attractions, experiences, & dining. 

 

Disneyland has no water parks.

 

You’d think that the land of eternal sunshine would inspire Disney Imagineers to get splashy, but Orange County is a desert, overflowing with sandy soil and steep water use restrictions. Therefore, no Disneyland water parks.

 

Walt Disney World, however, has its very own water treatment facility, and daytime highs above 80º F for about 10 months out of the year. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are both fantastic ways to enjoy extra days in Walt Disney World.

 

Disneyland is often colder than Orlando.

 

Many who live outside California don’t realize just how cool the state gets in the wintertime, where the average daily highs in January stay around a crisp 63°F (17°C) and evening lows dip down to 45°F (7°C). Even as spring turns to summer, the temps really drop each evening. Disneyland guests need to pack a jacket or warm sweatshirt for most days of the year.

 

If warm sunny days at the pool are on your wish list, it’s best to visit from July through early October.

 

That said, Southern California gets far less rain than Orlando. Rainy days at Disneyland are rare from about March through December, while Walt Disney World sees tropical, daily thunderstorms almost every afternoon from May through September.

 

Disneyland is further from Universal.

 

In Orlando, it’s only about a twenty-five minute drive to get from Walt Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort, where The Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers terrific atmosphere & attractions.

 

In California, however, Disneyland can be as far as two hours away from Universal Studios Hollywood, depending on traffic. Anaheim is far south of central Los Angeles, while Universal’s famed production lot is on the north side of the city. You’ve got to get through all of Los Angeles to get from one to the other. Although Universal Studios Hollywood is smaller than its Orlando counterpart — and has fewer Harry Potter attractions — it’s home to the brand new Super Nintendo World. Wishful Thinking is a Preferred Agency for Universal parks & resorts. We can set up your tickets; we can also help you plan your logistics. You’ll want a smart itinerary to avoid all that traffic.

 

Disneyland is more expensive than Walt Disney World. And cheaper.

 

Comparing pricing between Orlando and Anaheim is complex. Certain items are more wallet-friendly while others justify a bit of a splurge.

 

When it comes to theme park ticket prices per day, the two destinations are reasonably comparable. However, with four Disney theme parks in Orlando and just two in Anaheim, most guests end up spending less on their park tickets for a Disneyland trip.

 

Accommodation pricing, however, turns those costs upside down. Walt Disney World in Orlando offers a much wider range of room prices. The affordable Value resort rooms at Walt Disney World are often half the cost of their counterparts at Disneyland. For that reason, many budget-conscious Disneyland guests opt for “off-property” Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotels. The end result: less of that cozy “in the Disney bubble” feeling.

 

Suppose we were to make a head-to-head comparison: a budget-minded four-night vacation in a Disney-owned hotel with three days in the theme parks. In such a scenario, Orlando might offer an overall lower price tag. But Disneyland would reward you with the satisfying feeling that you’ve seen and done all the things you wanted to do.

 

In the grand scheme of things, considering all factors, Disneyland is probably best for a shorter, memorable, magical getaway. Save Walt Disney World for a time when you’re looking for a longer, more immersive vacation experience.

 

Plan your Disney trip and get pricing ▸ 

 


On a sunny blue sky afternoon, guests sail on the 'happiest cruise that ever sailed' -- the cherished attraction
The Mad Tea Party's iconic spinning teacups await eager guests at Disneyland in Anaheim, California

BRILLIANT GUIDES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD

Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025

When is the best time to visit? How busy will it be in the theme parks?

Why should I book a hotel on-property vs. off-property?

What’s located at each theme park? What’s a must at Disney Springs?

What rides, dining, & experiences are most popular & need reservations?

How can I combine park tickets, dining, and hotel stays to save money?

What are realistic tips for transportation and getting places on time?

How much do park tickets cost? Which ticket options save money?

When & where do I use the smartphone app, Genie+ and MagicBand?

Join our community!

Ask questions. Share your favorite travel stories. Get expert-level free help for any Disney travel destination around the world. You’re invited to join our Facebook group! As Yzma would say, it’s brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

2023 & 2024 is now booking.

illustration of a princess wearing green
illustration of a princess wearing green

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Disney pays us to help plan your trip, from your first wish list until your departure. We’ll even assist you during your vacation until you’re happily back home.

Our trip planning is free. When you book a Disney vacation through us, you’ll pay the same price as if you booked it on your own, yet enjoy the bliss of a talented Wishful Thinking travel planner.

A Wishful Thinking travel planner is:

  • Bright. We’re nerd-level experts on Disney’s past, present and future.
  • Talented. We’ve been designing travel itineraries around the globe for 15 years.
  • Realistic. We help you prepare for everything and set honest expectations.
  • Whimsical. Spontaneous fun often produces our most treasured memories.
  • Inspiring. We’re still kids at heart who believe in the power of dreams.

It’s never too early to start planning!

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