Disneyland Resort 101

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Disneyland Resort in Anaheim California is where it all began, and is definitely at the top of our favorite vacation destinations list. The basics of planning any trip to Disneyland starts with learning about the parks, picking the perfect resort, choosing your tickets and then all that is left is to experience the Happiest Place on Earth!

The Parks

Disneyland Resort is home to two amazing parks which are within easy walking distance of each other, making it a great place for families to visit. Disneyland Park is Walt’s original dream brought to life and Disney’s California Adventure pays tribute to the diverse and amazing state of California. You will find these two distinct parks filled with your favorite characters, thrilling attractions, and as much magic as you can pack into your visit.

Disneyland park is home to Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Frontierland, as well as the original Main Street USA as created by Walt Disney himself. Disneyland is also where you can journey to “a galaxy far, far away” in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. With over 60 attractions and all your favorite characters, Disneyland Park is truly the place where dreams come true. 

Disney’s California Adventure Park is where you will find all your favorite Pixar and Marvel friends. Race through Cars Land with Lightning McQueen, Search for Baby Jack-Jack with the Incredibles on the Incredicoaster, and help the Guardians of the Galaxy break out of The Collector’s tower! All of this and more make California Adventure a park not to be missed.

The Hotels

Disneyland resort has 3 fabulous onsite hotels which put you right in the middle of the magic. These hotels are not only beautiful, but a stay at one of these hotels also comes with magical extras including an extra hour at one of the parks each day.

Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa is modeled after the Craftsman architectural style. This premium, flagship hotel is the ultimate luxury at the Disneyland resort, and one of our very favorite places to stay. Newly refurbished and better than ever, this hotel does not disappoint. The grand lobby is home to a stunning fireplace and if you’re lucky, you may even find Mickey and Minnie greeting guests. This hotel overlooks Downtown Disney and California Adventure Park as well as boasting its own entrance directly into both. For the ultimate indulgence, we recommend staying Club Level.

The Disneyland Hotel is the original Disney resort and features great history as well as luxury accommodations. From the monorail themed water slide to the historical memorabilia and teacup seats in the lobby, it is a hotel that pays tribute to Walt and his dream come true. With 3 distinct towers themed after the lands of Disneyland park and the largest rooms on property, you can’t go wrong with a stay at this magical resort. Pro tip: Make sure to turn on the lamp on the nightstand for an extra special surprise!

Disney’s Paradise Pier is a beach themed hotel with fun around every turn. From the giant beach ball pillows on the bed to the boardwalk themed pool area, this hotel makes you feel as though you are just steps from the beach. Being the most cost-effective of the Disney hotels makes this a great option for someone looking for all the perks of staying onsite, at a lower cost.

If you are not able to stay on-site for your visit, Disney has many Good Neighbor Hotels to offer that can be booked through Disney with tickets and some magical extras of their own. All Good Neighbor hotels are vetted by Disney and many are within walking distance to Anaheim Resort Transit stops which can be added to your package for an additional cost.

Tickets and MaxPass

Tickets are available from one to five days and can be purchased with or without the Park Hopper option. The Park Hopper allows you to visit both parks on the same day as opposed to a Base Ticket which only allows entrance into one park per day. Due to the close proximity of the parks to each other, we highly recommend the park hopper to add flexibility to your trip. The park hopper is a flat rate add-on for the duration of your trip. 

For the best possible park touring experience, Disney’s MaxPass is a MUST! MaxPass allows you to book same day FastPasses with your mobile device. This provides an advantage over running around the parks to obtain FastPasses at park kiosks. Purchasing MaxPass is an additional cost of $15 per person per day and also gives you access to all of the pictures taken in the parks by both PhotoPass photographers, as well as on the rides.

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney is the Disneyland Resort’s shopping and dining district. Here guests can do some shopping, dine at Table Service restaurants or grab a bite from a variety of Quick Service locations. This area is set up much like an outdoor mall with commonly known retail locations and ample seating areas. There is no admission required to enter Downtown Disney. Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Spa overlooks this area and has a specially dedicated entrance in the middle of the mall.

If Disneyland is not yet on your list of vacation destinations, then it should be! Easy to explore, filled with history and adding additional magic all the time, Disneyland truly is the Happiest Place on Earth.

If you need help planning your perfect vacation, contact our friends at Key to the World Travel® for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip. Click here.

Written by Adjunct Professor Erin Jensen, edited by Professor Jess Evans