Disneyland is generally
considered a family park, because of it’s kid-friendly atmosphere and rides for all ages. However, when it came time for my boyfriend to plan our first two-person Disney trip, there wasn’t many tips found online. In light of that, I’m offering up all the info from our trip, including mistakes we made that you should avoid, to make sure your first one-on-one trip goes smoothly. Whether you’re newlyweds, have been married for 25 years, or are just two friends setting out for a Disneyland adventure, these tips are sure to make your trip both entertaining and efficient.
Know When to Go
Choosing dates for your Disney vacay can be a tough task, so, the best way to decide is to check with the Disney pros. Crowd Calendars will become your new best friend when it comes to planning your vacations. Some of the best sites to aid you in choosing days are Is It Packed?, touringplans.com, RMH Travel, and Mickey Visit. As reflected in the Crowd Calendars, it’s best to go during the off seasons, a.k.a. most of January and February, and basically any time that isn’t around the holidays. Try to go on weekdays, if you can, as they tend to be slower than weekends. Plus, hotel rates are much better during the off season, but more on that later.
Know How Long to Go
So, you’ve chosen your dates, but now you need to buy tickets. How many days should you plan for? If you plan to go during the off season, then two days is plenty for a duo. During my November 2016 trip with my boyfriend, we only went for two days, both of which were pretty average, and got everything done! This includes all the busier ones, such as Space Mountain and Soarin’ Around the World, and being able to go on rides more than once! However, we didn’t have much time between rides and meals to simply enjoy the atmosphere of the park, so keep that in mind. 3 days is likely the best idea, since it allows you more time to go on rides and enjoy the ambience of the park. This ticket is recommended for the busy times of the year as well. I also recommend getting the park hopper, especially for two days, since it’s not much more than getting a ticket without one. Plus, it’s very unlikely you’ll spend the whole day in just one park, or even want to for that matter.
Know Where to Stay
It’s tempting to stay in one of the Resort’s hotels, but, for most people, it’s a bit unrealistic. The best bet in getting a good rate on a hotel is to use travel sites such as TripAdvisor and Kayak, who will compare the rates for you and help take some stress out of the hotel search. Another great advantage of sights like TripAdvisor is that the hotels are given ratings by guests who have visted and can provide you with info that you otherwise might not know. One of the best tips I can give is to stay as far down S Harbor Boulevard or Katella Avenue as you can. If you are unfamiliar with Anaheim, S Harbor Boulevard is the street that most people stay on, where you typically enter Disneyland, and Katella Avenue runs horizontally behind California Adventure. Here’s a photo from Google Maps for reference.
The reason to stay farther down either of these streets is because, the farther you go, the cheaper the rates (usually). If you want something that has the Disney stamp of approval, then browse the Good Neighbor Hotels on Disneyland’s website. Most of these are less than a mile from the parks and offer some sort of transportation if you don’t feel like walking.
Know How to Plan Your Day
Before you leave for your trip, you should check the Park Hours on the Disneyland Website so that you know how long the park is open, what parades and shows will be going, and what rides will be closed. You can find this information up to roughly a month before your visit. Also, to get more info on wait times and locations, download the free Disneyland App in the App Store and on Google Play.
Even on the busiest days, if you plan things out right, you can go on every ride you desire. First of all, it’s best to show up at least a half hour before they start letting people through the gates. I will stress this over and over, because the parks don’t tend to get too busy until about an hour after opening. Most mornings there will be a rope drop, and they start letting people onto Main Street USA a half hour before the rope drop. Say the rope drop, technically the official opening time of the park, is at 8 a.m. You should arrive at the gates at 7 a.m. so that you can be one of the first to get to the rope drop, or simply just to enjoy Main Street. If you have the Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour on your ticket (only available for those with 3 day ticket+ or if you are staying at one of the Disney hotels), arrive 30 minutes before the hour allotted to you. So, if the park opens at 8 a.m., the magic morning starts at 7 a.m., and you should arrive at 6:30 a.m. It might seem a little crazy to get there so early, but, during summer months, those lines at the entrance get nasty.
The next thing is to determine what ride you want to go on first; this one gets priority. Say you choose Pirates of the Caribbean as your first choice. You’ll head straight there after opening. Once you’ve ridden Pirates, you’ll either head to Indiana Jones or Haunted Mansion, depending on your mood. Let’s say you opt for Haunted Mansion. You’ll waltz down that way, then, afterwards, head to Critter Country to ride The Many Adventure’s of Winnie the Pooh and Splash Mountain. Getting it yet? Basically, you want to ride all the rides in the vicinity of the first you choose. This allows for a better flow and will get you on the most rides during your day.
This suggestion may be the most important: Wait until after dark to go on the “little kid rides”, a.k.a. the rides in Fantasyland. Fantasyland is probably the busiest of all the lands, meaning it will be PACKED from nearly dawn to dusk. However, the closer it gets to closing, the more likely it is that Fantasyland will have shorter lines.
Also, keep in mind that California Adventure opens one hour after Disneyland does. This means any magic morning hours, extra magic hours, and rope drops will be an hour later than Disneyland’s.
Know Where to Eat
In our last section, we are going to talk about the best part of any vacation: FOOD! Dining at Disney can be expensive, but you can make smart choices to avoid a huge bill. If you are more into snacking/light meals, check out my Best 15 Fill-ups for Under $10 for some of the best and cheapest foods.
Of course, I will recommend eating at the quick service restaurants most of your visit. They’re quick (obviously), the best value, and you don’t have to make reservations. However, if you choose to go to any sit-down restaurants, always make reservations. You might think that two people could easily get in, especially during the off season, but you’d be guessing wrong. Even the off season at the Disneyland Resort can bring crowds big enough to fill up your favorite restaurant for the whole day. You can make reservations on the Disneyland website, under the Things to Do tab, in Make Reservations. At the top of the page, just select the day you are looking to dine, a time, and party size, then hit search times. Then, you will just select the restaurant you want to go to. You can do this up to 60 days in advance.
Thanks for reading! Are there any tips you think should have been on the list? Let us know in the comments. If you liked this post or know someone who will, give it a share on social media, and make sure to click the follow button!
TTFN – Ta Ta For Now!