Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide
Tips to help you book a Disneyland Vacation Package in California
If you're in a California state of mind and are planning a visit to Disneyland, there are a number of key options to consider before you go on your vacation.
First, forget the old adage that Disneyland can be done in a day. To fully enjoy the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure theme park, you should plan on a minimum of two full days, preferably three (or more), in Anaheim.
Next, plan your budget. In addition to your hotel, you'll need to factor in theme park admission, meals and transportation. If you plan on adding a visit to other Southern California destinations, this will also impact your vacation budget.
Another key factor in planning your vacation is the time of year you choose to go. Disneyland divides the year into three travel seasons. Budget wise, Value season is the best time to go and is usually when you'll find discounts available. However, Value season often interferes with school calendars. (This is also the most likely time of year for attractions to undergo refurbishment and the park hours to be shorter.) Throughout the year, there are special events that you may not want to miss.
Now that you have a price in mind and the time of year you'd like to visit, let's go about matching it to your "Disney Dream."
If you want to be in the "middle of the magic" during your vacation, the three Disneyland Hotels puts you there. Whether you choose the Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Hotel or Disney's Paradise Pier, you'll not only be within walking distance of the Disney theme parks and Downtown Disney, you'll also be able to take advantage of exclusive amenities for guests who stay at a Disney owned hotel. These are:
- Access to Child Care in Pinocchio's Workshop at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
- Exclusive entrance to the California Adventure theme park (Grand Californian hotel guests)
- Charging your meals and merchandise to your room account
- Package delivery of park purchases
- Complimentary self parking
If staying at a Disney owned hotel isn't realistic, there are endless choices through Disney's "Good Neighbor Hotel" package. These hotels are recommended by Disney and offer Economy, Moderate, Superior and Suite accommodations. The amenities offered vary greatly. Some of the hotels have basic facilities, some offer free breakfast, some have free shuttle service, etc. Compare your budget to the hotel descriptions and you can easily decide which hotel gives you the most "bang for your buck."
Before thinking that the better value is planning your trip "a la carte", there's a lot to be said for a Disneyland vacation package. Besides the convenience, you'll find them to be competitive and to include amenities that will enhance your stay:
Package for guests staying at the three Disney owned hotels. Minimum 2 night, 2 day Park Hopper. Includes Magic Morning on select days, admission to Mickey's Toontown Morning Madness, preferred seating at a Disney California Adventure show, souvenirs, Downtown Disney District Fun Card, etc.
Same features as the Disneyland Resort Package for guests staying at a Disney Good Neighbor hotel.
This Package requires a minimum 3 night stay at a Disneyland or Good Neighbor hotel (with the benefits mentioned above) and a minimum of 2 nights at your choice of a Beach, Hollywood or San Diego hotel. A great add-on to this package is the Southern California City Pass.
Room Only Discounts - If a package deal doesn't interest you, you may be able to get a room discount if you fall into the following categories: Annual Passholder, Military, Senior, Disney Visa, Hotel Rewards member, AAA member. (The latter gives you a discount at select Disney restaurants.) These are only available at the Disney owned hotels.
Ticket Discounts - The best advice, order your tickets in advance since the prices at the gate are the highest. Review the options in the link. You might be surprised to see that you qualify for a reduced rate either by a membership or where you reside.
Details, details, details...
We covered all of the basics when it comes to planning a Disneyland vacation. The next step is knowing in advance what to expect when you arrive. This is where using a Disney Travel specialist could be invaluable. While being spontaneous is fine, it's not so great when you're shut out of restaurants or missed a show because you were in the wrong place. Of course, we recommend Dreams Unlimited Travel. Our Disneyland pros know how to make your vacation magical.
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- Jerry Bruckheimer book signing at Disneyland Park - Award-winning producer Jerry Bruckheimer will be appearing for a special signing of "Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightning Strikes | Four Decades of Filmmaking" by Michael Singer on December 14th.
- Elf Days at California Adventure - Santa's elves are looking for recruits to join their ranks 12/09/13 through 12/15/13. Head to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail where you can test your bravery with the Jingle Bell Bridge, tackle Present Tracking or learn the secret Elf Handshake.
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- VIDEO: Santa Talks Holidays at Disneyland Resort 2013 - Join Tom Bell, host of the DIS Unplugged Disneyland Edition, as he speaks with Santa about all of the holiday happenings at Disneyland Resort.
- VIDEO: Making Tamales at Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure 2013 - Join Tom Bell, host of the DIS Unplugged Disneyland Edition, while he learns about Viva Navidad! and how to make tamales from Rubia, a pastry chef at Disneyland Resort.
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- VIDEO: World of Color Fountain Controls at Disney California Adventure 2013 - Join Tom Bell, host of the DIS Unplugged Disneyland Edition, as he speaks with Rene from Disney Parks and Resorts about the technology behind World of Color - Winter Dreams, the nighttime fountain show at Disney California Adventure.
- Donate to Toys For Tots at the Disneyland Resort - Donate a new, unwrapped toy at several locations throughout Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Resort Hotels from 12/1 through 12/14.
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- VIDEO: World of Color - Winter Dreams - For the Christmas season, Disney California Adventure Park presents 'World of Color - Winter Dreams' a brand new holiday version of World of Color starring Olaf (voiced by Josh Gad), the lovable snowman from Disney's "Frozen," a Toy Story Nutcracker sequence and a special intro featuring the Honor Choir.
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- VIDEO: Olaf's Ice Rink in Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort - This year at Downtown Disney, the ice rink created for the holiday season is based off of the 53rd Disney Animated Film "Frozen". Olaf's Ice Rink allows guests to lace up skates and hit the ice, but if you're not adventurous then you can do some shopping at the holiday themed stands.
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- Disneyland announces more lengthy closures for early 2014 - In addition to the 4-month closure for Alice in Wonderland, the Disneyland Resort has also announced a 8-month closure for Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and a nearly 4-month closure for Soarin' Over California.
- VIDEO: Toy Story Nutcracker from "World of Color - Winter Dreams" - Toy Story Nutcracker is a special sequence created by Pixar specifically for "World of Color - Winter Dreams", the nighttime fountain show at Disney California Adventure. Your favorite Toy Story characters dance to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite songs including March of the Wooden Soldier, Trepak, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Chinese Dance and Dance of the Flowers.
- Viva Navidad menu takes over Paradise Garden Grill - A special Viva Navidad menu is being served at California Adventure's Paradise Garden Grill, featuring Street Style Tacos, Chicken Mole and Torta al Pastor.
- VIDEO: Josh Gad - Voice of Olaf in "Frozen" - Interview - Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in "Frozen" and "World of Color - Winter Dreams" and Tony Award nominee for "The Book of Mormon", takes a few minutes to talk about how important it was to work on a Disney film that led to a theme park experience and the music behind it all.
- VIDEO: Believe...In Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular - For the Christmas season, Disneyland Park presents 'Believe...In Holiday Magic Fireworks Spectacular,' a holiday fireworks show over Sleeping Beauty Castle which ends with magical snowfall over Main Street U.S.A.
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20-year veterans of the park, the group will hold its final performance January 6, 2014.
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- Disney's Jungle Cruise getting a holiday makeover
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The show will tape November 18-22.