Our Guide To Disneyland

If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I LOVE DISNEY. Disneyland, Disneyworld… we love it all. As a matter of fact, this summer Braun and I flew out to Florida and did Disneyworld for the first time ever! It was so fun {minus the insane temperatures and us both sweating more than I ever knew was physically possible… 😉 } but we loved it and both said we needed to go back and do it for like 10 days straight to hit it all. It is HUGE!

A few years ago, my business partner Layla and I decided to get Disneyland season passes. We are there enough for work that when we are done meeting with our vendors, we head on over to the happiest place on earth to get a taste of the magic. So over the years, I have come to know a lot of little tips to make your trips a little more enjoyable.

We stay at a few different hotels down there and tend to switch it up every time we go. The nicest of them all would have to be the Grand Californian. You are staying right inside of California Adventure. It’s so convenient to be able to run back into the room to change clothes, take naps, etc. Staying on property also gets you into the parks a whole hour early every morning you are there. I will talk about that a little more in a minute. So if cost isn’t much of an issue, we HIGHLY recommend it.

Our next favorite hotel down there would have to be the new Residence Inn Mariott in Anaheim. They have shuttles that get you over there or you can take a quick Uber or you may even be able to walk.. it is super close. The rooms are nice and the breakfast is FANTASTIC for kids. I don’t know what it is about breakfast buffets + my kids but they love them. They’ve got a Mickey waffle bar complete with all the toppings that my kids still talk about to this day. Their rooms are nice (some even have bunk beds which my kids also love!) the hotel is new and the price is good.

We tried this next hotel last week for the first time and it was SO fun for the kids. The Great Wolf Lodge! Every time we’d drive by, I would always tell Braun I wanted to take the kids there so it was fun to finally check it out. Their indoor water park was lots of fun for the family. Kids of all ages can enjoy it and I am not going to lie, the slides were really fun for adults too.  The hotel is a little older but it was clean, had full arcades, mini bowling lanes downstairs, a really great character breakfast for the kids in the mornings and was probably them most kid friendly hotel we have ever stayed at. Also, if you go around Halloween, they had the coolest trick or treating scavenger hunt that led you around the entire hotel. We would stay there again in a heart beat.  You are about 10 minutes from Disneyland staying at this resort!

Now for Disneyland itself! The ONLY way I know how to get discount tickets to Disneyland is through this link at Getaway Today. They are a local Utah company that is always offering discounts on tickets. Right now you can get $31 off your tickets and that includes a Magic Morning too! Click HERE to find out more! 

I think the goal of Disneyland and California adventure its to get on as many rides as possible right?! This is how we do it…

Let’s talk Magic Mornings. Are they worth it? Absolutely. Remember above when I said if you stay on property, you can get into the parks an hour early? Well one hour early got us on Radiator Springs Racers twice, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 times, the Incredicoaster twice and Jett got on 2 of the little kids ones in Cars Land.. and that was all before the parks opened. SOOO I highly recommend it. You can also get a Magic Morning ticket if you buy a 3 day (or more) pass and you can save $31 buying them through here. Both parks don’t open an hour early though.. it is one or the other and you can find out which one is open early by going to their “hours of operation” calendar on their website.

MAX Pass. Is it worth it? To us it was. If you plan to be at Disneyland and really want to maximize your day, I suggest it. It is a $10 add on to your ticket that lets you book your fast passes to the rides right through the app. It saves  you from walking to each of the rides to get your fast passes!  You also get free picture downloads from all the photographers that take your pictures around the park too. On the days we were only there for half day, we didn’t get the max pass.

The DISABILITY Pass.   Did you know that Disneyland offers what they call a “disability pass” for people that could use it?  I have a sibling with disabilities and it was so helpful growing up. I also know plenty of parents with disabled children who this helps tremendously. All around Disneyland are little help stations with green umbrellas. To get a disability pass, stop by one of the green umbrellas around the park and ask them for one. They will have you bring the child/adult along and ask you why they need it. They are extremely kind and discreet about it. What does the disability pass do? It basically gives you a fast pass toward any ride in the park. So say Space Mountain currently has a 30 minute stand by wait, they scan your pass and add a disability pass to up to 6 tickets in your party. After you ride the ride, you can stop by another green umbrella and they add a fast pass to whatever you want to ride on next. The disability pass stays on yours or your childs profile for 6 months so you don’t have to explain it over and over again which is nice. Also, it is good to note that you can get both fast passes + disability passes at the same time.

RIDER SWITCH PASSES. Do not forget about the rider switch passes if you have young children!! We literally do them ALL DAY LONG. Braun goes on a ride with the 3 big kids but I have to stay back with Jett because he isn’t big enough. So when he goes through the line, he asks the ride attendant (at the start of the line) if he can get a rider switch pass. That allows me to go through the fast pass line with 2 of my kids right when they get done. So depending on how many kids you have, it gets you your kids on every ride twice. Combine that with your fast passes and you really maximize your time while you are there!

Now let’s chat FOOD. Gosh, isn’t that the best part about Disneyland?!! To me it is. 😉 I literally go from turkey leg, to chili corn, to grilled cheese stand.. should I keep going? haha! BUT if Disneyland food isn’t your jam… did you know you can bring your own food into the park? We always bring in some homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, granola, trail mix, crackers, jerky and you KNOW I have my hyrdoflask on me at all times.

Did you know you can order food right from the Disney app too? That Disneyland app is so dang helpful. It also tells you how long the waits for rides are too. 😉 Anyway, people wait in line for a half hour to get a dole whip and you can order it right from the app and pick it up at the front! There are a lot of restaurants there that do mobile pickup. So be sure and do that to save time!

Gluten free food at Disneyland can be tricky but I have found my favorites and here they are… (the chefs at each of the restaurants are really helpful as well so be sure and ask them for help..)

For breakfast if you are staying on site, we stopped at Jamba Juice in Downtown Disneyland on the way into the park for oatmeals and smoothies.

The Jolly Holiday Cafe on Main Street has the yummiest gluten free grilled cheese + tomato soup. I get that every time. My kids love it too (they get the regular one though!) Also don’t go there and not get the raspberry macaroon! It is the best dessert there in my macaroon loving opinion!

The Bengal BBQ (right across from Indiana Jones) has great shish kabobs. They are a healthy option and so yummy. You have to get them without sauce if you want them gluten free. I love the veggie ones + the bacon wrapped asparagus. Get extra lemons and squeeze them on top!

The turkey legs all around the park my family loves. We get 2 and all share them. The chili lime corn at those same carts is so good too!

Corn Dogs on Main Street. They have a cart stationed at the end of Main Street and Braun and my kids LOVE them. Not gluten free though!

Dole Whips! Like I said, order online through the app and pick up at the front of the line. Saves a lot of time!

The garlic fries at New Orleans cafe are SOOO good. Also not gluten free and not super convenient because you have to make a reservation usually + can’t get them to-go but they are delicious! Everyone talks about them and I miss them dearly. 😉

My friend was there the same time we were and she RAVES about going to Lamplight Lounge and getting their lobster nachos. I haven’t tried them but seriously, she goes on and on about them! You need to make a reservation there in advance!

If you want to take a break from the chaos of being inside Disneyland, you MUST go to Tortilla Joes. So many of you said we had to go there and I am so happy you did. Their table side guacamole is what my dreams are made of and it was super gluten friendly too!

Salt and Straw recently opened in Downtown Disney! They have awesome gluten/dairy free options and their ice cream is yummy.

Of course the churros, the cotton candy, the Mickey ice cream sandwiches, pickles are all good too!

Let’s talk outfits!

Here are some of my favorites!





… and accessories that we love having while we are there …

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  1. We live in Orange County and have been to the Great Wolf Lodge several times (going again this weekend!) and its funny you say the hotel seems old because I say the same thing and ironically enough the whole place is only a few years old, but for some reason it seems run down in areas! Ha! Thanks for the post! I love the outfits too!


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