How to Make the Most of Your Disneyland Getaway

While it may not be as big as Orlando’s Disney World, the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is just as packed with rides and attractions for both the young and the young-at-heart. Before you go, expect that you won’t be able to see the entire park, let alone go on every single ride there, in a day. However, you would want to get your money’s worth and experience as much of what the park has to offer.

Here are our ten tried and tested tips on how families with kids can make the most of their Disneyland getaway:


Come Early. Depending on the season, both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure usually open around 9 or 10 am Monday thru Thursday, and Disneyland opens around 8 am Friday thru Sunday. One great way to make the most of your visit is simply to come early – not only will you have more hours to spend there, you’d also beat the crowds to the ride lines!

Jungle Cruise is one of the many attractions at the park with a FASTPASS.Jungle Cruise is one of the many attractions at the park with a FASTPASS. (Courtesy Michelle Rae Uy)

Don’t Underestimate the Power of the FASTPASS. It’s completely FREE with your ticket purchase and super easy to obtain. A FASTPASS will help you bypass the long lines at some of the popular attractions, so you won’t have to spend 45 or so minutes of the time you could be spending on other attractions at the park. Simply go to a FASTPASS distribution station, insert your ticket and you will get a FASTPASS ticket with your Return Time to skip ahead. In the meantime, you can enjoy other attractions (ones with shorter wait times), grab a snack, visit the shops or just explore the park in general. Note that sometimes there’s a wait period before you can pull another FASTPASS, so use it wisely!

Start with the Attractions You Really Want. Don’t just go from one ride to the next, without a plan. Before you go, do your research and find out which attractions you want to see and rides you want to go on the most. Save the rest for later when you have some time to spare!

Family getting on the Little Mermaid Ride.Family getting on the Little Mermaid Ride. (Courtesy Michelle Rae Uy)

Don’t Ignore the Less Popular Ones. Especially when you have some time before your FASTPASS Return Time, don’t hesitate to go on the less popular rides. They might not be big hits, but you might just enjoy them. Consider attractions like Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, where your little mermaids get to ride on colorful clamshells and sing along Part of Your World with Ariel, and Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island, where you and your little ones can explore caves and tunnels and cross a rope bridge.

Wear Comfortable Shoes. Think about it – if you’re not wearing comfortable shoes, your feet will hurt after a few hours of walking, and chances are, when your feet hurt you’d want to take a lot of breaks – which cuts into your fun time – and you won’t enjoy the rides as much since you’re in pain.

Just Avoid the Crowds. Skip the crowds and go on a weekday instead of a weekend, visit between holidays, or before and after school breaks.

California Adventure ParkCalifornia Adventure Park (Courtesy Michelle Rae Uy)

Buy a Park Hopper. While Disneyland is full to the brim with attractions, there will some rides you’d want skip if the thrill factor is too high or if the ride is too age-specific. If you have a park hopper, then you’d be able to hop on over to California Adventure next door, where there are more exciting, adrenaline-pumping rides that even the younger kids can appreciate. Kids 44 inches and up can take on California Screaming while kids 40 inches and up will enjoy the floating sensation going down The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Later, the whole family can cool down in the rapids on Grizzly River Run.

See the Parade. It’s normal for the little ones to start getting tired and grumpy, especially after all that exploring, so pick a nice spot on Main Street, USA where you can sit down and rest. Make sure that you have a good clear view of the parade – the festivities will perk your grumpy ones right up!

Wait for the Fireworks. It’s the perfect and most magical way to end your magical day at Disneyland – to watch the spectacular fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. In fact, it never seems like a complete Disneyland experience without it.

Grizzly River Run at California Adventure ParkGrizzly River Run at California Adventure Park (Courtesy Michelle Rae Uy)

Stay Another Day. A single day just isn’t enough to explore the park completely, and we bet your little princes and princesses haven’t had their fill yet. So why not book a family-friendly hotel nearby (and there’s a lot, on-site and off-site) and stay another day? You are on vacation so make the most of it. After all, if you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on something, it might as well be on experiences for you and the kids. And Disneyland is definitely an experience.


(Originally published on

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Things We Love Most About Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

One of the many things that we can all agree on is this: that Disney knows how to throw a party. It’s practically an irrefutable truth – Disney is a genius when it comes to showing everyone a good time, and Disney knows how to leave its guests feeling just a tad happier.

This year’s Mickey’s Halloween Party is no different. And Mickey-shaped pumpkins, festive decorations and scarecrows engaging passers-by are just the beginning. Dive in to see the things we love most about this year’s kid-favorite Halloween spectacular at Disneyland Anaheim.

“Halloween Screams” Fireworks

“Halloween Screams” Fireworks (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)
“Halloween Screams” Fireworks (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

The good guys take a break this Halloween and let our favorite Disney villains take center stage for once. Mischief over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle abounds during this Mickey’s Halloween Party exclusive, and the castle itself joins in, lighting up for the spooky festivities. Led by Jack Skellington, Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella DeVille and many others cause ruckus and mayhem as fireworks dance in the full moon-illuminated sky to the greatest Disney villain songs. Keep an eye out for a ghostly apparition.

Tip: Best spot to watch the spectacular display is on Main Street U.S.A. Bring a compact tripod if you plan on taking photos.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Haunted Mansion Holiday (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)
Haunted Mansion Holiday (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

A Christmas-y Halloween awaits guests of the Haunted Mansion for Halloween Time. Jack Skellington is, again, at the helm, leading his band of merrymakers to treat guests to a colorful Nightmare Before Christmas-themed celebration, where Christmas trees are lit up with pumpkins, ghosts are having a merry feast, and even gravestones are enjoying the holiday spirit. The Hatbox Ghost also makes an appearance, and Jack Skellington himself.

Tip: Lines are long so make sure to get your FASTPASSes early.

The Cadaver Dans Quartet

The Cadaver Dans Quartet (Courtesy Disney)
The Cadaver Dans Quartet (Courtesy Disney)

Have you ever had a hunger of ghouls serenade you? At Disneyland’s Halloween Time, you will, and it’s eerily entertaining. Aboard a graveyard-themed river raft drifting along a foggy Rivers of America in New Orleans Square, the Cadaver Dans quartet are dressed in their Sunday’s best, singing catchy tunes to both spectators and trick-or-treaters, getting everyone into the spooky holiday spirit.

Tip: Get your candy bags ready as a Treat Trail is nearby.

Space Mountain Galaxy

A ride on Space Mountain in Tomorrowland is always a win. This dark and exciting roller coaster of a ride through the depths of space is made stunning by the stars, galaxies and nebulas that bedeck the space around you as you zip past. But for Halloweeen, this top ride through hyperspace suffers the presence of a few ghostly fiends, so watch out!

Tip: Lines are long, much like at the Haunted Mansion, so get FASTPASSes if you can.

Paint the Night Parade

Belle at the Paint the Night Parade (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)
Belle at the Paint the Night Parade (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy)

There are no Halloween-themed improvements to this new, 60th anniversary ride. But who cares? It’s still one of the best attractions at Disneyland today – vibrant, festive and all around spectacular – and must not be missed. Led by Tinker Bell and parading to the tune of Owl City’s super catchy “When Can I See You Again?” (by now, I’m sure most of us and our kids have memorized it!) are Disney’s most beloved characters like Ariel, Belle, Rapunzel, Elsa and Anna, Buzz Lightyear, Lighting McQueen, Mike and Sulley and more on amazing floats dressed in thousands of LED lights. This attraction truly lives up to its name, and has since become a top fan favorite.

Tips: Viewing spots along Main Street U.S.A fills up rather quickly so secure a spot early on. And do get your cameras charged and ready.

Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort runs through November 1, 2015.

Mickey’s Halloween Party is a separate-ticket, nighttime event at the Disneyland Resort. It runs on select nights for 17 nights through October 31, 2015.

(Originally published on MiniTime.)

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Four Reasons to Take the Kids to Disneyland This Summer

When the days are longer and the temperatures are higher, many families make that journey out west to Southern California where the weather is always perfect, the beaches are glorious, and there’s unforgettable, assorted fun to be had everywhere you turn. This summer, spend a day or two at the Disneyland Resort with the kids during your family vacation to complete the experience. Here are a few great reasons why.

1) The Fun Doesn’t Stop at Nightfall

Just because the sun has set, it doesn’t mean the fun has to end. In fact, at Disneyland, family fun’s only beginning. After spending the entire day running around from ride to ride, it’s time to set-up shop on Main Street U.S.A. (or in front of the Ferris Wheel at California Adventure) to see the three new spectaculars that will dazzle both kids and adults.

Courtesy Disney
Courtesy Disney

Paint the Night. Disneyland lights up with a river of some 1.5 million LED lights streaming down Main Street U.S.A from the new Paint the Night Parade. As part of the park’s 60th anniversary celebration, this parade of colors and lights is a one big moving musical party, featuring our favorite Disney characters – including Lightning McQueen, Ariel, Belle, Anna and Elsa, and Mickey – glittering and glowing from atop their illuminated floats. Kids aren’t likely to forget when a Disney princess blows them a kiss and will wonder how the performers seemingly control the lights on their costumes with their dance movements.

Courtesy Disney
Courtesy Disney

Disneyland Forever Fireworks. A visit to Disneyland is never complete without the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, but with the Disneyland Forever Fireworks, you’ll go beyond just watching the sky light up. Also a part of the Diamond Celebration, this nighttime spectacular transports you and your kids to familiar but faraway worlds without having to leave the park. One minute you’re standing on Main Street U.S.A. watching Tinker Bell start off the firework show, the next you’re in Ariel’s colorful world under the sea, in the middle of an animal migration in Africa, and in Arendelle with snow falling on your heads. After your magical journey, you’re transported back on Main Street for a perfect kiss goodnight.

World of Color – Celebrate! The Diamond Celebration extends to California Adventure and to one of its most popular attractions. During your visit, make sure to grab a FASTPASS for the nighttime showing of the bigger and better World of Color, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse. The new and improved attraction will take you on a nostalgic experience as it showcases Walt Disney’s artistic journey, featuring his early creations and his very first visions for the Happiest Place on Earth.

2) Your Favorite Rides Have Reopened… With Swanky Upgrades

Courtesy Disney
Courtesy Disney

Haunted Mansion. Over in New Orleans Square, the kids’ favorite “scary” ride has reopened so families can once again experience the supernatural happenings in this ghoulish mansion. During your haunted tour, keep an eye out for the Hatbox Ghost as rumor has it that he’s back with a vengeance after a long absence!

Soarin’ Over California. Who doesn’t enjoy seeing California’s beautiful lands from up above? This family-favorite ride showcases everything the Golden State has to offer, from its irresistible Pacific coast to its rolling vineyards to its awe-inspiring High Sierra forests. And with updates to its screen and projection system, the ride feels even more real than before.

Matterhorn Bobsleds. Go on a bumpy ride, staggering down the famous Alps mountain, at the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which has also reopened for the Diamond Celebration. Watch out for the Abominable Snowman – he’s more ferocious than ever, especially after you come upon his stolen treasure.

3) Star in a Disney Musical

Courtesy Disney
Courtesy Disney

We all love to sing and dance along our favorite Disney movies, and secretly, we all want to part of those movies. At both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, you can let go of your inhibitions and just let your inner princes and princesses take over. Kids and kids at heart will have plenty of opportunities to partake in a Disney musical with events like the Diamond March-Along, which lets guests join a Disney parade, the Diamond Sing-Alongs, the Diamond Dance-Alongs,Dream-Along and the Diamond Mad T Party.

4) There Are New Collectibles to Be Had

One of the best things about visiting a Disney park is you can take home that magic with you in the form of Disney merchandise. Whether you love collecting Disney pins, ear hats or shirts, enjoy decorating your home with Disney home accessories, or the kids want to spend their “park allowance” on a huggable plush toy, there are Diamond Celebration merchandise and souvenirs all over the park to splurge on and remember your visit by. Additionally, you also grab some Diamond Celebration cupcakes at both parks to satisfy your sweet craving during your visit.

For a family-friendly hotel on-site, consider staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which features that famous Californian rustic and outdoorsy décor, themed pools with waterslide, special direct access to the California Adventure park, and early admission to the parks. For an off-site luxurious option, splurge at the beautiful and kid-friendly St. Regis Monarch Beach, which currently offers the “Monarch Magic” Disney package that includes chauffeured transportation to and from the Disney parks, four 1-day base tickets, a Mickey Mouse pancake breakfast for four and two 60th anniversary ear hats, as well as easy access to the beach for a taste of that irresistable California coast.

(Originally published on MiniTime.)

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Going Beyond the Magic: Disneyland Exceeds All Expectations with 24-Hour Diamond Celebration

One of the really cool things about my job is getting invites to fantastic events and awesome trips that I probably wouldn’t have access to if  I weren’t working in the travel publishing world. It’s one of the many perks of the job that I’m truly grateful for as it definitely opens doors to new experiences for me.

This week, I’m headed to Disneyland – along with many bloggers and members of the press – to help the original Disney park usher in their 60th anniversary with their Diamond Celebration extravaganza and 24-hour event, which I am super excited about. They’ve got a lot of awesome things planned for the celebration and it’s going to be epic.

I’ll be sharing the latest updates before and during the Diamond Celebration event through the MiniTime website and social media as well as on my Twitter and Instagram accounts, but for now read on after the jump to find out more about what Disney has in store for the festivities.


Something simply amazing is happening at Disneyland this May.

With July 17, 2015 marking the 60th anniversary of the “Happiest Place on Earth,” Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, is beckoning Disney lovers everywhere to take part in theDisneyland Diamond Celebration festivities that starts on May 22, 2015. And as is Disney tradition, the resort is going all out!

Going beyond bedazzling Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park and their iconic landmarks and locations – including the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street, U.S.A, and Carthay Circle Theater – to usher in the new era, Disney has prepared a multitude of incredible events, attractions and surprises that kicks off with a 24-hour event, starting at 6am on May 22nd.


With this all day/all night party comes an array of entertainment, new attractions, and commemorative merchandise, including the debut of three nighttime spectaculars:

  • “Disneyland Forever” Fireworks – Disneyland ups the ante of their traditional pyrotechnic display by using Main Street, U.S.A, the Matterhorn, Rivers of America, and “it’s a small world” and featuring some of Disney’s most beloved fairy tales like Lion King, Finding Nemo, and of course, Frozen, to take their guests in a spectacular, full-on magical experience from the street to the sky.
  • “Paint the Night” Parade – Dazzling lights and music will excite and astound guests, especially the little ones, with this new after dark parade at the Disneyland Park. “Paint the Night” will showcase favorite Disney characters like Tinker Bell, Lightning McQueen, Ariel, Buzz Lightyear, Belle, and Anna & Elsa like you’ve never seen them before – magically illuminated as the revelry shimmies and shimmers down Main Street, U.S.A.
  • “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” – An even more impressive version of World of Color, this outdoor nighttime display, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey, will showcase the best Disney moments – from Walt’s earliest creations to the newest feature, presented in an breathtaking package topped with a water, fire and laser show that will leave spectators in awe.

It’s going to be an unforgettable Disney visit for you and your kids and a wonderful way to welcome the warm days of summer. So buy your park hopper tickets, book that hotel room, and get ready to celebrate!

See you all there!

(Originally published on

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