Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim’s Disneyland & California Adventure Park

I’ve always loved anything to do with Disney. When I was a kid, my mum started a hardcover Disney book collection for me, which I still have to this day – I’m now 25 years old! I first visited Anaheim’s Disneyland parks when I was 3 years old, which sadly, I don’t remember actually doing. But I’ve been back quite a few times since then, and it never fails to amaze me.

Although I haven’t visited all of the Disney parks around the world, I like to think that I’ve learnt enough, to share this guide with you all. In this post, you’ll find a ton of useful information, tips and tricks for spending your day (or more) at Anaheim’s Disney Parks. I’ve included the cost for entry of both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, opening times and the best advice we could come up with, for anybody visiting for the first time!

Remember, this guide is for Anaheim’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park only. We have visited Tokyo’s Disney Parks too, though! For that guide, you can click here.

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park

Anaheim’s Disney Parks Guide

Anaheim is home to two Disney parks: Disneyland and California Adventure Park. Disneyland was the first and original Disney park, opening its doors on July 11th 1955. California Adventure Park was born 46 years later, on February 8th 2001. I’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time at both of Anaheim’s Disney parks, and I can honestly say, Disneyland truly is the Happiest Place on Earth. Here is some general information about Anaheim’s Disney Parks!

Ticket Prices & Opening Times – Disneyland & California Adventure Park

Note: All prices are in US dollars. Click here for a currency converter.

Park Hopper Tickets – Switch Between Both Parks on One Day

1 Day Ticket (Weekdays): Adult $157 – Child $151
1 Day Ticket (Weekends): Adult $165 – Child $159
2 Day Ticket: Adult $244 – Child $232
3 Day Ticket: Adult $315 – Child $303
4 Day Ticket: Adult $335 – Child $320
5 Day Ticket: Adult $350 – Child $335

Regular Park Tickets – One Park Per Day

1 Day Ticket (Weekdays): Adult $97 – Child $91
1 Day Ticket (Weekends): Adult $110 – Child $104
2 Day Ticket: Adult $199 – Child: $187
3 Day Ticket: Adult $270 – Child: $258
4 Day Ticket: Adult $290 – Child: $320
5 Day Ticket: Adult $305 – Child: $290

Tip: It works out to be a lot better value, the more days you choose to spend at the Disney parks. I highly recommend purcahsing the 5 Day Park Hopper ticket. In my opinion, it’s the best value for money, and you’re able to switch between both parks at your own pace. You also aren’t required to visit over five consecutive days, which is perfect if you’re spending an extended period of time in Anaheim.

[bctt tweet=”Here is everything you need to know about Disneyland’s tickets & prices! ” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Where to Purchase Tickets

The best place to purchase tickets for both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, is on Disney’s website. You’ll be able to choose how many days you want to visit, and whether you want a Park Hopper.

Opening Times – Disneyland & California Adventure Park

The opening times for both Disneyland and California Adventure Park vary, depending on the day you visit and the time of year. During holiday periods and special occasions throughout the year, there are certain activities, events and parties that may change the opening hours for both parks.

As a general guide, Disneyland and California Adventure Park is open from 9am until 9pm each day during the week. On weekends, the park can remain open up until midnight. For up to date opening times, check the monthly events schedule and calendar on Disney’s website closer to the day of your visit!

Tip: If you purchase any of the multi-day tickets, split up your time over each day. For example, on the first day of your visit, arrive in the morning and spend a full day exploring either Disneyland or California Adventure Park. The next time you visit, arrive in the afternoon, so you can enjoy a bit of a sleep in and experience Disneyland’s incredible fireworks display! This will give you a chance to rest (both Disney parks are huge, meaning a LOT of walking) and you’ll also be able to experience the parks at different times during the day.

[bctt tweet=”When does Disneyland open and close? Find out here!” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Disney Parks Guide: Disneyland Tips & Tricks

Disneyland is wild and wonderful place, no matter how old you are. There are 8 different lands within the park, and each are themed differently. I don’t know about you guys, but I like to be well-informed before visiting new places – and theme parks are no different! This is especially important if you’re planning a visit during peak times throughout the year. This is generally over the summer period, no matter which Disney Park you attend.

That’s where this Disney Parks Guide will come in handy! Disneyland may be the Happiest Place in the World, but it can also be the Busiest Place in the World. If you aren’t prepared, and haven’t had a Disney experience before, it will seem overwhelming. So that’s being said, sit back, relax and maybe grab a notepad and pen. I’m about to share some insider tips about Anahiem’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park. You’re welcome.

[bctt tweet=”Here are some awesome tips for your first visit to Anaheim’s Disneyland park!” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Always arrive at least 30 minutes before the gates open

This applies to both of Anaheim’s Disney parks. The earlier you arrive the better, as you’ll avoid having to wait in line for hours. Just wake up a bit earlier! It will be worth it, trust me.

Make Tomorrowland your first priority

Tomorrowland is home to Space Mountain, which is, in my opinion, the best ride on Earth. Before lining up for the ride, get yourself a Fast Pass Ticket. Simply put your park ticket into one of the machines located outside of Space Mountain, and it will pop out a second ticket with an hour time frame. Once you have your Fast Pass ticket, line up in the regular queue for Space Mountain. Then, during your designated hour, come back and ride it again! This may seem like a lot of effort (it’s really not) but it will definitely be worth it.

Don’t miss It’s a Small World and the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups

Head to Fantasyland and ride the awesome ride with an annoyingly catchy song, It’s a Small World. I also suggest riding the Tea Cups. Unless of course, you get motion sickness easily. Maybe give it a skip if that’s the case.

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park
It’s a Small World in Disneyland, Anaheim!

Keep an eye out for Disney characters throughout the day

They tend to come out quite often (less frequently and for shorter periods of time during summer), but they’re easy enough to find. Park maps and Disney’s website should have updated times of planned Disney character interactions. If not, you’ll eventually see one of two while walking around the parks!

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park
When in Disneyland, it’s a must to have a photo with Minnie Mouse!

Purchase some custom embroidered Mickey Mouse ears

These are so awesome, I have two pairs! You can have anything your heart desires, stitched to the back of your Mickey ears, so be creative! From memory, these cost around $14. The price might have changed since I visited back in 2013, but I wouldn’t imagine they’d cost any more than $20. They’re a great gift idea or souvenir for yourself or your kids!

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park
My very own custom Mickey Mouse ears!

If you have kids, visit Disneyland in the morning

This is even more convenient if you purchase a multi-day Park Hopper ticket. I don’t have kids, but after seeing so many tantrums and sleeping children by 3pm, morning visits definitely seem like the way to go!

Grab a map when you enter the park

Your map will show you where every single ride and attraction is located within the park, and whether or not they have Fast Passes available. The map also shows where the toilets, ATM’s, smoking areas and first aid centres are located. There are also baby care centres spread out around the park, which you can find by looking at your map!

Get a free badge from City Hall

When you first enter Disneyland, use your map to locate City Hall. There are a few free badges available, including ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘My 1st Visit’. I’ve got about 5 First Visit badges, and a couple of Happy Birthday ones. It’s cool having people wish you a happy birthday while waiting in line for rides! It’s also a great souvenir, even if it’s not your birthday or first visit! I’m guilty of both of those. Oops!

Keep an eye out for Pressed Penny Machines

This is a super cheap and fun way to collect souvenirs around the park, and they’re pretty easy to find in each land. Check the stores outside of all your favourite rides – they tend to have themed pennies available!

Bring your own water bottle and snacks

This is a great way to save money, and will come in handy while you wait in those awful long lines. Other than having to pee, there’s nothing worse than being thirsty when you’ve still got 40 minutes left to wait for the next ride. Snacks are also a good idea to keep kids happy, distracted and far less bored.

Don’t leave without riding Indiana Jones in Adventureland

Whether or not you’re a fan of the movies, everything about this ride is awesome. The detail and thought put into the decorations, set and ride itself is incredible. Grab a Fast Pass early in the day, so you don’t miss out!

Use your Magic Morning ticket

This is only available to anybody who purchases one of the Multi Day passes. Your ticket will give you early access to Disneyland, for once day over the duration of your pass. Basically, for one morning, you’ll have (almost) the entire park to yourself and a handful of others. This is a great way to hit up your favourite rides before the long lines start to form. Definitely worth paying for a Multi Day ticket!

Tip: One of my favourite memories at Disneyland, was with my Contiki group back in June 2015. I did the Best of USA tour, and our group spent a full day at Anaheim’s Disneyland and California Adventure Park! Contiki is a great way to see a new city, and make awesome friends at the same time! You can read about my experience on Contiki here.

Disney Parks Guide: California Adventure Park Tips & Tricks

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park
California Adventure Park entrance gates!

Make Cars Land your first priority

The last time I visited California Adventure Park, Radiator Springs was the most popular ride by far. The wait times were crazy long, and Fast Passes can run out fairly quickly, especially during peak times. So if you’re a Cars fan, definitely make this a priority.

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park
The set of Radiator Springs ride in Cars Land, California Adventure Park!

California Screamin’ is an absolute must

It’s the only actual rollercoaster across both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, and it’s a LOT of fun. You can get Fast Passes for this ride too, and like Space Mountain, it’s definitely worth it. You’ll be turned upside down, do loops in Mickey Mouse’s ears and have a photo taken at the end that always provides a laugh. Make sure to experience the ride at night too. You’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the entire park, all lit up and sparkly!

Head to Paradise Pier for Instagram worthy shots

This is where everyone gets the classic rollercoaster and ferris wheel photos. It’s the prime location for incredible sunset photos, too. Make the most of the river in front of California Screamin – definitely one of the most Instagrammable spots in the park!

Make use of the Single Rider Lines

This applies to Disneyland too, but generally smaller children aren’t going to want to ride by themselves. For certain rides at California Adventure Park, I definitely suggest making the most of this. You can wait in line with your friends and family, you’ll just have to sit next to somebody you don’t know while on the ride. It’s totally worth it if you’re short on time and want to see as much as possible!

Alcohol is available at some areas in California Adventure Park (For 21 and over only)

Generally Carthay Circle and Paradise Pier are your best bet to enjoy some refreshing lunch time or dinner alcoholic beverages. I didn’t actually know alcohol was available until after I arrived home from my last trip to California Adventure Park. So I’m not sure of the prices or availability when it comes to purchasing alcohol.

Head over to Hollywood Land to experience the refurbished Tower of Terror ride 

It’s now Guardians of the Galaxy, and although I haven’t ridden it myself, it looks amazing! The exterior design is awesome, and if it’s anything like the original Tower of Terror, it will be one you cannot miss!

Check out Mickey’s Fun Wheel at Paradise Pier

There are two types of gondolas on the fun wheel: still or swinging. If you’re daring, and aren’t afraid of heights, choose the swinging one. You’ll slide back and forth along the inside of the wheel. Not recommended after eating lunch, though! I’m not too good with heights, but I still found it quite enjoyable! Just quietly, I probably would have preferred the still gondola, but it was still fun!

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park
Mickey’s Fun Wheel at Paradise Pier, California Adventure Park!

Don’t miss the Pixar Play Parade

If for no other reason, than the fact the parade has the catchiest song ever, and you will definitely have it stuck in your head all day long. All of the Disney characters come out for this awesome parade, interacting with guests and children in particular. There are 5 floats in the parade: Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story. I definitely recommend scheduling your day around the parade, it’s worth it!

[bctt tweet=”8 super helpful tips for Anaheim’s California Adventure Park!” username=”rhiannontravels”]

Both of Anaheim’s Disney parks are definitely worth a visit. I guarantee you’ll have an amazing experience, and make memories that will last a life time. If possible, spend more than a couple of days in Anaheim. There’s a lot to cover across both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, and you’ll want to soak in every single second!

I hope you found this Disney parks guide helpful! Tell me in the comments below, which is your favourite Disney park? What is your favourite ride? I’d love to know!

Pin it for later!

Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park Disney Parks Guide: Anaheim's Disneyland & California Adventure Park

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. I only ever share my 100% honest opinion, and will never endorse a company or product that I would not personally use!



  1. May 13, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    Great tips! I’ve been to the Anaheim Disneyland only once, but I absolutely loved it! Hopefully I’ll be able to go again one day 🙂

    • May 14, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      Thanks! I hope you get to go again soon 🙂
      Thanks for your comment 😀

  2. May 13, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    Oh man, this takes me back! I haven’t been to either of these two parks, but when we lived in Orlando, we had annual passes to the Orlando Disney World parks and I swear we went no less than 40 times that year. It was amazing…and exhausting! They are seriously so much fun, though. You’ve got some really great tips here, too! I’d love to visit the California Disneyland someday!

    • May 14, 2017 / 2:33 pm

      Oh wow that’s awesome! Going to Disney World that many times would be amazing haha
      California’s Disneyland is my favourite so far!
      Thanks for your comment 😀

  3. May 13, 2017 / 9:53 pm

    Ah thank you for the info! I will be there with my girl when we come to Japan

  4. May 13, 2017 / 9:56 pm

    Great post! I didn’t even realise there are 11 different Disney parks around the world! I’ve been to Disney World in Orlando a couple times, first when I was 7 and again when I was 12. I had so much fun both times, and I don’t think anywhere can really compare to the magic at Disney 🙂

    • May 14, 2017 / 2:26 pm

      Disney World is one I NEED to go to one day. So much to do, other than just the main park! 🙂
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  5. May 13, 2017 / 10:54 pm

    Thanks! Good one and a very informative post – Just pinned it. The only Disney I have been to was at HongKong. I did create happy memories there but it became a bit monotonous as the day progressed. Some how, I didn’t feel excited enough to do Disney after that. .. :).. That said, Paris Disney is next on list because my friends want me to join them 😉

    • May 14, 2017 / 2:25 pm

      Hopefully Paris Disney gives you a more enjoyable experience! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  6. May 14, 2017 / 2:26 am

    I’ve never considered going to Disneyland myself, but I’d love to spend some time in Tokyo one day and will put Disneyland on my list – must be incredible there!

    • May 14, 2017 / 2:23 pm

      You definitely should! Disneyland is a wonderful place 😀

  7. Michelle
    May 14, 2017 / 11:15 am

    So glad I came across your very informational post! Saving it for sure to refer to when we finally get to go. Been on our bucket list for a while now.

    • May 14, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you found it informative 😀

  8. May 14, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    4/11 if an awesome effort! I’ve never been to a Disneyland but would love to go to Anaheim first, preferably on my brithday and hopefully not during school holidays! Will pin this to come back to for research!

    • May 15, 2017 / 8:40 pm

      Anaheim’s Disneyland is the best in my opinion (but I’ve never been to Disney World, so this could very easily be a very bad opinion!).
      A Disneyland birthday would be amazing! I hope you get to visit one day soon, Sarah! 🙂

  9. May 15, 2017 / 12:07 am

    Great tips! I haven’t been to Disneyland yet and haven’t been to Disney world in way too long so this was such a great post to read. Definitely keeping this post on hand so we can plan a trip with the kiddo in the near future!

    • May 15, 2017 / 8:25 pm

      Thanks, Greta! I’m glad you found it useful! I hope you make it to a Disney park soon! 🙂

  10. May 15, 2017 / 3:58 am

    Indianer Jones, must to! I don’t think that I’ll ever make it here but the plan is to go Disneyland Paris this Summer… :PP

    • May 15, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Indiana Jones is an awesome ride! Definitely one of my favourites 🙂
      I hope you get to visit Paris Disneyland, you’ll have to tell me how it is if you do! 🙂

  11. You are seriously a Disney expert! I have been to the California one twice and Paris Disney once. My fave rides are Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean for sure, but I agree with you that Space Mountain is AMAZING!

    • May 15, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      Haha, I’m no expert by any means! But I do love all things Disney 🙂
      Oh wow, what’s the Paris Disneyland like? I’m dying to know!
      Yes, Space Mountain is the best ride ever created!

  12. May 15, 2017 / 7:37 am

    Ahhhh Disney! No better place on earth! These are great tips. Pinning for future reference!

    • May 15, 2017 / 8:21 pm

      Isn’t it, though! It’s impossible to be anything other than happy, while at Disneyland. Thanks Samantha! I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂

  13. May 15, 2017 / 9:52 am

    What a great guide. We have always wanted to visit Disney Land.

  14. May 15, 2017 / 2:17 pm

    I’ve never been to the Disneyland in Tokyo but would love to make it there one day!! The Disneyland in Anaheim is of course the best place on earth!

    • May 15, 2017 / 8:19 pm

      Tokyo’s Disneyland is very similar to Anaheim’s. It’s DisneySea in Tokyo which you have to visit if you’re ever in Japan! Yes, I agree. Disneyland the best place on Earth 😀 Thanks for your comment, Tarah 🙂

  15. May 16, 2017 / 12:01 am

    Great tips. I went to Anaheim Disney way back in 2010 and your post made me remember the great time I had!

    • May 17, 2017 / 9:58 am

      Wow, I think it’s about time you visit Anaheim’s Disneyland again! 😉 haha
      It’s a great place to make special memories 🙂

  16. May 16, 2017 / 10:24 pm

    I’ve only been to Disney in Paris (several times) and Orlando. The one in Paris is a lot smaller but it’s still so much fun. It’s like an addiction, I can’t get enough of it 🙂

    • May 17, 2017 / 9:57 am

      I definitely agree that Disneyland is an addiction! So much happiness and the music playing throughout the park makes it even better! I’m surprised that the Paris park is smaller – I didn’t know that! 😀

  17. May 17, 2017 / 5:40 am

    Awesome tips! For some reason I found it really hard to find good info about Disneyland- so this was great! I’ve been to Anaheim and I agree- it’s a magical place. Knotts Berry Farm is also another great theme park in that area.

    • May 17, 2017 / 9:47 am

      Thanks Yvette! I’m glad my post gave you some good tips 🙂 I try to include as much as I can in my guide posts 🙂
      Yeah, Knotts Berry Farm is awesome! Have you been to Six Flags Magic Mountain in LA as well? That’s an epic theme park! Tons of thrill rides 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!

  18. May 20, 2017 / 10:29 pm

    Amazing tips! I haven’t been to Disneyland in years but really want to go back. Next time I’ll be sure to use this guide!

    • May 21, 2017 / 10:52 am

      I hope you get to go back to Disneyland soon! It’s a magical place 🙂
      Thanks for reading, Danielle 🙂

  19. May 22, 2017 / 1:29 am

    I have to say the more I go to Disneyland, the more I love it! This is such a good post full of informative tips 🙂

    • May 22, 2017 / 10:37 pm

      I definitely agree! It’s hard not to love it more each time you visit 🙂 Thanks so much for reading, Sara 🙂

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