Disneyland Park

Disneyland Preview — Week of January 13, 2018

by on January 12, 2018

This week presents two wildly different experiences — busy holiday weekend, followed by some of the lowest crowds you’ll see all year. Also, the first Disneyland After Dark is this week!  Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

In large part, this is a “regular” week at Disneyland. The holidays are over, no festivals are running, and operations are more or less normal.  With that said, Disney is doing its first “Disneyland After Dark” after-hours event this week on Thursday, January 18.  It is a hard-ticket event (i.e., your regular park tickets or Annual Passes will not get you in), and it costs $95 per person.  The event runs from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., though your ticket will get you admission to the park as early as 6:00 p.m.

This first installment will be “Throwback Nite” (making it very appropriate that it’s being held on a Thursday), and it will have a 1950s/1960s theme. Guests are encouraged to dress the part (think: Dapper Day). There will be jazz and swing music, special photo opportunities (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads), characters, and exclusive food and drinks. Also, you’ll be able to see the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show, which first ran in 1958, that you can typically only see on New Year’s Eve. You can find more details here and here. As this goes to press, there are still tickets available, but we nevertheless recommend getting tickets sooner than later if you’re sure you’d like to attend.

Crowds

Crowds are high for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, but drop off sharply immediately thereafter.  Seven and eight level crowds for the weekend, and nothing higher than a three the rest of the week.

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of January 6, 2018

by on January 5, 2018

The new year is here, and with it comes much lower crowds and chillier weather. Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

Disneyland MonorailThe busy holiday season comes to a close at Disneyland Resort this week, and with the end of that season comes the far less busy refurbishment season.  Yes, several popular attractions are going offline starting this week.  Some, like Haunted Mansion, Dumbo, Grizzly River Run, and Splash Mountain are undergoing brief downtime for scheduled maintenance or to remove holiday overlays.  Others, like California Screamin’, are gone for good, at least in their current forms.

Crowds

Crowds are all over the map this week, ranging from quite high this weekend as winter break wraps up, to very low towards the end of the week once most kids are back to school.  Wednesday and Thursday notably have level 2 crowds, which are about as low as you’re likely to see all year.

 

 

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 30

by on December 29, 2017

Another super busy week at Disneyland Resort as we transition to 2018, though it becomes slightly more manageable as the week progresses. Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

We get to usher in 2018 this week, and that means we get to experience the special New Years offerings at Disneyland! The New-Year’s-only (generally) Fantasy in the Sky  fireworks will run twice on New Years Eve, at 9 pm and again at 11:55 to welcome the New Year. If seeing the fireworks from Main Street U.S.A. is important to you, you’ll want to make sure you stake out a spot even earlier than usual. California Adventure will also ring in the New Year at Paradise Pier with its Fountains and Fireworks countdown. Special dining events are available at Napa Rose and PCH Grill; advance reservations are strongly recommended for these experiences. 

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 23

by on December 22, 2017

We’re at that point of the year when EVERYONE is off of school, and that means that Disneyland will be BUSY. What else is in store? Read on to find out in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

The same holiday festivities we’ve been talking about continue this week at Disneyland Resort.  This includes the Festival of Holidays at Disney’s California Adventure (featuring food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park). Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and there’s also Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions). During the Festival, Annual Passholders are eligible to pick up a Sip & Savor Pass for $45 that is good for eight Festival food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol).

Still haven’t had a chance to meet Santa? The big guy will be at Ahwahnee Camp Circle at the entrance to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail with other holiday activities. Santa will be taking a breather starting on Christmas, but Goofy will take over and will be available for photos in the same location. 

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Disneyland Weekly Preview — Week of December 16

by on December 15, 2017

Heading to Disneyland this week? Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

The Festival of Holidays continues this week at California Adventure, featuring food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park.  Also, Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions) will be taking place throughout the Festival. During the Festival, Annual Passholders are eligible to pick up a Sip & Savor Pass for $45 that is good for eight Festival food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol). In addition to potentially saving you some money, you’ll also get a lanyard and a special AP button at each kiosk where you redeem a coupon.  Passholders can stop by the AP Corner at Sonoma Terrace for exclusive photo opportunities and a complimentary commemorative collectible art button.

At Disneyland Park, A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic are being shown in lieu of the regular daytime parade and evening fireworks, respectively.  Over at Disney’s California Adventure, World of Color has been replaced by World of Color — Season of Light. All of these special shows are included with your normal park admission, so make sure you check them out.

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Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 2

by on December 11, 2017

Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read the first part of this article, covering some of the nuts-and-bolts aspects of Disneyland planning. If not, go back and do it now.  I’ll wait.

Done?  OK, great. Now that you’ve got all of that fresh in your mind, let’s talk a little bit about what the Disneyland experience is like. It’s obviously similar in a lot of respects to Walt Disney World, but there are enough differences that knowing where you should direct your focus will really enhance your trip. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

When to Go

Broadly speaking, Disneyland experiences the same sort of seasonal ebbs and flows that you’re used to at Walt Disney World. Spring Break, Summer, and Winter Break tend to be pretty busy, and you can expect lighter crowds when kids are in school. There are some quirky variations attributable to local events, so certainly make sure you check the Disneyland Crowd Calendar, but if you’re familiar with Walt Disney World crowds, the times to target are going to be what you’d expect.

With that said, if I were advising a Walt Disney World veteran as to the best time to visit Disneyland, I’d definitely suggest the latter part of the year if possible. Disneyland has more local visitors that it needs to entice to visit the parks, and is accordingly a lot more cavalier about making seasonal changes to the attractions. For example, Haunted Mansion gets a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay from mid-September to the end of the Christmas season that really transforms the attraction — it’s still vaguely recognizable as Haunted Mansion, but a radically different version. I recall the first time I experienced it, I was expecting a light skinning, where maybe Jack Skellington shows up in a few scenes, but it’s a complete overhaul and is absolutely fantastic.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 9

by on December 8, 2017

Another week of holiday-themed fun at Disneyland Resort. Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

Photo: Disney

Lots of holiday cheer at Disneyland resort, and both parks have themed their entertainment to the season. At Disneyland Park, A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic are being shown in lieu of the regular daytime parade and evening fireworks, respectively.  Over at Disney’s California Adventure, World of Color has been replaced by World of Color — Season of Light. Even better, all of these special shows are included with your normal park admission, so make sure you check them out.

The Festival of Holidays also continues at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the parkPrincess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions) will be taking place throughout the Festival.  

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Pixar Play Parade to See Enhancements During Pixar Fest

by on December 5, 2017

Next year, the Disneyland Resort will be celebrating Pixar Fest, which is a celebration of all of your favorite Pixar stories. When Pixar Fest debuts on April 13, the Pixar Play Parade will be returning, but this time at Disneyland park. Oh and the parade will see new additions featuring characters from Up, Inside Out and more!

Leading out the parade will be Luxo Junior and the famous Pixar ball.

©Disney

 

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Disneyland Planning for Walt Disney World Veterans – Part 1

by on December 4, 2017

For veterans of Walt Disney World, Disneyland planning can be a bit of a challenge in that there are several unknowns. Yes, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are similar in a lot of respects, but there are enough differences that your familiarity with the east coast parks will only get you so far. The good news, however, is that Disneyland planning is actually far easier than planning an Orlando trip — the park is set up to be equally accessible to day guests and locals as people who’ve planned for months — so with just a little bit of planning, you’ll quickly find the same comfort level out west in no time. Read on for all the info you need to take your Disneyland planning from newbie to expert!

The Basics

First and foremost, some basic info to help you get oriented: there are two theme parks at Disneyland Resort, three Disney hotels (for now) and the Downtown Disney area. The theme parks are Disneyland Park, which is similar in layout and content to Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s California Adventure, which I think of as sort of a smorgasbord of attractions you’ll find spread across Disney World’s parks (like Soarin’, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Turtle Talk with Crush), plus several original attractions that only exist there. Unlike Disney World’s parks, these two parks are very close to each other, and park-hopping takes about 90 seconds, exclusive of lines at the turnstiles. Yes, really!

The three Disney hotels are:

  • Grand Californian: the nicest, closest, and most expensive Disneyland Resort. It is attached to Disney’s California Adventure and has its own dedicated entrance to the park.
  • Disneyland Hotel: the original, throwback Disneyland lodging experience, and home to Disneyland icons like Trader Sam’s. It is typically the middle tier from a pricing standpoint.
  • Paradise Pier: the most spartan, and least expensive Disney hotel at Disneyland. Least expensive does not mean inexpensive, however, as will be discussed in more detail below.

Guests of Disney hotels can enter one park an hour early each day, sort of like Extra Magic Hours at Disney World. Disneyland does not do extra hours in the evening at all. In addition to the Disney hotels, there are several non-Disney “good neighbor” hotels that are within walking distance of the parks. While these guests do not get early entry every day, they can purchase multiday tickets that allow them to enter only Disneyland Park one hour early on certain days once over the course of their trip (called “Magic Mornings,” more on that below).

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 2

by on December 1, 2017

The holiday season marches on at Disneyland Resort. Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Holiday cheer continues in full force this week at Disneyland. Of particular note at the resort right now is the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the parkPrincess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! will be taking place throughout the Festival.  Lots going on.

During the Festival, Annual Passholders are eligible to pick up a Sip & Savor Pass for $45 that is good for eight Festival food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol). In addition to potentially saving you some money, you’ll also get a lanyard and a special AP button at each kiosk where you redeem a coupon.  Passholders can stop by the AP Corner at Sonoma Terrace for exclusive photo opportunities and a complimentary commemorative collectible art button.

Read the rest of this entry »