How To Plan A Disneyland Trip

So somehow I haven’t ~technically~ written a post with a generic planning a trip to Disneyland. The existing posts I have are more specific, being planning for Disneyland during Halloween and doing Disneyland like a SoCalian. So here, as my last post from this recent trip, I share a generic planning guide for a trip to Disneyland and DCA. 


Make a List of Your Musts, Wants, and Cans

You’ll want to sit down with whoever else is joining you on your trip and go through and decide what each of you must do, want to do, and can do. This is what I do all the time to prep for a Disney trip and it helps to figure out when we should do certain things. As an example of my most recent trip with my brother:

  • Must
    • Haunted Mansion Holiday
    • Space Mountain
    • Try the Gray Stuff
  • Want
    • Big Thunder
    • Pirates of the Carribean
    • Popcorn
  • Can
    • Jungle Cruise
    • Peter Pan’s Flight
    • Photo at the Sword in the Stone

From there you can start organizing your trip further and to the extent you’re comfortable with. I am a big planner when it comes to travel so I go deeper into details, but you don’t have to if that’s not your style.

dis walk.jpg

Find a Close Hotel Where You Can Walk

Staying within walking distance is great because you don’t have to worry about parking at all. We stayed at the Alamo Inn and Suites, which is directly across the street from the resort, and was a 10-minute walk to Downtown Disney. The one downside was after 2 days in the park, we were pretty sore and tired and that walk was a little extra tiring. But in the end, I would still stay within walking distance because of the convenience.


MaxPass is a Must

I did a whole post just on MaxPass and why it is so great so you should check that out if you want more. It is definitely worth an extra $10 per ticket to be able to reserve FastPasses on my phone.

rope drop.jpg

Rope Drop is Worth It… For These Rides

If I say I am doing a full day in Disneyland, I mean the FULL day. I like doing rope drop because not a lot of people actually do it and you can get on the most popular rides quickly. However, rope drop is worth it when you want to go on those very popular rides, like Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion Holiday during the spooky season, and probably Peter Pan’s Flight as well.

carnation cafe.jpg

Plan Your Dining

Whether you reserve a sit-down meal or only do counter service, having a plan for what you want to eat and where makes the food side of Disney a lot less stressful. I personally recommend a sit-down dinner and reserving it early online and doing counter service/ mobile ordering for your other meals. I also highly recommend mobile ordering! We did it at Flo’s V8 Cafe, and we skipped the line and got our food pretty quick. Plus we could easily customize our order. Having a plan for dining saved us a lot of headaches and long lines for a meh piece of pizza.

disneyland app.jpg

The App is Very Helpful

The app has many great features that make it a must for having a fantastic Disney trip. You can see wait times for all rides in the park, check showtimes, reserve FastPass with MaxPass, reserve dining and make mobile orders for food, and have your PhotoPass photos all in one place. If you do nothing else from this post, please get the app.

Do you have any tips and tricks for a trip to Disney? Share them below in the comments!


4 thoughts on “How To Plan A Disneyland Trip

  1. Great post! As a WDW passholder, Disneyland seems so similar yet vastly different in many ways. I’ve watched Youtubers and read your MaxPass post and I still don’t understand it lol. Granted, it took me a whole year to get used to WDW’s MagicBand system though so maybe it’s just me XD.

    Liked by 1 person

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