This might be the most important tip I can give for anyone who's going to tackle Disney and California Adventure. WEAR COMFY SHOES. You and your feet will thank me later. It may not be the "Pinterest worthy or Instagram worthy" outfit or what the cool girls are wearing but seriously wear sneakers. I wore sandals and about halfway through my feet were aching. I have high arches and walking on such flat and hard surfaces for that long killed them. You are going to be doing a lot and I mean A LOT of walking so make sure you're ready for it. Wear sneakers, your comfiest pair that won't make your feet hurt, give you blisters, etc. Seriously you will thank me.
FastPasses are your best friend forever and ever at Disney. If you've never been to Disney or are unfamiliar with them I am here to explain it! I didn't know what they were either until I researched so it's okay :)
FastPasses are basically "skip ahead to the front of the line" passes you can get for some of the rides and attractions. Who can get a FP? Anyone who has a ticket to Disney or California Adventure or both. However each rider/guest must swipe their ticket to get a FP, meaning you can't swipe yours twice to get 2 tickets.
How it works is when you get your park ticket you look for the rides/attractions that are FP enabled, swipe your park ticket at the FP kiosk and it will kick out a little ticket with the time that you can return to ride the ride/attraction. Usually it's between an hour.
Once you have your FP ticket you are free to go do whatever other rides you want until the time printed on your ticket. Once it is the time printed on your ticket you can go to the ride it's for, go to the FastPass line, show them your ticket and walk straight through, bypassing the huuuge lines and go straight to the front of it. It's soooo handy and kinda the best, especially for the rides that have 40+ wait times.
Not all rides/attractions have them, that's the only downside but it is so nice for the ones that do because you get your FP, go do other things then can come back and do it without having to waste an hour standing in line.
You can only have 1 FP per park (1 for Disney and 1 for CA simultaneously) and can only get another whenever the time states you can get another one on your ticket, usually less than 2 hours.
Still confused? Here's an example:
We knew Space Mountain was gonna have an insane line so we got FastPasses for it right when we got into the park. We got our FP at 10 am and the time printed on when we could return to ride was between 12:30pm-1:30pm, that meant we had 2.5 hours to do whatever we wanted until we could go ride Space Mountain. Once it was 12:30 we headed back to Space Mountain, got into the FP line and went straight to the front, skipping the huge line. You can ride the ride anytime between the times printed on the ticket. If it's after 1:30 you can't however. The next time we could get a FP was 11:45am if I remember correctly.
Here are the rides that are FP enabled for Disney:
Indiana Jones Adventure, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, Space Mountain, Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.
Rides that are FP enabled for California Adventure:
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin, Goofy's Sky School, World of Color (light show), Grizzly River Run and Soarin Over California.
Another saving grace to navigating Disney and California Adventure are the two apps we got to monitor wait times, find the best restaurants, find the bathrooms and where the characters were gonna be. Download the Magic Guide for Disneyland and Disneyland apps they will be your saving grace too!
Magic Guide tells the park hours, maps of the parks, dining options for both including menus, locations, prices, what type of restaurant they are and more, wait times for the rides/attractions and if you want you can unlock the bathroom finder and food finder but have to pay. Honestly I wouldn't because you can get the bathroom finder through the Disneyland app. It's free too and so handy because you can monitor the wait times for rides and go when it's the shortest plus look at the menu options/prices for all the restaurants. I'd highly, highly recommend this one!
Also download the official Disneyland app to get the maps, restroom finder (SO HELPFUL) and find out where the characters are going to be and what times. It also has dining and other options but the interface isn't quite as easy to navigate than the Magic Guide, in my opinion. You can also link your Annual Pass and PhotoPass to the app too.
This is the only souvenir that I bought while at Disneyland. I was not going to leave until I had one of these iconic balloons. I searched everywhere for these things and finally found one right before we were about to leave. I paid $9 for this thing which is probably the cheapest souvenir Disneyland sells. Haha! But if you buy yours during the day for #alloftheinstas and for some reason it goes pop, you can take the remnants of it to any Disney Cast Member and they will replace it for free! This is especially helpful if you have little kids or are prone to walking into sharp objects. So far it's been just over a week since I bought it and it's still going strong!
Chances are if you're visiting Disney you're on vacation and are #treatingyoself. I totally indulged in all things Disney but set a budget of how much I wanted to spend. It's totally okay to splurge because I mean you are at Disney after all but if you want your bank account to not hate you have a number in mind of how much you want to spend and buy accordingly so you have money later to spend on the rest of your trip!