My family is fresh off its first trip to Disneyland and there are so many thing I want to share about our experience, namely a few “insider” tips that I wanted to share. I say “insider,” because I learned the value of these tips after being on the inside. If you’re reading this post as you plan to take your kiddos for the first time, chances are you’re probably trying to sort out and absorb the overwhelming amount of info out can find about planning a trip to Disneyland. I did my fair share of pre-planning and felt pretty confident going in with my crash prep for the trip, I wrote about that here. Right now I want to give you a heads up about a few easy ways to make your trip a little more memorable.
First up, a FREE souvenir… Be sure to pick up a 1st Visit button! It was a cute giveaway that can be proudly worn to show off that it’s your very first time. I wouldn’t have even known about this, save for one of the park attendants, who asked if I had one for my kids. He gladly gave them to me, making us feel that much more welcome for their first visit! I saw some people wearing other like buttons and pins, so maybe it’s a “thing” and they have them for all sorts of stuff…keep your eyes open.
2. Character Breakfast
If it’s your first trip to Disneyland (or Disney World), I would highly suggest making reservations for a character meal. We chose to do Breakfast with Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn on Main Street USA inside Disneyland. It was easy to get a reservation – I think I did mine a week ahead of time, and it’s so worth it! Note – you do need the admission ticket for Disneyland in addition to a reservation for the meal. I wasn’t sure how my boys would react to the characters in person and it was a great ice breaker.
This was our first activity of the day and we got into the park a little early, before it opened through a special entry marked for the character breakfast! It was a breakfast buffet with all the standard favorites. The food was good, but more than the food you are paying for the experience. The characters continuously made the rounds, each stopping at our table multiple times…taking photos, high fiving, interacting and signing the boys’ autograph books.
We met Rafiki, Tigger, Pooh Bear, Dale, Fairy Godmother, Max, Hook, Eeyore and of course Minnie Mouse!
**BONUS – Scoop up the FREE souvenir button, showing you went to the breakfast!
3. Ride Photos
Several of the rides at Disneyland snap your photo during your excursion and at the end of the experience you can view the picture and email it to yourself free of charge. Another great memory saved in a photo, at no extra charge. At first glance I thought it would be a photo they’d try to sell to me, so it was a pleasant surprise to realize it was complimentary. We got one snap from the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride.
All in all, our visit was exceptional. Other than our tickets for entry and buying each of our kids a Disneyland hat, we made it out without breaking the bank. We brought a few snacks/munchies and my dollar store finds like the autograph books and neon, glow in the dark goodies for when the sun went down…and managed to steer clear of any over the top, unplanned purchases!