Hack Disney Magic Kingdoms & Make Your Memories Magical
When I say Disney, I'm sure images of childhood memories pop up in your mind and a smile comes to your face. There are those occasional few who have bad experiences, but when Minnie Mouse comes up and gives you a hug, well magic just seems like it could be real and all your problems disappear. There are a lot of different ways to visit Disneyland, but only a few people know how to really work the Magic Kingdom to their benefit. Here are my tips on how to Hack Disney Magic Kingdoms & Make Your Memories Magical - from Discount tickets to park secrets, it's all here!
But first off, let us start by picking the Magic Kingdom we would like to go to first and their different available attractions:
The Original Magic Kingdom: Disneyland and California Adventure
I have been to 2 of the 6 Disney parks listed here: Florida and California, multiple times. Each time it is a little bit different because I learn something new. So I will let you in on my little secrets :)
Disney NEW NEWS
Did you know that they changed the restrictions on adults dressing up in Disneyland? Make sure you check out the new rules before you decide to go so that you don't get sent home and ruin the whole trip
THEY ARE TALKING NOW!!!!! It has been quite some time that the characters of Mickey, Minnie, and Donald Duck have been silently waving and hugging children. Well, GUESS WHAT! Now the characters are going to be talking, joking, telling stories and interacting with guests and each other!!! HOW COOL IS THAT! I have yet to confirm this for myself, but if anyone has confirmation of this please post a link or comment below :)
Disney Magic Kingdom Costs and Deals
What about those prices?!? Everyone likes a good deal, but Disneyland has been able to circumvent even the savviest of criminals. However, there are a few websites and practices that can keep your cost low.
Check out the Anaheim Deals - they will let you know if there are discount tickets or not. Most of the time, the discount tickets are going to be when the kids are back in school.
If you are American Military personnel you can also go to the window and buy the Military Discount tickets (at least in the States you can). If you just know someone who is military personnel and want them to buy the tickets online for you, well that doesn't work anymore.
Check out Park Savers as well; they also have discounted ticket rates.
You can also scan through Undercover Tourist, Official Ticket Center -
- Please keep in mind that the official Disney Ticket office doesn't include sales tax, where some of these 3rd party sellers will tack on that 6.5% (Florida) tax
Please keep in mind that the official Disney Ticket office doesn't include sales tax, where some of these 3rd party sellers will tack on that 6.5% (Florida) tax
If you have an AAA membership you can purchase tickets in their local office and you won't have the sales tax added onto the final price either. Find a local AAA office near you.
I beg you, whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy tickets from eBay or Craigslist. They are not authorized dealers of Disney Tickets and the tickets are typically expired or scanned to the particular person that bought them.
Don't Take Things Too Seriously - It's the Happiest Place On Earth
I don't have children, but I always love seeing them dress up in their Disney outfits and costumes. When you put them in a place like this it makes everything all the more magical.
Do you know what I love even more? When the parents dress up with them! They make a theme and all dress up together. Cutest family dress up that I have seen is about the Little Mermaid: Mom was a cute version of Ursula and her daughter was the little mermaid (it was a little odd to see Ursula hold the Little Mermaid, but it was so FUN that the parents dressed up like that - talk about a bonding moment)!
- There have recently been new rules placed for those over 14 years old dressing up as characters, though. You cannot be an identical character to those you see in the films apparently. There were too many guests calling themselves cast members and they want to protect the image of Disney as well as legal ramifications that may come from this happening. Make sure to check out the new rules associated with adults dressing up as characters in Disneyland.
There have recently been new rules placed for those over 14 years old dressing up as characters, though. You cannot be an identical character to those you see in the films apparently. There were too many guests calling themselves cast members and they want to protect the image of Disney as well as legal ramifications that may come from this happening. Make sure to check out the new rules associated with adults dressing up as characters in Disneyland.
It's crowded, but don't get impatient. Just enjoy the moments and talk to your kids while they wait in line instead of letting them look at their cell phones the entire time. Or, use their cell phones to play games like Ellen DeGeneres game 'Heads Up'
Don't butt in line, just don't, we all know you are doing it - playing the 'I didn't know, I'm sorry' doesn't really work anymore.
Yes, I'm sure there are other theme parks where the rides are more fun, faster and scarier than what Disneyland has, but Mr. Walt Disney actually hated theme parks and that was never his intention in the beginning. So take a look around and appreciate the small world that Disney creates for you and your family so you can have an amazing adventure, and memories you will never forget.
If you are single, well then you are in LUCK! Go to Disneyland ALONE!!! They have special lines for single riders at Disney and it will literally cut your wait time in half. Plus, gives you a great opportunity to meet the person they will likely stick you next to. Share the screaming love :) You can also think of utilizing this if you are tired of riding 'It's a small world' with the kiddos, and want to do a child swap and utilize the single rider line once or twice to get as much out of the park as your kids are.
Are Park Hopper Tickets Really Worth It?
When to get a Park Hopper Pass:
If you are traveling with young children, I wouldn't recommend it. It takes a lot of effort to get them on the rides, off the rides, get their food down, schedule their naps etc. If you are traveling with several families and staying more than 2-3 days, then definitely get a park hopper pass. Do a daycare exchange where you split into teams and one group goes to California adventure for the day, then the other group can take care of all the kids.
It's not your first rodeo with Disneyland and you know exactly where you want to go and when.
You want to watch the firework shows or nighttime parades every night. This way, no matter what park you find yourself in, come time for the show, you are able to watch it.
If they are in their low season (typically while school is in session and it's daytime) - when locals and season pass holders are not utilizing the park and you can easily move from one ride to another.
You get bored easily with one park and want to be able to hit the best rides first and jump in between each park.
Things To Know Before Visiting
Check on Disneyland ride closures. There is always one or two that are under maintenance.
Check on Disneyland shows available. I am talking the Aladdin show, the Lion King show etc.
Get your ticket online and beat the whole line in general (See the list of resorts above and each hyperlink will lead you to the official ticket sales link for each respective resort.)
Get a Disneyland map to plan your routes and decide who will get fast passes - get an itinerary of what to see and when to eat and where. Make sure you read these tips on how to get the most out of your fast pass.
Download the Disney Wait Times App.
If you have Children under the age of 10, you may want to bring a stroller or rent a wheelchair as they tend to get tired by the end of the day covering so much ground.
Know how tall each of the children in your party is and check Height Restrictions for each ride so you don't wait for 1-2 hours to get on a ride only to be disappointed that you or your child can't go.
Bring a Poncho if you are planning on riding any of the Wet and Wild rides Disneyland has to offer. They do their best to protect your belongings, but it's best to bring a Ziploc bag for your phone and/or camera.
How to Get Early Entry Into Disney
Early entry hours are only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. These days I would suggest taking advantage of the early hour with fast passes. Get in line at Cars, then when you exit, grab a fast pass and send someone to go and grab another fast pass from a different ride while waiting in line.
Some of the parks have circumvented this by only allowing you to have one FastPass at a time, or requesting a time 2 hours after your initial fast pass. Make sure you have valid park tickets before you arrive. If you opt for the Southern California CityPASS, then it may be purchased in advance or at the Main Entrance Ticket Booth.
California - Disneyland Early Entry Options
Florida - Disney World Early Entry Options
Information for opportunities for Magic Hour at the other parks
Healthy Places To Eat In Disneyland
Check out this amazing guide I found on How To Eat Healthy at Every Disneyland Park Restaurant
Eat Healthy Guide to Disney World in Florida
For Paris Disney Park Healthy Eating - Plan your meals by checking out the Menu's of the Paris Disney Park
There isn't much in the way of Healthy Eating information about Tokyo's Disney Park Dining options. I did find a blog dedicated to all things regarding Disney food information: Tokyo Disney Park Food Blog. This site gives a full rundown on what your options are so you will be able to know if you should pack a lunch or not.
Shanghai Disney Resort - Here is a list of the 10 Best Eateries in Shanghai Disney Resort, which seems to include a number of different places with healthy eating. Let us be honest though, Chinese food is never going to be something that your trainer or meal planning is going to allow without guilt. So take a trip to the farmers market and get some meat and veggies on your own for the best eating options.
Little Known Secrets of Disneyland Resorts
Club 33 - only available at 3 of the Disney Parks (California, Shanghai, Tokyo - soon to be available at Walt Disney World.)
Hidden Mickey Ears throughout all of the Disney Parks - there are typically around 50 in Disneyland! Take the Challenge when you are there and find those hidden ears wherever you can. They can be hidden as decoration, flowers, sidewalk art, in photos on the rides, maybe even on characters ;)
If you visit Disneyland, you can see Walt's actual apartment and get a tour of the place! It's right next to the information desk.
If it's your birthday, make sure to stop by guest relations for a Birthday Pin! The staff throughout the Park will literally stop you and wish you Happy Birthday. I went for my Birthday and it was seriously one of the funnest things I have done. They also have pins for graduation and if it's your first visit to Disneyland.
- If you decide to celebrate your Birthday at Disneyland and sit down at a table service restaurant, then tell them it's your Birthday and you will get a fun Dessert.
If you decide to celebrate your Birthday at Disneyland and sit down at a table service restaurant, then tell them it's your Birthday and you will get a fun Dessert.
If you want a Birthday Pin and you are over 14 years old, then you will need to bring an official ID with your Birthday on it. If you are just married, then I would also bring a copy of your wedding certificate, or at least a photo of it to show them.
You can request a FREE character autographed postcard by mailing: Walt Disney Company Attn: Fan mail Department 500 South Buena Vista Street Burbank, CA 91521
You can be the Captain of the Mark Twain Riverboat! Although it is typically reserved for those families with a young child ;) Doesn't hurt to ask the staff if you can!
Learn how to draw your favorite Disney Characters! Yes it's true, you can learn how to draw them at the Disneyland Animation Academy
Ask to ride on the train engines at Disney
Get beads at New Orleans Square
Ask for stickers from Cast Members and you can get the real Wilderness Adventure Sticker as well
There is free Buffet dining for those under 3 years old
Book your Disney Vacation as a package and you can get loads of free items as well
Downtown Disneyland was modeled after a real town in Marceline, Missouri
The Disney family Crest is what is above the gate in Sleeping Beauty's Castle
The drawbridge at Disneyland does actually work but has only been used twice since its inception
For more Disney Secrets, visit Wander Wisdom
Welcome to Culture Trekking!
My name is Janiel, I specialize in solo female travel, cultural connections, sustainable adventures, food and history to help make your travel experiences fun, meaningful, and delicious. My experience in travel, and my personal story have allowed me to get published in Fodor's Travel, Atlas Obscura, Metro.co.uk, Trip Advisor, and multiple Podcast interviews. You can find me on pretty much every social media channel YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok. To read more about me and my story click here. If you are a brand and would like to work with me, click here.