The people who run Disneyland are my kind of people.
Organized, efficient and empowered to make decisions to improve your experience, just about every employee will go out of their way to make your day better. I’m not sure I knew what customer service was until I went to Disneyland with my kids. It really is an experience in satisfaction. If you are planning a trip to Disneyland and wondering how to get the most from your hard-earned cash, here are my top ten freebies that make your Disneyland trip magical! Don’t forget to read my related post: Top Ten Splurges worth your while at Disneyland too!
Top Ten Freebies that make your Disneyland trip magical:
Disneyland is expensive. If you are in the planning stages of your trip, prepare to spend money. Lots of money. That said there are all kinds of ways to save money and take advantage of the freebies offered during your stay.
1. Ask for a celebration button when you arrive: If you are celebrating a birthday during your stay, have the birthday boy (or girl) wear a happy birthday button while in the park. They’ll get happy birthday wishes all day long and maybe even a free dessert! Big Red over in California Adventure Park honked out “happy birthday” to our little guy and it was pretty awesome how many free desserts with candles he got in one day!
2. Study up on how the fast pass system works: It a pretty simple concept. Use your park tickets to get a special return ticket for a later time on certain rides. There are lots of blog posts out there explaining how it all works. Save your time and read this one from Touring Plans.
3. Get up early and use your magic morning pass: If you want to get the most out of your park admission you need to get to the park early and stay to the very end. If you are purchasing a three day or more pass, you’ll get one magic morning pass that allows you to access the rides an hour earlier than everyone else. Use this time to get on the rides that do not have a fast pass option and are consistently busy throughout the day.
4. Watch and participate in the shows. No one does live entertainment like Disney. The shows are extremely high quality and worth scheduling your day around. Look up the entertainment schedule for your dates and make a plan to catch as many of these as you can. Shows are a great opportunity to catch your breath, have a snack, and get out of the sun for an hour or so! If you have any Star Wars fans in your house, be sure to sign your kids up to be a part of the Trails of the Temple Show. Your littles will get to do battle with Darth Vader himself!
5. Ask the photo pass photographers to take a picture using your own camera: Disneyland provides photographers to take pro quality photos that you can buy at the end of your trip, or you can just ask any photographer to take one with your own camera and save the $$!
6. In my post Top Ten splurges worth your while at Disneyland, I recommend buying the photo pass, but if you don’t want to blow the budget on the photo pass, take a photo of your ride photo when you get off Splash Mountain! It’s not a perfect photo, but it captures the moment. When you get off any ride that offers a photo of your splash or screams, there will be TV screens on your way off the ride. Wait for your photo to come up, click a photo of the photo and be on your way!
7. If you bring your own water bottle and snacks into the park, you can ask to have water bottles filled up at any restaurant in the park. No more warm water! This last trip, I noticed an increase in water fountain availability too. The water and beverages in the park are way over-priced. Bring a re-usable water bottle (or two) and drink for free all day long.
8. If you have a smart phone and can purchase a travel pack for your data use, be sure to download the free Disneyland app. It has everything you need to make the most of your stay: Accurate wait times for rides, locations of your favourite characters and where the closest washroom is, in relation to where you are in the park. Disneyland does not have wifi, so you’ll need to splurge for the data, but having this app made a huge difference in our ability to plan our day efficiently while on the go.
9. If you can, book a hotel that offers a free breakfast. You’ll save money and time being able to pop down for a quick bite to eat and everyone starts the day with fuel in their tank.
10. If you can pull your kids from school, you’ll have more time and space to play in the park if you visit during the off seasons. Early September seems to be the “best” time to visit according to the pros. However, we had a very good visit in late August. The weather was bearable, and not too hot. The line ups were reasonable, and the park was still in peak hours mode, which meant we could really get the most hours on site from our admission passes right up until midnight!
And I highly recommend taking advantage of the FREE SHIPPING offer from Mabel’s Labels and pick up a pack of 411 bands before you go. They are an easy and inexpensive way to be sure your child can communicate how to find you if they get lost in the crowds. Have a great trip!