We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
Disneyland has evolved a lot over the years. While all of the new reservation systems can feel overwhelming, armed with some important knowledge, your trip can still be a magical time for you and your family! While the learning curve is definitely challenging at first, I have found that when you lean into the new technology, it can actually make your trip run a lot smoother! Here’s everything you need to know to make your to Disneyland trip feel both seamless and magical!
2023 is a great year to visit, because Disneyland is celebrating 100 years of the Walt Disney Company which means there are some new festivities and fun food available at Disneyland. You can book a discount Disneyland vacation through my friends at Get Away Today, they always have the best package and ticket prices for Disneyland vacations. Right now they are offering an EXTRA day free at Disneyland, you’ll get five days at the Disneyland parks for the price of four. Plus, while I am visiting the parks Get Away Today is offering double the usual package discount. Use the code THRIVING20 on your discounted Disneyland package to save an additional $20 off, code is valid 3/29-4/1. Here are some of the events and happenings at Disneyland for 2023 that you don’t want to miss:
Lunar New Year Celebration: January 20 – February 15, 2023
Disney100 Celecbration: January 27, 2023 Disneyland is celebrating 100 years of the Walt Disney Company. This celebration will bring new entertainment like the World of Color One & Wondrous Journey Fireworks Show. And food…there are always new treats when Disney celebrates. So fun!
Opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disneyland: January 27, 2023
Disneyland’s French Market Restaurant and the Mint Julep Bar will close: February 17, 2023: They are expected to reopen later this year, after having been re-themed around “The Princess and the Frog”.
Magic Happens Parade returns: February 24, 2023
California Adventure Food & Wine Festival: March 3 – April 24, 2023 – A family fave!
Toon Town Reopens: March 19, 2023
Grad Nights at Disneyland: (May 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 25, 30 & 31 and June 2, 4, 7, 9, 14 & 16, 2023)
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort: TBA (Usually 2nd week in Sept – October 31). Halloween time also bring the Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure select nights (these sell out quickly)
Holidays at the Disneyland Resort: TBA (Usually 2nd week in November – first part of January).
Below you will find everything you need to know to make your trip to Disneyland as easy and as magical as possible. If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to ask!
At Home: Making Reservations
In previous years, visiting Disneyland was as simple as purchasing tickets and showing up at the gate. Now, there are a few additional steps to take. To ensure the parks don’t become overpopulated on any given day, guests are now required to create reservations. When purchasing your tickets online, you will be prompted to choose which days you are planning to visit the parks. On each day of the calendar, there will be an icon, indicating which park still has availability for your desired day.
You will then be prompted to choose your starting park for each day. If you selected ‘One Park Per Day’ tickets, you will spend the entire day in the park you choose. If you selected ‘Park Hopper’ tickets, this is the park you will start your day in.
All About Park Hopping
Disneyland Resort has two different parks: Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure Park. If you choose ‘Park Hopper’ tickets, you will start you day in one park, but after a certain time, you will be able to move over to the other park. You will then be permitted to go back and forth between the two parks as much as you want for the rest of the day. January 1 – February 3, that time will be 1:00. Starting February 4, it will change to 11:00. This ability costs an extra $60 per ticket, regardless of how many days you will be visiting the parks.
The alternative is ‘One Park Per Day’ tickets. These are the baseline Disneyland tickets, and if you purchase these, you will spend your entire day at the park you start out at.
At Home: Restaurant Reservations
Most sit-down restaurants at the parks require a reservation to accommodate their growing interest. Reservations open up 60 days in advance and tend to fill up quickly. I recommend setting a reminder on your phone for the day they open up so you can try and nab those spots in time! To make your reservations, go to Disneyland.com, hover over ‘Things to Do’, and select ‘Make Reservations’ under ‘Dining’.
At the Park: Mobile Ordering
While your park tickets and dining reservations will be handled ahead of time, there are a few tools that you can use during your time in the parks that will help make your day go even smoother! You will need to download and login to the Disneyland app to access these features.
The first feature is Mobile Ordering! The lines for quick service food stands can get very long. Fortunately, the Disneyland app has a free feature that allows you to order your food ahead of time and pick up at a special window, skipping the line altogether. You can place these orders on your mobile phone via the Disneyland app by clicking the plus sign on the bottom of your screen and selecting ‘Order Food’.
At the Park: Lightning Lanes & Genie+
You can also utilize a feature called Genie+. This is similar to the old MaxPass system, if that is at all familiar to you. Genie+ is a paid service that allows guests to select specific return times for a ride. When you make a Genie+ reservation, you will be able to bypass the standby line and enter a Lightning Lane that has a capped capacity, ensuring a faster wait time. This service costs an additional $25 per person per day, but I believe is well worth it if you are going during peak season! You also have the option to purchase Genie+ at the same time you purchase your tickets.
You can also purchase access to an Individual Lightning Lane. These apply to one specific ride and are a separate, additional charge for some of the most popular rides. Guests can purchase a Lightning Lane pass for up to 2 attractions per day. You do not need a Genie+ service to purchase these.
Individual Lightning Lanes can be purchased for Rise of the Resistance, located in Disneyland Park, as well as Radiator Springs Racers and WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, located in California Adventure. Price and availability will range by date and attraction, but will land somewhere between $7-$20 per ticket. You can purchase your Lightning Lane passes upon entering the theme park on the day you intend to use them. To do so, open the Disneyland app, click the plus sign at the bottom of the screen, and select ‘View my Genie Day and Tip Board’.
At the Park: MagicBand+
MagicBand+ is another unique service, designed to create more convenience during your visit. This is a service that has been available at Walt Disney World for a few years now, but has just recently made its way to the west coast park. However, only MagicBand+ is supported at Disneyland. MagicBand and MagicBand 2 are only usable at Walt Disney World. Your MagicBand+ is a wearable band that allows you to:
- Scan into the parks
- Check in at Lightning Lanes
- Link PhotoPass Photos to your account
All of these functions are accomplished simply by tapping your wrist against the reader. (Instead of scanning either physical or virtual park ticket barcodes.) Another unique ability of the MagicBand+ is to enhance your experience during select nighttime spectaculars. Your band will glow and pulse along with the show.
MagicBand+ designs can be purchased either online at shopDisney.com or in select shops located at Disneyland Resort, with prices starting at $34.99. After purchasing, you will link them to your account through the Disneyland app. This is an added expense that isn’t necessarily needed, you can just as easily skip the MagicBand+ and use the app.
Have a Magical Day!
I know that our first (and subsequent) family trips were incredibly memorable, and I can only imagine the same will be the case for you! If you’re ready to book your trip, click here to get started! Get Away Today is how we have booked the majority of our Disneyland trips. Get Away Today has several money-saving packages available, as well as discounted Disneyland park tickets too! If you book a package, use the code THRIVING10 to save an additional $10.
For even more Disney magic, tips and tricks, check out the following posts: