The Park Savers 2022 Disneyland Resort Planning Guide covers everything you want to know about planning a vacation to this fun-filled destination: crowds, dining, best hotels, saving money on tickets and other tips & tricks. We also cover how to get on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance so you don’t leave disappointed. (updated January 2, 2022)
But first, let’s look at how the global pandemic is affecting Disneyland.
COVID-19 AND DISNEYLAND
Going to Disneyland during the COVID-19 pandemic – clearly, these two things do not go together well at all. In fact, COVID-19 kept the Disneyland Resort closed for over a year before it finallyreopened on April 30th, 2021.
When the resort did reopen, several new health and safety measures were put into place, very similar to theWalt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Some, like only California residents being allowed into the parks, are thankfully no longer in effect. While others, like an indoor mask mandate (for guests ages 2 and up) regardless of vaccination status, are still required.
Previously, the parks reopened at 15% capacity, though guest attendance has since largely returned to pre-COVID levels. Having said that, guests are still required to makeadvanced theme park reservationsbefore entering the parks.
For more details on the COVID changes that have happened at Disneyland, be sure to see our completeCOVID-19 Planning Guide.
Currently the only COVID restrictions in place are Park Reservations and masks being worn indoors.
DISNEYLAND PRIOR TO COVID-19
The resort had recently experienced quite the change before being rudely interrupted by COVID. The biggest was Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened its doors to guests in 2019. While that may not seem “recent,” its biggest attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, only opened in January 2020. That’s right, this attraction only saw about two months’ worth of guest time before the pandemic forced the parks to close.
Rise of the Resistance is one of Disneyland’s most immersive attractions and by far one of the most popular. When the attraction first opened, there were no standby lines for guests to enter. FastPass? No way. With this attraction, Disney introduced the virtual queue, a way for guests to “get in line” for the attraction, keep exploring the park while they waited, and then later enter the queue to actually ride.
We realize this sounds a lot like FastPass (and the new Disney Genie+), and it sort of is, but sort of isn’t. While Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections (and FastPass before them) allow guests to come back during a scheduled period and go through a faster queue, the virtual queue only represents a line where all guests must enter. No guests receive priority or a quicker way to experience the attraction. It also keeps guests from just walking up and getting in line.
This was introduced because of the attraction’s popularity (and rightfully so) and will likely continue to be the way guests get to experience it for the foreseeable future. That is, unless the attraction goes the way of its Disney World counterpart and nixes it. So when it comes to planning and hoping to score a boarding group in this virtual queue, you may want to see our guide for getting aguaranteed boarding group for Rise of the Resistance.
Disneyland was also in the middle of several other new resort additions, includingAvengers Campusand a new hotel. While these were all delayed for a time, Avengers Campus actually opened to guests on June 4th, 2021.
The new hotel, which is an extension of Disney Vacation Club, hadn’t made much progress other than being announced and a possible opening in 2022. Our guess is that this has been pushed back to 2023 or later.
Amazingly, Disney even managed to reimagine the Snow White attraction in Fantasyland during the resort’s closure into something magical. With all-new scenes and audio-animatronics,Snow White’s Enchanted Wish is significantly better than its previous iteration, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and guests can finally enjoy the full story of Snow White.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF DISNEYLAND
Disneyland is Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom, opening in 1955 with just one park. Over the years, it has grown immensely (to a certain degree), adding an additional park, California Adventure, in the early 2000s. Disneyland Park’s abundant charm flows through each of the theme park’s lands: Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown, Fantasyland and Galaxy’s Edge.
Most guests find this park to be the most “magical” of Disney’s two California theme parks, with many original attractions like Peter Pan, Snow White, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain, just to name a few.
Directly across from Disneyland is Disney’s California Adventure Park. Initially, the park was built to represent the state of California. After that pretty much failed, it was revamped to make it more “Disney” in 2012 and has since grown in popularity with the help of new lands and attractions.
Some of our reasons for visiting Disneyland over Walt Disney World include:
- Cars Land
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!
- Pixar Pier
- New Orleans Square
- The original World’s Fair version of “it’s a small world”
- The Blue Bayou Restaurant (yes, this makes our list)
- Avengers Campus
- World of Color
NEW TO DISNEYLAND
Besides all the new COVID guidelines we already mentioned, Disneyland saw significant changes to the parks in 2021. The biggest of all of these is the opening of Avengers Campus in California Adventure Park. This new land took the place of A Bug’s Land and will soon connect Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! to the rest of Marvel.
The land features one new attraction, a dining location, shopping and character meets. There is also an impressive “stuntronics” Spider-Man swinging from rooftop to rooftop, which is truly amazing. Additionally, as we mentioned earlier, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish Wish, a classic dark ride in Fantasyland, is also “new” to guests as it received a major makeover inside and out.
It’s exciting to plan a vacation to Disneyland for the first time, but it can also seem overwhelming. Trust us, we get it: You want to see and do it all. It’s a worthy cause and very much achievable for anyone who plans correctly. If you want a detailed guide on how to spend your day(s), you can see our Disneyland Itinerary Guides for more information.
For your initial planning, however, here are the most important things to know about:
- When to visit
- Picking the right hotel
- Saving on your theme park tickets
- Transportation and airfare
- Disney Genie, Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections
- Magic Morning Early Entry and Extra Magic Hour
- Entertainment including parades, fireworks, World of Color and Fantasmic!
Currently, you can purchase tickets that range from one to five days. Depending on how long you want to play, it’s always best to buy as many days as possible, as the price per day drops the more you add. For instance, the 2-day ticket costs about $128 per day, but the 4-day ticket costs about $90 per day. So, the more you play, the less you pay!
Guests can choose from either 1 Park Per Day or Park Hopper tickets.1 Park Per Day tickets give you access to one of the two parks each day of your visit. You CANNOT visit both parks on the same day.Park Hopper ticketsgive you access to both parks as much as you want for the length of your ticket.
We always recommend this ticket as it gives you a lot of flexibility to switch parks when the other is busy. For a great Disney deal, be sure to purchase your Disneyland tickets at a discount with our trusted partner online.
Remember that tickets are only valid for 13 days after first use unless you have an annual pass. Also, tickets cannot be used by different people; the same person must use them on each day of use. Disney takes this very seriously and will revoke your ticket if you’re caught doing this. Only buy your tickets from vendors who are authorized.
For more information ondiscount Disneyland tickets, be sure to read our comprehensive guide so you can save the most money. We talk about many different places, includingSam’s Club,AAAandCostco.
Keep the magic going all year-round with an annual pass, or Disneyland’s Magic Key Passes. These give you one year of access to the parks, some with restrictions and blackout dates. All offer discounts on food and merchandise, tours, and special events.
Pleasevisit here for information on the Magic Key Program, including the four levels of annual passholder membership: Dream Key, Believe Key, Enchant Key and Imagine Key.
It seems like there are a million and one options for hotels at and near the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. The city itself is basically made up of hotels with a few houses and apartment buildings sprinkled in between, so your options are immense. Having said that, there are ones you’ll want to avoid.
Disneyland has three hotels on property, including the Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Hotel and Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. While these hotels tend to run a bit pricier then most hotels near the resort, they also offer a lot of extras for guests like short walks to the parks, package delivery from the parks, and Extra Magic Hour each morning.
Most hotels surrounding the resort (but not owned by Disney) will most likely fall into the Good Neighbor Hotel category. You can read about these and the Disney Hotels inour complete Disneyland Hotel Reviews guide. There are some great ones out there likeDesert Palms Hotel and Suites, Residence Inn Marriott and the newWestin Resort by Marriott.
Three airports service Disneyland within a 45-minute drive or less:
- Orange County– John Wayne SNA
- Long Beach AirportLGB
- Los Angeles AirportLAX
SNAis the closest airport to Disney and typically takes about 15 minutes to drive from there to Disneyland with clear traffic. While the airport is a smaller one, it’s really nice and offers lots of places to eat, shop and, of course, catch your flight. It’s also part of the Disneyland Resort Express motorcoach program, which you can read about below. Airlines include Southwest, Delta, United, American, and Alaska.
LGBis the second closest airport to the resort and typically takes about a 20-25 minute drive with clear traffic. It’s also a smaller airport, but was recently re-done and has some great eating places. Airlines that service Long Beach include Southwest, JetBlue, Delta, and American Eagle.
LAX is the furthest airport from Disneyland and can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to drive. This is a major airport with many airlines servicing it. We won’t list them all, but most likely, your airline will fly into it. It’s great for international flights. LAX is part of the Karmel Shuttle motorcoach program, which you can read more about below.
The best way to score some serious discounts on airfare isto use Google’s Flight Search, which compares most major airlines and allows you to track prices, all for free.
Getting to and from the airports can be pricey, depending on which type of transportation you take.Rental carscan be picked up at all three of the airports around Disneyland. If you choose to rent a vehicle, keep in mind that your hotel may charge a parking fee.
Disneyland also charges a parking fee if you’re thinking about parking at the resort. It’s approximately $20 per day for cars and motorcycles. However, driving your own vehicle or renting one can be a great idea if you plan to leave the resort a lot and head to the beach or other Southern California attractions.
Alternatively, theKarmel Shuttle Serviceis a great way to go from SNA, LGB and LAX to the three Disney hotels and surrounding ones like the Good Neighbor hotels.
Taxis, Uber and LYFTare great options if you don’t want to pay parking and rental fees. We highly recommendUberandLYFTfor getting to and from the airport. They are readily available and cheaper than taking a taxi. Use ourcoupon codesto get your first ride free with both companies!
If you don’t have these apps on your phone, we suggest taking a taxi. Many of them offer a flat rate to Disneyland and back – just be sure to ask them. Likewise, if you’re staying at a Disneyland property hotel, ask the bell desk for a flat rate coupon upon departure.
The key to a successful trip to Disneyland is going in with a plan. Fortunately, Disney’s newest piece of tech, the Disney Genie Service, helps guests to make the most of their days whether they did their research or not. Already launched at Walt Disney World but yet to make its Disneyland debut, this complimentary service will be incorporated into the existing Disneyland app.
Utilizing preferences like your favorite characters or attractions, along with current and anticipated wait times and your location in the park, Disney Genie creates a personalized digital itinerary just for you. This helps you to take advantage of short lines and skip out on rides that may not interest you so that you can make the most of your time in the parks.
DISNEY GENIE+ & INDIVIDUAL LIGHTNING LANE ATTRACTIONS
Unfortunately, you are no longer able to use FastPass or MaxPass to skip the line at Disneyland. Instead, guests will be able to fast-track their trip by purchasing Lightning Lane access. By upgrading their tickets with Disney Genie+ and/or Individual Attraction selections, guests can jump to the front of the line at some of the Disneyland’s most popular attractions.
Disney Genie+ will cost $20 per person per day and cover such popular rides as Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain. Meanwhile, guests will also be able to make Individual Lightning Lane Selections. Unlike with Genie+, you must buy Individual Lightning Lane Attraction access for each applicable ride you’d like to go on. While we don’t yet know how much this will cost, front-of-the-line access to some of Disney World’s rides are going for between $7-15 a pop.This skip-the-line option will only cover two popular attractions at each theme park, such as Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park.
WORLD OF COLOR
World of Color is, quite possibly, the most wonderful show you’ll ever see. With lights, colors, water, fire and your favoriteDisney characters, all set to classic Disney music, honestly, what’s not to like? It’s something you have to experience!
The show will be returning in 2022 for the first time in over 2 years.
Fantasmic! is a nighttime spectacular that takes place around the Rivers of America in Frontierland and New Orleans Square. You won’t want to miss this one-of-kind show starring Mickey Mouse and some nasty villains.
The show includes some of your favorite characters and the Mark Twain Riverboat, singing, dancing, and even fireworks, making it an absolute must-see.
The show will make its return in 2022 after being on hiatus for over 2 years.
PARADES AND FIREWORKS
These change seasonally and yearly, so it’s essential to stay updated on what’s currently being presented at each park.
If you’re looking for fireworks, Disneyland Park is the place to go, as there aren’t any offered at California Adventure Park. Fireworks are typically done later in the evening and are most likely occur on the weekends, though they tend to run more during the summertime and major holidays. Always pick up an entertainment times guide when entering the parks (or check the Disneyland app) so you know when these are.
Parades change often, and each park can have its own. Currently, due to COVID-19, there aren’t any parades at Disneyland and California Adventure. However, A Christmas Fantasy Parade will be sliding down Main Street, U.S.A. starting November 12, 2021. The Main Street Electrical Parade will return in 2022.
Be aware that these types of entertainment are subject to change, mostly due to weather. For example, high winds will cancel a fireworks show, while rain will cancel a fireworks show and a parade.
MAGIC MORNING EARLY ADMISSION
Exclusively for Disneyland Resort guests, this feature comes on 3-day tickets or higher only. It allows you entrance into Disneyland Park one hour before it opens to the public. It only runs on certain days, typically Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. It comes on your ticket.
It is different than Extra Magic Hour (see below) that is offered only to guests of the three Disneyland-owned hotels. Currently this service is not running in 2022.
EXTRA MAGIC HOUR
This perk is only available to guests staying at one of the Disneyland-owned resort hotels including Paradise Pier Hotel, Disneyland Hotel, and the Grand Californian Hotel. Extra Magic Hour is every day at a different park.
It typically follows the schedule of Magic Morning Early Entry, with Disneyland Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. All the other days, Extra Magic Hour is for California Adventure Park.
Times are subject to change, so check with your hotel the night before to verify the time. Take it from us and this Disneyland Planning Guide, Extra Magic Hour is a must-do each day! You’ll get a lot done in just an hour because the park is pretty empty.
Currently this service is not running in 2022.
BEST TIME TO VISIT DISNEYLAND
There’s a lot to be said aboutvisitingDisneyland. Of course, we all want to travel when there are smaller crowds and shorter wait times. But, we also want to go when it’s easy for families to travelandeverything is open. Finding a balance between the two can be challenging, but it’s possible.
Over the last several years, we’ve studied the crowds and have broken down what you can expect each month and when the best weeks are to visit.
In a nutshell, these are the best times to go to Disneyland:
- January & February (minus holiday weekends)
- May (first half of the month)
- September (after Labour Day)
- Early October
- Early November
- Early December
Avoid major holiday weeks like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Summers are crazy because kids are out of school. March and April are full of spring breakers, and late May is full of graduation nights. In other words, any time that’s not convenient for a family to go is the best time to go.
Be sure to read ourBest Time to Visit Disneyland Guideto see what may work for you. You can also check out our freeDisneyland Crowd Calendarsto see which days will be the busiest and which ones will be slow.
Another option is to subscribe to a crowd calendar likeTouring Plans, which has made it their business to project how busy the parks will be, using science! These calendars can be invaluable in helping you to determine the best days to visit.
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- Weekends. The first few weekends may still be busy, but as the month goes on, the parks are lovely and quiet.
Most Common Trip Length – 4 or 5 Days: This trip length works well for most people because you can visit all four Disney World theme parks, even possibly enjoy a second day at a favorite park, and it fits within most people's work vacation limits.How do I make a Disneyland itinerary? ›
- Step 1: Select your park and date you'll visit. ...
- Step 2: Choose your attractions, character greetings, parades and fireworks. ...
- Step 3: Select your meals and breaks. ...
- Step 4: See your plan! ...
- Step 5: Print and go!
A. Ideally, we'd recommend three full days. Two days for Disneyland Park and its five magical themed lands, one day for Walt Disney Studios Park and its four action-packed zones.How much is it to go to Disneyland 2022? ›
A one-day tiered adult Disneyland Ticket Prices 2022 on the Disneyland website ranges from $104 to $164 for Disneyland vacations in 2022 and 2023. Purchased single-day tickets are valid until December 31, 2023. Weekends, holidays, and other high-demand periods have higher ticket prices.How much are Disneyland 1 day tickets? ›
|Ages 3-9||Ages 10 +|
How many days should you spend in Disneyland parks? Though there are just 2 parks at Disneyland Resort, there are still plenty of attractions and things to do. Ideally, you should plan on spending a total of 3-4 days in the parks to cover most everything, including rides, characters, shows, and fireworks.How long is too long for a Disney trip? ›
The ideal length of stay for a Disney World vacation is 6-7 days. This amount of time gives you a balance between going to all the theme parks, exploring other areas of the resort, and having time to relax. Yes, a weeklong vacation more expensive than a 4-5 day trip and it may mean more time away from work or school.How many rides can you do in a day at Disneyland? ›
Although initially, it may seem like an overwhelming task, by planning a trip carefully, guests can ride all 40-plus rides at Disneyland over the course of a single day.Can you bring food into Disneyland? ›
Guests are allowed to bring outside food and nonalcoholic beverages into Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. However, they must NOT be in glass containers, must not require heating, reheating, processing, or refrigeration and must not have pungent odors.
How early should I get to Disneyland? ›
What Time Should I Arrive At Disneyland? We recommend arriving no later than 30 minutes before the park is scheduled to open. We typically arrive 45 to 60 minutes early.Is there an app to plan a Disney vacation? ›
Plan Your Vacation & Enjoy the Parks—from Home!
Organize your plans, purchase park tickets, reserve fun-filled entertainment options and more—all by using the app. Plus, prep for your trip and get the kids excited for visiting with Disney Parks app content: Watch videos. Read stories.
Duration: The approximate duration of the fireworks show is about 20 minutes. Timings: Disney Illuminations takes place at Disneyland Paris every night at 9:30 PM.Which park is better at Disneyland Paris? ›
Disneyland Park is where you'll want to spend most of your time. It has the fairytale castle, classic characters, and plenty of rides and attractions. Walt Disney Studios Park is much smaller and is one of Disney's weaker parks, especially while the current refurbishments are taking place.How much money do you need for Disneyland? ›
Depending on activities, we recommend budgeting $54 to $129 per person per day for transportation and enjoying local restaurants. See below for average, budget, and luxury trip costs.Is genie plus worth it Disneyland? ›
With park hopper tickets Disneyland Genie Plus is absolutely worth the extra money. We routinely ran out of park time, but only rarely ran out of Disneyland Genie+ Lightning Lane options. Disneyland Genie+ also includes PhotoPass downloads for each day you add the service.How much does it cost to eat at Disneyland? ›
However, if you were to based average meals prices based on pre-2020 Disney Dining Plan values, you can expect to pay around $26 per adult and $13 for kids minus any drinks costs for adults. So to sum it up: Adults = $27 per meal (not including a drink) Kids = $13 per meal (including a drink)What is a Tier 5 Disneyland ticket? ›
Tier 5, the second most expensive tier, excludes most Saturdays in July, October, and November, but is ultimately the next best choice in terms of flexibility. The lower the tier, the fewer booking dates are available for guests to choose from (for exact dates, visit Disneyland's ticketing page).Is it more expensive to buy Disneyland tickets at the gate? ›
The price of Disney World tickets is the same, whether you buy them at the gate or online.Are there senior citizen discounts for Disneyland? ›
I'm so glad you stopped by with this question as you look forward to your Disneyland Resort visit! There are currently no discounts for senior citizens (or any other age group) on food, merchandise or theme park tickets.
What is the best time to visit Disneyland Paris? ›
In general, January and March are the best months to visit Disneyland Paris in 2022 if you want to avoid crowds. However, crowds are not as big of a worry as other aspects of your visit, such as available attractions. Having said that, September is also particularly light.How much does a trip to Disneyland Paris cost? ›
The average price of a 7-day trip to Disneyland Paris is $1,633 for a solo traveler, $2,933 for a couple, and $5,498 for a family of 4. Disneyland Paris hotels range from $71 to $504 per night with an average of $132, while most vacation rentals will cost $170 to $420 per night for the entire home.Is Disneyland Paris worth the price? ›
After weighing up all of the experiences we had, I would say, for a Disney an, it's a whole-hearted “yes”! We spent four days there during the Christmas season and really felt like we had time to see it all – if you just have a day trip from London to Disneyland Paris, best to spend most of your day in Disneyland Park.Is Disneyland Paris expensive? ›
Depending on the day you visit, one day/one park tickets can go as low as $63/day. Even peak tickets will run you $101. By comparison, tickets at Disney World start at $109 and go up to $129 on peak days. And for anything more than a two-day visit, annual passes for Disneyland Paris look like a good deal.How many days do you need for Disneyland? ›
How many days should you spend in Disneyland parks? Though there are just 2 parks at Disneyland Resort, there are still plenty of attractions and things to do. Ideally, you should plan on spending a total of 3-4 days in the parks to cover most everything, including rides, characters, shows, and fireworks.What time does the fireworks start in Disneyland? ›
The fireworks show will most often run nightly at 9:30pm. There are no dining packages that coordinate with this show, however, I share how to incorporate fireworks into your Fantasmic!Are there fireworks every night at Disneyland Paris? ›
A. The fireworks display takes place every night at around 9:30 PM in Disneyland Paris.How much does food cost at Disneyland Paris? ›
|Meal in a cheap restaurant||10.00 EUR||9.80 USD|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||40 EUR||39 USD|
|Cappuccino (regular)||3.50 EUR||3.40 USD|
|McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)||10.00 EUR||9.80 USD|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)||5.00 EUR||4.90 USD|
Disneyland Paris is the obvious choice for those based in Europe for two reasons; It's a significantly shorter flight time. This combined with the two parks instead of four and two water parks means it's a significantly more affordable vacation.Which Disneyland is best? ›
- Disney World, Florida. One of the largest and most famous Disney parks globally, the Walt Disney World in Florida, USA is the top attraction on this list. ...
- Disneyland, California. ...
- Tokyo Disneyland. ...
- Disneyland Paris. ...
- Hong Kong Disneyland. ...
- Shanghai Disneyland.
Is Disneyland Paris shuttle worth it? ›
They are relatively cheap, booking is straightforward, and they bring you right to the gates of Disneyland Paris. However, they do have a few downsides. The shuttles are often fully booked, and you have to expect waiting times to load and unload, which can add time to your trip.Can you do both Disneyland Paris parks in 1 day? ›
Yes and no. Disneyland Paris has two parks – Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park – but neither is as large as Disneyland in the USA. It's not even close to Walt Disney World. You can hit the highlights of both parks at Disneyland Paris in one day.How much does it cost for a family of 4 to go to Disneyland? ›
|One-day, two-park ticket||Least expensive ticket price||Most expensive ticket price|
|Age 10 and over||$169||$244|
|Age 9 and under||$163||$234|
|Total cost for a family of four||$664||$956|
The short answer: Walt Disney World in Florida is much bigger and gets better reviews than Disneyland Paris. However, Disneyland Paris is much easier to reach from the UK. During August, Disneyland Paris is considerably cheaper and is a nicer temperature.Is 1 day in Disneyland Paris Enough? ›
A. Ideally, we'd recommend three full days. Two days for Disneyland Park and its five magical themed lands, one day for Walt Disney Studios Park and its four action-packed zones.