10 Things To Know Before Visiting Disneyland Resort in California

Disneyland California , California , Shortlists
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Planning a trip to Disneyland Resort in California? We want to make sure you have the best holiday possible by being prepared for all the attractions, entertainment, and experiences you can enjoy during your visit, so here are our top ten things to know before you go: 


1. There are two theme parks 

Disneyland Park is the park that started it all back in 1955, the original Disney Park and the only one seen by Walt Disney himself. This park is home to Sleeping Beauty Castle, and plenty of classic, fan-favourite attractions like Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and “it’s a small world”. 

Disney California Adventure Park came to Disneyland Resort almost 50 years later in 2001 bringing some big thrills with it! Today it is home to must-do attractions, many of which can’t be found in any other Disney Park, including Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, and Radiator Springs Racers.

All our Disneyland Resort in California tickets include access to both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, with park hopper and one park per day options available. 


Two young girls dancing with Minnie Mouse on the steps of her house at Disneyland


2. There’s a shopping and dining district too 

Downtown Disney connects the Disneyland Resort hotels with the theme parks, but anyone can visit for some shopping, dining or entertainment. You won’t even need to use your park ticket. This area has shops selling Disney merchandise like World of Disney and Star Wars™ Trading Post, as well as brands like Sephora, Sunglass Hut and The LEGO Store. There are also dining options to suit everyone, from quick snacks and sandwiches to full sit-down dinners.


3. There are three regular nighttime spectaculars

The magic doesn’t end when the sun sets! Each night (subject to weather and seasonal events) guests can choose between three nighttime shows across the two parks, so if you’re visiting for a few days we would recommend trying to catch all of them! 

Disneyland Park 

  • Wondrous Journeys - this show uses projections and music to showcase 100 years of Walt Disney Animation on Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street, U.S.A., and the facade of “it’s a small world”. Guests in front of the castle will also see some incredible fireworks to make things even more special! 
  • Fantasmic! - this show features live performers, water effects, projections and pyrotechnics to tell a magical story straight from Mickey Mouse’s dreams. You’ll be able to spot some of your favourite Disney Characters from films like Tangled, The Lion King and Aladdin

Disney California Adventure Park 

  • World of Color - ONE - this unique show uses water fountains and projections to show how one action can make a big difference, featuring scenes from Star Wars™, MARVEL, Pixar, and Disney classics. Most weekends there are two showtimes, giving you even more chances to see this incredible show. 


Disney Characters riding on an old fashioned riverboat with brightly lit up fountains in the background


4. And a daily parade 

Each afternoon, the streets of Disneyland Park are filled with even more music and magic than normal, as the colourful cavalcade that is the Magic Happens parade makes its way from Fantasyland to Main Street, U.S.A.. As you dance along to the contemporary soundtrack you’ll see fabulous floats featuring Characters including Moana, Miguel, Anna and Elsa, Merlin, and of course Mickey Mouse. 


5. There are lots of seasonal events throughout the year 

Most of the attractions and entertainment on offer at Disneyland Resort in California are available for you to enjoy all year round, but depending on when you’re visiting there may also be limited-time seasonal events that you won’t want to miss. There’s the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival in the spring, Oogie Boogie Bash in the autumn, and ‘After Dark’ events throughout the year. Some of these events are included in the cost of your park tickets, but some require a separate ticket so make sure you check in advance. 

Guests visiting Disneyland Resort now through August 4th 2024 can experience Pixar Fest across both parks, with a daily parade, nighttime spectacular, Character encounters and special food items. 


A family posing with Joy and Sadness from Inside Out at Pixar Pier


6. There’s a whole land dedicated to Star Wars 

If you’re a big Star Wars™ fan then you’ll want to head straight to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge® in Disneyland Park. This fully immersive land will transport you to the planet of Batuu, where you’ll truly feel like you just stepped straight into one of the Star Wars™ films. There are two attractions; Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, two quick-service dining locations; Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, a lightsaber workshop, droid depot, and themed shops and stalls throughout the land. 


A young boy walking onto the Millenium Falcon Smugglers Run attraction


7. There’s something for the MARVEL fans too 

Over in Disney California Adventure Park, Avengers Campus is a whole land based on everyone’s favourite Super Heroes. As the newest Avengers recruits, you’ll be put to the test on WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! (previously the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror). There are also Character encounters at Avengers Headquarters and the Ancient Sanctum, while dining options include Shawarma Palace and Pym Test Kitchen, where PYM Particles have caused all the food to shrink or grow! 


Three women looking up to superheroes scaling a building at Avengers Campus


8. You can buy your park tickets in advance 

You wouldn’t go on holiday without booking your flight in advance, so why would you risk doing that with your theme park tickets? Booking your Disneyland Resort in California tickets in advance means you can secure the best price and the best availability. This also allows you to add Disney Genie+ (Disney’s skip-the-line system) to your tickets if you so choose. Availability for this service is limited and can sell out so you might miss out if you wait to buy it on the day. 

Booking in advance also allows you to get exclusive added extras; when you book with AttractionTickets.com you’ll receive 10 free souvenir prints with your tickets as a memento of all the magical memories you made during your visit. 


9. You need a Park Pass Reservation to enter the parks

Once you have your park tickets, you will also need to make a Park Pass Reservation to access the theme parks each day. If you have a multi-day ticket, you will need to make a reservation for each day of your stay. If you have a park hopper ticket, you should make a reservation for the park you want to visit first - you’ll then be able to hop on over to the other park anytime after 11am. 

To make your park reservations you will first need to link your tickets to your Disney account. Take a look at our top tips for visiting Disneyland Resort in California for a step-by-step guide on creating your account, linking your tickets and making your reservations. 


People riding IncrediCoaster at California Adventure Park


10. You can make dining reservations from 60 days before your visit 

There are all kinds of grab-and-go and quick-service restaurants throughout Disneyland Resort in California, serving everything from pizza and pasta to tacos, salads, and even pot roast. These meals don’t require any reservations, but if you want to dine at any of the Resort’s table-service or buffet restaurants we’d recommend booking your table in advance. This can be done on the Disneyland Resort website or using the Disneyland Resort app up to 60 days before your visit. 

While you might be able to get a table on the day, if there are any must-do dining locations on your itinerary you don’t want to risk them being fully booked. This is particularly important if you’re wanting to do any Character Dining, as these are incredibly popular experiences. 



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Disneyland California , California , Shortlists