12 nifty hacks for your next Disneyland vacation

You won't want to go to Disneyland without reading this.

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  • Disneyland is something everyone needs to experience at least once.

  • Use these 12 Disneyland hacks to make the most of your time and money while you're there.

  • 🎀💘#paris #disneyland #emlék #disneylandmemories #disneylandtickets

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  • 1. Buy your tickets beforehand

  • If you buy your tickets ahead of time, tickets for kids ages three to nine cost less and children under three get into the park for free.

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  • I recommend purchasing at least a 3-day pass as well as park-hopper tickets that include Magic Morning. This combination allows your family the most freedom.

  • 2. Include parking passes

  • If you drive to the park, make sure to buy parking passes when you buy your tickets. You can purchase them directly on Disneyland's website. A code will be sent to your email that you can easily access with your smartphone, which the parking attendant will scan to let you in.

  • 3. Go NOW

  • If you have been wanting to take your family on a Disneyland vacation, now is the time go.

  • Ticket prices are sure to rise in the months leading to the opening of Star Wars Land. Disneyland's 60-year celebration has ended, so most of classic Disneyland (fireworks, parades, shows, etc.) has returned for the time being. But some things are changing forever.

  • The Tower of Terror in California Adventure will close for good in January 2017 for its Guardians of the Galaxy renovation.

  • 4. Know your way around the parks

  • Large crowds swarm Disneyland no matter the time of year. Learning how to navigate those crowds is practically an art form.

  • Begin your day in Adventureland and work your way clockwise around the park. The wait times for Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion are shortest in the morning (5-10 minute waits).

  • The entrance to Tomorrowland gets extremely crowded, making it easy to lose younger kids. So, utilizing the clockwise method by entering Tomorrowland via the Matterhorn will help you navigate the crowd easier.

  • This method also allows parents with young kids to hit Fantasyland early. Fantasyland remains busy all day, especially since the rides close early for the fireworks.

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  • 5. Take advantage of Magic Morning

  • Tickets with Magic Morning allow you entrance into the park one hour before it opens. However, only certain park sections are open like Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

  • 6. Be smart about Cars Land

  • Cars Land is the newest attraction in the park, so it will be the most crowded. The wait time for Radiator Springs Racers will be at its lowest in the morning. Kids love this ride, so make it the first ride of the day. On your way to it, pick up a FASTPASS for a later ride. (These FASTPASSES run out early in the morning.)

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  • 7. Use the Disneyland app

  • The Disneyland app has an interactive park map with park hours and show times. And it provides current wait times for all of the attractions.

  • Use the app to seek out the rides with the shortest wait times. There are random times of day when popular rides have short lines.

  • Additionally, the app lists all of the characters who will appear that day, where they will be in each park and what times they can be found. And it even lists restroom locations.

  • 8. Plan for character and dining experiences

  • The easiest way to meet characters is to make a reservation for a character dining experience. Some character dining restaurants are more affordable than others. Minnie & Friends - Breakfast in the Park includes not only a personal interaction with Disney characters but also an affordable, delicious breakfast.

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  • 9. Use your FASTPASSES wisely

  • FASTPASSES are one of the most magical things at Disneyland. There's nothing like walking past a 90-minute line and getting on a ride in 10 minutes.

  • Your FASTPASS will tell you the time you can get another FASTPASS - typically an hour later. Depending on your return time, you can have more than one in your pocket. Additionally, the FASTPASS system between Disneyland and California Adventure isn't connected, so you can have a FASTPASS from each park simultaneously (another perk of having a park hopper ticket).

  • Popular rides like Radiator Springs Racers and Space Mountain run out of FASTPASSES quickly, so make sure to grab at least one of those. Also get FASTPASSES for your favorite rides that have longer wait times. The Matterhorn, It's a Small World, and all Fantasyland rides do not have FASTPASSES, so plan accordingly to wait in line for those.

  • 10. Go to the shows

  • Stake out a spot early for all shows. If you wait until minutes before the show starts, you won't get a good spot.

  • You'll want to FASTPASS World of Color. Grab the World of Color FASTPASSES early because they run out quickly. This FASTPASS works differently than the others because it's your ticket for a good spot to see World of Color and does not affect when you can get another FASTPASS. It will assign you a section to view the show; however, you'll still want to arrive early because it is general admission.

  • 11. Take breaks when you need them

  • This is perhaps the most important Disneyland hack of them all. In all the hustle and bustle involved with Disneyland, it's easy to get caught up in the craziness and get lost in the huge crowds. Find an empty bench or quiet spot to sit with your family and just take a break. Trust me, you will need to rest your feet from all of the walking, waiting and standing.

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  • One time my family and I had a long wait between our next FASTPASS time. We were exhausted from the go, go, go. So we found a bench, had two rounds of ice cream, chatted and played together. Out of all we did during the entire Disneyland vacation, this was one of our most memorable experiences.

  • 12. Put family first

  • Most of all, remember to put your family first. Money doesn't make memories. The little moments you spend together are the ones you'll remember most.

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Callie has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading. Some of her favorite things include Harry Potter, all things Disney, road trips, and telling stories.

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