These are the things you'll wish you had known ahead of time such as which rides are closed, where you should have bought your tickets, etc.
* Only children under 9 can wear costumes into the park.
* Rides may be closed for maintenance, so prepare yourself (and your kids) or even change your trip dates if your favorite ride will be out of order. To view a list, go to the Disneyland website, click "Calendar", enter the dates of your visit, and click "Get Schedule". Or call (714) 781-4565 and and press 5.
* The biggest bang for your buck is CityPass if you want to see more than just Disneyland. The CityPass includes:
o A 3-Day Park Hopper to Disneyland and California Adventure
o A one-day ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood
o A one-day ticket to SeaWorld San Diego
o A one-day ticket to your choice of either the San Diego Zoo
or San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park.
You'll save 30% over buying those tickets individually. Woohoo!
* Pre-program local numbers in your cell phone such as your hotel, taxi, Disneyland's lost and found (714- 817-2166), etc.
* Anyone 10 or older pays adult admission for Disneyland tickets. Children under 3 get in free, and children ages 3-9 pay child rates.
* Birthday guests can't get free admission to the parks anymore. That deal ended on Dec. 31, 2009. But they still offer some special treatment! See the next tip.
* Birthday guests can get a phonecall from Goofy at City Hall and a sticker so everyone knows it's their special day. (After you enter the park, go to the first building on the left.)
* Shop at the local Target on Harbor Blvd. for snacks and bottled water before your vacation to Disneyland. You'll save precious space in your already-crowded car or suitcase. It's about 3 blocks down from Disneyland, which is about a half-hour walk or a few minutes' drive.
Parents of toddlers may even want to pick up an inexpensive umbrella stroller: If you're going to be at the park a couple days, it's cheaper than renting. You can pass it off to a stranger at the end of your trip and make someone's day. :)
* Order a free Disney DVD from the Disneyland website. It's got info on rides, planning guides, lodging, things to do, and upcoming special events. (Only available for U.S. and Canada residents.)
Get 3 Disney Movies for $1.99 Each, Free Shipping!
* Rent the Disney classics for young children before your trip. The park is even more fun if kids are familiar with important Disney characters. I doubt my kids would have been as excited about the Flying Dumbo ride or Casey's Circus Train had they not seen the movie.
Check them out for free at the library or get 3 movies for $1.99 each and free shipping from Disney's Movie Club website.
* Bring a sweater and extra socks. Even if the weather is warm, a wet ride and/or early evening can make you cold. You can put them in the lockers outside the entrance. (Lockers cost between $7 and $15 per day, depending on the locker's size.)
Take it one step further with this tip: Cindy from Clovis, CA stashes Uggs (warm fuzzy boots) in a locker. After a whole day of walking, she slips them on and is ready to enjoy the evening with fresh warm feet!
* Pack a lunch. You're not allowed to bring it into the park but you can keep it in the lockers outside the entrance and eat at the tables nearby.
* Bring bottled water. Vending machine water and soft drinks are $2.75 each which really adds up. Plus, you can't bring bottles onto rides so you end up throwing most of them away.
* Bring healthy snacks for your kids and have them carry them in their own fanny packs. You'll need to find these "healthy snacks" before your vacation to Disneyland, because there won't be a ton of choices once you're there!
* Pets can stay in air-conditioned kennels outside the main entrance.
* Call Disneyland directly at 714-781-7290 if you have specific questions. You'll get a real person.