Some of those old, tried and true Disneyland tips won’t help you now—it’s time for the 25 most important Disneyland tips for returning to the theme parks in 2022 and into 2023.
If you’ve read up on Disneyland vacations from various sources, chances are you’ve ran into some things that are no longer relevant in 2023. Keep reading to get the scoop.
Disneyland is always changing things, sometimes the old way doesn’t always work anymore. Sometimes the old way was just fine but Disney decided to change it anyway. I’m here to share what you need to know before you go, which tried and true Disneyland tricks still work and what new features you can expect.
Disneyland Resort is open every day of the year with all of your favorites! But new ways of doing things are shaking up the laid back days of the past, including theme park capacity restrictions and many paid upgrades.
Through the basics and beyond, we have even more Disneyland tips for you to explore in this article. Here are the most important Disneyland tips for 2023.
Plan Almost Everything in Advance
Disneyland has always been called a locals park. But locals continue to move toward other area theme parks with every new price increase and calendar restriction. This type of operations means everyone, including Magic Keyholders, now need to plan almost everything in advance.
1. Buy your tickets in advance. Don’t show up to Disneyland on a random Saturday with your family in tow. You need to buy your tickets in advance. The best way to get your Disneyland tickets is at a discount with my partners here.
2. Secure your Disneyland reservation in advance. You can’t go whenever you please or just drop in for a bit after work like old times. Disneyland capacity is enforced by the reservation system, but is now operating at full capacity. See my Disneyland capacity estimates here.
3. Save the most on hotels by booking in advance. Conventions, school breaks and more mean that booking early will help you save the most. See some of my favorite hotel reviews here and save now.
4. Book table service dining in advance. I always recommend a sit down dining reservation for each day you’re in the parks. It really helps you to regroup, reset and enjoy the atmosphere. Use my referral link to get free dining alerts from MouseDining, no need to stalk the Disneyland App for openings.
5. See which rides and shows are closed in advance. It’s always disappointing to see some of your favorite attractions are closed during your visit, but I think knowing beforehand can help squash most disappointments. Check out my list of what’s closed here.
Before Your Disneyland Visit 2023
6. Download the Disneyland App. Grab the official Disneyland App, there’s so much it can do for you! And you’ll need it for things like mobile ordering, Disney Genie+ and joining virtual queues, which we’ll discuss next.
7. Add your credit card or payment method to the Disneyland App. Then get accustomed to using the app for placing mobile orders. It’s much like any other mobile order food app . You can test it out now, look at menus and add selections. Just don’t go so far as paying for your meal.
8. Buy Disney gift cards at a discount. I love using gift cards, you can use them for so many things and even save 5% with this trick.
9. Learn Disney Genie+ system. FASTPASSES are in the past, virtual queues come and go. You might be feeling like you have to learn Disneyland all over again. You kinda do. Here’s what Disney Genie+ is all about.
10. Buy and Set up MagicBand+. This optional gadget makes some things simpler. I explain it all in this article and tell you where to grab yours before your trip.
Morning of Your Disneyland Visit
Maximize your time at Disneyland Resort with a morning plan. Quickly review the first 10 most important Disneyland reopening tips for 2023, then come back here.
11. Bring your tickets and screenshot them too! Only guest with tickets and confirmed reservations will be admitted to the park. Be sure you have required documentation to gain entry. I use my tickets in the app but have a screenshot (favorited) pic as back up. Sometimes the app kicks you out at the worst moments! I now enjoy having my ticket connected to my MagicBand+ for easier entry.
Keep reading for more of our most important Disneyland 2023 tips.
13. Pack a portable charger. Some things never change. Your phone will be in use a ton at Disneyland and a portable charger will be your friend. I like using FuelRods so I can swap them out at Disneyland.
14. Know your parking options. Quick theme park parking is a must! Be sure to check this parking article for quick access to Disneyland, plus parking discounts.
15. Prep for security screenings. Everyone goes through a security check before entry. This means a full search of your bags and strollers. Be ready with everything unzipped and leave any banned items at home.
During Your Disneyland Visit 2023
Even if you have visited Disneyland in the last year, there’s plenty that has changed. Here are a few tips to help you during your Disneyland day.
16. Don’t rely on FASTPASS or Free Disney Genie. It’s all about the new Disney Genie+ and you’ll need a solid plan for what you want to ride and when.
If nothing else, go land by land and take your time working your way through Disneyland and California Adventure since there’s no longer any need to run from place to place to make it for a return time.
17. Utilize Disney PhotoPass. PhotoPass photographers are all over Disneyland Resort. It’s one of my favorite ways to get awesome family photos. PhotoPass includes access to their special “Magic Shots” throughout the resort. Plus, these pictures are included with Disney Genie+.
18. Keep your eyes open for favorite characters. There will be lots of opportunities to take pictures with Disneyland characters as long as you know where to find them. Use the app for character locations and see where I like to meet up with them here.
19. Health restrictions are no longer in place. The last health restriction policy was updated on Feb 17, 2022. Masking is not required, but some choose to mask on occasion and that’s totally acceptable. There are still lots of hand sanitizer stations throughout the resort and tons of places to dine outdoors.
20. Mobile order for optimal eat times. Yup, grabbing a churro on the go to your next ride IS happening. Dive in to your favorite Disneyland snacks here. Plus, place you meal orders via mobile order earlier in the day to secure a desirable time for your family to eat. Here’s the HOW & WHEN of this food hack.
More Important Disneyland 2023 Tips
In the past, it took time or money to get the best seat in the house.
I am all about that upgrade when it comes to things that really matter like the World of Color Dessert Party (took so much convincing from you guys on this one!) and front row seating for things like Fantasmic and my favorite Disneyland parades.
21. Lighting of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park. Each night Sleeping Beauty Castle comes even more alive when the lights come on. Be there right when they come on (ask a Cast Member or check the app for current time) or stop for more pictures in front after the lights are on.
22. Lighting of Cars Land at sunset in California Adventure Park. Every day at sunset, the lights come on and the familiar tune of “life could be a dream” (Sh-boom by The Crew Cuts) plays over Car Land. Arrive in the land a few minutes before sunset for this magical event. If you miss it right at sunset, it’s still plenty worth stopping by.
23. The lights and sights throughout Disneyland Resort at night. My favorite spots at night time? Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland, the colors and lights are stunning. The rock work in Batuu near the Millennium Falcon, especially when fireworks return.
And over at California Adventure, nothing beats Cars Land but peeking into Avengers Campus from there is fantastic too. Another spot I love at night—Pixar Pal-A-Round, gorgeous photo spot!
24. New character sightings. We talked a bit about characters in the section above, but this is a great opportunity to see even some rare characters at Disneyland Resort. And even better news, you won’t have to invest much time to see them. Be sure to check the Disneyland App for new experiences popping up like in Avengers Campus.
25. Special surprises, both given and received. Have you heard the term Magical Moments or Cast Compliment? Magical Moments are special, pixie-dusted happenings that seem to appear out of nowhere at Disneyland Resort. They can come from a Cast Member, a Disney character, another guest or even YOU! Yes, you.
Many people love to buy a ballon and give it as a gift to someone else or pay for someone’s popcorn behind them in line. Make magic happen and enjoy your Disneyland vacation a bit more.
For Cast Compliments, it’s easy! When a Cast Member goes out of their way to make your day magical, shout them out on social media. Just tag or PM Disneyland’s official social media channels and use the hashtag #CastCompliment, then share your story about how a specific CM made your day.
After months of closures and furloughs, they deserve to know how much we’ve missed them!
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2023 is certainly a year of excitement and new beginnings, especially with the kick off of Disney 100 Years of Wonder! Let’s keep in touch so I can keep adding and refining my list of the 25 most important Disneyland tips for 2023.