Once upon a time, Anaheim, for a major city, had minimal restaurant selection, but the big town has added a wonderful, popular array of establishments since the turn of the century.
Check my Ana restaurant tips for local options. However, here I list common chain restaurants I would recommend, within and outside of the Disney Resort:
Roy's Restaurant (Fine Hawaiian/Pacific Asian- fantastic happy hour)
McCormick and Schmidt (Seafood- great happy hour)
IHOP (America's fave pancake House, 2 separate 24 hour locations by Disneyland on Harbor Blvd.)
Mimi's Café (French/Euro influenced American food)
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse
Bubba Gump (Seafood with much love of Forrest Gump)
in the D-Land/Convention area by going to 7-11. Get your fix on junk food, and some surprisingly better food options, as well as shop for some less expensive Disney souvenirs (may include Mickey/Minnie ears, key chains, hats, glasses and toys).
The major 7-11 stop is at 611 West Katella, right at the corner of Harbor Blvd. Super, super busy but it is organized here. The location does have some solicitors at times and "shady" people hanging out there at times but surely safe and very efficient. Quick service food is replenished regularly since there is so much tourist traffic.It is a full scale 7-11 that offers a deluxe selection of food/drink and branded items (i.e. sliced pizza. Not all 7-11s have this). Get typical 7-11 food/drinks like the classic Slurpee drink, usually under a buck; "Big Bite" hot dogs are a steal for about $2; 2 for $2.22 snacks like the stuffed food rolls (with chicken, beef or cheese). Donuts and other sweets are under a buck and "gourmet" items like fresh deluxe sandwiches, mixed salads and pre-package sushi are $5 and under.
For a family of four that doesn't care about 4 star dining, you can get away with spending about $20-$25 on 7-11 food and drinks. That range would be a good challenge within the Disney Resort. For a single convention goer, the difference of a similarly selected quick meal at the convention and the convenient store could easily be $5-$10 bucks!
*Also down by the Gardenwalk is the 7-11 at 101 West Katella location. Also busy, not like the former though, and a "shade less, shady :-)"
It seems that Disneyland and Los Angeles are synonymous in the mind of many visitors. Actually Disneyland is not in the city of Los Angeles, nor even the county of Los Angeles.
Disneyland is located south of LA in the city of Anaheim in Orange County. In fact, in Anaheim, the main attraction is Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and the Disney Resort. It takes more than a one day visit to see and do it all in Anaheim. My favorite memeory is that I live near enough to have had the chance of visiting Disneyland more times than I can count. Each visit there is something new to discover, even for me.
Here is a small map showing the main attractions in the cities of Anaheim and Buena Park. Just in case you have the time.
there are many parking areas around the Disney Resort, like the designated huge disney parking areas, the disneyland hotel parking area and downtown disney parking area.
Parking at Downtown Disney is free for the first 3 hours in the Downtown Disney District parking lot. An additional 2 free hours can be added with validation at AMC Theatres or at select table-service dining restaurants. Each additional hour costs $6, charged in 20-minute increments. The maximum parking fee is $30.00.
Valet parking is available from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. for $6. The valet price is in addition to any parking fee, bringing the maximum fee with valet up to $36.
Theme Park Parking
Please follow all "Theme Parks" signs to the combined parking areas for both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park.
$15.00 for cars and motorcycles - purchase theme park parking online
$20.00 for oversized vehicles, motor homes and tractors without trailers
$25.00 for buses and tractors with extended trailers
Parking structures for the theme parks open one hour prior to the published Disneyland Park opening time. On days featuring Magic Morning Early Admission, Mickey & Friends parking structure opens 90 minutes before the published Disneyland Park opening time. Check the latest Disneyland Resort Park Hours.
The following forms of payment are accepted at Disneyland Resort parking facilities:
Cash (bills up to $100 accepted)
Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, JCB and Diner's Club
Disney Reward Visa Card or Disney Rewards Redemption Card
Disney Gift Cards
Pre-paid parking vouchers
Fondest memory: Theme Park Parking – Cars and Motorcycles $15.00
there are free disney trolleys at the parking areas that transport you to downtown disney and back from opening till closing time.
One advantage at the Disneyland resorts is that they have their version of the Front of Line Pass, called the FAST PASS, which unlike at the Universal Studios, where you have to pay more for the front of the line pass, here at the Disney Resorts (Disneyland and California Afventure), FAST PASS is included in the ticket price at no extra cost. The only drawback here is that you have to find the FAST PASS automated ticket counters located near the attractions and get a ticket which shows the schedule you are allowed to enter the attraction using the front of the line. Also, walking a lot to get the separate fast pass tickets around disneyland and california adventure will cost you valuable time too.
Fondest memory: A tip:
get a fast pass ticket on your favorite long waiting time rides like the Grizzly River, Star Tours, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, etc, then plan ahead while waiting on the scheduled time of admittance to these rides like going to the less popular attractions and rides and riding these less popular attractions first.
Having a Carl's Jr treat in the home of Carl!
Anaheim is the physical and sentimental headquarters of the beloved Carls Jr fast food restaurants. The founding family of the chain restaurant, the Karchers, is quite famous locally with the late patriarch Carl Karcher, having appeared on advertisements.
Carl's Jr is popular along with McDonalds, Burker King, Jack in the Box and other fast food restaurants with hamburgers as the main menu item. Burgers from Carl's are char-boiled and fairly distinct in overall taste (at least burger lovers here do tell a difference!).
There are about 10 Carl's Jr restaurants in Anaheim and several throughout California. The headquarters of the company is at 401 Carl Karcher Way, and a nearby restaurant is along busy Harbor Blvd.
Allow a little indulgence of mine here :-) :
Nowadays, I rarely order a burger, but every now and then I go for one. Much more though, I love to get the Santa Fe char-grilled chicken sandwich, arguably the best, close to gourmet chicken sandwich one can get at a fast food joint! Though much on a fast food menu is not so healthy, one has to give some kudos for this sandwich to be featured. For one, the bun is wheat bread over white. Also, the char-grilled children is better than the greasy fried chicken. Lastly, it has a big grilled green chile for the southwest "Santa Fe" flavor. There is a zesty southwest sauce and cheese added to it as well but the cheese can be left out and the sandwich still has great flavor.
This is just my personal guide for getting affordable discounted tickets to Disneyland, and I will be updating this as I find more deals.
Normally, the ticket is anywhere from $70-80 on line to one theme park at Disney (there are four theme parks). Looking for discounts for one-day visits is a bit difficult, unless you have a coupon or maybe a discount from the back of a can of soda. I thought AAA (American Automobile Association) members get discounts at the gate, but we did not get any and we were told discounts for AAA members were only given on-line.
Buying multiple days' worth can save you as much as 50%, but then most of us just go for a day and not a whole week.
If you booked a hotel near Disney, chances are they might offer discounted tickets - so call ahead. If not, Costco members sometimes do offer discounted prices. But remeber that discounts in Costco and AAA offices are usually several-day-packages (3 days of staying at least).
If it's your birthday and you registered on-line, you can be free (as of 2009)- check if any changes for succeeding years.
Good on-line resources:
When trying to decide where to stay, where to fly into, etc here are some things to bear in mind:
Sales tax is slightly lower in Orange County than in Los Angeles County. This won't make any noticeable difference when you're buying, say, lunch, but will make an impact on the final bill of, for example, your hotel room or rental car.
Also, speaking of sales tax, just an FYI - there is no sales tax on necessary food, i.e. food at the grocery store. Fast food restaurants do charge tax but if you buy bread or something at a grocery store or market you will pay the base price. Sales tax here is not reflected on the price tag. If something costs $5.99, when you take it up to the counter you won't pay $5.99 (unless it's food) but around $6.50-7.00. Bear that in mind when budgeting.
If you fly into Orange County you'll fly into the John Wayne Airport (aka the Santa Ana or Orange County airport). Compared to other airports worldwide, this is a relatively small airport but compared to the other airports in this area it is a medium-sized airport. There aren't many direct flights but mostly flights to connector cities such as San Francisco or Denver. It may be more difficult to arrive via John Wayne Airport but if your base is going to be nearby it may be worth the effort. Arriving into LAX is always a hassle and once you get out of the airport, you're in for a long drive to get to OC. The smaller airports - Long Beach, Ontario, Burbank - are going to be even more difficult to get a direct flight into.
Orange County is divided up into 4 basic sections. One is south OC, which is closer to San Diego and definitely not ideal for a base if you plan on visiting Los Angeles. The other three areas are divided basically according to the freeways that run through OC. The beach area is between the water and the 405/22 freeways. This would include the cities of Seal Beach, Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach/Costa Mesa, & Laguna Beach. Seal Beach is at the OC/LA county border & has a nice small town feel. Sunset Beach is even smaller and doesn't have the main street shopping district that Seal Beach has. Huntington Beach is larger and much busier but does have some shopping as well as great beaches and the Bolsa Chica wetlands. Newport Beach is more upscale - shops, hotels, etc. are more expensive here and there is a great outdoor mall called Fashion Island. Costa Mesa, just north of NB would be a little less expensive and also has a terrific shopping mall called South Coast Plaza. Laguna Beach is more along the lines of Newport - expensive but very beautiful. This town and anything south of there (Laguna Nigel, Dana Point, etc.) would also fall into the category of most likely being too far to make a base if you wanted to visit Los Angeles more than once (and there's really too much to see in LA to fit into one day trip).
North of the 405 but south of the 91 is the central area with cities that have the main tourist attractions - Anaheim & Buena Park. Further east are also the cities of Santa Ana, Orange, & Irvine. All three of these cities have their own attractions, just less popular than the big draws of Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and the sports & concert venues. Orange has a great old town district with lots of antique shops and some terrific restaurants like The Filling Station and the historic Watson's. Santa Ana has some good museums. Irvine has the Spectrum, an average shopping and entertainment area.
North of the 91 fwy is North Orange County with cities such as Fullerton, Brea, & Yorba Linda. Fullerton has a quaint downtown area with shopping and restaurants as well as a state college campus and a train station. More on this later. Brea has some nice shopping. Yorba Linda has Nixon's Presidential Library & Birthplace.
When trying to decide where to stay, if you want to make OC your base, you need to bear some things in mind. The more expensive hotels are going to be along the coast and in & around Disneyland. Alternatives - if you want to be near the beach - would be to try Seal Beach or Costa Mesa; if you want to be near Disneyland, try Fullerton.
When trying to decide on a city, also bear in mind that the 405 & 5 fwys (the 5 cuts diagonally through the county) will take you directly to LA. The 22 and 91 fwys will not. From the 22, you would need to transition to the 405. The 91 would require a change at some point - the 405, the 5, the 110, or the 710. When considering safer places to stay, most of the cities I suggested would be fine with the exception of Santa Ana. There are some tough areas in that town.
Also consider traffic when deciding on a base location. As I mentioned before, Huntington Beach, especially on weekends and in the summer, can have horrendous traffic. Fullerton around the state university can be terrible. Costa Mesa south of the freeway and north of the beach, especially around an area called "Triangle Square" can be unbearably slow going.
Fullerton has the previously mentioned train station. This can be helpful for visits to LA, Santa Barbara & San Diego. The train goes frequently and is fairly resasonably priced, depending on where you want to go. This makes a day trip to San Diego, for example, much easier without having to change hotels.
For more information on the area, check my similiar write up for Los Angeles.
October will be a bit nippy but with baby blankets for the children and a good sweather/coat it will keep them warm.
There is no way you can possibly enjoy the rides on both parks, Disneyland as well as DCA had added more rides. You need at least two days. Having ages 2 and 9, we would recommend just Disneyland as DCA would really be for teens however, yet they do have rides for your children's ages however, not as many as Disneyland as it's originally was designed for that ages of your children. You know, you are allowed to bring in drinks, just make sure they are not containers made of glass, they should all be containers in plastics. You too are allowed to bring your snacks, sandwiches. Bring extra clothes are there are water rides which your young children can enjoy but will eventually need to change so they won't catch colds. One advise, be at the gate as early as possible so you can all have all the exciting rides. When when younger children, try to start from the furthest ride and walk towards the exit door...meaning go to the end of the park and start your ride specially where the long ques are found, or the most popular rides are. Enjoy the happiest place on earth!
Fondest memory: SPEAKING TO ALL THE FAMOUS CHARACTERS! MICKEY, GOOFY, DONALD DUCK AND ALL OF THE CHARACTERS!
The second time I ventured to Disneyland, I purchased the book "The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland" before I went. I think you can find this book at pretty much any book store or from an online book store. I ordered it online from Amazon and paid roughly $15 CAD for the 2007 version. You can sometimes find used copies of older versions on Amazon for less than that, or maybe you can even find a copy at your local library.
Fondest memory: This book is a really great planning tool. It contains information on Disneyland, DCA, Downtown Disney and Universal Studios Hollywood. It describes every ride and show in every park, gives the general age ratings for each ride and show, suggests the best time of day to go, and also has some great information about the park in general, hotels in the area, public transit and general costs for a day in the park. There is also a map of each park in the book.
The book does a really good job of explaining how the Fast Pass system works, and they offer 1 and 2 day suggested itineraries for each park. They even have a different itinerary for people going to the park with children vs without.
We followed their suggested 2-day itinerary and we were at the park the week before Christmas, which is a really busy time for Disney! We rarely waited in line more than 30 minutes, and we saw everything we wanted to see and then some. We were able to do every ride we wanted to, and even had time to go back and do our favorites multiple times. It really is that good.
When you consider the money you will spend on a trip to Disney for you and your family, I really think that $15 or $20 for a valuable planning tool is money well-spent.
Whilst this is not a favourite thing, I did not know where else to put this piece of information. However it would be favourite with parent's as there is a lot of walking around for toddlers to do.
There are Strollers and Wheelchairs available for hire, as too are Braille guidebooks.
More information on this at the Information Centre just inside the entrance.
I once checked out a video entitled something like 'Disneyland Tourist Techniques' from the video section of my local library (which left 'The Sound of Music' which I didn't dare touch). Surprise! It actually had some useful tips for taming the wild beast that calls itself 'Disneyland.' Here they are to fulfill all you dreams:
1) Get there promptly when the park opens. Better yet, stay at the Disneyland Hotel and get into the park an HOUR before opening time. That's right folks!
2) Save the best for FIRST.
Go to the biggest, most popular rides first--saving the beginning of the park for later. While everyone is still hanging around Main Street near the entrance, you'll be scootin' yer little heinie onto the seats of the best rides in the park--with virtually no lines! All the suckers who save the big rides for later will have to stand for an hour or more in lines a mile long--literally, a mile long!
3) Go AGAINST the flow. When the herd stampedes in one direction, run in the opposite direction. If they seem to go counter-clockwise around the park, go clockwise and vice-versa. This way you'll avoid the most miserable areas of 'traffic' and you will have a relatively peaceful time.
4) WATCH YOUR BACK! (This is a tip of my own).
The last time I went to Disneyland I almost got 'mugged' by a girl with a toy gun. I was standing in a wild-west store full of overly-priced useless souvenirs, when I heard some slight creaking on the wooden floor behind me. I turned around and saw a teenage girl sneaking up behind me with a toy pistol that makes a loud noise. Can you believe that! She was gonna make me jump, startled. Well, when I turned around she turned really red in the face and ran off giggling. What was she thinking?! Maybe she thought I was cute or somethin'. The moral of the story folks? YOU NEED TO WATCH YOUR BACK EVEN AT DISNEYLAND!
When visiting Disneyland, you absolutely must get the 'Fast Pass' provided that there's a lot of people there. If you don't get those fast pass, you'll be spending most of your time waiting in line which can dreadfully take up to two hours for just one single ride.
Fondest memory: Meeting Mickey, Minnie, Pooh, Goofy, Donald, and the whole lot. Pooh is shoooo cuddleeyyy He's shooo shooofttt awwwww
Fondest memory: No, I've not been to Disneyland Or Knott's Berry Farm (in nearby Buena Park) or to any of the attractions. But I've certainly enjoyed the sun of Anaheim! I keep returning to a large event at the Anaheim Convention Center -- the largest on the West Coast of the US
The parking fee is 12Dollar for a day.A train brings you very comfortable to the entrance.But it is also only 15minutes to walk to the entrance gates.
Fondest memory: Disneyland