We decided to fly down to Southern California last week for our summer vacation and of course, if I’m in SoCal, it’s pretty much a given that I’m going to Disneyland! And with the recent opening of Galaxy’s Edge, there was no chance we’d miss out on that!
I was pretty concerned that the park would be ridiculously crowded, especially with Galaxy’s Edge just newly-opened, because July is the peak of the summer. But luckily the park wasn’t as busy as predicted. In fact out of all the times we’ve visited recently (trips in March, May and June) last week’s visit was probably the least crowded! I’d really recommend taking a last minute trip to Disneyland if you can swing it this summer!
We had a packed itinerary consisting of a road trip and some serious beach time, so we only had one day to spend with Disney (usually we spend at least 3 days there). So I went into full on research and planning-mode, determined to fit everything we needed into that one day. At the top of the list? Galaxy’s Edge!
- Watch all the movies to get your kids reacquainted with the Disney characters. I really wish we had watched Star Wars again before we visited this last time. I’ll be sure to plan that out before we go next time!
- Download the Disney App now and start playing around with it, so you understand how to use before you enter the park.
- Make your dining reservations as soon as possible! Especially for Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge. It’s the only place in Disneyland that serves alcohol. Definitely a must-visit.
- Stay at one of the Disneyland properties if you can swing it. That way you can take advantage of Extra Magic Hour (EMH aka early access). EMH has an advantage over Disneyland Magic Morning (DMM) because you can go to both parks. And California Adventure has more attractions open during that early hour. Disneyland will only have Fantasyland & Tomorrowland open. If you do decide to stay at a Disney property be sure to book through Get Away Today for an amazing package deal. They’ve been a Disneyland partner since 1990 and beat pretty much any price out there. And you can use my promo code CopyCat10 for additional $10 off. They also have layaway plans!
- If you can’t stay at a Disney property, stay at a hotel on South Harbor Blvd like this Best Western Plus which is right across the street from the Disneyland entrance.
- And speaking of park tickets, you’ll be getting Park Hopper tickets, so you can enjoy both parks for the day. You’ll also need to get the MaxPass hands down, you’ll need it to make one day, for both parks, work. Plus you’ll get a free photopass along with it!
- Get in line Early! At least an hour. It makes all the difference! Skip breakfast at the hotel. Time is of the essence. Grab a couple of bananas or pastries from the breakfast buffet and you can eat it while you’re waiting in line for the park to open. We usually hustle to get our spot in line, then my husband will hit up the Starbucks or La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney for coffee and breakfast eats.
- If you’re only spending one day in the park, you won’t want to waste anytime heading back to the hotel. Bring everything you’ll need for the whole day with you. While you’re waiting in line for the parks to open you can rent yourself a locker. We put our jackets, light up mickey ears, spare socks and eventually our Fantasmic dining package cushions into a large locker so we wouldn’t have to carry that stuff around in our backpack all day. Or if you have a little one, you could rent a stroller and store your stuff that way.
- Getting there early gets you into the park early. Then you’ll and line up in the streets for the rope drop at the official opening time. Best part about this is that as soon as your ticket is scanned you can reserve your first FastPass before the park is even open. As soon as the clock strikes
midnightopening, start your hustling!
- Mobile Ordering! This was brand new since the last time we visited. It’s a whole new world ya’ll. It’s amazing. I was able to grab my favorite Dole Whip on the go when headed to Galaxy’s Edge. So fast and so easy! Use the Disneyland App to place your order then head on over when you’re ready to pick it up. Double check if mobile ordering is available every time you’re thinking about eating. It will make life easier I promise!
You can print or download my One Day Disneyland and California Adventure park itinerary here!
What to Pack?
This time around we visited in the height of summer. It was 95 in the park that day and it was HOT. Here are some things I made sure to wear/pack/have available to keep our cool!
- A fun new Disney shirt to wear. With the grand opening of Galaxy’s Edge this girls Star Wars Resistance shirt was perfect.
- With Disney’s MaxPass and mobile ordering accessible with the Disney App, it’s more important than ever to make sure your phone stays charged. This Anker battery charger is a workhorse and has all the power you’d need, both my husband and I have one.
- I’m a fan of buying the Mickey ears ahead of time. That way you have them ready to go AND you can find some really unique styles. It’s always great to stand out in the crowd 😉
- These comfortable sandals are the perfect shoe to wear to Disneyland in the summer. Perfect for hot weather and quick to dry. I like the fact that they’re simple and modern looking as well.
- This is technically a kid’s pack, but it’s a great quality smaller backpack with a great hydration feature. I like to fill the hydration bladder up 3/4 of the way then put it in the freezer – just make sure it’s laying flat. Then take it out in the morning (it should be frozen) and add a bit more water to it. That way you’ll have some water to drink while the rest of it defrosts. Wrap it in one of these cooling towels to absorb the moisture and put it in your backpack. Keeps your water cold as well as your back!
- Bandaids. Always a must-have in case of blisters. This time around I had to use several. Luckily everyone else was ok, but we’ve never had a Disney trip where someone didn’t need these at some point.
- Wipes. These always come in handy and great because these are Disney-themed as well!
- Phone wallet or clutch. My husband usually carries the family backpack, but I like to have my phone easily accessible. This clutch is too adorable to resist.
- Mickey ears on a straw sunhat, what’s not to love?!
- Always keep sunblock on you to reapply regularly. We love this brand.
- A light jacket or sweatshirt is definitely needed after the sun goes down. It’s amazing how much it can cool down. This retro design calls to me!
- These cooling towels are so key when it’s super hot out. See #5 for how I use it in our pack. It’s also great to wet and drape around your neck to keep cool.
- I mentioned this in my Tips section under #1. Watch all the movies beforehand to get ramped up for your trip!
- I recommended ponchos in my last Disneyland guide because they’re perfect for those water rides. I like these ones better because they’re reusable as well as come with a little pouch.
- I’m so getting these small fan misters for our next summer Disney trip! We had a larger scale one that the kids fought over. These smaller ones are perfect because everyone could easily have their own.
- I like to keep one of these magnetic phone mounts in my travel case to use with rental cars.
- Hotel rooms never have enough outlets to use, so this Anker USB charging hub is always in my travel case as well!
- Love the color and subtly of this Spiderman Shirt!
- You can bring food into the parks, so I always make sure to find Disney-themed snacks to make it next-level.
- A good Disney mug is always the perfect keepsake to bring home from the parks. This Star Wars Resistance mug was the perfect way to remember our first trip to Galaxy’s Edge.
Oh and one last thing and it’s an important one. We visited Goofy’s kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel the morning AFTER our day at the parks. This is the perfect way to end your Disney vacation, because it’s the perfect way to prolong the magic just a little bit, before you head back to real life. And it’s great because you can really sit down, relax, eat, visit with the characters and enjoy yourself without feeling rushed to hit the parks. I highly recommend doing this!
Stay tuned for more posts from our road trip as I unload all the things! And don’t forget to check out my other Disneyland travel guide post as well. Together these two posts have all of my advice on Disneyland travel. It’s amazing how much things can change in a year, but there are still so many relevant tips!
Huge thanks to Disneyland for providing two 1-day park hopper tickets to visit!