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Disneyland at a Glance: The Lowdown on Ticket Prices, Best Rides, Best Food, More | Frommer's Disney Parks

Disneyland at a Glance: The Lowdown on Ticket Prices, Best Rides, Best Food, More

Headed to Disneyland, one of the most famous vacation destinations in the world? From Disneyland’s ticket prices those world-famous Disneyland’s rides, from how to find current Disneyland maps to the lowdown on Disneyland prices, here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit to The Happiest Place on Earth.

Where is Disneyland?

The original Disneyland theme park is about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles, Southern California, in the city of Anaheim.

The resort near Orlando, Florida has a different name: Walt Disney World, which was named in honor of Walt Disney in 1971, after his death.

(Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park)

Where is Disneyland located? Can I drive there?

The Disneyland Resort, which includes Disneyland Park, is right beside the I-5 freeway / interstate in Anaheim, Southern California. Traffic there can be slow during the day, so give yourself extra driving time—but at least there are no tolls on the 5. 

You can use the exits for Disneyland Drive, Harbor Boulevard, or Disney Way, and follow the signs for parking. Once you’re inside the resort complex, where is Disneyland located? That part’s easy: Both theme parks are on the resort grounds, right next each other, and can be reached by free tram or shuttle bus from the parking areas. You can park once and walk for the rest of your visit.

(Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure park)

Where is Disneyland’s Disney California Adventure?

Disneyland Resort has a second theme park, Disney California Adventure, that shares an entry plaza with the original Disneyland Park. (It was built on the original parking lot for Disneyland.) 

The two theme parks are just a few dozen steps away from each other and you can switch between them within a minute or two as long as you purchase a Park Hopper ticket (see below). It probably would not be possible to ride everything in both parks on a single day.

How many Disney parks are there?

In California, there are two: Disneyland, which was the very first Disney park, and Disney California Adventure.

In Florida, there are four parks at the Walt Disney World Resort (Magic Kingdom,Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom).  

Outside the United States, Japan has two Disney parks (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea), France has two Disney parks (Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park), there’s one in Shanghai, China (Shanghai Disneyland), and one in Hong Kong, China (Hong Kong Disneyland).

So how many Disney parks are there altogether? Six in the United States and 12 worldwide, not including water slide parks (there are two of those, in Florida: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach).

(Sleeping Beauty Castle under construction at Disneyland in 1955)

How old is Disneyland?

Disneyland park opened on July 17, 1955, making it the first Disney park in the world and the only one that that opened within Walt Disney’s lifetime. How old is Disneyland’s second park, Disney California Adventure? It first opened on February 8, 2001, on Disneyland’s former parking area.  

How much is parking at Disneyland?

Not cheap! We’re talking Disneyland prices: $30 per car or motorcycle at the two main parking areas, the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals Parking Structures (which are conjoined) and the Toy Story Parking Area. If you have an oversized vehicle, motor home or tractor (without a trailer), you may only use the Toy Story Parking Area and you will pay $35. For a bus or tractor (with extended trailer), parking is $40, available at the Toy Story Parking Area only. Parking in “Preferred” spaces that are closer to the free tram shuttle are $50 per vehicle. There are elevators in the Mickey & Friends and Pixar Pals Parking Structures.

How much is parking at Disneyland if you book in advance via the Disneyland site? The price is the same, so you won’t save money booking ahead. You probably won’t even save time, since everyone has to wait in the same queue to enter.

(Disneyland’s Pixar Pals parking structure is attached to the Mickey and Friends parking structure, and both are accessible by escalator and elevator.)

Guests with disabilities may use special disabled parking at no extra charge, but a valid disabled parking placard or license plate are required to be shown at the parking gate. To charge an electric vehicle at Disneyland’s parking, you must sign up in advance for a ChargePoint card

Disneyland ticket prices

Disneyland ticket prices are always high, but they are different from day to day according to how busy the parks are expected to be. The good news is that means there are days on which you can save money.

The resort posts an annual calendar of Disneyland ticket price s that change each day. The cheapest Disneyland ticket prices are for days the resort calls Tier 1, which are the least busy. 

In 2023, the cheapest Disneyland ticket prices on Tier 1 days are $98 for kids aged 3 to 9 and $104 for anyone 10 or older. That gets you into one park per day—you must choose either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure. (Yes, special Disneyland ticket prices for kids are no longer possible after age 9—after that age, you’re considered an adult.) For the lowest Disneyland ticket prices, choose a Tier 1 day.

These Disneyland ticket prices are for a single park:

  • For Tier 2, Disneyland ticket prices are $113 for kids and $119 for adults.
  • For Tier 3, Disneyland ticket prices are $127 for kids and $134 for adults.
  • For Tier 4, Disneyland ticket prices are $141 for kids and $149 for adults.
  • For Tier 5, Disneyland ticket prices are $150 for kids and $159 for adults.
  • For Tier 6, the busiest days of the year, Disneyland ticket prices are $155 for kids and $164 for adults.

(Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance)

For tickets that allow entry to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in the same day, an add-on that’s called Park Hopper, the following Disneyland ticket prices apply:

  • For Tier 1, Disneyland ticket prices are $158 for kids and $164 for adults.
  • For Tier 2, Disneyland ticket prices are $173 for kids and $179 for adults.
  • For Tier 3, Disneyland ticket prices are $187 for kids and $194 for adults.
  • For Tier 4, Disneyland ticket prices are $201 for kids and $209 for adults.
  • For Tier 5, Disneyland ticket prices are $210 for kids and $219 for adults.
  • For Tier 6, Disneyland ticket prices are $215 for kids and $224 for adults.

Holders of Park Hopper Disneyland tickets may switch parks beginning at 11am. 

It’s important to remember that after you pay Disneyland’s ticket prices, you still have to make a mandatory (but free) reservation at the parks for the day(s) you want to go. That’s a separate step from ticket purchase. 

You can make a Disneyland park reservation by creating a free account on the Disneyland website or free app and then using the Disneyland park reservation calendar, which covers both theme parks at the resort.

The phone number for Disneyland tickets is 714/781-4636.

(A room at the Disneyland Hotel.)

All about the official Disneyland hotels

There are three hotels at Disneyland. In order of exclusivity, they are Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and the Pixar Place Hotel (formerly known as Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel). None of the Disneyland hotels are particularly affordable, but they’re popular because they allow guests to easily walk between all the attractions without having to drive. All three Disneyland hotels take advantage of the pleasant Disneyland weather with large, family-friendly outdoor pools. Many other non-Disney hotels are located just outside the resort’s limits.

The phone number for all Disneyland hotel reservations is 714/956-6425.

When did Disneyland open the Disneyland Hotel?

The historic, 990-room Disneyland Hotel opened on October 5, 1955. However, it was originally owned by an outside company that was friendly to Walt Disney.  Disneyland did not acquire the Disneyland Hotel until 1988. The hotel rooms that date to 1955 have since been torn down and replaced.

Since 1959, the Disneyland monorail has taken Disneyland Hotel guests into Tomorrowland, inside Disneyland park, via a station near the eastern entrance of the Disneyland Hotel. Find the Disneyland Hotel on the Disneyland map, here.

(The evening World of Color show at Disney California Adventure is accessible via a side door available to guests of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.)

When did Disneyland open the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa?

The luxury, 750-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, where guests may use a special side entrance that directly leads into Disney California Adventure theme park, opened on January 2, 2001. Its lobby, in a soaring atrium that recalls the great lodges of California, is one of the most beautiful of all the Disneyland hotels. Find Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel on the Disneyland map, here.

When did Disneyland open the Pixar Place Hotel?

The third hotel at Disneyland, the 481-room Pixar Place Hotel at the Disneyland Resort, opened in 1984 as the independently owned Pan Pacific Hotel. In 2000, Disney bought it and renamed it Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. In 2022, Disney announced the hotel would be renamed the Pixar Place Hotel. The Pixar Place is the only one of the Disneyland hotels that does not provide a special entrance into either Disney park, and it’s the only one of the official Disneyland hotels that requires guests to cross a busy road to reach the parks. The other two Disneyland hotels are fully within safe pedestrian areas. Find the Pixar Place Hotel on the Disneyland map, here.  

What are Disneyland’s hours?

Generally speaking (opening times change daily), Disneyland’s hours tend to be from around 8am to 11am or midnight, and the parks are open seven days a week, 365 days a year. (When the park first opened, it was closed two days a week!)

Disneyland Resort posts a calendar of the opening hours at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure at   

In addition to the Disneyland hours, that calendar will also tell you when events such as parades and fireworks are scheduled, and which Disneyland rides and restaurants will be closed for refurbishment.

The hours at Disney California Adventure may not be the same as the Disneyland park hours—it usually closes an hour or two earlier.

One warning about the Disneyland hours: Sometimes the parks will close for separately ticketed events in the evening. Those special Disneyland hours will be forewarned on the official calendar. Make sure that if you want to have fun in the parks after dark—and see the fireworks or World of Color nighttime shows—that the Disneyland hours on your day include the evening, otherwise you might have to pay a second ticket price to be able to stay.

(The exterior of the famous “it’s a small world” ride. The animated clock comes alive at the top of each hour.

The Disneyland rides

At Disneyland, rides are actually called “attractions”—and there are a lot of them. In fact, there are about as many rides in the two California Disney parks as there are in the four Florida Disney parks put together. That pleasant Disneyland weather makes it possible for outdoor roller coasters and Disneyland rides to operate most of the time without shutting down for inclement conditions.

Full list of Disneyland rides at Disneyland Park:


(Find the full Disneyland map for Disneyland park at this link.) 

(Snow White’s Enchanted Wish)

Full list of Disneyland rides at Disney California Adventure:


(Find the full Disneyland map for Disney California Adventure at this link.) 

(Radiator Springs Racers)

Where can I find a Disneyland map?

You’ll find a free Disneyland map on the Disneyland app, which can be downloaded for free to your smartphone. The app also lists the current estimated wait times for all Disneyland rides.

You’ll also have the chance to pick up a free paper Disneyland map when you enter either park—look for racks of Disneyland maps just past the ticket turnstiles. In Disneyland, maps are beside the tunnels under the railroad tracks. Tip: Those Disneyland maps make for great free souvenirs.

The resort also posts an always-updated Disneyland map online at its website. Find the one for Disneyland Park here, and the one for Disney California Adventure here.

(Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure)

Is there free Wi-Fi at Disneyland?

Yes, there’s a free Wi-Fi signal at both Disneyland parks and in all the Disneyland hotels. The network name is DISNEY GUEST.  The signal is not always reliable indoors.

More Disneyland prices (stroller rental, etc.) at a glance:

$18 for a single stroller, $36 for a double stroller. Lockers are $7 to $15 per day, depending on the size. 

Manual wheelchairs can be rented for $15, and ECV vehicles cost $60 a day. 

All of the above rentals can be made at the front gates of both theme parks.

What are the Disneyland Genie Plus rides?

Genie+ is an optional paid add-on to your base Disneyland ticket that allow you to make one timed reservation per ride and wait in a shorter line. Disneyland prices its Genie Plus service at $25 and higher per day (more on busy days), and it can be purchased on the same day as your visit using the Disneyland app.

Disneyland has less space than Florida’s Walt Disney World , so not every famous ride has the room to create a Genie Plus line. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan’s Flight are not Disneyland Genius Plus rides even though they're two of the most popular rides, so think carefully before whether it’s worth it to purchase Genie Plus at Disneyland.

(The Haunted Mansion)

The Genie Plus rides (subject to change) at Disneyland are Autopia, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones Adventure, “it’s a small world,” Matterhorn Bobsleds, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Star Tours—The Adventures Continue, and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

The Genie Plus rides (subject to change) at Disney California Adventure are Goofy’s Sky School, Grizzly River Run, Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT!, Incredicoaster, Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sully to the Rescue!, Soarin’, Toy Story Midway Mania!, and WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure.

A few rides offer optional prepaid entry in a shorter line using a separate system called Individual Purchase for Lightning Lane, or Individual Lightning Lane. These are not considered part of the Disneyland Genie Plus rides, but you can pay separately to join a short line for them: Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and Radiator Springs Racers. 

Disneyland prices its Individual Lightning Lane entry tickets between $12 and $25 per person, per ride on a typical day—are you sure you don’t want to save that money by simply waiting in the regular line? 

Another warning about Genie Plus at Disneyland: On busy days, if you don’t start using it near the park opening time, you won’t get as much use out of it. If you’re beginning your visit in the late morning or mid-afternoon, Genie Plus may not be worth it, especially considering how many rides are not included. (At Walt Disney World in Florida, Genie+ is more useful.) 

The phone number for troubleshooting the Disneyland Genie Plus service is 714/781-4636.

(Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance)

Which are the Star Wars-themed Disneyland rides?  

There are three Disneyland rides based on Star Wars: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Star Tours—The Adventures Continue, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. They are all in Disneyland park. The Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area is also in Disneyland Park.

Which Disneyland rides are original from opening day in July 1955?

Although most have been altered or moved since opening day, the original Disneyland rides are Autopia, Disneyland Railroad, Jungle Cruise, King Arthur Carrousel, Mad Tea Party, Mark Twain Riverboat, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, and Storybook Land River Boats. The Casey Jr. Circus Train opened two weeks after the grand opening, so it is considered one of the original Disneyland rides

Which Disneyland rides have drops?

The Disneyland rides with drops are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Star Tours, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (at Disneyland park), and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. At Disney California Adventure, the Disneyland rides with drops are Goofy’s Sky School, Grizzly River Run, Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT!, Incredicoaster, Jumpin’ Jellyfish, and the swinging cars of the Pixar Pal-a-Round. The drops are usually mild. 

Of those, the only Disneyland rides with what we’d call take-your-breath-away drops are Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT!, and Incredicoaster, although the sensation on the swinging cars of the Pixar Pal-A-Round can feel alarming. 

Wherever Disneyland rides have truly intense drops, the drop will be visible to guests from the outside, before the line begins, so that it won’t come as a surprise.  

( Donald Duck at Mickey’s Toontown in Disneyland Park )

Which Disneyland rides go upside-down?

No Disneyland rides go upside-down except for Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure—so don’t worry too much about losing that expensive Disneyland food that you buy. 

Which Disneyland rides spin in a circle?

If you get dizzy or sick moving in a circle, we recommend you skip the following Disneyland rides: Astro Orbitor, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind, Mad Tea Party, Golden Zephyr, Grizzly River Run, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Silly Symphony Swings, and of course, the two merry-go-rounds. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree spins, but its variable motion doesn’t usually induce nausea in guests.


(Outdoor dining at Disney California Adventure)

How much is Disneyland food? What about those Disneyland prices for food?

It’s true: At Disneyland, food is as expensive as the other parts of a visit. Disneyland prices its meals at about $8 to $14 per plate if you go to a counter-service restaurants. Fountain beverages are $5 to $6.  

If you choose to get your Disneyland food at a restaurant with table service, prices go much higher: around $30 to $45 per plate.  

How much is Disneyland food for kids? 

At quick-service counter locations, a kid’s meal is $8 to $11 and typically comes with healthy sides like mandarin orange and applesauce plus a choice of small low-fat milk or small bottle of water. Children’s meals come with a drink but adult meals do not.

(Jungle Cruise)

How do I make reservations for Disneyland restaurants?

Disneyland restaurants book up fast. Reservations open 60 days in advance and can be made on the Disneyland website or via the Disneyland app (click here to get it on Google Play). There is a $10 fee for no-shows, but you may cancel reservations up to 2 hours ahead. The phone number for Disneyland Resort dining reservations is 714/781-3463, but that is only for table-service restaurants, and Disney prefers that you make reservations online. 

If the Disneyland restaurant you want to visit is full, ask if there is a wait list of for walk-up guests. Also check the Disneyland app during your visit—if there’s a wait list, an option to join the waiting list may appear there, although you might have to be physically near the restaurant to be allowed to join.

For counter-service restaurants, guests may place advance mobile orders starting early in the morning. On busy days, it’s wise to plan hours in advance, because mobile order time slots can fill up.

Character Dining, which is a meal where costumed Disney characters interact with you and pose for pictures while you eat, are not as common at Disneyland as they are at Florida’s Walt Disney World, but inside the theme parks, they are often available at Plaza Inn for breakfast. Advance reservations are essential, and slots open 60 days ahead. 

The current list of Character Dining at Disneyland can be found at this link

(Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge)

What is the most iconic Disneyland food?

In recent years, the Disneyland food scene has been changing. To attract repeat business from locals, the resort frequently offers a long list of seasonal or changing dishes, including at temporary food festivals, so a dish you eat one month many not be available the next. Some Disneyland food, though, is beloved enough to always be on the menus.

Fried chicken dinners , served with mashed potatoes, green beans, and a biscuit, have been served at the Plaza Inn since Walt Disney’s day, making it one of the most beloved and longest-running Disneyland food options. The tradition has long roots in Southern California—Disney competitor Knott’s Berry Farm got its start in the 1930s serving fried chicken dinners. At Plaza Inn, there’s usually a line out the door. Disneyland prices this dinner slightly higher than dinners at other counter-service locations: about $20 per plate.

If you ask 10 people their favorite Disneyland food, you’ll probably get 10 answers (the popcorn is very salty, but delicious), but it’s safe to say that the iconic Disneyland foods also include meat skewers at Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland; Mickey-shaped beignets and non-alcoholic Mint Juleps in New Orleans Square; Ronto Wraps in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge; and churros of different flavors at carts spread around the parks. 

Another Disneyland food that fans love are the hand-dipped corn dogs , sold at a cart near the Plaza Inn, at Stage Door Inn in Frontierland, and near Goofy’s Sky School in Disney California Adventure. You’ve also probably heard about the enormous, brine-soaked Turkey Legs , which are also sold at several locations in the parks and are hard to miss.

For dessert, the essential Disneyland food is probably the Dole Whip (a pineapple soft-serve frozen treat) in Adventureland or the Mickey-shaped ice cream bars at carts in both parks, but many restaurants will offer a special seasonal desserts that might only be on the menu for a few months at a time. Check out the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café (in Disneyland) or Trolley Treats (in Disney California Adventure) for the most dessert options. 

(Cars Land at Disney California Adventure)

Both parks also have a busy Starbucks location. It’s marked as Market House on the Disneyland map and as Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe on the Disney California Adventure map. 

There’s not much alcohol for sale at Disneyland park, but alcoholic beverages are commonly served at nearly every food location in Disney California Adventure.

If you want to plan what to eat from home, you can always find updated menus for every food location on the Disneyland app (Google Play link), along with those infamous Disneyland prices. 

If you’d like to avoid those brutal Disneyland prices by bringing food from home, you’re allowed as long as it’s not in glass containers, does not require heating or refrigeration, and doesn’t have a strong odor. You also can’t bring hard-sided coolers or alcoholic beverages.

What about the Disneyland weather situation? 

Disneyland’s weather is pretty much the same as the weather in central Los Angeles: There are distinct seasons, but they are never too extreme. Snow is extremely rare, rain tends to be infrequent (about 34 days a year), and sunshine is the norm. 

In the winter, evenings can get cool, so make sure to bring layers for warmth. Summers are warm enough for shorts and short sleeves. 

(Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland Park)

What is the closest airport to Disneyland Resort?

The closest airport to Disneyland is John Wayne Airport (SNA), in the city of Santa Ana, Orange County, California. It’s south of Disneyland and requires a drive of about 13 miles. 

 The second-closest airport to Disneyland is Long Beach Airport (LGB), which is a drive of about 22 miles to the west. 

Those may be the closest airports to Disneyland, but their flights may not be the cheapest. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is actually the third-closest airport to Disneyland (it’s a 33-mile drive west), but it has a much higher volume of flights than SNA, so the chance of finding a cheap fight there is higher.  

Lesson: If you want to save money, the closest airport to Disneyland may be not the one with the cheapest flight.

(All images are courtesy of Disney Parks.)