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Reno Moms Blog Disneyland Hacks

Image credit: Disneyland
Image credit: Disneyland

Did you know that Alaska Airlines will begin non-stop daily service beginning March 16, 2016 to Orange County? Do you realize what this means?! Easier family travel to DISNEYLAND!

The flight will depart Reno at 10:15 a.m. and arrive in Orange County at 11:37 a.m. It will depart Orange County at 2:45 p.m. and arrive in Reno at 4:05 p.m.

In honor of this new flight, we gathered Disneyland Hacks from local moms to make your trip more affordable and fun. Check out the advice that the readers of Reno Moms Blog had to offer!

Wait Time Apps

Many moms highly recommended these. Here are a few of their comments:

  • Download the Disneyland app ahead of time and you can do fast pass and photo pass from your phone!
  • Down load the app and it gives you wait times on different rides it was so helpful.
  • Disney introduced their own app for time, characters, dining, and everything.
  • There are several apps that at a touch of a button can tell you ride wait times, show times, and how to get from “a” to “b” via a Google type of map. I downloaded several of these two weeks in advance of our trip and checked them randomly in the days leading up to our trip so I knew how to use all of the features and so I could determine which app I liked best. MouseAddict gets good reviews, but I ended up using one called Disney Walkee the most.


  • Pack your own snacks, bring a refillable water container, we love hydroflasks they are worth every penny.
  • We bought refillable water containers and packed a bag filled with snacks. If you do buy food in the park order kids meals even for the adults. It had the best value including a drink and a sweet treat.
  • Bring your own snacks and water as that is allowed. Any place will give you free water in a cup, you only have to pay for bottled water.
  • Free water! Go to the walk up food service area that serve fountain drinks and ask for an ice water… you can get a small with ice and in a cup w/ lid for free… sometimes you can ask for larges too, just depends on the server.
  • Bring your own snacks to help with the munchies in line, and reduce your food expenses.
  • Want a Dole Whip but don’t want to wait in the LONG line? Go thru the turnstile for The Tiki Room and get in line there, wait time is typically cut in half.
  • Leave for lunch. There are plenty of off property places to eat that won’t break the bank.
  • Breakfast with Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast at Plaza Inn will allow for reservation times BEFORE the park opens. Call the dining hotline or your travel agent for more info.


  • The best thing we did was stay at the Disneyland Hotel. We parked our car when we got there and never had to get back in it until we left. When the kids got sleepy, we went back to the room and took a nap. Or if we needed a quick change, we were right there. On the last night, we got the kids to bed and left them with hubby so we could go back in and shop and enjoy a little kid less time. It’s more expensive but definitely worth it!!! We had so much more fun because we had so much more time inside the park!
  • We booked thru Costco and had the Ariel’s Grotto character breakfast included as well as some other perks, which change. We also stayed at a good neighbor motel that was walking distance to the park and had a free full breakfast included.
  • Go back to your hotel and rest. Comeback for the fireworks and to catch just a few rides
  • Look for hotels that have continental breakfast and free parking. It helps with a budget. I have used Candy Cane Inn and Desert Palms, they are on Disneyland good neighbor list. Also if you book through the Disneyland website, you put 200 down now and can make payments up till a month before you go. Plus you get some extras lanyard, pin luggage tag and 5×7 ride photo.
  • We stay in a condo nearby and share the place (3 bed, 2 1/2 bath) with my in laws, which makes it cheaper than us both renting rooms at embassy suites! Saves money, and because parents of little kids own the condos they are stocked with double and single jogger strollers baby gates, kids dishes in the kitchen, etc. we order groceries to be delivered by a local grocery store and cook at home and save a crap ton of money on food. Plus we can put the kids to bed and hang out downstairs. I mean, we do have 4 kids, so hotels are crazy for us. But we love these condos (Google “suite escapes Anaheim”). And they’re 15 minutes walking distance. So, not park related, but my best Disney tip by far.


  • Go with the flow, take time to watch Parades and shows, and if you are at a close enough hotel take a break for nap time. Disneyland is over stimulating for both adults and children.
  • We bought all of our Mickey gear before our trip.
  • Buy Mickey or Minnie ears ahead of time from Amazon or somewhere for the kids and you safe lots of money instead of buying them at the park!
  • It helps to kind of map out your day!
  • If you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary GET A BUTTON and WEAR IT… if you go to lunch/dinner in the park you might get free desserts.
  • If you plan on using your phone for photos as well as checking email or FB make sure you bring a charging “stick” as there are no real convenient charging areas
  • If it’s going to be warm take a little spray bottle or a spray bottle with fan… it will help cut the heat just a bit… and don’t forget sunscreen.
  • Purchase the PhotoPass package ahead of time. Included the CDs of ALL your pictures and saves A TON of money. So many pictures!!! Including the ride pictures.
  • Relax! You’re there to have fun, not worry about making it in time for the fast passes. If you have little ones, make it about them. Just seeing the joy in their eyes of meeting their favorite character, even though you waited a long time, is priceless.
  • Bring wet wipes! They’re great for hands, faces, and necks, especially when it’s hot out.

Rides and attractions

  • Jedi Training (highlight of my 5 year old’s trip!) is directly in front of the Galactic Frill in TomorrowLand, SIGN-UP in the morning (first thing!) for a time. The sign-up podium is between the Star Wars Launch Bay and Autopia smile emoticon. It’s an amazing experience 100% worth it!
  • If you have responsible “mature” children age 7 and up you can utilize the “single rider” option. It moves you up the line like a fast past and they fill you in when there are open seats. My kids road Radiator Springs Racers tons of times like this when the general wait time was 45+ minutes.
  • Use the ride swap option if you have a young one who can’t ride the ride. Tell the cast member at the entrance of the ride and they’ll give you a pass to swap when your spouse gets off.
  • Fantasyland literally shuts down about 30 minutes before fireworks… don’t get stuck back there!
  • If you want to ride Radiator Springs Racers GET YOUR FAST PASSES FIRST THING…. and they are NOT by the ride.
  • There is a great parade spot right outside The Mad Hatter on main street right near where the parade ends (or begins, depends on parade time)… my kids LOVED It there, wasn’t crowed, some sat, others stood, and you get to watch the parade go all around the Main street Circle and then right in front of you.
  • Fast pass, fast pass, fast pass. Ask VERY early how to get fast pass or preferred seating/standing for World of Color.

Traveling with Infants or toddlers

  • Take advantage of the childcare/nursing centers- they are a clean calm environment with friendly staff- they have outlets for pumps, nursing stations, changing tables and small toilets.
  • Pack a baby carrier, sun block and a change of clothes! If you have a small baby you can babywear on any rides that don’t have a height requirement.
  • Use the baby/children centers! So nice and relaxing if you’re nursing or just changing a diaper.


  • Tie something to your stroller to make it easier to find, cast members sometimes rearrange stroller parking.
  • The number one thing I user super loved was this company I found the strollers are so much nicer and I didn’t even have to figure out how to travel with ours we drove with a small sedan and taking our nice stroller wasn’t an options so City Stroller Rental was amazing.
  • I definitely recommend renting or bringing your stroller for kids!
  • Take advantage of “stroller pass” 1 person can go on a ride and ask for a stroller pass, it’s good for 3 riders any time of the day! We cheated and got fast passes, then we got into line with our fast pass, we asked for a stroller pass! We had stacks of passes for rides throughout the day!
  • If you think 4-5 yrs is too old for a stroller, you might reconsider by the second night on a multi-day trip…

Travel Arrangements

  • I’m a free to you Disney travel agent with Mouseketrips. I have been to Disneyland 4 times this year. Walt Disney world and the Disney cruise. We leave Wednesday for our next Disneyland trip for the new ride opening. Contact me with any questions. Morgan@mouseketrips.com
  • If you need a fantastic travel agent that knows EVERYTHING about everything Disney. I suggest Jasper Isenberg. She has hooked us up with fantastic deals. http://isenbergvacations.paycation.com/ , 775-230-6511 or jasper.isenberg@yahoo.com

Also be sure to check out the tips that Jenn Duval put together in the below blog post.



About Lynnette Bellin

Lynnette Bellin
Lynnette Bellin is the former owner and site manager of the Reno Moms Blog. She is a married mother of a teenage daughter and a highly energetic tween boy. Lynnette moved to Reno in 2001 after choosing to live in a place that she loved for its natural beauty. She has written four children's books, including The Kindness Ninja and a series of three books called Adeline’s Magical Moments Collection. She has been obsessed with blogging since 2002. Lynnette loves to experience outdoor adventures in our area, including skiing, hiking, camping, and open water swimming. She spends her days working from home for a NYC ad agency and shuttling kids to dance, lacrosse and basketball.

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