A trip to Disneyland is a magical thing that everyone should experience at least once. That said, you will want to head into your trip prepared. After all, Disneyland is a big and bustling amusement park, and with ticket prices as high as they are, you’ll definitely want to make sure you get your money’s worth by having the time of your life.
Lucky for you, I’ve been to Disneyland once or twice (wink), and I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. Here is my best advice for visiting Disneyland in an RV.
Disneyland charges $20 a day for an average-sized vehicle to park, and $25 for motorhomes. This is a high amount of money for what it is, and it adds up quickly. Besides, overnight parking is not available. It’s better to park your RV somewhere nearby and walk to the parks each day.
Anaheim Harbor RV Park is the closest option, sitting less than a mile from the front gate of Disneyland. Walking to and from the parks takes only about 19 minutes. That said, there’s always the option of taking the shuttle each morning and evening.
Cook your own meals
Any time you take your RV with you, you’re also bringing an entire kitchen along. Take advantage of this fact and save some serious money by cooking many of your meals in your home-on-wheels. While there is something to be said for splurging on a meal or two in Disneyland, there’s no hiding the fact that the food in the parks is extremely overpriced, and you can easily eat for a fraction of the cost by preparing quick meals in the RV.
Don’t want to return to the camper for every meal? No problem! Disneyland allows guests to bring food into the parks, meaning you can pack sandwiches or other simple meals to eat on-the-go.
Make a plan
This tip is not exclusive to those visiting in an RV, and is a surprisingly important one too: Make a loose plan of what you want to do while in the parks. This will help you avoid walking in circles and missing the attractions that are most important to you.
This isn’t to say that you should go in with a rigid military-style schedule, but it is good to have a to-do list and an idea of what order you might want to see things.
Take a midday rest
Another item that goes wherever your RV goes is your very own comfy bed. Use it!
Disney parks have a tendency to get extremely crowded during the afternoon. Since morning and late evening are usually the least crowded times of day, plan on arriving at the gate at opening, touring for the morning, returning to the RV for a midday rest, and touring some more in the evening.
By doing this, you’ll be sure to get plenty of rest, avoid the overwhelming crowds, and even skip the hottest part of the day.
Take advantage of FastPass
FastPass is an awesome system that essentially allows you to reserve your place in line so you don’t have to stand in dreadful queues all day. This is absolutely fantastic and should be used well. Be sure to do your homework and understand how this system works going in. You’ll be glad you did!
Pay for Park Hopper
Another tip that’s for everyone and not just RVers: Pay for Park Hopper tickets. While I never recommend this add-on for Disney World Resort over in Orlando, it is 100% worthwhile in Disneyland Resort.
This is because the two parks—Disneyland and California Adventure—are just steps from one another, meaning going from one park to the next is as easy as pie. Having Park Hopper tickets allows you to do this whenever you please, meaning you can see what you want when you want.
Visit during the off-season
If you’re a full-time RVer, you’re likely working with a decently flexible schedule. Use this to your advantage by planning your visit during the off-season. Visiting during late fall or late winter will help ensure your trip isn’t filled with excessive crowds, making the whole experience more enjoyable.
Another great thing about staying in an RV instead of a hotel is cost. Since you’ll be saving money on lodging—and potentially food if you choose to cook in your own kitchen, as we mentioned earlier—you may be able to stay for a longer period of time. This is a great option and I highly recommend taking it, if at all possible.
This will allow you to see these two large parks at a more leisurely pace, experience your favorite attractions twice (or more), and may even allow you to have some rest days between park days.
See the night shows
Finally, I highly recommend you see the nightly shows in the parks. “Fantasmic!” is an incredible nighttime spectacular, as is “World of Color”. Additionally, “Paint the Night” is an amazing light parade that is currently running in California Adventure. Of course, you won’t want to miss the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Fortunately, you don’t even have to leave the RV park to see any of these shows. You can enjoy the show while wearing PJs and sitting in your favorite chair in your own front yard.