Family Walking by Castle
  • On Aug 16, 2023
    Caroline Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Hi I am visiting Disneyland with husband and 8 year old for 3 nights. There's so much information online - is there a trip-builder for 3 days to access? We're at Grand Californian and Hopper tickets are booked... then overwhelmed with choice :)

    Hi there, Caroline!

    First things first, welcome to planDisney! I'm so glad you found us here. I know that there is so much information out there about all the amazing things to see, ride, eat, and experience at the Disneyland Resort. While I don't have a step-by-step guide for you, as a fellow mom of an 8-year-old, I'd love to guide you toward some of my favorite resources and activities!

    I'm thrilled that you'll be staying at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. It is completely gorgeous, and so close to the theme parks! The best way to get familiar with the hotel before your visit is by checking out the planDisney Pocket Guide for the hotel. It has details on dining options, amenities, and special perks for the special entrance into Disney California Adventure Park!

    The next thing to study is seasonal offerings. You'll be visiting during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, which is a ghoulishly fun time! Whether you're interested in spooky snacks or special activities and attractions, the Disney Parks Blog has great articles to help you plan.

    Let's talk about my favorite part of any Disneyland Resort visit...attractions! Some of my 8-year-old's "must-do" rides at Disneyland Park are:

    • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    • Indiana Jones Adventure
    • Jungle Cruise
    • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Haunted Mansion Holiday
    • Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway (and all of Mickey's Toontown)
    • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
    If your son is a little more daring than my daughter then I would also recommend Space Mountain and the Matterhorn!

    Over at Disney California Adventure Park, our family favorites are:

    • All three rides in Cars Land
    • Toy Story Midway Mania
    • Soarin' Around The World
    • WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
    For thrill seekers I would add the Incredicoaster and Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!

    It's great that you have Park Hopper tickets, that means you'll easily be able to go and enjoy your favorite rides again! My best touring advice is to take advantage of the early entry time for hotel guests. If you're early risers you can enjoy one or two very popular attractions before the crowds arrive! You can also download the Disneyland Mobile App and use Disney Genie to help you plan out your day. Just open the app, scroll down to "Your Best Disney Day Awaits" and tap "Get Started" to select the attractions, entertainment, and dining options that are most important to you. Then my pal the Genie will help you plan out your day!

    Caroline, I hope I didn't just give you even more choices to stress over! My family usually picks 2-3 things that we know we want to do each day, then we make time to be spontaneous and enjoy the atmosphere. If you'd like to send me a new question with more of your interests and priorities I would be happy to provide some more recommendations. I hope you have a magical visit!

    Keep moving forward!

thumbnail image for Amanda

Meet the Panelist: Amanda, Utah

Hi! I'm Amanda—a pixie-sized wife, mom, engineer, content strategist, and Disneyland Resort specialist! I fell in love with science as a kid at Disneyland Park, learning about physics while I waited to ride Space Mountain. I love how Disney combines art, words, science, and music to create incredible experiences. Solving challenging problems is one of my favorite things, I'm so excited to help you design the perfect strategy for a magical day! Learn More About Amanda

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