1. The night before, pack yourself a bag.
    Aim to be as light as possible. Strip keys down to the essentials. Maybe just take one credit or debit card, not your whole wallet. Bring Advil if you think you might need. Sunglasses are essential.
  3. You don't need your DSLR.
    Not worth the shoulder pain! Every artsy short depth of field bokeh resplendent shot you want to take has been taken a thousand times before; just look at Flickr.
  4. It's rarely that chilly in Anaheim, but if you get cold easily consider taking some kind of outer wear you can fit in your bag.
    Thank god for the 90s sweater-around-waist revival
  5. Charge your phone overnight!
    You're still prob going to run out of battery but it won't be till late so it's okay.
  6. Wake up as early as you can. Most days the park opens at 8. It's nice to be there as close to this as possible.
  7. Decide how long you'll go for.
    Do you have a hard out? Are you okay with playing it by ear? Do you want to pace yourselves so you make it till the fireworks at 9 PM?
  8. What are your priorities? What do you need to do? What don't you need to do?
    I hate anything that goes upside down or has just the one long drop. I like to try one new thing per visit. I get a little upset if I leave without doing the Matterhorn, Space Mountain, and Indy, and I need to have at least one churro.
  10. I say this because my favourite place in all Disneyland is the Tiki Room, which I know isn't to everyone's taste, but my friends are always v respectful of my need to visit and I appreciate this a lot.
  11. Decide on drive down: do you want to do California Adventure?
  12. Here is the argument for:
    The Cars ride is awesome. So is Grizzly River Run. If Soarin Over California has a short line it's fun and silly. Boardwalk has good(ish) food and the only alcohol license. Food offerings at Cars land are also meant to be better than average (still haven't tried). Toy Story Midway Mania arcade ride is better than the one in Tomorrowland. Giant coaster and giant Ferris wheel and Tower of Terror if you like those kinds of thrills.
  13. Here is the argument against:
    Expensive. It can be very exhausting skipping between the two all day. If you don't do Grizzly River Run early on while the sun is out you will be wet and unhappy for a long time afterwards. Annoying mime parades or weird pep rallies often block the main thoroughfare. I would argue that nothing here is ESSENTIAL to the nostalgic Disneyland experience.
  14. If you choose to get the park hopper pass, first thing you need to do is go to Cal Adv and get a Cars ride fast pass.
    These go very very quickly. By the time you get there you may be assigned an afternoon or evening ride.
  15. (A fast pass is a ticket you get from a booth outside a ride that gives you a specific window to return for access to a shorter line. Only certain rides have them.)
  16. OR: and this is the best tip I'm gonna give you: ALWAYS ask to go single rider.
    Even if you're with a group. You'll get in and out of rides unbelievably fast, and often you're just sitting behind your friends anyway. Sometimes this line is hard to distinguish from the regular one, so talk to a cast member to make sure you're in the right spot and they'll wave you on ahead.
  17. Try to plan your California Adventure excursion around your Cars ride experience so you don't go back and forth too much.
    Cal Adv is really nice in the evenings when all the lights reflect on the water and is usually the less busy of the two.
  18. If you get a fast pass for Cars go back to Disneyland afterwards. It's much less crowded in the morning and if your Cars pass window is later in the day you should be able to get another fast pass for the AM at Disneyland too.
    I suggest Indy, Space Mountain, or Star Tours.
  19. If you're only doing Dland, go grab a fast pass from one of the above and while you wait for your window hit up a popular ride that doesn't do passes first.
    These include: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain
  20. OR: Try your luck at something like Splash Mountain, which does do fast passes, but still has smaller regular lines in the morning.
  21. Now you gotta work the system! Fill time between the ride you have a fast pass for with weirder stuff, get to your fast pass ride as soon as you can, then when that's done immediately go pick up another fast pass elsewhere.
  22. Indiana Jones breaks down a lot. There's no way to predict this but maybe try to get there in the morning just in case.
    Soooo many pic opportunities. Minnie's house has holographic cookie technology! It might not be around too much longer, and don't forget it closes a little earlier than the rest of Disney.
  24. When you get tired, go on a gentle spectator ride!
    Practically anything in Fantasyland, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, monorail, Mark Twain riverboat etc
  25. When you get hungry, eat. Drink lots of water. When you gotta pee, pee. Don't put these things off.
  26. I like eating at any of the places that have bread soup bowls (one is in New Orleans square and another at Cal Adv and maybe elsewhere?). The barbecue joint in Frontierland is okay too (but you have to wait).
    I will also eat 20 churros, a Dole Whip ordered from the Tiki Room side of the stand (shorter line) and a hot dog from the weird Hollywood part of Cal Adv.
  27. KNOW YOUR PARADE TIMES. The content changes (and is probably about to for 60th anniversary) but they happen at 4 & 6.30 PM.
    It's a pain in the ass to move around once they start setting up/during these. You want to be in line, on a ride, or in Cal Adv (unless you want to see the parade, in which case line up early to stake your seat!)
  28. Rides with songs you're going to get stuck in your head all day:
    Splash Mountain, Tiki Room, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean
  29. Rides with unexpectedly terrifying elements: Winnie the Pooh, Splash Mountain
  30. Worst smelling place: sort of Pirates of the Caribbean, but ACTUALLY Rockett's Pizza Port
    Hopefully you aren't waiting outside it for Spacey for too long
  31. Most beautiful, underrated and chill ride: Peter Pan's Flight
  32. Pour one out for Tomorrowland, which used to be so much cooler
    Real live "mermaids" in the submarine voyage, an actual rocket ship ride, a very silly 50s vision of the house of the future sponsored by Monsanto (maybe it's okay that one is gone)
  33. If you see someone in a denim jacket or vest with a character patch sewn on ask them which Disneyland gang they belong to!
    THis is A REAL THING
  34. Best nighttime rides: Haunted Mansion (spooky), Matterhorn (nice view), Cal Adventure's ferris wheel (ditto)
    Live out your OC dreams on the latter
  35. Unless you're dog tired I always think the fireworks are worth it. They're v well done - show starts at 9.
  36. If you're going to watch them get down to Main Street around 8.30, browse the gift shops for a while, then get yourself a primo spot in front of the castle.
  37. There's a show at California Adventure too. It's at 8.30 and it's on the waterfront. Pretty if you're around.
    It's half an hour so you can do this as well as Disneyland fireworks but it's a pain to move between parks at this time.
  38. Snooze in the car on the way home. You deserve it. Well done.
  39. THAT'S IT! You're equipped! HAVE A FUN DAY YOU DISNEY NERD