Why Now Is the Best Time to Go to Disneyland

Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information. However, sometimes closures occur at the last minute due to circumstances beyond our control, such as the spread of Covid-19. We highly recommend that you call ahead before you pack your kids (and all those snacks, and diapers…) and haul them across town. Stay safe!

A dazzling new parade! The ride of your life! Special discounts on Disneyland tickets! All this and more add up to now being the best time to go to Disneyland. ‘The Magic Happens’ parade just debuted on Disneyland’s Main Street and you don’t want to miss this incredible procession that enchants all ages. Adding to the fun, boarding passes are now available for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance––the greatest ride ever created. Visit now and SoCal residents and kids everywhere can score limited-time discounts on Disneyland tickets. Read on for top tips, must-do activities and more magical details on heading to the house of Mickey Mouse.

photo: Beth Shea

The Brand New ‘Magic Happens’ Parade

The stunningly beautiful ‘Magic Happens’ Parade now graces the streets of Disneyland––and it’s a modern-day masterpiece that’s destined to become a classic. Full of joyous dancing, vibrant colors, showstopping costumes, favorite Disney songs like Frozen 2‘s “Into the Unknown” and Moana‘s “How Far I’ll Go” as well as catchy, upbeat, original songs composed especially for ‘Magic Happens,’ this is the procession of the year. You’ll see new spins on the magic that inspires the heartwarming, scenes from beloved films as you behold 9 newly designed floats glide along Main Street. Over 90 performers and more than two dozen Disney and Pixar characters bring this spectacle to life in grand splendor.

Mickey Mouse aptly kicks-off the parade, followed by Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip n’ Dale––and Mickey waves his magic wand to set all of the ensuing reverie into motion.

photo: Beth Shea

Moana‘s Maui and Pua bring their happy spirits along for the ride in their official Disneyland Resort debuts. Kids will love watching the gentle giant dance atop his island float and they’ll delight in seeing Moana cruise by while riding a the crest of the wave in her voyager canoe accompanied by dancers simulating ocean waters.

Elsa and Anna wave from their Enchanted Forest which boasts the seasons of spring and winter. They’re joined by Kristoff, Sven and Olaf and their float sends flurries of snow into the crowd as they pass by!

photo: Beth Shea

Coco‘s Miguel strums the guitar from atop his bold and brilliant float on which a marigold bridge connects the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead. It’s the first time visitors will see a float inspired by the film “Coco” in a Disneyland parade.

Additionally, families will be dazzled by Cinderella’s glistening pumpkin/carriage hybrid that carries the smiling princess through the parade on her way to the ball––depicting that magical moment the Fairy Godmother transformed a simple gourd into a gorgeous ride.

photo: Beth Shea

The Princess and the Frog‘s Tiana and Naveen share a kiss while dancing amongst a swirl of golden flowers to demonstrate their transformation back into humans.

Princess Aurora twirls by in a scene from Sleeping Beauty, featuring the three good fairies and her Prince. They dance atop a golden castle float you have to see to believe.

These are just a few of the many magnificent highlights displayed in the Parade. Every moment captures the imagination and delights the senses, transporting you to a fairytale universe filled with all the wizardry that brings these cherished stories to life.

‘Magic Happens’ leaves you with the hopeful feeling that anything’s possible, “if you just believe,” which is one of the lyrics you’ll hear during this enchanted experience.

photo: David Nguyen/Disneyland Resort

Good to know: With a ‘Magic Happens’ parade dining package, you can enjoy a delicious lunch and receive a voucher that provides access to a reserved viewing area for the parade that day. Learn more about the dining package, available at Plaza Inn, and make reservations at Disneyland.com, or on the Disneyland App.

Top tip: Swing into Jolly Holiday to treat your kiddos to the “Magic Happens” parade inspired Royal Cupcake––a luscious vanilla cupcake with exquisite buttercream frosting. Check out other sweet and savory foods inspired by the parade here.

See ‘Magic Happens‘ twice daily at Disneyland Park.

photo: Beth Shea

Boarding Passes Now Available for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

The most epic attraction ever, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a thrilling experience that will leave you awestruck. The ride is part walk-through, part multiple ride systems, as you join the battle against the First Order. You’ll encounter live characters, a sea of stormtroopers, holograms, beloved Star Wars creatures and droids, towering AT-ATs, General Hux, Kylo Ren and more during this unforgettable journey into a realistic dark side that makes you feel as though you’ve landed in a battle scene in a galaxy far, far away. Your current reality is erased by mind-blowing special effects in this totally immersive adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Know before you go: Boarding Passes for this attraction are in high demand, making them hard to get. Download the Disneyland app before you get to the Parks and arrive early (before park opening) to have a shot at securing passes. Once you enter Disneyland Park, use the Disneyland app to request to join the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You’ll then be assigned a boarding group that will admit you to the ride. You can check the app and in-park signs to see which boarding group is currently being admitted to Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Parents: Disneyland advises that this attraction is dark, loud and scary with small drops. We think young Jedi will really love it, but little ones who aren’t familiar with Star Wars culture may need extra encouragement.

photo: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

Take a Bite Out of Disney California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival 2020

Wine and dine your way through Disney California Adventure’s Food & Wine Festival now through April 21. We suggest purchasing the SIP AND SAVOR PASS which includes 8 coupons that are redeemable for select food and beverage offerings. The pass is valid throughout the duration of the Festival. Visit each food stand to enjoy delicious, sample-size portions of unique dishes, desserts and drinks. The Tasting Passport breaks down all of the available offerings by dietary needs (ie: plant-based, gluten-free, kid-friendly). We think kids will most savor the Mickey-shaped Caramel-Peanut Milk Chocolate Macaron you can find at the Off the Cob stand and the Impossible Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese from the Nuts About Cheese stand.

In addition to all of the culinary delights, there are special festivities for guests of all ages to enjoy. Head to the Hollywood Backlot Stage for the Jr. Chef event where kids can team up in Chef Lily’s “hands-on” kitchen to make a yummy treat and whip up some fun with Chef Goofy. (see available times in your Disneyland guide on the day of your visit). There’s also live music, crafts and activities, culinary demos, and Jammin’ Chefs serving up “tasty rhythms” with pots and pans.

photo: Beth Shea

Have Breakfast at Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Talk about a healthy breakfast being the best way to start your day! The Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet at Storyteller’s Cafe can’t be beat as the best wake-up call you’ll ever have. Dig in to a sumptuous buffet featuring an array of foods including French toast, Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes and waffles, breakfast potatoes, yogurt parfaits, baked goods, made-to-order omelets, eggs and bacon and so much more.

Beyond the delectable meal, kids can grab maracas and join Mickey and the gang in a mini dance parade set to the song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah throughout the restaurant. Each character: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Chip ‘n’ Dale (characters subject to change), visits your table to hug, joke around with, and pose for photos with you and your kids. Everyone in your party will feel so special and happy getting to visit with so many beloved pals for an extended, relaxed time.

Good to know: Bring your fully charged camera and autograph books and pens. The characters spend a good deal of time visiting each child and signing autographs and you’ll want to capture all the antics! Additionally, be sure to make reservations in advance to enjoy this popular experience.

photo: Beth Shea

Hooray For Limited-Time Ticket Discounts

Now SoCal residents can take advantage of a special ticket offer! For a limited time, Southern California residents can visit the Disneyland Resort theme parks for $67 per day with the purchase of a three-day, one-park per day ticket. Park Hopper options also are available. The tickets are available for purchase now through May 18, 2020.

For families visiting from outside of Southern California, there’s a special value for kids. For a limited time, you can save on Disneyland Resort park tickets for kids ages 3-9 for $67 per day with the purchase of a three-day, one-park per day ticket. There are also special hotel offers for families wishing to extend the magic of their visit. Purchase by May 18, 2020.

photo: Beth Shea

Top Tip for Parents: Take Advantage of Disneyland’s Baby Care Centers

A little known about offering at both Parks are their complimentary Baby Care Centers. Walt Disney himself created these centers as “a place of comfort for my younger guests,” in his own words. These priceless havens of respite are a dream come true for parents with babies and toddlers who need a bit of a break from the action. Here you’ll find caring, helpful Baby Matrons to help tend to your needs in a cozy, quiet environment that offers a private, quiet nursing/pumping room with rockers (they’ll even store your pump for the day), changing tables, family restrooms, kitchen with microwave, a feeding area with high chairs, filtered water and a vending machine filled with baby food, diapers, formula, sunscreen and other necessities. True Disney magic here for moms and dads!

Disneyland & Disney California Adventure
1313 Disneyland Dr.
Anaheim, CA 92802
Online: disneyland.disney.go.com

––Beth Shea

Photos by Beth Shea except where noted.

This trip was paid for by Disneyland, but all opinions here belong to the writer.


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