Reciprocal: Disney Parks Premier Passport
Full Price Admission Cost: price varies starting at $97
WWWW Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
We are a Disney family. We adore anything and everything Disney, and we are even Annual Passholders at Disney World in Florida. Therefore, it only made sense to make a point of seeing Disneyland this winter when we were spending time in the SoCal area.
We had been to Disneyland before, so we had a good idea of what to expect. However, these incredible parks never cease to amaze us, especially in terms of the awesome learning opportunities they present.
As you may already know, Disneyland Resort is home to two different but equally fun parks. We spent our first Disney day at Disneyland Park, which is the original and includes all the classic rides of legend. Touring this park was actually a bit odd after spending so much time at Magic Kingdom in Florida. The two are very, very similar, but have enough differences to keep us on our toes.
That first day began with a ride on Big Thunder Mountain and ended with greeting our good friend Chewbacca. These two things were, of course, amazing, as was everything in between. Our favorites of the day included the Christmas overlay on “It’s a Small World”, the super long Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and dinner at Jolly Holiday Bakery (try the tomato soup).
For our second Disney day, we headed to California Adventure. Although this park has fewer attractions, I honestly think it’s my favorite of the two California parks. We rode and saw pretty much everything in the park, and our favorites were easily Radiator Springs Racers and the Frozen stage show, which was of Broadway quality without a doubt.
Despite the high price tag to visit this resort, I highly recommend squeezing it into the budget if at all possible. It is after all the happiest place on earth, and you and your family will almost certainly have a great time.
- Outside food is allowed. Take advantage of this and save some money by packing lunch.
- Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for parking. On our last visit we paid $20 per day.
- Water is free at all counter-service locations. Stay hydrated!
- Carry a backpack with essentials such as sunscreen, snacks, and baby needs, as well as items like an autograph book and camera.
Because there are so many amazing learning opportunities in Disneyland Resort, I highly recommend choosing a few topics to focus on before your trip. Here are some topic ideas to get you started:
All About Walt Disney
- Do: Create a storyboard for your own movie.
- See: Everything, but especially The Disney Gallery in Disneyland and Animation Academy in California Adventure.
Math in the Parks
- Do: Create a souvenir and snack budget. Find average wait times for rides using Touring Plans.
- See: Park wait times and note whether they are average, long, or short as compared to research.
- See: Any park attraction and observe the physics behind it.
- Do: Have a royal tea party, using traditional manners and customs when possible. Build fairy houses.
- See: Fantasyland in Disneyland Park
Inventing the Future
- Do: Make new inventions using boxes and other recycled materials.
- See: Tomorrowland in Disneyland Park
New Orleans Culture
- Do: Make gumbo.
- Listen: To jazz music.
- See: New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park.
All About Animation
- Read: The Animation Book
- Do: Create a flipbook.
- See: Disney Animation Building in California Adventure.
American History — Wild West
- Watch: The Apple Dumpling Gang, Westward Expansion: Crash Course US History, The California Gold Rush
- Do: Ride horses at a local stable. Cook over an open fire.
- See: Frontierland in Disneyland Park.
American History — Turn of the Century
- See: Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park.
American History — Route 66
- Watch: Cars
- Do: Drive a stretch of Route 66 while imagining what travel may have been like for people of the past.
- See: Cars Land in California Adventure.
Other Area Attractions
Below are some of the other great attractions in this area. We try to keep things affordable, sticking to free and cheap attractions and/or museums and zoos on reciprocal lists. If an attraction is affiliated with a reciprocal program or offers free admission, I have noted that beside the attraction listing. To learn more about saving money using reciprocal programs, see this post.
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County — ASTC
- California Science Center — Free
- Chinese American Museum — NARM
- Craft and Folk Art Museum — NARM
- Grammy Museum — NARM
- Japanese American Museum — NARM
- Museum of Contemporary Art — NARM
- Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions — NARM
- LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes — NARM
- The Paley Center for Media — NARM
- The Skirball Cultural Center — NARM
- Heritage Square Museum — Time Travelers
- Zimmer Children’s Museum — ACM
- Los Angeles Zoo — AZA 50%
- Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park — Free
- Venice Beach — Free
- Chinese Theater — Free
- The Getty Center — Free
- Knotts Berry Farm — Cedar Point Platinum Pass
- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Legoland California — Merlin Pass
- Six Flags Magic Mountain — Six Flags Gold Pass
Places to Stay on a Budget
- Thousand Trails: Wilderness Lakes RV Resort
- Passport America: Glen Ivy RV Park
Related Attractions in Other Areas
- Walt Disney World Resort — Orlando, FL
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