Welcome to The Disneyland® Guide for Families (Unofficial). You don't have to be part of a family to use this reference guide. By all means, anyone is welcome to use it. Just find what is useful for you and your situation.

This blog began it's life as a manuscript for a book that was never published, so there is a ton of content here. The bulk of the information that is only occasionally updated is listed under the "Chapters", and will probably be where you spend most of your time. The "home" page has additions that are more like comments on current events related to the Disneyland® Resort, or just fun things that I continue to find.

I love to hear from people who have used the information contained in this blog. Please let me know if you have found the information helpful, and if there is something else you think I should talk about, let me know!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Free Disneyland Resort Mobile Website

With all the advertisements for Mobile Magic as a mobile application I thought I would do some research. Since I don’t have a mobile device I don’t have anywhere to download it, BUT I did discover something for us cheapo-s called “Mobile Website”. It’s free, as opposed to Mobile Magic, which is about $10 for 180 days, and works on any browser-enabled mobile phone. In fact it even works on my desktop and is accessed at

Here is what I discovered about the free Mobile Website. It covers both parks of the Disneyland Resort, but choosing between Disneyland park and Disney’s California Adventure park is the first choice you get to make on the home page.

Information is available regarding: Attractions, Dining, Park Hours, Character Meet & Greets, Entertainment Schedules, Transportation, Guest Services, and the Weather.

Attractions can be browsed by: Land, Wait Time, FASTPASS Availability, Features, Type, Recommended Ages, and Height Requirement. Land is obvious, what rides are in which land. Wait time comes in “see now”, “moderate”, and “high demand”. Since “The Enchanted Tiki Room” came up as “high demand” and “Finding Nemo” came up as “moderate” while I was browsing, I tend to doubt the accuracy of those prognostications, but they were constantly changing those wait times while I browsed, so at least they’re trying. FASTPASS availability was either “unavailable”, “limited availability” or “available”; no current return times were listed. Features tells you which rides are FASTPASS, Wheelchair Accessible, Wheelchair Transfer Required, and allow Rider Switch. Type is a selection of categories that make it easier for you to choose rides based on your group’s interests. Recommended Ages sorts attractions by pre-schoolers, kids, pre-teens & teens, and all ages. Height Requirement is a little deceiving. It lists various heights, but it only lists the rides that have that as the requirement. For example: Autopia has a 32” height requirement, and say your child meets the 40” height requirement. If you look under 40” it will not list Autopia, even though your child that is 40” could ride it. It will only list the rides that have 40” as their height requirement, not the 32” or 35” required attractions. There is also an attraction summary available for each ride which includes all of the above information as well as a synopsis and guest polices regarding disability access, etc.

Dining can be sorted by land, meals served, cuisine type, service type, price range, and priority seating. Land is obviously location, and can be pretty handy to look at to see what’s close. Meals served is Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, or snack. Cuisine means American food, Italian, Vegitarian, etc. Service type means is it Character dining, or quick service or casual dining. Nothing came up when I clicked on “priority seating”. The Blue Bayou came up under “View All Dining” and when I sorted by “land” but not anywhere else, it’s listed as “special and unique” dining.

Character section was logically sorted by Character. You are given that day’s availability times, and location. Although I noticed that all the fairies location was listed as “fantasyland” and not the specific “pixie hollow”.

Enertainment Schedules, Transportation, and Guest Services are all static information pages that give current information. The Weather page is accessed from the home page, and gives that day’s weather current weather and predicted high and lows as well as predicted temps at 8 am, 12 pm, 4 pm, and 8 pm, as well as weather for the next 5 days.

I thought this was a pretty useful little site considering it's free.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guest Post: An Introduction to Pin Trading at Disneyland Resort

The following is a guest post from my dear friend Rod Fleck.  He and his family recently completed a trip to Disneyland Resort and the following is what they learned about pin trading.  I truely appreciate his contribution to this blog.  By the way, the picture is one of my pins, and "No" it's not available for trade.

This is not the ultimate Disney pin trading post. Rather, it’s some of the things we learned when we were at Disneyland and California Adventure earlier this year.

First, is the lead site for pin trading and traders. You name it and you can find it there. We didn’t know for example that at the Holiday Boulevard Disney Soda Fountain, you could have traded pins with those employees. If so, we may have started our pin trading a bit earlier.

Second, this is not something you have to do. Not something you need to do. It is something that can be a lot of fun to do, or in my case a bit of an obsession between rides, lines, and while walking about the park.

We started with a “starter set” we found at the Small World gift kiosk. The lanyard and two “Disneyland” pins were $15. We also saw that they had a great set of nine or ten Disney characters as babies n a packet set for $30. Now there were other starter sets with eight pins for $45. We were about three or four pins ahead with what we did. This may sound like a lot, but as you trade the pins “up” with Disney Cast members, you would be amazed at the collection you create and figure that each larger pin has a retail price of between $7 and $10 – you can see the value.

The rules are pretty simple: 1. Find a cast member with a lanyard or waste pouch with pins on it. 2. We found it was best to ask if we could look at their pins for a trade. 3. If you find a pin you would like, ask to trade one of your pins for the one you like. 4. You can make two trades with a cast member per day. 5. Pins you trade have to be the metal Disney pins. 6. Be sure to thank the cast member

Now a few things to note. First, if the cast member is wearing a teal lanyard, they will only trade with kids. This is a great way for the kids to find an awesome pin. We found these folks in and about Main Street usually. Also, there would usually be one or two teal lanyards on some of the cast members helping with the Character meet and greets. Second, look for the “management” cast members – we found them wearing the dark pants, longer coats, etc. They seemed to have some really unusual pins and I suspected it was due to the fact that they really aren’t out and about trading their pins. I got a great USA Olympics 2004 pin from one such manager -- sure it is one that allegedly retailed for $7, but to me I have a passion for the Olympics. The image is great and it was fun to get from the lead Security Manager trying to keep an eye on his staff and the crowds during the parade. Third, also realize that the folks making the park look so nice and clean usually have a pin lanyard or more likely the pin waist pouch. They really enjoyed making a trade. Also, we made sure to thank these folks for their continual effort to keep the park beautiful.

My kids and I felt a bit awkward trading our smaller pins right away for larger pins. So, we tended to trade up and make numerous trades. That was the fun of this in my eyes. We might have traded a Disney baby for a smaller character pin. Then saw another pin a bit larger that we traded the character pin for, etc. I think I made about four trades of pins before settling on the Olympic Mickey that I mentioned. Remember that with the cast members it is a pin for pin trade. Apparently, pin traders do meet ups within the different resorts and make trades that may be very, very different. We didn’t get into that! ;-) One of the kids got a great Cheetah Girls pin, but later found a much more “in fashion” Jonas Brothers pin that she traded up the Cheetah Girls for. She was happy and I suspect the next person to trade with that cast member may have walked away with a great Cheetah Girls pin to take home.

You can also buy pins that you really like. We did that for a few of the rides for each of us, or for things like the Jedi Academy when our little ones got chosen for that. Also, there are “mystery pin” box sets you can purchase that contain two pins for $12. My son wanted a Mickey as a Jedi knight. He saw though the mystery Star Wars box and bought it – not only did he get a Jedi Mickey, we got a second pin that was Donald as Darth Maul – which we gave to his sister who had “defeated” Darth Maul earlier that day in the Jedi Academy. That was a pretty cool turn of events. Neither be rare in number, but both have a great story and memory (or two) attached to them. Therein lies the lure and enjoyment of this type of thing.

Pin trading can be a great way to entertain yourself within the crowds and a way to create your own very special souvenir. You need only invest as much time and money as you feel you want. is the official Disney site for pins and pin trading. It also shows the new pins that are available and the ones coming out for special events…Boy that Armed Forces Chip and Dale pin sure looks pretty nice. Hmhm…now where to find that one?? ;-) Maybe that one will have to be one Dad orders…. This has to be the ULTIMATE Disney pin site. Wow…this site is truly amazing. If you are an aspiring pin trader, or someone who gotten bitten by the trading bug really hard – this is the site for you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why Disneyland Resort instead of Walt Disney World?

I have encountered some confusion between Disneyland Resort (in California) and Walt Disney World (in Florida). Mostly it is expressed in the form of “Disneyland…that’s the one in California right?” While those would be fighting words with a lot of folks on the big fan sites, I just take it with a smile. “Yes, Disneyland is the one in California.”

There are however some significant differences, and while neither is bad, it’s nice to know what the differences are so that you are better able to decide which resort best suits your family’s preferences. And before we start, I must confess to a distinct Disneyland bias, which should only be expected, but I will try to present only the facts.

Walt Disney World

Disney World is located in the Orlando Florida area. The resort has 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and I don’t know how many hotels, including RV parking and camping. They have a Downtown Disney District, a Disney Boardwalk, the ESPN wide world of sports complex (the Atlanta Braves do spring training there), and 4 golf courses. Over all there are more attractions, more shows, more parades, and more attractions with height requirements than at Disneyland.


Disneyland is located in Anaheim California. The resort has two theme parks, three hotels, and a Downtown Disney District.

In comparison, Disneyland appears to come off the loser. However, Disneyland packs as much into one theme park as Disney World packs into two. The Magic Kingdom park, in Disney World (the largest and most attraction rich park in the resort), has 39 attractions. Compared to Disneyland Park’s total of 50 attractions, the Magic Kingdom seems a little empty. That was my impression of all of the parks at Disney World. None seemed to actually be full. I have the same feeling about California Adventure Park at Disneyland Resort, but that park is starting to fill. The second thing to think about is that there are more rides with height requirements at Disney World, which when combined with fewer rides per park, means there just may not be that much to do, for a family with younger children, in all of the Walt Disney World parks. Which means feeling like you’re done with a park after a relatively short day, but not having enough time to jump on a bus or tram and go to another park. Which brings me to my third point: Distance. At Disney World to travel from hotels to water parks or theme parks, you will HAVE to take a transport of some sort; your own vehicle, a shuttle bus, the Monorail, a ferry, something. And it doesn’t matter if you are switching theme parks or going to downtown Disney, things are just too far apart to walk. Disneyland Resort is the opposite. Most of the time, walking is the most efficient way to get around, because things are SO close. The first time we went to Disneyland Resort, I kept telling my husband “California Adventure is just across from Disneyland Park”. It wasn’t until we got there, and he saw that they are literally facing each other across an open plaza area that he understood what I was talking about. They’re really close. The resort’s hotels are closer than the parking structure. Even many of the non-Disney owned hotels are easily within walking distance.

So in conclusion, Disneyland Resort in California has a cozier feel, is easier to get around in, and has more to do for little ones in one place, than Walt Disney World in Florida. Plus, it’s Disneyland, the one that started it all. Am I sentimental and totally biased toward the place? You bettcha! But now maybe you can see why