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How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023

by Mommy Frog on January 18, 2023 2 Los Angeles

Planning a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - PinterestIf you are planning a Disneyland trip in 2023, we have everything you need to know right here. This year is going to be one of the most frogciting times to visit Disneyland Resort! We are talking major celebrations, new entertainment, a magical parade, a new ride, a re-themed Adventureland Treehouse and the reopening of a fully reimagined land. Plus, all the fan-favorite festivals are back, and they are even bigger and better than ever! The hard part is deciding the best time to make that Disneyland trip in 2023. Never fear — your froggy friends are here to help you plan the most amazing Disneyland vacation. Here's what you need to know about visiting Disneyland in 2023.

You may notice a lot of links and cross-references to other posts in this post. That's because we have so much to share about every topic, tool and celebration that all the information won't fit in one place! We promise that reading up on each of the topics that interest you will help prepare you for your Disneyland trip and make visiting in 2023 so much easier for you.

Timeline of Major Disneyland Events for Your 2023 Disneyland Trip

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Castle decor for 100th

We have two toadally hopful posts on What’s Coming to Disneyland and the full list of Disneyland 2023 events. But let’s quickly look at the timeline for major official events, openings and important details here (some of these events overlap):

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Wine glasses for Food & Wine

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Mickey and Minnie pose in front of 100

There are many smaller events you can find in our events post, but these are the biggest festivals, celebrations and openings to celebrate this year. We are also expecting to see Paradise Pier Hotel fully transform into Pixar Place Hotel. The renovation is in the process right now, so that will be coming soon.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway concept art

Knowing the Disneyland calendar can help you if you want to experience, say, Food and Wine, the new Toontown, the Magic Happens parade and all the festivities of the 100th-anniversary celebration all during one visit. A mid-March to late April trip is in order if so! But if only the 100th is a priority, visit between Jan. 27 and the end of summer. We do not yet know the end date of the celebration, but Halloween Time and Holiday Time can come with their own special fireworks and other nighttime entertainment. So visiting before those kick off will guarantee you'll get the 100th celebration shows.

Experiences That Recently Returned

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip -Tigger hugging girl

So many incredible Disneyland experiences are back, including character meet and greets (and hugs!) and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip -Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Let's take a look at some items that recently returned to Disneyland in 2022 that you may want to add to your 2023 Disneyland trip wish list:

Avoiding Crowds in 2023

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Park entrance

Want to avoid crowds? That's getting harder to do with Disneyland demand being so high and demand ticket pricing. Our Best Time to Visit Disneyland post and our crowd calendar help predict the most crowded and least crowded days to visit.

Tools to Skip the Lines and Avoid Crowds

Even if you can't avoid the crowds, we can help you feel less affected by them. Here are a few tools we think are worth using to manage your day. Many may seem new to you if you have not visited Disneyland in a few years, but they help you operate outside of the crowds and make it feel like a less-crowded day for you.

Mobile Order — Skip the food lines by using the Disneyland app to order food with Mobile Order.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Rope Drop

Rope Drop or Staying Until Park Close — The shortest wait times of the day are in the first hour of park opening and the last two hours before the parks close. Take a break or have a long sit-down lunch midday so you can power through the evening hours.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Riding Dumbo during Early Entry

Early Entry — People who stay at one of the three Disneyland on-site hotels can access areas of the theme parks 30 minutes before other park guests. Early Entry helps you get a great head start on your day.

Park Plans — We have park plans to help you navigate the parks and find the rides with the shortest wait times of the day. Knowing where to go first can save you time and help you get the most done.

Virtual Queue — You can use the virtual queue (accessible within the Disneyland app) to access the viewing area for World of Color at noon (with valid park admission and a theme park reservation; guests must either have a park hopper ticket or a base ticket with admission to Disney California Adventure Park). Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway will only be accessible using the virtual queue or purchasing an individual Lightning Lane. Guests can enter the virtual queue two times:

  1. If you're starting at Disneyland (with valid entry and a reservation): You can confirm your party starting at 6 a.m. and then check for an available boarding group starting at 7 a.m.
  2. If you're starting at Disney California Adventure (with a park hopper ticket and reservation):  You can confirm your designated party starting at noon and then check for an available boarding group starting at 1 p.m.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Single Rider Line at Radiator Springs Racers

Single Rider — A few rides allow guests ages 7 and up to skip the line by filling in empty seats. Parties will be split up.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Women dining at Cafe Orleans

Dining Reservations or Walk-Up List — Make advance dining reservations up to 60 days in advance. If you can't get the reservation you want, try joining the walk-up list in the Disneyland app when you are in the restaurant's vicinity.

Disney Genie — This free service in the Disneyland app can help you plan an itinerary that helps you find the shortest lines. Don't get Disney Genie confused with the paid Genie+ service. Genie can help people new to Disneyland decide where to go next or alert them to upcoming shows and parades they want to see.

Add-on Tools for a Fee

Then, there are a few services and tools available that come with a price.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Using a MagicBand to redeem Lightning Lane

Genie+ — You can purchase a ticket with Genie+ or purchase the service after entering a theme park each day. You get to access the Lightning Lane and skip the standard queue for select rides. You'll make ride selections through the Disneyland app. Our Genie+ tips and tricks post has more details. Genie+ purchased same-day is on a variable pricing schedule, but you can save by purchasing tickets with Genie+ already included through Undercover Tourist.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Lightning Lane sign

Individual Lightning Lanes — A few premium rides (such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Radiator Springs Racers) in each park also have a Lightning Lane but are not included in Genie+. You can skip the free standby line for these by paying for them individually. Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway will have an individual Lightning Lane. Our Genie+ FAQ post has more details on individual Lightning Lanes.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Mickey in Fantasmic!

Dining Packages — You can purchase dining packages that give you reserved spots for parades and shows. Some of them are really hopful in terms of saving time and stress. We break down the pros and cons and discuss which ones we think are toadally worth it in our dining packages post.

MagicBand+ — Disney World fans may be used to this wearable technology, but MagicBands are still pretty new at Disneyland. You can link a MagicBand+ to your Disneyland ticket and simply tap it to enter the park, enter a Lightning Lane and get your PhotoPass photos from a photographer. The bands also interact with some rides, shows and park locations to enhance your experiences. You can even use a MagicBand+ to hunt for bounty in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Save time and your phone battery by using a MagicBand.

Theme Park Reservations

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Woman entering theme park

You still need a theme park reservation for your Disneyland trip in 2023. Disneyland remains high in demand, but reservations are limited. That means reservations can fill up in advance. Plan ahead, but keep in mind that the reservation calendar can change. So if you have your heart set on a date, just keep checking. Maybe it will open up.

Lock in a good Disneyland ticket deal well before your visit and then use it to reserve your dates once they become available. You can book up to 120 days in advance, but you can purchase tickets from Undercover Tourist well before that. When purchasing a multi-day Disneyland ticket, you might just add an extra day to your Disneyland visit this year, because all these events and celebrations and new experiences are just the icing on the cake. (The cake is all the great rides and shows that are already part of a normal day at Disneyland!) You'll want to allow enough time to see and do it all.

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Concept art for Adventureland treehouse

We normally recommend at least three days to visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure but we are upping that to recommending four or five days for 2023. So much is hoppening! Did you know that a 5-Day Disneyland ticket purchased through Undercover Tourist costs about $4 less than a 4-Day ticket purchased through Disneyland? That's like getting the fifth day free! And you can get a small treat, such as a Matterhorn Macaroon, with the savings. Score!

Early Closures and After Dark Events in 2023

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Mickey and Minnie celebrate Grad Nite

Disneyland is open pretty late most days of the year. However, there are occasional times that the park closes earlier than usual for Disneyland After Dark parties or private events. Some we know in advance, while others we do not see until the hours are posted up to six weeks in advance. That’s why you always want to double-check the park hours as your visit approaches in case you want to switch your days around or switch park reservations to the park that is open later. Here are times we know you may encounter early closing hours:

  • Sweethearts Nite — Disneyland Park closes at 9 p.m. on Jan. 31 & Feb. 2, 5, 7, 9, 14 and 16, 2023
  • Princess Nite — Disneyland Park closes at 9 p.m. on March 7 and 9, 2023
  • Disney California Adventure closes at 9 p.m. for Grad Nites on these dates in 2023: May 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 25, 30 and 31 as well as June 2, 4, 7, 9, 14 and 16

How to Plan for a Disneyland Trip in 2023 - Frightfully Fun parade at Oogie Boogie Bash

  • Oogie Boogie Bash (DCA) — Watch out for early closing hours on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Halloween (plus a few Saturdays) during September and October at Disney California Adventure

Keep in mind that some of these days that close early can see low crowds in the morning as people may avoid visiting that park that day. The park with early closing hours can be a great place to start your day when you have a park hopper ticket.

Planning for Disneyland Weather

One thing to consider when planning a Disneyland trip is the weather. Luckily, we have a whole month-by-month guide to Disneyland weather. You could encounter rain in the winter months and very hot days in late summer. But for the most part, SoCal has a sunny, dry climate. Be sure to check the weather report as your visit draws near to find out if you need an umbrella, a sweatshirt or shorts.

Tips for Planning a Disneyland Trip

Here's what you can do to best prepare for your 2023 Disneyland trip:

  • Determine when to visit and how many days to spend in the parks. For multi-day trips, plan a rest day in the middle if you can.
  • Buy tickets and book a hotel room in advance. (If you are a SoCal local who wants to visit multiple times this winter and spring, hop on the SoCal Resident Promo deal.)
  • Make theme park reservations up to 120 days in advance.
  • Make dining reservations up to 60 days in advance.
  • Check the entertainment calendar a few weeks to a few days in advance to plan out your must-see shows (and check park hours at that time too).
  • Check out our park plans to plot out when to ride your must-do rides.
  • Read up on any festival guides, foodie guides and virtual queues if applicable.
  • Look at the weather forecast a few days before your trip to plan when to pack (layers are always a good idea).
  • Arrive early to the theme parks, take a break midday if you can (book a lunch table-service reservation and see a show if you can't leave the park) and stay late!

Do you have any other questions about planning a Disneyland trip in 2023? Please drop them in the comments section below. 

Related: The Best Times to Visit Disneyland in 2023

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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Jan 8, 2023 at 9:43 p.m. Doug Miller Says...

In your list of upcoming important dates you correctly mention that Mickey’s Runaway Train ride opens on January 27, but that is also the opening date for a new, or else returning fireworks show as well as a new World of Color show at DCA. I think it is very unusual for Disney to open three new rides or shows on one day unless it is the start of the holiday season or Memorial Day weekend.

Keep up the good work and the savings!

Doug Miller

Reply
Jan 9, 2023 at 6:21 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Doug!

Thanks for hopping by :) The Walt Disney Company is celebrating its 100th year, so what better way to celebrate than to open three new rides/shows — it will be a frogciting time!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
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