My bestie and I are getting married one month apart. We have both been in two-year engagements, are each other’s maid of honor, and both have way too much to do leading up to the weddings. In addition to the traditional bachelorette and bridal showers, we decided to gift ourselves our very own pre-bachelorette to Disneyland 6 months out from the big days (October). Because why NOT? Instead of buying each other pots and pans, this was our wedding gift to each other.
It cost about equal for me to pay for plane & hotel fare (about $700) and for her to pay for the park tickets (two 2-day park hoppers).
We recommend Eden Roc Suites! We’ve stayed there twice and have always had a good experience (even before the remodel!) It’s newly updated so everything is very clean and spruced up. Very affordable AND the best part? It’s walking distance from the park!
Look how gorgeous the rooms are! This photo was taken directly from the Eden Roc Website.
Now that you know where to stay, here’s what you need to do to have the best time ever!
- First, make your bestie shirts. I know there’s a million of cute options online, but seriously, it’s so easy to make your own. Just order some iron-on paper, type a cute phrase on word, MIRROR FLIP IT, and print! We made “Bride” shirts with the saying “Look like a beauty, drink like a beast” on the back. We even added cute bows in our wedding colors on the back. Maybe an hour’s worth of work, tops. Oh, and we bought cheap three-dollar white tee shirts for the job and just CUT them into tank tops. It’s not like we’re going to wear them every day! We also ordered bridal mickey hats ahead of time and added a few personal touches. We swapped the veil for some tulle, sassed up the ears with some huge glitter chunks, and scrawled our new last names on the back with silver Sharpie.
2. Follow DLR Prep School on Facebook or Instagram. Her job is to basically go to the park each week and scope out the best deals, what’s happening, and what’s new. She even gives you a REAL idea of line wait times. We used her religiously for the month leading up to our trip to get an idea of crowd sizes, etc.
3. Plan your trip around Mickey’s Halloween Party. We bought our tickets to the park before we realized the party is only on certain nights, so we ended up paying DOUBLE to stay for the party. Here’s how it works:
- Guests pay regular price to enter the park from open until around 4 PM. They are asked to start leaving the park around that time.
- At 4, guests start entering for the Halloween Party, which is a separate admission. By 6 PM, staff members have a pretty good way of sweeping through the crowds and kicking out anyone who is not wearing an admission bracelet.
- If you want to go to the park all day AND stay for the party, like we did, get ready to pay close to $200 to stay all day!If we had to do it again (which we hope we do), we would have spent the day in California Adventure and then gone over to the party and skipped buying a park hopper. There are also a few industrial wine tasting rooms in the area that are easy to get to…a little wine tasting day and a party at night would have been great!
4. The party is TOTALLY worth going to. Everyone is dressed up, there’s a pumpkin treat crawl (map provided with park admission), trick or treating (just regular candy), the villains come out, and there’s a great parade. The guests in costume was the best part. There’s a lot of people who look better than even the Disney official characters! We chose to go as a matching pair, Pocahontas and Meeko.
Don’t forget to participate in the pumpkin crawl! There’s a map that leads you through the park to find all the pumpkin specialty goodies, including pumpkin lattes (2 stars here) and pumpkin beignets (2 stars again, regular are better). I know, I’m not really selling it, but it really is more about the experience of finding the treats. We had a blast. I HIGHLY recommend the mint juleps in New Orleans– non-alcoholic. They were AMAZING.
5. For California Adventure, plan your trip around World of Color (if you haven’t seen it).
This is the original show that absolutely must be watched because holy moly. It’s like my entire childhood. Sorry if this ruins the current WoC for you, because this show is MUCH better.
This time around, it’s more like a documentary about Walt Disney– a lot less emotion, but still a fun watch. We made reservations at the Wine Country Trattoria restaurant and got a PACKAGE deal– a multi-course dinner plus tickets with reserved seating for the show (about $45 per adult, more than worth it).
Main Course: Choice of herb-roasted chicken with fettuccine OR filet migon and potatoes.
We weren’t too picky, since, as you can see, the bottle of Snap Dragon we ordered was now empty.
Now, we certainly weren’t on any sort of budget. $45 for each of us PLUS a bottle of wine to split really was quite extravagant, but good seating for the show is really quite crucial. No point to standing in the cold to watch a show you can’t even really see.
EVEN THOUGH your tickets guarantee you a place to see the show, you still need to get there WELL in advance. We made dinner reservations at 6:30.
I recommend going to wait in line for your reserved seating about 80-90 minutes before the show starts. I know it’s a long time to wait, but you will have a really hard time seeing if you aren’t in the front somewhere. There’s so many kids on their parents shoulders! Also, it does get chilly while you’re waiting and if you get wet during the show (it splashes), you’ll be freezing all night. I recommend a light sweater or cotton hoodie you can easily fold into your day pack… something like this hoodie or maybe this one.
6. Finally, don’t forget to get your drink on! You can get alcohol into the park, but it’s a pain. You’re allowed to bring water bottles, so sneaking in a white wine is no problem (it looks like apple juice, especially if you have a tinted water bottle like this awesome blue Nalgene one…which, incidentally, holds a full bottle of wine! We ordered vinyl lettering from Etsy, but you could make it yourself.)
At backpack check, there is no patting down or frisking– they only look inside your backpack for weapons and things like that. Pretty low-stress. But if you plan on being at the park ALL DAY, it might be annoying to lug around a full bottle of wine all day. At the Wine Country Trattoria, you are allowed to order a drink (or two, or a bottle) and they will give it to you in to-go cups.
It really doesn’t look like very much wine but they are huge cups and 8 oz. pours.
WATCH OUT. The to-go cups are not covered by a lid, but you are allowed to walk around the park with them. We took our to-go cups and drank for the 90 minutes we were waiting in line for the show. Poor Heather spilled hers while we were sitting 😦
There’s a lot more information here about the show!
Don’t forget to raid Pinterest for all sorts of adorable photos you can take at the park. We didn’t want to weigh ourselves down with too much, but we did print this sign and fold it up for Splash Mountain. We did it during the big fall, but the paper flopped back and we couldn’t read it in the photo, so we settled for this one. (Another friend of ours who is ALSO getting married joined us for this shot!)
Happy travels, ladies!