Sure, Disneyland is a wonderland for kids, but you don’t need the youthful energy of an eight-year-old to fall in love with The Most Magical Place on Earth. In fact, Disneyland and its companion park, California Adventure, are designed for guests of all ages and include break areas, wheelchair accessibility, dietary accommodations, companion restrooms, and more. Older adults — whether they’re accompanying grandkids or flying solo — can have a blast at Disneyland, too. Here are some tips for making the most of Disneyland as a senior.
Disneyland is one of the world’s premier amusement-park destinations, and it’s beloved by all for good reason. Of course, this means it also gets crowded. One of the best ways to ensure a smooth trip is to plan ahead.
Bring plenty of snacks and water, and decide which rides you want to visit. It’s A Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion are all smooth, non-jerky favorites that won’t hurt your neck or shake you up like one of the roller coasters could.
Because these are iconic rides, the lines can be long. Fortunately there’s FASTPASS. This will allow you to use a ticket to skip the lines and come back during a later time window that day. That means less time standing around, and more time for taking photos, enjoying the scenery, and getting to experience the attractions with shorter lines—like the scenic riverboat cruise on The Mark Twain.
Don’t Forget the Discounts
While Disneyland and Disney World don’t offer discounted tickets for seniors or guests with disabilities, there are still deals to be found. Many senior-citizen organizations, such as AARP, often offer discounted tickets and travel offers (including lower prices on flights and hotels) when you book directly through the organization. You can also find discounted tickets through AAA memberships, plus additional discounts at select restaurants throughout Disneyland and California Adventure. Be sure to check with your membership organizations when planning your trip, so you can take advantage of the best prices.
Those who have mobility challenges shouldn’t let that discourage them from having a great day at the park. Disneyland makes getting around easy, with a number of shuttle and rental services available, depending on your needs. There’s handicapped parking, as well as a handy drop-off and pick-up area, and shuttles to transport you to and from both points.
Inside the park, get around with a wheelchair or an electric conveyance vehicle, which can be rented starting at $12 per day, whether you’re visiting California Adventure, Disneyland, or both parks. Should you suffer from hearing loss, Walt has you covered, too: Simply pick up an Assistive Listening System, which amplifies sound, and it’s yours for the day for a refundable $25 deposit.
Where to Stay
One of the biggest decisions you’ll face when it comes to planning a Disneyland adventure is deciding where to stay. Everyone does a lot of walking in the park, so it’s best to stay close and conserve energy. The closer the hotel, the pricier it tends to be, so if you’re picking accommodations a bit farther away, be sure to find one that offers an easy, no-fuss shuttle service like their own hotel van or the Anaheim Resort Transit system (ART). This particular shuttle stops at more than 60 hotels and takes visitors directly to Downtown Disney. From there, a tram will pick you up and take you straight to the gates!
Not sure how long you’ll want to stay in the park? Disneyland’s shows and their schedules change throughout the year, but you’ll often find a fireworks show in the evenings. Sometimes, these shows start fairly late and the park can get crowded. However, if you’d like to leave and still like to catch the fireworks, there’s hope. If you book a hotel anywhere near Disneyland, request a room facing the park on a higher level so that you can catch the action from the comfort of your own room!
When it comes to having fun, Disneyland doesn’t discriminate. Hopefully these tips will help you prepare for your next adventure, no matter what your age.
Author Bio: Rod Welch is the President of HotelGuides.com, a website that helps travelers find places to stay near all sorts of US and Canada attractions. He has been a travel agent since 2002 and loves traveling to new destinations.