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Planning a group Disneyland trip – PREP 380

Planning a group Disneyland trip – PREP 380

Shannon chats about her recent trip to Disneyland. Listen as she highlights the strategies she used to travel with 34 people, what Oogie Boogie Bash was like, where to stay (economically!) near the parks, and what surprised her about Disneyland in October.

The Basics

This group travels together and has done a Disney Cruise, Disney World, and now Disneyland. Because it was a large group of 34, it included some logistical challenges.

Whole group at Disneyland

The group included Disneyland Veterans and newbies. Shannon loves introducing Disney World people to Disneyland because it is so wonderful.

Thankfully, everyone had a wonderful trip and the first-timers were converted!


Shannon chose to stay at The Anaheim Hotel. It’s a very reasonable price, especially with a group rate. The hotel also has large space for groups to gather. Shannon was able to book a group rate with a locked in rate about 9 months in advance.

This also meant that Shannon had to personally secure the rooms, collect the money, and pay the whole balance herself.

The only complaint of the hotel was that the air conditioning wasn’t ideal and some people had to move rooms. Shannon has had this issue with rooms at this hotel as well.

Not everyone stayed at this hotel, but many did. Those that didn’t were still able to come to this hotel to participate.


The group flew into different airports. John Wayne is about 20 minutes from Disneyland and Long Beach is about 30 minutes. Shannon chose to fly into Long Beach because of the cost of flights. Many prefer to fly into LAX because it is a larger airport but it is about an hour away from Disneyland.

Most people used rideshare to get to the hotel. There really isn’t a need for a rental car unless you plan to leave Disneyland. If you don’t plan to leave Disneyland, using rideshare is perfect.

whole group with pumpkin mickey


Shannon didn’t personally book dining for this trip but many others from the group did. Different people would book reservations and invite others to join them as well.

Crowds and Weather

They traveled intentionally over Indigenous People’s Day due to work and school schedule. This was a very busy time for traveling. Disneyland is not typically this busy and it was a shock that it was so busy.

It was also unusually hot for this time of year. The days were in the 90s. Thankfully the mornings and evenings were much more manageable.

Because it is not typically that hot, Disneyland is not built for the heat. Being outside in the middle of the day was very hot and took some planning.


The group experienced some special extras at Disneyland!

VIP Tour

They scheduled a VIP tour for 30 of the 34 people went on a VIP Tour. They had three guides. VIP tours are done very differently at Disneyland versus Disney World.

At Disneyland you can book it way in advance but at Disney World you can only book them 60 days out. Shannon was glad to secure 3 guides so far in advance.

VIP tours at Disneyland will get VIP seating for parades and fireworks even if. you are not currently on the tour. This is not the case at Disney World. At Disney World you only get VIP viewing if you are on the tour.

group on Jungle Cruise Disneyland

The tour was from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and they had reserved parade viewing at 6:30 p.m. Plus reserved fireworks viewing at 9 p.m. This extends the VIP experience, which was so wonderful.

The tour gave everyone the opportunity to ride the rides they wanted without much pressure, especially with the crowds. In order to do this, you want to be sure to give the VIP guides your priorities.

You will want to do the busy rides, but also the dark rides at Disneyland. You can do dark rides quickly because they are all in a row and you can walk right on with a VIP guide.

The queue for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is very different at Disneyland versus at Disney World. Shannon is glad she used the VIP guide to get on that ride.

They also went to California Adventure with the guide. They did a handful of different rides there as well before the parade at Disneyland and the fireworks.

World of Color Dessert Party

This is the evening show at California Adventure. Everyone is brought a plated dessert and up to two alcoholic drinks. You can view World of Color from your seat while servers bring you your drinks.

This was a very convenient way to have reserved seating for World of Color. It also gave the group the opportunity to sit together to see it.

Oogie Boogie Bash

It was very difficult to get tickets to this party but a few members of the group were able to get tickets to cover the whole group.

Group at pixar pier

The group chose Pixar as their costume theme. Most wore a themed t-shirt but some wore full-out costumes.

Heather said Oogie Boogie Bash is like the adult version of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The parade is very similar to the Boo to You parade at Disney World. California Adventure just has a more adult vibe.

They spent their time riding rides during the party. There is also exclusive entertainment for the party as well.


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Shannon Albert