Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ten Disneyland Tips!

Radiator Springs At Night - Stunning!

Our family just returned from a fantastic four day/night trip to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Southern California. Even though this is a seriously non-budget trip, I am going to blog about it, because I think I have some tips worth sharing. Here they are:

1.  Read the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. It provides tour plans for both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (DCA) that will save you hours of time. We followed their plans fairly closely and were able to see all the rides and shows we wanted without wasting time waiting in line. Our average wait was probably 10 - 15 minutes - in the busy month of June!  Our longest wait (which only occurred once) was 50 minutes for Toy Story Mania at DCA. The Unofficial Guide also provides a description of each ride in the park and evaluates nearby restaurants and hotels. It is an invaluable resource.

2.  If possible, stay more than one day at the park. We stayed four full days and nights, allowing us to go back to the hotel every afternoon for a much needed nap and/or swim, then returning refreshed in the evening. Staying multiple days allows you to run around experiencing many of the rides, followed by a day or two of relaxing and enjoying the sights and sounds.

3.   Get a hotel with a refrigerator or bring a cooler so you can bring breakfast foods and snacks. This saves precious time in the morning and money. Unfortunately grocery stores are not easy to access among the local hotels, which is why I recommend bringing your own food.

4.  Taking another tip from the Unofficial Guide, I had matching t-shirts made for our family. It's much easier to keep track of everyone that way; it's fun; and makes a great memento for your family vacation.

Matching T-shirts - may be corny but so much fun!

5.  Watch the Steve Martin film inside City Hall on Disney's Main Street. It's short and amusing and shows interviews with Walt Disney on the making of the park, plus footage of the park's opening day on July 17, 1955.

6.  In DCA make time to see Muppet's 3D and Turtle Talk with Crush. The Muppet's theater experience was truly magical. Not only do you see the Muppets on screen, they also make appearances in the theater! And though Crush (Finding Nemo) is on screen, he also interacts with people in the audience. Have your child sit on the floor in front of the screen for a better chance at conversing with Crush.

7.  If you get a fast pass and wait in line to see World of Color at DCA, don't stand in the front row! Not only will you get really wet, you'll also experience the full force of the flaming fire effects that occur during the pirates sequence. The flames were hot and  scary and we weren't even standing in the front row! It almost ruined the show for me. So unless you love high heat and fire - stand back!

8.  Don't drag your young children - ages 6 and under - with you onto the scary rides. I'm talking Indiana Jones, The Haunted Mansion, California Screamin', Tower of Terror, Star Tours, etc. It's painful to see those kids screaming in terror, not out of fun. There's plenty of time for them to experience the rides when they're older. Besides, parents can do a switch off where everyone waits in line but only one parent actually gets on the ride. After that parent completes the ride, the other one gets a turn. It's explained fully in the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. We heard of one poor little boy who rode California Screamin' (scariest roller coaster in the park) with his parents and when they suggested going a second time, he threw up just thinking about it!

9.  Take advantage of the Disney photographers stationed around the park. They will give you a Photo Pass that you can take to a photography station in the park, or better yet, take home so you can peruse the photos on-line. I was able to take advantage of a 3 for $30 deal on digital downloads that allowed me to post process the photos the way I wanted them to be.

10.  It's hot in the afternoon and crowded, so try your best to arrive as early as you can at the parks and take advantage of the short lines and mild temperature. Also it's a good idea to get in walking shape for this vacation. You will walk several miles each day and your feet will get very tired!

Here's hoping you have as much fun as we did on your magical adventure.

Do you have any Disney tips you'd like to share? Please comment below.

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