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  1. #1
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    Need your tips for Disneyland

    Yep, we're making our first family trip to Disneyland for a couple of days next week (a Monday and part of a Tuesday). Apologies if this has already been covered, but I know there have been some changes to the ticket prices and multi-day passes recently. Please share your general tips on how to get a good overview of the park in 1.5 days. I have old favorites I want to see, if they are even still around: Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted House, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, It's a Small World, and such. We are not big on roller coasters or spinning rides, and we like water rides.

    I'm looking for park experience tips, mainly, as I think we are OK on bags and general travel tips!

  2. #2
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    We're Annual Pass holders, so I'm not up to date on daily or multi-day ticket prices, but I can definitely offer some advice on visiting the park.

    How old are your kids? We've got a preschooler on our hands and he's been coming to the park since he was roughly a year old, so I have plenty of advice specific to bringing a small child to the park, let me know if that's useful and I'll happily prattle on even more.

    Also, it sounds like you'll be there on President's Day (Monday, 2/20) and the day after, both of which will be quite busy, so I would suggest trying to get there as early as possible on Monday, and thinking about which rides/shows you really want to experience so you can make the most of your FastPasses.

    One of the most popular rides at the park right now is Radiator Springs Racers, in California Adventure - it's a fun and exciting ride, even for someone like me who's not a huge roller coaster fan. If it seems like that ride might be up your alley, then I'd make your first stop in California Adventure to get a Fast Pass. If anyone in your family is a huge Frozen fan, there's also a spectacular Frozen stage show (almost like a mini Broadway musical - it's about 70 minutes long) that also uses Fast Pass ticketing, and sells out very early in the day.

    California Adventure also has Grizzly River Rapids, which is a fun water ride, although Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be pretty chilly (highs in the mid 60s and overcast) next week after a weekend of rain. (If you're from somewhere far colder than Southern California and don't mind getting splashed when it's "only" in the 60s, then you should certainly see shorter than usual lines there and at Splash Mountain.)

    A lot of our little guy's favorite parts of Disneyland (the railroad, river boat cruise, and Tom Sawyer island) are all closed right now because of the Star Wars land construction, so we don't head over to that side as often, but your old favorites are all still there: head left into New Orleans Square and you'll hit Pirates, then Haunted Mansion, then Splash Mountain right in a row. (Splash Mountain is the furthest back in the park, so I like to walk there and then make my way back by way of Haunted Mansion and Pirates.) If you haven't been on the Indiana Jones ride in Adventureland, that's a lot of fun, too. And, of course, Jungle Cruise and the Tiki Room are both great if you're into the older stuff at Disney. After that, head through Sleeping Beauty's Castle and Mr Toad is there right next to the carousel. Peter Pan usually gets the long lines here, so hopping onto Mr Toad's Wild Ride shouldn't take much more than 15-20 minutes, even on a crowded day. From there you head right (and probably skip the Tea Cups and Matterhorn, on account of spinning and roller coastering, respectively) and keep walking until you hit It's A Small World - lines are pretty long there during the day as people bring their kiddos, so if your children are older and don't go to bed at 7 pm, swing by after dinnertime. (Or if you've got little kids, brave the Small World line, then keep going back into Toon Town and let them run around, then wait in line to meet Mickey or Minnie.)

    Oof. Okay, that's a lot, but happy to offer more child-specific advice if you've got little kids. As for dining, I'm hoping someone else can chime in, because our son's favorite food on earth is the mac and cheese at the Pacific Wharf Cafe. (Pro tip: if you kid is too old to get filled up by the Toddler Meal size, you can also get a bread bowl of mac and cheese; for a very advanced move, ask for the bread "on the side" and you'll get a loaf of bread in a bag and a bowl of mac and cheese.)

  3. #3
    Forum Member Lani's Avatar
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    Oh my gosh, where to even start? @afsheen has a lot of great tips. I think a lot of it boils down to, how old are your kids? A day and a half isn't a whole lot, in some ways -- while it's possible to see a lot in that time, it's also very tiring. And if you are visiting during a holiday period (like this weekend), it will be crowded, so you will want to adjust your expectations of what you can do.

    If you haven't already, pick a few things you have your heart set on doing, and prioritize your plans to take those in. Then don't be too upset if they don't work out. For a lot of us, just being there and absorbing the atmosphere is enjoyable enough.

    I've been a Disneyland annual passholder for going on close to 20 years (technically I think it's like 18?), I am also a Walt Disney World annual passholder, and a member of the Disney Vacation Club (their timeshare program), and I think I still like the original Disneyland the most. Every nook and cranny has Mr. Walter Elias Disney's personal touch (even if they've been replaced over the years). It has a charm they haven't replicated anywhere else.

    For what it's worth, download the OFFICIAL smartphone app for Disneyland. It will give you real-time information on wait times for attractions, as well as a ton of very helpful info you can use while there (like where nearest restooms are).

    If you're there for a day and a half, may I suggest that you spend your first full day at Disneyland park itself? That is the original theme park, and there's plenty to do there. Next door is Disney California Adventure park. While it's grown nicely, it's still possible to see a lot of things there in less than a full day.

    When you go to DCA and you hit up Cars Land, take a spin on Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. Your kids should love it, too. It's a simple ride, but I absolutely LOVE the way the ride units whip around, and it's actually one of my favorite attractions at the park. Best of all, there's almost never a line.

    Since this is your very first trip, make sure to stop by City Hall (guest services) when you first enter the turnstiles at Disneyland (it will be to your left, after the train track underpass). Very typically, there will be a cast member (park employee) standing there with a podium (otherwise, step inside); ask for your "free button." Disney rarely gives out things for free, but they DO give out a bunch of free buttons at City Hall for all sorts of things. They have one that says "1st Visit!" as well as "I'm Celebrating!" -- both of which you can ask for, for everyone in your family, no charge. If anyone has a birthday during the trip, you can ask them for a birthday button as well.

    Finally, if I may toot my own horn, I've been a contributor and staff editor at MousePlanet.com. We have a Disneyland Resort Update article that we publish every Monday morning, that has all the latest news, as well as attraction closures, all in one page.

    Have a wonderful trip!

  4. #4
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    It was a relief to see you replied, @Lani, because I knew I'd forgotten some important stuff, and I was hoping to have an expert weigh in!

    The buttons are great - and, especially if it's a First Visit or Birthday button, usually result in even more friendly greetings from cast members. The official app is also very useful for wait times (and you can even load your tickets onto it, so they just scan your phone on the way in), but one word of caution: it's quite a large download, so (on an iPhone at least) you have to be connected to wi-fi to download it; make sure you grab it before you leave for Disneyland, so you don't end up in the parking lot staring at your phone saying "Why won't this app download?!" (Speaking from experience, sadly.)

  5. #5
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    Thank you both for these tips. My kid is in third grade and I myself haven't been to either Disney location in 20+ years or so, and I remember that in those days, waiting at each ride was not so bad, as lines tended to move fairly quickly.

    I think we will focus on the traditional Disneyland park on Monday. I'm trying to decide whether to get the park hopper ticket or just the single-park ticket option, probably the latter. My specific additional questions are below:

    Do we have to declare ahead of time which park we will enter (Disney or CA Adventure) on which day?

    It looks like Fast Pass must be obtained after entering the park, is that correct? Or can I do this online?

    The Disney website seems to indicate the Main St Electrical Parade happens three times on Monday 2/20 as the park is open late till 11 p.m. There aren't any Blue Bayou restaurant reservations available that evening, but we are fine watching from the sidewalk. Any tips for this experience?

    Are there allergy-friendly dining options? I can only assume so as Disney is so used to dealing with families and kids, so I am hoping if I ask about ingredients we can find some options, and we will bring some of our own snacks if we are allowed to do so.

    Thanks again for your advice. I picked up the horrible virus going around the SF Bay Area and haven't been able to do much of anything these past couple of days. I'm a bit demoralized that so much of this Disney experience can be done online ahead of time. I miss being able to let the park experience unfold in real time, so I think I will also embrace Lani's tip to enjoy the ambience and just soak in the general atmosphere.
    Last edited by GoStanford; 02-15-2017 at 06:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    We took the kids there last Spring for a week, and even with 5 days in the park there was still plenty to do. If you're planning on doing both parks anyways, I'd spring for the park hopper. We used it there way more than we ever did at Disney World. We would swap between parks 2 or 3 times a day, depending on how the lines were in each park at the time.

    You said your kid was in the 3rd grade, so that makes them only a year older than mine. One piece of mind thing I did was pick up a couple of Tiles (those Bluetooth tracker, help me find my keys things). One for each kid. That way if we got separated, I could use the tile app to track them down. The kids were also taught how to use it's 'find my phone' button to ring me if they noticed they were lost. So yeah, I LoJack'd my kids. Smilie

    They wore them on a necklace next to some dog tags we had made with their first name and my cell phone number. These are actual dog tags, as in, we got them engraved from a dog tag vending machine in the pet department of a Meijer's. All told, maybe 30-35 bucks outlay for a ton of peace of mind.

    This all came about because on the Disney World trip, at age 5 my son decided to wander off to the bathroom by himself and caused the most horrific, frightening, scariest 10 minutes of my life. I still get bad vibes just thinking back on it. I wasn't taking any chances like that again on the Disneyland trip.






    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Forum Member jdowney83's Avatar
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    1. Do we have to declare ahead of time which park we will enter (Disney or CA Adventure) on which day? No, If you have a hopper pass, you can bounce back and forth, if you have a 1 park pass, you can go to either one, but you do not have to declare which.

    2. It looks like Fast Pass must be obtained after entering the park, is that correct? Or can I do this online? Fastpasses are obtained after entering the park, the more popular the quicker the fastpasses run out, but you can only have one fastpass at a time so if you get one for example for Indiana Jones for 4pm, you can not get another fastpass until after 4pm. The shows, Fantasmic, World of Color, and Frozen are all disconnected from the fastpass system, meaning you can get a fastpass for those shows, and still get another fastpass for a ride at the same time. If you are park hopping, you can have a fastpass from each park at the same time too.

    3. The Disney website seems to indicate the Main St Electrical Parade happens three times on Monday 2/20 as the park is open late till 11 p.m. There aren't any Blue Bayou restaurant reservations available that evening, but we are fine watching from the sidewalk. Any tips for this experience? Get there early, The parade runs reverse routes, meaning if it starts at Small world and ends near the main entrance, the second show will start at the main entrance and end near small world. A spot on main street near one of the ends will give you a good look at the show coming up/down the street. I like the spot where there is a bridge that leads to the matterhorn or Alice in Wonderland because when the show ends, the crowd can be pretty hard to move through on main street, that spot on the bridge seems to give me a nice get away from the crowd when the show ends.

    4. Are there allergy-friendly dining options? I can only assume so as Disney is so used to dealing with families and kids, so I am hoping if I ask about ingredients we can find some options, and we will bring some of our own snacks if we are allowed to do so. - Depending on the allergy, this might answer that, I have never had to ask:
    https://disneyland.disney.go.com/gue...tary-requests/

    Just a heads up, I am leaving Saturday and will be there until the 26th! I have read that pretty much everyday will be packed due to President's day. The morning is the best time to get big popular rides done, after like 2pm it will be much harder, but still doable. Have fun!

  8. #8
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    Thank you to everybody for all these great tips and jdowney83, thank you for pointing me to the dietary needs reference - very helpful! Have a great time - you're smart to soak it all in over a week. We got hit with the second round of a virus and are just hoping to be healthy to actually make the trip.

    Lani, I'm PMing you with some basic questions, in case you have time to respond. Thanks again!
    Last edited by GoStanford; 02-17-2017 at 07:34 PM.

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