Tips And Tricks For Your Most Amazing Disneyland Experience
1. Upon Arrival
When you first get to Disneyland they will more than likely direct you where to park. But that's okay. No matter where you park the excitement is still there and as you leave your car and walk closer toward the escalators, that excitement will grow. You will be able to see the rides in the distance. Hear the other family's squeals of excitement. And you will be overcome with a sense of childhood glee, no matter what age you are.
Be sure to visit the restrooms that are directly behind the bottom of the escalators because, even though nobody will want to take the time to go right now, it will save you some time while in the park, and the lines here are usually non existent.
2. The Tram
When choosing a tram, look for the one with the shortest line, not the one that is closest to the park. The goal is to get on the tram as soon as possible. Why waste time waiting for the next one to come? They all drop you off at pretty much the same place, anyway.
3. The Security Station
You will get dropped off most of the time at a section of Downtown Disney that is closest to the parks. You can do some shopping now or just turn left and head toward the security station.
(Be warned that the delicious smell of sourdough will overtake you here. But, don't worry about stopping and buying any yet, because inside the park you can get a free sample in California Adventure!)
At the security station try to have all of your purses and backpacks open, or, if possible, travel without these things to make entrance a breeze.
4. Snacks And Drinks
Feel free to pack snacks and drinks for the kids, or yourselves, but remember that the more you carry the more tiresome it gets toward the end of the day. If you have a stroller, it's handy to store these things in, as your children will constantly want to be fed and hydrated. Especially on hotter days.
Any restaurant or kiosk that serves soda in cups will also give you free ice water. The free samples of sourdough bread can be found in Disney's California Adventure behind the wharf and the restaurant that sells the sourdough Mickey heads and clam chowder in bread bowls. You can also get a tour of how they make their sourdough as you enjoy your free delectable snack.
5. Line Waiting Apps
A very important tool at your disposal is Mousewait. This app is free to download onto your smartphone and is updated by patrons as they move thru out the park. It tells you the wait time of all of the rides so that you can easily plan your riding schedule.
6. Speaking Of Lines...
There are certain rides, like Indiana Jones and Star Wars that always have a long wait time. Well, almost always. These rides, if timed correctly, can almost be walked right on to. If you wait until after dark, during the fireworks show, or other special events, these rides are at their most deserted. Also, right before closing is a great time to hit up these rides and you can sometimes ride them over and over and over again without even leaving your seat if your cast member is willing. We once rode Indiana Jones four or five times just before closing. It was epic.
After dark, if you don't mind getting wet, is the perfect opportunity to hit up Splash Mountain. If you can, pack a change of clothes in a backpack just for this occasion, especially if your littler adventurers are taking advantage of this walk right on opportunity.
7. Some Lines Only Look Long
Some lines only look long, but because their cars are pretty much moving non stop, the line really doesn't take that long at all. Pirates Of The Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion are two very good examples of this. Although, again, just before closing or during a special show, you can pretty much just walk right on.
Souvenirs are great! Everybody loves them. Who doesn't want a treat to take home and remember their amazing trip to Disneyland by? There are so many amazing choices. But when picking out a souvenir don't forget to think about how much effort it will require to carry until you leave. Waiting until the very end of the day is a great idea when it comes to purchasing a souvenir. Especially when it comes to balloons. Balloons are tricky to maneuver through crowds all day and will often snag you some dirty looks as they are blown into the faces of other park goers. Balloons are definitely fun, but you should totally wait until the end of the day to splurge on these floating delights.
An absolute must when talking about souvenirs, though, and something that can be purchased as early in to your trip as possible, is a hat with ears and your kids' name stitched on the back. There are so many to choose from, and they really do add magic to your day. If you get a Perry The Platypus hat, the cast members will call out, "Oh, there you are Perry!" when they see it, which will make your kid feel special. And special is good.
9. Pin Collecting
The first few times we visited Disneyland we were very confused by this. People with lanyards covered with the coolest pins in the world, running up to cast members and trading with them! It seemed like so much fun, but we were always too timid to ask. Finally, after doing research, we learned how easy and incredible pin trading really is.
If you go to Disneyland with your own special Disney pins any cast member who is wearing pins will trade you any one of your pins for any one of theirs. ANY pin. No matter the monetary value. You will also see black felt boards in certain shops and information booths that are covered with these pins. They can be traded too! That's all you have to do, ask politely if they will trade you your specific pin for whichever one you want, and viola!
You can purchase pins in the various stores inside of Disneyland and California Adventure to get you started, or you can buy them in bulk online through places like eBay. This is a super fun hobby to get in to, and the kids will especially love it.
10. The Dole Whip
There is a very special kiosk as you enter Adventure Land on your left hand side. It is perhaps one of the most important places in all of Disneyland, and or even, the world. It is the seller of the most delicious of all delicacies. The Dole Whip. You absolutely must have one. It is impossible for me to describe this delicious pineappley treat in a way that it truly deserves, so I will just ask that you take my word for it. Whatever you do while at Disneyland, enjoying a Dole Whip absolutely must be on that list.
11. The Single Rider Line
If your children are old enough, or you are there with fellow adults, you have a big advantage at your disposal. The Single Rider Line. Not all rides have these, but for the ones that do, if you are able to take advantage of them, please do! The single rider lines have you wait for a car to not be completely full, and you get to fill it in. Let's say the car holds four riders, but there are only three to the party. The cast member will have you take the fourth seat. This, in some cases, will save you hours of wait time. Especially on rides like Radiator Springs Racers. Which is amazing, by the way.
12. Your Hotel Stay
Going to Disneyland can be an expensive family vacation. Using cheaper rate booking sites are a really great way to find incredible deals. Be sure to choose one with a complimentary breakfast. Might as well save your money as much as you possibly can.
13. Hidden Mickeys
The hidden Mickey is like a fun scavenger hunt. Hidden throughout the parks are images of Mickey's head. Sometimes as simple as one larger circle with two smaller circles above for ears, and sometimes more complex. It's a great chance to make a game of it with your party. Whoever finds the most hidden Mickey's wins! You can purchase a book that tells you where many are hidden, but they are constantly being added and taken away, to keep the game going. Have fun and happy hunting!
I could go on and on and on...
Disneyland is my most absolutely favorite place on earth. I would happily live there if they let me. There truly are a million other things I could tell you about, like how you have got to ride the train all the way around because of the hidden surprise after you embark from Tomorrow Land toward the front of the park. Or how if you want to visit Toon Town, be sure it's one of your first stops because it closes early to prep for fireworks. I could go on and on about how your kids will fall in love with Crush, or how beautiful the Aladdin show is. How riding The Jungle Cruise after dark is worth it for the comedy act and how eating in The Blue Bayou is expensive, but worth it for the ambiance and watching the people drift by on The Pirates ride. If you ever get the chance to experience the most joyous place that I have ever been to in my entire life of living, Disneyland, then you must! It truly is the most happiest place on earth.