Guide & Travel tips when visiting Disneyland
The Happiest Place on Earth
I think Disney now takes up a certain portion of our brains whether we like it or not. Who in this country doesn't know the tune to "It's a small world?"
Having grown up in Orange County, Disneyland was always a very easy place to go (provided you had a pass or tickets or friends who worked in the park). I still feel like a kid when I walk in and see Mickey's face spread out in flowers and the train going by.
My first and most important piece of advice for Disneyland is DON'T go in the summer. Avoid it at ALL costs. It's a madhouse of heat and sweat and screaming children and shockingly long lines. If you have a pass and can go whenever you like and don't mind not going on the rides then sure--head for the park. But if this if your once a year vacation and you want your money's worth--then try to go in the fall, winter, or even early spring. The crowds are less, it's not as hot, and you'll get to ride on A LOT more rides and see a lot more shows. Even better--go when its raining (which doesn't happen often, so even a drizzly, colder day will do) and you'll practically step right onto the rides.
If your vacation is already booked for August, then take a squirt bottle and mini fan to keep yourself cool, stock up on patience, and head for the park. There are plenty of hotels in Orange County, so search around online for a good deal rather than heading straight to the Disney Hotel if you're looking to save. I'm pretty sure you can get a shuttle or taxi ride to the park cheaper than what it costs to park at Disneyland nowadays. Or do what the locals do--park in the parking lot for Downtown Disney and walk into the park from there.
Make sure you get a pass for both parks--California Adventure is definitely worth seeing but I don't think has a full day's worth, Disneyland is obviously just great. If you only have one or two days, you'll probably want to do the traditional get-up-early-and-pack-as-many-things-into-the-day scheme. This is fine, but I'm offering a warning here and now for those with young children--they won't be happy campers by the end of the day. Heck, I was worn out after a bit more than half a day!
Another piece of advice is--and I know this may be a hard one--but don't take your kids before they're 4 or 5. They won't remember it, someone will always have to wait outside with them during a ride, and they'll be cranky and irritable by the end of the day. While you may want Junior to experience the Magic Kingdom as soon as possible, wait a couple years and it will be a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
As fun as the rides and shows are, make sure you take time just to find a park bench and sit. Look at everything around you. It really is a beautiful place--the scrollwork on the lampposts, the molding on Main Street, the rustic flair tied into everything in Frontierland--you're enveloped in this magical world of make believe so enjoy it! Scream your heart out on the Screamin' roller coaster, dangle your legs as you fly over California. Pull your hardest at the sword in the stone! Take time for a river cruise, run around Tom Sawyer's Island! If you are older, take time to actually go explore Main Street USA more than when you were a kid--I was surprised there was so much I hadn't seen there! One hint is to go on the bigger rides during the parade--the lines will be shorter.
Whatever you end up doing--whether it be hitting up the major rides or just absorbing the magical atmosphere, remember that Disneyland will always be there, and don't stress yourself out trying to cram everything in. Just enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth!
Links about Disneyland...
- Disney.com | The Official Home Page For All Things Disney
Disney.com offers movies, TV, games, music, live events, travel, shopping, mobile, characters, and Disney XD- the most magical place online for families and fans of all ages!
- Disneyland Park (Anaheim) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
More about Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA