Tuesday, April 6, 2010
How to Keep your Sanity in Disneyland
I'm not kidding. Seriously. You have to play Disney smart or you will stand in line and go crazy and spend every dime in your bank account.
Book through Disney. You get opportunities otherwise not offered. We got souvenir tickets, which also allowed us to use the fast pass, which I'll talk about more later. We were able to book a shuttle from the airport to our hotel and back, and we were able to get tram passes that picked us up right in front of our hotel and took us to the park and back. There are other options as well, character calls, dining packages, etc etc. Also, we stayed in a good neighbor hotel as opposed to the Disney Resort. This saved us about $1000. Now, if you're hell bent on staying at the Resort, go ahead, it is sweet, right in the middle of the park. If we did it again, we would probably save the money and do it, but this time, we wanted to take it easy on our bank account.
We arrived on a Monday night. We debated going to the park or not that first night, and decided to go. Good decision. We practically walked right in to Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain. Three of the most popular attractions at the park. Rides are less busy later at night, or during the parades or the fireworks. That first night we stayed until about 11:00 pm.
The fast pass. These things are awesome. If you've never heard of them, basically you go to a ride (only the most popular ones offer the fast pass) and go to the fast pass distribution. You put your Disneyland (henceforth DL) ticket in and out pops a ticket telling you what time to come back to the ride. It can be anywhere from an hour to six hours for the most popular rides (we got a fast pass for Space Mountain around noon and it told us to come back at 7:30). The beauty is, you get to hop in the fast pass line, you do have to wait a little sometimes, but a fifteen minute wait beats an hour wait.
So what we would do, is get to the park, ride one of our favorite rides, because they aren't too busy in the morning, then grab a fast pass for it. We'd then find the rides with 30 minutes or less wait and ride on those while waiting for our fast pass time. Go ride our ride, get a fast pass for another, and lather, rinse, repeat. You have to be careful, the REALLY popular rides like Indiana Jones and Space Mountain actually run out of fast passes for the day, you if you want to ride those, you need to get your passes early.
Needless to say, we had ridden every ride we wanted to ride within our first 2 1/2 days there. The rest was just reriding, catching shows, and parades.
The only ride we had difficulty getting on was Little Nemo's submarine ride. It ALWAYS had a line, and there was no fast pass available. So, with our DL package, we received a voucher to get into the park early one day. We used that opportunity to get in line for that ride. We still had to wait 30 minutes, but it was worth it, and that was a short wait for that ride in comparison.
I really have nothing to say about the food. You have to eat. You can bring your own, but we didn't feel the need to haul a backpack through the park, so we bought lunch and dinner usually. Now, our hotel gave us breakfast vouchers, so we actually got to eat breakfast three times for free. The other two days, we ate fiber bars we brought from home. AND we had a Starbucks in our lobby. That was a perk. You can pretty much forget about eating healthy at the park. But on average, if you're there for 12 hours a day, which we were, you're going to be walking ten miles a day. So, it doesn't really matter what you eat. You'll work it off.
As far as the shows go, like the rides, if you get there during parades and such, they're going to be empty, but we didn't really have to wait in line for shows.
The last thing is souvenirs. We bought almost everything the last couple days after perusing every store. And we didn't buy much, that will easily drain your account. Each girl got a sweatshirt, and I got a t-shirt and knit hat (totally cute Jack stuff). Rusty (the husband) opted for nothing.
We also bought some items across the street at Target to cut costs from room service and vending machines (an $8 bottle of wine as opposed to a $28 one at the hotel restaurant).
If you want to see the parades, you have to get there early, and claim your seat. And it's easier to find a seat at the end of the parade route than anywhere else.
I think that's all the tips I have. Though I had complaints (see yesterdays blog) we did have a blast, and I think we did both parks wisely.
Soaring Over California
Pirates of the Caribbean
Least Favorite Rides:
Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blaster
Autopia (totally lame and a really long line)
It's Tough to be a Bug 4d
Thunder Ranch BBQ (we had to wait for an hour, but it was worth it, all you can eat bbq)
Thanks for reading
My Dad. He's awesome.
John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney