My family and I just returned from a fun vacation at the happiest place on earth. It’s hard to come back from those kind of vacations…so I thought I’d ignore my work for a little while and return to my magical happy place through a blog post. Join me as I highlight the Do’s and Don’ts of Disneyland.
Plan to have fun. It’s the happiest place on earth, for goodness sake. Whales even smile in Disneyland.
To enhance the happiness factor, go off season (like we did) and take your I.D. if you’re an adult. I almost didn’t take mine since we walked over from our hotel…but they are required as of last week.
Show up at the gate expecting to get right in. Everyone desires happiness, so if you don’t get there at least a half hour early, the lines can tickle your frown.
Try the churros (all over the park), Mint Juleps (at a stand near the exit of Pirates), Dole Whips (at the Tiki place), and the sweet potato fries at the diner in Bear World. Those can increase happiness by a factor of 18.
Try to smooch on the roller coasters (like the 7 second Toon Town one where my husband tried to gross out our kids) or take flash photography in dark rides (like Pirates). The ‘Cast Members’ will call out your discretion over a LOUD intercom for everyone to know that you’re a rule breaker. (On a side note: it is fun to see my husband blush).
Go on all the little kid rides. Disney’s theming is amazing, and you miss out on a lot of happiness if you just do the big rides over and over again. Peter Pan, Dumbo, the Train, Autopia (where my 15 year old daughter jerked the life out of me; and my 18 year old drove without hands. You can learn a lot about your kids in Disneyland–and know whether to take their driver’s license away or not).
Ride Splash Mountain expecting no splashes. That ride is tricky. Sometimes you don’t get wet…but when you do…you’re soaked. My poor mother-in-law was wet the rest of the day and had to go back for new clothes since she was so chilled. But she was still happy.
Get fast passes to avoid lines. Last time we came after Thanksgiving week, there were no lines. But I guess word got out and there were more people this time. Fast passes kept us from waiting more than 10 minutes for the bigger, more popular rides (Star Tours, Space Mountain, etc). Fast passes that let you pass all the poor people standing in line make you feel as if You are the KING of Disneyland. Very happy.
Miss out on Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. We’ve skipped that in the past, but did it this time. And I’m so glad we did. This feature was one of Walt Disney’s favorite works…and I like both men even more after watching it (bonus: comfy theater seats where I didn’t have to stand; my sore feet thanked me the whole time and wished it was even longer). This production was one of my favorite things. Very inspiring and touching.
Stay for Fireworks at the end. Disneyland is the master at putting on a phenomenal firework display choreographed to music. Even though my feet hurt…it was worth waiting in a street filled with thousands of people to watch. I forgot about the strangers around me and was caught up in the magical moment (and it snowed at the end). Only Disney could make it snow in California. They are THAT good. (Can you tell that I am very biased towards Disney! Don’t badmouth Disney in my presence–that’s as bad as swearing!)
Wear sandals. You will die, unless you get a handicap 4 wheel drive to carry you around (like about half the park seemed to do; the other half had strollers). Sturdy shoes are essential to happiness.
Immerse yourself in the magic. While you wait in line, enjoy the theming. Some of my favorite parts about Disneyland are studying the details of the walls, the landscape, and listening to the sounds around me in line. The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Tower of Terror in California’s Adventure scare you long before you actually get on the ride.
And the slow boat taking you inside It’s a Small World let’s you enjoy all the amazing bushes shaped into all sorts of animals. Don’t MOOSE out on all the cool Theming by thinking you’re too grown up for it! You’re NOT!
If you think you are, you’ll miss out on a Galaxy of wonders!
Argghhhh! And that would be a shame, Matey!
Wait in the normal line for the new Cars Ride. It’s great, but NO ride is worth a 1-3 hour wait. There was even a line for the fast passes for this ride (and they were gone within an hour of opening). We hopped in the Single Rider line (which you can’t do if you have young kids you need to stay with…but mine are teenagers, so they can fend off strange Disney characters like Goofy and Mickey without harm). The wait was half the time (30 min), because they didn’t wind us into Timbuktoo and back to Disneyland. We got shoved into cars with strangers, but it was a blast…and worth it.
The teacups on an empty stomach. My husband LOVES teacups and can spin them quite wildly. I let the kids ride with him…but my father-in-law had a strong arm too. I was so glad to be done when it stopped. I weaved my way out of there and was so glad to see this ride closed the 2nd day due to rain. No seconds for me, thank you.
Ah! That was a fun recap of the trip. Sorry for the length…but I did hold back, honestly. If you have never experienced the happiest place on Earth, I hope someday you will. For my family, Disneyland is at the top of our lists for places we love. Of course, we avoid busy times and miss school to do it (so worth the making up of homework afterward). Have a magical day!
- The Holidays at Disneyland 2012 (tinyoranges.com)