Disneyland Do’s and Don’ts

DSC00480My 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).


DSC00514Go 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).


DSC00616Ride 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.


DSC00559Get 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.


DSC00498Stay 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!


DSC00544Wait 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.

DSC00634Ah! 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!


33 thoughts on “Disneyland Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Disney really can’t be outdone, can they? We’re going there again this summer, but since our kids are older now, we’re staying near Universal Studios and will divide half our time there and half at Disney. I always feel guilty to fast pass though. It’s embarrassing to budge in front of those other folks, even though I know anyone can do it, and it doesn’t cost a thing.

    I would have loved to see your husband’s face when he was busted for flash-photo taking. That’s something my hubby would do. 🙂

    Great post and great pics!

    • Good for you. Hope you have a blast. You should check out RideMax before you go in the summer. It’s a program you buy and you plug in the rides you want to do during a day and it tells you the most efficient way to get fast passes so that you get the most rides in the day. We don’t need it much off season, but my family that has gone there in the summer says it’s worth the cost to do that. I think my husband was most embarrassed by fake-kissing me in the roller coaster to make the kids embarrassed. When they told him to face forward, he looked quite sheepish.

  2. I think this is the best thing I’ve ever read about Disney. I’ve never gone, and never really even wanted to. This actually makes me consider it. You should do marketing and promotion for travel!

    • It’s quite fun (off season). I don’t really like it when it’s crazy-busy (which I did before I was married). We like it so much, my husband and I will probably go by ourselves when the kids are gone (or beg them to invite us to go along with them when they marry and have kids). It really is a fun, magical place. The landscaping and decor are out of this world.

  3. Great post, Char. Love the photos. If we ever get the chance to go to Disney, and it would probably be the Tokyo one, I’ll whip out your post beforehand as a reminder of the most efficient and fun way to see Disney. Glad you had a happy time. 🙂

    • Fun, fun, fun! Doesn’t matter how big or small, they are all great. But Disney does a pretty good job coming out on top. Of course, with the money they have rolling around, it’s no wonder. Long live Mickey!

    • I’d love to see Disney World someday to compare. It sounds humongous in comparison to Disneyland. And yes, family trips are the best for making memories.

  4. I’m so not an amusement park person but I feel I have to for my kids. We’re less than 2 hours away from Disneyland but haven’t gone there because it’s a very long day if you don’t stay overnight. But I’ve taken my kids to Disneyworld Paris and they loved it (my mom lives 15 minutes away from there) and I hope to take them again next summer when we go visit. We don’t go for thrill rides. They didn’t like Peter Pan and my Meniere’s ears got messed up from being shaken around) but they loved the Buzz Lightyear ride. We loved it’s a small world and I could do that ride all day long!

  5. By the way, I can’t believe you didn’t put a link to the It’s a small word song so it would get stuck in everyone’s head. So here you go! This happens to be the ride in Disneyland Paris, by the way.

    • You’ll have to go sometime at Christmas. The It’s a Small World song about drives me crazy by time we get off that ride usually because it’s such a LONG ride…but at Christmas, they mix in Jingle Bells, and some other Christmas songs with the regular tune. It’s much easier to love, and we did it again. Fun, fun! Thanks for putting that tune back in my head though.

      • You’re welcome! I actually don’t mind the song because I really haven’t heard it much. I’m sure if I went to Disneyland every year and I listened to it several times while there, it would get old really fast!

  6. On my last few excursions to Disneyland, my adult brother and I bought the cheap kid pirate swords and then proceeded to live out epic sword fights while waiting in line. The tunnel leading in and out of the Indiana Jones ride is the best. This lead to the rest of our group getting swords to defend themselves with. On Star Tours, prior to the overhaul, I would also “Captain Kirk” it, which means exaggerating the turns and jolts like William Shatner on Star Trek. Anything to play along with the environment and fun of Disneyland.

    • That sounds so fun. My son would have got a kick out of the sword thing. If I would have let him, he would have done Star Tours exclusively. He really loved that one (they’ve redone it well). We were sad the Indiana Jones ride was closed. That is a fun line to stand in (and I’m sure swords made it even more fun).

  7. Can’t wait to go again maybe next year! Love your recap! So glad we got to see you guys some while you were here!! =)

  8. Sounds like a lot of fun! Since the Florida one is so huge these days with so many different parks, it seems like it’s easy to overlook the basic Disney area with rides like the teacups and It’s a Small World. This shows that the old fashioned stuff can be just as fun and magical.

  9. Great tips. The thing about a Disney vacation is that you need vacation after the vacation. Seeing Disney can be work — but it looks like you had a blast!

    • Yeah…it did beat me physically each day. We tend to take the park hard (as in no breaks). But it was definitely worth it and a load of fun. I’ve been sick since I got back though…so another vacation to recover my health would be nice.

  10. Being that I live in NH, we usually go to WDW instead of Disneyland. We did visit Disneyland once when we were visiting family in CA, and although there are major differences between the parks, the mood, theme, flavor is exactly the same. It’s my fave vacation spot, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

    • Yeah, I don’t think I could get tired of it either. It’s nice to have 2 parks on each side of the country to make it easier for people to get to it. It’s just the poor middle that is left out.

  11. What a wonderful post Char, the photos were excellent! Sturdy shoes, definitely! Even comfy sandals can get stepped on, or worse, can fall off during rides. And ooh those tea cups… can’t do them at all, empty stomach or not. 🙂

    Glad you had such a good time!

    • Thanks a bunch. It was super fun, even the tea cups (but just once…and not with my husband who is a little psycho on that ride). I think my favorite ride is still Pirates.

    • I hope you get there too someday. But if you don’t, you’ve had your own adventures with crocodiles and you get to see kangaroos and have a chocolate pudding tree in your yard. I can’t say the same.

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