Colten and I planned on straying from my Disney obsession and doing a Carnival Cruise for our anniversary in August. Then our friends decided to plan a "friend-trip" to Disneyland in October, so we decided to join them instead. Who could resist sharing the happiest place on earth with some of our best friends??
October seems SOOOOOOOO far away and I'm trying to curb my Disneyland withdrawal by writing up some Disney posts!
So today I'm sharing my Top 10 Disneyland Must Knows so you can more fully enjoy your time in the parks.
1. Mentally prepare for crowds.
It's busy. It's busy in January, it's busy in July, it's busy in November. Disneyland is busy year-round, there are slower times, but it will always feel busy. Everything will take longer than you expect and if you come mentally prepared for that you will already be on the road to enjoying your trip!
2. If you're not there at rope-drop, you're late.
Getting there a half hour before opening to be there right as they drop the ropes is the best thing ever. All the busy rides aren't busy yet and you have full opportunity to get whatever FastPasses you want. If you have to decide between staying until close or getting there at rope drop, pick rope drop every time. The park slows down at night but nothing compared to how slow it is in the morning.
3. Know the FastPass system!
Here's the Disney site's description of it. But my best advice is to Google it, and Google the tips and tricks about it! I hear they are getting rid of this system and introducing a new on in 2016, but for now, know your FastPass!
4. Download Disneyland Wait Times to your smart phone.
This app was always up to date when we were in Disneyland. It made it easy to decide where to go next based on wait times and helped us know if a ride was closed for maintenance.
5. Do at least ONE Character Dining.
Waiting in line for characters is hard for everyone. For kids, for parents, for teenagers... but if you do a Character Dining the characters come to YOUR table. They do make it quick but you get one on one interaction with the characters. They'll take pictures, sign autographs and sometimes do silly things that make the kids laugh. Choose the one that best fits the interest of your party. Goofy's Kitchen is my all time fave but Ariel's Grotto is perfect for meeting lots of princesses! At 21 character dinings are still one of my favorite Disneyland experiences.
6. Take necessary breaks.
It can be tempting to go go go all day long especially if you don't have a ton of days in the park, but taking breaks when necessary makes your trip so much more enjoyable. So much of the magic of Disneyland is just the atmosphere. Go HERE to read what you can do at Disneyland when you're super exhausted. If your hotel is close, 1 hour naps make all the difference in the world.
7. Try to eat off schedule.
Most of the guests will get hungry right around 12-1. If you can hold off until 3, you can take advantage of shorter lines on rides and then shorter lunch lines at 3.
8. Save $$ and room for snacks!
When it comes to Disneyland food, they have so many MUST TRYs. On our Disneyland honeymoon my husband and I were basically never hungry because I wanted him to try everything. Mickey ice cream bars, anything from the Cozy Cones in CARS Land, Monte Cristo sandwiches and Corn Dog Castle. Save $$ ahead of time so you don't have to be stingy on snacks. There's just too many yummy ones to try.
9. See the shows!
Just like the food, so many of the shows are what make Disneyland great. Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular, FANTASMIC!, and World of Color to name a few. World of Color and FANTASMIC require FastPasses which are basically your ticket to the show, get them early.
10. Be knowledgeable, and then go have fun.
Do your research before... What rides will be closed while I'm there? Are my kids tall enough for all the rides? What are the snacks I need to try? How do Fast Passes work? How long will it take me to walk from my hotel to the park? Do I have comfortable/functional clothing and shoes to wear into the park? Do we want to buy souveniers? Where can we meet characters? Plan plan plan! And then once you get there, focus on the moment, and don't stress about anything but enjoying the magical memories you'll be making.