I spent an incredibly relaxing day at Disneyland the other day! Yes, you heard me… incredibly relaxing… at Disneyland. Yes, there were crowds, lines and heat, after all it is summer and I was in Disneyland. However, having visited more times than I can count with every combination of people imaginable I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on keeping calm and Disneyland at the same time and you can too!
I know some of you might be thinking, how is this even possible? Yes, Disneyland is crowded, expensive and touristy, but it’s also magical, beautiful and fun!
It’s all in the mindset… understanding that it’s just not possible to do it all, especially if you only have one day, and that trying would only serve to ruin the day and everyone’s good time… basically the same philosophy I use when traveling to far away places when time is an issue. Time is always an issue. There is never enough time in disneyland! However, it’s still very possible to see many of the attractions and feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth while at the same time keeping calm and enjoying yourself!
Here are some handy tips:
- The FastPass system is incredibly useful, but remember to pay close attention to FastPass return times. You’ll be turned away if you arrive after your ride window has closed. Keep in mind that the more popular rides can run out of FastPasses for the day.
- Did you know that if you’re a family with a younger child you can take turns riding without having to wait in the line all over again? Just ask for a Rider Switch Pass at the beginning of the line! The Rider Switch option is available on attractions that have a minimum height requirement. For example: California Screamin’!
- Try to visit the busiest attractions while others are viewing the parades or fireworks show.
- To avoid the lunch and dinner crowds consider eating your meals a bit on the early or late side, or better yet skip the traditional sit down meal and grab a hearty snack to go!
- Did you know you can purchase Dole Whip in the Tiki Room waiting area? Yep, They serve the popular treat from both sides of the hut! Yes, even if you aren’t attending the show.
- Radiator Springs Racers runs out of FastPasses very early in the day and the lines are always incredibly long, but if you don’t mind riding alone, try the Single Rider line, your party can wait in line together until the very last moment. The best part is that the Single Rider Line can be as short as 15 minutes while the Stand By Line is as long as 120 minutes! This also works great for California Screamin’, the Matterhorn and Splash Mountain! However, you need to be at least 8yo to ride alone.
- Wear comfortable clothing no matter what!! Your comfort is more important than style! Even if the days are warm the nights can be chilly here in SoCal, so bring something with sleeves.
- When waiting for It’s A Small World stay in the line to the right, its always faster. I know it looks longer, but trust me!
- There are many walk up food options, but if you’re interested in dining at the Blue Bayou, Carthay Circle, Ariel’s Grotto or any of the Fine/Character dining locations reservations should be made well in advance. Everyone should try Character Dining at least once!
- Have you heard of Hidden Mickeys? There are many hidden surprises all over the parks. We even found hidden images in the table at the Carthay Circle restaurant! There are also many other Easter eggs around the park so keep your eye out!
- No one is too young or old for Disneyland and if they’re under 3 it won’t cost extra to bring them along, however you’ll have the memory of their first experience!
- No one does fireworks quite like Disneyland, so if you’ve never seen them it’s worth the wait, and for the best viewing (in front of the castle is best) there will be a wait! Plan to claim your spot about 90 minutes to 2 hours prior to show time and then take turns holding down the fort and waiting for the magic to begin. Trust me, it’s worth it!
- Did you know there is a wonderful baby care center located at the far end of Main Street just on the other side of Main Street Photo! Complete with high chairs, all the baby supplies you can think up including food and diapers and adorable tiny little toilets for the potty training set. It’s the perfect place to drop in and take care of all your baby business! So there are no excuses!
- Ever wonder what its like inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle? Guess what, you can go inside! Just to the left after you walk through the portcullis there is a doorway, walk up the stairs and follow the corridor. You can watch the story unfold in the action view windows located along the castle’s passages. You’ll come out on the opposite side about 5 minutes later!
- Visit lands and try rides both in the day and again after dark! You’ll be surprised at how different they feel. My two favorite after dark ride experiences are Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Mad Hatter Teacups and don’t miss Radiator Springs after dark it’s amazing!
- Try stuff on! Hats, slippers, costumes, you name it… Disneyland shops have it all! If you can’t try on or wear a silly hat at Disneyland, where can you? Better yet, bring a friend and try stuff on together!
- Stop and smell the flowers! Beyond everything else it has to offer Disneyland grounds are not only impeccable, but there are beautiful gardens and flowers everywhere you look!
- Use the photo pass system and have your photo taken on the rides, with characters, or in front of Disneyland’s many famous landmarks! Our family has an album filled with photos from all our previous visits and it’s amazing how much we’ve all changed over the years!
- Remember don’t expect to do everything, but do expect to: Keep Calm & Disneyland!
If you’ve been to Disneyland before you already have your favorites, but just incase you haven’t or are looking for some new experiences, Simon, Elliot and I have put together a partial list of our “can’t miss” attractions, treats and shops!
- Disneyland popcorn
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (especially at night)
- Carmel Apples from the Pooh Corner shop are IMHO the very best
- Mickey’s Premium Ice cream bars
- Chili Cone Queso
- It’s A Small World Christmas
- Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups after dark
- California Screamin’
- Space Mountain
- Halloween Time Fireworks
What are some of your favorites, tips and secrets at the Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below and just because I can’t resist here are a few more photos from some of our more recent visits to the Magic Kingdom!
Keep your eyes open for hidden surprises!
Random Fun and general silliness!
Enjoying the scenery!