Disneyland Tips & Tricks

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March 29, 2015
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Disneyland Tips & Tricks

What Family Friendly Vacation Ideas and Reviews would be complete without including the happiest place on earth- where the magic began…. Disneyland! Today’s post will share with you the tips and tricks that we learned when we visited the California Adventure and Disneyland theme parks.

This was our goofy picture taken just inside the park by one of the photographers.  They took it with my camera happily.  I have to say our matching shirts were the best way to keep track of everyone, and surprisingly enough not many people were wearing red!  Some of the iron on’s didn’t last long though sadly- something I’ll have to get better at next time we make shirts.

When to go:
We went on a Monday, during the week is always less crowded than on a weekend.  We went March 16th, and we still had an average of 30 minute wait time in every line.  We did get fast passes as much as possible which helped.  There’s also an awesome little trick I’ll tell you about below.

I’ve gone a couple weeks before Christmas before and that was the BEST time to go- the parks were totally empty. So much that we went on the Indiana Jones ride 14 times in a row with no line!

The park was open from 8am-midnight.  With fireworks scheduled to be at 10:30pm

Fireworks:
Unfortunately the fireworks were canceled the night we were there which was a real disappointment because it’s one of the things that EVERYONE talks about.  The tips I’ve heard for fireworks is that they go to music that plays from the castle- so you want to sit by the castle, but where you can see the sky (not by the trees).  It will get very crowded very fast so make sure you’re there early! We got there 15 minutes early and it was almost impossible to find a good spot.
Apparently tinkerbell comes on a zip line and touches the top of the castle (just like at the first of all disney movies) and that’s what starts the fireworks.  But again, that is what we heard since we weren’t able to see them that night.

Tickets:
I didn’t know until we got there that you can get a free ticket on your Birthday!  I was at the Guest Services window when someone came up to get one for their child whose birthday was within a couple days and they were nice enough to let them have one.  Disneyland’s customer service is awesome I have to say.
You can get ticket packages with hotel stays, and vacation deals.  Costco also sometimes offers the tickets at a discount if you have a membership there.  If you want to go to both parks (CA Adventure and Disneyland) you’ll have to buy a park hopper ticket.
If you plan to be there for more than one day you’ll save money if you buy one park ticket for one day and the other park ticket for the other day.  And trust me, there is enough to do and see at each park to keep you busy for a couple of days!

If you are a blogger, Disneyland will give you 2 one day park hopper tickets per year free! (Thanks Disney!) That took a couple hundred dollars off our family trip.

Money Savers:
Anything at the park is going to be very overpriced.  So to save money with kids it’s always a good idea to bring some little snacks- granola bars, fruit snacks, etc.  All over the park at the food stops you can get free cups of ice water so be sure to take advantage of that and stay hydrated.  We brought our own water bottles and kept refilling them.

Although Disneyland does not allow you to bring food into the parks they will usually overlook small snacks during the stroller and bag check.  Mostly they are worried about more dangerous items being brought into the park like glass, weapons, etc.

If you want to give your kids the Disneyland treat experience but not have to buy every single treat you can see my recipes for Disneyland Rice Krispie Treats and Disneyland Caramel Popcorn.  But one thing you should plan on getting is the Mickey head ice cream treats!  That’s a classic Disneyland treat that your kids will love and a great one to get a picture of them eating.  They’ll cost about $4.75 each.

Also, if you kid accidently drops their ice cream, their balloon pops or deflates, or something you bought at the park breaks the Disney workers will happily replace it!  Their customer service is really awesome.

Rides:
You can find the height requirements on the Disneyland map online or CA Adventure map online, as well as on your theme park map once you get to the park.  Generally most of the big rides were a minimum of 40″, except for in fantasy land that is made more for the younger kids.

There are also rides that you can go on with young infants such as Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a small world, the Nemo submarine, the ferris wheel (I’d suggest a non swinging one).

There are some rides that you’ll want to for sure get fast passes for- and I’ll tell you a super secret trick we learned on our trip…… They have what’s called a “child swap” for parents that have younger kids that can’t go on a ride, one parent goes (with or without kids) when you get in line ask for a “child swap”.  Once the ride is over the other parent (and kids again if they want) can use their “child swap” ticket just like a fast pass!
So here’s what you do- since each person’s ticket is limited on how many fast passes it can have, split up your fast passes since using the child swap you wont need fast passes for everyone, then you can get fast passes for more than one ride.  This will cut your ride time drastically!
Some rides we used fast passes on are:
Tower of terror
Star Tours
Space Mountain
Radiator Springs Racer
Screamin’
Toy Story Mania

Character Meet & Greet:
You can get fast passes for scheduled character meet & greet.  We made sure to see Anna & Elsa, but other than that we didn’t want to take the time since we only had one day to cover both parks.

When you meet the characters at scheduled times your child will get some one on one time with them where you can take pictures.  Disney will also take a picture and give you a card that you can use to access and purchase pictures.  They will also take pictures for you with your camera if you ask them.

Throughout the park you will also see characters, and sometimes they will stop to take a quick picture with your child or sign a autograph book.
My daughter had fun making a list of all the characters we saw at the parks.

Good places and time to rest:
Walking around all day can be exhausting!  It’s a good idea to get some down time to rest on some longer sitting rides such as Pirates, or Small world.  Another way to sit down and relax while keeping kids entertained is to take the train around Disneyland.  Kids will enjoy riding the train and seeing all the areas of the park, and you as parents can relax and plan out your next rides.

The Disney Animation room at CA Adventure park was a great place to do this!  It’s where we waited for our Frozen meet & greet.  They also have a attraction inside that you can learn to draw a Disney character- when we were there it was Olaf.  My older 3 kids did it and loved it!
While you’re in the main room hanging out there are screens all around the room that play slide shows and movie clips of different Disney movies- it’s really cool because the music will come on for one show and every screen has different pictures of the movie, sometimes behind the scenes stuff or sketches, it’s really neat!  We were there long enough to learn it was about a 90 minute rotation, so there was lots to see.   I highly recommend this room- it’s one that everyone will enjoy from adults to kids.

Must Gets:
If it’s your first time at Disneyland you can get a free “first visit” pin.
We also get our kids a hat on their first trip.

Don’t Forget:
If anyone, at any time while at Disneyland asks you how you got to Disneyland you answer “Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust” and you may just win a pretty special prize!!

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