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Disneyland Article
10 Tips For Your Familys Next Trip To Disneyland

Source:Deseret Morning News
Author:Danielle Longhurst
Dateline:October 20, 2015
Posted:October 20, 2015
Enchanted Tiki Room
Enchanted Tiki Room
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With all the rides, shows, characters and restaurants, it's no secret that families are flocking to Disneyland. But with as many as 60,000 visitors on a peak day, it can become overwhelming to know how to make your vacation magical.

Here are a few tips to make sure the happiest place on earth lives up to your family's expectations.

From our experience, if you can plan your Disneyland days during a "Ghost Town" time, you will be walking onto most rides and will rarely be waiting for more than 15-20 minutes on the most popular rides (excluding Radiator Springs Racers).

In general, Tuesdays through Thursdays are the least busy. Avoid weekends and holidays and the summer altogether if possible. If you know people living in Southern California, ask them when school holidays are for their children.

Fastpasses and single-rider lines - divide and conquer

The Fastpass is one of the best things Disneyland has implemented. Several of the popular attractions offer the Fastpass: you can go to the ride's entrance, insert your ticket into a machine and get a pass to come back between an hour time frame, and your wait is significantly reduced.

Also, if you are with a group that doesn't mind splitting up, take advantage of the single-rider line, which is usually as quick as a Fastpass. You can wait in line together and then go on the ride separately and save a lot of time. You can also hit a lot more attractions with a little planning. While others are waiting to go on a ride, send one person who doesn't want to go on that particular ride to get Fastpasses.

Get a Fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers first

Cars Land in California Adventure is still extremely busy, as it is one of the newer attractions, and the wait for Radiator Springs Racers can easily be two hours or more. When my family first tried to get a Fastpass for the ride, we were surprised that the Fastpasses were gone for the entire day just a couple hours after the park had opened.

Now, one person goes to get the Fastpasses (next to A Bug's Land) as soon as we arrive, while the rest of us heads to Toy Story Midway Mania - one of the most popular attractions. There is no Fastpass offered for Toy Story, so there are usually shorter lines earlier in the day.

Stroller switch passes

Easily one of the greatest things we've discovered is the stroller switch pass. If you have a baby or a toddler in a stroller who can't ride the "big" attractions, ask the ride attendant at the beginning of the line for a stroller switch pass. This pass will then get up to three people back on the ride through the Fastpass line. Better yet - get a Fastpass for the ride, then ask for a stroller switch pass, and your whole group can ride without waiting in the long line. Some attendants ask to see the child in the stroller, so be prepared to have the person with the stroller nearby.

Don't overlook the food

Yes, it's expensive, but there are definitely some eateries worth visiting. Our family favorite is the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ near Thunder Mountain in Disneyland. The Monte Cristo Sandwich at Cafe Orleans is also a winner.

While you're waiting to visit the Enchanted Tiki Room, try a Dole Pineapple Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar. In California Adventure, Ghirardelli gives out free samples, which is always a must-visit for our children. And while you're there, you won't regret trying the Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae.

Be aware of show times

More than once, my family and I found ourselves caught in the "post-Fantasmic!" crowd. Knowing when shows get out and avoiding the area can help save time and frustration. If you want to attend the shows, Fastpasses are offered for Fantasmic and World of Color - both of which are definitely worth your time.

Park at the Toy Story Parking Lot

If you're not staying within walking distance of the park, try parking in the Toy Story Parking Lot versus the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure. The Toy Story lot is outside and has easy access to the shuttles without much walking. The first time we parked at Mickey and Friends, we were so frustrated with how long it took to enter the structure, get to a parking spot, walk, wait in line for the elevator (if you have a stroller) and then wait for the tram.

Check closures beforehand

Knowing which rides are closed before you go to the park can save you time and disappointment. Disneyland's website posts closures on its daily calendar. Be aware that more rides are being refurbished during slow times.

Buy tickets online, be there before the park opens

Save yourself one wait in line by buying tickets online, and you can go right to the entrance. It's also fun to be there when the park opens. As the day goes on, the park often just gets busier.

Download a wait-time app on your smartphone

A wait-time app has been a huge help for enjoying our Disneyland days. It will tell you live wait times for the park you are in, so while waiting in line for a ride, you can check the wait on other rides and plan accordingly. Some of the popular ones include MouseWait and Disneyland Wait Times.

Attractions Referenced

Enchanted Tiki Room


Restaurants Referenced

Big Thunder Bar-B-Que

Blue Bayou Restaurant

Tiki Juice Bar

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