Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tips and Tricks on Surviving a Visit to Disneyland [14/15]

The happiest place on earth is also the busiest and can get frustrating very quickly. While Disneyland Park is a must-visit while in Los Angeles (actually the park is located in Anaheim, CA), you have to know certain things ahead if you want to have a great time there. Certain parts of the year are busier then others, but all in all you can always expect crowds in Disneyland. At the end of the day we were satisfied with our stay here, but during the day certain things happened that frustrated us. In this post I want to talk about the good and the bad.


Tips and Tricks on Surviving a Visit to Disneyland


Arrival, Parking and Tickets in Disneyland

You will have to use a car to get here, I'm sure there is public transportation, but Anaheim is a one hour drive away from LA, so it will be pretty inconvenient to use buses. Type the park into your GPS but also be aware that you will have to follow the "Parking" signs once you get there, and those signs will lead you into other streets then your GPS. Parking costs 18$/day, something which is conveniently omitted when you view the ticket prices online. Ticket prices are 99$/person. You can choose between Disneyland Park, which is the older part, and Disneyland California Adventure, which is newer and has different attractions. We opted for the classic Disneyland Park, which was built first. There is no way you can manage to view both parks in one day so I wouldn't go out and buy a "grasshopper ticket" for cca 150$, which gets you into both parks in the same day.

Once you buy the tickets at the centrally located booths, you either enter on the right (Disneyland Park) or left (Disneyland California Adventure). You can find free park maps at the booth where you check in your ticket. Get one and familiarize yourself with it. It will be your friend!





Lines and Fast Passes

The crowds in Disneyland are huge. We were there during Halloween weekend, which brought in more people then usual. Waiting times for simple attractions were over an hour. It's very frustrating to wait over an hour for a ride, and then ride it for 2-3 minutes. But there is no way around it. Certain rides (usually the most popular ones like Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Haunted Mansion, Star Wars ride), have the Fast Pass system. You use your ticket to get a fast pass card. That card tells you when you can come back for the ride. Later you can then skip the line and enter through the Fast Pass lane, which will get you quickly into your ride.

But here's the deal: you can't simply get as many Fast Pass cards as you want. If you get a Fast Pass Card you will have to wait at least an hour and a half before you can get the next one. So it's important to keep your timetable straight here. I suggest you get a Fast Pass card for an attraction that offers it, then wait in line for a ride that doesn't have it and ride it, draw the next Fast Pass card if the time has elapsed, then go on the ride you took the first Fast Pass from. It sounds complicated, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly.







Parades and other Quick Attractions in Disneyland Park

There are certain things in Disneyland Park you don't have to wait for. There are parades throughout the day, featuring popular Disney characters. The streets are closed off (at least the main ones) until the parade passes through. Another thing which doesn't draw in many people is the big castle which features Sleeping Beauty's story. It's not a ride strictly, but you can walk through the castle and see various knocks and crannies of it. It's certainly something to pass the time. Another thing I highly suggest doing is riding the Disneyland Railroad. It goes around the whole park and has 6 stations you can enter in (look at your map for details). It's a nice distraction from the busy park life.




Food and Drinks in Disneyland Park

I will say right away that you want to have water with you. Especially here in California the days are long and hot, and when you mix in the crowds you can get dehydrated pretty quickly. We didn't bring any food into the park (it's not prohibited), but ate inside. We had an ice cream for 5$ right at the entrance to the park (the portion was huge, we couldn't even finish it), and then for 8$ fried chicken, fries and tartar sauce in a small restaurant. We didn't really eat that much here, but the food was ok. Nothing to write home about, but also not bad in any way.






How long to stay in the Park?

We payed for it so we wanted to stay every moment that we could. It really does cost some money to spend a day here. 150$/person go away quickly during the day. So make sure to stay until the end. Actually, the crowds do not lighten up once the dark rolls in (as I had hoped), so you will be in good company. The best time in the park is really at night. That's when the lights go on, the fireworks start and the heat of the day finally vanishes. Usually the park is open until midnight. We stayed until 10pm, since we had a hour long car ride back to our apartment in LA.



The best rides in Disneyland Park

Disneyland Park offers both rides for thrill seekers and for people (like me) who like adventure but don't want to get sick. The best trill rides in Disneyland Park are: Splash Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Other cool rides include: Star Tours–The Adventures Continue (a 3D simulator), Peter Pan's Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion (images below), Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

Before I leave you for this post I also want to mention the souvenir shops. You will find them at any corner, and we joked about how they were the only place in Disneyland where you didn't have to stand in line for. The prices are very steep. We got fridge magnets that cost around 8$. No you can imagine what the rest of the prices were. But a little souvenir will not hurt (and I guess that's what Disneyland is betting on) :)





Conclusion: I am happy we visited Disneyland Park. It was a dream of mine for a long time, but I wished I had lowered my expectations a bit before going. The first half of the day was indeed spent in lines and waiting. The heat didn't help it. The second part of the day (after sunset) was much more enjoyable. We loved the rides as well as the ambiance. The prices are a bit steep, but hey, Disney isn't a multi-billion dollar conglomerate for nothing.

End of Part Fourteen
To be continued...

23 comments:

  1. A marvellous accountof disneyland and for me it brought back memories of whenI took my daugher there many years ago. it was the hottest day that had had ever so between rides we went into the ladies adn completly soaked outselved from head to foot, then stood in the queue and by the time we got to the head of it, we were dry. Worked a a dream ut I loved the evening as well as allthe rides we were on (no fast passes in those days) Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed a look back Margaret. I can fully understand about the heat, it can get pretty crazy waiting in the lines. That's why I suggested to bring water, but your method would work as well :)

      Delete
  2. I couldn't cope with the crowds now. However, I thank you for showing me what Disneyland is like. It looks fascinating - so vibrant too, I can tell. I would have loved it at one time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely is a feast for the eyes.

      Delete
  3. Fabulous captures, Mersad. It's good you got to experience Disneyland, pricey and all. One of those much sees. I think there's always a crowd, day and night.
    When I lived there I went often... when it was much much cheaper and far less crowded, but we can't turn back the hands of time (though I'd like to).
    Wonderful post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I would be there often as well If I lived close by. You can get a pass for the whole year. That way you don't have to spend the whole day in Disneyland, but rather stretch it out over multiple visits.

      Delete
  4. thanks for the visit, everything you wrote here is why we have never been to the Disney world that is 90 miles from our house. all of the above is a reason for me to stay away. but i do love seeing it through your camera lens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's very daunting, but maybe you can sneak a peak in the off-season :)

      Delete
  5. What an excellent review of your trip to Disney. It will surely be helpful to those planning a first trip.

    I've only gone once and that was to Orlando. Once was enough. Yes, it is great for the kids, but too much for me all at one time. Perhaps another reason is that we live about ten minutes down the expressway from King's Island, a newer huge park where we went with the kids several times a year when they were young.

    As always, your pictures are amazing! Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lois. I would actually like to go back in the off-season when the crowds are smaller, so that I can enjoy it even more.

      Delete
  6. I think the first time I saw the place was 1959. It's changed a bit. You captured a lot for a one day rush!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post as always, Mersad! I've been to Disneyland when my kids were small -- a lot of years ago!! It was fun -- particularly for them, but I was glad they never showed an interest in going there again. It was kind of a "been there, done that" kind of place. All four of them preferred going camping or just driving around the country in our Winnebago -- which was a great vehicle to have with four kids, a dog and a cat and, yes, they went with us, too!!

    I hope you have a great new week!! Enjoy!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Expensive--yes! One of those places I am glad my son and I went but once was enough. Kind of like Vegas--LOL! The new park additions are tempting, though. We went to the one in Florida...like 30 years ago. My how time flies. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have friends who like to go to WDW each year. I think once is enough! Glad you enjoyed your day there.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post Mersad! I come from Orange County so I used to go to Disneyland every year. I had lots of fun but it became too expensive and too crowded for my tastes. However, thanks for bringing back great childhood memories. :-) My mother started going Disneyland when it first opened in 1955 and now she takes her grandchildren there.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great photos of the Magic Kingdom! I took my kids to Disneyland in the mid 90's when they were little. We had a great time, but I don't care for crowds and have never been back. For me it's one of those places to go once and say you've been there.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Okay. Hab ich jetzt verstanden und ich würde immer nochmal drüber nachdenken, ob ich da hin will. Ist ein bißchen ähnlich wie hier in "unserem" Phantasialand in Brühl. Wir waren in letzter Zeit bestimmt 4 Mal da und so langsam find ichs eher anstrengend. Hmmmm.......gut, dass du mir das nochmal so vor Augen geführt hat. Und der Wahnsinn ist ja auch, was das immer kostet. Ihr zahlt ja jeweils nur für zwei, wir müssen für 5 ran. Überleg mal: das sind ja 500 Dollar ohne Essen und parken. Schon krass. Ach ich muss echt mal überlegen, ob wir da unbedingt reinmüssen..hmmmm. GlG Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Na ja, wir haben für 4 bezahlt :) Ist schon echt gigantisch, wie alles in the USA :) Aber vielleicht ist es etwas besser in der off Season. Wir waren im Phantasialand anfang Dezember (in 2012) und hatten den Park fast ganz für uns allein.

      Delete
  13. These are so so beautiful Mersad - just like a fairyland! Gorgeous...

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've never been. At that price, I'll never go either!

    ReplyDelete
  15. So glad you did enjoy your trip to Disneyland. It was practically my home during my teen years. You have given some very good tips. Yes the lines have always been so long, but like you said there are ways to make them not so frustrating. Back before fast passes we use to use our time in line to meet the people around us and find out where they were from, or sit on the ground and give our tired feet and legs a much needed rest. I always took a sweater just for the purpose, it was easy enough to tie it around my waist and just take it off and use it for cushion while waiting. lol

    ReplyDelete

Subscribe by E-Mail for blog posts in your inbox:

Subscribe

Image Credits

All Rights are Reserved. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of the author.

Follow this blog on Blogger