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Disney or Die (or how to ride 16 rides and love it)

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Vagabond Kids: Disney or Die (or how to ride 16 rides and love it)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Disney or Die (or how to ride 16 rides and love it)

Edited from a post on a different blog I wrote about Disneyland and DCA.

The key to doing Disneyland (and DCA) in one day is to plan in advance. This means buying tickets early (either at the hotel or as Frommer's suggests, online). It means planning which rides are MUST do rides and which you can really skip.

So, by way of a list, here are my tips to a successful Disneyland/Disney California Adventure trip.

1. Plan

Plan early which rides you want to ride and agree as a family. Use the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland's touring plans if you want.

Buy Tickets Early and avoid an additional line (and according to some $)

2. Get there early.

Yes, get there early, before the park opens, at least 15 minutes so as soon as the park opens you can go directly to your first ride. Our two other Disney trips (one in HK and one in Anaheim) always left us not able to go on specific rides the kids wanted. In particular Dumbo. So, we made a B-line direct to Dumbo, hitting the back of the park and we were able to do both Dumbo and Matterhorn before 8:30 am.

3. Plan your meals.

This was the one thing we did not do and both times left us straggling around a bit trying to find what the kids would eat. Most places have Kid Friendly meals and the food services move pretty fast. We did not try a "reservation" style meal as we knew the kids would much rather spend time on rides than in restaurants.

4. Stay at a near-by hotel and rest.

Granted we had kick-butt tiredness inducing jet lag, but we were back at the hotel by 2pm for a nap and went back into the parks around dinner time. This allowed us to ride a few extra rides while others were lining up for parades and having dinner.

5. Are the parades and fireworks important?

Determine this as a family early. If not, you can catch a lot of rides while these are taking place.

6. Fast Pass is your friend

Learn how to use the system and plan your rides around fast pass when possible.


Enjoy yourself, don't get stressed

Disney is supposed to be fun and regardless of the number of rides you do and which you don't. It is not possible to do every single ride in Disney alone in a day (or even two) and when you add DCA it would probably take 3-4 days to do them all. Relax, enjoy yourself, play with your kids. If they want to do X rather than the planned y... let them. If you follow this last bit of advice I promise Disneyland will be the "Happiest Place on Earth"

Oh and if you want to know here are the rides we rode (in order) and the approximate wait times

1. Dumbo (no wait)
2. Matterhorn (5 minutes)
3. Nemo (1 hour)
4. Space Mountain (Fast Passed and arrived after Nemo Ride) Wait in line 10 minutes
5. Star Tours (10 minutes)
6. Grizzly Rapids -15 minutes
7. Tower of Terror (two times in a row, first wait 20 minutes, second wait 5 as our Fast pass time was ready)
8. Jellyfish (8-10 minutes)
9. Mullholland Madness (Around 30 minutes)
10. Big Thunder Mountain (2 times, each wait about 10 minutes)
11. Haunted Mansion (10 minutes)
12. Big Thunder Mountain (10 minutes)
13. Disney Railroad (10 minutes)
14. Pirates of the Caribbean (7 minutes)
15. Star Tours (20 Minutes)
16. Buzz Lightyear ( 15 minutes)

Now if you count the multiple times we road Star Tours, Tour of Terror and Big Thunder Mountain we did a total of 19 rides in one day, had lunch and dinner in the park and took a 2 hour break. We were out of the park by 9:45pm.

(This park visit was in July 2008)

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