Help me to Disneyland, please
January 16, 2017 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Tomorrow I'm planning to go to Disneyland along with five adults and three kids, ages 1 through 5. I haven't been there before. Ideas of how to optimise the experience?

We're from Australia but find ourselves in LA for a week. In typical last-minute fashion, I haven't done any advance planning (for which I berate myself) but we thought we couldn't pass up the chance to visit Disneyland. Our hope is that since it's the middle of January it won't be quite so crowded, making our failure to plan or arrange things in advance not ruin the experience.

I'd love ideas, though, about things we can do now or during so we can make the most of it. We are only going to be there for a day. We are staying somewhere about 20 minutes away (assuming little traffic). So, here are some questions, but any Disneyland experts are welcome to chime in with other ideas or things that I haven't thought of, because I'm sure there are many.

1. The tentative plan is for one of the adults to leave with the 1 year old in the middle of the day so he can go home to nap and then come back when he's done. Any obvious flaws with this plan? He is a bad sleeper and pretty much needs to have a dark, quiet, flat place to sleep, and is still young enough that he cannot go a full day without a nap.

2. The two older kids (4 and 5) are big fans of Frozen. They also like pirates and anything science-related (e.g., planets, dinosaurs). Any rides or exhibits or things that would scratch any of those itches? Other things which your kids of a similar age have found popular that you wouldn't have guessed they would be?

3. We have not yet bought tickets, but could do so online today if that would make things easier somehow. Would it?

4. Suggestions for parking? Particularly non-obvious things like that? We have cars. Similarly, we'd welcome suggestions for when to go - we could leave quite early if there would be an advantage in coming early (e.g. that's the only time without a lot of lines) but if it doesn't make a difference, then that's nice to know.

5. Suggestions for eating? Should we bring lots of snacks or assume that we can find what we want in the park? Are the food prices massively inflated? Are there healthy-ish options?

6. Should we be signing up for rides in advance or something? Other suggestions to deal with lines?

7. Is there anywhere in the park where people can smoke? My partner doesn't smoke a lot but going for the whole day without doing so would be a bit much...

Thank you so much! I have no idea what I'm doing and don't have a huge amount of time to do a lot of internet research, what with juggling all the kids and extended family on this trip and also trying to still get some of my job done. So I'm sure I've also forgotten lots of stuff, and any suggestions or advice would be helpful.
posted by forza to Grab Bag (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I went to Disneyland a week ago! It was great.

The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is longer and better than the one at Disney World. The Indiana Jones ride is cool too, and unique to Disneyland (there is a height requirement, though). For general classic Disney WTFery, you can't miss the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Here is a list of rides that will be closed for certain periods while they take the Christmas decorations down.

There are a lot of dining options. You can also stroll out of Disneyland and walk five minutes to Downtown Disney for more sitdown options without leaving Disney property or needing a car.

You will definitely want to take advantage of Fastpass! It allows you to make advance reservations for rides and skipping the long line. Learn more here.

Definitely get in line to meet some characters, your kids are at the sweet spot age for that and you'll get some amazing pictures. If you're only there one day, I'd skip California Adventure. Have fun!
posted by cakelite at 8:18 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Can't speak as to Disneyland as I haven't visited recently, but have done Disney World frequently enough. I expect most of this translates pretty cleanly.

1. The nap plan is probably okay. If you're bringing a stroller, you may be able to find a quiet-ish dark-ish area inside one of the restaurants where it might be possible to nap on-site. If not, leaving and returning is time consuming, but possible. I will admit to a bit of a parenting sin in that I gave my little ones Coca-Cola near the end of the day to keep them up through closing.

3. Advance ticket purchases are a good idea if there is any chance that there'll be lines at the gate. It isn't clear that this is the case here, but arrive early and get tickets squared away before the park opens.

4. Arriving early is rarely a bad thing. It gives you more options and flexibility, and the park tends to get fuller as the day progresses, until around dinnertime.

5. We've never had problems finding good food at Disney. There are almost always healthy options, though sometimes a bit limited in variety. Prices are "inflated" compared to the outside world, yes, but if you're spending hundreds of dollars to get people into the park, the prices are reasonable from a convenience point of view. Bringing some nonperishable snacks is a good idea for cost control. I've spent 45m-1h in "the line ride" at Six Flags when they're understaffed, to get food. That doesn't happen at Disney. If there's a wait, usually it's because all their registers and windows are open and busy. The sit-down restaurants do take a good bit of time, but are a very pleasant experience.

6. DisneyWorld used to have a simple FastPass system that has morphed into a newer FastPass system that apparently allows certain amounts of pre-registration that I do not fully understand. There's a fair bit of information on the Internet about how to optimize that, and I suggest you do look for that.

Whatever you do, though, relax, don't stress, and enjoy. Disney's a great place to visit. Our family likes it enough that we've been doing the ten day non-expiring pass thing for over a decade, which makes it very affordable (less than $40/person/day) as well.
posted by jgreco at 8:37 AM on January 16, 2017

Two things that saved my sanity when taking a four-year-old to Disney World:

1 -- Get a stroller. Even if the kids insist they don't need one, tell them it's for someone's purse or somesuch. After two hours of standing, you'll be grateful to have it handy.

2 -- When you're just standing in place, look at the decor. There is always something to see (for instance, the hidden Mickeys).
posted by Etrigan at 8:46 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

In regards to the parking, Disney has plenty of onsite parking. I'd call ahead and make sure they have in/out privileges for your nap plan. There will be NO street parking anywhere convenient to the park.

They have cut down on the smoking areas in the park, the one that I always knew about near the Matterhorn has gone non-smoking in the past few years.

If you're a fan of 1910's Craftsman architecture at all, make sure to stop in the lobby of the Grand Californian hotel in Downtown Disney. It's remarkable.
posted by hwyengr at 8:49 AM on January 16, 2017

I was at Disneyland over the holidays as well!

Just FYI, if you buy the tickets online, do it ASAP. They don't really make it clear that you will not get your ticket immediately--it can take up to 24 hours to process. I bought mine 30 minutes before entering and ended up having to wait in line anyway to get it sorted out.

Definitely bring snacks, especially since the ride lines for the major attractions (Hyperspace Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) can be 30-45 minutes long.

They have massive amounts of parking on-site, although it is (I think) about $18/car. They have trams from the parking lot to the actual park entrance.

My general plan upon entering is to immediately go collect Fastpasses for the rides you really want. I found this app really helpful for seeing which rides have the longest lines. (If you are at all sensitive to motion sickness, DO NOT go on Star Tours. I almost hurled.)

Have fun!
posted by bonifate at 8:49 AM on January 16, 2017

Not making any advance plans shouldn't really harm you at all. There are very few things that you can make reservations for in advance at Disneyland (the only one I can think of off the top of my head is the Blue Bayou restaurant). You're generally correct that since you're going on a weekday in the middle of January after school has started in the US, that it should be relatively uncrowded, but there's always a bit of a gamble. I'd guess you'll hardly have to wait in lines at all. As to your specific questions:

1. I'm sure there is some kind of ticket option where you can re-enter the park without paying again if just the regular ticket doesn't allow you to do so, but it might be significantly more expensive. A 1-year old will not require a ticket for entry at all. Since the tickets are labelled as "one day ticket", I'd think you could leave and re-enter at will.

2. I don't think they have a specific Frozen ride set up yet, but the characters will definitely be walking around. For pirates, you'll definitely want to head over to Pirates of the Caribbean, which I'll ride multiple times per visit; and head over to the Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island if it's open - it's kind of a big playground to run around on. Science-y stuff is mostly over in Tomorrowland. There used to be more things, like a journey through the human body and a mission to Mars, but I think those are gone now. For dinosaurs, there's a dinosaur diorama on one leg of the Disneyland Railroad that goes around the park, and there's a fake T-Rex fossil that the train goes through on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

3. You can buy tickets online, but it won't really save you any trouble. To redeem anything you buy online, you'd likely have to go to a kiosk when you get there anyway. The ticket lines aren't bad.

4. I always just park in the main lot/structure. It'll cost about $20, and there's a tram that takes you right to the ticket area between Disneyland and California Adventure; also very close to Downtown Disney.

5. You can bring any food in you want. There are a lot of eating options inside the park, but they're all a bit expensive and not really worth the price point. There are a decent amount of options beyond American fast food type stuff, but anything you could describe as really healthy will be limited.

6. Fastpass is how you sign up for rides in advance. It is not available for all rides, just the really heavy hitters like Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, and a few others. How it works is you go to the fastpass kiosk near the entrance of the ride you want to get it for, and I think you scan your ticket stub. You'll get a fastpass ticket telling you to come back at a certain time. When you come back at that time, you enter the fastpass line instead of the regular one. The fastpass line will likely be much shorter. If the park is fairly empty, there's not much point to it though. I'd only worry about it for lines that are exceeding a half hour in length or so. You can only get so many fastpass tickets at any one time or over the course of the day. A lot of the fastpass rides are the bigger thrill rides, which the kids in your party might not be able to go on anyway.

7. There used to be a smoking area around the back side of Big Thunder Mountain, but that area appears to be inaccessible at the moment - they're working on putting a new attraction in back there. I can't think of where there'd be an area secluded enough to put another one.

I'd mostly just relax and not worry about things, and try to take the day as it comes and be flexible with what you want to do. The entire environment of Disneyland is pretty immersive and it can be enjoyable just to hang out or walk down Main Street and look at things, or go all the way around the park on the railroad just for fun. Go in with a loose idea of things you want to do, but don't go so far that you're trying to check things off a list and will feel bad if you don't make everything. If you get there with the kids and all they want to do is hang out in Toon Town all day, that's fine. Almost any ride in the park has some entertainment value to it - even the random Winnie the Pooh ride out at the edge of the park is pretty fun.
posted by LionIndex at 8:54 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was just at Disneyland too!

1. Yep, you can totally leave and come back. I think you need both your tickets and your hand stamp to return, so just make sure when you leave you have everything you need.

2. No comment on this - just a heads up, that some of the rides are scarier for smaller kids than I think adults realize. Mr. Toad's ride lands you in hell at the end. My little one tried to jump out of the car and run out mid-ride. The small world attraction will be popular with your littlest - also consider the Winnie the Pooh ride for the littlest. Also, Mickey's house/town has Goofy's house in it, which is where little kids can run around and climb on things etc.

3. I'd buy them now and get them on your phone - that way you can skip the lines there.

4. Parking is onsite and expensive. You can take an uber there if that is a problem, otherwise just plan ahead. Also, remember to write down where you parked! It's a huge lot.

5. The food is...fine. It's not as trashy as you'd expect. If you are picky, bring your own food. You can also make a reservation - and some people prefer this because you can eat with the characters that way.

6. The rides for really little kids don't have long lines. The rides for your older two will, so plan accordingly.

7. I think so, it should be on their website.

There is an app - put it on your phone. You can learn about wait times, get your tickets on your phone, know where you are in the park etc.

There is a parade everyday twice a day - plan to be there for it, it's awesome. Don't forget the Disneyland is open late - they do fireworks every night at 9(?)-ish (check on the time). You might consider having everyone go home to nap and then come back later.
posted by Toddles at 9:00 AM on January 16, 2017

Here's your smoking info.

To redeem anything you buy online, you'd likely have to go to a kiosk when you get there anyway.

Assuming you have access to a printer or something, I'm obviously wrong here.
posted by LionIndex at 9:02 AM on January 16, 2017

Oh and forgot to add - if you need quiet time, step into the movie theater where they are showing early Disney animations. If you have a stroller with a blanket, this might be a good nap place (it was for us).
posted by Toddles at 9:03 AM on January 16, 2017 [3 favorites]

If you buy your park ticket online, they will send you an email with your tickets on it, they can scan the email on your phone, no printing necessary.
posted by cakelite at 9:05 AM on January 16, 2017

Nthing grabbing a Disney stroller for the older kids. My 5 year old was completely insulted when we went and grabbed one for her many years ago, but we used it to carry gear during the day and by late afternoon, it was a lifesaver to help get her through the evening. You will want to stay for the fireworks if you can.....Great advice above....Have a great time!!!
posted by pearlybob at 9:07 AM on January 16, 2017

How wonderful! You are getting great advice but want to add my favorite place for disney info:

This forum has helped so much with all my disneyland trips.

You are going to have a wonderful time!!!
posted by 58 at 9:16 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

oh! here it is-I thought this was there....
posted by 58 at 9:19 AM on January 16, 2017

Chiming in to say all the advice here is great and also -- on Main St, on the right side by the corn dog cart, this is a Baby Care Center. It is a climate-controlled small space to change, feed, nurse - and also has smaller sized toilets for the little kid set, some emergency baby supplies (cash only) and is generally a refuge from the Loud and Noisy when you need it.

Every bathroom (men's and women's) has changing tables.

If no one else has mentioned it- there is something called Rider Swap, where if you have a little one, you and your party can swap out the riders without having to double up on the wait for rides. You can even combine this with FastPass if you have to -- ask at City Hall for details, they'll be able to explain it far better than I can.

City Hall will also give you some "First Visit" buttons if you ask! (so will a lot of places in DL)
posted by FritoKAL at 9:48 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I always buy my ticket in the app and walk right through the gates - but set up the app with a credit card beforehand of course. The app also has a map with real time wait times.

Bring a refillable water bottle and snacks in plastic.

I've put toddlers to sleep by throwing a blanket over a stroller and rocking it facing a wall in a relatively quiet corner, but if you're staying near by, heading to the hotel for a nap is smart. The childcare centers are great.
posted by Gucky at 10:01 AM on January 16, 2017

The nap plan makes sense.

Just buy your tickets in person from a ticket booth. Get there as early as possible. (Official opening is at 10 tomorrow, so attempt to be waiting at the gate by 9:30 as they often open early). Once you get in start riding rides while it's the least crowded. Plenty of chances to soak in the ambiance as the day goes on.

A stroller for each kid will make the visit go better.

Obvs, Pirates of the Caribbean is a hit for pirate fans. My kids are in the same age range, and love It's a Small World.
posted by eelgrassman at 10:14 AM on January 16, 2017

One option you'll be presented with is the Park Hopper option to gain access to both Disneyland and California Adventure. It's too overwhelming to try to do both parks fully in a day, especially with little ones, so feel absolutely no guilt about skipping it. It's definitely the B-level park.

However, they are just across the promenade from each other (like a 2 minute walk), and there are some things at California Adventure that may be nice for your party. First, there's a Frozen stage show that is free but you need to grab tickets for ahead of time. It's literally just a stage show of the movie, but I found it cute and a great break in the middle of the day. You need to get tickets in the morning for the show, which you can get at the Hyperion theater entrance (I remember it was marked well on the maps). You do need to line up ahead of time so the whole thing takes... Maybe a little over 2 hours? A decent chunk of your day, but a good option if you anticipate the kids needing some quiet time where they can just sit. Bonus: California Adventure has alcohol and a few traditional big coasters, so some of the adults can skip the show and do those things if they want. (Disneyland itself doesn't have alcohol in the park.)

California Adventure has a few other rides that might interest the kids: there's a lovely Little Mermaid ride and a well-themed Cars land. The most popular ride in all of Disneyland right now is the Radiator Springs Racers, a ride where you race people in the other car. It splits between driving slowly through a montage of movie scenes and then has a big race at the end where it goes fast, but isn't ever scary. Your 5 year old might love it; I have no idea if it's too much for a 4 year old. There is also a Bugs Life land which has half a dozen little kid carnival rides. The Monsters Inc ride is objectively lame but I like it anyway. Skip California Adventure's nighttime water show.

Basically, if your kids are dying for Frozen then consider including CA Adventure. You can spend a third to half a day in the park and see all it has to offer and then go back to Disneyland. If you do that, plan for that time to be in the quieter part of your day. But you can also totally skip it guilt free and save yourselves the Park Hopper entry fees. There's more than enough in Disneyland itself to keep you guys busy and you won't miss it.
posted by lilac girl at 10:33 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Addendum: I checked the character schedule and it seems that Anna, Elsa, and Olaf are now frustratingly only at California Adventure. I'm not sure that makes California Adventure worth it for a single day, but that does change the calculus.
posted by lilac girl at 10:42 AM on January 16, 2017

Oh also, if you stop by the Town Hall in Disneyland you can get a button that says it's your first time. Disneyland staff is always very nice, but you get a little extra attention when you have a button and it's a nice keepsake.
posted by lilac girl at 10:45 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

When we need a break at the park, we sit in the lobby of the Grand Californian hotel. If they are checking hotel keys (which they almost never do unless there is a security issue), then say you're going to grab a bite at Storytellers Cafe.

The lodge lobby is relatively dark and quiet, and it has lots of comfy couches. Perfect rest spot for the whole family.
posted by 26.2 at 10:57 AM on January 16, 2017

Check height restrictions before you wait in line. Try to get in your top 3-4 rides first thing in the morning, while the lines are short and the kids have their full energy. Then As the day goes on you can let things devolve into running around like maniacs looking for characters or whatever.

I'm a geek and would totally review a map/ride list the night before so I could steer them toward the things they'd like best. You won't see it all, so might as well prioritise things they're interested in (pirates, etc).

I am still freaked out by Mr Toads Wild Ride - "hell" is hot and dark and humid! On the other hand the Peter Pan ride is still one of my favourites. Really beautiful and gentle.

If they're getting overstimulated there's a playground on Tom Sawyer Island that's kind of "away" from the craziness.

Make sure you eat and drink water. Hangry helps no one!
posted by jrobin276 at 1:15 PM on January 16, 2017

Disclaimer: I've never been to Disneyland with kids (aside from when I was one), so take my advice with a grain of salt.

I'm pretty sure Tom Sawyer's Island is closed right now -- last I heard, they were remodeling it into Star Wars land.

I always Fast Pass Space Mountain as soon as I get in -- that line is the worst one in the park, especially on a sunny day. Most of the other big rides have lines in the shade, and many of them are somewhat fun to be in themselves, but when Space Mountain gets long, it winds out into the sun on the bare rooftop of the building. Other rides that a usually worth Fast Passing: Indiana Jones, sometimes the Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain on a hot day, sometimes Big Thunder Railroad. I think someone else said it, but I wouldn't bother with a Fast Pass for anything where the standby was less than 30 minutes.

If you go on the Indiana Jones ride, ignore the signs telling you "don't touch" the props -- please do, it's part of the experience. Bonus points if you you can convince your kids you're really breaking the rules. (Though your kids might be too short, and it's a pretty intense ride, so be careful taking them on that one).

You can get pretty decent meat skewers at Bengal Barbecue (right by Indy) -- I think that's supposed to be one of the healthier options in the park.

The park itself definitely has in-and-out privileges (make sure you get your hand stamped). I'm not sure about the parking lots though -- my gut says "no," but it's not anything I've ever consciously checked.

There's a decent chance you'll get soaked on Splash Mountain -- it's nice on a hot summer day, but proceed with caution in January.

The Haunted Mansion is fun creepy, not creepy-creepy. I was a scaredy cat kid and Mr Toad freaked me out more.
posted by natabat at 4:43 PM on January 16, 2017

I hope that I am still in time to be useful -- I'm a local passholder and go to Disneyland a lot.

1. I think taking a break mid-afternoon is a great idea for everyone, not just the littlest of you. Even for those not napping, taking an hour or so to rest in one of Disneyland's quiet places is very refreshing. My favorite such place is the lobby of the (beautiful) Grand Californian Hotel, which you can access through an entrance in Downtown Disney that is right next to Anna & Elsa's Boutique. (Note that for your Frozen lovers -- there is an entire store in Downtown Disney devoted to them, where I think they can also get their hair done up like a princess?) Other nice places to take a rest in Disneyland include Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the seating area just north of the Matterhorn (it's underneath the monorail tracks and over a little pond -- there's always ducks running around delighting children).

Another good place to rest is in the Animation Academy at Disney California Adventure park (DCA). It's a cool, dark building with 360 degrees of screens that play clips from Disney films along with concept art , sketches, etc. Inside they have a number of chill activities, including drawing lessons and an interactive experience called Turtle Talk with Crush (which is a big, big hit with little ones who like Nemo).

2. Although I wouldn't normally recommend trying to do both parks in one day with small children on your first visit, all of your Frozen activities are in DCA, not Disneyland. There is a pretty good Frozen stage show at the Hyperion Theater that runs a few times a day; since it will probably be a slow day tomorrow, I doubt you will need to get Fastpass tickets in advance. Anna & Elsa also do meet & greets in the Animation Academy.

Unfortunately for the pirate-lovers among you, Tom Sawyer's Island is closed for the foreseeable future during construction of Star Wars land. Pirates of the Caribbean will obviously be your best bet. Another fun thing to look out for: if you're standing near the river in New Orleans Square, look up at the tops of the buildings. Not only are they beautiful, but peeking above them is the mast and sails of a ship -- it's a nice little detail to make you feel like you're in a port city.

3. I defer to others about the best way to buy tickets, but know that if you have a one-day ticket you can absolutely leave the park and come back in. (If you decide to pay for the parkhopper option that lets you jump back and forth between Disneyland and DCA, then you'll probably do it a bunch!) Just make sure to get your hand stamped on the way out.

5. The prices on snacks are kind of high -- churros, ice cream bars, soft pretzels, etc, generally run around $5 -- but I don't think that the counter service meals are too bad, generally $10-15. Table service meals are a bit more than that, probably entrees around $13-20. The thing that is really expensive is drinks; sodas run about $3.50. But there are tons of water fountains you can use to fill up your own reusable bottles (plastic or metal, not glass), and any counter service restaurant will give you a cup of water for free if you ask for it.

I'd be happy to give more specific food recommendations if you have particular kinds of food that you like. The most famous foods are (obviously) Mickey ice cream bars and soft pretzels, churros, corn dogs, and those giant turkey legs. But my favorite foods are the bread bowl soups (the vegetarian gumbo in particular is fantastic) at Royal Street Veranda (DL) and Pacific Wharf Cafe (DCA). Most counter service places will also have kid's meals that are smaller portion sizes and usually come with milk and fruit.

6. There is a Fastpass system at Disneyland that is very different from the reserve-in-advance system at Disney World. At DL, you can use your admission ticket to the park to redeem "fastpasses" from little vending kiosks that are positioned near the entrances to some rides. Those fastpasses will have an hour-long time window on them, and any time in that window you can enter a special, shorter "fastpass queue" that will get you to the ride faster than waiting in the regular line. But you can generally only hold on FP at a time; if it's 11 AM and you have a FP for Space Mountain at 12:30, you can't pull a fastpass for another ride until 12:30.

Also, definitely download the official Disneyland app ahead of time. It has park maps, times for entertainment (parades, fireworks, etc), wait times for attractions, restaurant menus, what Fastpass return times are for different rides, etc. It's really valuable.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 11:46 PM on January 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

I hope I'm not too late - my Disney Bible is the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Grab the e-book version if you can, it has game plans for navigations the park to best avoid lines. They even have a "Disney in a day with kids" itinerary.
posted by cholly at 1:21 AM on January 17, 2017

Definitely definitely definitely download the MouseWait app. It will help tremendously in determining what rides to hit next.

When we took our 4yo (who has a ton of stamina) he made it from opening (well, I think we had to get up at 6am that day) to about 3pm. So consider building a leaving/returning naptime into the day for the 4yo and 5yo as well.

Food is expensive, yes. Take as many snacks as you'd like, and plan on buying one or two treats in the park just for fun. If you're a parent I probably don't have to tell you but I will - save sugary treats for later in the day / the end of the day, to avoid sugar crash screaming meltdown hell.

My personal advice is to skip the Peter Pan ride as the line is proportionately much longer than that of other rides, while not delivering anything super spectacular in terms of experience. The kids won't notice if you skip it, and you will be happy that you didn't wait in line for it for an hour. My other personal advice is focus on sticking to Fantasyland with the littles; we tried to go to other rides that were more exciting for us adults and the 4yo (who is normally adventurous) found them scary and overwhelming and ended up pissed at us that we forced him to go on them. We had to backtrack to It's a Small World to leave him with a fond memory at the end of the day. Over a year later, he still reminds us from time to time that he was very unhappy with us for making him go on those other rides (Pirates, esp). He did really like the Jungle Boat ride though.
posted by vignettist at 8:34 AM on January 17, 2017

We just got back from a full day at Disneyland, exhausted but very very happy! Your advice was super helpful.

- I did get a stroller for the one-year-old... we don't normally use one with him because he just walks everywhere, but we thought that would be a bit much (based on all this advice) and indeed it was awesome to have it. Almost got one for the older kids but they are quite large and would have been mortally offended and as it turns out they did fine. I mean, they were so so tired by the end of the day but they didn't complain at all and made it to everything and that all worked out wonderfully.

- The 1-year-old ended up napping successfully in a stroller after all! I decided based on your comments to at least try him with a blanket over the stroller and he was out in about five minutes. So that was way easier than I had hoped. It wasn't a super long nap but enough to see him through the day.

- The app was SO SO SO useful. Thank you.

- We tried to use Fastpass but only found out once we were there that we needed everyone's tickets for it, and by the time we got back things had moved on etc etc. But it ended up not being a huge deal: most lines were under 45 minutes (it being the middle of January) except for a few.

- I disobeyed the advice about Star Tours - I have a weak stomach but it looked so awesome. 4-year-old was scared and I almost puked. But we rallied quickly and already are only remembering the awesome and amazing bits from it!

- Spent a lot of time in Fantasyland, as per advice, and that worked well.

- Pirates of the Caribbean, the submarine ride, the storybook thing where you can see a tiny little replica of Arendelle (from Frozen), and Small World were huge hits. Peter Pan was unfortunately down, as was some of the Frontierland stuff, but we didn't have time to see everything anyway. Couldn't do Indiana Jones because of the height requirement but again oh well.

This went amazingly well. Thanks so much for all your advice! It really made a difference.
posted by forza at 10:10 PM on January 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

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