Thursday, September 25, 2014

15 Disneyland Marathon Tips

In case you didn't know, a visit to the wonderful world of Disney in sunny southern California requires intense preparation.


In order to get the most from your visit, pre-shopping and planning is in order.

We love going to Disneyland. So much so, that we spent our honeymoon there 29 years ago. Our family has since enjoyed (and endured) many additional trips to the Magic Kingdom.

Here are some tips that helped us during our recent trip to Disneyland at the beginning of this month. We have only been home a few weeks and already want to go back!

1. Go after Labor Day. If you can swing it, this is a great time to go. I would suggest the latter part of September. We just missed the seasonal decorations at the Haunted Mansion by 2 days. TWO days. Crowds are smaller. Lines are shorter. But beware - the hours are shorter as well. Heat is still a factor to be considered.

2. Take your own digital camera.
I hauled around my big Nikon, wishing often for a pocket version with good quality shots. When a character photo opp is imminent, allow Disney cast members to take your photo - with both their camera and yours. They don't mind. Really! The Disney photographer will take your photo and give you a little card that has a link to your photo. What they didn't tell me right away was to then hand the photo card to each subsequent photographer so all of the photos are linked together. For a while there, I was collecting photo cards left and right. You can purchase all of the photos on a CD, some of them, or just use the ones that are on your camera. Mine turned out great.

3. Wear clothes with pockets. Please, no short shorts or skirts! No one wants to see your underpants while you climb in and out of rides. Well, maybe someone does. But really? Those rides are dirty. People always step on the seats to get in and out of a ride. Ick. Cover it up. Use your pockets to haul things like fast passes, lip gloss, and so on. Love my pockets.

4. Use a pocket lanyard.
Disney pin trading is big right now. Our package deal (tip number 5) had a free lanyard for each member of my party. The lanyard came with a free pin to trade (we kept ours - they are expensive) and a pocket for your Disney tickets and entry cards. This is a very easy way to keep track of everyone. And absolutely necessary for fast passes.

5. Buy a package deal. Save big on entry costs, hotel, airfare, and rental cars. Even when we purchased just the entry passes and hotel, we saved money. Plus you get a few freebies - one 5x7 photo, lanyards, Magic Morning entry, and so on.

6. Do fast passes! This is a great way to hit some fun rides or attractions while waiting for a turn on the big rides.

7. Single rider lines are great and save loads of time.
One morning I was able to ride the Cars race cars 4x in a row in less than 30 minutes. It only works well if you don't have small children to supervise. Your party WILL be split up.

8. Hit Costco before you go. We purchased a huge box of individual nut packs. We took several with us each day. They saved us money on meals and gave us enough energy and salt (due to sweat factor) to stretch out our meal times.

9. Wear a small backpack. Fill it with necessaries - nut packs, granola bars, phone, camera, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, and so on. Saved our life. Easy to take on and off for rides. A small backpack fits in the little net pockets in Indiana Jones. Though it will still get wet on Splash Mountain. I did have a plastic shopping bag I shoved it in for that ride. PS You WILL want hand sanitizer after some of the rides. Like Autopia and the sticky steering wheels.

10. Sunblock. September temps hit nearly 100. Add lack of shade and time in line and you could end up with a burn. I saw several very red people.

11. Hats.
Wear one. Buy or bring a hat. Make your own shade.

12. Water is a must. We forgot to drink when we were rushing from ride to ride. Bring water or purchase a bottle on site and refill it as often as possible. Disney allows you to bring in food and drinks. Though one must allow for special treats and meals that can only be enjoyed at Disneyland.

13. Start a walking program well before you leave for the land of Mickey.
Miles spent walking = a zillion. Miles spent walking and standing will put your feet through the ringer.

14. Wear tennis shoes.
See 13.

15. Leave the fancy jewels at home.
Many of the attractions are quite bumpy and turbulent. You may be saying good-bye to your favorite pearls.

Disneyland is a blast! With a little planning and organization, your time in that wonderful make-believe world can be truly filled with pleasure.

Welcome to Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom. All Aboard!

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