Saturday, November 6, 2010

Disneyland - Quick Tips

  • Arrive early, no matter what time of year you come to the Park---if you want to get a lot of attractions in.
  • When there are two lines into an attraction, always hop into the shorter one---especially if there is a large, empty gap where people think the other side is closed. Believe me, if a line is closed at Disneyland, you will know it. There will be ropes, chains, trash cans or other objects clearly blocking it off. If it's open and way shorter than the other side, take it!
  • With FastPass, like the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, choose wisely. Pick the two or three FastPass attractions you do not want to miss and get your FastPasses in the morning and around noon. Don't wait until the afternoon, as they may well be "sold out" by then for the more popular attractions.
  • If something should go wrong during your visit, be sure to bring it the attention of a cast member---they are there to help and make things right, especially if the issue is something that Disneyland caused or contributed to, even accidentally. Case in point: our son at age five went with us on the Storybookland Canal Boats and sat in duck poop. The attraction hostess sent us over to her lead, who promptly provided us with a special card that allowed us to go to a merchandise location and get him a new outfit---no charge. We never forgot that.
  • Eat when no one else does. Have an early lunch at 10:30 or 11:00 a.m., why wait until the noon hour when most everyone else in the place decides they are hungry, too? Just means longer lines. Try a 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. dinner---or 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. if you can hold out until later. You will be able to get better service and seating, with much less wait time.
  • Know the Park's flow. If you do arrive early, most folks march immediately toward Space Mountain, Indiana Jones and Fantasyland. Make your decision which direction you intend to go and head there immediately. If you do not get to Fantasyland within the first 30 to 40 minutes after rope drop, you will already be "too late" for rides like Dumbo and Peter Pan. The lines for these popular attractions fill up immediately and pretty much remain full for most of the rest of the day. Late, post-fireworks tip for folks with kids who can stay up late without turning into maniacal urchins: if you line up at the rope that is put up between the Carousel and Mr. Toad as the fireworks are starting, you will be among the first in line for Peter Pan and Mr. Toad when the rope is finally dropped after the fireworks show ends and the Disneyland Fire Department gives the "all clear" for entering back into this section of Fantasyland.
  • Ask for the back row on Big Thunder when you reach the cast member at the top of the stairs. It is the best seat in the house.
  • If you are a regular visitor, make friends with some cast members on attractions you like. Ask for them when you go back. It often pays to know someone! I had a few Jungle groupies who would get front row seats when I saw them waiting to board. Now, no one is going to give you a free pass to the front of the line, but they will give some insider tips and it never hurts to have a friend on the "inside."
  • Grab a seat at Village Haus on fireworks nights. There are plenty of open chairs and you get an up close view of the show. Sure, you will miss out on the portions of the display that occur at the front of the Castle, but you also avoid the maddening crowd on Main Street---and the show is still great (with a little added ooomph! to the booms as the fireworks ignite)!
  • The River Belle Terrace is usually not too crowded at the dinner hour (most folks either don't notice it or think it is an exclusively "breakfast" location).
  • Catch Billy Hill and the Hill Billies over at the Golden Horseshoe.
  • Ride Jungle Cruise at night!
  • If you are going to the park with a group---from school or from work or some other gathering or family reunion, then definitely ride the Jungle Cruise all together! The boat will hold 40 or so of your friends and family and, with the right skipper, a boat full of people who know each other can make things interesting!
  • Spend a night or two at the Grand Californian if you get the chance. Nice. And when you wake up, you're already at Disneyland!
  • Check with the Guest Relations cast member at the information post on the west side of the Hub near the entrance to the old Plaza Pavilion for questions about attraction breakdowns, wait times and upcoming shows or parades.
  • Talk to a Disneyland Railroad cast member about taking a ride on the Lilly Belle.
You Jungle readers a hip to the scene, but occasionally we get a few folks in here who can use some simple, helpful tips.

Many happy returns to the Park is my wish for each and every one of you!