Disneyland Ho!

Went to Disneyland for five solid days. Yikes, I can’t believe it. Good thing I’m a kid at heart. Also learned a ton about how to make it a great trip. Here are the top ten hints:

* Read “Undiscovered Guide to Disneyland”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0764566059/qid=1061792942/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/002-7370691-7420060?v=glance&s=books&n=507846. A great book that overviews getting around Disneyland. This is the 2003 edition, but he updates it regularly.
* Sign up for “RideMax”:http://ridemax.com. The absolutely amazing program that makes it about 10 times easier to get around. Both Ludwig and I have tried it. It really works and they have really the latest information about how Fastpass works. It is not as obvious as it sounds and you have to understand in depth how the whole system really works.
* Get there at the crack of dawn. I’m not kidding. If it says Disneyland opens at 8AM, if you are driving, you have to get there at 7AM because of the 20 minute ride from the parking lot and also to buy your ticket (see below to get a ticket ahead of time). That’s why staying at a Disneyland property is so good, gets you more shut-eye!
* Get a Multi-day Fastpass. This is a special thing that you can get only from a Disney travel package or some AAA packages. It allows you to get multiple Fastpass’es for multiple rides. Wow, it is kind of a wonderlful deal. We hardly waited in line at all with a combination of RideMax and Fastpass.
* Do the early morning, take an afternoon break and go for a swim. Then hit it in the evening during the weekdays. It is very crowded there, so being early makes a huge difference.
* Think about where you want to eat. Disneyland is not the place with a hot dog stand on every corner. For us anyway, there were only a couple of OK places to eat and making sure you were right there when hunger struck was key.
* ESPNZone. A totally cool place in Disney Downtown. If you get the right package from Disney Resorts, they’ll give you $10 each in vouchers for the arcade. Wonderful way to end the day and it is cool.

Now for a review from the eyes of a 4, 7 and 9 year old:

* The best attractions were Indiana Jones, Small World and Grizzly (over at California Adventure). Just like our kids to love such a variety of rides. Splash Mountain was awesome but the drop is really scary.
* Dumbo and the Astro Orbiter as well as the Tea cups and Toontown Car Spin are wonderful. Also the last two are great places to get dad sick which is more than half the fun.
* If you have younger kids, they have this switchoff feature. Go the start of the line, say you want to switch off and then one grown up can go while the other waits with the kids. Pretty nice of them!