The life of a WAHM, scrapbooker and Disneyland geek. Welcome to my crazy life!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Disneyland hints and tips

I have lived in Southern California almost all of my life. One of the things I love about living here is being able to visit "The Happiest Place on Earth." Even if you've visited the parks you may find some hints and tips to make your next visit more magical.

Before you visit the park you may want to check out the dining menus. You can do that at the MousePlanet website. They list the menus for both parks, Downtown Disney and the hotels. They also have info for special diets.

Do you want to know the best times to visit the park? Visit Disneyland Attendance Center for an overview on the crowds. Also you will want to know with days have Early Entry if you will be visiting and will not be using this feature. If you visit on a day with Early Entry the people who have the option wil be there an hour ahead of you and there will already be lines in FantasyLand. So plan accordingly if you visit on one of these days but get in at the regular time.

Fast Pass (FP from here on out) at the DLR is a wonderful thing!!! My first thought about FP was that it was silly. Why would I walk to a ride, get a ticket then have to leave for a few hours just to come back and wait in line again? I knew that the FP line was supposed to be shorter but it was all the crossing the park back and forth that didn’t make sense to me. And what if you missed your time “window” printed on the ticket? Then you wasted your time the first go round.

Well after reading Dark Beer’s DETAILED posts on Fast Pass and how it works over at Mouse Planet’s Discussion Boards I decided to give the Fast Pass a try. I’m not really big on all the walking around the park back and forth over the same ground like I did when I was a teen. So we incorporate the FP into our day by heading around to the rides that we like. Before we get into line for the ride we get Fast Passes for every one in our group. Then we hop in line. Some days when we get to the park early we can just kill 5-10 minutes and get right into the Fast Pass line and use our passes. If not we just move on to the next ride and repeat the process as we move through the park. Then we go back with Fast Passes and ride those rides again as we make a second loop around the park. We end up making 2 complete loops around the Park on most visits but I know when I was a kid I never had enough time to ride ANYTHING twice so this system really does work when you know the rules and are able to use the system to your advantage.

DON’T FORGET that on a busy day they can run out (sell out) of Fast Passes!!!!! So if there are rides that you want to ride twice, make sure you visit them EARLY in the day if you are visiting the park during peak season (like the next few months!)

Do remember that you can NOT use a Fast Pass early but you can use it “late.” It has to be used the day it was issued but you don’t have to be at the ride at the exact time that is on the Fast Pass. This was a BIG help for me to learn that Disney sort of ignores the timestamp if you are busy ion the park and don’t get back at the exact time of the FP.
Find out what rides are currently on Fast Pass and currently not connected to the system if you can (check MousePlanet for updates.)

If this is your first visit to the park be sure to figure out a route in advance, it really does speed things along and makes the day go more smoothly. It doesn’t prevent spontaneity but it prevents crossing the park in crowds and using your time walking.

I’m going to wrap up by saying that if you are planning a vacation at the Disneyland Resort (DLR) and have AAA that you ought to check into the AAA vacation packages. Not only do you get early entry when you stay at a Disney property but ONLY when you book through AAA you get Enhanced Fast Pass. The regular Fast Pass only lets you hold one active/ unused FP at a time, but the Enhanced FP lets you hold one FP for every ride in the Park. If you decide to use this option do be sure to read the link above to MousePlanet’s discussion boards and Dark Beer’s explanation of Fast Pass and Enhanced FP.


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