The first item on the agenda....PACKING! This is probably the worst part of going on a vacation, especially if you have a large family. Even if your children are old enough to pack for themselves, chances are you will still end up going through their suitcases before you leave to make sure nothing gets left behind. Here's a couple tips to help you cut down on a little bit of stress when it comes to packing.
Next is a section I like to call....KNOW BEFORE YOU GO.
If this is your first visit to Disneyland then you will want to be familiar with the layout of the park before you go. Maps like the one below are very helpful. It gives you an idea of where all the major attractions are located so you can plan which ones you want to hit first without running all over the place from one end of the park to the other and wasting a lot of time. You can find several maps of Disneyland Park here.
There are several other wonderful resources dedicated to saving time and energy on your vacation. One that is fairly new is the Mobile Magic application available through Verizon Wireless. Mobile Magic provides FASTPASS return times, attraction wait times for the park you are in, information on character locations and more for Walt Disney World and Disneyland theme parks. Since we have not been to Disneyland for a couple years we will be using it for the first time when we visit in 2 weeks. I think the $9.99 download fee will be well worth the time it saves us since we will only be there one day and want to be able to see and do as much as possible.
You will also want to visit disneyland.com before your trip to check park hours and the scheduled activities for the time you will be there. You may want to make up your own family schedule ahead of time so you don't miss out on any shows or special attractions that you or your children want to visit.
Two more helpful time-saving features of Disneyland Park are the FASTPASS and Rider Swap Pass. Rider Swap is when Guests take turns waiting with children too small to ride a certain attraction, then "swap" with another adult Guest from their party to experience the ride without standing in line twice. You can ask a Cast Member at any ride entrance for a Rider Swap Pass. A FASTPASS is a ticket that holds your place in line for a ride. It lets you leave and do whatever you want and then come back during a specified time frame to avoid the line and get straight on the ride.
WHILE YOU'RE THERE........
I strongly suggest arriving to the park early. If the park opens at 8:00 you will probably want head there around 7:00 to ensure a good place in line. It may seem early with small children but I can assure you that the park is very crowded in the afternoon and you will be grateful that you beat the crowds and lines. If you are taking the Anaheim Resort Transit,it begins running 1 hour and 40 minutes before the park opens and runs every 20 minutes after that throughout the day. The last bus of the day runs 30 minutes after the park closes.Once inside the park our family likes to get a locker right away. There is a limited amount and it is on a first come, first serve basis. It also saves us from having to carry extra bags around all day. After that we like to head to some of the more popular attractions and get FASTPASSES right away. We like to ride as many of the big rides as possible in the morning when the park isn't as crowded and the lines aren't quite so long. Once we have ridden all of the larger rides we like to head over to Fantasyland
to ride the smaller rides. The lines aren't usually as long there in the afternoon and it's nice to slow down for a bit and recover from the busy morning. When the kids are in need of some rest we like to head over to the Enchanted Tiki Room and enjoy a show while resting our feet.
When it comes to choosing a time to eat, let me make a few suggestions. Don't go right at lunch time or right at dinner time. Brings snacks to hold you over and consider going mid-morning or mid-afternoon when the restaurants aren't quite as packed. We usually go to Pizza Port whenever we are there and we always end up standing there with our food like vultures waiting for a table to open up and then we swoop in on it. Since it is one of the more affordable restaurants in the park it is often very busy. You can also call in advance and make reservations for restaurants like theBlue Bayou and Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue.
Well, that's all the tips I have for today. Thank you again for reading my blog and please come back tomorrow to see the shirts that I have made for my children and nieces to wear on our Disneyland adventure.