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Heading to Disneyland? If you have never been to Disneyland, the only way to go is to be prepared.
What to Expect:
- MASSIVE CROWDS on holidays and summer time starting around Memorial day weekend. Off season is the best time to visit, but always check before going to see what rides might be closed for refurb. The key to any trip, any time is, start as early as you can everyday!
- LONG LINES. Disneyland will usually start letting people in a half hour before the park opens, but just to the Main Street area/shops. If you are in this area before the "Rope Drop", be ready to head towards a popular ride and/or get your first FASTPASS.
- FASTPASS SYSTEM RUNNING OUT on heavy crowd days. If crowds are big, the FASTPASS system will run out early in the day. And by early, that means 9-11am for popular rides. So you have to be ready to go as early as possible or you will miss out on the benefits of the FASTPASS system.
- EARLY ARRIVAL. The most important time in either park is the first 3-4 hours. This is when you want to get the most popular rides out of the way and take advantage of the FASTPASS system. Coming early can save you hours of waiting in lines later in the day!
Advice, warnings & preparedness:
- HAVE A PLAN - Everyone in your group should have a daily schedule (going to Disneyland w/o a plan is a bad idea) either on their phone or printed and on their person. You'll notice that the best plans have you walking all across the park(s) which doesn't seem like a plan, but you need to focus on popular rides within the first 2 hours. It will feel like you're missing stuff, but you'll have time later to see the parks and shops after the first 4-5 hours of each day. The parks typically reach maximum levels around 11am, and between 2pm and the nightly shows, you'll have time to sight see and shop, if so desired.
- CELL PHONES CHARGED (This is a big issue.)- If you have an extra battery or external charger, you might bring it if you think you'll need one. Also, if you do use your cell phone for pics and video, do you have enough memory space? There's not much time during the day in the park to charge your phone, so try and plan your battery usage accordingly. YOUR BATTERY WILL DIE EARLY IF YOU ARE A BIG PHONE USER (text, Instagram, Facebook, photo and video)!!! Get extra external chargers - they are a life saver!
- WATER BOTTLE - Bring an empty one so you can refill it often. Here's a list of other helpful items to consider (but not necessary): http://www.disneytouristblog.com/what-to-pack-for-disney/ . The parks may have updated their hand sanitizers, but just in case, you can always pack a 3.4oz bottle for your own use.
- GETTING WET/STAYING DRY - There are 2 rides that you can get head-to-toe wet on. Grizzly River Run and Splash Mountain. People have ridden where they have been a little wet (hardly nothing) to totally soaked. So you may want to bring a couple of throw away ponchos - they are cheap to buy. Your choice, but you've been warned! Bring ziplock bags to keep your cell phone in on water rides, and also pack some plastic trash or grocery bags to protect your backpack and even your shoes if you don't want to walk around with soggy tennis shoes.
- THEFT - Try and keep your personal belongings close to you at all times. If carrying a purse, wear it cross body, etc. Backpacks shouldn't have phones or cameras in the side pouch for an easy grab. Just be mindful of your personal space and your belongings.
- MOTION SICKNESS - Do you get car sick, sea sick, etc? Use Dramamine or other motion sickness medication. Most of the rides at Disney aren't that bad. The worst ride for motion sickness might be Star Tours, and the funny thing is, you never move more than 3' - it's a visual ride. If you feel a little nauseous, just close your eyes. There are a few roller coasters, but they aren't super wild. Only you know your own body's limits, so be prepared.
- REST - Each day, you'll be exhausted. Everyone should plan on getting a good night sleep - especially for getting early starts in the morning.
- SHOES - If you have new shoes or plan on getting some, get them now and break them in. Worst thing you can do is get blisters because of new shoes or sandals.
- EXERCISE - If you're not in shape to walk and stand most of the day, start now by walking a little each day to build up your endurance.
- SUNSCREEN - You should plan on using sunscreen everyday, but make sure it's less than 3.4 oz if you only have a carry-on bag. You can easily fry in the California sun on any day, so lotion up! A bad sunburn will ruin your trip.
Information You Can Use:
Apps (Google Play and iTunes):
New Fireworks show, “Disneyland Forever" with projections at various locations in Disneyland at 9:30pm. The projections are different in each location. (I read that the areas that would have projections were Main Street, Matterhorn, It's a Small World & Tom Sawyer's Island, but don't hold me to this.) They will have special new lights in the streets (Main street).
"PAINT THE NIGHT" new LED parade in Disneyland park. Parade path for your trip planning.
Fantasmic! Is now a FASTPASS (Get them early, as they will run out quickly!! You can get FASTPASS by the Big Thunder Trail near Big Thunder Mt. Railroad ride but farther up the path and back by the petting zoo). 22 mins long + getting your spot to view (They now allow lining up 30-60 minutes before showtime.
World of Color. This is a FASTPASS show, so get the FASTPASS early before they run out. 28 mins long + wait. FASTPASS can be found over by Grizzly River Run. Play the "Fun Wheel Challenge" while you wait for the show.
Aladdin in DCA. Theater next to Tower of Terror.
Check out the Mad T Party Band. Looks entertaining if you like pop music. Videos: "Treasure" , Alice Raps
More events can be found on the Disneyland website and each day you enter, get a daily event schedule.