I’m no tour guide, but anyone planning on visiting Disneyland in the near future might benefit from some footnotes gathered on my recent trip to theme park central.
If someone in your group plans on getting autographs from the various Disney characters roaming the grounds, make sure they pickup their memory book first thing. Outside of Goofy, Mickey and Minnie, there’s no guarantee you’ll see any of the characters more than once. Even Donald was a hard find. If Cruella pops up, take the opportunity.Watching her wield a pen and that long cigarette thing at the same time is worth the wait in line. Speaking of which, you’ll soon learn, there’s no point in getting in a character’s line that is more than ten or twelve guests long. He or she will make their exit before ever getting to you. If you are willing to pay the price, breakfast at one of the character restaurants is the most relaxed and fruitful way to get pictures and autographs from a varied cast.
Hit your “must ride” rides first. Lines get nothing but longer as the day goes on. Everyone’s taste is different, but our favorites were Splash Mountain and Indiana Jones at Disneyland; Soarin’ and the Grizzly River Run at California Adventure. Toy Story Mania, Star Wars and the giant Mickey Wheel were all excellent too. Lines for most of these popular rides were short in the morning and long in the afternoon.
If you go on the Grizzly River Run, you will get wet. There are lockers at the base to stash your valuables, free of charge, if you return within two hours.
Take advantage of the transportation provided in and around the parks. You’ll be on your feet enough, ease the pain by utilizing one or more of the trains and trams (including the monorail) that wind through the entire grounds.
Don’t forget that there is life outside of the Mouse’s house. For the ultimate regeneration, take a day away from Disney all together. We spent our non-D-day at the ocean, just north of Laguna Beach. It was paradise.
Keep your energy level up by drinking lots of water, and other things.
Lastly, don’t forget, you’re on vacation. Forgo a ride or two and take time to relax. Contemplate laughter, notice the baby ducks in the pond, eat some ice cream. Afterall, time flies at the happiest place on Earth. Just ask the Mad Hatter, if you’re lucky enough to spot him.