This past trip was no different. Taking a trip with family opened my eyes to a whole new host of tips and tricks. These are just a few of my favorites:
Wanna See Mary Poppins?
Opening was also a great time to see characters at the beginning of main street. We found that as we first came through the gates, there was consistently 4-5 characters with short lines, including Mickey, Minnie, and another rare character, Donald.
The same tip holds true for the very end of the night. We saw Mickey (with short lines) near the main gate every night just before closing.
Don't Miss the Light Shows:
While we were there, we saw Fantasmic, World of Color, and the Fireworks. Each unique and special in their own way. I was a bit leery of the wait time for World of Color, but it was well worth it. For a special seating tip, go to the Fast Pass as soon as you enter Disneyland's California. The fast pass of World of Color is located outside Grizzly River Run and will indicate your seating area. This is especially important if you are traveling with a wheelchair. Without a fast pass you may find yourself behind the water sprays and the show isn't worth it.
For Fantasmic and the fireworks, it didn't look like we were going to see both in one night. So we parked ourselves across from Tom Sawyer Island for the light show. Look for the Reserved Seating ($50; WOW!) and just stay on the other side of the barrier. You'll have to arrive early and stand, but this will insure you get a great seat. Plan on arriving a hour early.
Instead of hustling over to the castle, we stayed in the same spot for the fireworks. And while I agree that there's nothing like seeing the fireworks over Cinderella's castle, this was still a great location, without the crowds.
The Mark Twain is a great afternoon break:
The Mark Twain riverboat ride may not have all the glitz and glamor of Indiana Jones, but it's perfect for the afternoon stretch when everyone needs a little break. My kids (5 and 3) had a great time exploring the different levels and learning all about the boat. Plus it was a great break from the craziness of the park and line standing.
You may also request to ride in the wheel house. Guests get to blow the whistle, ring the bell and pretend to steer. Only 4 guests are allowed per trip so check at the dock and see if anyone has claimed it for the next round.
On the same note, guests are sometimes allowed to ride in the front of the monorail with the driver. Check with an attendant for availability.
Traveling with Family or Close Friends is Crucial:
We traveled with a large group this time. And although that's not as important, family is key to a successful trip. When one kid pooped out, there was always plenty of helping hands. When little ones couldn't ride, again there was always a willing grandma or cousin to switch off and keep them company. Many hands make light work and it's so try when traveling to Disneyland with kids. Whether waiting in line, taking potty breaks, or getting lunch, an extra family member goes a long way in making successful trip.
Know your Baby Stations:
I wish I had a photo for this one, but I don't. In both Disneyland and Disney's California, there is a baby station. This is by far my favorite tip and trick for travelers, those with kids and those without.
If you are traveling with a baby, this a great spot for quiet nursing rooms, heating a bottle or having a high chair to feed a little one. Both baby stations were clean, quiet, and very friendly. Additionally both sell baby food and diapers.
If you're not traveling with kids, this is still a great location to know as there is a cool, filtered water fountain with a long neck, perfect for filling water bottles. The water still tastes different, but as compared to $3.50 a bottle, I'll take the free water for refilling my bottle.
Disneyland's baby station is located on the right hand end of Main Street and California's baby station is located near the Boudin Bakery.
I have lots more tips and tricks, but we'll save those for another day.
What tips have you learned lately about traveling with kids?