Listen: here at Lost Weekenders, we spend a lot of time giving out tips to make your Disney experience not suck, but when it comes down to it, some of the best advice we’ve got has been learned through our mistakes. While it is the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland has a way of surprising you with curveballs that could threaten to destroy your whole experience, or at least your day.
We’re no exception to these curveballs. We’ve been threatened by near-failure many times in the parks, and we’re here to tell about it. So please, feel free to learn from our mistakes - or at the very least, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone!
Not Eating Enough
Nothing spoils a good few hours like being hangry. Not eating enough is still one of the things we battle with, because sometimes you really have to force yourself to snack in Disneyland (that might come as a shock), because you’re too involved with what ride you’re going on next. Do yourself a favor and pay attention to your stomach, and always make time for a snack, even if it’s just a Mickey pretzel.
Oh, another valuable life lesson to be learned from this one - COMMUNICATE. If someone in your group is hungry, let them get a snack. Better yet, if you think someone in your group is hangry, suggest that you all get a snack. The easiest way to turn hanger into anger is to tell someone that you think they should eat something because they’re being a jerk.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Every time we go to Disneyland, at some point we complain about how tired / achy / etc we are. Nine times out of ten, when we drink some water, the problem resolves itself - or at least we feel a whole heck of a lot better.
Disneyland is the perfect recipe for dehydration. Even in the winter where it isn’t too hot out, you’re walking at least 9 miles a day under the California sun, consuming pretty much nothing but sugar and salt - and usually a whole lot of caffeine to keep you going. Dehydration can set in in no time!
Be sure to have at least a cup of water every time you sit down for a meal (most restaurants have free water, so you really have no excuse not to). We also grab water throughout the day, whenever we’re having a snack, or just happen to think of it. Make hydration a priority, and your trip to Disneyland will be a whole lot less exhausting!
That Time We Went to the Park on Mother’s Day
Y’all, Disneyland gets CROWDED. We’ve been there at full-capacity days, and we’ve been in crowds so large that we’ve left to drive home early, because there’s no point in trying to do anything.
Don’t despair if you happen to plan your trip at the worst possible time of year. Make sure you get to the park before opening so that you can maximize the limited ride time you’ll have. Download MaxPass so that you can fastpass anything and everything. But mostly, embrace that the day is going to be tough, and don’t try to accomplish too much. Try some snacks you haven’t had a chance to try before. Find one of the many places to get a drink and booze it up. Enjoy a stroll down Main Street. See some shows. Believe it or not, there are still things to do when you can’t do anything in Disneyland.
That Time We Couldn’t Figure Out the New Fantasmic! Situation
Have you tried to get a seat for Fantasmic! (without a dining package) since it reopened? It’s a nightmare. It’s such a nightmare that we were completely baffled the first time we made an attempt to see it.
We got a fastpass as usual, but showed up too late (? Maybe?) and had a catastrophic view. Assuming there were other fastpass entrances (the Cast Member barely glanced at our passes and looked particularly stressed out when we tried to ask some questions), we walked around toward Haunted Mansion and were let in to a separate viewing section. Turns out, it was the dining viewing section, and we wound up having to stand around and hope there was room for us to scoot in to some random other section.
It was frustrating and we were hungry and it was a perfect storm. Do yourself a favor and learn from our mistakes - show up to your show early enough to get a seat, or at least ask Cast Members where you should be going. Also, pretty much assume that your viewing is going to be sub-par unless you get a dining package (which is super annoying). Or heck, wait until the last show of the night and swoop in for a seat at the last second - sometimes that's less stressful.
That Time Kat tripped on Winnie the Pooh and Had To Go to the Medic
Yes, you read that right - I tripped exiting WINNIE THE POOH. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a clumsy person, so when I tripped initially I wanted to just walk it off because it is super embarrassing to trip in front of your friends (and complete strangers), even more embarrassing to trip getting out of a ride for TODDLERS, and EVEN MORE embarrassing to actually hurt yourself.
Unfortunately, within a few minutes my ankle was swelling, and I didn’t want to put even more of a damper on the trip by, say, not being able to walk for the rest of the night. So we went to the medic off Main Street to get some ice (interestingly, as they asked me what happened and I admitted that I tripped on Winnie the Pooh - did I mention I tripped on Winnie the Pooh? - the other adult in the medic office admitted the same thing), and all was well.
It’s a funny story now and ultimately nothing was wrong, but things can go a lot worse, especially in a place like Disneyland. Just remember, if you ever find yourself injured, there is a medic nearby, and it's never a bad idea to go, even if it's just for some ice for a swollen ankle from tripping on a ride for toddlers.
That Time We Didn't Check Traffic and Got Stuck in the Grapevine for 6 Hours
We’ll cut to the chase and let you know the lesson here before we begin: if you’re road-tripping to Disneyland, for the love of God, check the traffic before you leave! We probably could have driven another route if we had planned ahead, but instead, our 6-hour drive became a 12-hour one. Being stuck on a highway for 6 hours in the same spot is absolutely no fun, and neither is being 2 hours from home and being terrified that the driver is going to fall asleep at the wheel, so you desperately spend the next terrifying hours of your life shouting out conversation topics like “TELL ME ABOUT THE HISTORY OF TOMORROWLAND” and “WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF MOVING LIGHT”.
Here’s what it comes down to: you’re going to make mistakes on your Disney trip. It’s unavoidable. Just remember that it doesn’t have to ruin your trip. There are a lot of ways to recover (and fast), and you can always ask a Cast Member if you're having a particularly hard time with something. Don't let minor setbacks spoil your trip!