lost weekenders

Basics

Best Ride Order of Adventureland

Basics, Beginners, Attractions, LandsKelseyComment

Welcome to our new blog series, The Order of Things! In which we give you the breakdown of a pretty perfect schedule based on land (aka how we do it).

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I’m pretty sure everyone has a routine once they’ve been to Disneyland a few times. We tend to generally start day one with Adventureland into New Orleans Square and Frontierland. On day two we’ll start with Fantasyland, and if we have a day three we’ll generally start of with either Carsland or what is now Pixar Pier.

But no matter what land we start off with, we always have a solid game plan that’s pretty much ingrained in our souls by this point. This is mainly because we’ve been doing this for a while and we know where the crowds tend to go and how to work around them so we’re getting on rides without rushing or waiting in long lines. And we want to share that goodness with you.

There may seem like there’s a lot of explanation for each portion of the schedule, but if you understand the way the lines tend to work throughout the day, you can make more informed decisions and mold the schedule to fit your needs better.

We’re going to be starting off with how to work your way through the left side of the park, Adventureland, Frontierland, and New Orleans Square. It might sound like a lot but they all bump into one another, and if you’re going to take on one, you might as well take on them all. Let’s get into it! 

***PSA: This schedule works best if you’re ready at the Adventureland entrance at rope drop (park open) and if you have maxpass ready on your phone.***


 

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Get in line at Pirates, maxpass Indiana Jones while in line.

Indy line gets ridiculous fast, and everyone waiting by Adventureland in the morning is generally waiting to sprint to the Indy line. Use that time to get in line at Pirates before it fills up and reserve your fastpass for Indy on your way to your boat.

Pirates tends to get busier earlier these days, which is why I recommend jumping into that line first thing. We have a rule to never wait more than ten minutes for Pirates simply because you don’t have to! Pirates line is generally walk-on in the morning, stupid long in the afternoon, and clears up again generally after the second showing of Fantasmic. So if you see the line spilling outside the actual queue and wrapping onto the walkway that connects to Tarzan Treehouse, come back later, the line WILL get shorter I promise.

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Once you’re off pirates, jump in line at Haunted Mansion.

Mansion line should still be short. If you have any doubts you can reverse the order and hop on to Mansion before Pirates. Whatever line you get in first, just make sure to still make that Indy maxpass reservation. You should also keep in mind that Mansion acts a lot like Pirates. Empty in the morning, insane late morning through the evening, and clears up after Fanstasmic. Unlike Pirates, Mansion has Fastpasses, and they generally have a lot unless it’s around the Holidays. It’s totally possible to walk on early or late, but if you’re itching for a Mansion ride mid-afternoon grab a fastpass.

 

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Off Mansion, Indy should be ready (if not, check out Tarzan’s Treehouse), jump in Indy line, maxpass Big Thunder while in line.

 

I’m always hesitant to wait in the regular standby line for Big Thunder because it’s a deceiving line. It’s almost always longer than the stated wait time, and you can’t see the line from anywhere to actually gauge whether the stated time is correct or not. I basically have trust issues with that line, which is why I always fastpass/maxpass. And a lot of the times, there are so many fastpasses you can grab a fastpass reservation that’s five minutes from when you make it.

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Off Indy, onto Jungle Cruise

Jungle Cruise can be an enigma of a line. We can’t seem to ever predict it. We ride mostly early in the morning because it tends to be walk on, and at night because it’s a fun night ride. Jungle Cruise line starts on the ground level, and when it’s super busy wraps to an upstairs queue and back down again. You’re generally safe if the entire line is on the ground level, if it wraps upstairs we always pass.

Off Jungle Cruise, if Big Thunder isn’t ready yet, go to Tiki Room.

You’re right next to Tiki Room so you might as well. You can also browse the shops in between Adventureland and Frontierland.

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Thunder and DONE. Good job!

You did it! By this time you’re probably hungry. Go find some tasty food, you earned it! If you happen to have a protein bar on hand and want to tackle Critter Country as well, go ahead an grab a maxpass for Splash and hop in line for Winnie the Pooh. On the flip side, you can now go ride the canoes, the Mark Twain, the Columbia (if it's out), or hop on over to Pirate's Lair at Tom Sawyer's Island. All of which tend to stay pretty chill throughout the day, which also means their good break time things to do. 

If you decide to hit up Critter Country, tackle the offerings of Frontierland or take off on a completely different route, now’s a good time to look at grabbing a maxpass for another e-ticket ride like Space Mountain, Guardians of the Galaxy, Incredicoaster or Radiator Springs Racers since those tend to run out earlier on.

Keep in mind, this order doesn’t always work out perfect. Lines can be wonky, it can be super packed, but generally this works like...95 percent of the time for us. Since maxpass allows you to reserve fastpasses immediately after you scan in to your previous reservation, I always recommend reserving your fastpass as soon as you can AKA in line right after you’ve scanned in.

I hope this was insightful! It’s never going to be perfect, but knowing how we generally do things and understanding the nature of how the lines work throughout the day hopefully arms you with enough insight to make informed decisions and crush your Disney goals.

Keep an eye out for the next post in this series where I’ll be tackling Fantasyland! And let us know if you have a different game plan. I love hearing everyone’s different Disney ways and traditions.

Ride Order

Pirates (maxpass Indy)

Mansion (Tarzan's Treehouse after if there's still time until Indy, or ride Pirates again)

Indy (Maxpass Thunder)

Jungle Cruise (Tiki Room after if there's still time)

Big Thunder (Maxpass Splash or other e ticket ride)

Winnie the Pooh (or Canoes, or both).

Eat food and drink lots of water. 

 

P.S. If you have only one day, we have a post for that, too! Check it out!

The Worst Mistakes We've Made in Disneyland

Basics, BeginnersKatComment

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 mickey waffles

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.

disneyland water

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.

fantasmic mickey mouse

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”.

Not advised.

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!

 

 

Going from Day to Night in Disneyland

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

We talk a lot about how to get the most out of your Disney day because we genuinely want people to love Disneyland as much as we do. If you’re in it for the long haul, taking on a 16 hour day might feel impossible, but it’s not! It’s all in the way you prep. Here’s how we go from Disney day into Disney night.

California Adventure Lockers

 

Locker 

Getting a locker might feel like a waste of money, but it’s one of our biggest tips for successful Disney day. It holds all our extra jackets, souvenirs, sunscreen, snacks, and generally anything we don’t want to lug around with us.

Carrying a lighter load all day will allow you to go longer, I promise. And carrying around a huge backpack is no joke. It’s heavy, plus it’s difficult to get on to most rides. Trust us, let the locker do the work for you, and carry a small bag.

There are lockers in each park. In Disneyland they're on Main Street, and in California Adventure they're on Buena Vista Street. However, we always opt for the lockers located just right outside the park, to the left of Disneyland if you're looking at the main gate. This way, we're not dependent on going back to a certain park to grab our stuff. We can just swing by on our way to the tram as we head out for the night. Also keep in mind that California Adventure typically closes earlier than Disneyland, so be wary of grabbing a locker there.

There are three sizes of locker. Standard, large, and jumbo.We tend to opt for the large or jumbo size so we can fully stuff with souvenirs and jackets. 

This leads us to...

The Locker Bag

Not to be dramatic but we live and die by the locker bag. It’s a weekender bag we stuff with all our essentials to be non-stop comfy which is IMPORTANT YOU GUYS. The locker bag allows us to change as the sun goes down and it starts to cool off. This is crucial. Kat and I are usually wearing dresses, so when it starts to cool down, if we change into jeans and sweatshirts, we can make it until midnight if we pair it with some carbs and sugar.

Here’s how we pack the perfect locker bag:

  1. Sunscreen

  2. Extra sunglasses

  3. Pepto tablets

  4. Tums

  5. Ibuprofen

  6. Water

  7. Energy drinks

  8. Camera batteries

  9. Rechargeable phone battery

  10. Blotting powder

  11. Hair ties

  12. Protein bars

  13. Extra socks and underwear (I cannot even begin to describe how nice it is to change into new socks and underwear going into night time)

  14. A full change of “opposite” clothes. So if we’re wearing dresses we bring a pair of jeans and a shirt and jacket, and vice versa.

  15. And extra pair of shoes (changing shoes feels SO GOOD).

Tortilla Joes

Break

After we change, pop some tums and ibuprofen, and put away our sunglasses, we’re just about ready to transition to take on the night. But before we can do that, we generally require a bit of a break.

This is when we’ll head over to Downtown Disney and check the lines at Tortilla Joes and Trader Sam’s. Taking some time to chill out and have a drink (and guac duh), we’re ready to take on the night.

One of the best ways to usher in the night? Head over to Cars Land in California Adventure and watch the neon lights flash on with ceremony every night exactly at sunset. It’s the only time you’ll see everyone in an entire Land just stop in their tracks.

It’s magic.

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide to Ride Cameras

Basics, Beginners, AttractionsKatComment

Okay first let me just say, I acknowledge that it is hilarious to see the horrible faces people make on theme park rides, especially if they are immortalized forever on official ride camera photos. But if you really want to strike a special pose (or just show off your best Toddlers-in-Tiaras smile), here’s a quick guide to all the ride cameras in Disneyland and DCA:

splash mountain

1. SPLASH MOUNTAIN

The ride camera for Splash Mountain goes off just after the huge drop - which means you’re going to have to hold your pose through the initial first few seconds of pure terror as you freefall down the waterfall. You’ll know it’s coming because the log you’re sitting in starts climbing an impossibly tall incline and the music turns super creepy and ominous.

space mountain tomorrowland

2. SPACE MOUNTAIN

Once you get past the initial spinning-rotating-lights-tunnel, Space Mountain is basically one giant clockwise loop in the dark. The camera goes off right after the track suddenly takes a sharp left - changing direction from the loop you’ve been going in the majority of the ride. As soon as the track shifts direction, strike your pose - you’ll have about half a second before the camera flashes.

radiator springs racers

3. RADIATOR SPRINGS RACERS

Once you find yourself on the outside track and racing through Radiator Springs, pay attention to the scenery. The ride camera is under the only part of the track that has a rock overpass, after a few large bumps, and the camera flashes right before you go under the tunnel. Don’t be too hopeful for a great shot though, as your hair is probably going to be in your face no matter what.

california screamin

4. CALIFORNIA SCREAMIN’ / INCREDICOASTER

California Screamin’ may be getting a new name and overlay, but odds are the ride camera isn’t going anywhere. The camera is at the end of the track, almost at the building you originally boarded the ride in. You’ll know it’s coming because you’re heading back to the origin of the ride, and you suddenly take a large dive to the left - the camera flashes when you’re in the left turn.

tower of terror guardians of the galaxy mission breakout

5. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: MISSION BREAKOUT

I can never for the life of me remember where this camera is, so I pretty much just pose every time. The camera for sure flashes right before a big drop, right after the doors of the elevator shaft open to reveal an expansive view of the park (though I can never remember when the doors-opening part is). So, as soon as those doors open, strike a pose ASAP!

star tours

6. STAR TOURS

So technically this isn’t a ride camera, but at some point they take a photo of the Rebel Spy to display mid-ride, and Kelsey and I are always terrified it’s going to be us so we try to move around as much as possible so that they can’t get a decent photo to display. The photo is chosen before you put your 3D glasses on, and I’m pretty sure the Spy is chosen personally by a Cast Member, so it’s always a surprise if you’re up on the screen!

buzz lightyear astro blasters

7. BUZZ LIGHTYEAR ASTRO BLASTERS

Near the end of the ride, you’ll find yourself helping Buzz Lightyear take out the Evil Emperor Zurg himself. The room is huge, so it’s hard to miss. The camera goes off as you turn to face Zurg at the beginning of the room, so strike a pose pretty fast!

 

 

What To Do With One Day in Disneyland Park

Basics, BeginnersKat1 Comment

Let me start by saying that in an ideal world, you will have a Park Hopper ticket valid for both Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Park, with Maxpass attached so that you can get Fastpasses whenever you want. But if you find yourself strapped for cash and holding a one-park-only ticket, here's our basically fool-proof way to best enjoy your trip to Disneyland (assuming the park hours are 8am-12midnight, but remember, park hours vary, so adjust this suggested schedule according to the daily times!):

disneyland sleeping beauty castle

6:00-7:30 AM

Aim to get to the resort area at least an hour before rope drop (when the park officially opens - hours can vary, according to the Calendar). You’ll want to use this time to park in the Mickey and Friends parking lot (all the other lots are the worst), get through security, and take the tram (unless the lines are horrible, then just walk - it’s about a 15 minute walk from the structure to the park gate).

We usually put a mobile Starbucks order in when we get on the tram for the Starbucks closest to the park entrance. That way when you offboard the tram, you can just swing by Starbucks (a few feet away) on your way to the entrance.

Be sure to get a locker first-thing before entering the park - they fill up fast, especially during peak times. We usually get a locker to the left of the main entrance to Disneyland, by the Information Booth. Lockers are great for storing souvenirs that you don’t want to carry all day, and keeping your coats out of your hands until it cools down at night.

7:30 - 8:00 AM

You’re allowed into Disneyland to mosey around Main Street before the park officially opens. If you’re early enough and you didn’t want to face the lines at the Starbucks in Downtown Disney, you can get coffee at the Starbucks on Main Street while you walk to your rope-drop position.

Strategy is key for the first few hours of your day - this is maximum ride time! Have a snack before the park opens so you won’t have to stop for breakfast and slow your whole day down. Making the decision for what land to start in is important.

The majority of the morning crowd of Disneyland heads for these locations:

Peter Pan’s Flight - The line is shortest first thing in the morning, but it will be up to 45 minutes in no time unless you’re the very first person there, so unless you’re feeling particularly lucky, try something else instead.
Space Mountain - Nearly everyone heads for Tomorrowland first, so do yourself a favor and get a FastPass for Space Mountain later.
Indiana Jones - Indiana Jones is one of those rides that has a really unpredictable line, and usually at some point (or several points) in the day, the line will be just as short as it is in the morning. And don’t get a FastPass first thing - the lines are so short that you’re likely to get a return time of about a half-hour later.

People rarely start at these locations:

Splash Mountain - especially if it’s cold, no one wants to ride this one first-thing. Of course, the price you pay for no line is being freezing all morning.
All of the rest of Fantasyland - If you start with Alice (the ride that usually has the second-longest line in Fantasyland), you can ride pretty much all of Fantasyland’s rides (minus Peter Pan) in the first hour.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - if you want to walk on, Big Thunder’s line doesn’t get bad until about an hour after park opening.

pirates of the caribbean

8:00 - 10:00 AM

Ride as many rides as you can. Do not stop for Fastpasses. Do not stop for snacks.

10:00 - 2:00 PM

Have breakfast / lunch as close to 11:00 as you can, as lunch crowds will make getting food at noon annoying, unless you have a reservation somewhere.

By noon, the park will be crowded. Lines will be stacking up. If the Pirates of the Caribbean line has wrapped around the ramp outside of the entrance, it’s a good sign that it’s time to get some Fastpasses and consider taking it easy for a while.

This is a good time to ride the rides that rarely have lines. Small World is a good ride to count on, unless it’s the Holidays. The Train rarely has too long of a wait, especially if you plan to board at New Orleans Square or Tomorrowland station. Jungle Cruise nearly always has a wait of 15 minutes (if you see the line on the second floor, skip this one). Winnie the Pooh is also a good stand-by, plus you can get a treat at the end!

Now’s also a good time to enjoy the more laid-back attractions: take a cruise on the Mark Twain, watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, try the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough, have a Dole Whip and watch the show at the Enchanted Tiki Room.

You can also single-rider some rides if you’re still feeling high-octane: Matterhorn rarely has a long single-rider line, and you can go for Indiana Jones if you want (though it’s not particularly hard to get a good wait time and go with your party on that one).

If you’re planning on seeing Fantasmic! Pick up a fastpass by noon - they don’t usually run out, but it’s good to have. Remember, Fantasmic fastpasses aren’t on the same system as the others, so it won’t hinder you from getting another Fastpass right away.

big thunder mountain railroad

2:00 - 4:00 PM

Have a late lunch. If you’re overwhelmed, venture outside the park to Tortilla Jo’s or Trader Sam’s in the Disneyland Hotel. Take the monorail back to the park when you’re done - the entrance is right by the Disneyland Hotel, and the best view of the Park is on the trip back from the Hotel.

If you don’t have a reservation, good places for lunch are: The French Quarter, The Hungry Bear, possibly Cafe Orleans if you’re lucky enough to get in without a reservation, Rancho del Zocalo, The Plaza Inn (for fried chicken!).

Hopefully you’ll have a Fastpass or two lined up for this time by now. Ride your big ticket rides, and stroll through the shops throughout Disneyland.

This is also a great time to take a circle-tour of Disneyland on the train. Sit back and enjoy the full loop. If the crowds are still rough, ride on one of the many Main Street Transportation vehicles - the Omnibus is particularly fun if you have a seat on the top tier.

4:00 - 6:00 PM

Now is the perfect time for something like Mickey and the Magical Map, if you’re tired. It’s also the perfect time for some more caffeine, so hit up Starbucks like your life depends on it.

Have a snack to keep you going - you’re going to need your strength for Night Time at Disneyland. It just so happens that the snacks at the Troubadour Tavern by Mickey and the Magical Map are some of the heartiest and best in the park - try the Brat, the baked potato, the pretzel bites, and the sweet twist (whatever the flavor).

mickey and the magical map

6:00 - 8:00 PM

Eat dinner. Hopefully you have a reservation. If not, try: Hungry Bear, Plaza Inn, Downtown Disney.

Between the hours of 4 and 8 are prime meltdown time. Make sure you’ve brought something like Advil, because your feet are probably killing you by now. Have some more caffeine if you need it, and have a snack even if you don’t think you’re hungry. Don’t be afraid to take it easy for a while! There’s a lot to do in Disneyland but being exhausted will really sour the experience.

8:00 - 11:00 PM

Time for a nighttime spectacular or two!! Line up for Fantasmic! On the Rivers of America at least half an hour before the entry starts on your Fastpass. You can view the fireworks and projections from Rivers of America after Fantasmic! If you see the first show.

Pro tip: crowds are always less for the second showing of Nighttime shows, because the majority of guests leave after the fireworks.

jolly holiday at night disneyland

11:00 - 12:00 AM

Now’s your last chance to ride whatever you feel like you’ve missed. Remember, as long as you’re in line when the park closes, you can still ride whatever you’re lined up for - so make sure you’re using your time down to the last second!

The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage usually has its’ shortest wait time first thing in the morning or at night - the problem with riding it at night is that it’ll put you right to sleep.

Other lines that are particularly short at night are: Splash Mountain (again with the freezing thing), Fantasyland, the train, Autopia.

The best time to get on Peter Pan’s Flight is either first thing in the morning (if you’re at the park super early) or at 11:59 at night, because if you’re going to wait 45 minutes for a non-thrill ride, you might as well make it 45 minutes that you couldn’t use to do anything else.

Random Pointers:

Plan on Fastpassing:

Indiana Jones
Space Mountain
Star Tours
Haunted Mansion (during Summer or Holidays)
Small World (during the Holidays)
Big Thunder (possibly)

Single Rider:

Matterhorn
Indiana Jones (possibly)

Do Not Get in Line if the Line is Longer than 15 Minutes:

Pirates of the Caribbean
Jungle Cruise
Winnie the Pooh
Any Fantasyland Ride
Small World
Any Ride You Can Fastpass

Food You Should Eat (Without a Reservation):

Dole Whip
Churro
Cookies from Any Treat Counter
Gumbo in a Breadbowl
Mickey Pretzel
Plaza Inn Fried Chicken
Hungry Bear Crispy Chicken Sandwich
Maurice’s Twists
Bengal Barbecue
Mickey Beignets
Corndog

Food You Should Eat (With a Reservation):

Blue Bayou
Carnation Cafe
Plaza Inn Breakfast (Character Meet and Greet / Breakfast Buffet)
Cafe Orleans

disneyland castle at night

Remember, you’re in Disneyland to have fun! Give yourself time to experience the Disney Magic, whether it’s watching the Dapper Dans perform on Main Street, or spying Peter Pan and Captain Hook parading through Fantasyland. Take some time to rest and relax and don’t push yourself too much - you’ll have a much better time if you come at your trip with a little bit of strategy and a lot of flexibility. And don’t forget our Rules of Disneyland!

Getting From Your Hotel to The Park

Basics, Beginners, HotelsStephenComment

Planning your Disneyland trip comes with many hurdles, one of which involves your hotel and the park.

In a previous post about choosing a hotel I spoke a bit about choosing a hotel based on price, relative proximity to the park and park entrance, and the never ending decision about how to navigate your morning. 

Pre-trip planning

We try to stock the car with simple daily use items that are cheap, aren't perishable, can get used on subsequent trips, and have usefulness in everyday life. If you're flying, I'd recommend a quick trip to Target or CVS, both of which are close to the park.

  • Sunscreen
  • Bottled Water
  • Packaged granola bars or nuts or some other protein rich small snacks
  • Canned Energy or Coffee Drinks
Disneyland Hotel Signage

Transportation to Disneyland

Driving is always an option, but unless you have an Annual Pass, daily parking can run you $18 and up. Chances are you're also paying for nightly parking at your hotel and not driving is an easy way to save some cash. Also be aware of the time it takes to park and ride or walk to the park. Typically we plan to arrive at Mickey and Friends 1 hour before park opening. Disneyland also has off-property parking lots such as the Toy Story Parking Area. This parking lot utilizes shuttle busses to get you to the park entrance plaza. During extreme weather days, this isn't so much fun. 

If you are staying at a nearby hotel, there are multiple ways to walk to Disneyland.


Hotels directly to the North can use the walkway that leads to the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure and use the tram.
Hotels to the South and East can enter on Harbor Boulevard.
From the South and West, walk North on Disneyland drive and use the walkway to Downtown Disney that is between Paradise Pier and AMC.

Anaheim Resort Transportation is an independent transportation authority that has a surprisingly large reach. These busses pickup at most every hotel or in densely built areas, a common space between hotels. A single ride is $3 but multi-day and child passes have large discounts. 
Although depending on the route your hotel lands on, you might only get 2 buses an hour, it's helpful to expand your choice of hotels to stay at and frees you with the ability to return for a midday break. 

start in the room

No matter the size of your group, having the loosest of plans for getting onto Disney property goes along way. 

  • Be aware of the day's temperature range and bring a costume change to avoid a sweaty day or a chilly grumpy night. 
  • Apply your first layer of sunscreen during your morning routine to save precious morning time 
  • Think about caffeine, energy and snacks. We bring a snack bag that is stocked with DoubleShots that get thrown in the fridge the night before. When you're at a loss, Downtown Disneyland has two Starbucks locations, both of which accept mobile ordering. 
  • Breakfast is important for your multi-mile day. Take advantage of your hotel's free cereal or that well planned box of granola bars.
  • Hydrate. Even though you might not be thirsty, drinking a couple glasses of water when you are first waking up helps get your body moving and refreshes overnight dehydration. 
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Remember one of our always mantras: there will always be more time. There's nothing worse than starting a day out in a bad mood because your plan didn't work out the best it could. 

 

New Disneyland Ticket Prices

Basics, BeginnersKat

So if you’ve been reading about Disneyland lately, you’ve probably heard that ticket prices changed this weekend. This isn’t a huge surprise, as Disneyland changes it’s prices pretty much every year, but here’s the breakdown of the new costs for a ticket in 2018:

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1-DAY 1-PARK TICKETS

Ticket prices vary based on the day of the week and time of year (Value tickets are cheapest because they’re usually for middle-of-the-week days, during low-attendance times. Peak tickets are usually for weekends).

VALUE

2017 2018
$97 $97 No change!

REGULAR

2017 2018
$110 $117 $7 Increase

PEAK

2017 2018
$124 $135 $11 Increase

1-DAY PARKHOPPER TICKETS

VALUE

2017 2018
$157 $147 $10 Decrease

REGULAR

2017 2018
$165 $167 $2 Increase

PEAK

2017 2018
$174 $185 $11 Increase

The two+ day ticket prices have also changed - basically around the same amount as the 1-day tickets. As always, the more days on your ticket, the better a deal it is. 

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ANNUAL PASSES

All APs have gotten a bit pricier, and the discount for renewing your Annual Pass before it expires has been removed, which is a bummer (and usually saved you about $10-$60), but that means you can feel free to let your pass expire and buy it the next time you visit the park without worrying that you aren’t getting a good discount! Also, the monthly payment plans are still available for California residents.

Select Annual Pass

2017 2018
$339 $369 $30 Increase

SoCal Annual Pass

2017 2018
$469 $549 $80 Increase

Deluxe Annual Pass

2017 2018
$619 $729 $110 Increase

Signature Annual Pass

2017 2018
$849 $999 $150 Increase

Signature Plus Annual Pass

2017 2018
$1049 $1149 $100 Increase

Disney said that they are probably going to be reworking the Annual Pass program later this year (which will likely include modified blockout day schedules for each Annual Pass) in preparation for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening in 2019.

Obviously, we're huge fans of the Annual Pass and we're definitely going to renew. If you're on the fence about getting an Annual Pass, especially given the price hike, we've elaborated on the differences between the many choices, and the perks of a pass to make the decision easier!

 

 

The Perks of an Annual Pass

Basics, Beginners, TipsKelseyComment

If you haven’t figured it out by now, we think Disneyland is glorious. When you’re in Disneyland you’re IN Disneyland. You can’t do anything else. You can’t be anywhere else. It’s magic. And we like to go as much as possible, so thank goodness for the all holy Annual Passport.

There are a few different levels of passes, which dictate the kind of perks you get. There’s Deluxe, Signature, and Signature Plus.

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Deluxe has the most blackout days, a smaller discount, and it doesn’t include parking.

Signature and Signature Plus have closer perks. They both get the same discount on merch and food, and both include parking. However there are two weeks in December that are blocked for Signature passholders, and Signature Plus has Maxpass included.

If you’ve been on the fence about getting an AP (just do it), allow me to persuade you with some of my favorite perks of having an AP.

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Access to the Parks, duh, (without the guilt).

Let’s be real, Disneyland can be expensive. Park tickets are pricey, and for that money, you want the most bang for your buck. Which probably includes killing yourself to stay from open to close, even if you’re in desperate need of a break.

Having an AP frees up that guilt space.

All three of us do the monthly plan, which costs less than a cell phone bill. And honestly it’s the best $60 I spend a month. We live about 7 hours away, but a tank of gas and a last minute hotel room is the only thing between us and a magical time.

We can go down, spend a day, hop in a for a few hours the next day and come back home. We can also take hefty breaks during the middle of the day, or head out early and not feel like we’re wasting our time or money.

And since we go down about once a month, we get some serious mileage out of our passes.

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Discounts

I can’t imagine going to Disneyland without our AP discounts. You save 15% on food, and 20% on merch. And believe me, it adds up fast. And it’s not just in the parks. Most of Downtown Disney gives an AP discount.

On top of food and merch, there are special deals on hotel rooms, tours, even the spa at the Grand Californian gives an AP discount.

Parking

Parking at Disneyland for standard vehicles is $20 a day, RVs are more. We save at least (AT LEAST) $300 a year on parking with our AP. You guys it’s GOLD.

Special Events

There are actually lots of extra AP opportunities in the parks, from special meet and greets, to activity areas with free buttons and drinks. You also get email updates about new things coming to the parks, and new AP opportunities regularly.

So how do we make it worth it?

Like I mentioned before, the price tag is a lot less shocking if you do monthly installments. Plus, since we’re all equally devoted to the magic, it helps we’re all on board with monthly mini-trips with a few bigger trips thrown in sporadically. My recommendation? Ditch your current friends and get a group that’s as devoted as you are.

 

Fellow AP holders, did I miss any perks?

Secrets to Keeping Your Phone Charged at Disneyland

Basics, BeginnersStephenComment

We all tend to be on our phones constantly in normal life, but compound that with 16 hour Disney days full of picture taking and MaxPass scanning and you're sure to kill your battery faster than ever. 

iPhone Low Power Mode

Tip 1 - Low Power Mode

Both iPhone and Android have an option to save power called "Low Power Mode" or "Battery Saver". Usually this option reduces animations, background mail fetching, display brightness and other barely noticeable adjustments. Of course, staying connected is still important, but as you walk in and out of cell coverage (especially in underground portions of rides) your battery drains quickly. And lets be honest, does anyone want to see you swiping through pointless emails while they are trying to enjoy Haunted Mansion?  In the park, I have noticed up to 8 hours more battery life just by enabling this option. 

Tip 2 - Bring A Battery Pack

Pump up your battery game. Phone cases like the iPhone Smart Battery Case can double your overall battery life, but if you're like me and can barely handle the thickness of any phone case, this option isn't the best. 

My solution is to bring a portable battery pack. Now I know some of you can effectively kill a fully charged battery by noon. Since I'm not one to endlessly scroll Facebook, listen to music, pay any heed to the news or watch cat videos while I'm at Disneyland, I don't have that problem. So my battery pack of choice doesn't need to be an all day pocket carry, because I'm only  maybe going to top off once a day.

My favorite battery pack is the Jackery Bolt 6000. The #1 killer feature about this battery pack is the cable is built-in, so I can carry this battery pack to Trader Sam's and get Kelsey, Kat and my phone back to about 90% in an hour or so with no additional messy cables. The battery can charge a normal size iPhone two times, or, for us, 3 iPhones to about 75%.

California Adventure Fuel Rod

Tip 3 - California Adventure Chargers

Inside California Adventure and The Grand Californian are Fuel Rod purchase and exchange stations. A brand new Fuel Rod comes with a 5000 mAh battery and cables for your iPhone or Android. From these kiosks you can purchase a new kit or exchange one you already have for a freshly charged one. As long as you keep your cable with you, these have the added benefit of never needing to remember to charge it on your own, at the hotel, or at home. An additional benefit is these Fuel Rod kiosks exist outside the park, most commonly at airports. (Although at the airport, you may have to pay a couple dollars there for a freshly-charged one, whereas at California Adventure, the swap is free.)

Disneyland Charging Lockers

Tip 4 - Charging Lockers

At both locker locations inside the park (but not the one outside the park) charging lockers are offered in addition to standard stuff storage lockers. The pricing is different and the storage space is smaller but serves a more specialized purpose. Cables are included inside for iPhone and Android but if you'd like to charge something else, be sure to bring a cable or wall adapter to plug inside. 

I think these are most useful in a pinch, but probably the least economical and practical, considering you have to get back to the locker within a specified amount of time or continue to get charged. 

4 Ways to Supercharge Your Disneyland Morning

Basics, BeginnersKatComment

Your best trip to Disneyland is all about strategy, and one of the most important parts of your park strategy is how you manage your mornings – the first few hours in the parks can determine how the rest of your day goes. Besides the usual ways to effectively plan your day, here are our surefire tips to supercharge your mornings in Disneyland:

disneyland main gate entrance

GET THERE SUPER EARLY

You probably think you’ll have enough time to leave your hotel, park, and get to Disneyland by the time ropes drop, but take it from us: you probably won’t. We always budget a decent amount of time for the morning trip to the park but somehow frequently find ourselves walking down Main Street 10-20 minutes after the park has officially opened.

Add at least half an hour to whatever time you think you’re going to need to get ready. There are usually unexpected lines at the parking lot, trams that take way too long to arrive, weird situations with security, or you'll happen to choose the one entrance line with fifteen people getting their photos taken for their new tickets – don’t let these situations slow you down! You want to be at the parks for as much of the morning as you possibly can.

downtown disney

MOBILE ORDER AT STARBUCKS

If you’re one of the bajillions of people in the world that start your day with some caffeine, you’re going to want to stop at Starbucks before you get on your first ride or two. Unfortunately, because bajillions of people in the of the world start their day with caffeine, the lines at the Starbucks in Disneyland get LONG. Don’t let a long coffee line totally disrupt your morning and throw off your whole day.

We now order our coffees through mobile ordering on the Starbucks app once we’ve boarded the parking lot tram at the Mickey and Friends parking lot. You bypass the lines, and usually the drinks are ready just about when you get there. Be sure you order from the correct Starbucks though – the one by the Disneyland Hotel will set you back (you’ll have to backtrack through nearly all of Downtown Disney to get there).

haunted mansion fastpass

MAXPASS/FASTPASS THE BEST WAY

It’s pretty common knowledge that everyone heads to Space Mountain and Indiana Jones first thing upon entering Disneyland. Unless you’re only there for these rides, don’t bother trying to get on them first, since the line will be just as long as it is the rest of the day (unless you’re the very first person there, which would be a shock).

Also don’t waste your time trying to get a Fastpass first thing, since usually when that happens you end up with a Fastpass entry time of only about 20-40 minutes later, which means you have to wait around instead of using your time for other rides. It’s much more useful to spend your morning on rides with shorter lines (due to the smaller crowds) that don't have Fastpasses, since you can nearly always get a Fastpass for the others with Maxpass.

We find that the best rides to start with are either Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, or Alice in Wonderland – if you start with Alice, you can usually walk on to every ride in Fantasyland (aside from Peter Pan, which is just as busy first thing in the morning as it is the rest of the day) before the parks start to get crowded.

mickey waffle

WAIT ON BREAKFAST

Eat a snack on the way to the park, and then don’t worry about breakfast until you’ve gotten some rides in – the mornings are the best time to get on rides, and spending your prime ride time on a sit-down meal is a waste of the morning.

We don’t usually eat breakfast until at least 10:30, sometimes closer to 11. This is great because almost no one else eats breakfast at that time, and we’ve usually done a large amount of attraction riding by then. We are sure to eat something before we start our morning though – usually a snack at Starbucks – because nothing spoils your Disney day like morning hanger.

Disneyland is all about pushing yourself in the morning so that you feel super accomplished by noon, and can allow yourself to relax the rest of the day. If you do all you can to supercharge your mornings, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a better experience with the rest of your day.

Best Parts of Being an Adult in Disneyland

Basics, BeginnersKelseyComment

I hear it all the time, you probably do, too. “Las Vegas is like Disneyland for adults,” or “Napa is Disneyland for adults.”

Stop. Stop it. Disneyland is Disneyland for adults. Let Vegas be Vegas and Napa be Napa and that other place be that other place. They’re great on their own. Let me tell you why being an adult in Disneyland is actually the best.

You can do whatever you want

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You don’t have to wait in line to meet the characters if you don’t want to. You don’t have to wait in that horrendously long line if you don’t want you. You don’t have to worry about stroller parking, or finding a place for picky eaters.

There’s definitely magic to bringing kids to Disneyland and seeing things unfold from their perspective, but most people don’t realize the magic is adaptable and different for everyone, not just kids.

One of the best parts about Disney is once you’re in, you’re in. You can ride, go to shows, browse the shops. You can do whatever you want.
 

You can drink

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I know we talk about this a lot, but if you’re a drinker, you can definitely imbibe at the Disneyland resort guilt free. In Disneyland park specifically, you can only drink at Club 33, which is pretty tough to get into, but there are tons of options in California Adventure and Downtown Disney.

We forever recommend Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel (tiki tiki tiki tiki rum or a lost safari are our favorites), Carthay Circle (pear martini, pimm’s punch, and the classic gin and tonic are must tries), Hearthstone in the Grand Californian for their Cove Bar drinks (which is going away), and Tortilla Joes (peach tree mojito for life).

You can go on all the rides

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Fun fact, Disneyland offers a ride switch perk for parents with young kids for more high thrill rides. Ask the cast member working the front of your desired ride’s queue for a parent rider switch pass. Your party will be split up, one group will ride while the second watches the kid. Once the first group returns, they hand off the pass, and the second party gets to hop in the fast pass queue.

It’s a great perk, and definitely something to keep in mind. But if you’re going with a group of full grown adults, y’all can genuinely ride whatever you want without worrying or organizing.

Which leads me to my next point.
 

You can split up

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Kat, Stephen, and I are huge proponents of splitting up. This falls under the “you can do whatever you want” category. We believe you’re on vacation in Disneyland and you shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Which is a huge perk of going to Disneyland as an adult.

We’ll frequently split up if someone wants to ride a ride others don’t, see a show others don’t, eat somewhere other people don’t want to eat- the list goes on. We all fully support each person getting the most out of their trip, so if you want a churro and everyone else wants popcorn? Go grab that churro. Your group wants to watch World of Color but you’d rather not? Go ride Ariel 5 times, why not?

One time, Kat and Stephen wanted to watch some night time show and I wasn’t super into it, so I bounced and hopped on single rider for Matterhorn. They sat me in the front, and I was wearing a white tank top, not suspecting anything. And then I totally got soaked and walked around Disneyland by myself with a completely see-through shirt. I thought it was hilarious.

You can get there as early as you want and stay until close

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If you want to get there at rope drop and stay until midnight you do your thing. Especially if your group has agreed on the aforementioned Split Up rule, some of your party can go back to the hotel and nap or pool lounge, and you can ride and snack to your heart’s content.