Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disneyland > Disneyland (California)
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-04-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
kaci
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 196

Things You Wish You Knew As A First Timer

There are lots of great threads about 'Things you wish you knew' and 'Secrets of...' that are wonderful and offer *tons* of great advice (I've got the notes to prove it!) but we're going for the first time in December and I'm wanting to create the best, most magical experience possible, so am looking for tips specific to that.

If you could re-create your first trip, how would you do it? What did you do on your first trip that was awesome (create a tradition, etc...), what did you do that was not so awesome, what do you wish you did looking back?

DS is 5 and DD is 2 so everything we do will pretty much revolve around them
kaci is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 06:44 PM   #2
deesquared
Mouseketeer
 
deesquared's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: B.C. Canada
Posts: 326

Research and planning! Lots of planning!

For our first family trip, I had a rough schedule for each day.
I checked the Disneyland website to see what time the parks opened and closed each day, when there were parades, fireworks, Fantasmic and other specific shows.
Then, if something was happening on only one day we were there, I would put that in the schedule for that day.
Then, I would work around that particular event, scheduling meals, then picking certain areas to explore.
For instance, one day was Princess day: the girls wore their Princess costumes, we had lunch at Ariel's, visited the Princess Fantasy Faire.

Always be ready to be flexible though. If everyone wants to go on the Teacups, but you wanted to explore Tomorrowland...just go with the Teacups. It's more important to keep everyone happy than to stay on schedule!

Just make sure you do catch those "one time" events such as fireworks or Fantasmic as early on in your trip as possible. If you leave it to the last night, it may be cancelled, then you are out of luck!
__________________
deesquared is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 09-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
tiffjoy
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 744

We only went one day the first time because we were out for an interview for my DH. But I wish we had park hopped. DCA is such a fun park, and we didn't go there until our third trip.

I wish we had gone to Napa Rose. I didn't know about it, but now we have kids and can't go. So I suppose I wish I had done a little more research for our trip.
__________________
Me DH DD4 DD2

WDW Trips: First trip January 2004! 1/2005, 1/2006, 2/2006, 1/2007, 12/2010, 1/2013
DLR Trips: First trip January 2006! 9/2007, 8/2010, 9/2011, 9/2012, 4/2013, 12/2013, 8/2014

Upcoming:
WDW January 2015 for 4 days for DD2's 3rd birthday
DLR August 2015 for 5 days for DD5's 6th birthday
tiffjoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 07:40 PM   #4
julieheyer
Crazy for the Mouse!
 
julieheyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: AZ
Posts: 294

A fun tradition we created on our first DL visit was ice cream for dinner. It sounds silly, but my dd's brag about this to ALL of their friends!! We were waiting for Fantasmic and weren't really hungry for a real meal (late lunch, we like to eat at off peak times) . Anyway I threw sense and caution to the wind and a new tradition was born!!

I'm not saying its for everyone, but being flexible and spontaneous is as important as planning, IMHO.

The other thing we did, which I recommend, is allow each member of the fam to choose 1 ride/show that was their TOP priority that day/park. We had to get that item done that day. Made everyone excited to plan, and look forward to that event.

With little ones like you have, 2 strollers would be good too!

Have fun!! You can't go wrong!
__________________
Going back mid-December!!!!

Past trips: Mar. 2013, Nov 2012, Oct. 2011, Mar. 2009, June 2006... Can't remember before that!
julieheyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #5
princesscinderella
Mouseketeer
 
princesscinderella's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: South FLA
Posts: 466

Quote:
Originally Posted by julieheyer View Post
A fun tradition we created on our first DL visit was ice cream for dinner. It sounds silly, but my dd's brag about this to ALL of their friends!! We were waiting for Fantasmic and weren't really hungry for a real meal (late lunch, we like to eat at off peak times) . Anyway I threw sense and caution to the wind and a new tradition was born!!
I love this idea!! If we have a late lunch we just might do this too. We do crazy dinner at home a few times a month where we make breakfast foods for dinner and the kids love it.

Being WDW vets we like to go to Mr Toads first as it no longer exists at MK as it brings back childhood memories of being terrified that we were going to be hit by a train. On our upcoming trip we will now get to terrify our litte kiddos with this ride LOL.
__________________
Been at Disney World my whole life!
There at least once a year since 95'.
Disneyland 2001, 2008 & 10/2 - 10/5/2012
Disney Dream cruise on 7/29/2011, 1/26/12, 7/21/13
Disney Fantasy on 7/28/12 and 3/30/2013
Epocot F&W 1/2 marathon 2012
Aulani 6/13
princesscinderella is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 09:53 PM   #6
carandem
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 30

bibbidi bobbiddi boutique is my must!
__________________




CARandEm

Calling it my first time, because I cant say i remember much going at 8 yrs old
carandem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 10:15 PM   #7
disneegrl4eva
now we just need a secret handshake or sign...
...because I'm special like that
 
disneegrl4eva's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: smack dab in the middle of cali!!
Posts: 8,940

Quote:
Originally Posted by julieheyer View Post
A fun tradition we created on our first DL visit was ice cream for dinner.

With little ones like you have, 2 strollers would be good too!

Have fun!! You can't go wrong!
Quote:
Originally Posted by princesscinderella View Post
I love this idea!! If we have a late lunch we just might do this too. We do crazy dinner at home a few times a month where we make breakfast foods for dinner and the kids love it.
ah then can i make a recommendation????

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....593650&page=23......10 scoops of ice cream and everything you can think of on it
__________________
disneegrl4eva is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 10:29 PM   #8
scoker
Mouseketeer
 
scoker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 256

My biggest advise is be flexible. DD was 4 on her first trip. I had a great plan, lots of research. She hated dark rides. Even Winnie the Pooh. The plan went out the window.
*Be prepared for small kids to be drawn to the "carnival" type rides that they can see. It is hard to explain to a kid that they want to wait on line to go into a building because there is something fun inside when they can see dumbo.
*If you can do MM for Disneyland use it to hit Dumbo, the teacups ect.
*don't try to crisscross the parks to much.
*unless this is a once in a lifetime trip take it easy. If your kid wants to ride the same thing six times instead of trying something new don't sweat it.
*be prepared for a few not so magical moments. My usually picture perfect girl decided to have a spoiled brat tantrum in the middle of DL. I got everything from thumbs up to nasty glares as she got a timeout also in the middle of the park.
*character breakfast! You will get a million opinions about which one is best. Book one.
scoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 11:09 PM   #9
lkperich
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Medicine Hat, AB Canada
Posts: 57

Quote:
Originally Posted by disneegrl4eva View Post
ah then can i make a recommendation????

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....593650&page=23......10 scoops of ice cream and everything you can think of on it
OMG....thank you for sharing this! Guess we are going to start an amazing "supper" tradition too! We are going to be the "coolest" parents ever when they get to have this one night for supper! Wonder how much that costs.....lol....Hope they still have it!
lkperich is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2012, 11:16 PM   #10
cari12
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,064

We went for the first time when ours were 4and 6. DS4 was not quite 40 inches so we concentrated on all the little kid stuff. We planned to go back when they were older to do bigger kid stuff. I had done lots of research on the Dis and had a trip plan before arrived so we had some direction. We used EE, did the Fantasyland rides in the recommended order, did Nemo first one day etc. so as to avoid line ups as much as possible. We were there at rope drop everyday and in the early/mid afternoon we headed out of the parks for lunch and pool time. We watched the fireworks from our room each night except the Trick or Treat party night so the kids could go to sleep around 8:30pm. We did not use a stroller at all. We had an amazing time and look forward to returning next month now that the kids are 7 and 9.
__________________


Oct 2009 DLH
Oct 2012 DLH
cari12 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 12:32 AM   #11
MaloCS
Earning My Ears
 
MaloCS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 50

We just took a trip to Disneyland back in February, 2012 and came to realize that the park had a different feel then our last trip in September, 1998. For all intents and purposes we were Disneyland newbies.

First, the amount of locals armed with Annual Passes seemed to be the rule and not the exception. Second, I have since learned that there really isn't an off season, at least when compared to the years prior to 2000. Third, we were completely naive about FastPasses and how they could help or hinder the Disneyland experience. And fourth, we were totally clueless to the fact that seemingly unimportant holidays were catalysts for exaggerated crowds.

If I were to offer the advice to a person like me I would tell them to avoid ALL holidays, not just the big ones. I would also tell them to find out when the local schools have time off, not just the Spring/Fall breaks but the occasional teacher planning days as well and avoid those like the plague. Lastly, I would emphasize the importance of using the FastPass system.

I wish someone would have enlightened me to these tips because I would have avoided the President's Day holiday like it was the second coming of The Black Plague. Never again will I put myself or my family through that experience. From now on I will arm myself with the knowledge of when every single Annual Pass holder has the opportunity to visit the park and I will avoid those times.

Spring Break? Nope. Fall Break? Nope. Teacher Planning Days? Nope. State Government Furlough Days? Nope. President's Day? Nope. Columbus Day? Nope. Martin Luther King Day? Nope. Ground Hog Day? Nope.

Maybe there's a week or two in the year where the out of state tourist can visit Disneyland without the onslaught of locals.
MaloCS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 12:56 AM   #12
RedRosie
Mouseketeer
 
RedRosie's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 259

good planning tips here! Definitely have a rough schedule but build in extra time and be flexible. Go back to your hotel for an afternoon rest if you can. You can bring Disney puzzles or coloring books for quiet time if they aren't napping. Good time to replenish the backpack if you carry one so that you don't have to carry too much. (heavy backpack gets old faster than you think!)

DCA has little kid rides in Bugs Land. There is good stuff in DCA around Animation Academy when you need a cool off time (inside with A/C, not too crowded).

Some areas are especially pretty at night (tea cups is one of my faves at night because of the lights). I also love the Mexican restaurant by Thunder Mountain RR.

Musical chairs with Alice in Wonderful at the Coke/Refreshment corner was great fun (but takes at least 30 minutes). It always started at 2:30 but I just saw another thread that said it may have changes to 1:00. It was a big hit for my 6 year old.

Ask the PhotoPass photographers to take picture with your camera, even if you are purchasing the disk. It's great to have pics right away!

take the train around the park. It sure helps with walking and it counts as a ride!
RedRosie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 01:04 AM   #13
squirrel
DIS Veteran
 
squirrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Chilliwack, BC, Canada
Posts: 10,484

Know how to use FastPass!

Use the Single Rider and kid swap if you have little ones.

Make sure you go over a weekend if you want fireworks and Fantasmic during slower times.
__________________
All Star Movies September 1999
PO + DCL November+December 2000
DLR (BWPPI) September 2007
WDW (Pop) Sept. 5-19 2008 Free Dining
WDW (Pop) Oct. 1-15 2009 Free Dining
WDW (Pop) Sept. 30-Oct. 14 2010 Free Dining
WDW (Pop-BC) Sept. 29-Oct. 13 2011 Free Dining
Wonder and DLR (BWPPI) Sept. 10-20 2012
Wonder and DLR (DI&S) Sept. 9-21 2013
squirrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 01:08 AM   #14
StyledSugar
Love The Mouse
 
StyledSugar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 337

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaloCS View Post

I wish someone would have enlightened me to these tips because I would have avoided the President's Day holiday like it was the second coming of The Black Plague..
lol I feel your pain. I took my daughter and mother there for my daughters first trip ever and I couldn't believe the crowds. We thought we were being smart and taking a week in February while the kids had some time off here in Alberta, Canada and thinking we were the only ones..... Yeah, we were wrong!

Something I learned from that trip was to just enjoy the trip no matter what happens (i.e. heavy crowds) and just take it as it comes. If it's busy on a ride you want to go on then grab a fast pass (if possible) and do something else. If you have enough days in the park then there's no reason to stress out about not getting to do everything you want the exact second you want to do it. You're at DL, so enjoy it!

One thing I wish I would have done our first trip (well, my first trip as an adult with my own children -- I had been a few other times as a child myself) is kept my reservation for the Blue Bayou. We ended up having a late lunch somewhere else and were so full that we skipped our reservation. We were so disappointed with ourselves the next day and have not had a chance to do it since. We are making reservations for there during our Christmas holiday so I sure hope it lives up to all of the hype!.......and that we don't miss it this time!!
__________________



DLR: 1980, 1985, 1987, February 2006, September 2010, October-November 2011, Christmas/New Years 2012-2013, February 2015

My wonderful family:
DH Me DD 16 DS 11
StyledSugar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2012, 02:14 AM   #15
Escape2Disney
Friendly Neighborhood Disney Fanatic!
 
Escape2Disney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 1,648

We've learned quite a few things over the years! Here are a few I wish I'd known on that first trip:

We don't save money by eating at counter service restaurants - I know this sounds crazy, but without at least one reservation at a sit-down restaurant, we'd tend to put off eating until we were all STARVING! We'd then buy a lot more (and usually less healthy) meals. We'd also be crabby from hunger and indecision since nobody knew where they wanted to go. We now schedule one or two sit-down meals in the park each day about a half hour before we'd typically be hungry. Surprisingly our dining budget went down!

Grocery Delivery is AWESOME! - Another way we have learned to save money is to have Von's deliver breakfast, lunch, and snack foods to the room. When we do this we save a ton of money and tend to forgo a lot of the junk food.

Don't try to enter/leave the parks at peak times - We all have issues with crowds in our family. We find if we are among the cattle migration out of the park right after fireworks or right at closing, we can get pretty grumpy. We now time our entrances and exits so we're less likely to encounter mass crowding. The best way to do that is to avoid main street after fireworks, parades, or the last 1/2 hour the park is open.

Mid-day breaks really add to the enjoyment! - By leaving the park at around 1 or 2 and returning around 5 or 6, we avoid the largest concentration of crowds in the parks. We take that time to hang out at the hotel, take naps, or whatever else we can do. When we return to the parks we are more rested and ready to stay late.

Character Meals are WONDERFUL! - We finally learned that one or two character meals each trip is perfect for us. We are able to see most of the characters without standing in long lines in the parks.

Adding One More Day - When planning a trip, we discuss the number of days we want and then add one more. Then we don't feel like we have to rush to see everything.

Brace Yourself! Meltdowns Do Happen! - It always catches me off guard. Sensory overload can get to adults and children alike. By acknowledging it's a possibility, we have learned to take a break, have a talk, or do whatever we need to so as not to have an emotional mess on our hands.
__________________
Escape2Disney is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:12 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.