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Old 11-30-2012, 11:12 AM   #1
Donald1969
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Anyone have Tips for Disneyland the Day After Christmas??????

OK, this is my first post on the forum! Hi everyone! My kids (12 & 9) will find out Christmas morning, that we are leaving in a couple of hours to the airport to fly to LA to go to Disneyland.

We are flying to LAX on Christmas Day and we plan on being at Disneyland on the 26th and DCA on the 27th. The 28th we have a day to see LA and the 29th we go home. We are staying offsite.

All Ive read is bad things about being at DL during the week of Christmas. Ive read that it's horrible, packed like sardines, and that people would never do it again. Too bad, because we are all off work and school AND WE ARE DOING IT! HA HA!

Our family has been to WDW several times and we know how everything works there. The kids have never been to DL and we have just 2 days to enjoy these parks while we will be "packed like sardines".

Does anybody have any tips (from experience?) on how we can make this the best trip ever??? We don't have early entry, but we plan on being at the gates before 8AM. I am looking to knock out as many rides as we can. I seriously have no clue if we will ever be back at Disneyland as a family, because WDW is closer, so I want this to be an awesome trip and not a horrible time as others have described it during this week.

We absolutely have to ride the following rides:

Space Mt.
Indiana Jones
POTC (btw, I have reservations to Blue Bayou)
Haunted Mansion
NEMO
The new Cars ride

Does anybody have any clues in which order we should visit these or which ones to use Fast Pass for??? I know I need a game plan, and I thought I would sign up to the DIS forum to get advice
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:46 PM   #2
ArchOwl
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Welcome to the DIS boards!

First of all, you are already more prepared than most people that arrive at DL, so while it will be very crowded, you already know that.

Two days is a pretty short time frame to get a flavor of Disneyland, no way to make it a little longer? Especially because it is so busy, it will be harder to get as much done.

I would definitely make sure to buy my tickets ahead of time. Disneyland can close off and on due to crowds and one of the first methods of crowd control is to stop selling various types of tickets. Also, the lines for the ticket booths will be long. Get yours ahead of time and walk right up to the turnstiles.

You already know you should be there early, so yay! If it were me, I would be at the gates about 45 minutes early, but I understand if that is too early for you. Just be there as early as you possibly can. Once they let you in, I would get FPs for Space and head over to Nemo (that line has no FP and gets long). And remember, Disneyland is not enforcing end times for FPs as of now, so most strategies will have you get FPs in the morning and use them later in the day.

After Nemo, I would head over and grab a FP for Indiana Jones. Ride POTC and then Haunted Mansion (which will be decorated as Haunted Mansion Holiday). After this, I would keep track and continue to pull FPs as soon as I was able. I would also check out It's a Small World (since it is decorated for the holidays) and the Matterhorn. It sounds as though you are not interested in the Fantasyland type rides, but those are another option for early morning.

For your DCA morning, be at the gates at least 30 minutes prior to opening, 45 would be better for the time you are there. I advise getting FPs for Radiator Springs Racers because that ride can be tempermental and is not always up and running at park opening. The FPs for RSR are distributed from Bug's Land, so when you enter the park, head down Buena Vista Street and when you see Carthay Circle, you should see a line forming there that heads back into Hollywoodland. There are also lots of CMs directing folks. That is the RSR FP line. It will look absolutely horrible and you will be discouraged, but don't be! This line moves very fast. Get your RSR FPs and then head to Carsland.

I would ride Luigi's Flying Tires and Mater's and check out Carsland a bit. After this, I am not sure of your family's priorities, but as a note Screamin' is a disconnected FP, so you can get one immediately after getting the RSR FP.

I hope you have fun! I have been during this time and NYE (which is the single most crowded day at the Resort) and it can be really fun. Just understand you won't get as much done and be okay with soaking up the atmosphere. Make good use of FP to avoiding waiting in line as much as you can. And get to the parks early.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:18 PM   #3
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Sorry to hijack your thread, but ArchOwl, I know you have mentioned in another thread that there are two lines for RSR FP. We will also be there at this same time, but do have early entry. So do we still follow the same path you listed on here to get to the RSR FP line first? (And then proceed to Carsland) Just wondering how far apart they are, and to know where we go to get in line during EMH so we will be prepared and can get through as quickly as possible. Thanks!!
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerandalexsmom View Post
Sorry to hijack your thread, but ArchOwl, I know you have mentioned in another thread that there are two lines for RSR FP. We will also be there at this same time, but do have early entry. So do we still follow the same path you listed on here to get to the RSR FP line first? (And then proceed to Carsland) Just wondering how far apart they are, and to know where we go to get in line during EMH so we will be prepared and can get through as quickly as possible. Thanks!!
Ok, well for early entry there is no RSR FP distribution during that time. You can ride RSR standby during early entry, and for the best strategy on that, I think you have already read about the "wide right" technique. If not, you can read about getting on standby.

So, do whatever you want during the early entry period. Ride RSR standby, Luigi's, or whatever you wish. But about 10 minutes or so BEFORE regular park opening, you should head to the RSR FP line for early entry people. This is located by Bug's Land. Here is the picture of the early entry RSR FP line.


This line is ONLY for early entry people and the machines for RSR FPs are usually only a ten minute or so wait from here. All the non-early entry folk are in a different line. This line starts at Carthay Circle and works it way back in Hollywoodland. In this picture you can see the regular folks being held back and then underneath Carthay you can see a different line. This is the RSR FP line for the non-early entry people.


At about a minute or two before regular park opening, a CM walks the front of the regular RSR FP line to the back of the early entry FP line. So you need to be in the early entry FP line before they do this. Then right at park opening, the now merged RSR FP line begins to move as they distribute FPs.

HTH!
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:45 PM   #5
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ArchOwl, thank you so much for the recommendations! Not only do I feel better about going this time of the year, but I also REALLY appreciate your suggestions on the Fast Pass. I'm going to go with your order in the morning at both parks. To be honest, I was worried that there might be a couple of rides I would miss due to long wait times. I guess my biggest fear would be a 3 hour wait time and sold out fast passes, which happened to us at Animal Kingdom when Expedition Everest first opened.

Didn't know California Screaming was a stand-alone FP. This is the kind of information that's going to make a huge difference in our trip! Thank you so much!
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:51 PM   #6
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Thumbs up

ArchOwl truly is a highly-educated Owl! Thanks for helping us folks out!
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:58 PM   #7
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I'm flying in on Christmas day this year too. I went to Disneyland on Christmas two years ago. It was busy & the park fills up, but they do close the park to additional guest when it reaches capacity so yes it will be busy so go early, but it won't be total gridlock.
Weather will also play a big factor (it can get rainy that time of year in LA). At any rate, have a great time.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald1969
ArchOwl, thank you so much for the recommendations! Not only do I feel better about going this time of the year, but I also REALLY appreciate your suggestions on the Fast Pass. I'm going to go with your order in the morning at both parks. To be honest, I was worried that there might be a couple of rides I would miss due to long wait times. I guess my biggest fear would be a 3 hour wait time and sold out fast passes, which happened to us at Animal Kingdom when Expedition Everest first opened.

Didn't know California Screaming was a stand-alone FP. This is the kind of information that's going to make a huge difference in our trip! Thank you so much!
No problem, I hope you have a good visit! Roger Rabbit in DL is also a disconnected FP.

The only ride I see a major problem with is RSR. FPs sell out within an hour or so, so it is crucial to be there early and get yours. The standby line may get up to three hours during the time you are there, so the FP will be crucial.

As long as you get to the parks early and collect FPs during the first few hours, I think you will be fine. You can use the FPs in the afternoon and evening. I think many FPs will be sold out in the afternoon, but you should already have collected yours before then.

Yes, it will be busy, but just be smart. Eat earlier or later than most people or make reservations at a table service place. Shop in the middle of the day, not during the last hour. Keep in mind what is happening in the park, avoid the parade route when the parade is going, or use the train. Just be smart. If you leave during the day, make sure you get your hand stamped and ask if they are close to closing due to capacity.

I hope you have a good visit and are able to visit again maybe when it is not as busy. .
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:50 PM   #9
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We'll be there Christmas day too, and although I'm a season'd DL fan, I'm nervous about the crowds. I've only been to WDW once, but DL might seem even more packed to you because it's in such a condensed space to begin with. If you feel like this, take a ride over to Tom Sawyer Island, or check out some of the less popular attractions, regroup, then head back into the crowd.

You have your list of must do's, which is good because you will definately have to make an effort to ride them. It may not work out, so remember, the most important thing is to have a fun vacation. And, if you miss a ride, it's a great excuse to allow yourself to plan a trip back again some day! Sounds like you have a good attitude, so I'm sure it will be a great trip!

My family is pretty spoiled about not waiting in lines because we use fast pass, try to go during off times, and usually take a break in the afternoon. Because of this, if a line is more than 15/20 min, we won't wait. We don't ride Toy Story every trip due to this, and we've lived Now I will be disappointed if we don't get to ride RSR, or Indiana this trip, but they could be down which would take it totally out of my control anyway. We've learned to not set expectations to high and have just as much fun exploring Tom Sawyer Island or riding the train around the park! Have a wonderful time!

And thanks for the post, it's incented me to get back to planning my trip!
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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We will also be there for Christmas this year! We have done it before and, while it is crowded like crazy, it is very manageable if you plan ahead. Collect your fast passes, ride all the things that you MUST DO first thing in the mornings and again late at night when the crowds are thinned out. Try to avoid large moves through the sea of people - complete a land and move to the next one instead of zig zagging about. Oh, and eat at staggered hours from when most people are having their meals.

See you all there! I will be the crazy lady in disney scrubs, a grey mickey santa hat and wearing a light up tink pin.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:03 AM   #11
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Thanks everybody for your suggestions! Quick question. Can you collect a new FP every two hours??? Or do you have to use your previous one? If it's like WDW, you can do either.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:08 AM   #12
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Thanks Kerickson for suggesting Tom Sawyers Island when we are feeling tired and overwhelmed. When we feel this way at WDW we always ride Transit Authority, because there's never a line and its a nice slow ride. Too bad the People Mover is gone from DL.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald1969
Thanks everybody for your suggestions! Quick question. Can you collect a new FP every two hours??? Or do you have to use your previous one? If it's like WDW, you can do either.
As of right now, you can collect a new FP every two hours or when the window on your FP opens, which ever comes first. In the morning, if you are among the first to get a Space FP, it will probably have a return time of 45 minutes to an hour out. You can get your next FP then. It will tell you on the FP when you are eligible for your next one. This is why collecting FPs in the morning is beneficial, you are eligible for FPs sooner than later in the day, when you will have to wait the two hours.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:17 AM   #14
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3 years ago my mil gave us a trip to DLR for Christmas. We flew out Christmas day, had 3 days at the resort, and 3 days doing other things (Lego Land, Sea World, the beach). I did very little research & prep because this was mil's trip and she'd been to DL many more times than me. For me, it was only my second trip (the first was when I was 10 - 25ish years before this trip).

We had a fabulous time. We knew it would be crowded & prepared ourselves accordingly. We also knew we wouldn't be able to do everything, but resolved ourselves to enjoy what we could do, and we actually did quite alot. It wasn't until I started researching our trip for next spring that I realized how much we missed, but we really didn't feel deprived at all (IMO). Maybe that was the good thing about my lack of planning?

Anyway, I'm sure you'll get tons of advice for logistics on how to maximize your time there. My advice is to have realistic expectations & just enjoy what you are able to do, even if you can't do everything. And don't get frustrated with the lines & crowds. Really, if I'm going to stand in line anywhere Disneyland is where I'd want to be!
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchOwl View Post
This is why collecting FPs in the morning is beneficial, you are eligible for FPs sooner than later in the day, when you will have to wait the two hours.
Are the FP's good all day? (after the time on the ticket) In other words if I get one in the morning that I can use in 45 minutes, I can use it that night? I'm sure they are but I just want to make sure.
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