First Time at Disneyland this July

Discussion in 'Disneyland Community Board' started by belkisima, Dec 31, 2012.

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  1. belkisima

    belkisima Earning My Ears

    Jun 7, 2011
    We are finally going to DL the last week of July. I was supposed to go last October but I ended up in the hospital with blood clots. So... we are going to try this again. My husband did end up going without me (didn't want to waste the plane ticket) and he loved it and definitely wanted to take me and the kids back.

    We have been doing our research and we are going to book Paradise Pier Concierge with park view so we can see WOC from our room (just in case our DD is tired, she tends to go to bed early so I am worried about the time difference - we are from Orlando).

    I know that DL is going to be a shock to me since I have been a loyal WDW person my entire life but I cannot wait to experience it.

    If there are any particular pointers or things that I shouldn't miss, please let me know. I am thinking of surprisng our son with the "walk in Walt's shoes" tour on his birthday which will happen while we're there.
  2. kayleigh83

    kayleigh83 Plotting my return...

    Jul 14, 2010
    Congrats! You will have tons of fun! I'd recommend posting this in the Disneyland (California) forum, you'll get more answers to this kind of question in there! :)
  3. Larissa

    Larissa Mouseketeer

    May 31, 2011
    Here's a list:

    - If you're looking to get away from the crowds for a bit, visit the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island. I am constantly baffled by how dead that place is. I went to Disneyland once on New Year’s Eve Day and it was a total madhouse. The lines for the bathrooms were like 20 minutes long. We ended up going to Tom Sawyers just because everything else was so lined up and it was a good decision. We actually found TWO picnic tables that were empty, so we held one while we sent one of us off to get lunch and bring it back. We also found an empty bathroom....
    -Tom Sawyer's Island is also a great place to let your kids run 'free' for a bit when they've gotten tired of waiting in lines.
    -Big Thunder Ranch can, at Christmastime, be a good spot to sit and relax with some holiday-themed activities away from the crowd.
    -If you’ve got kids under 7 and you’re planning in staying in the park all day, I’d suggest you bring a stroller.
    -You may want to bring a blanket to sit on while watching the parades and stuff, especially if you have a stroller to carry it with.
    -Tie something distinctive to your stroller, and put a tag with your name on it in case someone takes it by accident.
    -Go on the website with your kids and make a list of 'must do' rides. That way if something gets missed you can console them with the knowledge that they completed their list.
    -On that note, look up the refurbishment schedule and make sure no one is set on riding something that is closed during your stay.
    -If your children are a little older, get them all small back packs for their own water bottles, cameras, hats, etc.
    -If your child is under the height requirement, you can use the child-swap program so both parents can ride.
    -Take a picture of your kids before you enter the park each day so if someone runs off before you’ve snapped them doing something cute, you know what they were wearing.
    -Do not, do not, do not, let your child wear those plastic costume princess shoes. Everyone wears runners. Everyone. Sore feet are no fun for anyone.
    -Bring something to entertain young children during long rides. A small Disney playset figurine or a look-and-find book works.
    -Check, then double check the height requirements for the rides against your kids’ heights.
    -If you break a souvenir, don’t hesitate to ask for a return. They’re freakishly good with letting you bring things back for replacement (balloons, for example. Once, when my sister was in a stroller, she grabbed a broken Small World snow globe off a ledge without us noticing (we’d seen it there but didn’t realize she’d grabbed it - very responsible of us, I know). A cast member noticed and offered to replace it. When we took it from her and explained that we actually hadn’t bought it and didn’t know she had it, but he gave her a new one anyway. That’s probably an exception, but it’s worth asking).

    -A few weeks BEFORE YOU GO, go on the Disney website and order a free Disneyland vacation planning DVD. It’s fun to watch and get excited.
    -Bring water bottles and snacks. They're totally allowed in the park.
    -Budget wise, sometimes it is cheaper to share adult meals than buy kids meals.
    -Bring Ponchos. You’ll want them if it rains or on particular rides (Grizzly River Run can be a drencher but Splash Mountain can get you wet too). As soon as one drop of rain hits that California pavement, the Disneyland ponchos are on the shelves. And they are not cheap. We always pick up a few from the dollar store. On the same note, you may be interested in bringing a towel in the rainy season (or whenever) because sometimes the seats on some of these rides or those with outdoor tracks get wet.
    -At the front desk, they give out free pins for First-timers, birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations.
    -Try Animation Academy in Disney California Adventure. If you scrapbook, this is especially a must. You get a nice little drawing of some Disney character on 'special' Disneyland paper. Very cute.
    -If you ask, apparently, you can get maps from the Jungle Cruise and pilot the Mark Twain Riverboat.
    -Buy Disney-themed clothing ahead of time (try the Disney Store, Wal-Mart, H&M).You can also bring your kids' favourite Disney stuffed animal/doll to play with on the plane or in the hotel. This may curb their asking for souvenirs.
    -Another cheap souvenir is the reusable popcorn buckets. When my sister was younger we always got these and took them home. She stored her Kelly dolls and Disney playsets in them.
    -The LEGO store gives out free mini models once a month (I believe the first Tuesday). They are located in Downtown Disney.
    -Don't buy an autograph book in the park - it'll be ridiculously expensive. Buy a Disney note book at the dollar store (and one of those pens that go around your neck). Or, if you scrapbook, bring a stack of cardstock and the autographs can go right with the photos.
    -Think of creative things to autograph. For instance, my favourite character is Winnie the Pooh. I ordered Pooh's Little Book of Wisdom and had Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore sign the inside cover. It was nice and light. A picture book would work just as well. I have also seen people have characters sign baseball hats, photo mattes, t-shirts (not while wearing them), pillowcases, and DVD cases. Once I saw someone lugging a giant blank vinylmation to be signed. These double as souvenirs.
    -Pin trading is great fun for young kids. You can buy a couple cheaper ones and trade with other park guests and cast members. Cast members trade one-for-one, no matter how 'good' or 'bad' the pins you offer are, so you can get some cool pins that way! It's also good for kids because they're always looking for something 'better' and 'newer' trading lets them cycle through a bunch of souvenirs to get the 'best' one.
    -Pressed pennies are also a relatively cheap souvenir. If you were trying to teach your kids about saving and spending, you could have them collect bottles and return them for change. This change can be used for their pressed penny collection.
    -Canadians (perhaps Americans too) can get cheaper tickets through BCAA and the Entertainment book.

    -Do your shopping at night. The shops are generally open on main street until 1am, or an hour after park closing.
    -Check local schedules for school holidays – they’ll be busy. Also look for when Gay Days, Bat Days, Grad Nights, and Dapper Days are on because these will impact the crowds.
    -Eat while waiting for parades or shows, or on the train.
    -Figure out Fastpasses....and use them! Know that Fantasmic and World of Colour Fastpasses DO NOT mean you cannot get ride Fastpasses.
    -If you have a favourite character, ask at the front desk if/when/where they will be out.
    -Eat lunch on the trains (this is also a great way to get the kids to relax (or even nap) while not ‘wasting’ time. It’s technically a ride, and there are things to see (hint: dinosaurs) along the way.
    -In Disneyland, do Peter Pan first. If you're into roller coasters, you might send one parent out with the park tickets to get Fast Passes to something else while you wait/ride PP, but that depends on how busy it is. Peter Pan gets crazy busy.
    In California Adventure, go to Cars Land first. Or maybe Toy Story mania if your kids don't reach the Radiator Springs Racers' height requirement.
    -Bring Ponchos. I’ve said it before – I’ll say it again! You don’t want to waste time hiding from the rain or dealing with miserable kids (...or being miserable yourself!)

    -Character dining is expensive, but it's almost something you've got to do once. I never did it as a kid and I turned out just fine, but we took my princess-obsessed sister when she was 6 and she was on cloud nine the whole time. She got into a conversation with Mulan as everyone was leaving and Mulan stayed with her and talked for about half an hour. We kept trying to urge her out, but Mulan went - "no rush" and kept talking. It was the sweetest thing and we have some great photos and videos. She even remembers it now (8 years later).
    -Give your kids disposable cameras - you might be surprised about the things that they take photos of. Sometimes the littler ones catch details that we miss, but are just at their eye-level!
    -Make the lead-up to the vacation special. Make a countdown calendar, or even just cross off the days on the calendar. Make Disney-themed crafts every weekend with the kids.
    -Search for Hidden Mickeys. It’s fun feeling like you’re in on a secret.

    -Touch the apple in the queue for Snow White’s Scary Adventures and watch the window.
    -If a sign in the Indiana Jones queue says not to touch something, break the rules. Also, use this decoder to decipher secret messages on the walls (
    -At the Mad Hatter’s store, watch the window.
    -If you have medication that needs refrigeration, apparently it can be stored at a First Aid Centre.
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