Things You Wish You Knew As A First Timer

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by kaci, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. rwu

    rwu Earning My Ears

    Aug 14, 2012
    The thing my daughter kept talking about for days after her first visit to Disneyland? The little kid-sized toilets at the Baby Center!

    Another tip along the same lines -- when my daughter was little, she hated the automatic flush toilets in the regular bathrooms. I'd either cover the sensor with my hand, or for longer -- umm -- sessions, I'd tuck toilet paper in the seat cover dispenser so it dangled down and covered the sensor until she was done.
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  3. Bungle

    Bungle DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2011
    The number one thing I wish I knew is that what works for everyone else may not work for you.

    It's okay to make a detailed plan of attack and then toss it out the window and just play it as you go.

    It's fine to miss rope drop and stay till closing, the parks at night are fantastic!

    And most importantly to relax. You are at the happiest place on earth so let the small things go and have a good time.:goodvibes
  4. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit DIS Veteran

    Jul 23, 2012
    Crowds are crowds, no matter where they come from. It's just a fact that DL has many APs, most of whom are local. Just because that is different from the numbers at WDW doesn't make it bad or wrong. If it bothers you that much, next time check the DLR AP blockout calendar ahead of time to see when there will be fewer APs in the parks and plan your trip accordingly.
    Look on the bright side, with so many local APs, the parks aren't usually crowded all day long. Local APs tend to drop by for a few hours, usually in the evening, ride a few rides or eat at a restaurant, then go back home. Vacation guests go in for MM/EE or rope drop and stay until closing. You thought the parks were very crowded, but the APs were dealing with the same crowds as you. As long as everyone plans accordingly, like learning about FPs (as you mentioned), and knows when to be flexible, there's no reason why APs and nonAPs can't enjoy their time at DLR.
  5. MaloCS

    MaloCS Earning My Ears

    Aug 11, 2012
    Don't be so sensitive. The fact is that Disneyland has become a predominantly 'locals only' park. I've been told that Southern Californians go to Disneyland like Coloradans go to the mall.

    If you read my earlier post I clearly stated that I would rather ride a slide made out of razor blades then put my family through those obscene crowds that we experienced back in February, 2012. I saved my money for months and planned our vacation in what I thought was the off season. I as wrong. If I ever go back I will do my best to avoid the locals and more specifically, the Annual Pass holders. After all, I'm going to Disneyland to see Mickey Mouse, not Bob from Pasadena.
  6. anc876

    anc876 Mouseketeer

    Aug 5, 2012
    Thanks to all for the great advice! Not a first timer, but haven't been in many years and first time with a kid. Looking forward to it!
  7. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit DIS Veteran

    Jul 23, 2012
    Sorry you thought I was being sensitive. I was simply trying to point out that 1) if you did your research (which I'm sure you did, since you're on this board to begin with), you know that there is no more real "off season" at DLR (especially with the opening of Cars Land). There may be some slower days or maybe a week or two, but those also come with ride refurbs or other construction and reduced show schedules. And, 2) Bob from Pasadena also came to see Mickey Mouse, not you. And he has to wait in the same lines and navigate the same crowds. One thing you should thank Bob for is that he can leave because of the long lines (and many APs do just this because they know they can visit another time) so that the non-APs can have better access to rides and shows. Disneyland Resort is for everyone, not just locals and not just out-of-towners. We're all there for the same magic!

    Next trip, make sure to check the AP blockout calendar first, if it really is important to you.
  8. PatMcDuck

    PatMcDuck DIS Veteran

    May 12, 2000
    Well, I own a DL AP, and I live in NJ. (no NJ jokes please! :rotfl:) I have 2 trips within a year, so it was good deal.

    I have been to DL 4 times in the last few years, and never experienced crowds like you did on President's Day week (which would be a bad week, along with Easter week, and week between Christmas and NYE). I have no doubt it was awful. It may be because the lines at WDW are SO much worse, that DL seems like a cakewalk most of the time to me. But trying to go when the DL APs are blocked is a good idea, but that is mostly in the summer, when the tourists are there. Trying to go when school is in session is a good idea of course.

    As for the sweet charm of DL, what can I say? I love it there. One thing is to slow down and enjoy the character interactions. At WDW, the guests quickly line up, and whip out the dreaded (time consuming, esp when 3 kids each have their own book)autograph books. At DL, god bless the AP holders, they are not as interested in this..... the characters OFTEN walk around with NO handlers (I always worry about them!). They do funny little games, dance around, keep moving. Sometimes they stop and play games with the guests too. It is OH SO COOL. I love it, not like WDW with the lines for each one.
  9. lalasmama

    lalasmama DIS Veteran

    Sep 25, 2011
    Oh, thank you for pointing this out! My DD is usually pretty darn well behaved. She has her moments like any child, but, overall, especially when out in public, she has her "game face" on and is a virtual angel. She's 8 years old, so we're well beyond toddler tantrums.

    In the middle of Innoventions (that's the name of that building, right?), in the House of the Future, a full-scale meltdown occurred--we're talking about 52lbs of kid, on the flopping on the floor like a fish outta water, screaming at the top of her lungs. I had multiple CMs coming up to me asking what was wrong, parents looking aghast at me, and a few understanding nods/smiles. Indeed, in the middle of Tomorrowland, we had a time out. It's the happiest place on earth. Sooooooo didn't expect hard times! But, with long days, sleeping in an unfamiliar place, schedules off, meal times earlier/later/different than normal... if your child is prone to tantruming when things don't go their way, beware that the happiest place on earth isn't always happy!

    (And for those who can't imagine a child tantruming in the middle of DL, or, worse, glare if they see it happen, please stop to remember children don't always have "visual" challenges--you can't see the autism, you can't see the asperger's, you can't see the fact that my DD was a meth baby [she's adopted] and is dealing with the effects of it still. I'd hope none of our Disfamily would glare at a child having a rough time, but it's always worth the reminder!)

    Okay, off my soapbox now.

    For the OP, the things I wish I knew for my first trip:

    No CM will blink at you bringing in plastic soda bottles (no glass bottles allowed). A 20oz soda is $3.25 at DL, or $1.59 at 7-11. Even cheaper if you have Von's deliver! Bring your own soda and water into the parks!

    You may need to "learn to like" a Dole whip. My first time, I thought, "Meh." My second time, I though, "Mmmmm." My third time, I let DD have 2 bites, and inhaled the rest myself! (She doesn't care much for them. Yay for me!)

    You can plan all you want, but you may not want those plans once you are in the park.

    Bring 2 pairs of shoes, at least. You will appreciate being able to change them each day.

    Some of the "use the ART" motels are a very reasonable walking distance. We stay at the Super 8, which is in the "ART suggested" area. It took us 12 minutes (not counting our 7-11 stops) to get to the park. Hey, that $4 ART pass could be a Dole Whip instead! :)

    Don't miss Aladdin! Yes, the line-up can be a pain in the butt, but it is so worth it.

    Use the lockers. Don't fight it. Just do it. It's so freeing not having a backpack to carry around. We did the carry-the-pack our first and second day, and on day 3, we did the locker, and never looked back!

    As above, if you're child is sensitive to changes in routine, make sure to have a plan in place. 6 months out from our trip, I feel like I failed DD, because I didn't think to account for her needs--her needs to know when/where we're eating, when/where we're sleeping, and clear expectations. DL was a "free for all" for us at the beginning, and I wanted to be a kid as much as she did, which meant schedules were out the window. Not a good thing for a schedule-sensitive child!
  10. DisneyBiskit

    DisneyBiskit Mouseketeer

    Jul 9, 2012
    I can understand how you feel. I don't live in Cali but I'm an AP holder. Plus, I'm a teacher so my days off coincide with just about everyone else's. So, it is hard to plan. I've had to just endure bad crowds because it was the only time to go. I like to check the Anaheim Convention center schedule as well, since that is right by the park.

    Having said that, I really think theluckyrabbit was making a suggestion to check the AP blackout calendar. It is a good tool to use to avoid those days when SC passholders are allowed in the park. There was no need to post "Dont be so sensitive". It was uncalled for. She was only trying to help.
  11. ronandannette

    ronandannette I gave myself this tag and I "Like" myself too!

    May 4, 2006
    If you don't mind me saying so, that sentence there is the sentiment that is the undoing of many. Honestly, I am THANKFUL for what I didn't know before our first trip, which was a one day visit pre-cruise several years ago. We showed up at the gate (NOT at rope-drop I might add), bought non-hopper tickets and equipped with anticipation instead of expectation, wandered in and had what we all remember as The.Best.Day.Ever. Much better than the subsequent "commando" raid we made on WDW and last year's "I need to make this GREAT for everyone" extended family trip back to DL.

    Please, please give yourself a break - I'll bet you already have much more information that you can possibly implement. Every new "must do" or "don't miss" is just another opportunity for disappointment if things don't go as planned.

    DL is WONDERFUL; you can't help but have a fantastic time if you stay flexible, stay in the moment and don't allow yourself to obsess about how it "should" be going. The memories will make themselves!!

    Many blessings :flower3::flower3:
  12. Mary09

    Mary09 Mouseketeer

    Jun 7, 2010
    I think I prefer Bob from Pasadena (who usually is laid back, affable and has good advice about DL) than the foreign tourists who mob WDW, often acting like their lack of English excuses their lack of manners.

    I do wish to avoid any Friday nights in May that might be grad nights, though. Or maybe it's just any Friday nights, I'm not sure. The teens are a bit much for me.
  13. Sammy Cat

    Sammy Cat Mouseketeer

    Feb 8, 2011
    I would have thought that there are black out dates for AP holders over spring break?
  14. Mousequake

    Mousequake Mouseketeer

    Apr 29, 2012
    I'll echo this! A good friend who is also a travel agent that specializes in Disney says his number one problem is people who set up unreal expectations from themselves. They read about all of these magical things that happen at DL and WDW online and expect EVERY SINGLE THING to happen to them on their trip. Disappointment ensues when they don't.

    Just go with the flow, enjoy the magical experiences and 'pixie dust' moments that you are lucky enough to experience, and you'll have a great time!
  15. hootey

    hootey DIS Veteran

    Apr 17, 2011
    My recomendations are quite simple; take your own sweet time. Our first trip to DL was with "Disney Commandoes", ie: do everything as fast as possible cause for what it costs to be here "we are going to do EVERYTHING". My memories of that trip are of sore feet.
    A year later we went by ourselves as a family and just "Wondered" through each section of the park until we had explored everything in it. We rode almost every ride, went in every shop and store, watched every show, and inquired about every door we came to. We had a fantastic trip, it was great. There are basicaly two types of park guests at DL;(1) the ones that basicaly are running or in a big hurry to get EVERYWHERE and (2)the people that are the way of the people in group #1. This second group walk slowly looking at everything and photographing what they look at for more than three seconds. They are usually smiling and appear to be enjoying themselves. I am one of the leaders of the second group and yes, I usualy enjoy myself....:cool1:
  16. Eddygirl

    Eddygirl Mouseketeer

    Aug 20, 2012
    I echo the above.......

    We plan on taking our time. There were some things we missed last time, some of the little secrets that we plan on checking out. We plan on doing a couple sit down meals which we did not do last time because we thought it was too much money and we did not want to "waste" time. This time we have budgeted in some special extras. I wish we had done that last time....budgeted things right in. We are eating lunch at the BB, going on the Happiest Haunts tour and we even have $40 set aside so we can get the Mickey and Minnie candy apples......last time we couldn't bring ourselves to fork over the 40 bucks for them and we regretted it.

    We saw way too many families that were trying to pack everything in....and no one looked happy. One family stuck in my head were beside us during the was excruciating waiting for them to start for an hour, their 2 little kids were D O N E. They had been there all day from rope drop going, going, going. I know because the Mom was telling me about everything they had done. It was like a contest to see how much she could get checked off her list. The one little guy finally fell asleep just before they started and the parents spent half the show trying to wake him up so he would not miss them. :rolleyes2

    We have a loose plan, the kids have a list of stuff they really want to do...those are "must-do's", the rest we will just play by ear. If DS wants to spend half a day riding BTMR over and over and his sister does not we will split up for a few hours and meet back biggie. We are basically going to let the kids direct how things play out. That is ussually when the magic happens anyways. pixiedust:
  17. KateDrake

    KateDrake DIS Veteran

    Sep 26, 2011
    I agree with several of the previous posters here: follow your fun! If you loved a ride, go again! If you are tired, take a break. It's great to have a touring plan to help minimize wait times, but don't let it turn into a Bataan death march racing from one attraction to the next.

    A couple of other hints: Utilize child swap and FP so you can maximize your ride time. We like to trade off and have one of us take DD3 on Buzz Lightyear while the rest of the group rides Space, etc. I always see one parent and a small child just sitting in the hot sun waiting for the rest of their group, and it always looks miserable! So feel free to use that time to go on a ride yourself!

    Also remember that FP windows are not enforced at DLR. That gives you a lot of flexibility!

    The last thing I like to suggest with kids is to book a character meal as early in the trip as possible. It will save you a ton of time waiting in line if you can see Minnie at breakfast, vs. standing in line with fidgeting children. So I'd do that, but also be willing to wait in line to meet characters if that is what your kids want to do.

    Basically, just go with the flow and try to keep your expectations minimal, and you'll have a great time! Don't try to force the magic, it will just happen! Have a great trip!
  18. tweedlemom

    tweedlemom DIS Veteran

    Jun 22, 2007
    SUBBING!!! Total WDW veteran, but have never been to DL. Planning a trip in 2 years, so I have 2 years to learn all I need to know! Keep the suggestions coming please!
  19. Mary Jo

    Mary Jo Techarita Moderator

    Dec 15, 1998

    Here's the menu on the DIS. The price is $21.99:

    PCH Grill Menu
  20. marcemc

    marcemc I wouldn't be able to handle such fluffliness eith

    Dec 7, 2008
    It was recently that we found out that Coca Cola Refresment Corner sells raspberry, chocolate, vanilla & cherry coke.

    I wonder how many delicious cherry cokes I could have drunk :drinking1
  21. MrsMears

    MrsMears Mouseketeer

    Mar 1, 2012
    Wow, this post is a good example of why reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone has a unique perception shaped by their own personality and expectations.

    My husband and I were in the parks the same weekend as Malo. It was my husband's first visit and my first visit after a 20+ year absence. I was so much like a newbie that we didn't use fast passes during this trip because we didn't know about them. We felt so much love and excitement and energy in the parks that we KNEW we had to become AP holders. We talked to so many new people and took in so much with so much more still to see. It was an AP holder who told me just how awesome BTMRR is in the very last seat and then offered to switch places so we could experience it complete with the goat effect. It was another AP holder that told us how awesome the lobster nachos are at the Grotto.

    Since becoming an AP in April we have gone Memorial Day and Labor day weekends. Every trip has been truly truly magical, a real blessing. Just let yourself have a great time. Do you trust me? (Aladdin reference) :)

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