(and surviving) DISNEYLAND, America's best
family vacation destination
truly the best family vacation destination?
Think about it - why would anyone in their right
mind voluntarily brave endless queues, blazing
heat, screaming children and tortuous rides? The
point is, people do this all the time. Happily.
While it's true that it would take endless research
to get a credible
answer, the probable answer is really very simple.
This is where it all began. The concepts and inspirations
of the entire Disney extravaganza originated on
this spot - and for most Disney purists, that
is reason enough to justify a trip to California.
Plus, there's plenty to do. As a matter of fact,
Disneyland offers more action than Florida's Magic
Kingdom. Disneyland offers unique themed 'lands'
and several blockbuster attractions that can't
be found in any other Disney park. But probably
the most important reason for the people who come
here is that Disneyland was built during Walt
Disney's life time - and has, as such, that special
Walt Disney touch of magic that brings out the
joy of childhood in all of us.
is the best time of year for that perfect family
major considerations apply when you determining
when to visit Disneyland: Peak periods, park operation
times, special events and the weather
people feel that Disneyland is the best family
vacation destination. You will find the park is
crowded much of the time, although the number
of visitors to Southern California in general
and to the Disneyland Resort complex in particular
fluctuates greatly throughout the year.
you would imagine, peak periods are during the
holiday periods, particularly Thanksgiving, Christmas
and school holiday periods. During these peak
periods, Disney has a habit of adding shows, parades
and other entertainment which thins out the lines
somewhat, and seem to be intended as a kind of
thank-you-for-coming -at-this-time gesture.
Park Operation Times
operating hours fluctuate according to the anticipated
crowds. This means that park hours will generally
be shorter during off-peak seasons, and tend to
open earlier and close later during the holiday
the park is beautiful when lit up, it closes before
dark when it's not busy season. Nighttime parades
are also held only on Friday or Saturday nights
or during the peak periods, something else that
should be taken into account.
staying at Disneyland Resort hotels are eligible
for Early Entry to the parks. This can also be
purchased separately if you are staying at one
of the RV parks
in the area.
park closes for Grad Night, typically several
nights in late May and early June. The park reopens
for local high school students who celebrate their
graduation at the park.
special events, which may or may not be open to
the public, take place during the year. Check
the Disney schedule before you confirm your bookings.
California's weather is fairly stable throughout
the year. While temperatures can exceed 90 degrees
(32O C), temperatures are more pleasant during
the Spring and Autumn months.
can be slightly cooler, especially at night, but
in most cases you'll find the weather to be generally
pleasant. It's always best to check the weather
before you leave. Weather.com has a very reliable
bottom line is, there is no special time for that
perfect family vacation. This does not meen that
Disneyland is not the best family vacation destination!
If you're going with the kids, you're basically
limited to school holidays - the peak periods.
But if you are prepared to incur
a teacher's wrath, you will find that visits during
Spring and Autumn enjoy the most pleasant weather
and the smallest crowds. The downside is that
these times are less suitable for kids and that
opening times are shorter. And unless you're there
over the weekend, you also run the risk of missing
the spectacular evening shows.
on a Shoestring
in the midst of your dream vacation to Disneyland.
the time of your life. You're in the midst of
the perfect family vacation, in the heart of the
best family vacation destination. But what about
the folks back home?
not everyone has the time, the desire or the budget
to spend precious vacation time a stack of time
shopping for souvenirs, you almost certainly have
a list of friends and relatives you feel should
get your attention.
the Disney parks offer quite a large selection
of decent items that are not too expensive.
The most efficient way to spend your time and
money, is by making a list of all the people you
would like to bring gifts for before you even
head out to Disneyland. Take
a moment to think about the people for whom you
want to buy souvenirs. The easiest way to do this
is to make alist
so you don't inadvertently omit anyone. In addition
to any family members who stay behind, consider
close friends, close relatives who live nearby
(whom you might see soon after you return), office
coworkers, babysitters, housesitters, and so on.
Don't forget to list members of your travel party
always find that the biggest time saver of them
all is to do the shopping beforehand, in the comfort
of home. You will find many possibilities on the
web: Our favorites is The Disney Store (http://disneyshopping.go.com),
can even order before you leave, and have your
items waiting for you by the time you get home
- saving you time and adding to the magic of Disneyland,
truly the best family vacation destination!
the Crowds at Disneyland :: 10 Golden Rules
Buy your Disney tickets in advance.
tickets can be obtained from many sources: From
your hotel, from your travel agent when you're
booking your trip, from your local Disney store
and by arriving early and by purchasing them the
night before you intend to visit the park.
park is packed during peak periods, and you will
likely find yourself waiting in line for over
an hour just to get the tickets. If you arrive
without tickets, try and get them at the downtown
Disney monorail station. The lines there are almost
always shorter, and you can grab the monorail
for a ride into the park.
people purchase Annual Passes, mainly during the
peak season. If you come at that time too, you
may find yourself behind a whole load of folks
trying to renew their passes. My advice: take
advantage of the mail-in renewal plan and save
yourself the time and hassle at the ticket booth.
You will find that the earlier the time, the less
people are there. This is true for all aspects
of the park experience - shopping, rides and everything
else. We always make a habit of getting an early
breakfast and heading to the park as soon as possible.
That way, we can hit the rides that are busiest
later on in the day.
in the morning, when stores are not so crowded,
or later in the day. The best time for this is
during a parade or fireworks display. You will
find you're able to 'knock off' quite a few big
attractions in the first hour or so, before the
crowds get really bad.
Plan Your Day
You may think at some time during your stay, that
Disneyland is not really the best family vacation
destination. If you plan your stay, you will be
able to optimize your time.
you are coming for a short stay during a peak
period, such as a holiday weekend, or any other
time the park is full, you will not have time
to see everything. Your best bet is to get copies
of the park maps and let everyone in your party
choose one or two attractions they simply can't
miss. Then plan your time so you can take in all
the important attractions, and take advantage
of the 'Fastpass' too. This is a no-brainer, but
it seems many people simply do not take advantage
of this system. You still won't get to see everything,
but everyone in your party will hopefully get
to see their favorite attractions.
option, if there are enough adults in your group,
is to split up into two or more parties according
to interest, and to arrange to meet later at a
predefined location. That way everybody will get
to do what he or she loves most.
Take a Break
Late afternoon and evening parades and Fantasmic
are almost always less crowded, and therefore
much more enjoyable. But it can be a long day
if you head out to the park early in the morning.
So the best advice I can give you is - take a
break. If you are staying close by, go back to
your RV park and take a break in the pool or even
a nap for at least a couple of hours. This is
really very important. If you want to fully enjoy
all the park
has to offer, you should be alert. Long days in
the lines take there toll.
break gives you a much needed change of pace from
the frenzied activities in the parks, and allows
you to literally cool off from the heat of the
may think that a break is just a waste of precious
time - but not so! You will enjoy your days much
more and will be refreshed for evening and late
night activities. And more, everyone in the group
will be refreshed and therefore more pleasant
to be with.
you don't want to leave the park for a break,
at least take a leisurely lunch in an air-conditioned
restaurant. If the restaurant is on the park grounds,
don't forget to get reservations for the time
you want. Remember- you're on vacation. Vacations
are relaxing, right? So take a break!
don't forget to return after your break. The weather
is much easier, for one thing, and the shortest
lines are just before closing, for another. Especially
at the parks that are open late.
Slower is Faster
Walk single-file through crowds. You'll find you
get to your destination much faster.
Eat to Win
Eat a large breakfast that will keep you going
for a while. Most park restaurants open for lunch
at 11:00. They fill up pretty quickly, and at
any time after 12:00 will probably be frenzied.
They pass their peak periods at about 2:30, and
you will find that the lowest periods are between
3:00 and 4:00. You can use this hour to cool off
and relax a little, and to beat the crowds. While
Disney does not allow you to bring food onto the
grounds, you can bring in some small snacks such
as granola bars or dried fruit and the like to
keep your energy up during the day.
bringing a small folding stool along with you.
Several different types are available. My favorite
is a walking cane has a seat that folds out. It
is a souvenir of a trip to England long ago, used
for watching Sunday cricket games on the village
green. The cane doesn't way much and can be very
helpful if you feel like resting your feet for
a while when you're in line.
Arrive in Shape
Get into shape before you come. You will have
much more stamina and be able to fare the crowds
with a more affirmative perspective. Being in
shape makes a tremendous difference on multi-day
trips, as you will find your exhaustion gets compounded
Discuss the possibility of getting separated in
the crowds with your children. Explain to them
that cast members are rained to handle lost children,
but make sure they have some identification on
their person, including your cell phone number
if you have one with you. If the members of your
party are older, determine a location that can
be a used as a rendezvous in the event you are
Store Heavy Bags
large bags and backpacks in the park. The weight
adds up and will take its toll by the end of the
day. You can store them in the lockers available
in and out of the park to avoid lugging them around
with you all day. Rather use a fanny pack, photographers
vest with multiple pockets or a small bag with
a shoulder strap you can strap across your chest.
these basic rules and you will see why Disneyland
is America's best family vacation destination.