Ok, so you’ve been planning for months. The day has finally arrived. You’ve risen and shone, inhaled your breakfast, and now you’re ready to hit the park! You’re skipping toward the entrance only to be met with barricades. Here’s how to breeze past them as easily as possible.
Before you can even get to the turnstiles, you’ve gotta get frisked. Well, not you personally, but security is going to rifle through your bags. The key is for you to make it easy for them. Before you get to the bag check point, start unzipping, unsnapping, unlocking your bags. This includes purses, backpacks, diaper bags, camera cases, lunch boxes, shopping bags – anything that security can see (i.e., your Mickey Mouse wallet doesn’t have to be checked if it fits in your pocket) has to be checked. If you wait until you get to the table to start opening your bags, security will keep checking bags while you wait, but those behind you will start to get annoyed. Not nice. You’ll also have to remove your bag from your body. I’m a crossbody bag gal, and although they can see the entire contents of my bag while it’s still slung across my shoulder, you still have to plunk it down on the table. Don’t forget to look under your stroller. Whatever’s under there has to be checked, too.
Get Park Wise: If you can fit everything you need into cargo pockets (or just regular pockets if you’re that good), you can slide by bag check and look for the “guests without bags” sign, and you’ll be one step closer to the prize! (Disneyland doesn’t always offer a no bags line).
So, you’ve made it through the security check only to be faced with another line at the front gate! Use this time to rearrange yourself, put your bags back where they belong and find your ticket media. Whether it be Magic Bands, room keys or tickets, have them ready when it’s your turn. Much like bag check, being ready to rock and roll when you hit the front is appreciated by cast members and fellow guests alike.
Get Park Wise: Lines at the gates can be long, especially at the beginning of the day. Take a look up and down the area. If there’s a cast member manning a station, chances are it’s open, even if no guests are paying attention. Lots of people are confused or blindly follow a crowd. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve passed a 30+ person line and found a much shorter one simply because we strayed from the pack. This holds true for lots of other queues in the parks as well. Always keep your eyes and ears open for ways to make your day easier.
You finally made it into the park! Here are a few hints to make it past the typical traps just inside the gates.
If you’re a first timer (or just love maps), don’t get stuck in the mob stopping to grab maps and times guides just inside the gates. Both are available at almost every counter in the park or from cast members. Breeze past the crowd and pick one up a little further inside the park.
It’s also tempting to stop in for souvenirs at the gift shops that flank the main entrances to the parks. Resist temptation and keep moving! While the main shops do tend to have the widest selection of merchandise and sizes, there are smaller and specialty shops scattered throughout the parks. Trust me, you’ll never hurt for a gift shop at Disney. Meander through the main shops on your way out of the park to grab anything you didn’t find elsewhere.
Unless it’s your first time in the park, you’re headed to a pre-opening restaurant reservation, or the park is freakishly empty, save the photo shoot for later in the day. By all means, if it’s junior’s first time to set foot on magical property, snap away. Same goes for empty parks. Otherwise, you can often grab the same shots later in the day. The castle will still be there, I promise. I do always snap at least one shot while everyone is still fresh and happy, though. 😉
How do you expedite your entrance into the parks?