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  1. #1

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    6 year olds first trip

    A little background: I grew up in socal for my first 7 years and went to DL at least once a year. But since then I've only been to DL twice and never to DCA. Wife and I went to DL in 96 together and decided we shouldn't come back until we had kids. Oops...

    My boy is now 5, will be 6 in December and I woke up a couple of weeks ago and realized that I had to get him to DL...quick before it was too late !!! I talked the wife into letting the just the two of us go for a quick trip making budget and not dealing with his 3 year old sister that much easier! So it will be just Father/Son for four days.

    The boy is into Star Wars, transformers etc. He's been on log rides etc. but no serious roller coasters. He is over 50 inches tall (big for his age) but I think that is going to make ride choices that much tougher.

    We are arriving Sat 8/29 about noon and leaving 9/1 in the evening. That gives us two half days and two full days at DL and DCA. I bought a four day hopper through Ares travel.

    Here's my plan: Arrive DL 12pm. We hit the park on Sat and take it easy, wandering around and taking it all in. We get on whatever rides he wants, unless it means long wait times and I get to watch him see it for the first time. We eat dinner in the park, then plan on leaving at a reasonable time (8?) skipping fireworks etc. for that night.

    Sun will be our Magic Morning and we'll hit the park for 8:00 a.m. opening. This would be the time to hit E tickets like SM or IJTD. I'll see how he's handled some other rides on Sat. to see if he's up to it. I think I did SM for the first time at 7 and remember it was pretty scary. I really want to take him through POTC and Haunted house but I'm worried that those are too scary too.

    Any advice from other parents of 6 year olds?

    We'll head back to Hotel for swim/lunch and rest up, then hit park again in afternoon. I want to stay late Sun and do Fantasmic and Fireworks.

    Any advice on what we'll need to do to get seats for Fantasmic and get to a spot to see fireworks? If it means more than an hour of waiting I don't know if it will be worth it. How close to Main Street do I need to be to see the fireworks?

    Is it true that Electric parade ended on Aug 23rd or is it continuing?

    Any advice on things we should do in DCA, or things we should skip?

    Character meals are new to me. Is this something I make reservations for?

    Any advice would be appreciated. I can't believe how excited I am to go back to DL!

  2. #2

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    I suggest, especially since you haven't been in the parks since '96, that you learn how to use the Fastpass system to your full advantage. Just check out the sticky thread on it in this forum! Even though many of the rides on Fastpass are the coaster types or thrill rides, there are also rides such as Roger Rabbit, and The Grizzly River Run, in California Adventure, that he would probably enjoy.

    If he has been on log rides, I think he might be able to handle the small coasters at Disneyland, or even Splash Mountain. Big Thunder might be a good one to start on; it's pretty tame. I was terrified of coasters until my freshman year of college and wouldn't even ride them in Disneyland, but finally going on Big Thunder is what ended that fear. It's good you're going to take it easy for the first day too.

    I don't think POTC will be too scary; I was a total wimp kid at ages 6 and 7 and loved it. It was just the right amount of thrilling and fun.

    The beginning of Haunted Mansion can be a little intense for some kids, from entering the foyer and elevator stretching room all the way through the corridor of doors. However, I think Leota, the ballroom scene, and especially the graveyard scene are more fascinating and even funny, instead of scary. Depends on if he wants to be brave through the first part or not. I see a lot of kids in there when I go, but only a few times have I seen one who's been truly terrified. So you can tell him when you ask him if he wants to go on that the beginning is a little scary, but that the ending is funny.

    Also a good tip for any ride might be to sit by the exit for a few minutes and see if people are smiling when they come out, and how many young kids come out smiling or not scared, that kind of thing.

    For the other questions:

    The Electrical Parade ends this Saturday, I think.

    For DCA, don't miss: Soarin' Over California (use Fastpass for the line), Toy Story Midway Mania, The Aladdin show at the Hyperion, or the Pixar Play Parade (it's really a good one). Try also the Animation building; there's Turtle Talk with Crush there, an Animation Academy show, and some other interactive displays and games. The "It's Tough To Be A Bug" 3D movie in A Bug's Land is also good. If it's warm out and you want to get wet, you might get soaked on Grizzly River Run, a whitewater raft ride (use the Fastpass here too).

    If you kid loves Star Wars, in addition to the Star Tours ride, DON'T miss the Jedi Training Academy in Tomorrowland. It is such a wonderful show, I love watching the kids go up there whenever I pass by and it's on. I'm sure he'll love the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride, which is also a fairly recent addition.

    Character meals can be great, because you get to meet several characters with no line, no crowd behind you, that kind of thing. The one I've heard recomended most is Goofy's Kitchen; You should call the Disneyland Dining Line and make a Priority Seating Reservation first. It only takes a couple minutes. If your kiddo would enjoy meeting the characters a lot, it's certainly a good idea because it can be kind of chancey trying to find them in the parks sometimes.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by" (John Masefield)



  3. #3

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    I liked Minnie and Friends breakfast better because we were right in the park. We saw lots of characters and the food was great and we went at 7 am so we were in the park for rope drop.

  4. #4

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    Sorry, I should mention that you should call Disney Dining for a reservations for character meals as they fill up fast.

  5. #5

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    My boy is now 5, will be 6 in December and I woke up a couple of weeks ago and realized that I had to get him to DL...quick before it was too late !!!
    Too late for what?

  6. #6

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    Yes Twobluestripes prettty much covered it.

    Fastpass is fairly easy to use. Go the the fastpass machines. Insert ur ticket then another ticket will come out giving you a pass to and it will tell you the time frame of when you can came back fior a much shorter line. Thats a simple way of explaining it. You can ask a cast member and then help you for sure!

    New Thing to you that i recomend to you and your 6 year old

    Jedi Trainig Acadamy- features darth maul and darth vader, your son could be chosen to come up there and fight them along with other children. Its at the tomorowland terace

    Finding Nemo Subs-Even though many micechatters strongly dislike this ride. I'd take him on it beacuse its great for his age.

    Space Mountain- Its been updated with new scenery, new effects, and a smooth ride. I like it better. To me the 1977 version was scary because of the bar you felt swinging past you hand and the rickety track. My little sister whos 4 and a total chicken rode the ride for the first time in 2006 when she was four and loved it! So its your call on this one.

    Soarin-Great Great ride! Cant miss this one! He can ride it its not scary!

    Pixar Play Parade-Fun Parade at DCA that he'll like and be familar with the characters!

  7. #7

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    I agree with what twobluestripes wrote.

    I have a seven year old daughter that has some ride sensitivity issues so I know where you are coming from.

    If your son has handles log rides well then Pirates of the Caribbean should be fine. Most kids are only spooked by the drops on that ride. My daughter is particularly sensitive to dark rides that have thunder sounds, lightning flashes or drops. As you can imagine that makes Pirates, Haunted Mansion and even Indiana Jones kind of a challenge for her.

    Twoblusestripes suggestion to watch the reaction of people getting off is excellent. When your son sees boys and girls hus age coming off rides laughing and smiling that will help him get the courage to ride too.

    I found that my when my daughter was 5 and 6 she did have a really good time with the Matterhorn and the Gadget Go-Coaster in Toon-Town. After knocking out some smaller rides like Teacups, Dumbo, Peter Pan and/or Buzz Lightyear to see how he handles those rides then Matterhorn and Gadget Go-Coaster could be a good baby-step to bigger-kid rides. I would definitely use Big Thunder as a trial balloon before moving up to Space Mountain.

    My daughter really loves Soarin over California and Toy Story Mania at DCA so make sure you don't miss those. If your son handles Soarin pretty well then he should be in good shape for Star Tours.

    I agree to use Fastpass as much as possible. It's free and will save you a lot of time. The two rides that do not have Fastpass that can be waiting nightmares are the Finding Nemo Subs and Peter Pan's Flight.

    People's reactions to the Subs have been mixed so don't kill yourselves trying to get on that. I personally like the ride but spending 40-90 minutes in line for it is hard to justify.

    Most people find that Peter Pan is not to be missed so I'd rank that near the top of the list of rides to hit first on your early park-opening hours. If you can get that ride done early you'll save yourself a 30-60 minute wait later in the day.

    I also agree that Goofy's Kitchen is a good way to go to get a lot of one on one time with a lot of different characters without wasting time waiting in line or chasing them down in the parks.

    The only reason I prefer Goofy's Kitchen to the Plaza Inn breakfast is that by dinner time you usually need a bit of a sit-down dinner break somewhere and this is a good way to both take a break and keep the Disney magic going. The few times I've been to the Plaza Inn breakfast I've been so sleepy and bleary eyed that I barely remember the experience. It's also fun to know you have a special experience like Goofy's Kitchen waiting for you later in the day.

    DEFINITELY make sure you take your son to the Jedi Academy show. They do a lot of interactive audience participation with the kids where they can fight against Darth Vader and Darth Maul. You will both have a blast. The Star Wars gift shop at the exit of Star Tours also has a lot of one of a kind Star Wars souvenirs so that could be a fun place to surprise him with a Disney gift card to get something he really has his heart set on.

    Have a blast. I know you'll both have the time of your lives. Just don't forget to relax, have fun and don't stress over anything. If you're not having fun then what's the point?
    Disneyland Trips: 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86, 90, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11

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    Disney Resort Area hotels visited since 2008:



    Disneyland Resort: Disneyland Hotel - Grand Californian Hotel - Hilton Anaheim Convention Center - Hyatt Regency Anaheim/OC - Crowne Plaza Anaheim/Garden Grove - Holiday Inn Anaheim on Manchester - Holiday Inn & Suites Anaheim on Walnut - Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim - Marriott Fairfield Inn Anaheim



    DisneyWorld: Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort - Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village - Port Orleans French Quarter



    If you have any questions about Disney vacation logistics, travel planning or hotel experiences feel free to ask me.

  8. #8

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    Congrats, but Mom is waaaaaaaaaay missing out!!!!!!!!! There is nothing, I repeat nothing like watching your kids' faces the first time they see everything at Disneyland. If you cannot rearrange to have the entire family go, be prepared for huge resentment when she "gets it" what she's missed.

    I've always loved Disneyland, but it was at least 1000 times more fun watching my little one's face the first time, and I now count it as my most fun vacation ever, yes....ever, and I've been lots of places. Please reconsider. 3 is a great age for a little girl, so into princess stuff. We even took our 3-yr old on Pirates, just covering her face for the pirate face on the steam wall. You can rent a stroller there, and you'll appreciate the stroller to haul stuff, and you'll see stroller parking everywhere. She'll get so tired she'll sleep in the stroller. You already have the room, it's just two more tix.

    Anyhow, the ride suggestions are spot on. Space Mountain might be a bit much, start with the Go Coaster in Toontown first, then Matterhorn, then perhaps work up from there on coasters. The Jedi thing is a must, as are all the trains, Bug world and the Bug show (be prepared for it to be a little scary with flying 3d insects and stink effects), Nemo...all great suggestions.

    If Mom and sis don't go, take lots and lots and lots of pics, including close ups of his face with reactions, videos, the works. So she won't hate you so much later....seriously. I'm a mom, I know.

  9. #9

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip - twobluestripes

    Thanks for the great reply! Good advice. Looking forward to getting on POTC with him! I've read through some of the posts on the fastpass and think I've got a handle on it...BTW, love the Price is Right pic...did your name get called?

  10. #10

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip


  11. #11

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    Twobluestripes covered it all! Just to let you know- on Matterhorn there are two different tracks. One is a bit slower and a lot less scary. If you have an option, go on the track to the right if you are facing the entrance to the ride. That track, I have found is waay less scary, and your son will probably be able to handle it. Also, I would warn him about the two drops in POTC. Some kids have no problem with it, and others get really scared. DCA is more adult-oriented, so you will probably find yourself spending less time there than at Disneyland. Tey do have Bug's Land, which has fair-type rides such as bumper cars and swings, so your son will have a good time there. Do absolutely make sure that you make it on Soarin'....it is one of the best rides in the park! Also, Monsters Inc. is quite fun for little kids, as is the Imagination Studio, both in the Hollywood Backlot. He might also enjoy Mullholand Maddness, if he likes Matterhorn. The Ferris Wheel is fun, but I would start with non-swinging gondals, the line is usually shorter and it is a lot less scary. If you get a tad hungry in DCA, you can visit the tortilla factory and the sourdough bread factory, they give you a free tortilla or bread, respectively.

    For the fireworks, I find that you can see them quite nicely from Frontierland, and you don't have to line up nearly as early. Just try to get a spot where your vision isn't obstructed by trees.

    Have a magical trip!

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  12. #12

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    Before it's too late...

    I really just meant that I feel like B5 is at a great age. He is old enough to know not to run away. He doesn't throw tantrums. He can go all day without a nap and stay up late without going crazy. Sit through a meal without trying to get up and walk away. All the stuff that the 3 year old can't do yet.

    At the same time, he still lives in that pretend land where he doesn't quite know what is real and what is pretend and wants to figure it out.

    That's all, it's just a special time...I don't have older children, but I've watched nieces and nephews grow up and school age kids are just different than pre-schoolers.

    Also B5 will be in Kindergarten the next week after the trip. So it brings up a whole new host of issues such as do we want to pull him out of school or let him get settled into the routine? Then the holidays are coming and we have a trip scheduled in January to go skiing etc. etc. etc.

    As for Mommy...yes I know she is missing out and we have talked alot about it and we both think the 3 year old just isn't ready. I know it is great of kids of all ages, but with the additional expenses and difficulty of traveling with a 3 year old, we are in agreement. And yes, I'm going to take lots of pictures...I just called her after reading some of these posts and said...."are we sure??" And we are.

  13. #13

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    Yeah, I agree using Fastpass will help you save time. Getting Fastpass for Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Soarin' Over California and Indy are must. I took my six year old niece to Disneyland a couple of weeks ago. The only rides that she was frightened of were Haunted Mansion, Roger Rabbit and Indy. She was scared of Haunted Mansion because of the paintings. She didnít like Roger Rabbit because it's too noisy. She didn't like Indy because it was too fast.
    She did enjoy all of the Fantasyland attractions, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, POTC, Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Autopia, Soarin' Over California, California Screamin' and Aladdin: The Musical. She loved Big Thunder Mountain over Space Mountain.
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  14. #14

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    Quote Originally Posted by SeattleDadof2 View Post
    Before it's too late....
    Oh, I thought you meant going to Disneyland before he becomes six year old. Oh, another reason why not bringing a three year old to Disneyland. Strollers!
    Last edited by MickeyMousePal; 08-25-2009 at 12:19 PM.
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  15. #15

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    Re: 6 year olds first trip

    My avatar IS from The Price is Right, but no one in my party got their name called. Still a fun taping to see!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dlandclub33 View Post
    Fastpass is fairly easy to use. Go the the fastpass machines. Insert ur ticket then another ticket will come out giving you a pass to and it will tell you the time frame of when you can came back fior a much shorter line. Thats a simple way of explaining it. You can ask a cast member and then help you for sure!
    Well, I don't mean just how to use it but HOW to use it. If you read the main thread on it, you'll see what I mean. It's the info that many regular visitors figure out that no one else really gets: the fact that the 2nd time of the "return between" times doesn't actually matter. Most people treat it like a deadline, but it's not. Once the 1st time has pass, that ticket if good for the rest of the day.
    Also the idea that you can have more than 1 fastpass at once. Once the 1st time has passed, or 2 hours have passed (whichever comes first), then you can get a new Fast Pass. You can just keep accumulating them like this, and once the 1st time has passed, use them however you feel! But because there are actually 4 separate computer systems for the machines, you can actually get up to 4 without waiting for the normal time limit to pass (Disneyland and California Adventure are on separate systems, so you can always get 1 from each park at the same time, and the rides Roger Rabbit and Grizzly River Run are on their own systems for some reason, so you can get 1 from each of those rides anytime as well, not matter what other FPs you have).
    Space Mountain, Indy, and Splash Mountain (if it's warm) run out first, so those are the ones to get 1st thing in the morning if you think you might ride them.
    "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by" (John Masefield)



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