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  1. #1

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    Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Hi, I am brand new to the forum and have never been to Disneyland. We are taking our first trip January 2nd thru 6th next year. I have a 11 year old, 6 year old, and one that will be 5 months old at the time we go. Any and all advice and tips would be great. If anyone has must sees or lists they have compiled, I would be thrilled. I want to make this as smooth as possible with maximum fun. Thanks so much

  2. #2

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    First, welcome to Mice Chat. Poking around the boards here will offer LOTS of advice to help you with your planning. I would be happy to offer a few tidbits from my perspective.

    Advice: You've got your hands full, my first advice would be to pace yourselves. Plan on taking a break during the day. This can mean either that you head back to the hotel for a breather or that you just know there will be a few minutes of downtime to just chill. Disneyland is a LOT of stimulation for kids (and adults), so finding a way to clear your head to then fill it some more is important.

    We bring water bottles/travel mugs to have with us so we aren't having to purchase a pricey beverage every time we get thirsty. Same goes for snacks. Since the weather in So Cal can be unpredictable (might get rain, might be warm and sunny, might be a tad chilly... hey, that's what we have for unpredictability) bring layers for all possibilities and either store them in your stroller or rent a locker inside the park so you can adapt.

    Bring a throw or two in the evening for softer seating for parades or extra warmth for night viewing of parades and Fantasmic, etc.

    As I mentioned there are a number of posts on Micechat already that have lists of must sees or must dos that you can find through the search (try searching for "tips" or "advice").

    Have a great time.

  3. #3

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Welcome to MiceChat! The advice given from Pirate Lover 68 is great, and searching around the forum here should help you a lot.

    I would take a look at the map before hand and decide what you and your family want to do that way you have some sort of gameplan when you arrive. Don't forget to factor in ride closures as well. From there you can widdle down what you want to do, ways to beat crowds, the best times to do things, where to eat, etc.

    ​Good luck and have fun!

  4. #4

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Some more advice...

    You can make dining reservations starting 60 days before your trip. So for example, if you are going to do a character breakfast with the family, you'll want to reserve it ahead of time so you get the day and time that you want. Same with other fancier dining options at the park (Blue Bayou, Carthay, Ariel's Grotto), if you plan to reserve any entertainment options (Fantasmic seating), you can do so 30 days before your visit.

    Even though it is an added expense, we usually reserve seating for Fantasmic when we go. you get a dessert tray and all the cocoa or coffee you can drink AND you don't have to wait around for a long time for great seating to watch the show.

    Other tips... since you are going to be at the resort for a few days, plan out MUST see attractions so that you pick up necessary fastpasses early in the day. That way, even if you end up in long lines for other attractions, you KNOW you have a fast pass for that ride you really wanted to see and can be looking forward to it. The fastpass return times are being enforced (at least so I heard), so you want to plan on being on a ride nearby so that when it ends, you can get back to the fastpass return line for that MUST SEE attraction you wanted.

    Use the Disney website to do some planning. Most all of the rides list the height requirements for the rides, since you have multiple sized kids, this will help you know in advance if they will or won't be able to get on. This helps YOU manage expectations for your kids. If they know in advance that one sibling will get on, but the other won't, you can start explaining reasons why well in advance. Figure out ways to let the one get on, and have something else planned for the time for the other.

    Oh... here's one... we do thrift stores, I don't know if this is your thing or not. If it is... one can usually find Disney resort themed shirts and jackets for the littlest ones that are usually BARELY worn (people get them at the park for while they are at the park and then the kid never wears them again), and this can save big bucks if your kiddos already have resort wear that makes them already feel part of the park...

    Target has Disney themed cups, travel cups, waterbottles, that aren't that pricey. If the kids already have them in their luggage then you save the resort upcharge.

    I mentioned chill out time... there are a few rides that serve this purpose... The Mark Twain or Columbia (the two ships that circle the Rivers of America) are great rides that let you guys just relax and breath for a moment.

    If the kids need to run, get over to Tom Sawyers Island. You take the rafts out, then there are tons of places for kids to climb, crawl, run and jump that let them spend some of that extra energy. There are a few tables and benches for you to chill while they do all that. Great time to sip some coffee, watch the ships float by and enjoy the environment you are in.

    The Disneyland Railroad... it circles the entire park, has stops at Main Street, New Orleans Square, Toon Town, and Tomorrowland. By all means take the full loop, but also use it to get from one area of the park to the other. Great views and kids love to ride a train. Same goes for the Monorail. Let's you zoom around the park, see it from a different perspective and catch a break for a little bit.

    It's a Small World is a another great chill ride. Sit and watch the world go by. Lots to look at, and a relaxing float.

  5. #5

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Hi ccruz79,

    I think it will be crowded with many families still taking their Christmas vacations, but you can still have a very good time. The six and eleven-year-olds are at an excellent age, and your young baby is conveniently tranportable. I'm just going to quickly type out some suggestions, so obviously, my info is incomplete. I liked Pirate Lover 68's suggestions.)

    I'm certain that Micehatters (Great folks! No one loves or understands Disneyland more.) will have excellent tips to add, but here are a few from me:
    1. Try to get to the parks as soon as possible after it opens and use fast passes. I'd get ones for the Radiator Springs Racers first. Do rides without Fastpasses earlier in the day and really try to collect 4 or 5 Fastpasses as early as you can. See the Micechat tread about Fastpasses. In five minutes you can master the system.

    2. When you get to the loading areas of rides, you and your spouse can take turns watching your baby and riding. I don't know if both of your older kids will get to ride again when the other parent takes their turn. Fellow Micechatters, please answer this.

    3. The changing area at the end of Main Street and near Ghiradelli's chocolate/ice cream parlor in California Adventure are excellent places to take care of your baby. Once you use them, you'll probably be back frequently.

    4. Getting a Fastpass (even if the ride has a short line) for a cool ride in Disneyland, maybe Star Tours or Big Thunder Mtn. Railroad and then going right to Fantasyland would be a good start to a day. I'd hit Peter Pan first because then the lines get long. Then do Dumbo, then all of the others.

    5. I like eating at the River Belle Terrace early in the day because of the scenic view, and at the Hungry Bear later in the day. Eat in the shade along the river on the lower level. If it's really crowded and you've got the money you can escape crowds at the Big Thunder BBQ, which has good food (all-you-can-eat) and (about an hour after it opens) two or three entertainers. In DCA I like eating at Flo's V8 Cafe on the southside so you can see the cars race by. I also like the bread bowl meals in the Boudin bakery restaurant.

    6. Don't miss (in DCA) Radiator Springs Racers and Soarin' and Toy Story Mania. Go on Toy Story Mania as early in the day as possible. Google Disneyland attractions with your two older kids and our spouse to pick out other attractions you won't want to miss. I'n Disneyland, I'd be sure to see the Haunted Mansion, Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and (with a Fastpass) Star Tours and (if your kids are up for it), Space Mountain. Big Thunder is a little tamer than Space Mountain and is better at night. Use Fastpass for both. I like collecting Fastpasses earlier in the day and using them during crowded afternoons. We like the Aladdin show in DCA, and everything in the Animation building in DCA, including drawing characters with artists. Also don't miss the Jungle Cruise, Splash Mth. (use Fastpass), and maybe the Nemo's Submarine Voyage. I also like the Fantasmic! & World of Color shows.

    7. What are your kids into? If Star Wars, then don't miss the Jedi Training Academy. Taking a sign will help your kids get picked. We just write something on a manilla folder.
    My daughter liked the ASIMO robot at the top of Innoventions.

    8. Don't just wait for people on this tread to give you all of your info. There is so much info. on line, including on Micechat and (for restaurant menus) Allears.net.

    9. Sharing your budget will help people give you better advice. If you have a big budget you may wish to eat at the Blue Bayou or at Napa Rose. Where are you staying?

    10. Have fun!
    Last edited by jcruise86; 10-30-2012 at 10:18 AM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    this is a link to ALL the menus in the Disneyland resort, that means the hotels, the parks downtown disney etc!!! i'd break it down for you by menu of place but i don't have time, so here is the short version! Each link that is blue is clickable so click on the links and the menu's open up so you can plan out your eating menu and that also helps to budget your trip

    Disneyland Resort Menus

  7. #7

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Your days will differ.
    Certainly get as much as you can done early in the day. Afternoons/Evenings are for naps and shows.
    After you've done the mild attractions once on your trip, you can start working the system to your preferences. Like, have your 11-year old go in the single-rider queue for Screamin' five or six times in a row while you relax with ice cream.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  8. #8

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    make sure you use the FP system!!!!!!

    places like Napa Rose will require a reservation, as so will Blue Bayou..but really in my opinion i'd rather eat at Carthay Circle then BB.. Napa Rose Lounge requires no reservation. But that is if you are just looking for a snack to go with your glass of wine then that is a good place to go.

    I have eaten at the Carthay Circle, I had the duck confit sliders as a snack they rock!!! I also have had the Rabbit Meatloaf at napa rose lounge, that rocked also!

    Make sure you keep your water bottle, don't throw it away when your done! you can refill it!! Rancho del zocalo at Disneyland they have a patio and on the patio has a filtered water fountain where you can ice cold water!

    also if you want to do fantasmic and fireworks on the same night, i'd say do the fireworks first then go to fantasmic as the late showing.. and then World of color on a seperate night...
    Last edited by Poisonedapples; 10-30-2012 at 10:23 AM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Or you can see Fireworks from your seating at the first showing of Fantasmic.

  10. #10

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    I've always found that the "get there early and leave for a break mid-day" strategy works wonders!

  11. #11

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    you will need a park map to help plan out what you will be doing and where everything is and how accessible it will be. It seems to help people when you got a park map to see the lay out of the land

  12. #12

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    I've got one final word of advice for you guys.

    In DCA, there is a ride call The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror. It's a tall abandoned looking hotel and looks like this....
    Name:  250px-Tower_of_terror_dca.JPG
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    When you walk into DCA it's on the left side of park and is very visible from any point along Paradise Pier and even in CarsLand.

    Anyway, I know you have kids but if any of you adults are even slighty intrigued by it RIDE IT.

    For me, it is the single best ride in the WHOLE PARK. Even if only one adult can ride while another watches the kids I say go on it. Although it looks like your common drop ride at any old amusement park IT'S NOT. It has one of the best incorporated stories of the whole park and the best special effects in the park. Remember, it's not just dropping, your elevator does some pretty cool things and you see some unbelievable special effects.

    Honestly, if one of the two of you rides it once, there's a 99% chance they will have raving reviews about it and try to convince the rest of the family to ride it.

    In short, GO ON TOWER OF TERROR. It's not a kids ride that's for sure, but if one of you adults ride it will be well worth your while.

  13. #13

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Remember to get a First Visit pin from City Hall when you arrive

  14. #14

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    As jcruise86 mentioned, the Disneyland Baby Center is a huge resource when you're bringing in a little one. They have changing tables, room for nursing, feeding, etc. It's sort of a lesser known secret but it's so nice to get out of the crowds for a bit and have a clean and proper place to take care of the baby.
    Apparently they have one at DCA as well. That's news to me.
    Baby Center & Lost Children | Guest Services | Disneyland Resort

    Other than that, the only other advice I have would be to simply relax and enjoy the park. Don't try and cram everything in. Enjoy the ambiance and take it easy.
    With kind regards,
    The Tony

  15. #15

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    Re: Never been to Disneyland. Need help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Werner View Post
    I've always found that the "get there early and leave for a break mid-day" strategy works wonders!
    Me too!
    For the love of Disney....

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