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  1. #1

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    Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    My mother-in-law is a saint, and she has never been to any of the Disney parks because her entire life, she has put her children and grandchildren first. Well, this is my opportunity to spoil her. I'm taking her to Disneyland for four days, with six days at a Good Neighbor Hotel (building in some rest days).

    Planning this is a unique challenge, because by this time, I'm a zen master at using FastPass to defeat the hordes for the major attractions. This trip will be completely different, as she will not want to ride turbulent attractions like Indiana Jones. Star Tours may even be out of the question (to say nothing of Space Mountain). And she's afraid to get on Space Mountain. Basically, most of the FastPass attractions are things she'll want to bypass, so this trip presents challenges and strategies I'm not familiar with.

    So I'm moving into untested waters...taking a 67 year old woman with some lower back pain to the Disney theme parks for fours days, and wanting to knock her socks off.

    Three years ago, I took my wife for our 2nd wedding anniversary, and all of you provided amazing help. Is it too much to ask you again for your amazing insights and tips? Again...this is the first time and last time this good woman will ever visit a Disney theme park, so I'm doing all I can to impress her and ensure she has a great time.

    Thanks so much in advance!

  2. #2

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    As a regular and an annual pass holder at Disneyland, my suggestions for your lovely Mother in law would be...Start off on Main street viewing the Incredible Mr. Lincoln. Most of us "older folks" love history and this is a spectacular show. When the Dapper Dans barbershop quartet is singing in front of the fire station you can relax on the courthouse steps and listen to them. Also on Main street late in the afternoon the American flag is lowered and the band plays American tunes and invites all service members past and present to come to the flag pole. She can ride the fire engine or the horse drawn carriage down main street to the castle and go to the new theatre to see beauty and the beast or tangled acted out in the Elizabethian live stage show. Be sure to pick up the show schedule at the front gate.In adventure land you can ride the clipper ship or the Mark Twain paddle/steam ship around the rivers of America. The views are spectacular.Take her to see Mickey's magical map show at the big theatre next to it's a small world. The music and live action stage show is a lot of fun. Fantasmic and the nightly fire works show is also really amazing. If you would like any further info please don't hesitate to ask! I think this would be a good start for her.

  3. #3

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    From the DisneyParks Blog:
    With the Cultivating the Magic Guided Tour, you will learn about the landscapes and gardens that have transformed 260 acres of orange groves into Disneyland park. It’s not just pointing out plants – you discover how horticulture is used to tell a story and how it helped achieve Walt Disney’s vision for his original Magic Kingdom.
    On your tour, you will also experience select Disneyland park attractions in a whole new way and learn about the historical significance of trees that you may have walked past dozens of times in past visits to the park.
    Here are some things you should know about the Cultivating the Magic Guided Tour:

    • The tour is approximately approximately two hours long.
    • Theme park admission for Disneyland park is required to attend the tour.
    • The tour leaves from Disneyland park Tour Gardens (left of City Hall) on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. and Mondays at 10 a.m.
    • All guests who participate receive a collectable souvenir pin and exclusive seed packet.
    • Attractions and entertainment are subject to change without notice.

    For pricing and booking information (and to find out about a special discount for Disney Rewards Visa and AAA card holders, Disney Vacation Club members and Disneyland Resort Annual Passport holders) call 714-781-TOUR (8687). Also, be sure to check out the other Disneyland Resort Guided Tours at Disneyland.com/Tours.
    Will you be there on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday? Nothing is listed about cost. Maybe someone else knows?

    Of course, you could also pull out one of your park maps and look at the park from a horticultural point of view on your own.
    Last edited by Attic Haunt; 06-26-2013 at 09:24 AM. Reason: To highlight day availability information

    “That's the way a lot of things happen... You think one person did something
    but he was just the one to put the color on it." – Ken Anderson
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  4. #4

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    I would make sure to get a schedule for both parks and do the shows. Aladdin in DCA is a spectacular, Broadway-style show. The parades are good, Fantasmic is good. She would probably love It's a Small World, especially as it was created for the World's Fair in 1964. Pirates of the Carribean is my go-to ride for first visits. There isn't a long wait because it loads so quickly that the line goes really fast, it's an iconic ride, and is a long, fun ride but still gently and not a thrill ride.

    She'd probably really enjoy lunch or dinner at someplace like Blue Bayou or Carthay Circle if you can afford it.

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    Quote Originally Posted by Attic Haunt View Post
    From the DisneyParks Blog:


    Will you be there on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday? Nothing is listed about cost. Maybe someone else knows?

    Of course, you could also pull out one of your park maps and look at the park from a horticultural point of view on your own.
    Yes, arriving on Sunday...wow, this is amazing, right up her alley. Her garden is beatuiful! Thank you!

  6. #6

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    There are plenty of non thrill rides, some favorites include Peter Pan, Storybook Canal, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Crusie, Mark Twain (ask to ride in the wheel well for an extra fun ride!), the train (ask first thing one morning at Main Street station if they are giving rides in the Lilly Belle). And be sure to hit Aladdin in DCA!

  7. #7

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    Don't plan everything. Let her pick some things and rides to do as well.
    Peter Pan: "You know, your hair is on fire."
    Me: "Yes. It happened after a recent trip to Neverland."
    Peter Pan: "Well, you can dunk your head in the pond behind us, if you want."

    Lost Child of
    Neverland since 1996.
    ~Favorite Hero: Peter Pan. Favorite Villian:Malificent.Favorite Ride: The Haunted Mansion.~

  8. #8

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    Your mother in law sounds like she goes about our speed...no roller coasters, turbulent rides, things that spin too fast, etc. A lot of people think that if you don't do these rides, that you won't have fun at Disneyland and DCA, but my boyfriend and I have proven time and time again that is not the case. It is important to remember that there are a lot of rides that she will enjoy even if she is not going on anything turbulent, and there are plenty of other things to do in the park as well.

    Rides that would be safe bets:
    Alice In Wonderland
    Casey Jr Circus Train
    Astro Orbitor (only if she can handle spinning)
    Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
    Captain EO
    Disneyland Railroad (make sure to take it all the way around the park so she can see the Grand Canyon and inside Splash Mountain)
    Disneyland Monorail (wait by gate 1 to sit in the cone, and take it all the way around, so much fun, you get to talk to the driver)
    Dumbo The Flying Elephant (if she can handle spinning)
    Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
    Haunted Mansion
    It's A Small World
    Jungle Cruise
    King Arthur Carousel (there are bench seats if she doesn't want to be high on a horse; if she will go for the horse, look for Walt's horse, so much fun!)
    Mad Tea Party (if she can handle spinning)
    Hit all of the Main Street Vehicles - horse drawn street car, Jitney, fire engine, and the omnibus they each have a unique driver and a unique experience
    The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh
    Mark Twain Riverboat
    Mr Toad's Wild Ride (might bother her back, you be the judge)
    Peter Pan's Flight
    Pinocchio's Daring Journey
    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (if she can handle spinning)
    Sailing Ship Columbia
    Snow White's Scary Adventure
    Splash Mountain
    Storybook Land Canal Boats

    Rides I would skip:
    Autopia (due to back problem)
    Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes (due to back problem, paddling would be difficult)
    Gadget's Go Coaster
    Indiana Jones Adventure
    Matterhorn Bobsleds
    Space Mountain
    Star Tours

    Other Stuff You Should Do/See
    Great Moments with Mr Lincoln
    Enchanted Tiki Room
    Innoventions (older people seem to love that stuff!)
    Main Street Cinema
    Toontown - take her to see Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in their house, so much fun!
    Sleeping Beauty Castle - do the walk through through the castle
    Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show
    Fantasmic
    Take her to meet the princesses, do it first thing in the morning, there is less than a five minute line, so much fun!
    Also, hit both the Tangled and the Beauty and the Beast shows at the Royal Theater, Tangled always shows in the morning, Beauty and the Beast always in the afternoon, you have to see both, they are so fun
    Mickey and the Magical Map show
    Fireworks
    Take her to meet Merida, and also to meet Rapunzel, so much fun!
    Don't forget about Pixie Hollow, such a fun time!
    Soundsational Parade
    The Laughing Stock cowboy show
    If you hit it on a night it's there (most weekends), there is a royal swing band at the Royal Theater
    Disneyland Band
    Dapper Dans (so much fun to watch!)
    Royal Street Bachelors (if she enjoys jazz music)
    Main Street Piano Player
    Straw Hatters

    If you really want to pamper her, take her to the Bibbidi Bobiddi Boo Boutique (I'm sure I spelled that wrong), they will do her hair, give her a sash, and make her into a total princess for the day

    If you want to give her one "knock her socks off" kind of meal, consider reservations at the Blue Bayou.

    Other places to eat that offer more than just "junk food" which isn't always popular with the older crowd include Big Thunder Ranch BBQ (though they often can't eat enough to make the price worth it), Cafe Orleans, Carnation Cafe, Clarabelle's Frozen Yogurt, French Market,Jolly Holiday Bakery, Mint Julep Bar, Plaza Inn, River Bell Terrace, Royal Street Veranda, and a Dole Whip at the Tiki Juice Bar.

    Stop at City Hall and get her a first visit button. She can wear it all day and feel special. If she is into the princesses, you can also ask for a "Happily Ever After" button that has Cinderella's carriage on it.

    Take lots of breaks in the shade throughout the day. Go at her pace. Plan sit down activities, such as shows, after a few rides, so there is plenty of time to rest.

    Will you be heading over to DCA as well? That is a whole different "game plan". Let me know, and I would be happy to give you a list for there as well.

    We took my boyfriend's 90 year old dad with us on Christmas Day one year, he had a blast, and we mainly stuck to Fantasyland rides.

  9. #9

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    I second taking her to dinner at the Blue Bayou, and let them know when you make the ADR that this will be her first (and last) time at a Disney park.

    If you take a ride on the Mark Twain, ask the captain if you can ride in the wheelhouse. I just did this for the first time (totally by accident) and it was wonderful. The captain gave us lots of info about the park, some of the old attractions and things that were left behind on Tom Sawyer island, and there are some great photos of Walt in the captains quarters as well. I also recommend taking in a Billy Hill & the Hillbillies show, as they're just a ton of fun (and they shows aren't very long.)

  10. #10

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    Quote Originally Posted by BuckyRister View Post
    Yes, arriving on Sunday...wow, this is amazing, right up her alley. Her garden is beatuiful! Thank you!
    Glad it is something you think she would like. I suggest calling to make reservations ASAP. I imagine this would be a quick seller. I've seen people recommend you reserve no later than one month before the trip.

    “That's the way a lot of things happen... You think one person did something
    but he was just the one to put the color on it." – Ken Anderson
    ​I'm blogging here again!

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    Quote Originally Posted by kirstenh View Post
    I would make sure to get a schedule for both parks and do the shows. Aladdin in DCA is a spectacular, Broadway-style show. The parades are good, Fantasmic is good. She would probably love It's a Small World, especially as it was created for the World's Fair in 1964. Pirates of the Carribean is my go-to ride for first visits. There isn't a long wait because it loads so quickly that the line goes really fast, it's an iconic ride, and is a long, fun ride but still gently and not a thrill ride.

    She'd probably really enjoy lunch or dinner at someplace like Blue Bayou or Carthay Circle if you can afford it.
    Planning on a dessert for the three of us at Blue Bayou -- like a sugar rush pick-me-up on one of the days. If Carthay Circle gives us the best viewing for World of Color, we're going to pounce on that. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so, we're not pinching pennies.

  12. #12

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    I'm 65, and I have one requirement when I go to the park. Don't rush me. I love to take pictures, and I love to take my time walking from one land, into another. I always give myself lots of days. So I know that there will be plenty of time to get to the back of the park, so why hurry?

    I remember my very first day in Disneyland. I was with friends, and they were very considerate of the way that I wanted to see things. We took our time, and enjoyed entering, viewing the Mickey Floral, reading the sign, feeling the joy of seeing Town Square for the very first time. Enjoying the music. My first ride was the train. I remember standing on the train platform, and enjoying the view of Main Street from up there. It is/was glorious.

    Not sure what pace, your 67 year old usual travels at, but for me, I slow down. I don't want to miss a thing.

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    At DCA
    Rides you won't want to miss
    Flik's Flyers (if she can handle spinning)
    Francis Ladybug Boogie (if she can handle spinning)
    Golden Zephyr (if she can handle spinning)
    Grizzly River Run
    Heimlich's Chew Chew Train
    King Triton's Carousel
    The Little Mermaid
    Luigi's Flying Tires (you have to do it, you will crack up, some say it's lame, but it's so worth it)
    Mater's Junkyard Jamboree (if she can handle spinning)
    Mickey's Fun Wheel (go for the non swinging if you are concerned)
    Monster's Inc Sulley To The Rescue
    Silly Symphony Swings (if she can handle spinning)
    Soarin' Over California (even though it's a bit tough, if they don't get motion sickness, it's so great an experience)
    Toy Story Mania

    Rides you will likely want to avoid
    California Screamin'
    Jumpin' Jellyfish
    Goofy's Sky School
    Radiator Springs Racers
    Tuck and Roll's Drive Em Buggies (not a lot of fun with back pain)
    Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror

    Non rides
    Animation Academy
    The Bakery Tour
    Character Close Up
    It's Tough To Be A Bug
    Muppet Vision 3D
    Sorceror's Workshop
    Turtle Talk with Crush
    Disney Jr Live On Stage
    Aladdin The Musical
    Meet Duffy (make sure you do this, so cute!)
    Blue Sky Cellar
    Pixar Play Parade
    World Of Color
    DJ's Dance N Drive
    Five And Dime
    Red Car News Boys
    Instant Concert, Just Add Water
    Minnie's Fly Girls

    Restaurants to consider: Alfresco Lounge, Ariel's Grotto, Carthay Circle, Cove Bar, Cozy Cone Motel, Flo's V-8 Cafe, Ghiradelli (if she has a sweet tooth), Pacific Wharf Cafe, Paradise Pier Ice Cream Company, Rita's Baja Blenders, Wine Country Trattoria
    In Downtown Disney, you can go to Build A Bear, you can let her make a special Disney stuffed animal, so fun for all ages.

  14. #14

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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    I'd say you've gotten some great advice already but I'll add my two cents as well. Try and do the classic attractions and maybe give her little tidbits and facts about them. My grandparents love history and like hearing the stories about how things came to be. Enlighten her on Walts vision and share with her your favorite parts of the park. Also I think a trip on the Lily Belle might be perfect Enjoy seeing the park in a whole new way!


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    Re: Help Me Wow A 67-Year-Old Relative at Disneyland!

    Quote Originally Posted by BuckyRister View Post
    Planning on a dessert for the three of us at Blue Bayou -- like a sugar rush pick-me-up on one of the days. If Carthay Circle gives us the best viewing for World of Color, we're going to pounce on that. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so, we're not pinching pennies.
    I would highly recommend Carthay Circle if you aren't on a tight budget. The environment is great, food is great, and you can get premium WOC viewing. If you are interested in the the WOC viewing all you need to do is order one appetizer or dessert and two entrees between the both of you

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