Travel Koncierge: Disneyland            
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Welcome to the Kiddie Koncierge™
Travel Koncierge for Disneyland!  

This is a work in progress.  Please feel
free to share your favorite tips
here

Intro
There are TONS of sites that tell you how to get the most out of
your Disney experience like
www.disneylandvacationtips.
com/index.html.  We won’t try to re-write the book on that stuff.  We
will, however, tell you what worked for us.  As with anything on the
internet, you should always double check the information provided
on these sites as the information is rather fluid.

A fun way to engage your child in the planning is to unleash them
on the FREE iOS App,
Disneyland Explorer.  It is like a virtual tour
of the park and appears to be pretty popular.  
http://itunes.apple.
com/us/app/disneyland-explorer/id496004846?mt=8


Getting There
If you drive from the Bay Area, you are looking at 5.5 hours to LA
and another 45-60 mins to Anaheim.  If you fly to John Wayne, the
drive is about 15 minutes with no traffic.  You can do the math.  We
typically drive, park at the hotel and then walk.  For dinner, we might
drive.

General
  • Discount tickets (mostly multi-day passes) are available
    through AAA, and Costco.  Other discounts are available for
    employees of larger companies, active duty military, and
    California Teachers Association members among others.  
    Call your HR rep for details.  This site also has a pretty
    comprehensive list of available discounts www.
    mousesavers.com/dltickets.html#phadv
  • There is a lot to do in the park.  Pace yourself.  A tired,
    grumpy child is not a fun thing to deal with.  We typically
    come in at opening, stay through lunch, go back to the
    hotel  for pool time and then head back after dinner for
    some evening enjoyment with all the lights
  • If you go back at night, consider riding the monorail from
    the Downtown Disney station into Tomorrowland.  It is
    beautiful and you get a birds eye view.  If you are lucky, you
    can even ask to sit up front (don’t count on it since a lot of
    people want to do that)
  • It is a long way from the Main Gate to the far end of the park
    (Toon Town).  SO what we do is walk meandering around
    up to Toon Town stopping at our favorite points along the
    way, and then board the Disneyland train and ride it around
    to the Main Gate. 1) it is a nice respite , 2) the trains come
    every five minutes, and 3) you get a little surprise after the
    Tomorrowland station in that you get this fun little diorama
    tunnel with dinosaurs and animatronic animals.  It is worth
    the ride in every sense of the word.  
  • If you like, you can hop the fire engine, taxi or horse-drawn
    trolley that goes from City Hall at the base of Main Street to
    the top of Main Street in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
  • Tom Sawyer’s Island is a lot of fun: lots of places to explore
    and climb.  Tarzan’s Tree House (older parents may
    remember this as the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House)
    is also worth a visit.
  • If you intend to go to anyplace requiring reservations in the
    park or in the hotels like Napa Rose or Blue Bayou, book
    way in advance at (714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463 since
    reservations go quickly.
  • DO NOT toss your tickets after you enter the park.  They
    are the ONLY way you can take advantage of the FASTPASS
    system to avoid long waits.
  • Verizon users can download the Free Mobile Magic App
    which is a handy tool for navigating the park including wait
    times.  Double check pricing before you download this app
    as Disney toyed with charging for it some time ago.  Also,
    this app is NOT an iOS (iPhone) app.

Age
The park is remarkable in that it has attractions that appeal to a
wide range of kids.  They don’t even need to step on to a ride to
have a great experience.  Some parts of the park are geared
towards the very young, like Toon Town and range up-age from
Fantasyland on up.  That being said, no matter where you are,
there are attractions suitable for young and old.  Adventureland has
the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room right next to the
Indiana Jones Adventure which is definitely not for the younger
visitor.  And, if rides aren’t your thing, there are live performances
everywhere – including the Star Wars experience in Tomorrowland,
character appearances, and live bands throughout the day.  Visit
the Disneyland page for a daily schedule of events  
http:
//disneyland.disney.go.com/calendar/daily/?
name=CalendarDailyPage#/default/2012/01/17

Characters
The characters “live” in specific  parts of the park.  Mickey and
Minnie have cottages in Toon Town but most characters can be
found either at the foot of Main Street near City Hall and near the
Disneyland Story Presenting Great Moments with Abraham
Lincoln.  This site (on the right hand side) is somewhat helpful.  
http://disneyland.disney.go.com/characters/  There are a few other
places where you can find characters – like the little grotto between
Cinderella’s Castle (for Princesses) and Tomorrow Land and in
between Frontier Land and New Orleans Square.  Best to check
schedules and locations on the site if you are bound and
determined to see a particular character.

FASTPASSes
Nothing sucks the life out of you faster than standing in line for a
long time – especially on a hot day.  The time estimates at the
head of the line is pretty accurate.  Just a hint:  the head of the line
at the Indiana Jones ride is a REALLY long way from the actual
line.  To aid in this, Disneyland has instituted a system called the
Fast Pass. It works like this: you go to the attraction that has a
FASTPASS option (not all rides have this) and look for the
FASTPASS kiosk.  At Star Tours for example, it is across the plaza
near Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. At Indiana Jones, it is near
the Jungle Cruise.  You walk in – basically as soon as you enter
the park and head straight to the attraction that you want a
FASTPASS to, feed your ticket into the kiosk and get a FASTPASS
back for a specified time in the future.  Don’t lose those.  You will
need one for each member of your party.  Unfortunately:  you
CANNOT get more than one fast pass per time slot.  So what we
did was got a fast pass for Star Tours, stood in a very reasonable
line for Star Tours and then hit a bunch of other attractions until our
star tours window passed and then got a Fast Pass for another
ride.  THEN, when the park is crazy, we cashed in all of our
FASTPASSes and breezed right into Star Tours for example.  Line:  
45 minutes.  Fast Pass time?  2 minutes.  This site has a few
more tips on getting the most out of FASTPASSes  
http:
//touringplans.com/disneyland/fastpass
The following attractions have FASTPASS access

Disneyland Park
  • Autopia, presented by Chevron
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours
Disney California Adventure Park
  • California Screamin'
  • Goofy's Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Soarin' Over California
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • World of Color (distributed at Grizzly River Run)

Rides:
Bear in mind that not all rides are FASTPASS enabled.  This can,
as in the case of the Small World Ride, result in some hideous
lines.  Pick the areas that are of interest to you and strategically
plan your rides.  For example, a great break is the Jungle Cruise,
Haunted Mansion, and Tom Sawyer’s Island.  The canoe rides in
the Rivers of America (the big lagoon where the Sailing Ship
Columbia and the Mark Twain Riverboat sail) are pretty fun as
well.  Our child is not a thrill ride kind of kid, but they still enjoy the
experiences that Disney has created that don’t pull Gs.

Accomodations
There are a ton of hotels outside the park as well as a free shuttle
that takes you to the park.  We stay at the Anabella.  It is
inexpensive, the rooms are well appointed, they have a pool, and
the location is very convenient.  Amazingly, finding decent coffee in
the area is pretty difficult.  You are pretty much stuck with
Downtown Disney. Stores are close for supplies and a  
convenience stores are within a block or two.

Food
You have a couple of dining options at Disneyland:  In the Park and
Downtown Disney.  The food has improved immensely with fresh
fruit options and more veges available but inside the park food is
just OK.  Outside in Downtown Disney, you have more chain
restaurant options like Rain Forest Café, Napolini, House of Blues,
etc. .  We like to stop at La Brea Bakery for breakfast before
heading into the park.  The coffee is better.  The only decent fine
dining appears to the be in the Grand Californian at Napa Rose.  
All reservations including Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square are
booked through
(714) 781-DINE or (714) 781-3463.  If you do
intend to dine at any of these places, book way in advance as
same day reservations are basically out.

Otherwise, suck it up and deal with the park food.  The food in the
surrounding areas is pretty grim.  We have a favorite Mexican spot
a mile or two away called El Sancho that is awesome, but you are
looking at Tony Romas, Outback, and similar options.  A good
breakfast place is at the corner of Katella and S. West Street (the
SW corner of California Adventure), Tiffy’s.  They do enormous ice
creams as well.  
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