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Suggestions for a Floridian's First Trip to Disneyland...

Disneyland: I'm finally going to DisneyLAND...at the end of December!

From Amy Smith
Posted September 24, 2011 at 9:13 AM
I'm visiting Disneyland for the first time ever - between Christmas and New Year's. I know, I know! It's going to be capacity busy and I will wait in insane lines, but I have no idea when I will ever have this chance again. I'm going with my dad and he's really only going for me and will do whatever I want to.

Do any California Disney fans have any helpful hints and tips for getting the following rides done in one day?

Indian Jones, Pirates, Storybook Land boats, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Matterhorn, and very importantly the amazing Mr. Toad (I miss this ride at MK!). Those are the absolute must dos as they are different or unavailable in Florida - anything else is gravy but I'd appreciate suggestions if there are shows that I should see.

Thanks!

PS: I'm not getting within 10 feet of Splash Mountain or Small World with my dad - we've been stuck on both for over 2 hours each at different points in my childhood and neither one of us wants to relive THOSE memories.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Nick Markham
Posted September 24, 2011 at 9:54 AM
Here is a less detailed version of my route plan (I write this out a lot!) that works all the time. There are a couple other rides like Space Mountain for example, which is far different from and far excels its clone in WDW. But since you are more interested in those you listed, I think I'm actually going to reverse my tour plan:

1. When the park opens, head directly for Indiana Jones Adventure and ride.

2. After Indy, ride Pirates of the Caribbean.

3. After Pirates, ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

4. After BTMR, ride Pinnocchio, then Mr. Toad, then Storybook Land Canal Boats. You might be interested in the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough since that is unique to Disneyland.

5. Head to Toontown and Fastpass Roger Rabbits Cartoon Spin (another very good attraction inexistant in WDW). The FP is worth it on this one, the line get get VERY long. Ride Matterhorn while you wait.

6. Return for your fastpass and ride Roger Rabbit.

7. After Roger Rabbit, ride Space Mountain. The line will be long, but it actually moves pretty fast in comparison to WDW's lacking version. I would approximate about an hour- hour and a half wait, which is pretty good for it being such an amazing ride.

8. Finish off with Buzz Lightyear and, if you can, Star Tours II.

Also, won't you be going to Disney's California Adventure?

From T Dunc
Posted September 24, 2011 at 2:43 PM
Fastpass, Fastpass, Fastpass. All day, just do the Fastpass. During major parades and shows go do all of the big rides/busiest. I hope that you are going for a few days because in order to do everything you'll need to stay at least 2-3 days. I would highly recommend World of Color because of how beautifully done it is. And also plan on seeing the fireworks and Fantasmic! You'll have lots of fun whatever you do. Do all of the stuff that you can't do in Walt Disney World. Have fun and enjoy your trip.

From Nick Markham
Posted September 24, 2011 at 4:36 PM
^That makes sense, they always do things better the second time. ;D

From Giovanny Cruz
Posted September 24, 2011 at 6:00 PM
I'm doing the same thing in Christmas I'm goin to Disneyland resort and I'm staying in the Dca hotel.I heard that is better then the Florida Disney.Are you staying in a hotel?

From Amy Smith
Posted September 24, 2011 at 10:13 PM
Unfortunately I am only going for one day and only to Disneyland (even though I want to ride Little Mermaid now and not wait for it to open here) since I know from my experiences here in Orlando that trying to park hop on busy days is a crazy idea. Plus, paying over $100 for one day per person is just...scary.

Apparently my family is renting a house somewhere in California and I have no idea how we will be getting to Disney or how far it will be (and I'm aware it might be hours depending on where) but I am going to make sure we get there before the park opens :)

From Amy Smith
Posted September 24, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Thanks Nick! I overlooked Sleeping Beauty Castle's walk though. Adding that to the To-Do list along with your gameplan.

Of course, Now I actually have to watch Sleeping Beauty - my roommates will be happy, they've tried to get me to watch it before, but I'm not too into the princessy stuff.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted September 25, 2011 at 8:31 AM
Go to Indy first thing in the morning. Its the longest line I can recall at DL. Other than that, DL is almost a exact compact of MK (its really the other way around). DL is full of small treasures that Walt Disney created himself.

Other tips:

Pirates is a much longer attaction, so plan accordingly

The Blue Bayou is a must for lunch. Especially if this is your first time, this is DL's "Le Cellier"

Fantasmic is a standing show so show up a bit early to get a seat, er, standing spot.

So if you are a MK master, DL should be tackled very similarly.

From Nick Markham
Posted September 25, 2011 at 8:54 AM
Oh, that is true Dominick, I was just making a little joke at Space Mountain in MK. That was one of the worst roller coasters I had ever ridden. Though To be honest, the one at MK has the ability to be better. IF they do what they did to DL's and completely overhaul the ride, it will be at least equal to if not better than DL's because it will have the height over DL. If that makes any sense.

From AJ Hummel
Posted September 25, 2011 at 11:50 AM
My suggestions are going to be a bit different from what has been suggested so far, and are mainly based on visits I've had to the park during holiday periods (most recently Black Friday last year).

First things first...if you can, go on a weekday when there is no early entry. If this is not possible, you'll have a hard time with some attractions (especially the Fantasyland ones). Whatever you do, ARRIVE EARLY! An hour before opening if you can. When I visited on Black Friday, I got to the entrance at 7:15 A.M. (45 minutes before opening), stayed until closing at midnight, and got every major attraction and some minor attractions done at both parks in one day with time for some re-rides.

If it is not an early entry day, do Fantasyland first. None of those rides get Fastpass, and this is the largest and typically most crowded section of the park. Before you start rides, however, grab a Fastpass for Indiana Jones Adventure. You didn't mention Peter Pan's Flight, but if you want to do that do it first, then Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, then Alice in Wonderland, then Storybook Land Canal Boats. If you don't specifically care about being down at water level and only want to see the sets, I would pick the Casey Jr. Circus Train instead as it usually has a shorter wait, takes less time, and lets you see almost all the same scenery. Anyway, next do the Matterhorn Bobsleds, then head to Tomorrowland.

By now, you should be eligible for another Fastpass, so grab one for Space Mountain. It is very different from the Florida version, and is a definite must-ride. Other than Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage (which is usually not worth the tremendous wait it gets), everything else in Tomorrowland is similar to its Florida twin. Once you have your Fastpass, backtrack through Fantasyland to Toontown.

In Toontown, you will want to get a Fastpass for Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin, as it is a unique ride and the Fastpass machines are not hooked up to the rest of the system (you can have a Fastpass for this AND any other attraction at the same time). Now, this is the part you might not want to follow. I know you said no It's a Small World, but during the holidays Disneyland has a version of the attraction called Small World Holiday, and it is (at least in my opinion) superior to the regular version and definitely worth checking out. I understand if you really don't want to do it, but if you change your mind, now (or when you return to Roger Rabbit) would be a good time.

Either way, head into Frontierland and ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad if the wait isn't that long, then head to Pirates. This ride shouldn't have that long of a line, as it is the highest capacity attraction in the park. Once you get off Pirates, either ride or grab a Fastpass for Haunted Mansion as, although not as large as the Florida version, it has a unique holiday version as well themed to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Once you are done with that, go use your Fastpasses and get on other rides you want to do that you skipped earlier. If you want to see Fantasmic, go to the last showing of the night. If you change your mind and want to ride Splash Mountain (which is a bit different from the Florida one, but not that significantly), do it at night during or after Fantasmic for a fairly short wait.

It is definitely possible to do Disneyland in one day during a holiday period, but it is difficult. The park is very crowded, and being there opening until closing is definitely required. On my Black Friday visit, it took two or three hours before waits started to build. Now, since crowd patterns could be different, you may not get everything done. However, with planning it is possible. Finally, if you have to go on an early entry day, follow the advice above, but ride Space Mountain first (no fastpass), swap Alice in Wonderland and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and skip Peter Pan's Flight.

One note about park hopping. $105 is a lot to pay, and it will be crowded, but it can be done. Unlike Walt Disney World, at Disneyland park hopping is literally walking out the gate and walking a couple hundred feet across a plaza to the other park. In the event that you change your mind, hit only Little Mermaid, California Screamin', Grizzly River Run, Tower of Terror, and Monsters, Inc. in California Adventure (the last two are optional, but TOT is different (supposedly not as good) from the one in Florida, and Monsters, Inc is unique to the park). Use single rider/Fastpass wherever you can, and you can do these rides in about four hours. Toy Story Midway Mania and Soarin' Over California are the biggest draws in DCA, but since both exist in Florida they aren't worth the time investment.

Whatever happens, enjoy your visit and just try to have a great time!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted September 25, 2011 at 8:19 PM
You know, I wasn't too impressed with DL's Space Mountain, hmmm.

Anyway, the park is going to see more crowded that it actually is because of size. If you are ok with WDW crowds, DL crowds shouldn't be a problem, but there is less space so it looks more crowded.

One thing I always keep in mind at DL: Walt Disney did not think it was going to be a wild succes and thus was a bit conservative when building attractions with lines. I have seen lines spill out into the street. Walt Disney wanted to make a nice park and ended up creating the greatest Theme Park on the planet. Its kinda funny to think about him trying to build this place. If he would have known what we all know now, I doubt he would have built it where he did.

From Andrew Carrieri
Posted September 25, 2011 at 9:06 PM
On my 2009 DL visit I really enjoyed Pirates, Indiana Jones, and Haunted Mansion.
I didn't like the Matterhorn-it was way too rough and not at all thrilling. I believe they are changing the seating configuration though to one person cars so that may help.
I, like a couple of previous posters,was dissapointed with Space Mountain. I felt the WDW version was a funner/more thrlling ride. The WDW version was more wild while the DL version just felt like I was going in a straight line (i.e. not enough vertical direction changes). I'm not sure but I think the smaller single-file WDW seats are a benefit in this regard.

From Nick Markham
Posted September 26, 2011 at 3:13 PM
^You must be confused. WDW's Space Mountain should feel more like going in a straight line because, well, technically its layout is that of a glorified wild mouse coaster.

IF you rode DL's Space Mountain pre-2005, that does not count. You are dropping nearly the entire time along with spiraling through darkness and awesome music.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted September 26, 2011 at 9:43 PM
No, sadly, I went in 2010. I enjoy the WDW version better. Sorry folks!

From Nick Orlando
Posted September 27, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Hi Amy! As a poster who lives in Orlando and is very familiar with MK at WDW I can tell you that you will love Disneyland! It will feel familiar to you, but also new at the same time!

My advice is to give yourself enough time to do it all, and bring a sweater. We went in Nov., and when the sun was out we were hot, but if we went in the shade we were cold!

BTW Dominic you are mistaken about Space Mountain being a clone-- they certainly are not! Both were custom designed for their domes, and the DLR version was completely redone in 2005. I prefer the more modern, smooth track from DLR- but each to their own!

Have a great trip Amy!

From Nick Markham
Posted September 27, 2011 at 3:29 PM
^Because it is unusual spelling. ;D

From Andrew Carrieri
Posted September 27, 2011 at 5:04 PM
To expand on Nick's Orlando's point here are some differences between the 2 domestic Space Mountains:
1)DL's has only one track-WDW's has 2.
2)DL's has side by side seating a la Rockin' Roller Coaster at DHS.
3)I found WDW's more "wild" as I mentioned above though this is subjective
4)Completely different queues-DLs is mostly ouside under a canopy on an elevated platform before you enter the ride building and walk down to the loading area. The queue's location btw is horribly located at the end of the Pizza Port hallway-I couldn't find it until I asked a soda vendor. WDW's queue is completely indoors and apparently has games now like Soarin' (haven't been since the refurb).

From Zack McDonald
Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:49 AM
Be at the park at opening and go get a Fast pass for Indiana Jones, Then go to the Matterhorn Followed by all the rides in Fantasyland. You will be able to ride all of the dark rides( Mr. Toad, Alice in Wonder, etc) with very little waiting time. Fantasyland can be finished in 90 minutes if you go when the park opens.

Disneyland is great!

From Andrew Carrieri
Posted September 28, 2011 at 11:57 AM
Also, I believe both Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain have single rider lines, althougn not well advertised. Use these if they're still available.

From Daniel Etcheberry
Posted September 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM
No one in here recommends Finding Nemo; is it not worth it?

From Nick Markham
Posted September 28, 2011 at 5:52 PM
It is a unique ride experience, it is just not worth the long wait in time. It moves very slowly and is not as exciting as I have heard 20,000 Leagues once was.

Then again, I rode a real submarine during my vacation to Hawaii, so maybe that made it feel less exciting...

From Cristian Alvarez
Posted September 28, 2011 at 8:49 PM
Nemo is ok if there is little or no wait. Very slow moving loading and makes you sleepy

From Cristian Alvarez
Posted September 28, 2011 at 8:49 PM
Nemo is ok if there is little or no wait. Very slow moving loading and makes you sleepy

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