Disneyland advice

Edited: December 2, 2016, 10:24 PM

My wife, 2 kids (4+6) and I are heading to Anaheim in late Jan/early Feb for 11 days. We're staying across the road from the park and will get a 10 day parkhopper (available in Australia for about US$70 more than a 5 day - for all 4 of us). Our plan will be to spend many 1/2 days in the parks so we don't overdo it for the kids I'm planning to do Legoland with them, and take my 6 year old to Universal as well.

My question is regarding shows and stuff. I've done Disneyland several times, and always skipped most of the parades and fireworks shows, but I think the kids would love them.

Which are the unmissable shows, and does anyone have any advice on best places for viewing etc. Also with world of colour, is it worth seeing as a dinner package, or is it better to fastpass and get in early for good front row spots?

Also, does anyone have any other good tips for young kids? We've booked the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique (my daughter is hooked on princess, much to my absolute delight.....), but I'm not sure what other cool things (preferably free) there are for little ones.

Replies (4)

Edited: December 2, 2016, 10:26 AM

Considering that you're going to be there for 10 days, how can you miss the evening shows and parades? You most certainly should not. It's best to wait on the curb at least 45 minutes before the parade (any parade). Pick a good spot in front of the castle so you don't move for the fireworks that may begin a bit later if you watch the can't miss Paint the Night Parade. Time it just right. The advice might be vice versa depending on the parade and fireworks schedule.

I've seen World of Color. The issue there is the view might not be so good since they reserved so may spots for the dining packages. I was able to snag a reserved spot for free when talking with a CM about the empty spots. Just before the show started, he waved me in.

Don't miss Frozen stage show. You need to be there an hour ahead. There's plenty of other shows that don't need advanced lining up, but you should if you want a good seat.

December 2, 2016, 6:31 PM

Unfortunately, you will be visiting at a time when it is possible there won't be a nighttime parade and/or fireworks. If they do offer these, expect them to possibly be weekends only, and expect the Main Street Electrical Parade and Fantasy in the Sky shows. My favorite place to view the fireworks is not right at the hub, but rather about a quarter of the way down Main Street (roughly in front of the Penny Arcade), but anywhere that you can see the castle and don't have your view blocked by trees is generally a fine spot. What I recommend doing is staking out a spot on Main Street near where you want to view the fireworks 30-45 minutes before the evening parade. Watch the parade from here, then once it passes head into the street and face the castle. If you aren't watching the evening parade (or there isn't one), just head to Main Street 30-45 minutes before the show and find a good viewing spot. Watching the daytime parade is a bit easier...just find a spot along the parade route about 30 minutes before showtime.

For other non-ride things at Disneyland, I definitely recommend doing the Jedi Training show. If you head here first thing in the morning, you'll be able to sign your kids up to participate in the performance (though spots fill in about an hour, so make sure you go here first). Kids also tend to like a lot of the playground elements in Toontown...despite the area's size, some kids could spend 2-3 hours here. If your kids are into character encounters, Fantasyland, Toontown, and Tomorrowland, all have meet and greets with princesses, Mickey & Friends, and Star Wars characters, respectively. Lastly, I have heard good things about the Fantasy Faire Royal Theater, but I haven't seen the show myself.

Over at DCA, your best option is to get a Show Pass for World of Color in the morning (pick it up next to Grizzly River Run) and get to the viewing area at least 30 minutes before the performance begins. The dinner package is unnecessary for that show to get good viewing. Best viewing is not at the very front of the viewing area, but at the front of the second tier, as those in the very front can get wet.

DCA does not currently offer a parade, but they do have more quality non-ride attractions than Disneyland does. The Animation building is something most kids absolutely love, as it is full of interactive shows and attractions. Plan to spend 45-75 minutes in here to check out the three main attractions (Animation Academy, Sorcerer's Workshop, and Turtle Talk with Crush), with more time needed if you want to do the Anna & Elsa Meet and Greet. If you have Frozen fans in your family, I definitely recommend seeing the show at the Hyperion Theater, but as the show is over an hour and requires arriving an hour before for the best viewing (though you can usually get decent viewing up until about 15 minutes before), I'd probably recommend skipping it if nobody cares for the property. Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is an absolute must when visiting with kids, as the whole area is one enormous playground with numerous different activities. Lastly, there is a Disney Junior show that always appears quite popular, though I have not seen it myself and cannot speak for the quality.

Legoland is a great park for children in that age range, and your kids may even enjoy it more than Disney. Many of the attractions are interactive, and with only a couple exceptions your entire family should be able to do everything at the park together. I'd personally recommend against Universal, as even a 6 year old might not be old enough to enjoy it. I suggest looking into Knott's Berry Farm as an alternative, as your entire family will be able to enjoy the park and the drive time from Anaheim is much less (15-20 minutes vs. an hour or more).

December 3, 2016, 4:04 AM

Thanks, some great advice in there

December 29, 2016, 12:45 AM

The previous reply's have some really great advice. I just spent 3 days at Disneyland ... Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas. The first two days were surprisingly enjoyable, the third sucked! Too many people on the third day.

I like the advice regarding watching a parade and then camping out in the middle of the street, or on the curb, for the fireworks. It worked really well for us. I was able to run and get a bread bowl with beef stew and a hot tea for me and my wife while we waited for the fireworks. It was fun to people watch during that time as well.

It's a tough call regarding the shows with young kids. I would say "see them" but it depends on the personality of your kids.

Let me know if you have any other specific questions. I might be able to help.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive