What Disneyland attraction am I sinning by not doing yet?

July 7, 2017, 6:03 AM

I've probably spent about a dozen total days at the Disneyland Resort parks in my lifetime and have pretty much always focused on doing all the headliner attractions at least once and then repeating with time. For my trip this August (next month) I've been thinking that maybe I should try something new. My last trip November 2015 I did the following all for the first time and enjoyed it.

- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Pinocchio's Daring Journey
- Snow White's Scary Adventures
- Mickey's Magical Map (first time I'd watched any stage show with the exception of Aladdin at the Hyperion in DCA)
- Paint the Night (first time watching a parade)
- Plaza Inn (first time actually sitting down to watch a meal)

Now I'm wondering what else I'm missing! I only have one day and am planning to get what I want out of Disneyland and DCA. These are the things I've never done before.

- Peter Pan's Flight
- Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (or anything in Toon Town)
- Disneyland Monorail
- Sailing Ship Columbia
- Mark Twain River Boat
- Davy Crockett Canoes
- Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln
- Casey Jr. Circus Train
- Storybookland Canal Boats
- Any of the little bands on Main Street or in New Orleans Square
- Any of the little shows or games in Frontierland

I'm not counting things like the carousel or Dumbo or Astro Orbiter because I know I don't care about those.

What am I missing most? What I love most about an attraction is being able to laugh or smile the whole time. I'm not necesarilly concerned about just seeing the classic Disney attractions though those get some bonus points. Thanks!

Replies (13)

Edited: July 7, 2017, 10:08 AM

Do the canoes. You'll get to see the new river, and the canoes are the most fun way around if you're into the physical activity. (Your arms are the ride system!)

Then I'd vote for Roger Rabbit, the Monorail, Story Book Land, and Mr. Lincoln.

Damn. I think I'm going to steal that itinerary, actually!

Edited: July 7, 2017, 10:32 AM

It's really going to be fun to see what the gang here suggests for you. This is a passionate bunch with a lot of opinions.

Here are my ideas:

- Visit the Main Street Cinema and pass a little time watching the black and white silent movies. It's a good place to escape the crush of the crowd and helps you remember what entertainment was like to people years ago.
- Take a ride on one of the Main Street vehicles. I personally love the fire truck, but getting to sit in the front seat on the second story deck of the Omnibus is also lots of fun.
- Stand on the back of The Columbia sailing ship and take in the view of New Orleans Square as the ship pulls away from dock and then again as it sails back around Tom Sawyer's Island towards the dock. Seeing the Frontierland and New Orleans's square through the sails and ropes of the ship is pretty spectacular.
- Have lunch at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante at a table with a view of Big Thunder Mountain. The food is great, and it's fun to watch the trains make the final turn back to the station after the ride.
- Spend a little extra time waiting to sit in the pilots cabin on the Monorail, and stay on for a complete loop. PUT YOUR CAMERA away and enjoy the experience. Check YouTube for recordings you can view later.

Edited: July 7, 2017, 6:25 PM

Columbia is worth exploring inside, under the deck. Hope it reopens soon. Storybook Canals is quite a wonderful trip to see animated miniatures. The railroad will be a all new ride after the river remodel. The diorama is updated.

Since you didn't say it, Guardians is all new and the Season of Heroes is worth exploring, but you should have an extra day to see them.

I'm wondering if you're trolling since you insist you only have one day. You really shouldn't bother with minor attractions.

July 7, 2017, 8:53 PM

Peter Pan: There's a reason why this attraction has consistently long lines, longer than the other Fantasyland dark rides. Did you like the Pinocchio ride or Alice in Wonderland? Peter pan give you the illusion of flying in a pirate ship, since the pirate ship you are riding is suspended from the top of the track. Worth doing at least once, although probably at the beginning or end of the day because of long lines. You didn't mention Mr. Toad on your lists, but this might be a nice alternative to Peter Pan if those lines for Pan are too long.

Canoes: I second Robert's vote. The Rivers of America is wonderful to see from the water level instead of high up on the Mark Twain or Columbia. Although the lines for Mark Twain or the Columbia move a lot faster, if you've never been on either of those.

Are you a fan of Disney animation or cartoons in general? If so, Toontown and the Roger Rabbit ride can be a lot of fun, especially exploring the gags and jokes around the Toontown buildings (not a listed attraction on the park map or your list).

Have you seen the Tiki Room and had a Dole Whip? The Dole Whip, a pineapple flavored soft serve is highly recommended.

Walking around New Orleans Square: Even with the loss of Court of Angels, this is the most elaborately themed area in the park and full of little discoveries if you are open to them.

Eating at the Blue Bayou restaurant. Do you enjoy the ambiance of the loading area for Pirates of the Caribbean and the first couple minutes of the ride, and do you have $40-50 to spend on a meal? Then this is the restaurant for you.

Sitting on the lower section of the Hungry Bear Restaurant and watching the ship traffic go by. Very peaceful and relaxing.

Either show in the little theater between the castle and the Frontierland entrance (used to be Carnation Gardens restaurant), especially if you like a tongue in cheek version of classic Disney stories like Beauty and the Beast or Frozen.

I might think of a couple more later.

Edited: July 7, 2017, 9:59 PM

Opinions are going to vary widely on this, but I would say the following:

-From what you have listed, I'd say Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is probably the highest priority. The current version of the show is fairly similar to the original, and it is a must see for anyone at all interested in American History. The Abraham Lincoln figure in the attraction is excellent as well, and is one of the most lifelike animatronics Disney has produced. This never draws a crowd, and is a great way to get out of the heat for a half hour in the afternoon.

-The next highest priority would probably be Peter Pan's Flight (assuming you haven't ridden a version of it elsewhere). While a bit on the short side, this is the most unique of the Fantasyland dark rides as it features suspended vehicles. It is also a classic from opening day, but with modern upgrades similar to those done to Alice in Wonderland (though to a slightly lesser extent). Capacity on this one is horrible (~550 per hour), so either ride it first thing in the morning (only if it's a non-early entry day), during the daytime parade, or in the evening after Fantasyland reopens following the fireworks.

-The other ride from your list I'd definitely recommend is Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin. While not the best dark ride, it is a quirky attraction that is way more fun than you'd expect based on a description. Additionally, this ride offers Fastpass, so if you plan those properly it can be ridden with a minimal time investment. While I do recommend checking this out, the rest of Toontown is pretty lackluster, so I'd skip the rest of the area unless you're waiting for a Roger Rabbit Fastpass.

Given that you've only got one day and you want to visit both parks, I can't really recommend taking the time to do anything else on your list this time. However, on a future trip that is either longer or only includes Disneyland, I highly recommend checking out Casey Jr. and Storybook Land, two classic rides that have survived since the early days (if you really want to do it this trip, pick one or the other). The Rivers of America attractions (Columbia, Mark Twain, and the Canoes) all offer different ways to see the same sights and are all worth doing, but I recommend trying one per visit rather than trying to do them all at once. Street shows and diversions are worth checking out for a few minutes if you stumble upon them, but I wouldn't plan them out on this short of trip. Lastly, the Disneyland Monorail is really only worth it if you're using it to get to or from Downtown Disney (and/or the hotels). As a ride, it's too much of a time investment for what it offers IMO.

July 10, 2017, 5:44 AM

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm just looking into ways to make this trip a little different. I think my choice will come down to where I am in the park and the wait times for the attractions you've suggested.

I intend to get all of what I want out of DCA in less than two hours including Extra Magic hour. Grad FP for GotG (which seems to be the only attraction giving FastPasses before normal park opening) and then go quick to RSR, Screamin, and Toy Story before getting on Soarin and heading back to GotG. It should be only about 30 minutes after normal park opening and I'll have done everything there and head over to Disneyland for most of the rest of the day except a quick trip back for World of Color.

Edited: July 12, 2017, 11:39 AM

I'd hesitate to give only 2 hours to DCA. We arrived an hour before opening, waiting for 45 minutes in the GotG FastPass distribution line, then waited another 45 minutes in the FastPass return line. That's an hour and a half right there.

July 13, 2017, 6:01 AM

Clayton, did that include Extra Magic Hour? My plan definitely requires no a short standby and FastPass line for GotG and RSR. That seems possible based on watching wait times with the Disneyland app.

July 13, 2017, 11:31 AM

Good point - no Extra Magic Hour in my scenario. That will certainly help! I still think it's quite a stretch to get the must-sees into two hours, but hey, I say go for it, and report back so we know how much of a rock star you are!

Edited: July 13, 2017, 11:50 AM

I think you're crazy to think you can get all that done in 2 hours, even in an empty park. Just the walk around from GotGMB to RSR to Screamin' to TSMM to Soarin' and out (without actually getting on any rides) would take at least 20-30 minutes. It's over a mile and a half to walk around DCA, and if you include all the walking through the queues, you're probably looking at almost 2.5 miles of just walking (not waiting or riding), which at an average walking pace of 3 MPH, you'd be looking at nearly 50 minutes of walking (between attractions and through queues). So unless you're running between attractions, half of your expected time is eaten up in just getting from ride to ride.

Then you have to consider that it actually takes time to ride some of those rides, even if the queues are empty. GotGMB and Soarin' are both about 15 minute experiences minimum when those attractions are walk-on. The others don't have any pre-shows or lengthy attraction times, but you'd have to think there's going to be some wait for at least the last couple of attractions you ride when the park opens for everyone. I think you'd be hard pressed to get through the DCA headliners in less than 3 hours, even using the Early Magic Hour and FP. Good luck to you, but don't be shocked if it takes longer than you expect before hopping over to Disneyland.

July 13, 2017, 11:44 PM

Ryan, if you want to complete DCA as quickly as possible, I recommend skipping the Fastpass and just jumping in line for Guardians of the Galaxy first thing. If you are at the park sufficiently early (20+ minutes before early entry starts) and head straight for the ride, you should be able to get on within a half hour or so. If you wait for a Fastpass, there is a chance your return time could be late morning by the time you pick it up (especially if Maxpass is active). After Guardians, try to get Radiator Springs Racers done before official opening as well (use single rider), then do the Paradise Pier attractions (Fastpass one while you ride the other if necessary), grab your World of Color Showpass, and stop by Soarin' on your way out. Two hours may be a little bit of a stretch, but you should be able to do all that and get over to Disneyland by about 10 A.M. (assuming EMH starts at 7 A.M.).

Edited: July 14, 2017, 9:02 AM

AJ, One of my big questions is how FastPass works during Extra Magic Hours. The app sometimes seems to indicate that FastPasses are available during that hour for GotG, RSR,and TSMM, but not every morning. This morning, for example, it didn't seem to show that any of those were having FastPass distribution during EMH but earlier in the week it did. It looks like the return time is never before normal park opening though.

MaxPass is making me rethink some of my strategy. It seems like it would make sense to go straight to GotG and then get an RSR FastPass as soon as they're available through the app. I'll be curious to see reports next week about how well the new system works.

July 16, 2017, 5:49 PM

Ryan, as a general rule, Fastpasses cannot be obtained or used until official park opening time. There may occasionally be exceptions, but for the most part you should just plan to do as many rides as you can during the extra hour. When I went shortly after the opening of Cars Land, I was stunned how many people spent most of their hour waiting for Fastpass distribution to start for Radiator Springs Racers. Meanwhile, I went straight to the ride, rode twice (used single rider, but the regular queue was posted as 20 minutes), did the other Cars Land rides, and was in line for Toy Story Midway Mania by official opening. If you truly want to complete DCA as quickly as possible, don't bother with Fastpass at all for that park, as the benefit doesn't really start until a couple hours after opening.

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