Disneyland tips from our own family’s vacation

by Mary
(Los Angeles)

For your website visitors who are looking for Disney related vacation ideas, I would like to share some Disneyland tips from our own family’s vacation experience. I should tell you that we have annual season passes so we speak from experience.

My husband and I and 5 year old Monica like to go to Disneyland, California in the summer because it is such a great place and it’s so very kid-friendly. This summer we went in June and stayed two nights at the Clarion Hotel.

The hotel was quite satisfactory in every way and we received a break on the price.

The first morning we left the hotel early enough to avoid traffic and make it to the park at 6:30am. The parking lot opens at 7am and the park opens at 8:00am.

For people with young children, here is my Disneyland tips #1. Be at the park when it opens and make a mad dash to Fantasyland. This is best done on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when they don't have magic morning hours.

Magic morning hours let the Disneyland hotel guests go to the park before other guests and they fill up fantasyland and make it busy, so it's not worth getting to the park at 8:00 am on those days. If you go on the other days when they don't have Magic morning hours, Fantasyland is clear and not crowded and the rides can be done numerous times.

The exception to all this is Peter Pan's flight which is always busy. So, to ride on it without a long wait make it your first ride of the morning. Be on Main Street before the park opens and as soon as the music sounds and they announce that the park is open run as fast as you can to Fantasyland.

Going right thru the castle is quickest way to the Peter Pan ride which is on the right. After that do Dumbo and the other Fantasyland rides. We enjoyed about 2 hours of park fun with hardly any lines. We then had breakfast on Main Street and my daughter took a nap in my lap. In the afternoons the park is usually quite busy, so we headed over to the parade at 3:30pm.

It's a Small World- Some rides are never that crowded and can be depended on in a crunch. They are "It's a small world", "Winnie the Pooh", "Tea Cups" and "Jungle Cruise". We really enjoyed the fireworks show and Fantasmic. The best place to view it is in New Orleans sitting by the river. Someone needs to grab a seat two hours before the show, but it is well worth it.

Ask the attendants and they will fill you in on where to sit. I did the waited waiting while my husband took daughter, Monica, to Goofy's house which is also never that busy and it's in Toontown.

It's like a play area for the kids. We loved the show although she was slightly scared when the evil witches appeared and the music became a little intense. Monica loved Mickey in the show and she calls it "water magic" and calls the fireworks "bang bang".

Fantasmic - We were at the park on a Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday we did the early morning routine which is described above and on Thursday since it was a magic morning we slept in late and just did the parade, less busy rides and Fantasmic and fireworks.

With our annual passes we can hop parks and also went to Playhouse Disney which Monica just loves. Also, after her nap on Thursday, she went swimming in the pool at the Clarion Hotel.

We like to take our meals when at the park in Downtown Disney, since it's less busy and the food is better. You can easily get to Downtown Disney by taking the monorail from Tommorrowland to Downtown Disney. Then enjoy some less hectic time eating at the Cajun fast food place while we listened to the jazz coming from Brennegans, next door.

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