The husband wondered why we didn’t get “First Time” buttons to wear around Disneyland. Two reasons—they weren’t offered to us at our resort upon check-in (and yes, I could have asked for the pins at Guest Services or an Information Stand) and the other was that with our matching shirts, lanyards, command of Fastpass, and park bag full of essentials, who would believe we were “first timers.” Yes, it was our first time to Disneyland, but it didn’t take us long to get the lay of the land. And, when other guests and Cast Members realized we were veterans of the park in the East, we were bombarded with questions.
Which do we like better? This was the question of the week. And, it is a difficult question to answer. It is going to be answered in spurts as various parts in each resort are better. I have already written—planning for a Walt Disney World trip is better/easier. Click here to read more. The July weather in California was certainly a plus!
What were our favorite rides? Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Radiator Springs, and Matterhorn Bobsleds were tops for us. We lost count of the number of times we rode each of the attractions. Extra Magic Hours, Fastpass, and Single Rider lines allowed us to get access to these attractions multiple times per day.
What surprised us? We were surprised by the lack of use of Fastpass. Guests, new and experienced, have no idea how to use Fastpass. I’m going to dedicate an entire post to this as two Cast Members—Jessica and Mickey—and I had a 20-25 minute conversation about this at the resort and they are reflecting on how they are going to greet guests to help them understand the use of Fastpass. And, after visiting with a local gentleman, there are many misperceptions about Fastpass. Also, we heard Cast Members giving incorrect information to guests about Fastpass.
What irritated you? There were two “park peeves” that stood out this trip. One—the backpack oblivious. This actually started at the airport when someone with a backpack was standing in front of the sink washing their hands with a backpack on their back not realizing that the garbage can was right behind them and therefore the path to the sink on the other side was completely blocked. Folks wearing backpacks need to realize that they have an additional 12-18 inches sticking out of their backs when they turn, stop, and maneuver.
Two—how the queue at Indiana Jones at Disneyland is abused. This is an extremely popular attraction and we witnessed line jumping from the exit row back into the queue, fake injuries in wheelchairs (we saw a young man need a wheelchair to get into the attraction and then walk the entire way out of the attraction while his friend rode in the wheelchair—and yes, when I saw him I told him that I was glad he was “better.”) We also saw athletic young men carrying in a 7 or 8 year old girl wearing a princess dress with an entire leg in a cast into the attraction. You’re telling me that this little girl wants to ride this ride? The attraction requires guests to be in “good health” as it is an intense, jarring attraction. If my child was in a cast I would question the safety of riding at all. “Hey, my niece broke her leg. Let’s take her to Disneyland and use her to get on Indiana Jones!” We did not see this type of abuse on any other attraction.
What was the best thing you did? I am going to re-state this question as to what were the smartest things we did. There were several:
- Booking dining packages for night time spectaculars was a smart thing. It made seeing Fantastmic and World of Color easier. And, using meal vouchers for character dining.
- Bringing a portable charger. We watched people searching for plug ins—which were only in the bathroom entrances—to charge their phones. With the portable charger, I could plug in the phone and charge on the go. Then, re-charge the charger overnight.
- Using Fastpass
- Taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours—which are only in the mornings.
- A Walk in Walt’s Footsteps Tour—best decision ever!
- Taking afternoon breaks. I have resisted this at Walt Disney World because it was a lot of work to take a break—get out of the park, take the bus, walk to the room, etc. But at Disneyland, it was effortless to take a break. We were at the pool within minutes of leaving the park, especially when using the resort entrance at the Grand Californian. The parks are designed to make it difficult for guests to leave, but this entrance/exit was easy to maneuver.
That sums up most of the questions that were posed to us during our trip. There were some comments that made us smile.
When I was returning to our resort on the last night, a man said that if we took any more trips we would need bigger shirts (as all of our trips were listed on the back of our shirts). I replied, “Or smaller font.” He smiled and made a pitch for Aulani. Good to recognize another Disney fan! That same day, a family I saw pushing a stroller and even being escorted by a VIP Tour guide, when I overheard the mom saying, “Look, there’s Cinderella’s Castle.” Hmmm. . .. NOPE! This is Disneyland and that castle is Aurora’s, also known as Sleeping Beauty. I had a moment with Cinderella shortly after that and I told her the story. We both laughed and I suggested that she tell Aurora that she was going to make the castle at Disneyland her summer home. She agreed! Speaking of Aurora, we never did see her. Maybe she was sleeping.