HOW TO SURVIVE A DAY AT DISNEYLAND
For most families from Australia, taking your children to Disneyland is just not always feasible. In between the $5000 in flights for the whole family, the currency exchange from AUD to US (not as good as you may think) and the 16 hour flight, it's an uphill battle. So when we had the opportunity to visit LA again with two other full grown adults, all four of us jumped at the opportunity.
Despite what people may think, Disneyland is not in LA, it's actually about an hours drive away in a place called Anaheim. As foreign tourists travelling without a car, getting there became our first hurdle. Thank god for Uber. We managed to get a ride for about $45 USD on way, split between four people it's almost ridiculous how cheap it is. If you're getting there early, and we recommend you do, make sure you watch the prices before booking. We watched the price go from $60, up to $140, down to $80 and then finally back to $45 in the space of twenty minutes. Peak hour traffic changes the fare rates on Uber, download Lyft as well and compare.
We arrived at 8.00 am on a Tuesday morning in peak season and the lines were already huge. Rides don't start until 9 am so spend the first half hour doing one of the following:
-Getting a coffee or a snack
-Mapping out your day's activities
-Heading to the area you want to start with first
-Looking through the shops
All are valid options depending on what your preferences are and can save you some time throughout your busy day. We opted for a coffee, which was brave before rides and a look at our maps. We decided to go straight to the Star Wars area first, get our Fast Past and explore.
For Disneyland newbies, here is a 101 on Fast Passes, otherwise known as the greatest saver to your precious Disneyland time EVER. Your admission ticket to the park also gives you access to a Fast Pass, designed to help you skip lines for big rides. Not every ride has one, just the most popular and usually the scariest ones, offer this feature. The best way to utilize this is to grab your Fast Pass, which usually allows you to start taking the ride an hour after it's been issued, and then explore the other rides. It's a good thing to note that your Fast Pass usually lasts for a one hour window and you are only able to have one pass at a time...oh and it's free. So if you get a pass issued at 1 pm, it will most likely be able to be used at 2 pm-3 pm. We skipped a 30 minute line at Indiana Jones and practically walked straight on.
Remember the basics, children need to be fed a lot earlier and then they crash about 5 pm, if you want to visit the areas more suited for smaller kids then keep that in mind. We started with our Fast Pass to Hyperspace Mountain and did the Buzz Lightyear ride in between. We then hit Space Mountain, did the Launch Bay ride and then finished off with a wander through the Star Wars display they have and a photo with Kylo Ren. We were done it just over an hour much to our disbelief. Some rides are more popular than others, such as Space Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain (never again). Remember to grab a Fast Pass for these ones and then move onto the smaller rides to kill time.
It sounds really basic but when you're high off Disney it's hard to remember the basics such as to drink water and eat food. Make sure you grab a bottle of water to hydrate and avoid sugar early on ( nobody got time for sugar crashes). We ate as late as possible, around 2 pm, to avoid huge crowds and waits. This paid off when we ate at the Hungry Bear Restaurant and most kids had eaten, we waited about ten minutes for food.