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#211962 - 11/27/10 05:43 AM Equipping to Survive at Disneyland.
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
So my wife has been bugging me to go to Disneyland in Anaheim all year, so off we go today on Black Friday because we thought that all the families would be raiding the Costcos, Wal-Marts and Best Buys for the rock-bottom deals.

I now would like to submit my recommendations on equipping oneself to survive a day at Disneyland. These are must-have items for your DSAK:

A pen or pencil to be certain to circle your exact location on the back of your parking receipt where you left your car (Goofy 5 D, for example). The parking structures are truly gargantuan there.

A hat with a bill and sunglasses. By the time you remember that the Christmas parade starts in 15 minutes, the only place left to sit will be with the intense California sun blazing down directly into your eyeballs.

5 layers of clothing for your upper body (a short sleeved t-shirt, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater with a turtle neck, and finally a warm coat). When you arrive early at D-land, it will be freezing cold (Note: Freezing cold to a Californian is anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit). By the time you find your seat in the blazing sun for the Christmas parade in early afternoon, you will have had to progressively strip down to your short-sleeved t-shirt to keep from roasting.

Some bottled water. Actually, a lot of bottled water. This will eliminate the necessity of walking around asking all the park "castmembers" where the nearest water fountains are (only some of which operate with sufficient pressure to keep your mouth off the bubbler).

Some Disney "survival rations". You will immediately regret not having these when you find out that a medium-sized turkey sandwich costs $13 with a small side of baked beans, and a smallish hot-fudge sundae costs $7. Actually, the best dining option by far in the entire place is a bag of salt-water taffy for $2.

A small folding stool/sitting device. You will quickly find that all the park benches in the entire place are all taken by individuals waiting to watch the Christmas parade, and the only place left to sit is on top of a very skinny fence rail.

Earplugs. On your way to and from the park, you will undoubtedly ride in one of the trams, and the decibel level of the guy in the rear with the microphone instructing you not to exit the vehicle "until it comes to a complete stop" is just shy of 120 decibels, and no matter where you sit there will be a speaker directly over your head.

Comfortable hiking shoes. Disneyland is nothing if not people wandering around aimlessly over considerable distances looking for the entrance to this or that attraction, or meandering back and forth past each other in the long folded lines waiting to get into those attractions.

So equipped, you will probably have a passably enjoyable day (as I did) at D-land.

Oh, and not to be missed: by far the most impressive things about the whole place (to me, a baby boomer who remembers only being able to watch the very beginning of Disney's "Wonderful World of Color" show on Sunday nights because my mom and dad hustled us out of the house to go to Sunday night church services) were:

1) the stunning night-time view from in front of the larger-than-life statue (titled "Partners") of Walt Disney gripping the hand/paw of his little creation Mickey Mouse with the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background dripping in spectacular Christmas lights, and

2) the completely breath-taking and magical original Abe Lincoln animatron show in the theater not too far from the entrance to the park. I believe this was in the park when it first opened, or nearly so. They must have upgraded the animatron figure of Lincoln, because, even though we were sitting front row center, when the curtain and lights went up and Lincoln began moving his fingers and then stood up from his chair and began looking around the crowd and talking, it was as though Abe Lincoln was standing there alive right before your eyes. Even his eye pupils appeared to be moving. Absolutely spine-tinglingly awesome.

Those two things alone were completely worth the $76 (or whatever it was) price of admission. Plus the $13 turkey sandwich.

Oh, and BTW, all the families were not at Costco, Wal-Mart, or Best Buy on Black Friday.

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#211963 - 11/27/10 06:00 AM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: sotto]
ZenEngineer Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/15/06
Posts: 86
Loc: Northern California
Good list.

Something we do is rent one of the lockers on Main Street. Largest locker is $10 for all day and is worth it to store water, food, jackets, and a blanket to sit on for the fireworks show. It's only a short hike from anywhere in the park, and saves my back from having to carry it all day.

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#211965 - 11/27/10 06:06 AM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: ZenEngineer]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Originally Posted By: ZenEngineer
Good list.

Something we do is rent one of the lockers on Main Street. Largest locker is $10 for all day and is worth it to store water, food, jackets, and a blanket to sit on for the fireworks show. It's only a short hike from anywhere in the park, and saves my back from having to carry it all day.


That's a BIG 10-4, Zen. We saw a lot of people going into an innocuous looking little building and decided to check it out. It was the locker building you mentioned, and scads of people were making good use of it as you suggested. VERY good point.

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#211981 - 11/27/10 03:08 PM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: sotto]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Good points. I grew up 10 miles away with season passes for years. Please tell me you didn't miss It's A Small World decked out in Xmas lights - that's stunning (and virtually "required" on a date).

Now, having just said all that... I second the water and food. Back before California Adventure swallowed up their parking lot, you could run across the street to McDonald's for lunch; now it's a nightmare to do that. Food at least is the same price, whereas the ticket prices creep up annually.

Recommend a couple trash bags if you're doing the "wet" rides. Or duck to the bottom as you land, and most of the water passes over you.

A watch, for the start of the events, and knowing to arrive 15-30 minutes early for the line or to get a seat (line for attractions like The Golden Saloon).

And, yes, Abe was upgraded a couple years back. It was sorely in need of one!

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#211985 - 11/27/10 04:04 PM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: MDinana]
librarian Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 34
Loc: Conroe, Texas
And you need the antidote tablets for getting the song out of your head..."It's A Small World After All"!!! grin

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#211991 - 11/27/10 06:39 PM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: sotto]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077

Quote:
Some Disney "survival rations". You will immediately regret not having these when you find out that a medium-sized turkey sandwich costs $13 with a small side of baked beans, and a smallish hot-fudge sundae costs $7. Actually, the best dining option by far in the entire place is a bag of salt-water taffy for $2.




You would need quite a substantial dead fall trap to tackle the indigenous wildlife when gathering food at Disneyland. whistle

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#211993 - 11/27/10 07:11 PM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: MDinana]
sotto Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/04/03
Posts: 450
Originally Posted By: MDinana
Good points. I grew up 10 miles away with season passes for years. Please tell me you didn't miss It's A Small World decked out in Xmas lights - that's stunning (and virtually "required" on a date).


Ha, definitely. We caught "It's a Small World". One thing a little off-putting was they seemed to be shutting most things down around 7:30 or so and kind of forcing folks to go over to the pond for the show and fireworks display. Maybe they were saving electricity.

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#211998 - 11/27/10 10:09 PM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: sotto]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Good advice sotto.

I didn't see any mention of sunscreen. Carry some.

A hat is vital. I would pick a hat with all-round wide brim instead of a baseball cap that leaves the ears exposed but that's just how I roll.

Walking shoes and comfortable clothing are vital.

These sorts of places are more enjoyable if you aren't loaded down with a huge amount of stuff. Look around, or ask, about storage lockers. These are usually set up near a central area, often with bathrooms and other amenities, and can become a staging area for families. This applies even more for people with kids. Having several sizes of bags at hand allows you to stuff the big one in the locker and take a butt pack or tiny duffel, with minimum supplies of the most vital gear, mostly bottled water and snacks, with you.

If you get there when it first opens observe any looping rings of attractions and which way the crowd is breaking. Most people seem to favor turning right and going around the loops counter-clockwise. If they mostly go one way; you go the other. The advantage is that you avoid the crowds and have rides and attractions to yourself for a few hours.

While you are planning a visit call the 'visitor services', or whatever they call it, office. They can give you little gems like what days and day/s of the week see the fewest people. The difference between a day when there is no waiting for a ride and one where you wait an hour is substantial. Major holidays and Fridays are often the most crowded. The day/s after a major holiday and the middle of the week are often the least crowded. But call and ask. Don't assume.

They will know these things, they keep track, and are more than happy to see people shift their visit from a crowded time to a less well attended time. It helps you have a better time and helps them out. Ask about discounts for off-peak visits.

Ask about discounts every chance you get. Visitor services and courtesy centers usually know all the inside tricks. Too few people use what they offer.

Disney and associated businesses offer a multitude of discounts. But they aren't always big on letting you know about them. Most of these places have some sort of military discount. Many have a first-responded discount. Teachers and students may get a discount on some days. Senior citizens often see discounts. But you have to ask.

Going to a particular gas station, eating at a select restaurant, or staying at a hotel before you get to Disneyland may get you a small discount. Keep receipts. Some of these offers are good. Others not so much. Paying extra for overprices services to get a minuscule discount is no bargain. The offers direct from the Disney visitor services office are usually well worth it.

Keep a single use packet of your favorite headache remedy in your pocket. That and a couple of bandaides are all the FAK you need.

Don't bother carrying a full FAK. Disney has FAKs that would make you drool. Peek behind a few corners and you will find handy FAKs, AEDs, stretchers and fire extinguishers. They give people with EMT training and advanced lifesaving certification preference in hiring. They keep emergency personnel on hand. Disney may be an overly sanitized and plastic version of the world but it is also very safe. The entire place is set up for grandparents and small children and making sure they are protected.

Such places often strike me a cloying, saccharine, and artificial. The trick for adults in these sorts of places is to bring out your inner child. Be silly and childish. Forget reserve and being cool. Be silly, make a game of everything. Relax, laugh, cue off of the setting. If pirates are the theme; be a pirate. Have fun.

Down here in Florida we have Disneyworld. Several times the size of the Anaheim operation and a bit closer to the equator. The sun can be brutal and walking distances are considerable longer. If you do the Florida thing plan accordingly. You can stay a day at Disneyland. Several days at Disneyworld.

Anything more than three days of Disney theme music is consider cruel and unusual punishment that may entitle you to refugee status in the Netherlands.

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#212000 - 11/28/10 12:22 AM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: sotto]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
My Lady & I,Go to Disneyland about Twice a Year,sometimes bringing relatives/friends along,of whom haven't been there since the 50's/60's.I bring a daypack & fanniepack,Loaded with supplies,ie.4-bottles of water, Aspirin,Hard candy,Anti-Everything meds,Tagamet,Moleskin,2-ponchos,2-jackets,2-thin gloves,2-xtra shoelaces,etc.& At some point I've had to use everything,or have given other folks,something to help them out,which makes Visiting Disneyland,A Grand Time rather than a Bummer!We alway's arrive at 9am,Go directly to the Carnation Cafe,Eat a Decent breakfast,then go to All the anticipated rides/Get Fast Passes(Fast Passes are located in off-set area's,Adjacent to the entry points of Most rides,Fast passes allow you to Circumvent standing in line for 30 minutes or more,but you must be within the time frame allocated on the Pass,which is usually 1 1/2 hrs Very Slick system,Indeed!),for All of them,& Then We are set up for Any other attractions,Way before hand!You can Alway's get your hand Stamped,& Go to Downtown Disney to Eat,of Which has Tons of places to choose from,& Usually No Lines at All,Plus there are many Bars thru out,should you decide to cop a buzz,If Stressed out,then you can mosey on back into Disneyland,& Have a Good Time,Regardless of dis-position,etc.It's a Good Point to Anticipate,Spending $250 bucks for 2 people,If you dont have that at Minimum to spend,I suggest Not going.If you go Cheap,You should Expect to have a Cheap-Time!

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#212003 - 11/28/10 01:03 AM Re: Equipping to Survive at Disneyland. [Re: Art_in_FL]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Originally Posted By: Art_in_FL

Anything more than three days of Disney theme music is consider cruel and unusual punishment that may entitle you to refugee status in the Netherlands.


I'm one of those folks who are Disney adverse after 72 hours - my wife however can spend up to 5 days. So we've had some trips where I'm psychotic on day 4-5 but she and the kids are just fine. Its just a matter of how much you can tolerate. Know your limitations. Fair's fair, I was also stuck in the middle of Its A Small World for almost 1 hour when the ride shut down, and the small current couldn't carry us out. The water stopped, but the music carried on, and on, and on. Disney ended up hauling us out of our boats and walking us out the emergency exits, a kind of long process involving ladders. So I'm not a fan of Its a Small World... little Icelandic singing and dancing dolls still cause me to react, sorta like some people and clowns...

And moving pretty far from basic preps, but the Internet is your best friend on this one, try sites like mouseplanet.com to assemble your game plan for attacking the park for maximum rides and minimum lines, find out about promotions, schedules, discounts etc. Choosing the best time of year to go to DL is key, our best trip ever was mid-December, when they have the whole park decked out in holiday decorations, put on Christmas shows, almost every ride was up and running, and (California) kids are still in school, so crowds were very small. Walk on any ride we wanted. Also by using FlexPass and taking a few days to see the park(s), it gives you the freedom to walk away in the afternoon, take a nap, go swimming, relax, eat a meal, and head back to the park for the evening. Short hours don't matter as much when you have an extra day to do the park.

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