Last week I had the opportunity to visit Katerina in California after a very long time apart (we’ll touch more on that in coming posts). She had been wanting to go to Disneyland for a long time and this was our chance.
I had never been to Disneyland before, Katerina is more familiar with it. My vision of it was this big theme park with some cool rides, a lot of disney characters walking around, lots of lines to walk through, and little kids running around. I guess I was mostly right, but I was still quite surprised by the massive size of the park and the equally massive crowds.
One thing Katerina insisted on was arriving at the park before it opened at 8 AM so we would be some of the first in line. It didn’t really work out like that but we were still there early enough for it to be a completely different experience. I didn’t realize the joy of an empty park at the time having never been through peak hours. I later saw just how important it is to arrive as early as possible. As the day went on we realized the best plan is to go all out in the morning and do as much as possible then start to relax as it gets more crowded and try to last until the less crowded closing hours. After the fireworks there was a huge migration to the gates, but there were still two good hours left for rides.
The Disney Mobile Magic app was probably the single greatest supplement to having a fun experience. There’s nothing worse than walking through what feels like miles and miles of people to find out a ride is temporarily unavailable. This app put everything on the map and told us how long the stand by and fastpass wait times were. It was so easy to look at the phone and say, “Radiator Springs Racers has a 75 minute wait time, let’s get a fastpass and ride the roller coaster.” By the way, Radiator Springs Racers is still pretty new, so it’s always packed.
Disneyland is packed full of things to do and see, but with good planning and lots of enthusiasm we were able to have the complete experience in only two days. I’ll never forget that first drop on The Twilight ZoneTower of Terror and how very unprepared I was.