I've been asked about "Tips" for visiting Disneyland...so here's a few
things that I hope will be helpful.
1. Be at the park when it opens. You can do a LOT of rides in the first couple of hours after the park opens when most of us lazy southern California people (who have to drive in from somewhere else) are still arriving. If you're not staying within walking distance make sure you allow enough travel time to be at the front gate when the park opens - if you're driving and parking at the Mickey and Friends parking structure, make sure you allow time for the tram ride, too. The parking structure usually opens an hour before the park does - though it opens at 7:30 on mornings when the park opens at 8:00.
2. Use Fastpasses, especially for popular rides like Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, and Soarin' Over California. Here's a tip...the Fastpass machines for Roger Rabbit's CarToon Spin at Disneyland and Grizzly River Rapids at DCA are not linked in with the rest of the Fastpass network, so you can get a Fastpass for either of those, and then right after that get a Fastpass for some other ride.
3. If you want to eat at the Blue Bayou, Ariel's Grotto, the Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie, or Goofy's Kitchen, make Priority Seating arrangements in advance by calling Disneyland Dining at 714-781-DINE (3463). And if there's *any* table service that you really, really want to try, make a PS in advance so you won't be disappointed. Sometimes you can walk up to table service restaurants and be seated without much of a wait, and sometimes you can't.
4. Toontown opens an hour after the rest of Disneyland does - and right after it opens is a great time to be there and interact with the characters before it starts to get crowded.
5. Saturdays and Sundays are going to be busy days at any time of year - unless it's raining. If you must be there on a weekend, be prepared for crowds and long waits. Attractions that are usually uncrowded even on busy days are: Disneyland, The First 50 Magical Years in the Opera House on Main Street, Innoventions in Tomorrowland, The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh in Critter Country, the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland, and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience in Tomorrowland. The first two shows of Aladdin and Jasmine's StoryTale Adventures are usually walk-ins, though later shows fill up.
6. If you have a ticket that allows you to parkhop, then do that. Disney's California Adventure (DCA) doesn't open until an hour or two after Disneyland does, so start your day at Disneyland, and when people start pouring into the park around 10-11:00, head over to DCA and get a Fastpass for Soarin', see Aladdin, ride Monsters, Inc., etc, and enjoy DCA while it's least crowded. If you want to head back to Disneyland later in the afternoon for the parade you can easily do that.
7. By all means spend time in the Animation Building at DCA. There's two different shows (Turtle Talk and Animation Academy) in there, plus interactive activities in the Sorcerer's Workshop. We like just sitting in the main gallery and watching all of the animation on the video screens - there are clips from almost all of the Disney animated movies. It's a nice place to relax and take a break, especially on a hot day.
8. See the Aladdin show at DCA. It's a wonderful live show with great musical numbers, comedy, elaborate staging and special effects. My favorite place to sit for overall viewing is the front row of the Mezzanine level, but I think if you're in the first couple of rows of the Orchestra section you feel like you're part of the show yourself!
Until next time,