Disneyland, of course. The internet tickets are often less expensive than at the park (at the park, they've -got- you!) Bring a watch, because there are scheduled attractions, like shows and parades. The best way is to go at 7:30am- really get up and be at the gate (remember to have fun getting there!).
Often the park opens before its official starting time. That way, you can get on the ride of your choice! Be sure to get 'fast-passes' to every attraction that offers them (they give you a map- use it!). The fast-pass is a way to avoid standing in line, a sort-of 'take a number' approach that lets you come back at a clock time rather than standing in line. A big help to me is to bring a book (or music, or a game-boy), because a lot of time in Disneyland can be spent standing in lines!!
A survival tip: Never walk, if a ride can take you instead! The Disneyland Railroad is a sort of rapid-transit that runs all around the park. The Monorail can take you out to a DIsney Hotel. There are also vehicles down main street. Use these!
The food is expensive, and not that great- really consider bringing a sack lunch, or if you want to eat there, eat at the pavilions in the center and get an early reservation at the Blue Bayou in New Orleans Square.
California Adventure is truly fun, but less so. It's probably worth a day for every two at Disneyland.
Summer is the classic time to go, but it's VERY HOT, and VERY CROWDED! In my opinion, the best time to go is Christmas through New Years. They dress the park up beautifully, and it's pleasantly cool. The only disadvantage is that they may not have all the fireworks that they have in summer. Avoid January and February. Large parts of the park may be removed from service. It can be really pleasant if you hate crowds, and hot weather though.
There's really nothing else quite like it. The all-time favorite ride is probably the Matterhorn bobsled, the original Disney roller-coaster. There's also a log-slough ride themed on Brer Rabbit, and a futuristic roller coaster in Tomorrowland. Almost everybody loves 'It's a small world' 'Jungle cruise', 'Indiana Jones' Adventure', and 'Pirates of the caribbean'- be sure to get a fastpass, rather than standing in line. Take little girls to the Grotto on the side of Sleeping-beauty castle, and listen to the girl sing! They also love the story-book tour through the sleeping-beauty castle, and Fantasyland, especially 'Storybook land.' Adults should be sure to check out the shopping on Main street, and in New Orlean square. One of our favorites is the Golden Horseshoe Revew, a scheduled Old-West entertainment in Adventureland. For the fire-works and parade, if you want a confortable seat, come a half-hour early, or wear clothes that get dirty, and sit on the ground (which is what we do). Be sure to look at the gardening, and live music, which is incredible everywhere. At night, the pavilions in the center sometimes have dance-music. For kids with too much energy, go to Adventure Island in adventureland. There's a playground with caves!
California Adventure has three fabulous attractions: 1. First thing, get in, or get a fast pass to 'Soaring over California' 2. See the disney animation attraction at 'Hollywood'- all of them, because they are the living soul of Disney. 3. See 'The California Dream' My little kids love the muppet adventure in Hollywood. California Adventure also has a perfect beach-style Amusment Park Midway, a type of venue which is now nearly extinct in California, and lots of fun if you've never seen one.
If you're in Southern California, you absolutely must go to Disneyland.
Even if you don't have kids, Disneyland is a blast. The people who work there are paid to help you out, so ask. Ask them what rides they recommend and which restaurants they like, they love when people ask. If you're going to Disney's California Adventure, make sure you eat at the Soap Opera Bistro, the wait staff act like soap opera characters while they work, it's worth the price, if you were already planning on going there. If you want the feel of Disney without the price, go to Downtown Disney. It's right next to Disneyland, with several restaurants plus shops, a movie theater, and some clubs. It's a one stop date, but is just as much fun with a bunch of friends, and the only non-negotiable cost is parking, which is free for the first five hours.
Disneyland--when to go!
To left, my cousin Kristin and I taking a break in New Orleans Square in the Winter of 1999.
There is nothing better than Disneyland in the winter. I love it! Sure it is open for shorter hours and wearing shorts is not really advised, but it is generally sunny and warm-ish in Southern California then. Also, lines are shorter, and the crowds are much less. I have been to Disney both in the summer and winter (over 20 times, if you can believe it) and the winter is far preferable!!
Packing: Backpack, sweater for later in the evening (it can be cool), tennis shoes, teeshirt, khaki pants (for winter, shorts for summer), cotton socks, a hat, sunglasses, sunblock, water bottle (empty--fill it in park with water from water fountain), gum, etc.
Disneyland--some important tips to remember, if you decide to go!
To the left is me at Space Mountain first thing in the morning.
These tips apply if you only want to spend one day there, AND if you have no plans of going to California Adventure (the new Disney theme park, right next door to Disneyland--it has the biggest PARKING LOT in all of N. America):
1) Go a little earlier than opening time. You can get into an okay space, and you can get into line for tickets.
2) Once inside the park, beeline it for Futureland. For some reason, no one wants to ride Space Mountain that early...I don't understand what the thrill of riding it later in the day is, but most people go to Space Mountain in the afternoon.
3) You may want to exit Futureland at this point, because the other rides in that area do have crowds later on in the day, but getting to the other popular rides probably is more important.
4) Next on your agenda should be either Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Carribean or the Log Flume. These three are absurdly popular and should be done when there are less people around. Bonus--the Log Flume has a priority waiting list, so you can get a ticket for later in the day at a specified time. Much quicker line, too.
5) By this point, lunch should be calling. If you get it in the park, be prepared, it is expensive. You can leave Disney, get a return parking pass, and get something outside the park. Or pack a lunch, in a cooler, and go out to car at lunch and eat it there.
6) When you come back, head on over to the outdoor activities, cause most people are sick of the sun by this point.
7) Early evening most people want dinner. If you want dinner at one of the sit-down eateries, make sure to make a reservation early in the day, or you won't get into their resturants.
8) My advice is to have a quick snack and go on the Fantasyland rides, like the Matterhorn and Dumbo and Alice and the like. A lot of parents go back to the hotel or home when it is dinnertime and don't come back. Also, the It's a small world ride is never ever full. Go whenever you want, hey! Go twice, actually. :)
9) The end of the day is approaching. Do you really want to see that parade anyway? Go back to your favorite rides and ride them again.
By the way...my favorite is the Haunted Mansion at nine in the evening...SPOOKY.
I hope these tips help order your day!!
It is the original and MUCH smaller than Disneyworld, so it is not necessary to devote your whole vacation to things Disney!
Keep in mind the cost, which when I went (the last time) was around 40 dollars. OUCH!
The rides are tame, so it truly can be a family experience. I hate most roller coasters, but these are so easy, even I can handle them.
At left is me in the Alice in Wonderland Ride in Fantasyland. That is a big mushroom (what trip--sorry, pun intended!!).
disneyland is the place for kids of all ages!!!!!
we took a five day pass and needed ALL the 5 days.
you have to stay and see the fireworks during the off season its only on friday/sat night.... a little tip.... get there early!!!!! the crowd is huge!!!!
hey mickey & minnie....need i say more, ok i will
the rides at disneyland are extraordinary. our favorites.....haunted house (in New orleans),,, Raiders of the Lost Ark (in Adventure Land), and for the kids the go coaster (in toon town)
Disneyland - go early and avoid the queue by having the pass that allows you to 'book' your queue while you have fun at another station.
Universal Studios - go real early, crowds are bad for queues, but great for the atmosphere!
LA Science Centre - it is very informative and very well-done.
The Magic Kingdown, disneyland parade is great for all kids and adults alike. Take a little time out from the rides. It is on every day and most evenings.
Hell! It's one hell of a touristy destination, but hey, it IS the happiest place on earth! Growing up here in SoCal, we take it for granted, but everytime we go, we still have a great time!