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Original post made by Palo Parent, Greenmeadow, on Jun 11, 2007

We are trying to put together an impromptu trip to Disneyland over the summer for the little ones. What are your tips/tricks to maximizing the experience? What would you never do again knowing what you know now? Fly or drive? How to qualify for early admission to park. What's the best place to stay given that we have no reservations as of yet? Travel agent or not? Who has set aside rooms if you use their other products or services? What are the tips/tricks to avoiding the massive crowds and lines? C'mon people, give it up, I know you are out there.

Comments (10)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 12, 2007 at 7:08 am

Driving is definitely economical .. but depending on how your kids do in the car, I would suggest leaving the Bay Area later in the afternoon. The main advantage is (specially with the younger kids) - they are excited about going and hence the first three hours or so are easy. After the dinner break, they tend to sleep in the car for the rest of the journey.

Do not get caught in the commute traffic in Los Angeles areas .. its a nightmare.

We have rented suites along the main street (forget its name). Never stayed in the Disney hotels, partly because we couldn't really afford them after the actual Disney expense. The suites have worked out good - since it gives a chance to cook/eat a good breakfast and dinner at home. I always thought the junk food in Disney is way too more expensive ..

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Posted by fun
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 12, 2007 at 8:58 am

Just buy: "The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2007" Web Link

You should also look at booking through AAA if you are a member.

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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2007 at 9:36 am

You can get access to the park early if you stay at a Disney Hotel. I think the food options in California Adventure are better than Disneyland, but the rides are better in Disneyland. Take advantage of those line cutting tickets, I forgot their name. You can get one for the longer lines, go ride a short line ride, or eat a meal, come back and cut most of the line.

Try to go before July 4th. The worst crowds are between July 4th and Labor Day. At least they were when I worked there, a long time ago.

Have fun.

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Posted by Marge
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 12, 2007 at 9:47 am

For us, we go to Dineyland as early as possible. Then around lunch time, (there's a McDonalds accross Harbor Blvd.) then to the hotel for a swim and a long nap. Then to California Adventure where the lines are shorter in the afternoon (than they are at DL). Then dinner, maybe another swim, and then back to DL for as long as the kids can hold out.

We have found that if we sort of bounce back and forth from one thing to another, that we get enough down time, and less stress. The couple of swims during the day are refreshing, and relaxing.

Hope you have a great time.

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Posted by Palo Parent
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 12, 2007 at 9:14 pm

Thanks to all for your helpful comments. I have the book: "The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2007" on order. I never knew something like that even existed.

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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Its a great book, there is one for disneyworld too, it was very helpful when we went.

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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 13, 2007 at 9:21 am

Don't take Grandmother so that she can babysit in the evening--she won't like it.

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Posted by mnaar
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2007 at 7:53 am

Definitely follow-up on suggestion to go thru AAA if you're a member because they offer discount admission tickets as well.

We stay at Howard Johnson which is within walking distance and has a couple of restaurants between it and the park. They also have a nice pool.

Have one of you bring a book so you can read while you reserve a spot to watch parade up close. It is really frustrating for kids not to be upfront and see the floats and characters. I'd recommend carving out your spot with a blanket up to an hour before the parade starts.

Take plenty of pix...of your kids, and have a great time.

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Posted by jen
a resident of Los Altos
on Jun 15, 2007 at 6:51 pm has great disney tips...also try the intercot west website (can't remember the actual address, but can google it). Also, don't forget to check out the actual schedule of parades and shows on Disney's website. Not now, but in spring, fireworks don't happen every night. The hotels on the strip, the 2 right next to the crosswalk (it's a big street...why jaywalk?) are Best Western Park Place Inn, and Park Vue Inn on the other side. The absolute best deal IN the park for food, is the giant turkey leg for only about $'ll really feed a small family (just add some bread and veggies)...usually near that country/western style music hall that has billy hill and the hillbiliies, near the big paddleboat. For princesses, they come out at different times around the castle...if you're missing one, then you can ask at their information booth, and they can call someone to find out the exact time. If you have little girls, Bring some type of autograph book and a sharpie marker...Mickey and Minnie, the big animals, etc, can't grab a thin pen very well...Its a 'no outside food' policy, but they don't enforce bottled water and snacks, even if they're sitting in plain sight under a stroller. You'll have to time things to try and make the fireworks and the fantasmic show on the same prob. won't get a good seat for either if you do both in 1 night...Don't forget your glow sticks, mickey flashlights, etc...MUCH CHEAPER outside! Try dressing your kids in brightly colored t-shirts, to better pick them out of a crowd. Tie a bright ribbon on YOUR stroller, to better pick IT out of a crowd. Best of luck...we love the place!

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2007 at 6:59 pm

Identical stand out t shirts are a great idea - we had red and white strips for all, even the parents. The kids could find us just as easily as we could find them.

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