Friday, September 08, 2006


In all my life, I've never been to a Disney property, but I am planning to take my 6 year-old son, Tanner, in November -- he's joining me at the Anaheim NYWC. So, does anyone have any advice as to how we should structure our time there (probably a day and a half)? Any hints or tips? Any discounts on tickets or ideas about places to stay?

(Next post: Baudrillard on Disneyland)


Blogger Michael said...

Figure out what you want to see before you go. Arrive early and hit the big rides/attractions first. There are fast track ticket things you can get at big rides. They kind of hold your place in line. Use them.

2:36 PM  
Blogger bobbie said...

mcnair wilson is a long time friend of YS - he helped design the park as one of the first disney imagineers. he's a great guy and will gladly give you his highlights if you email him. here's his blog:

Tea with McNair

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 word . . . or is it 2?

teacups if 1
tea cups if 2

7:58 PM  
Blogger Barry Falke said...

Trust me my friend. Erin & I are actually annual passport holders. Get there right when it opens and get a fastpass for a big ride and get in line for another big ride right away. I would recomend making sure you hit Space Mountain & splash mountain. I would say those are easily two of the most busy rides in the park. I would also advise you to get there on a weekday if possible. Weekends are so crazy. You could spend a whole day there and only ride a few rides.

Lastly I would strongly advise getting a park hopper pass because California Adventures had lots of cool stuff also. That park closes earlier though.

Anyway, Hope you are doing well my friend. Maybe I will take the family to Anaheim while you are there for the conference and we could hang out a bit. There is this really cool bar in Brea with like 40 beers on draft.

Tanner will love it! Will he be with you the whole week?

11:47 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Disney is a blast! My experience is limited to FL. Down there, they will let people who stay at the resort hotels (a little more money but nice) into the parks one hour before they actually open. The last time we were there, we hit about one third of the rides in that time and for the rest of the day just played out our speed passes. I'd check into this if I were you.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tony, Dana Ames here-

I concur with:
-going on a weekday.
-getting there at opening.
-using Fastpasses; it's like making an "appointment" for the rides, and you can do other things while you're waiting for your time slot. They're dispensed from machines near the ride you want.
-getting an "insider's" advice; a good friend of ours worked as a singer there for a couple of summers in his youth, and our D-land visit with him was the most efficient of the 3 times we've been there- he knew all the short cuts to get around the park quickly.

-Explore one "land" at a time. Get a Fastpass for any big rides, and while you're waiting for your time see the rest of the "land", or an adjacent one.
-Wear comfortable shoes and take a lightweight waterproof jacket- it Does rain in So. California, and sometimes it's breezy at night while you're waiting for the fireworks.
-Have more money than you think you'll need for meals, or eat a big lunch or your dinner outside the park. Dinner for the 5 of us when we took the kids in 2000 was $75. All the eateries charge the same price for similar items, so there's noplace in the park to save money on food.
-If you're short on time, skip Cal. Adventure. People I know who have been there say it's new and fun....and more of the same.
-The parking lots are massive, so use the shuttles- you'll be glad you did :)
-If you're a member of AAA, that might be your best discount for tickets; you can buy them ahead of time at your local AAA office.
-We got a good deal at Alpine Inn- nice old-fashioned rooms, close to the park (you'll still need to drive in, extra charge for parking, but parking pass might include both days if you have a 2-day ticket-I can't remember for sure). Cont. breakfast included, also other amenities and free wifi. There's a convenience store a short block away with decent coffee.
-Don't go on the spinning Tea Cups right after you eat!

Have a blast with your son-

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Don't miss it. Great for six year olds and Dad will have a blast too! Don't take him on something too hardcore too early in the day. You don't want your boy freaking out every time you get in line for a new ride. (Ask me how I know this...)
Work the fastpass to your advantage. Ask lots of questions of park employees. Great customer service! Enjoy.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummmm...splash november?

I would say, "no".
Even in SoCal. No in November.

For your little guy?
Do Indiana Jones and the Buzz Lightyear rides. Buzz Lightyear is a ride with these little ray guns to shoot targets for points.

You get your point rating at the end.

Ride+Videogame=awesome for kids.

8:32 AM  
Blogger The Dykstra Family said...

Tony, here is a semi-sanctimonious piece I wrote a couple years ago about Disney...Should be no help to you.

Third World – Disney World – Third World

In my work as a development director for a large relief and development organization I frequently travel to countries that most Americans refer to as the “Third World”. While the continents and countries vary, the scene, sadly, remains the same across much of the world. Beautiful, but disheveled and dirty faces peering from windows and doorways, stray dogs and livestock sharing the trash clogged roads with the throngs of people walking to and from the open-air markets. Diesel fumes, crowing roosters and the smell of smoke from the cooking fires all co-mingle to form the reality for billions around our planet. Uganda, Bangladesh, Peru – the faces and cultures change, but the sad reflection of poverty remains hauntingly consistent.

Coming home from these trips to a nice suburb of Minneapolis, MN always proves to be an adjustment and a clash of dualing realities. After a trip to Haiti, (Which lies just and hour and a half by plane from Miami) where I witnessed children who were on the verge of starvation and dying from preventable diseases, I was given a poignant illustration of the two worlds I straddle and their competing realities. As I waited for a friend at my local Starbucks enjoying all its comforts, I pulled out the pictures I had just picked up from my trip to Haiti. There, looking back at me were the gaunt and stressed faces of the kids I had been with just days before. Just then three people sat down next to me for an informal meeting. There, as I stared at the faces of children who might not survive the month I hear, “Isn’t it a Tragedy that there are kids in our community who can’t afford to play ice-hockey?” I was stunned silent. As her words reverberated in my head and heart I continued to look down at the faces before me. How could it be that these two realities co-exist? In one world (in fact most of the world) it is a Tragedy that kids are dying unnecessarily of disease and starvation and in another world (my own) it is a Tragedy that some kids cannot afford to strap metal to their feet and run around on frozen water.

This dichotomy was recently brought home again through an unusual itinerary that took me successively from rural El Salvador to Orlando and Disney World and on to Haiti all in little more than a weeks time. In rural El Salvador I was with the Campensinos who, a little more that a decade ago, endured a brutal civil war that left ____ of the population dead and an already fragile country in ruins. This man made disaster which ended in the early nineties was punctuated with two natural disasters – Hurricane Mitch in 1998, followed shortly by two devastating earthquakes. While there we visited children, many of whom lacked access to clean water, basic healthcare, and the opportunity for an education – In short, children lacking hope. Days later while in Orlando for meetings and a short vacation with my wife and three young children, we visited Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom. As I laughed and played with my family amidst the sparkling clean streets, the larger than life fairytale characters, and the seemingly endless sea of rides, food and fun, my mind pitched me to where I had been earlier that week and where I knew I would be at weeks end – so far from the Magic that Mr. Disney created and that most of us in the U.S. experience in our day to day lives. On one of the iconic rides that we rode I heard the familiar tune, “It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all it’s a small, small world.” Yes it is - and perhaps the magic lies in the fact that places like Orlando and my home in a leafy suburb of Minneapolis and Ice Hockey exist at all in a world filled with so much suffering.

So, should we as Americans, stop ice skating and stop going to places like Disney World? I could argue yes, but I don’t think so. I do believe that we (myself included) should pause and be far more grateful than we usually are for the many luxuries we are afforded in this country. If you can stop reading this article and go and get a clean cup of water from your kitchen sink you have much to be grateful for. Secondly, this gratefulness should lead to action. I have the privilege of seeing first hand the good that can be accomplished when we Americans share from our abundance – lives can be saved, children can be educated, disease can be thwarted – in short, Hope can be delivered.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where comfortable shoes, bring a LOT of money, extra clothes and something for your boy to do in line (you'll be waiting a lot)... I would suggest ear plugs (especially for it's a small world) and plenty of advil.

(forgive my sarcasm... I've grown up in Southern California and resent having to go to Disneyland ever again)

Jim Krill

1:51 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

1.) Space Mountain. Ride it over, and over, and over (at least that's what we do!)
2.) Go on a weekday (Tues is good) if at all possible.
3.) You MUST stay for the fireworks after dark. They're amazing.
4.) Take photos of each other with the characters you see running around (Buzz, Mickey, Donald). The pictures are the best keepsake of all!
5.) Try to find a place to sit to watch the parade that goes through town each day. It's a lot of fun and a good place to see many of the characters.
6.) Depending on when you go in November, the xmas decorations might already be up and it could snow each afternoon on main street.
7.) Have a BLAST!!! It's the perfect age for Tanner to be there.

9:03 AM  
Blogger rey lo said...

Wish I had known this when I was in Austin this past weekend and I would have spoken with you. My family and I used to live in Florida and have been to WDW well over 100 times.

It's been quite a while since I was at Disneyland, but the basic layout is the same as in FL. The property is basically a hub with themed lands coming out from it.

I would do a bit of research before through some kind of book. There are several good ones out there. I strongly recommend using Fast Passes as often as possible. I think you'll be able to do most all of what is in the original park in a day, especially considering the time of year you will be there.

Take note that Disney is not afraid of using darkness in their rides (e.g., Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean), so be sure to discuss this ahead of time. We have taken our children on these and other rides since they were quite young and it did not seem to be a problem with them.

Have an awesome time!

Rey the Disney Geek

7:54 PM  

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