Disneyland was the epitome of childhood for me. Other kids got to go to Disneyland, but we didn't have the money. Plus, travel with four children in an F-150 is not fun no matter how you swing it. The first time we went was magical- no shame riding the little kid rides with younger siblings, I learned that I hate roller coasters and drops, and the sheer intake of sugar could power a small planet. any school administrators here?) to make use of her year passes. Every once in a while I would go too.
It seems that everyone has their fool proof way of making the most out of a Disneyland trip. You would think, since Mr. E and I lived only 4 miles from the park that we would have made more of an effort to go. But we're cheap and fairly broke and we can't even afford a smartphone much less a year pass. But we know how to hit all the high points just the same.
Now, most of the time we're tried and true Peter-Pan-first-ers. As soon as that park opens you better be in a line in Fantasyland because otherwise that wait will kill you at nine o'clock. Good grief. Teacups, Mr. Toad's, Smallworld, these rides are high priority. This time around, however? Mr. E and I booked it to Indiana Jones- and we weren't disappointed. First ride of the day and we waited less than ten minutes. Seriously. The line looked a little something like this...
It was about here we got a little fastpass happy- the park wasn't all that crowded so fastpass return times were pretty decent. Ideally, the more people buying fastpasses, the farther our your return time. If you have a fastpass swiped already you need to wait until it's return hour has started until you can swipe again. Which can really help or really hinder your experience. All other Disneyland trips that I have gone the cast members have been super accommodating if you're over your fastpass time- I've used fastpasses we got from the morning to use during fireworks. This time, not so. Apparently they are sticking to that time like glitter on a princess. Which was kind of disappointing.
Mr. E and I made sure to tackle all of our favorite rides (minus the Matterhorn because Mr. E thinks he will die): Space Mtn, Indy (thrice), Buzz Astro Blasters, the Haunted Mansion, and the new Cars ride. We also hit up quite a few shows- the new Beauty and the Beast show at Fantasy Faire, Mickey's Magical Map at the Fantasyland Stage, even learning to draw Jack Skellington at the Animation Academy.
Possibly the best way we ever did Disneyland was with Mr. E's brother and family- they had a huge two-seater stroller that held food for 30 people (oh, only 7? Seemed like 30) and was convenient for the little kids to ride on. Since there were four adults we could switch off for every ride- one or two stay behind with kids who aren't tall enough, the others grab "family passes" from the cast members and fastpasses to ride again later. We spent MAYBE $50 on food for all of us because we packed lunches with chips and brownies, had plenty of candy snacks (dollar store, holla!) and most ice creams or goodies we shared between all of us.
I think a big perk for us is that we routinely go to Downtown Disney for free date night, too, so we weren't feeling the urge to go through any of the shops since we've seen it all before. We're really going to miss listening to those fireworks every night at 9:30pm on the dot! (not.)