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  • Help For A First Timer????

    My wife and I want to take our 4 yr old son to do the whole disney experience. Any tips on the best time to go weather and crowd wise? Where to stay to avoid having to hire a car? The best resort? Things a first timer should avoid/do for definate.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, its all a bit daunting!!!
    Last edited by whadley; 09-26-2005, 05:46 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Help For A First Timer????

    Well. I think staying on-site...at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels (Grand Californian Hotel, Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier Hotel) is the best choice. I always stay there and since you have a little one on the trip..you can always go back to the room and relax and go to the pool. The best times to go to Disneyland are in the Fall through the week before Christmas...also after the weeks after Easter and before Memorial day are ideal..the crowds are not heavy as compared to the summer. For a first timer, I would suspect you would like to day for at least 4 full days at Disneyland Disney's California Adventure. I think for a first time trip..you need to ride every attraction....the little one will love Fantasyland and Toontown. If you are planning to just vist Disneyland, then staying on property at one of the resort's hotel's you will not need a car. Supershuttle can pick you at airport and then take you back for the flight home...The Blue Bayou restaurant inside the Pirates attraction has wonderful food and the atmosphere is so beuatiful...the little one can order off the kiddie pirate menu.....Please ask more questions and Ill be glad as will others to answer.

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    • #3
      Re: Help For A First Timer????

      How much money do you have is always the first question? Staying on site is the best way to go if you have the bucks.

      To avoid the crowds going mid-week is best.

      If you are staying seveal days you should be able to go on just about every ride. If you can get up early and get there before the park opens you can beat the crowds and go on many of the popular rides before noon when the lines start to get really, really long.

      Have a great time.
      Plague Of Vampires | A Novel by Eric and Elizabeth Gerds:

      Buy Now at Amazon

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      • #4
        Re: Help For A First Timer????

        Wenesdays are the best time of week to go
        And be in the parking structure 20-30 minutes before the park opens and head to the back of the park first!
        Have fun

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        • #5
          Re: Help For A First Timer????

          I've stayed at the Park Inn, Candy Cane Inn and the Disneyland Hotel. All are great and close by. I had a few problems with the Howard Johnsons but they're okay, too.

          Before Thanksgiving the crowds are usually light. I'm not sure how this year's 50th anniversary celebrations plays into that though.

          Drink lots of water, wear comfortable shoes, take a nap during the day if you can, wear sunscreen, don't forget to eat to maintain your energy level...

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          • #6
            Re: Help For A First Timer????

            how fun!

            1. utilize fast pass. Read Darkbeers explanaiton on the top of the disneyland thread to understand how it works. If you understand how to use them, it makes it so you don't ever have to stand in lines.

            2. Any resorts along harbor blvd are nice and an easy walk to the main entrance, that way you don't have to mess with a car.
            St. Elizabeth, Patron Saint of Themed parks. Protect us from break downs, long lines, and used gum. Amen.

            "Dance like it hurts, love like you need money, and work when people are watching" - Dogbert




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            • #7
              Re: Help For A First Timer????

              I stay on property for the whole experiance my biggest thing is one time I cheaped out I believe it was 7/17/05 and stayed in the penny sleeper (worst travel move ever). Youd think the name might deter me but nooo All I cared about was being there for the 50th in line at 3:30am. Anyways do a character breakfast for the kiddie they will love it! Goofys has a great atmosphere they can get up and bang pots and pans with goofy and donald and you can eat all your hearts desire. Hit the Blue Bayou for sure and all the rides, just like the above post said use that fast pass cut down on the little ones walking and yours. Most of all have fun its hard not to.

              Im bored, lets go to Disneyland.

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              • #8
                Re: Help For A First Timer????

                utilize fast pass. Read Darkbeers explanaiton on the top of the disneyland thread to understand how it works. If you understand how to use them, it makes it so you don't ever have to stand in lines.
                Where is this explanation? I can't find it!
                sigpic
                Check out my podcast: www.drunkondisney.com

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                • #9
                  Re: Help For A First Timer????

                  All the above tips are good.

                  As a first-timer with a 4 year old, I'd head first to Fantasyland, and get Dumbo and the dark rides (Snow White, Peter Pan, etc) out of the way. Be aware that some of the dark rides are pretty loud and may frighten younger children. You'll know after the first one.

                  After Fantasyland, I'd head to Toontown and It's a Small World. Small World is a good ride for children frightened by the dark rides because, while it is indoors, its bright and happy and cheerful. Most kids love it.

                  Also, I'd take him to Tom Sawyer's Island. I loved TSI as a kid (and still do :cwink: ), and my son loves it now. Caves, unpaved trails, exploring.... what's not to love?

                  If you're going to catch the fireworks and/or late parade, a mid-afternoon nap is probably a good idea.

                  Also, let your son set the pace. Take turns picking the rides. If he wants to ride Autopia 6 times in a row, go for it.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Help For A First Timer????

                    Originally posted by Sweetie
                    Where is this explanation? I can't find it!
                    http://www.micechat.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5720

                    there it is!!
                    St. Elizabeth, Patron Saint of Themed parks. Protect us from break downs, long lines, and used gum. Amen.

                    "Dance like it hurts, love like you need money, and work when people are watching" - Dogbert




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                    • #11
                      Re: Help For A First Timer????

                      Get there at rope drop and do Peter Pan first. Otherwise... well, the line will be longer.

                      Take a few days to do it so you aren't spending each day rushing to get it all in (and pushing you and your kid beyond the level of reasonable exertion - you'll only end up with a case of the grumpies). If your kid is enjoying something, even if it's something you didn't expect them to come to DL to enjoy, just be happy they're having fun and don't rush them off to the next thing you "expect" them to like.

                      If he's too scared to go on, don't take him on it. Not only is it not fair to him, it's also not fair to everyone else on the ride who paid just as much as you did for a day of fun in the park.

                      That being said, start him off on the easy stuff. Peter Pan is a good one. Snow White, not so much (scary). However, if he likes Pan, try Toad and Alice, and if he's still enjoying himself, then move on to Snow and Pinnocchio.

                      The outdoor stuff he can see will be a lot less scary, obviously.

                      Don't give him any reason to expect to be scared on things. Sometimes parents make their own bed by overselling the scariness of something by attempting to prepare their child. Comments like, "Now if you get scared, just close your eyes" seem like good advice, but you're also telling the child he's supposed to be scared on the ride. If it ain't broke...

                      Do your shopping midday. The stores are a madhouse at the end of the day (hence my personal nickname for it, the "implodium"). Before you leave the park for a midday break (which you're very likely to do), do your shopping and take it back to the room with you. You'll be far to tired at the end of the night to deal with the crowds AND carry bags all that distance.

                      If you get a rental car, then midway through your trip try to find your way to the Character Warehouse (you might wanna look it up on the web ahead of time). It's on Harbor Blvd a few miles north of DL (just past the 91 fwy) There's a center on the right with a Michael's, and I believe a Burlington Coat factory. It's way back in that center. You could save a lot of money if the stuff you like is there. If not, well, you'll still have another day or so in the park to pick things up, so there you go.

                      Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...


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                      • #12
                        Re: Help For A First Timer????

                        The week right after thanksgiving and before the 2nd week of december is the best time. Our weather is usually mild but not too cold, all of the holiday decorations are out (a must see) and the crowds aren't too bad. As for the prev. sugguestions for places to stay, if moneys not an issue the resort hotels are great, just make sure that you look for package deals either from Disney travel or AAA. If your workin within a budget the Candy cane inn has some nice rooms and transportation to the resort. As far as what time to get there...
                        Of course the first day would be best for the opening (that 4 yr old will be chompin at the bit) after that if you come in a bit later in the morning you'll be able to get in a lot quicker. As for the things to see well....
                        @ Disneyland...
                        The 50th Fireworks show (stay for the SNOW!), the Parade, FantasyLand, ToonTown, Buzz Lightyear and the Tiki Room.
                        @Disneys California Adventure...
                        Bugs Land, Its tough to be a bug show, Playhouse Disney, Turtle Talk w/ Crush, and try to go on Soarin over California (The height thing might be a little intimidating for young kids but once they're on the ride they love it!)
                        Finally whether you stay at the Grand Callifornian or not you shoould go take a look inside. It looks great around the holidays!
                        "I am about to pack up 21 years of Disney memorabilia from around the world that hopefully my great grandchildren will not sell on eBay"
                        Micheal Eisner

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                        • #13
                          Re: Help For A First Timer????

                          Don't forget to go through Mickey's house in Toontown. The CMs will use your camera to take a picture (and theirs, too). If your 4 year old likes Pooh, take him to Critter Country because there's a Pooh meet and greet. They do have a Pooh attraction now, though it doesnt' live up to its potential (a 4 year old won't notice). Take everyone's advice and go to Fantasyland. Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland (not found anywhere else) are the best and least frightening. Be aware that in Mr. Toad (not found anywhere else), you get hit by train head on and go to hell (a plus if it's a cool day). Snow White and Pinnochio are scary for some kids (I used to get scared by those two when I was your son's age). Storybookland Canal Boats is tame, though you should take him seriously if he says he doesn't want to get eaten by Monstro. Take him on Casey Jr. It's a great way to introduce him to roller coasters since it goes up a very small lift hill and just accelerates faster without having to go through dips and the like. Sit with him in a cage. If he likes Tea Cups and dark rides, take on Roger Rabbit in Toontown. Small World and Autopia are good choices. Does he like Buzz Lightyear? Tomorrowland has Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters. If he likes Star Wars, there's also Star Tours (if he meets the 35" height requirement). Pirates is always the best family ride out there. Pay attention to his anxiety level if you try to go on Haunted Mansion. If it's between now and New Year's, he might not find it as intimidating because it will be Haunted Mansion Holiday.

                          We went in June and took my 4 year old nephew. He met the height requirement and went on Star Tours and Thunder Mountain. He also went on Gadget's Go Coaster and Soarin' Over California (in DCA). He loved all of those attractions. He's the type who is afraid, but feels like he HAS TO LOOK.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Help For A First Timer????

                            Exposing him to the dvd of Nightmare Before Christmas before the trip will give you a chance to gauge his level of interest in it, as well as prepare him for the tone of the ride.

                            Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...


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                            • #15
                              Re: Help For A First Timer????

                              Thanks Joshula Lee!
                              sigpic
                              Check out my podcast: www.drunkondisney.com

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