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  • [Question] Suggestions for family's first time.....

    My family and I will be heading to Disney on April 24-29. I have been years ago when Indiana Jones was brand new and my wife has not been for 20 or 30 yrs. and obviously my 5 year old has never been. We have been trying to plan a little bit, as far as things we all would like to see, but I definitely want to make the most of it. My mom is paying for us and we are sharing a room with them at Grand Californian. I was wondering what should I make sure that my son definitely gets to see. He wants to see The Jedi training academy and get on as many rides that he can, but I was wondering about some of the off the beaten path type things. I see that it has changed a lot since I was last there. Any info or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

    Congrats on getting to go again! I'm sure y'all will have a lot of fun. A few suggestions:

    * Above all, take it easy. Don't stress, no matter what happens. It's okay to make plans, but they will ALWAYS change, and that needs to be okay. Long lines happen. Hungry, cranky, tired children happen. Do what you can to make the visit a pleasant one, but when things don't go quite the way you want them to...just go with the flow. Especially because you're going to be there for so long. That means you'll NEVER need to rush or stress over anything.

    * Which attractions you go on will depend largely on what your boy is up for. If he's unafraid to tackle the more thrilling attractions, that's great - Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and the Matterhorn are great ones to try. Splash Mountain, too. If he's a little more timid, that's fine, too. Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Fantasyland dark rides, maybe "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience," Roger Rabbit, the Jungle Cruise, the railroad...all of these should be fine. Basically, if you see something you want to ride, try it. And again, since you'll be there for a really long time, you pretty much will have chances to do anything and everything. And yes, if he wants to do Jedi Training Academy, I definitely recommend it. Looks like it'd be a heck of a lot of fun for a Star Wars fan his age. (Star Tours would also be great, if he's feeling adventurous.)

    * Remember to stay hydrated. Bring water bottles into the park with you. When they run out, get free refills at Rancho Del Zocalo or other restaurants in the park! That'll save a lot of money.

    * Be sure to give your legs a chance to rest. You don't want to get home afterward and not be able to walk for a week. If you start feeling tired, sit down! Pirates and the Haunted Mansion are great ways to get on a long, air-conditioned ride that'll entertain you without a long line and without tiring your feet out. The railroad can be good for that too - and you can use it as actual transportation to get to other parts of the park!

    That's all I can think of at the moment. The first one is the most important, though. Your attitudes will have a huge effect on how much you enjoy the experience, as well as your child. Remember, this could easily turn out to be a really, really fond memory for him, a foundation for many amazing visits in the future. Treat it as a magical experience for him, reminding him that these things aren't real if he gets scared at some point, but otherwise treating it like a big game of make-believe. Allow yourselves to get excited! And just have an awesome time.

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    • #3
      Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

      Check your son's height before you go - so, if he's too short to go on Indiana Jones or Space Mountain, you don't get him all excited about it, and then find out he can't ride it!
      sigpic
      Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

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      • #4
        Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

        Check out DCA, by all means. It's not the crapfest some people make it out to be.

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        • #5
          Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

          ^^^^^

          Yeah, Data's got a lot of great advice!

          Since you're staying at the GCH (nice choice, BTW), when you check in, ask the front desk CM for an autographed picture of Mickey. They will ask his name and then personalize it for him. You'll get some balloons too! Nice touch! (make sure he isn't right there so it is a surprise).

          Also, when you enter the Park, go to City Hall and get him a "First Time" button. He'll wear it with pride!

          Have a blast!

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          • #6
            Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

            Oh, and when going on the Disneyland Railroad, don't forget to ask about the Lilly Belle or the caboose!

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            • #7
              Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

              I must echo the other comments above - with the best tip being to take it easy! Also be sure to check on the little guy often - a lot of kids are sooooo excited that they ignore blisters, dehydration, or just general sun exposure/exhaustion. The fact that you're staying at the Grand is great! It sounds like you may have a few days; definitly don't be afraid to go back to the hotel room for a nap mid-day!

              I HIGHLY recommend exploring the Pirate-themed enchantments to Tom Sawyer Island ... especially the sets such as of Will Turner's blacksmith shop and the cave.

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              • #8
                Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

                Wow those are some good ideas. I checked his height and I think he can ride just about everything except the roller coasters at CA. I was wanting to take my mother out to Blue Bayou for dinner one night but I am not sure if it is fair to ask him to sit still at Disneyland. he usually does ok but he can get antsy once in a while so I am thinking of trying to find somewhere else nice to take mom that might be a little more suited for 5 year olds. We are also doing a character breakfast one morning and we already made reservations.

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                • #9
                  Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

                  What is the Lilly Belle on the RR? He definitely wants to go on the train, he wants to see the Dinosaurs---do they still have them????? I am pretty lucky my son loves to drink water. He usually drinks more than I do.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

                    Off the beaten path type things...

                    If the fireman band is playing on Main Street, stop and listen.

                    Lift up the box lids in Toontown, and then when you get thirsty, drink from the "Goofy Water" drinking fountains.

                    At California Adventure, spend some time at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, and don't miss the attractions in the Animation Building.

                    And make sure you arrive at the Jedi Training Academy a few minutes early; hopefully your son will be one of those chosen to "learn the ways of the force." If so, have your camera ready.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....
                      Yes they have the Dinosaurs, it comes after the tomorrowland station. The Lilly Belle is the presidential car, you can ask to ride in it, sometimes it's available. You can also ask to ride up front with the engineers--only 2 or 3 will fit up there with them, not every train is equipped to have passengers up there. To ride up front or in the Lilly Belle, you have to ask at the Main St. station.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

                        We will be there for at least 4 days so if he doesnt get picked for the jedi training we will definitely go back. he says he doesnt need the training- he just wants to fight Darth maul.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

                          Originally posted by clhunter View Post
                          We will be there for at least 4 days so if he doesnt get picked for the jedi training we will definitely go back. he says he doesnt need the training- he just wants to fight Darth maul.
                          For adults, it doesn't seem like much of a show, except an opportunity to chuckle at how cute some of the kids are that get picked. But for the kids who get picked, it's a real treat. Here's a picture of my son fighting Darth Maul:

                          Picasa Web Albums - Danny - Disneyland, E...

                          Note that the kids who are picked are divided into two groups, with one group fighting Darth Vader and one fighting Darth Maul. I'm not sure what to do if his heart is absolutely set on it being Darth Maul that he fights...

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                          • #14
                            Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

                            He will fight either one he just thinks that Darth Maul is harder and since he is already a jedi-well you know.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Suggestions for family's first time.....

                              The Lilly Belle is the caboose that follows one of the trains ... if it's raining it won't be out. You can't hop on at just any station though - you have to board/exit the Lilly Bell at Main Street Station.

                              Go to the station and ask the nearest Cast Member/Conductor about riding back there ... you may have to wait a few minutes, but it's a great experience! It's special for the kids and very nicely appointed for the adults!

                              EDIT:

                              BTW, the height requirements range from 35"- 54"

                              The ones over 46" or greater at DL are:

                              Indiana Jones Adventure 46"
                              Autopia - 54" to ride alone (32" to ride, period)

                              At DCA:

                              Orange Stinger: 48"
                              Maliboomer: 52"
                              California Screamin': 48"

                              Hope that helps!
                              Last edited by WJNM; 03-04-2009, 08:08 PM. Reason: Further info.

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