by Character Diva
I don’t know about you, but when I am at a Disney theme park, the last thing I want to do is wait in line… Particularly when it’s the line to get INTO the park. Fortunately, there is an alternate entrance and exit to get in and out of Disneyland quickly and efficiently and the best part is… the line is almost always a fraction of the wait AND as a double bonus; you get to start off on an attraction IMMEDIATELY! So where is this fabled entrance located? Glad you asked… it’s near the very edge of Downtown Disney, closest to the original Disneyland Hotel side… and it happens to be one of the entrances to ride Disneyland’s monorail.
The monorail happens to be one of my husband and oldest son’s favorite attractions. Somehow, it is always on their must do list. And while it holds a special place in their hearts and they’d probably be content just to stay onboard and ride it back and forth all day, there are a lot of other benefits to riding the monorail… particularly if you are trying to avoid the crowds.
So… here are good reasons to ride the monorail… as well as a couple reasons you might want to just use the classic entrance.
- You want to avoid the crowds. Because most people enter and exit through the main entrance (and you’d be surprised how many people don’t even know the monorail option is available), this is a great way to get in and out of the park quickly. The monorail has two boarding entrances… one inside Tomorrowland which takes you to Downtown Disney, and one in Downtown Disney which will take you back to Tomorrowland. Disney Diva Tip: If you’re trying to make a mad dash for Hyperspace Mountain, Star Tours, the Jedi Training Academy, or anything else in or around Tomorrowland or nearby Fantasyland (such as the Matterhorn and Peter Pan’s Flight) or if the lines are insanely long at the main entrance, this can be a quick and easy way to get in and out of the parks (not to mention you get the added bonus of riding the monorail and crossing that attraction off of your “To Do” list.
- You want to experience one of the oldest (even though it’s not one of the original) attractions at the park. The monorail has undergone many renovations over the years (not just on the vehicles themselves, but on the entire route). While the route is now shorter, it is still one of the earliest attractions at the park and is a Disney classic.
- You have dining reservations in Downtown Disney or the Disneyland Hotel. This is particularly true for places like: Goofy’s Kitchen, Tangaroa Terrace, Steakhouse 55, Rainforest Café, the ESPN Zone, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, Tortilla Jo’s or even if you want a quick service place like Earl of Sandwich (yay for healthier options where they accept coupons!) Because of its close proximity to these dining locations, it can make it a quick and easy way to maximize your times inside the parks without having to hike all the way across Disneyland and the rest of Downtown Disney.
- You want to do some shopping… or let your kids show off their imaginations at the Lego Store. The great thing about this entrance is that it is so close to the Lego Store. On our last trip, we had lunch reservations at Rainforest Café, but still had some time to kill before meeting the rest of our party. Because we were able to get out of the park so quickly, we were able to wander over to one of my children’s (and husband’s) favorite places in Downtown Disney… The Lego Store. Not only were they able to look around and check out all of the great Lego sets available (as well as the great statues made entirely out of Legos), but they were able to help themselves to building various structures out of Lego bricks and even build Lego cars to race against other guests’ Lego cars. Needless to say, my family was very entertained and had a great time (in fact, my daughter probably could’ve spent several hours there.) Disney Diva Tip: If you’re not fans of Legos, or are looking for some other places to go with your family, Pin Traders and the Build-a-Bear store are also located nearby.
- You are staying on-property. This is particularly true of the Disneyland Hotel… its right there. So if you want a speedy entrance or exit back to your room (or into Disneyland itself), this can be a great alternative for you. No… you don’t get to walk down Main Street when you enter the park, but getting some coveted Fastpasses or not having to hike all the way through Downtown Disney can make it worth your while.
- The View. Riding the monorail offers a unique view of some of Disneyland’s greatest attractions (and some stunning views of the lagoon where you’ll find Finding Nemo’s Submarine Voyage). Disney Diva Tip: If you want to add a little extra Disney magic to your day and don’t mind the wait, you can talk to a cast member about getting to ride in the back of the monorail. Seating is limited, and depending on how many people have already made the request, you might have to wait, but it’s definitely a lot easier to score these coveted spots than to ride the Lilly Belle!
- Your feet hurt and you could use a break. Let’s face it… everyone could use a break, especially after a busy day at the parks. If you’re looking to relax for a few uninterrupted minutes and just enjoy the scenery (not to mention save all of that time walking back to the main entrance of the park), this could be a great option for you and your companions.
The downside of this entrance…
- The monorail isn’t always running. Like any attraction, the monorail can close for a variety of reasons, including: the fireworks, extreme heat, and just technical difficulties to name common reasons for closing. While you can check with the Disneyland app, this isn’t always up-to-date, so the information may or may not be helpful.
- Potentially waiting. Depending on when the last monorail left as well as the number of people waiting in line, you may or may not have a long wait ahead of you. While it is still usually faster to use this route, there are some incidents where it may actually take longer.
- Farther away from California Adventure. Because this location is at the very outskirts of Downtown Disney, if you are looking to park hop, this probably will not be the most efficient route for you (unless you want to look at all of Downtown Disney’s shops and stops along the way).
- Not as Dramatic of an Entrance. When you use the monorail entrance, you don’t get to experience walking down Main Street or seeing Sleeping Beauty Castle when you first enter the park. Yes, the lagoon is beautiful, and you even have some great angles of the Matterhorn, but you don’t get “the castle effect” that comes with going through the main gates.
So what are your thoughts? Have you ever used this entrance? Did I forget any pros or cons for using this special gateway into Disneyland? Let me know in the comments below!
And if you’re ready to book your next vacation, consider using Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, Patricia Payne from All For Dreams Travel! Her services are FREE for you and she can help you with all of your vacation needs! Click HERE for a free quote. Happy planning!