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IMG_5743-XLBy D’land Diva

So you are planning your Disneyland vacation and you think you are all set. Hotel? Check. Dining Reservations? Check. Attraction Plan of Attack? Check. Then you get to the front gates and notice that there appear to be thousands of other people who also want to vacation at the park with you.Do you panic? Do you chuck your plans? Do you hide out in Downtown Disney with a large coffee hoping it all gets better in an hour?

When it comes to Disney, sometimes it pays to be optimistic. It is certainly easy to be discouraged when you see a sign like this:


But the fact is, YOU CAN STILL HAVE FUN WHEN IT IS CROWDED! I’m going to be perfectly honest when I say this: Disneyland is almost always crowded. I don’t want to discourage anyone, but it’s true. You can find less crowded times by going first thing in the morning and finding the days that almost all the annual passes are blocked out. Also, going “off season” such as September or January after the holidays may help you out. If you can accept the fact that there will be crowds, and be determined to not let it ruin YOUR MAGIC then you will have a great trip!

Here are a few of my suggestions on how to keep the magic in your Disneyland trip:

1) Notice the details. I’m talking about the Dapper Dans singing on Main Street, the smells of the churro cart, the way a very tiny little girl is clinging to Mickey Mouse with glee. These are the things that make Disneyland so special. There are little details and touches throughout the park in endless amounts!IMG_5707-XL

2) Choose to ignore the negative. This means if there is a crying baby in the two hour line you are waiting in, learn to tune it out and be thankful that she or he is not yours. If a little one is constantly bumping into your butt while you are in line (c’mon, you KNOW what I’m talking about), think about how anxious they must be to get on the ride. You have been waiting to see the parade for an hour and a family with a very tall man come and stand in front of you at the last minute? Deal with it. If you let all the little things get to you, it is easy to get grumpy and out of sorts. Now, I’m not saying if someone is doing something VERY WRONG to ignore them, but the little things that you can change your way of thinking about.

3) Find a hideout. Shhh…one of our favorite places at Disneyland to go to is the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. There is entertainment, coloring for the kids, rarely seen characters and plenty of seating. It’s like people don’t even know its there! For kids, the baby care centers can be a welcome break. Take advantage of them! Get a cold cup of water and enjoy a few minutes of the movie they have playing in the small seating area. Read a book. There are even highchairs and cushioned changing tables, and if given the choice, I will be bet that your little one would prefer a climate controlled less stimulating place to eat and be changed.

4) Eat and drink. This goes without saying, but sometimes, it is easy to forget to eat and stay hydrated. If you are concerned about the crowds, eat at off times. Eating at 11 am and 4:30 pm can save you a lot of time and be much more pleasant. IMG_4108-XL

5) Take in a show. Mickey and the Magical Map, the Rapunzel and Beauty and the Beast shows in the new Fantasyland addition and the Aladdin show over at California Adventure are fun and allow you some rest time.

6) Indulge the inner child. Get a picture with a favorite character. Pick out a totally blinged out pair of Minnie ears.  Enjoy a Mickey head ice cream!

7) Stray from your plans. Don’t be afraid to be flexible with your plans. Things can go off course very easily. Maybe a ride had to shut down and it put you behind your schedule. Maybe you missed the showtime for one of the shows. Maybe lunch took too long and now your fastpass isn’t good anymore. IT’S OK! Go with the flow. Adjust and move on.

8) Do the things you never would have thought about doing. So you look up at the Matterhorn and think, no way, uh-uh. It may be more fun than you think! Think the Disneyland Railroad looks boring? It’s a great way to see the whole park.

9) Use fastpass. Disneyland still has paper fastpasses and it saves a lot of stress to take advantage of them. Take advantage of this Disney magic and the shorter wait times for rides. The best fastpasses are for Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Indiana Jones and Radiator Springs Racers over at California Adventure.

10) Take time to connect with your friends and family. Take a silly picture. Go on a ride that someone in your family wants to go on, but maybe you don’t. Change who you sit with for different rides so you are able to have that time with various family and friends. Over a meal, discuss your favorite parts of the trip so far. Disney built this park so that families would have a place to go to together.

So there you go! Just a few ways to keep the Disney Magic alive in your trip. I hope that your Disneyland trip is special and memory making!