By Inspire Diva There are so many wonderful things about going to Disneyland, but for my family the early mornings are the hardest. My husband and I have a 12 and now 16 year old. On any given morning our entire family is the equivalent of moaning, drooling zombies. Until of course we are in Disneyland and then we are just Disney fans that are moaning and drooling. (How can you not drool? Once you hit Main St. everything smells delicious!!!)
We started this adventure over July 4th for my daughters 16thbirthday! We had great intentions. We WOULD be there by 8am right when they opened the gates! Grand delusions of being the first people to walk in… Um… that never happened not even on the first day. We did however make it by 8:30 but that only happened twice during our 5 day trip. On most days, we arrived between 9:00 and 10:00am and then we stay until closing.
Now there will be some conflicting advice on the time you should arrive in the park and some might go as far as saying that you are not a true Disney fan if you sleep in and come to the park later. Can this possibly be true? There are so many fans of all different varieties. Only you know how true of a fan you are. Now I’m not saying show up at the park mid-afternoon. This isn’t sane financially or as a Disney fan.Take that extra hour or so that you need to wake up if you must. Your day will go smoother and there will be a smaller chance of melting down later. My family shows up the majority of the time between 9:00-10:00am. For example when we went to Cars Land for the first time we made it earlier (8:30) because by all accounts on ALL of the reviews it was a must! The Fast Passes do RUN OUT! We made it in time and thank goodness! The line for Radiator Springs is LONG you will want to get that Fast Pass! If you don’t get the Fast Pass you can wait in line for up to 2 hours! YIKES!
You should know that after that first day you will be EXAUSTED (especially if you are not in shape like us). An 8:30am- midnight day is 15 1/2 hours! So dragging your sore and aching body out of bed the next morning is even harder. WE WERE NOT PREPARED! We stumbled down the stairs at the very last minute to get our free breakfast as pajama clad drooling, moaning zombies. Then we shuffled our way back to our room to eat.
Our family LOVES Disneyland! We regularly watch Disney movies, wear the t-shirts, listen to the CD’s in the car, and even take the quizzes online! (Which Disney character are you?) We talked about little else before this trip. It had consumed us! Even with all of those factors and Disneyland to look forward to our zombie selves are hard to get rid of. However, there is something magical about walking into the park. You are energized and ready to go even with all your aches and pains (and believe me you will hurt in places you never have).But there are benefits to being a creature of the night. All of the other families are winding down to head out of the park, or settling down to watch the fireworks or any of the other shows, such as Fantasmic, or World of Color. This is your chance to hit the rides! When we went over July 4th (which is one of the busiest times to go) we were able to walk right onto Pirates, The Haunted Mansion, and The Jungle Cruise! Then we went to Indiana Jones with only a 15 minute wait! Then off to Space Mountain (the majority favorite) to finish the night with a 30 minute wait. We hit 5 rides in just over an hour! That’s AWESOME! That is comparable with the amount of rides you can get onto in the morning as well.
The fireworks and shows are all amazing and I would definitely recommend watching them at least once on your trip. But if that is not your thing then RIDE THOSE RIDES because when the shows end there is a mad rush to get at least a few more rides in. Why not right? You would too.
By the time you are done at the park that night, (for us it was after midnight) you are tired and sore and your zombie self has returned. You are moaning, drooling, and shuffling back to your car or shuttle while dreaming of collapsing into your bed (possibly fully clothed). You don’t care anymore you just want to lie down. When you arrive at your hotel you stumble into your room and set your alarm knowing what is in store for tomorrow…more Disneyland! And you drift off. (Who needs Ambien when you’ve been at Disney all day?)
My advice about planning your day is doing what is best for your family. You know them the best. If you can wake up at 6 am and be to the park at 8am when they open that is AWESOME and I envy you because that is something I will never see. However if you are zombies, like us, take that time to wake up then just get there when you can. Taking that extra time can make your morning less stressful, and for zombies like us that really helps.
While you’re in the park it always seems like you’re trying to fit everything in. Some people lean towards time management and schedules. That works for some and if you are on a time crunch it can even be necessary! For the more go with the flow types of people we tend to go land by land unless we have a Fast Pass somewhere (which should not be underestimated and can save tremendous amounts of time.) Try not to rush…I know it’s hard. That’s why we usually get a 3-5 day park hopper pass. (In fact, last time we went we ended up upgrading to annual passes.)Do what’s best for your own family, and don’t get upset if you can’t get into the park at opening or if things don’t go exactly as planned. Things always work themselves out.
We have found that what makes a trip the best is to take things as they come. But what makes it a truly wonderful experience is to embrace whatever happens and enjoy yourselves and the time you have together. There is always a moment (or moments) where it seems like the end of the world, but take a time out and just stop to look where you’re at… The Happiest Place on Earth! And guess what?It might just be contagious. (It can even cure a case of the zombies.)