I have always wanted to go to Disneyland! We went to Disneyworld when I was a teenager, my dad had a conference in Orlando so my parents hauled the family over to Florida for the trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately when we got there Florida was experiencing an extremely rare polar blast and we had not packed for that at all so we had to wear Mickey Mouse jumpers for a week and it was Martin Luther King Day… which means flipping heaps of Americans doing Disney. It was kind of stressful with some fun bits and really the thing that I remember most is that it was too big. It was too big for 4 full park days – yep.
So we left San Diego quite early, stopping in Del Mar for breakfast at Snooze AM with an old friend where I ate some chocolate chip pancakes which quite frankly changed everything they were so good and then descended on Anaheim about midday. We were about an hour behind the schedule but it didn’t matter. We quickly dropped our stuff at the hotel and were at Disneyland in minutes and later that night I was glad we hadn’t been earlier, I don’t know if I would have had the staying power following an early arrival and seeing it at night was really special.
When we walked in I was a little overcome with the whole thing, I will admit. It was the busiest pocket of the day and people were streaming everywhere. My husband, however, is a little bit of an amusement park King and charged straight into Adventureland bound for the Indiana Jones Adventure. I was getting a little bit nervous as I anticipated going on a tamer ride or two before hitting up the big boys but he understood the system a lot better than I did as he was actually heading for the FASTPASS line. I have heard people talk about this of course but I thought it was an additional ticket that you paid for or something so I really didn’t look into it. This is a top top for anyone hitting up Disneyland anytime soon. The FASTPASS is a godsend. So here’s what you do:
How to Use FASTPASS:
- Look for the FASTPASS Distribution sign near the entrance of an attraction.
- Check the Return Time displayed on this sign.
- If the return time works for you, insert your valid Disneyland Resort admission ticket, readmission ticket or Annual Passport into the FASTPASS machine.
- The machine will generate a FASTPASS ticket printed with your return time.
- Return to the FASTPASS Return entrance at your Return Time, show your FASTPASS ticket to the Cast Member and enjoy the attraction with a minimal wait.
- FASTPASS tickets are valid only on the day of issue.
- Everyone in your party using the FASTPASS Return entrance must have a FASTPASS ticket.
- FASTPASS Service machines will not issue another ticket until the time stated on your current one.
- FASTPASS tickets are subject to availability.
- A valid Disneyland ticket or Annual Passport that has been used for park admission is required to obtain FASTPASS tickets.
So we grabbed our FASTPASS for that and then joined what looked like a shortish line for the Jungle Cruise because I thought that looked fun. Here’s the thing, at Disneyland they are masters at hiding their lines! It wasn’t too bad though, about 25 minutes in the line and we were at the front.
Here’s what I thought of the rest of the Disneyland rides I ventured on in clockwise order (that’s why the pictures are all back to front light and time wise, we didn’t exactly take on the Park in clockwise order) around the Park and their wait times:
Indiana Jones Adventure – Definitely my funnest rollercoaster of the day! More of a traditional coaster than Space Mountain and more focused on scary fun rather than scary scary.
Jungle Cruise – Easy, breezy Jungle Cruise. I don’t think either of the boys were that taken with this ride but I really enjoyed it!
Tarzan’s Treehouse – Had to do it. A fun walk through after Pirates of the Caribbean.
NEW ORLEAN’S SQUARE
Pirate’s of the Caribbean – Oddly enough I just didn’t fancy this ride very much. As luck would have it, we ended up in the front row of every single ride at Disneyland and I hate the front. It didn’t matter very much though except on this ride. There was no warning of extreme wetness (it’s a water ride so you anticipate a little spray) but in the front row we we soaked from head to toe. Earlier in the day this wouldn’t be a huge issue but we went after dark when the sun had fallen and the wind had risen. I would make sure and go when the sun is shining should I go back.
MAIN STREET USA
You want some corn dog action you have to go to this stand, it’s at the end of Main Street on the right, near the Baby Care Center. We received the hot tip from our friend Isaac that these are the best corn dogs and he was not wrong! Worth the queue.
Mark Twain Riverboat – I think we went on the Riverboat’s last run as the sun set. It was lovely, we went right up to the top balcony and really enjoyed seeing Disneyland from a different perspective.
We didn’t do anything or go on any rides here, it’s basically a kid dedicated area, but I did have to duck in here and be snapped out the front of Minnie’s with my ears on.
Space Mountain – I was quite excited about Space Mountain. As I said above, I am not amazing at rollercoasters, I tend to get very nervous before I get on and then enjoy them but my nerves are shot from the wait. Unfortunately, Space Mountain wasn’t all I hoped it would be. It, for me, didn’t have the fun side that Indiana Jones did. For the most part it was pitch flipping black so you don’t see any of the corners coming and feel that your neck may just snap away from your body. Quite simply, I thought it was terrifying (and not good terrifying.)
And I know… Space Mountain is supposed to be scary. But for me, this was too scary.
Plus the wait was so blergh. It was the only long wait ride we didn’t quite manage our FASTPASS on but when we got there it said a 40 minute wait. I told my brother and husband we should join the line as it was the best timing for us to go on it but it was much longer to wait, about 1 hour and 45 minutes and we almost missed our FASTPASS on Space Tours but thankfully didn’t.
Star Tours – One of my favourite rides in the end and oddly enough I didn’t really want to go on it, this was a husband pick! It is a simulator style ride where R2D2 takes you on a chase through space. I had a huge smile plastered on my face the whole time, loved it.
Matterhorn Bobsleds – The bobsleds were closed! I was so disappointed as this was the rollercoaster I was most excited about. I guess this means we will have to go back…
Mad Tea Party -It was so fun spinning around and around in the iconic teacups! This was my favourite by a long way (we went on the teacups twice) and the ride I was most excited about experiencing at Disneyland.
After our second run on the Tea Cups we just wandered around for a little while taking in the sights while waiting for the sun to drop a little further. I was pretty disappointed when we arrived to step into my Disney dream only to be confronted with Sleeping Beauty’s castle absolutely covered in scaffolding. I wasn’t the only one, there was a mother desperately consoling her in tears daughter nearby me – I think she probably had a long day ahead of her given how visible the Castle is around Disneyland!
Nevertheless we had a fantastic day but I have decided I must go back some time. I need to see that Castle sans scaffolding and then there is the Matterhorn of course!