The Ultimate Guide To Disneyland

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Disneyland is unarguably the happiest place on earth. You can constantly hear the sound of laughter and the tempting aroma of chocolate and caramel perpetually wafts through the air. A magnificent castle greets your eyes at almost every step and the many twists and turns of the roller coaster release a cascade of endorphins in your system. However, this happy place plays host to thousands of visitors on a daily basis and making the most of your time here can therefore prove to be quite challenging. To that end, here are all the things that you should keep in mind before visiting the land of Mickey, Donald, Pluto and Elsa. These will collectively ensure that you have a wonderful time.

Photo of Tokyo Disneyland, Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan by Sumedha Bharpilania

1. To make the most of your time in Disneyland, you should ideally reach in the early hours of the morning, around the same time the park opens. Mornings in Disneyland are the least crowded and the queues (both for the tickets and for the rides) are a lot shorter. Moreover, this is the time you can make full use of the 'Fast Pass' system. Rise and shine!

2. In order to skip ticket queues altogether and save a lot of precious time, you could buy your tickets online. You need a credit card for the same and your ticket will be e-mailed to you. This document then needs to be printed and carried to the park.

3. Weekends and holidays, as a matter of course, bring in big crowds to Disneyland. It is therefore advisable to visit on weekdays so as to savour all the fun. A lot of travellers who do not stay at the Disneyland Resort (because it is terribly expensive) tend to visit the park twice, on consecutive days, as it is practically impossible to cover the whole of this gigantic paradise in one day. Multiple day tickets are therefore available at relatively reduced prices.

4. Have a good understanding of the FastPass process as it is a great way to maximise your time at Disneyland. A certain number of attractions in the park come under the 'FastPass' system wherein you can insert your park ticket into a machine near each attraction and receive a pass that allots you a specified time to visit the particular ride. This will help you skip the long queues as FastPass holders have a separate entry. This time period (also known as 'Return Time') is one hour long and if you are late even by a minute, your pass will cease to be valid. Moreover, you can only hold one such pass at a time for a specific ride. The earlier you reach an attraction, the earlier the return time and it is therefore vital for you to plan your day in advance. Additionally, there is a huge possibility of attractions running out of FastPasses so it is best to not bank entirely on them.

5. Things get faster if you decide what rides you want to get on in advance. Visit the Disneyland website a day before your trip and make a list of all the rides that interest you the most. For instance, some rides like 'It's a Small World' aren't all that fun and exciting if you don't have a toddler with you. It is therefore wise to not waste time on these. Remember that Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones Adventure are usually the best and the most popular rides in Disney World.

6. The best Disney parades, replete with your favourite characters, usually take place around 4 or 5 in the evening in the main street and are downright magical. The map handed to you at the ticket counter will have all the necessary details for the same and make sure you keep yourself free during the parade hour and find a place to sit at the 'Main Street U.S.A' in advance. People have often missed out on this surreal experience while standing in queues for attractions. Don't do that.

7. The happiest place on earth is also one of the most expensive places on earth when it comes to food so remember to have a hearty breakfast before embarking on this fascinating journey. In fact, visitors can even bring their own food to the park. While Disney-themed restaurants are all pretty, colourful and attractive, they aren't really all that practical. If you get hungry and have nothing with you to munch on, it is advisable to eat from the food carts instead of restaurants. Sit-down eateries in the park are usually very posh, crowded and have a limited menu, often burning a hole in your pocket. On-the-go food, on the other hand, is a lot cheaper in comparison and usually better. Right from flavoured popcorn to corn dogs, churros to turkey legs, you can keep snacking on these while walking around Disney World or standing in queues. However, make sure you do not over-eat before getting on a roller coaster so as to avoid embarrassing accidents like throwing up all over yourself.

Photo of Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, France by Sumedha Bharpilania

8. Download the Disneyland Mobile App if you aren't very good at reading handheld maps. While the map provided to you at the ticket counters is very detailed and helpful and the many Disney 'Cast Members' will be more than happy to guide you around, the app is more interactive and easier to navigate.

9. You might often spot people shamelessly skipping queues because they just do not have enough patience to stand for hours in the same. Do not try to attempt cutting in lines as it is illegal and if caught, you might get banned from your favourite ride for life. Use the FastPass to jump queues legally.

10. It would only make sense to wear your most comfortable and practical clothes to Disneyland. Cotton shirts and jeans are your best bet during the summers and a cosy pullover along with a fuss-free jacket should help you during the cold months. As far as shoes are concerned, your sneakers will act as lifesavers in the park because you will have a lot of walking and running to do. Carry basic backpacks/sling purses and skip your dresses, heels, scarves and fancy bags.

11. Disney Parks do not have WiFi so as to provide a more immersive experience to the visitors. If you do not have a local number with a data plan or even international roaming for that matter, it is advisable to get one before your trip to Disney World if in case you need to get in touch with someone. For those visiting Tokyo Disneyland, carry a Pocket WiFi with you.

12. This tip comes in handy for those visitors who easily get queasy. While waiting for your turn to get on roller coasters, try and get the attendants to not give you the first and last seats of the coaster car. The two ends are notorious for making riders feel nauseous and if the attraction has a water feature, this is where most of the splashing happens. Save yourself the trouble of getting sick while you can.

I shall save the best for the last : Remember to have truckloads of fun and unleash your inner child. You are, after all, in Disneyland where all of your childhood fantasies come true!

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