Tuesday, March 22, 2011

{Happier at the Happiest Place on Earth}

We go to Disneyland at least once a month...probably more like twice a month. I never thought I would be one to buy a pass and take my kids that often but we figured when people come to visit they would want to go there and its much more cost effective to buy a year pass.

We use Disneyland as a reward for goals that have been reached, job charts filled and school work not only completed but going the extra mile on homework and school work. It's a great incentive and a place where all of us enjoy going.

I get a lot of emails asking what I suggest from those planning a trip there so last time we were there (last week) I grabbed my phone and took pictures of some of our favorites that make the place even better.

I thought I would share some of those tips and info with my readers in case you're planning a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth any time soon and have a post to refer those inquiring.

Most of you will be traveling with babies or small children. The Baby Care Center is absolutely a place you must visit. It's air conditioned, has a nursing room with comfy chairs and privacy, high chairs, tiny toilets, changing tables, microwaves, tables and baby items available for purchase such as pacifiers, formula, diapers, wipes, baby food and even tyenol for infants and children. It pretty much rocks! Find it at the end of Main street on your right.

We usually pack lunches and lots of snacks and buy dinner in the park. We do hit up Jamba Juice located in Downtown Disney which is just outside the park sometimes as well. Most of the park food is highly overpriced and equally overrated. After trying many places in the park we've found a few favorites.

Right next to the Baby Care Center building is the corn dog cart. I usually am not a fan of corn dogs but these are divine! The thick, perfectly cooked breading is my favorite. Get there early or there will be a looong line.After you enter Adventureland you will spot the Dole Whip cabana. It's so popular and so yummy that it always has some sort of a line. I always am amazed at how people will wait in line for 40 minutes when all they have to do is go to the other side (by entering the waiting area for the Tiki Room) and get one much quicker. We're talking like no line or about 5 other people. The whipped Dole pinapple sorbet floating on fresh pineapple juice is refreshing and oh so yummy. I just don't want to wait for 40 minutes to get mine...and now you won't have to either.The food prices at Disneyland are out of control. While I do recommend trying at least once the Monte Cristo sandwich ($20) and the beignets at the Blue Bayou, everything else at the restaurants inside the park aren't that impressive. Plus, I can think of a lot of other things I'd rather spend our $$ on at Disneyland than food.

After trying out almost all the places in the park we finally found a place that has delicious food and large portions for the price you're paying. Located near main street on the same side as Fantasyland, the Plaza Inn is our usual spot to eat dinner while there.

For $13 you can get a 1/2 a chicken, green beans,mashed potatoes and 2 biscuits...which pretty much feeds our family. They have other menu options as well with great prices for what you get.

Before I move on from the food portion of this post I have to mention two things I didn't get pictures of. First, you must get a Churro while at Disneyland. We always get it from the stand next to the Matterhorn ride on the way to It's a Small World. It's a must.

Second, did you know that you can have your water bottles or camelback filled with water without having to pay for it? And I'm not talking about filling it up from a fountain or the bathroom (ew!). Just go to any restaurant and ask! No more paying $4 for a water bottle!

One of the best things we use to plan out rides and where to go is the Disneyland app for our phone. If you have a smart phone do a search for this app. Not only does it tell you wait times for each ride, but it has bathroom locations around the park and even menus for all the venues inside!

I check out the wait times for some of the rides and then we decide which rides to go to next. It's an awesome tool!If you have children that can't go on some rides, no worries, you can still go on the ride. Just ask one of the ride workers for a family pass.

First one of the adults must go through the line as normal. Once off the ride they can come out and switch with the adult waiting with the smaller children. The pass allows an adult and one other rider to go on the ride, this time going in front of the regular line so you don't have to wait again! We usually just take both girls with us again and they let us. We love this pass!A favorite ride of both the kids and adults is the Buzz Lightyear ride. You use a laser gun and aim for targets all along the ride.There are a few secret targets that will make your score double or even triple! When going through the 3rd tunnel look up and a target will appear for a few seconds. Aim and keep shooting this target. It looks like the picture above.

The next "secret" place to get high points I didn't get a picture of, that kinda happens when you're holding a baby in one hand and your gun and phone in the other. In one room you'll come to Zurg (the bad guy). On his chest is a Z. It doesn't look like a target but if you aim and shoot at it you'll get a ton of points.This is the only way to get a lot of points. See Bret's initials (bDG)...he was ranked in the top 10 of the day - a proud accomplishment for him.I recommend the first night you're there to enjoy the parade and amazing fireworks. Then the next night skip the parade but stay close for the fireworks. The best view for the fireworks is to be riding the rockets in Fantasyland while they are going off. Every time we succeed in doing this the girls just can't stop talking about it for a few days. You can see the whole park and the fireworks are so close...it is truly magical for little ones.

Be sure and check out all the fun toys in the shops. A lot of things you can find online or at Disney Store locations but there are some things you can't get anywhere but Disneyland. Get the toffee on mainstreet as well...it's amazing!

We of course don't get something for the kids every time we go. If they want something they can save for it or try and earn it but on occasion we do let them get something small. Jonas got his first set of cars there. He wouldn't let go of those cars all day.Disneyland is so much fun. We have made some great memories there and enjoy going there. We usually have a hard time staying awake on the drive home, but it's so worth it!I had a few more tips to share but this post is already too long so I'll stop now.

If you have any tips and secrets or favorites about Disneyland please do share!


Jay said...

Wow- guess it's time to go back now. Sounds like fun. Bret is my hero.

brittany said...

the corndogs and dole pineapple whip are an absolute must! does it surprise you we love the same stuff? next time we come you'll have to meet us there for a day. that would be so fun! i loved this post, makes me want to head there right now.

banananutmeg said...

pickles. Gross, right? Who actualy buys them? I DO! The pickles at disneyland are like no other pickle on the planet. Must have.
Must have #2 is the pineapple spear. Buy a pickle and pineapple spear and eat them both. Sound gross? Just do it. You can thank me later. We also love the fresh mex place next to the mission tortilla exhibit in california adventure. Small world and pirates are both long enough rides to nurse a baby on (when you take a newborn, it stinks to have to stop so often...we figured out that both of those rides are ones you can nurse on.)
Now I want to go to Disneyland!

{Erica} said...

Yes! Those teo rides are great for nursing...well except for this one time when I forgot about the drop on pirates....:). Pineapple spear is yummy...now where do I get a pickle?

Amy said...

Awesome! We go about once a month too! {well, before having the baby} Loved the tips! I always wondered why everyone waited in that long pineapple ice cream line when they could just go to the other side. Love the buzz lightyear ride and now I know how to get all of those points. And lastly, love the blog!

Amy (ourdailyobsessions.blogspot.com)

{natalie} said...

now i want to go back.

i liked the corndog. i didn't like the monte cristo...too fried up for me. i thought i was going to love it.

dole whips are awesome.

we love space mountain.

and i loved the baby center even though i don't have a baby. i bought wipes for $2.

how fun for your kids to get to go so often. i bet they love it.

oh.....we did the smooshed pennies instead of collecting the pins. my kids loved filling up their little penny books. and i like that other places we go, ie. the zoo and aquarium have those smooshed penny things so they can keep adding to their collections.

jessie said...

I am so glad that you posted about this! I will make sure to keep it all in mind for when we go this summer!

Tia said...

I'm a big fan of Disneyland and DisneyWorld. We use a software called RideMax. You can buy a subscription for 3 months or one year and you tell it what day/time you're going and what rides, shows and activities you want to do and it will print out a schedule for you. It is incredible - it could be the busiest day of the year and your wait times will be so short. I've used it with 2 people or 12 people and it works each time. It even schedules in time for lunch, potty breaks, etc. It is a time saver for sure and so worth paying for the subscription to make the most out of your day at the park.

Brittany said...

I buy my beignets at downtown disney at the Jazz kitchen. I don't know if there is a price difference. It is just the perfect breakfast before going in and a jamba juice. I totally nursed my 1 month old on pirates. He didn't budge. Awesome. We havent gotten passes since we moved to Temecula but I miss it.

Love your blog!

Mayday said...

The Dole Whips are why I go to Disneyland (not really) but I love them!

Katie said...

we are going to disneyland next week (WOOOHOO) and i totally saved this post so i could write everything down... THANK YOU for your tips and tricks.

anymore for a couple without kids?