The next thing we quickly learned was just how hot a ticket Radiator Springs Racers is. Of course, we knew it was popular, but it was a revelation on our first morning to see a huge line snaking its way around Carthay Circle. At first, I rather stupidly thought that people were lining up for World of Color meal packages at the restaurant there, as that's where the line seemed to start, but no, that's where non-resort guests started to line up for the FASTPASS line for Radiator Springs Racers! Thankfully we were staying at Disney's Grand Californian, so we were resort guests, and we were able to get in line easily enough to grab our FASTPASSes.
We also learned how quickly those FASTPASSes disappear -- it's a bit like Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Snooze, and wait until the park's been open for a couple of hours, and that's it -- you're out of luck. We went back for another FASTPASS at around 9:30am, and already they were gone for that evening.
We already knew how popular World of Color is, so we knew to get a dining package for it, but what I didn't realise, and we completely lucked out with this, is that if you eat at the Carthay Circle restaurant, you end up with some of the best seating for this show. It was a superb meal, and this was a nice, additional bonus.
Turning to the Disneyland Park itself, on a couple of occasions, we nearly missed attractions because we thought the waits were too long. One prime example of this is the Jungle Cruise, which when we first rounded the corner into Adventureland looked absolutely mobbed. Thank goodness we did a double check, as it turned out the line was actually for the Indiana Jones Adventure a little way away. That’s the problem with having quite a small park, so do check whether the attraction you want to see is as busy as it first looks.
Something that we didn’t think about before this visit was that Mickey’s Toontown opens later than the rest of the park. We headed there one morning, only to discover it cordoned off, so all we managed this trip was a quick visit there at nigh. That was a shame, and it’s certainly something I’ll be keeping in mind for future visits.
After regularly visiting Walt Disney World, something else that you may forget about, but very much applies at Disneyland, are parking charges. Sure, you have to pay for valet parking in Orlando, but as an on-property guest, I’m not used to paying to self-park as well. That was a bit of a shock to the system, especially as the charges aren’t cheap. When we were there in December 2012, self parking was $15, while valet was $22, and the rates have gone up since. It’s certainly something worth adding into your budget, if you’ll be staying for a few days.
The final lesson we learned this trip was perhaps an obvious one, but then again, when you’ve never visited California before in December, maybe not. Our previous visits have been in April, August, and October, and obviously the weather is pretty hot in those months. This time was very different, and just like Orlando in December, we had some mornings that were a shock to the system with the cold. I was so glad we were well stocked with long-sleeved tops and sweatshirts, and could layer up appropriately.
So those were the lessons we learned on our most recent Disney trip. You definitely always learn something, no matter how many visits you’ve had in your life. It'll be interesting to see what we learn on our next trip, which will include our first ever visit to Aulani in Hawaii, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty to learn from that.
California Adventure - rainy morning
A rainy morning can make all the difference at Disneyland, helping to ease the crowds. - photo by chezp
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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Disneyland with a broken toe
18 Nov 2013 at 10:32pm
We are going to Disneyland next week (for Thanksgiving) and I found out today that my daughter, who is 12, has a broken toe and will be in a boot for...
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