~DISNEY~ tips and just fun things to know

walt_disney_castle_old

Okay, this is not about book so much as it is about things I have learned about Disneyland, from looking things up online as well as from going there myself. It is our annual family trip. I absolutely love Disneyland, I believe that one can never be too old for the “Happiest Place on Earth!” Although this is not about reviews or blog tours or cover reveals for the next best romance novel, I have come across a few books that I would like to read that take place in Disneyland or are about the park or Walt. So with that being said, here are the books for anyone else who may have any interest and/or love of all things Disney.

Okay, so these are a few books that I have now added to my ‘to be read’ list. The last two are Mystery Fiction and sound good.  The other ones are pretty self explanatory. Things to keep you busy while you wait in line, goodies about the park that many may not know as well as the story about when Walt’s nephew Roy resigned and declared war on the Chief Executive Michael Eisner. I found another site that has a list of MANY books if you are a collector of Disney books. Now on to the good stuff…

My family is a family of 5, we have a 15, 9 and 4 year old. We have learned that for us a 4 day hopper works the best. We are able to get on all the rides and not have to be in the park until closing. With a 4 year old staying until closing can be exhausting for them and you will end up with a grumpy little and that is not fun for anyone. There are many hotels to pick from that are around the park that are decent in price. We enjoy staying at one of the Disney Hotel’s when we go. We usually alternate between Paradise Pier and Disney Hotel. Last year we upgraded to Concierge and I have to say that for the extra money it was worth it for us. We would start off our day with getting up early for Magic Morning, go by Concierge have the kids eat some cereal and grab some fruit. We would also come back for lunch and the kids would grab some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some juice while the hubby has a beer and some snacks. We would grab goodies in the park from time to time, but for the most part we would only eat out for dinner.

panaramic

They also offer in the Concierge area the opportunity to sit and watch the fireworks show, they open up all the curtains lower the lights and turn on the show so that we can hear the music that is played down in the park. I know that some would prefer to be on the ground in front of the castle, but we did it a couple times and we are okay with watching it from a distance and out of the crowd. Our older kids like to use that time to go and jump on some of the rides that usually have longer lines, because so many are out watching the show.

view

The view from our room last year. Over to the left at night you could see the fireworks.

One other fun thing was seeing the themed rooms. They were on the same floor as the Concierge. As we would walk to go get something to eat or snack on we passed a few of rooms. It was neat seeing the different doors they are all done up to match the theme of the room. I wanted to see inside, but the hubby wouldn’t let me, they had a cleaning service cleaning up one of the room. 😦

Fairy room

Pirates room

Now that being said, here are a few things that I have learned and what has worked for us…

  • If you have the option for Magic Morning* hours (for those who may not know is when you get to go into the park an hour before it opens. Some hotels close to the park offer it as well they are Good Neighbor Hotels) USE IT!
    • In Disneyland what is open is Main Street, Tomorrow Land (minus Autotopia) and Fantasy Land. We usually will get right onto Nemo, Space Mountain, Star Tours & Buz Lightyear, then we move over to the Matterhorn, Peter Pan, Tea Cups,  Alice in Wonderland, and usually by the time we are done with those the park is open to the rest of the public. That is when my daughter and I will make our way over to see the princesses and the hubby will take the boys to the rides that our daughter won’t go on, like splash mountain
      tomorrowland
    • In California adventure you can walk all over the park, but there are only specific rides open. Most in Cars Land will be up and running minus Radiator Springs Racers. They do start waiting in line for it though, and it opens up when the park does. We got on all the rides in that land minus the racers. I am not 100% sure if Soarin’ over California is open and running this early because we didn’t make it over there. 🙂 The Toy Story ride is up and going and that is a MUST on Magic Mornings. That is the ride that you can end up waiting in line for hours if you don’t get a chance to get on it before the park opens up.carsland
      • When going into the park on Magic Mornings DO NOT go to the entry point that is connected to the Grand Californian Hotel. We did this our second day and the line was so long, they only had one person checking bags and one person checking tickets. We got in with only about 40-45 minutes in the park.  It was more of a walk which meant we had to leave earlier, but we got in faster at the main entrance. I know for most it is still 40 minutes in the park but I don’t like to give up ANY time before it is open to everyone else.
      • downtown disney

        It may be a bit more of a walk, but we walked around to the front after that.

*Each member of your travel party must have a valid 3-day or longer Disneyland Resort Park Hopper souvenir ticket from Walt Disney Travel Co. for theme park admission. To enhance the Magic Morning experience, it is strongly recommended that Guests arrive at least one hour and 15 minutes prior to regular park opening.The current Extra Magic Hour schedule allows registered Resort Hotel Guests access to one park on these select days: (for those staying at a Disney hotel will get both Disneyland and California Adventure. Those staying at Good Neighbor hotel get only Disneyland)

  • Disneyland Park: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
  • Disney California Adventure Park: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays

*Disneyland.com*

  • When in the park most have favorite rides, but if possible it is best to go from one land to another instead of running all over the park, if doing that you will end up wasting a lot of time going from one spot to another and back again.
  • If you are going to buy clothing at the park you will end up paying more. You can save money by purchasing your shirts and costumes before you go. Try to find clothing that will glow under a black light. It is always fun to see the little ones get all excited over their clothes glowing.
  • Fastpass…use it when you can. You can only use it for one ride at a time, but it does come in handy on the bigger rides that tend to get long lines. Some may find it a waste of time, but it sucks having to wait in a that’s an hour and a half or more. You can go get on a few other rides while you wait for your time frame to come up. ALSO, if you are not hell bent on riding together on rides there are a few that offer a single rider option. You would just tell the Cast Member that you are a single rider, they usually will give you a card and show you where to go. You fill a spot so you may ride with a stranger or end up with your friends if you all decide to go on as single riders. It can cut down on waiting in lines.

FASTPASS

Disneyland

  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours

Disney California Adventure 

  • World of Color (distributed at Grizzly River Run)
  • California Screamin’
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Radiator Springs Racers (distributed near It’s Tough to Be a Bug!)
  • Soarin’ Over California
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

*Disneyland.com*

SINGLE RIDERS

The attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure that offer single rider service are Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin’, Goofy’s Sky School, Grizzly River Run, and Soarin’ Over California.

*Examiner.com*

  • For all you coffee lovers, there is a place on Main St. (Market House) that sells coffee and if you keep your receipt for the day you can get free refills throughout the day. ALSO you can get free water in the restaurants that you would go sit down and eat at. I have heard that some places will give you small cups others will be big ones. I guess it’s kind of the luck of the draw.
  • For those with iPhones, I personally like to download the Mouse Wait app. It is free and is pretty accurate on letting you know what the wait times are on the rides in the parks. AND make sure your phones are charged.
  • I will be doing this when we go again this year, with our 4 year old. With littles you have to keep a close eye on them so they don’t run off. But I did see somewhere a good idea, just in case they happen to run off and get lost. Write name of the child and your cell phone number on their wrist and seal it with liquid band-aid. That way it doesn’t wash off and in the event they get lost the Cast Memebers have a way of getting in contact with you. Also make sure to drill into them if they don’t find you around for whatever reason to look for someone with a name tag.
  • I’m pretty sure everyone knows about this, but the pin trading. I LOVE it! When we used to book our trips we would get sent pins for each of us. (they stopped doing it though) I would wear my pins on a lanyard that I bought to keep my ticket and room key in and I would check every Cast Member working when I pass them to see what pin’s they have. If I find one I like, I will trade them one that I got for one that I want. They are all awesome and no questions asked will make an even trade pin for a pin. 🙂 It is fun going on missions for specific characters. The kids have fun with it also.
  • If you don’t plan on leaving the park throughout the day bring a backpack! Just know you will have to carry it around all day and with most rides there is no issue with where to put it, you can find space at your feet and some rides even have places or hooks for you to put your bag. They also have lockers for you if you want to bring a bag, but don’t want to carry it all day. When I did bring a bag I made sure I had wet-ones, bottle of half frozen water, snacks (like granola bars, fruit snacks, nuts, etc.) sunscreen, chapstick, small umbrella, sunglasses (even if the kids don’t want to wear them in) hand sanatizer, autograph books if you have them, spray bottle with water (for those hot days) sweaters (because when the sun goes down it can get chilly) and band-aid’s. Also know that they will be checking in your bag so you will have to open it up so they can see all you have inside. (which is why when we went last year and I didn’t take a bag in it was awesome to just walk in no fuss.)
  • If purchasing things in the park the best time to shop is early because then you don’t have to deal with everyone one else trying to buy stuff before they leave the park for the day. If you don’t want to carry the stuff around all day you can ask where you can leave your bags for pick up later. They do have a place that is by the entrance of Disneyland that you can keep your bags at during the day. (not backbacks) If you are staying at one of the Disney hotel’s you can have your bags sent to the hotel.
  • With having a little that doesn’t/can’t go on the big rides it can be a pain when both parents want to ride the ride. I remember one year (before I knew this) I would wait for the hubby to go through with the kids then I would wait in line to go with them while we switched with our 2 year old at the time. I later learned that you can ask a Cast Member for a pass. Tell them you want to switch off (do this before you actually get on the ride) and they will give you a card. You carry the card with you on the ride, then when you get off hand it over to your spouse and they will go through the exit (like fastpass) and get right on the ride. No waiting in a long line for a second time.
  • When picking your time to go to the parks I have learned that a good judge on crowds is looking at the blackout dates on the Disneyland website. They will black out the dates they find to be the busiest so the annual pass holders won’t be admitted because they are expecting more people, so bigger crowds. Just know that during the off seasons, they shut down rides for refurbishment.
    • I have learned that spring break is the most expensive time to go.
    • There are also other special days that Disney does. You may plan to go during or avoid during the time.
      • Grad Night – June
      • Bats Day (Goth day) – May
      • Gay Day – First weekend of October
      • Dapper Day – Spring/Fall
      • Utah Education Association Convention (Teacher Convention) – October
      • Very Merry Christmas Parade (recorded in Nov. to air on ABC) – November
      • Dia de Rayas – January
      • New Years Eve & Day – Busiest 2 days and parks can fill to capacity
      • Tinker Bell Half Marathon – January
      • Mardi Gras – January / Februrary
      • Lunar New Year – Februrary
      • Taste of Downtown Disney
      • Disney Half Marathon
    • There are more listed you can go HERE to check out other things that go on, some days may be busier because of the things planned so that may help when planning your trip.
  • When we stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel a couple years ago our in-laws came with us and my father in law has problems with his knee so he would always find somewhere to sit. We found out when we cut through the Grand Californian Hotel that they would give us a ride from their hotel to ours, so he didn’t have to walk. They do offer it even to the monorail the guy said. So we would just go to the front of the Paradise Pier/Grand Californian and ask for a golf cart ride. It came in handy and I’m sure the father in law enjoyed the less walking.
  • There are a few bathrooms that some may not know about. There is one that is near the breezeway by Carnation Plaza, tucked in the back corner that is not too busy, I also heard that there is a bathroom somewhere in the Indiana Jones wait line area somewhere. (since they predicted that there would be LONG lines for it) There are also restrooms at the Tiki Room since it was originally planned to be a restaurant.
  • When it comes to food it is overpriced, but most know this already. If we eat in the park we usually will do only one meal. I have packed things and kept them in our room for breakfast (pop tarts, muffins) as well as lunch (stuff for pb&J) and just eat out for dinner. We did this when we got the Suite at the Disney Hotel a few years ago.

suite
We always have breakfast with the characters the day we leave and the hubby and I have agreed that Goofy’s Kitchen has the best food. In the park there are a lot of places to pick from but we have specific places that we go to regularly. Corn Dogs  at the little red stand off of Main Street.

corn dog copyWe also liked the food over in California Adventure Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta. Another one that is on the pricier side, but VERY good (at least my hubby and I thought so) was Carthay Circle Restaurant. It was based on the theater that they did the first showing of Snow White in. Which is why you will see a bunch of old pictures of the people dressed in character. As we sat and waited for our food to come we were looking around and my hubby asked if there were any hidden Mickey’s. Our server told us yes, in the mural on the ceiling there is a hidden Mickey. I found it of course. 🙂 I have learned that the Cast Members enjoy telling all the stories they know when you ask. We were also told that there were other things that were around the room. Below is the picture I took. In the table top the evil queen as well as the man in the mirror can be seen, the light fixture had the crown that the evil queen wore and the center part is supposed to be an apple dangling. If you want to, you can pay a little extra and get the package deal they offer for the World of Color. It was a good spot to stand and watch the show and we didn’t have to wait for hours keeping our spot.
table

  • I am a planner when it comes to Disney. When we get to the Hotel I will sit and map out our plan for the first 2 days. I make sure to take note of the times of any of the shows we want to see. We also check the height requirements before hand to know what rides our smallest child can’t make it onto. I have also figured out the best places to find the characters by checking online at forums as well as talking to the people at the Hotel. And what we have come across.  There is actually a site called Character Central that I found that you can keep track of the characters you have come across. I wish AT&T had an app like Verizon does. Verizon has an app that lets you track down characters.
    • Character Dining – obviously you will see characters while you eat. -> Breakfast in the park with Minnie and Friends (in the Disneyland park), Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel), Surf’s Up breakfast with Mickey and Friends (Paradise Pier Hotel), Ariel’s Grotto (in the California Adventure park) & Story Tellers Cafe (Grand Californian Hotel)
    • Fantasy Faire – Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzle (3 princesses at a time and will be listed outside which ones it is)
    • Pixie Hollow – Fairies and Tink
    • Tomorrowland – Buzz Lightyear
    • Frontier Land – Woody, Jessie, Pocohanatas
    • Cars Land – most of the cars
    • Bugs Land – Flik
    • Toontown – Micky, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Daisy
    • Backlot in CA – Incredibles, Mickey, Goofy, Mike, Sully, Stitch, Sophia the First
    • It’s A Small World area – Merida
    • Critter Country – Tigger, Pooh, Eyore
    • Fantasy Land – Fairy Godmother (random), Anna, Elsa, Alice, Mad Hatter
    • Paradise Peir – Buzz, Woody, Green Army Men
    • Grizzly Peak – Doug, Russle
    • Adventure Land – Jasmine
    • New Orleans – Tiana
    • Snow Whites Grotto – Snow White, Evil Queen, Peter Pan
    • Tom Sawyer Island – Jack Sparrow

      small world

      Waiting for Merida – this was my view.

There are many more I’m sure, but these are some that we have come across.

  • There is something that we never knew of and we are going to be doing it this time we go but when the park opens up go to the Main Street Station and make a reservation to ride in the Lily Belle train car. I was looking online for things that not many people know about Disneyland and came across a post on Buzz Feed with a list of things, some I knew and then there was this one.
  • When you purchase any toys, balloons and whatnot if the toy breaks or the balloon pops you take your receipt and the broken toy or balloon and they will replace it for you.

Here are things that would be more along the lines of “FUN FACTS” many will know some of these and some may you may not.

  • There are hidden Mickey’s ALL over the park. Some people try to document them as they find them, the kids and I try to find them on every ride because they say that every ride has at least one hidden Mickey.
  • Walt made two places to stay inside Disneyland. The first was above the Fire Station. I am pretty sure everyone knows this, but if you are in the park and look above the Fire Station you will see a light on in the window they leave it on in remembrance of him the only time they turn it off is when his daughters are in the park out of respect. The other was the suite above the Pirates of the Carribean ride. The Dream Suit. He made the apartment for entertaining guests, he didn’t get it finished before he passed away. It is amazing now, I have seen pictures and came across a blog post on Disney Park Blogs. It would be amazing to stay there!
  • The asphalt has rubber mixed in to make it more comfortable to walk on.
  • Off of main street by the lockers there is a wall that you can find where Walt was trying to figure out what size and shape he wanted. You can still see these test bricks.
  • Market store on Main street there are old phones, pick them up and listen.
  • Hat shop in Fantasy Land there is a mirror on the back wall, watch it and you will see it change.
  • Main St. is designed after Marceline, Missouri where Walt grew up. The buildings on Main St. are built bigger on the bottom and smaller on the top to make them look bigger than they are. There are also smell’s that are sent through vents and pushed out into the crowds of people. Vanilla is the main scent, but during Christmas time it is peppermint. They do this as well on rides, like with the Haunted Mansion you can smell the musty, dirt smell. It is pushed through vents to add to the experience.
  • You can drive the Mark Twain boat and get a certificate. You ask to view the wheel house and sometimes they will take you up and let you steer the boat.
  • Cats are kept in the park to catch mice, they release them at night when the park is closed. On occasion you can see a cat walking around.
  • The drawbridge is real on the castle I believe it was only lifted twice. Once was opening day and the second was when they did a rededication of Fantasyland. The crest that is on the castle is Walt Disney’s family crest.
  • The brass apple at the entry of the Snow White ride, touch it and listen. Also the window above the ride if you stand and watch the curtains move out of the way and someone looks out.
  • Where Indiana Jones ride is it used to be the Eyore parking lot, which is why there is an Eyore sign up in the rafters while you wait in line. They kept the sign from the parking lot. There is also a rope that says don’t pull, pull it and listen.
  • Everyone knows about the basketball court at the top of the Matterhorn but there seems to be two different stories. One reason for it being there is that there was so much empty space and Walt didn’t like to waist so he put a half court up there for the employees. The other is that there was some issues with the height and regulations so they found a loophole and that was putting a court in it.
  • George Lucas shows up on the Star Tours ride. At the end there is a guy that ducks down and gets on the phonethat’s him. The other thing is when you are waiting in line you will hear a page go out for Egroeg Sacul, that’s George Lucas backwards.
  • Disney has their own color of green paint. Noseeum Green. It is a color that blends things into the background, they paint the trash cans and other things they don’t want your eye to be drawn to. People have tried for years to match the color but there is no formula that is out there. They say that some people have even taken chips in to try and get it matched at hardware stores.
  • There is a spike in the ground in front of the Castle they say it is to mark the center of the park if you stand on it you were directly at the center of the park before they added on Toon Town. Some also say that it was there and used to make sure that the castle was center to Main St.
  • They say that there is a Lego Capitan Jack Sparro on the Pirates ride. The scene is where the skeleton is sitting on the top of a pile of gold. I have not personally found it, but I will be looking when we go again. It is supposedly sitting on top of one of the treasure chests.
  • People have and continue to try and scatter ashes on the Haunted Mansion ride. People also still send in requests to be allowed to do so. The answer is always no for those requests. When they do find people throwing ashes on the ride, the ride is shut down and Hazmat gets sent in to clean it up.
  • If you think that because the ride is dark that you are not being watched, well, you are. There are cameras everywhere. Some people have gotten pretty frisky on rides and when they go get off they have been greated with Cast Members clapping for their “performance”. They have hundreds of security, they have their own officers. They have some in uniform and many in plain clothes. You never know who is watching you.
  • When you get to the foyer of the Haunted Mansion you can ask for a “Death Certificate” if you’re lucky they will tell you to come back at the end of the ride and you can pick them up.
  •  The train station in New Orleans, if you stand and listen you will hear morse code. The message that it is sending out is the speech that Walt gave on opening day.
  • After riding on the Jungle Cruise ask for a map after. It will be something cute to add to a scrapbook or for the kids to keep as a memento.
  • There was something on the internet that had been going around about Andy’s toys from Toy Story. If you yell out “Andy’s Coming” the toys freeze and drop to the ground. Maybe when it started out they did, but they no longer drop to the ground they may just freeze and go limp.
  • Coke is the only drink products that are sold at the park so if you want another type of soda you will have to bring it yourself or wait until you leave the park.
  • On the Buzz Lightyear ride when you get to the room where Zurg is there is a small Z on his chest and it may not look like a target but it is worth 50,000 points. It is hard to hit, but worth it if you get it.
  • If you are staying at the Disney Hotel they have a trivia that they offer for some of the rides. It was fun. After we were done, we go turn them in at the check in desk and they check them. They gave the kids pins and for the pirates, they got to pick a “jewel” they wanted from a small treasure chest. Our daughter was so excited she got to pick a diamond. The rides they offer trivia for are: Nemo, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Carribean and It’s A Small World. Also there is a paper that has pictures on it and you have to put where they are located at in the park.Trivia
    They also have a map for the kids who go to the Mickey and the Magical Map show.
  • There is a hidden Incredible Mr. Limpet on the opposite side of the dancing Ariel in the under the sea room. I heard about this and googled it and found on the Finding Mickey site that it is there. They even have a picture posted. They even have a checklist of hidden Mickey’s. I think I may have found a new site to watch. 🙂

I’m sure there are many more secrets, tips and even fun facts… if you know any please share…

About Momma's Books

Found my new love for books when a good friend sent me the Sookie books and I was stuck in a paranormal state and only wanted that then I came across Shayla Black and read her Wicked Lovers Series which got me into the contemporary romance with a "twist" and since then I have just been a reading fanatic! And LOVE every minute of my escape from reality. View all posts by Momma's Books

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