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Did You Go to Disneyland for Spring Break? Share Your Trip Tips!

What I learned on my millionth trip to Disneyland. (OK, just seemed like the millionth.)

Just got back from Disneyland, and it was the best trip ever, and I keep thinking about how I would have done it differently in years past, knowing what I know now that the kids are 8 and 10.

It's a place with so many fascinating layers. Every time we go I learn something new. Plus, the masters of drama are pretty crafty at mixing things up, making changes and always tweaking the dreamland.

So here goes my effort at Disneyland wisdom. Please comment about what you've learned in all your trips there, too, (and share some photos!) so we can collectively all make the most of our journeys to the Magic Kingdom.

1. Do not waste your money going multiple times with kids under 5. They will not remember a thing about these trips beyond playing with the trash cans or climbing on the hotel Mickey Mouse flower planters, and they'll fall asleep before the fireworks.

2. Wait until they're 40 inches tall. This time our family could go on all the good rides together. It was such a different experience. No splitting up the older and younger kids while one went one way with Dad and the other toddled all bored around ToonTown with Mom.

3. Get there at opening time at least once. All the park workers line the sidewalks and wave at you with big white Mickey hands! You feel like a special dignitary. Just watch out for the nutty people who RUN to be the first in line. Then start running after them.

4. You just need to do the overpriced Disney character meal once. Pay the $96 for three people to eat something akin to frozen waffles while getting continuously interrupted by massive chipmunks that aren't so cute when you haven't had enough coffee. Then never ever do it again.

5. If you ride the Grizzly River water ride at California Adventure and did not get super wet, know that was a complete fluke. If you ride it again you will get completely wet. Soaking wet. Note to riders: Put the new expensive smart phone in a locker. It will not dry out the next day.

6. Be assured you'll walk so much that you will collapse at the end of the day. So yeah, workout enthusiasts, you probably don't need to put in an hour at the crappy hotel gym. But you should wear those stylish running shoes in the park.

7. When you book your hotel, understand that EVERY hotel says it is "right near Disneyland." While that might technically be geographically correct, know that does not mean easily accessible on foot. Due to some inexplicable design strategy of the properties, it will just about always take you 15 minutes to walk from most hotels to a park entrance.

8. So buy the Anaheim Rapid Transit pass. It's one of the few things at Disneyland that is not extremely pricey, and you will be soooooo thankful when your 90-pound kid wants to be carried back at midnight.

9. If your kids are old enough, let them go on rides then park yourself at the Golden Vine Winery in the California park. I overheard two mommies in Dublin yesterday sharing this golden lil' tip with one another and was super jealous. Wine! At Disneyland?? Not a sippy cup in sight? Yes! Am totally putting that on the next trip to-do list.

10. Got a question? Just ask a nice uniformed Disneyland person. They know all the secrets. And one might even just slip away and grab your kid an extra Autotopia driver's license, or two, in a pinch. Or, if you leave your sunglasses on a ride, they actually will save them for you and give them back.

11. Get the FastPass! It's free, and yes, it's fast. Well, faster than waiting in lines at the popular rides. Just get one using your park ticket, go ride something else and return at the time on your FastPass, bypassing all the silly people waiting for 45 minutes while your wait is 15.

12. The food inside the parks isn't very good. Except for the corndogs. Get the corndogs! Anyone got some food tips? Share 'em! 

13. Get a Disneyland smartphone app. It's great to know the wait times. They really work. And some of them tell you where the closest ride is, to cut down on some of that walking. But if you don't have one, ask the nice Disneyland person. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Phyllis L. April 18, 2012 at 05:36 PM
We just got back from Disney World but have been to Disneyland so many times. FastPasses or Express Passes are nice to get (usually limited to one at a time), but also have the riders go thru the line as a single rider. The single riders fill in the extra spaces on the ride. It can be better than FastPasses.
Kari Hulac April 18, 2012 at 07:52 PM
We saw tons of people with said bird leg in hand. It's so primal! love it.
Louise April 18, 2012 at 09:05 PM
If you are following a gluten free diet, go to City Hall in Disneyland and they will give you pages and pages of restaurants that will accommodate you in both Disney and California Adventure. The chefs come to your table (or your place in line) and talk to you directly and prepare your food in a dedicated place in the kitchen. The list even includes snacks from carts. It was a total bonus and we ate like royalty!
Shelley April 19, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Actually you dont need to prove that you have special needs there. They feel it is detrimental to their image to make you prove it. Some people do get away with that. We try to eat mostly at downtown Disney. Make sure to make your reservations as soon as you know you are going. Lunch is not a problem but breakfast and dinner in the good restaurants are almost impossible to get without reservations.
Dell April 19, 2012 at 12:20 AM
During the Easter Break we went to Legoland, San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld. I thought all these places were overrated and very crowded. The basic theme is stand in line for 30 to 90 minutes for a ride that would last a minute to 2 minutes. I was surprised that most of the Legoland exhibits were outside. The outside exhibits looked nice but were very weathered. The San Diego Zoo is big mainly to accomodate the running of the double-decker buses. The animal enclosures were small. Personally, I felt the San Francisco Zoo smaller than the San Diego Zoo is a better buy. I felt SeaWorld is similar to Vallejo's Africa USA. If going on rides is your thing and you want a ride to last longer than a few minutes I think Santa Clara's Great America is a good place to go. Except for Disneyland the rest of the amusement parks in SoCal is a bunch of hype!

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