For Southern Californians – and thousands of lucky Southwest Riverside residents – Disneyland is a conveniently close source of fun and fantasy. But, with well over 14 million guests visiting the park each year, the masses have a way of overwhelming even the most die-hard Disney fans.
So, you're going to Disneyland. For millions across the world, it is the happiest place on Earth – a holiday requiring months of planning and saving toward extensive travel expenses.
If you're looking to make the Anaheim trek this week during Spring Break, then read on for some tips on how to enjoy your day at Disneyland, despite the throngs of people who are looking for their own little slice of paradise:
Choose wisely. Weekends, Mondays and Fridays are traditionally the busiest days. If possible, plan to visit Disneyland Resort during the mid-week to avoid the rush. Wednesdays tend to be good.
Be strategic. Consider mapping out a plan the night before, giving careful thought to which attractions are must-see. Strive to organize a route so that there is little ground to cover. Pirates of the Caribbean at the top of the list? Plan on visiting the Haunted Mansion and the Mark Twain Riverboat directly after. Also, wait for thousands of tourists to line up for the parade, then make a serious "go" at your favorite rides.
Use the Internet. If possible, purchase tickets online days before your visit. This will greatly expedite your much-anticipated entrance into the park. Simply print, show your online stub and stroll on in.
Be the early bird. It's not easy, especially on a vacation day, but arriving to the park early and when its gates open will give you a serious jump on the lines at all the attractions. An early arrival will also increase your chances of a prime parking spot, fast-tracking your journey into the park.
Think ahead. Once you first glimpse that castle, walking down Main Street, it can be tempting to run to your favorite spots. Instead, think ahead to which rides are usually the busiest and most popular throughout the day. Go there first. If the lines have already started, secure a Fastpass and come back when you can zoom to the front of the line.
Stave off hunger. Bring small snacks – apples or a few crackers – as fuel for the rigors of the day. When it comes time for lunch or dinner, avoid stopping in for a burger or slice of pizza during peak feeding times. Bypass the crowds, by choosing to dine at an off-hour.
Slow down. When the rides are absolutely swamped with lines, choose attractions that are not as fast-paced and popular. Tom Sawyer Island, the newly re-launched "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln," Innoventions and the Disneyland Railroad are all fun attractions that will not have such long lines.
Relax! Chances are there will be some frustrating moments during your visit. Remember – it's not always about the destination. Resolve to stop, take a deep breath and enjoy the journey.