Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Disneyland-the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I love Disneyland--and we are going very soon. The trip is a surprise for the kids. Of course, getting ready for this trip has got me thinking about our past two trips to Disneyland. Like anywhere, The Happiest Place on Earth has its good things, its not so good things, and its downright ugly things.


Disneyland 2006

THE GOOD:

1-The Magic--Disneyland has a magical feeling that cannot be duplicated. If I was looking for big rollercoasters, I would go to Magic Mountain. I go to Disneyland for the magic and the characters.

Sammie watching the parade 2007

2-The Rides--with that said, I do love the rides. They are rides that I remember from my childhood--Space Mountain, the Teacups, Dumbo, Peter Pan. Then of course, you have the new rides, Soaring over California, Buzz Lightyear, Tower of Terror.

Sammie and Grandpa Paul on Dumbo 2007

Sammie on Buzz Lightyear 2007

3-The Cleanliness. Yes, I know Disneyland is probably the germiest place on earth (well--actually that is probably Lagoon.) But it doesn't feel germy--it looks pristine. I saw workers scraping gum off the sidewalk and cleaning garbage cans constantly. I like that the place feels clean.

Luke and Sammie 2006

4-The Hotel. We stay at an awesome Marriot right across the street from Dland. It has a McDonalds in the parking lot where we eat breakfast everyday. I love walking to the park and not worrying about parking.

Luke and Sammie in the hotel 2006

5- The Calorie burn. You do so much walking at Disneyland that I don't think about what I eat the entire time I'm there--hot dog? Yes. Big Mac? yes please. Chocolate shake? Make mine a large. My favorite restaurant is Rancho Del Zocalo in Fronteirland. I appreciate the opportunity to sit down and eat a greasy mexican meal in peace.

THE BAD

1-The Lines. The first time we went to Disneyland was in July of '06. There were long lines. 'nuf said.

Grandma Linda and Luke on It's a Small World 2007

2-The Characters--I love the characters--this is a big part of why we go to Disneyland. But I have a major beef with the fact that they are very hard to find. They show up and are then whisked away by their chaperones when there are still people waiting in line for a photo. Occasionally, we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time but most of the time, we had to settle for the second string characters like Pluto. If it were up to me there would be 4 Mickeys wandering the park at all times.

Luke and Pluto 2007

3-The Prices--Disneyland ain't cheap. I won't tell you what we paid for four 4-day passes (yes, I know--keep me in your prayers--we are going for 4 days!). Let's just say I could have bought a large piece of furniture or a really great wardrobe with that money.

Disneyland decorated for Halloween 2007

THE UGLY

1-The Price of a Diet Coke. I know this is technically under the category of "the prices" but I felt it deserved it's own line. As one who chain drinks diet coke--especially when I have a headache (and trust me, I'll have a headache at Dland!) I will need a diet coke constantly. At $3.50 a pop--I'll have to limit my consumption.

2-I Won't Have a Wheelchair. Last year, we went to Dland with my parents in October. My mother had just undergone a hip replacement in September and was in a wheelchair. Wheelchair at Disneyland=Celebrity treatment at Disneyland. We walked on every ride. It's going to be hard going back to regular status. Plus, she was kind enough to let the rest of us ride in it when we got tired of walking around.

Sammie in Grandma's wheelchair 2007

3-My feet. Every night in the hotel, I'm begging Sam to rub my dogs. It's not pretty.

What are your tips and secrets for Disneyland? I especially need to know good places to eat! Is the character breakfast worth the cost? Where are the best restrooms/mothers' rooms?

18 comments:

Jessica said...

Ok, so I always lived in San Diego so I didn't do hotels and such but I do know a few things. I heard that the character brkfst is the second rate characters and way expensive--you are better off at the arches. I have always brought water bottles and juice boxes for the kids and they have never stopped me so you could probably bring your own diet coke. I have never done it, but there are website that can plan your trip for you based on how much you want to do and they tell you how to time the rides with the longer lines. You can ask at the info booth when the characters will be in their station (that only works for those characters that have an assigned spot) and arrive a few minutes early to be one of the first in line. Also there is the city pass at costco. If you just want Dland then you don't want it. But for the same price as a 4 day park hopper, you can get 3 days at Dland (with bonus pass that lets you in early on one day), and one day each at universal studio, sea world, and the SD Zoo/Wild animal park.

sheryl said...

Here is a sad but true story... I have never taken my kids to Disneyland. They all went with friends after they could drive - except Ben. Maybe thats what went wrong. :)

Liz said...

love the Fairfield...that's where we usually stay. Emi and I went to the Ariel's grotto. Food was good but pricey, but every princess shows up. We've done Goofy's Kitchen...it was fun. Saw Goofy, Pluto, Chip/Dale, Cinderelle, Baloo.
There's a soup place in California Adventure. The pizza place in toon town made my kids really happy (Daisy's diner?). Don't miss the new Toy Story Mania in C.A. Soooo fun!

Anonymous said...

I think you need to take the wheelchair again! Everyone rode in it except Paul & Sam. (they pushed) I'll loan you my hip replacement card.
All in all D-land is a win! I remember riding out the second night with Luke on my lap (in the wheelchair- Paul pushing both of us) and when I told him we weren't coming back the next day, he was so sad - he thought that was going to be his life for awhile - every day at Disneyland. The rest of us were grateful we had only gotten the two-day park hopper! (Esp. those pushing the wheelchair!)

Linda said...

It's ME - Linda -- I must not know how to log on.

lindsey said...

Brooke--
Coke for $3.50 a pop is more than what I pay for the imported stuff here in the UK. That's outrageous. At least at Lagoon you can pay $10, get a 64 oz. insulated mug that they'll refill for free all day.

Yes, that's right. I am TOTALLY that person.

shelby said...

Holy crap I second everything you say! I love taht place, but I get home and think, I am not going again for a long while!!!

hteuscher said...

Hi, I thought I would delurk myself, I am friends with Ashley and the Mostess (my defense that I am not creepy). And I LOVE Disneyland, for all of the reasons you listed! I think it is clean and love that it is contained, no constant feeling like I am missing out on something! I do for some reason well up in tears during the night parades, I cannot explain it and my husband pretends I am with the family nearby! I think it is all the happy characters? but have a wonderful time!! (oh and if you get a chance the Boudin place in California Land has a honey mustard/apple salad served in a bread bowl the size of my head that I crave!!)

Mc Allen said...

I gatta be honest with ya, I only read the good, lol. We lived in FL for 8 yrs, then moved to Ok. Now we are taking our girls to DW for the very first time.. I know, dumb!! I am really looking fwd to it, and I hope you guys have a terffic time!! LA

Jill said...

This is perfect timing for this post. We leave tomorrow for our CA/Disney/wedding trip. I should be packing, but I need to get a blog fix, since I'll be gone for a week! :)

Carolyn said...

OK Brooke- Our family considers ourselves somewhat disney experts especially if you want to do it cheap. My tips are to eat at the pizza place by buzz light year. You can get a good meal for the family at a reasonable - for disneyland - price. We like to eat breakfast off the property before we get there and then hit the blue ribbon bakery on main street for a little snack around noon and then the pizza planet for a late lunch early dinner and then eat a real dinner after leaving the park. That way you are only forking out money for one full meal. The mothers room on Main street is THE BEST! Sometimes I would go in there even if I didn't have to change or feed a baby just to have those cute women help me and have a quiet moment. Heaven! The character breakfast at disneyland isn't really worth it... the princess breakfast at disney world is worth every penny! Save it for later. The fast pass is the way to go. Go to the rides you really want to go on very first and get a fast pass... even if there isn't a line get it for later when there is a line and ride the ride then too! Have a great time! We LOVE disneyland. Memories you will treasure for ever! It's like a baby... you forget the bad things eventually!

ALEX & KARI said...

I'm a blog stalker but saw your post about Disneyland and thought I'd add my two cents. Our family loves Disneyland and we've gone several times in the almost 8 years since we got married. We just went in August and the one thing I would add to everyone else's advice is that we have a schedule for our stay. We get up early each day, to be there when the park opens and then usually leave around lunch, go back to the hotel, kids take a nap, swim, and then go back late afternoon or you could wait until after dinner so you can eat outside the park. Then we're fresh and ready to stay until closing. The kids are able to stay awake to watch the fireworks/Fantasmic and we go on a few rides after that's over, when the lines aren't as long. I have to agree with the crying comment; I always end up getting teary during the fireworks. I have no clue why. There's just something about that place! It's so fun.

Kimmie said...

Brookie
We stay in that same Fairfiled Marriott everytime....LOVE IT! AND YES!!! I took my girls to Ariels Grotto last year for the princess breakfast, so worth it if Sammie is really into the princesses, They saw everyone, got pictures with each, etc. They still talk about it. While we were there, I sent Braden with the boys to Goofy's kitchen to meet some more "manly" characters. Everyone loved the character meals!

Ashley said...

I don't have any tips for Disneyland but I love the baby picture of Sammie in the Mickey ears. I miss her as a baby!

Lu's 64 ounce refillable coke sounds heavenly.

The Mostess said...

I promise 'Hteuscher' isn't creepy, and the girl does love her D'land.

I've never been--lame, I know, but I grew up on the other coast, and went to Disney World. Forgiven, right?

Meggan said...

There is an awesome mother's room at the end of main street before the street splits into the circle. there are microwaves for bottles and baby food, high chairs, rocking chairs and private room for nursing, and a little kids potty!

sarahwarner said...

We were lucky enough to go to Disneyland last night. The park is decorated for Christmas, it's beautiful. Dland has finally opened "It's a small world." The line was huge(and the rest of the park wasn't even crowded). ONE big tip-when the line splits into two lines, go in the outer-line(the one furthest away from the ride). We could tell it definitly went quicker.

Anonymous said...

use ridemax.com and you won't have to wait in any lines. We went July 2007 and the longest wait was 10min