We had a three day pass to the Disneyland parks. The pass was allowed access for Disneyland and California Adventure. There is also a third Downtown Disney which only has restaurants and shops. We went there on Saturday night and had dinner in a New Orleans themed restaurant.
The Disney pass included one early morning pass when you can get in an hour earlier than the normal ticket holders. But the early mornings are not available every day. We were going to the parks Sunday – Tuesday and would use the early pass on Tuesday. The hotel free shuttle was available to the park except on Tuesday morning we caught a taxi ($8) so we could get to the park by 7am for the early start (before the shuttle service started). LA was in a bit of a heatwave with temperatures around 35 degrees celcius. Very hot walking around in the sunshine. We used lots of sunscreen and drank lots of water. I also bought an Indiana Jones hat as it provided more protection from the sun. On Sunday the crowds were big. We spent the entire day at the Disneyland park. We tried to go on the shorter lines but that wasn’t always available. The average lines were 30 minutes. And the lines were deceiving to look at from the outside. For example the Jungle Boat Cruise seemed fairly short, but was signed as being 30 minutes. But once you get inside the line went into one building, zig zagged around for a bit. Then went into another building. Then went upstairs, zig zagged some more, before going back downstairs. Some more zigging and zagging and finally reached the start of the lines. We thought that on Monday the lines would be shorter being a weekday but that wasn’t the case, they were longer. However on Tuesday the crowds were less. The longest lines we saw was 3 hours (yes 3 hours!) in the sun for the new cars ride in the California park. We didn’t go at that time.
There are a couple of tricks for making the wait in lines shorter. For Disney they have a FastPass service for the more popular rides. You go to the rides and register for a future time, usually 2-3 hours in advance, when you come back to ride. When you come back at your allocated time you get to skip the main line. But you can only register for one Fastpass at a time. And you have to wait several hours for the next allocated time. And sometimes they even run out. For example the new cars ride the FastPass for the entire day had run out by 9.30am in the morning.
The other way to get onto ride quicker is to use the single ride line. In this line they put individuals on the rides when they have spare spots left over by groups. It means you probably won’t ride with people you are at the park with. But with rides only taking 2-3 minutes you just meet up afterwards. Using single rider we got onto a Condor flats ride in just a few minutes when the normal ride was 70 minutes. On the new cars line we got through the single rider line in 45 minutes when the main line was 100 minutes. In my opinion the rides just don’t justify the line wait times. There is no way I would think a 3 hour wait would be worth a 4 minute ride.
Disneyland was great fun, but the lines can get you down. Food is definely more expensive in the Disneypark. Every staff person we spoke to was very helpful and happy. It really made an impression.
California Adventure park
Standing in front of the rollercoaster/ferris wheel rides. We went on the ferris wheel where each carriage is on its own loop. So as well as going around the main circle, it also slides around on its own track. Think ‘extreme’ ferris wheel ride, where its still tamer than every other ride in the park, because its a ferris wheel: