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Tuesday Time to Tackle: Disneyland

Have you ever had one of those days where the stars seem to align (metaphorically speaking--I'm not a believer of astrology) and all of a sudden you have a no-obligations day on your hand?   Well, that happened to me yesterday, so I grabbed oldest daughter and we went to the Happiest Place on Earth.

We arrived in the early afternoon, and headed to California Adventure.  We were hoping to get fast passes to the new Cars Land ride, Radiator Springs Racers, but unfortunately, the fast passes for that ride were all distributed for the day.  We opted to not wait in the 75-minute line and just skipped that ride.  We grabbed fast passes for Soarin' Over California instead.

If you are going to Disneyland and want to minimize wait time in line, my best suggestions are:  1. Pick a non-summer, non-holiday weekday.  2. Arrive at the park early.  3. Use fast passes.  

Fast passes are obtained at self-service booths near popular rides.  They are provided at no charge.  You simply swipe your admission ticket at the kiosk (much like an ATM), and the machine spits out a fast pass.  The fast pass has a one-hour window time frame stamped on it.  During that hour, you can return to the ride and enter the line for fast pass holders.  That line is much shorter than the regular line.

It used to be that Disneyland allowed you to use your fast passes anytime after the earliest time stamped on the pass, but I noticed yesterday that there were signs at the fast pass booths saying to return within the hour stamped on the ticket.  I think Disneyland is cracking down on that now.

You have to wait until after the time stamped on your fast pass to get another fast pass, so you'll want to prioritize the order in which you collect fast passes.  The most popular rides can run out of fast passes, so if you have your heart set on a certain ride (and don't want to wait for hours in line), grab your fast pass early.  

Because we were not willing to wait in a long line yesterday, when we learned the fast passes were gone for Radiator Springs Racers, we went to the other rides in Cars Land:  Luigi's Flying Tires and Mater's Junkyard JamboreeWe thought Mater's Junkyard Jamboree was geared toward the little-kid set, but it turned out to be much more fun than we imagined. 

Daughter and I on Luigi's Flying Tires ride--a bumper cars meets air hockey ride
Before leaving California Adventure and crossing over to Disneyland, we rode Soarin' Over California (one of my favorites!) and stopped by the Ghiradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, where cast members hand out sample squares of chocolate.

After walking down Main Street, we headed through Adventureland, picked up fast passes for the Indiana Jones ride, then went to the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland to watch Billy Hill and the Hillbillies perform.  They are musically talented and true entertainers--delighting audiences of all ages--and their jokes never grow old.

It always helps in planning a Disneyland trip to decide what is most important to the visitors.  Is it thrilling rides, gentle rides, entertainment, or meeting characters?  Yesterday, my daughter wanted to meet characters, something we don't spend as much time doing as we did when the kids were little:

Oldest son and daughter, 1991
Daughter had such a good time interacting with the characters; I think she would be a great Disneyland cast member. 

Before Ariel met us, she asked the little girl in front of us if she (the little girl) was a mermaid.  When the little girl said she wasn't a mermaid, Ariel wondered if the little girl was a fairy.  The little girl nodded her head, agreeing that she was, indeed, a fairy.  Disneyland is magical.

Clearly, daughter is a much more natural princess than I.

a kiss for Mickey
 Besides meeting characters, we attended the Royal Theatre, where we watched a retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast.  Belle is my daughter's favorite, so we really couldn't miss this cute performance.

We did get a chance to ride some rides, too:  Indiana Jones (fast pass), Star Tours (fast pass), Storybook Land Canal Boats, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White's Scary Adventures, and Pinocchio's Daring Journey.

Add in a shared Monte Cristo sandwich and pommes frites, and we had a wonderful girl's day at Disneyland.

Thanks for mother-daughter time.

You might find my posts on these blog hops:

Sew Darn Crafty Party,  Find a Friend Friday, Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop, Show Your Stuff, The Wildly Original Link Party, Wow Us Wednesdays, Down Home Blog Hop, Tuesday Archive Link Up, Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River, Grandparents Say It Saturday
The Creative Home Acre Hop Best Blog Post Ever, Grand Social,
Crafty Garden Mama,
Let's Get Social Sundays
Freedom Fridays
Tuesdays with a Twist
Pattern Party 
All My Bloggy Friends
A Peek into My Paradise

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  1. I've never been to Disneyland or Disney World, but it does look like fun.

    I'm glad you took photos and shared then.

  2. My nephew and his wife were just there and said the fast pass line for the new Cars ride was longer than the actual line for the ride!!! So they waited about 40 mins. in line instead of more in the fast pass line! Crazy!! I can handle the lines, but it's the 2 hour commute that I can't stand!! Can't they move Disneyland a little closer to us??? :) Looks like you had fun!!

  3. I love a good last-minute adventure! I'm so glad you had people take photos of the two of you. The Cinderella one is awesome! Such fun.
    I cannot tell my kids that I know someone who lives close enough to Disneyland to just go on a whim.
    We are on the 5 year plan for Disney. Every five years we go. Another 3 and a half to go, much to our youngest boys' dismay.

  4. What a wonderful day you had and the memories you made will last forever! Looks like a great time!

  5. How wonderful to live close enough to that magical place, to just be able to go spur-of-the-moment! I still remember the first time we took our children which was also the first time for my husband and I -- such a thrilling experience!

  6. What a wonderful day for the two of you to share and we have had such nice mild weather this week. You are definitely right with your suggestions about when to go, too! Disneyland gets really hot when it is bumper to bumper bodies and in triple digits to begin with! You both make wonderful Princesses!


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