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VOL. 130 | NO. 121 | Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Lance Wiedower

I Survived Disneyland

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I must’ve been out of my mind. How else to explain an anti-Disney person deciding to travel two time zones to visit Disneyland, just days after the official kickoff of the madness of the 60th anniversary celebration?

Living in the South it’s logical to visit Disney World in Florida. But big and crowded isn’t my style; I was told Disneyland is more manageable and doesn’t require the months of planning that a proper visit to Florida’s Magic Kingdom does.

Not that Disneyland has small crowds, but it’s not exactly overwhelming, either.

The crowds were more manageable in part because we went in late May while California children were still in school. I do think that helped, but it also probably didn’t hurt that we went on a Wednesday.

Our visit was a whirlwind; I think Disney fans would prefer two or three days to fully experience the park.

But our one day was enough time, particularly for our family – two adults only mildly interested in theme parks and an 8-year-old child making his first visit to an amusement park of any kind.

Plan to arrive as early as possible to take advantage of the light morning crowds. We walked through the gates shortly after the 8 a.m. opening and found little to no lines at several of the main rides for the next few hours.

Disney parks offer FastPass, which enables visitors to go to some of the busier rides to get a ticket with a return time to come back later and skip the lines. Those are great, and we did use them. But not all rides offer FastPass and even the ones that do, it’s not always necessary to collect one. In fact, even on one of the more popular rides – Star Tours – the wait was only about 30 minutes.

And if you’ve been to a Disney park, you know a 30-minute wait isn’t that big of a deal.

So what did we like about Disneyland? Honestly, the rides didn’t disappoint.

And it’s hard to admit, but posing for pictures with Tigger and Winnie the Pooh was worth the short wait.

Oh, and possibly the best part of the day came in the evening when we used our Park Hopper pass to walk over to California Adventure and enjoy the neon lights of Cars Land. Truly a scene out of the “Cars” movie and an old Route 66 dream, it’s worth the admission.

We finally left Disneyland around 10:30 p.m. Yes, this family that is indifferent about Disney spent nearly 15 exhausting hours roaming the magic of Disneyland. And I’d happily do it again. I’ll just make sure it’s mid-week in May.

I’ve been told Disney is an experience every family should have. After spending a day at Disneyland I’ll cosign that statement. It’s a Las Vegas for kids, but one that’s easy to get in and out of and not lose a fortune to experience.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.

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