1 Day in Disneyland, how to make the most of it?

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Brinbunny's picture
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1 Day in Disneyland, how to make the most of it?

Hi all,

Had a great email today, basically meaning I can get to Disneyland for 1 day in May.

My hotel got moved from LAX to the Majestic Garden Anaheim yay

That means I now have a ton of planning to do. I am aware that any Disney park should be taken at some form of lesuire to do properly but I have only 1 day to do as much as I can.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to go about this?
Should I park hop - is it worth it in the limited time I have?
What to eat?
What to ride?
What is a nice to do?
Anything to avoid?
Is the FP system the old paper style?

Haha, I think that covers my immediate concerns. I thank everyone in advance for any help and suggestions.

Kristen K.'s picture
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Brinbunny wrote:
Should I park hop - is it worth it in the limited time I have?

Personally, I wouldn't.

Brinbunny wrote:
What to eat?

Inside Disneyland - Rancho del Zocalo, Bengal BBQ, Mickey-shaped Beignets from the Mint Julep Bar

Brinbunny wrote:
What to ride?

Indiana Jones Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Small World, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Submarines, Monorail. All of these have a different flair to them at Disneyland.

Brinbunny wrote:
What is a nice to do?

The French Quarter is my favorite area of the Park. be sure to spend time shopping, eating, and soaking up the atmosphere here.

Don't forget to watch the Paint The Night Parade because it looks amazing!

Make sure that you stop for a moment in Town Square and pay your respects to Walt by seeing the light in the window at the Firehouse.

Brinbunny wrote:
Anything to avoid?

Ummmmm.... not in my opinion.

Brinbunny's picture
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Thanks Kristen, that's great info.

Just found out that we are meeting friends for Dinner in the park, which will be great as they are locals. I even managed to get my Mum to buy in with the offer of Big Thunder mountain, she loves mine train rides as they are over here so she said put her on that all day and we can go hahaha.

I just need to make sure she does not find out what Small World does.... Because I love it and sing all the way around - it may get vetoed hahaha.

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If you do it right, you can see Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever and Fantasmic, all in one night.

I would only park hop to do RSR first thing in the morning, then head to DL Park.

Bengal BBQ is a favorite of mine because meat on a stick just rings a bell for me.

I love the Indy ride. It may be my favorite ride.

You have to prioritize, get to the park early with a plan. And stay until they kick you out.

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Brinbunny's picture
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The Colonel wrote:
If you do it right, you can see Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever and Fantasmic, all in one night.

I would only park hop to do RSR first thing in the morning, then head to DL Park.

Bengal BBQ is a favorite of mine because meat on a stick just rings a bell for me.

I love the Indy ride. It may be my favorite ride.

You have to prioritize, get to the park early with a plan. And stay until they kick you out.

Thanks, think I will not hop unless I can get a good deal. I also like meat - with or without the stick biggrin

Ooh Mum is a big Indie fan, she will like that.

Park maps at the ready , looks like opening will be 8am, as its my 1st day after my flight I hope to take advantage of getting up at 4am.

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Should I park hop - is it worth it in the limited time I have? Radiator Springs Racers in Disney's California Adventure is an awesome ride. Since you only have one day, I would say stick with Disneyland

What to eat? My favorite restaurant there is Carnation Cafe.

What to ride? Indiana Jones (my favorite). Indiana Jones has a single rider line.

What is a nice to do? Mickey and Magical Map show

Anything to avoid? Nothing that I can think of

Is the FP system the old paper style? Yes, Disneyland is old school with paper fast passes

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JoAnn C wrote:
Should I park hop - is it worth it in the limited time I have? Radiator Springs Racers in Disney's California Adventure is an awesome ride. Since you only have one day, I would say stick with Disneyland

What to eat? My favorite restaurant there is Carnation Cafe.

What to ride? Indiana Jones (my favorite). Indiana Jones has a single rider line.

What is a nice to do? Mickey and Magical Map show

Anything to avoid? Nothing that I can think of

Is the FP system the old paper style? Yes, Disneyland is old school with paper fast passes

Thanks Joann, this is a great help

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I have never been, so I can not offer any advice here, but I just wanted to say that is some great pixie dust that came your way. Hope you have a great time!

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NikkiMouse wrote:
I have never been, so I can not offer any advice here, but I just wanted to say that is some great pixie dust that came your way. Hope you have a great time!

Thanks Nikki , that will make me half way to visiting every Disney park in the world. Hong Kong is planned for 2017.....

That was my thought exactly, when I booked this nearly a year ago I resigned myself to only getting to see El Captian and Disney Soda fountain. I came to terms with it fairly quickly as I'm spending 17 nights seeing 5 places from my bucket list. Then when I got that email I was all yay yay Now all I need is for my bus to arrive in Sanfransisco before 4pm so that I can hit the Walt Disney family museum......

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Disneyland is awesome!!! It looks a little smaller in scale, especially at the entrance--less "grand", if you will. But inside, it's so beautiful. It's much greener than MK and it reminds me more of a garden park with bigger attractions.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to go about this?
DL is very much a go with the flow kind of park. Most people don't plan much of their day in advance. Even many ADR's are available same day. Definitely plan to use fast pass wherever possible.

Should I park hop - is it worth it in the limited time I have?
I wouldn't--as a first timer, you can definitely fill a whole day in Disneyland. I'm sure it will be tempting with DCA just across the promenade, but DL+DCA actually has more total attractions than all four parks in WDW combined, so there's plenty to explore at DL.

What to eat?
We loved the fried chicken at the Plaza, anything at Rancho del Zocalo, the monte cristo at Cafe Orleans, the cheesy twisty bread stick things from the cart in Fantasyland--near the theater that does NOT have Mickey and the Magical Map. My memories are fading...I need to go back! FYI--except for ESPN, the restaurants in Downtown Disney do not accept Disney gift cards--not even Earl of Sandwich.

What to ride?
The Alice in Wonderland dark ride is my favorite ride ever. I rode it 3 times and I could have gone three more. Benn's favorite was the Storybookland Canal Boats. Pirates and HM are different and both cool even though I prefer the WDW versions slightly. I hate Space Mountain at WDW, but I loved it at DL. It's MUCH smoother and doesn't make me feel like I'm going to have a panic attack. I love BTMR at WDW and hated it at DL. DL has much longer spans of darkness and the ride felt jerkier. We didn't get to try the Matterhorn because it was down for refurb. IASW is different at DL and so cute! The only ride that I can think of that was a carbon copy was Star Tours. PPF might be the same--that was down, too. Be sure to catch Snow White's Scary Adventures and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride since we've lost them from MK.

What is a nice to do?
Try to see Fantasmic on the Rivers of America if you can see both that and Paint the Night on the same day. It's so much better on Rivers of America than at DHS. Also, stop by the Disneyland Gallery and see Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. I much prefer this to the Hall of Presidents. If you cruise the Rivers of America, you can opt for the Sailing Ship Columbia instead of the Liberty Belle. There's a petrified tree stump right in the area around the river boats and BTMR. take a minute to check out the plaque. It was a gift from Walt to Lillian. Also I think that the train ride at DL is more interesting than ours is and don't miss the castle walkthrough.

Anything to avoid?
I avoided the Nemo Submarines, but I would voice any submarine.

Is the FP system the old paper style?
Yep and use it like crazy. You can pull a fast pass for Fantasmic and it doesn't affect your ability to get a ride fast pass immediately after. Fantasmic fast passes are near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

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Just FYI

Fantasmic! Is closed for refurbishment I believe it will be for *quite* awhile. Part of the construction for Star Wars Land there includes rerouting the Rivers of America and shortening Tom Sawyers Island to make room. There will be an entirely new shoreline along the Northern edge of the river.

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awesome Thanks Alicemouse.

Looks like Rivers of America is shut all year for the construction of Starwars land.

I know Mum will love Pirates, Indy and BTMR, and I have a 'thing' about riding the duplicate rides that can be found in each park so that means Small world, space mountain and Peter Pan, star tours and buzz are in.

I have a feeling Mum will get a kick out of jungle crusie if it's open.

I'm nearly up too the 'parks' section of the Art of Disney book so will be pouring over the History, and I also have the poster art book so can pick up some history from that too.

Poor Mum, not a Disney fan and bless while she loves coasters has not met the true geek I can be when I hit a Disney park.... Ooh shiny pin..... Ooh did you know.... Aww she is going to get dragged for one day into my world..... Although she did say as long as she gets on BTMR she will forgive me mickey

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P.s. I wouldn't expect to be able to do any of these things to open any time soon, with the possible exception of the Jungle Cruise. Hrmmm... maybe a Park Hopper is a good idea. That way you can hit all the classics in the morning, and head across the way to see World of Color at night.

Mark Twain Riverboat Closed for Refurbishment
Sailing Ship Columbia Closed for Refurbishment
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes Closed for Refurbishment
Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island Closed for Refurbishment
Jungle Cruise Closed for Refurbishment
Autopia Closed for Refurbishment
Fantasmic! Closed for Refurbishment
Disneyland Railroad Closed for Refurbishment

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Kristen K. wrote:
P.s. I wouldn't expect to be able to do any of these things to open any time soon, with the possible exception of the Jungle Cruise. Hrmmm... maybe a Park Hopper is a good idea. That way you can hit all the classics in the morning, and head across the way to see World of Color at night.

Mark Twain Riverboat Closed for Refurbishment
Sailing Ship Columbia Closed for Refurbishment
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes Closed for Refurbishment
Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island Closed for Refurbishment
Jungle Cruise Closed for Refurbishment
Autopia Closed for Refurbishment
Fantasmic! Closed for Refurbishment
Disneyland Railroad Closed for Refurbishment

Thanks, I had read about some of those. A bit gutted about; fantasmic!, jungle cruise and the railroad. Autopia is a good duplicate but the fumes always give me a bit of a headache.

Jungle cruise Might reopen in April from my research, crossfingers

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Brinbunny wrote:
Kristen K. wrote:
P.s. I wouldn't expect to be able to do any of these things to open any time soon, with the possible exception of the Jungle Cruise. Hrmmm... maybe a Park Hopper is a good idea. That way you can hit all the classics in the morning, and head across the way to see World of Color at night.

Mark Twain Riverboat Closed for Refurbishment
Sailing Ship Columbia Closed for Refurbishment
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes Closed for Refurbishment
Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island Closed for Refurbishment
Jungle Cruise Closed for Refurbishment
Autopia Closed for Refurbishment
Fantasmic! Closed for Refurbishment
Disneyland Railroad Closed for Refurbishment

Thanks, I had read about some of those. A bit gutted about; fantasmic!, jungle cruise and the railroad. Autopia is a good duplicate but the fumes always give me a bit of a headache.

Jungle cruise Might reopen in April from my research, crossfingers

Aw man...that's a bummer. I didn't realize that the refurbs were so widespread. Oh another fun DL innovation--the queue switchback. laugh Jungle Cruise made me think of it. The queues are hilarious. You can't tell from the outside where the queue even goes. You'll think that you're about to turn the corner and board a ride and then all of a sudden, there's a whole other section of queue. At Jungle Cruise, you think you're turning the corner to board and you go around the outside of the queue, up the stairs, back and forth, and down the stairs before you finally get to the front.

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alicemouse wrote:

Aw man...that's a bummer. I didn't realize that the refurbs were so widespread. Oh another fun DL innovation--the queue switchback. laugh Jungle Cruise made me think of it. The queues are hilarious. You can't tell from the outside where the queue even goes. You'll think that you're about to turn the corner and board a ride and then all of a sudden, there's a whole other section of queue. At Jungle Cruise, you think you're turning the corner to board and you go around the outside of the queue, up the stairs, back and forth, and down the stairs before you finally get to the front.

We have tons of those in UK theme parks, "oh looks like a reasonable queue" an hour and a half later you have snaked around the back of the ride, in the building, out the building , up stairs, underground and then like a beacon is a fork in the queue... If you pick 1 it's for front seats (expect another long wait) or those other does all other seats.

Space mountain in DLP is like that too.

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yay we did it yay

I've been back a week and it's taken me a while to get back on track after the most epic of tours of the west coast. (Including being stuck in a Death Valley dust storm!)

Thanks for the tips - we had a great day. My only disappointment was that Pirates was down. But we got to ride loads, Mum loved Matterhorn and would have loved space mountain if we had not got held up in a long hot queue. I wish they would add in Jungle cruise into DLP.

The fried chicken from the plaza was very good.

Paint the night was awesome.

The rest of our trip was non Disney, except on our LA day we found Walts star on the walk of fame and went into the Soda Fountain to relieve them of some pins wink

Thanks again for the tips, I'm now proud to admit that I have been to half of the Disney parks in the world (next year I get to add 1 more I hope)

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Yay! So glad that you went. Pictures... I want pictures!

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Kristen K. wrote:
Yay! So glad that you went. Pictures... I want pictures!

I only took about 1600 for the whole trip, Disney photos make up about 10% of that total.....

Will get to it when they are on my laptop,

Oh he muchlove and thanks for the Ralph Brennan's tip, A hurricane and the Shrimp and grits.... awesome awesome awesome