Five tips for surviving Disneyland

By Megan Singleton

Even in the magical kingdom, tempers can flare, writes Megan Singleton.

Taking advantage of the Fast Pass system will help you squeeze extra rides into your Disneyland day.
Taking advantage of the Fast Pass system will help you squeeze extra rides into your Disneyland day.

The "Happiest Place on Earth" can be full of tired tantrums and frazzled parents (and believe me, you'll see it all). But follow these simple tips and you and your little princess will come home with (happy) memories to last a lifetime.

1. Take your time

Plan to spend at least two days in the magical world of Walt Disney. Three would be better if you also plan to visit California Adventure across the courtyard. There is so much to see and do, and a lot of ground to cover, let alone time spent lining up for rides and a night in each park to watch the World of Colour water and light show at one and the fireworks with Tinkerbell in the other.

2. Where to stay

If you stay in one of the three Disneyland hotels you are allowed into the gates an hour before the hoi polloi. It may not sound that big a deal, but you could get three of the most popular rides done in that time with no queues. It also means you can nip out during the day to your room for lunch, a swim, or a nap with no hassle.

3. Fast Passes

This tip is for everyone: grab a free Fast Pass ticket from any rides that have them. These are timed to a half-hour window when you can return and whizz through the Fast Pass line and get on ahead of the masses. Note: passes are not issued for duplicate times, so be picky.

4. Character breakfast

Your little princess will never forget the day she had Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles for breakfast and Ariel gave her a hug. Book the family in but don't expect healthy eating. Peanut butter pizza anyone? It's all about the shock on their faces when Goofy wanders up and Donald Duck poses for a pic.

5. Food

In a nutshell, the food sold in the park is pricey and unhealthy - unless you want a banana from the fruit stall. Head out to Downtown Disney, the street of shops and restaurants at the entrance. Here, you will find loads of places, from bakeries to the kid-friendly and very cool Rainforest Cafe. Have a breather and a Corona-rita (a Margarita with a mini bottle of Corona headfirst into a huge glass) to brace yourself for the afternoon assault.

Read Megan's blog on hanging out for free in Downtown Disney

- NZ Herald

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