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wendmatt
02-29-2008, 10:52 PM
Thanks so much for previous replies, we are going next wednesday and are all excited. So here are a few more q's

What should I carry? I have a messenger bag, will it get in the way on rides or can I carry it on my lap?

Can I take in snacks/water? Do they check a backpack? Can you take a backpack?

Is it true that they will let you in 30mins before opening? We plan to get there around 8.30 (opens at 9 that day) I have a disneyworld book that a friend lent me and it says it in there so I don't know about DL.

Any advice on a plan/itinerary? I've been reading loads and am still a bit overwhelmed.
Should we head straight for the back area of the park or do the fantasyland rides first that the guide book says have long waits and slow moving lines?

What about getting fast passes, does that mean you have to go back and forth and just walk further and waste time walking?

Should I try the ridemax thing, have a good plan or just wing it, see what we can see and just enjoy that?

Thanks for any more advice, you are all great.

SnuggleBuggles
02-29-2008, 11:28 PM
I am a minimalist and do not carry a bag when I go to amusement parks. I take some cash, a debit or credit card, my ID, a cell phone and some lip gloss. With a 5yo it's not like you need to lug around diapers or anything so I would personally opt to not have anything you have to worry about.

I think that the first thing you do when you get there is ride the rides you want to ride most out of the most popular rides. We finally got parked and into the park about 45 minutes after the park opened and there still weren't many lines. Get the biggies out of the way first thing when the lines are shorter. If you want to re-ride them then you can use fast pass later. Even if you don't get on everything don't worry because you'll still have fun. :)

I have only been there once though so I will let the pros tackle the other questions.

Beth

luvmypeanut
03-01-2008, 11:06 AM
They do check your bags when you enter the plaza. You can bring food into the park. I've carried backpacks and messenger bags before and I prefer the messenger. I keep my camera (D80 or S3) in there for easy access, one diaper and small pack of wipes, hand sanitizing gel, bribe candy, iPod (in long lines I let them watch movies), notepad and crayons, and a few Thomas trains. Most of the time you can put it on the floor or in your lap. I usually pack a few bottles of water and snacks in the stroller basket along with a light jacket and/or change of clothes. DD also puts her princess dress in her stroller and DS gets dipes and wipes in his stroller. I don't use diaper bags but hang a Carry You Milan Deluxe organizer on each stroller. I also load up a gift card to use instead of cash. You can use it any place that has a register which leaves out places like the churros and popcorn carts. It's easier not to have to deal with cash and they just swipe it and give you a receipt with the balance.

We always hit Fantasyland first because those are the rides that my kids like. The Carousel and Teacups are never much of a wait. The dark rides like Peter Pan and Toad's always have long lines but my kids have no interest so we don't go. Dumbo is very popular as is Alice. My son loves Casey Jr because he's train crazy. We usually go Fantasyland, Small World (but it's closed now), Toon Town and the Princess Fair for a story if we need a break. Then either head to Pooh or Autotopia depending on what the kids want. We don't ride the big rides so I can't tell you anything about Ridemax or Fastpass. Also for a break, we like to ride the train and/or monorail around the park. The Tiki Room is fun and the kids also like Jungle Cruise. Bring some Cheerios to feed the ducks in Frontierland. Tom Sawyer Island was open the last time I was there and you might enjoy running around there. On the way out or if we're waiting for the parade, we like to hang out in the cinema where they show old B&W Mickey cartoons on 6 screens around the room (it's great on a hot day). It's also a good time to sit on the sidewalk and have an ice cream. DD likes to hit up the little jewelry store for trinkets. If you find you still have time, wander over to DCA. We like Talk with Crush, the Beast's Library, McQueen and Mater and a meal at Ariel's Grotto (call first to make a priority seating if you're sure you want to do that). Again, we don't do the big rides so I can't comment on Soarin' (which I've heard is great), Grizzly Rapids or Tower of Terror. My kids like to watch the roller coaster sometimes as well.

They do let you in earlier but you can't go past Main Street. Grab a coffee or muffin at the bakery and wait for the rope drop. Just FYI, the coffee cart to the left of the castle near the entrance to Frontierland is SLOW. If you're there for the rope drop, you can try to race over to Nemo. They'll direct you around the Matterhorn and I've found the line can be long first thing in the morning because everyone goes over there. It's a cute ride but I won't stand in line for it unless it says less than 45 mins. Since you're only there for a day, decide what rides are most important to you. My kids love to get the maps and talk about what they want to do even though they know the parks by now. Just take it slow and easy and enjoy yourselves.

Have fun!

Btw, I don't usually eat corn dogs but the ones at the stand in between the Plaza Inn and the baby center are really good. Very greasy! And my dd always has to have a Tigger Tail after the Pooh ride (orange cream covered marshmallows on a stick..kinda yuk but she loves it). Amusement park food is part of the charm.

mhanscom
03-01-2008, 12:04 PM
Best place to start on rides is the back of the park and then work forward. Everyone goes straight to the closest ride so if you are in the back it's enpty and then ove forward those people are now in the back. As far as a bag I always take snack and water/juice, no glass allowed except baby food jars. I take a backpack. Also make sure your name is on your stroller. Sometimes they move strollers because of a parade or something and if you can't find it they will assist you. I tape a business card size name and Phone # to one of the legs just in case.
Take advantage of the baby care center near the corn dog cart mentioned above. It is quiet they have cold water to drink and an area for feeding. It is really clean! They also have training toilets for the little ones.

Have fun and don't forget to dress in layers when it gets cold, it's cold. You don't want to end up having to buy a sweatshirt for a gazillion dollars.

Tondi G
03-01-2008, 08:42 PM
One thing to add to the advise. If you and DH are interested in riding rides that the kids are not old enough or tall enough for you can do what is called a Baby Swap. Tell the people when you get to the front of the line. they hand you a slip of paper. when you exit the ride your DH then goes up the exit (ask the person who gives you the swap pass... sometimes they have you go through the handicapped entrance or fast pass entrance) and they go right on the ride while you wait with the kids!

codex57
03-05-2008, 02:07 AM
I haven't found going to the back of the park to be the shortest necessarily. For one thing, the front of the park is main street. There are no rides there. With the exception of the Pooh ride in Frontierland, all the far rides are still quite popular (like It's a Small World).

Basically, just go to the area you want visit the most right when the park opens. If it's Fantasy Land, then go there. It's gonna be crowded anyways so the mad dash in the beginning is the best time to find short lines.

In my limited experience, fast passes were great. But that's when I was old and only went on a small handful of the fast rides.

Since you're only there for a day, I'd shell out the big bucks and just eat in the park. You waste too much time trying to save money by exiting the park to eat outside. Just be easy on the snacks. Disney is pretty tricky. They blow food smells to entice people. The popcorn and churro stands all have fans in the carts to blow the smell out. Even on main street, if you look at the bottom of the store front walls, you'll see little vents. Sniff the ones near the candy stores and you'll smell things like peppermint. It's pretty funny to people watch and see people catch the scents and go over to the carts. It's almost like watching animals feeding on the Animal Planet channel.

supercalifragilous
03-05-2008, 02:11 PM
PURSE:
I usually carry a tiny backpack that holds my wallet, Elph camera, bottled water, and phone, just b/c I hate all that weighing down my pockets and I hate holding stuff on rides. It carries the minimal stuff I don't feel comfortable leaving in the stroller.

BACKPACK/COOLER AND OUTSIDE FOOD:
I have a backpack or cooler on my stroller, usually. It's filled with bottled water (try not to buy these in the park - $$$$$!) and some snacks for DD. If I remember, I throw some extra bottles in the freezer overnight. They do check all your bags & stroller compartment at a checkpoint between Downtown Disney and the entrance to both parks (DL & DCA), but I've never been stopped for having food. If they pushed, I'd just tell them that DD has a food allergy. (The official "rule" is outside food has to be consumed outside the park in the tiny picnic area right next to the Downtown Disney tram drop-off area. I have NEVER EVER seen them enforce this, though.) If it's an all-day adventure @ DL, I pack TONS of snacks for adults too.

The main bag/cooler stays with the stroller in stroller parking areas. I just refuse to pay for a locker and have to walk back to it all the time. I've never had a problem with theft or anyone pilfering thru my bag. We all paid big $$ to get into the park - people are usually in a rush to park the stroller & go themselves. If they're *that* desperate for water or snacks, they can feel free. I don't keep anything of value in/on the stroller anyway.

STROLLERS:
I put colorful duct tape on my stroller to differentiate mine from the others. There's also matching tape on my cooler. I've seen streamers on some but I think that gets in the way when you fold it to ride the tram.

TRAM:
The stroller car (usually the 1st car on the tram) is the longest wait b/c people don't fold up their strollers and it fills up quickly. To save time, empty out your stroller while you're waiting, fold it up, and get on a regular bench. You can usually get on the next tram that way. I just put the stroller next to me or on my lap. Personally, I don't think the time wasted waiting for a tram (keep in mind you'll be waiting all day) is worth me not having to fold it up.

JACKET/PARADE WAITING:
Don't forget a jacket. Or layer clothing. DL gets cool at night and you may not want to spend $40 for a kids' sweatshirt that's not all that warm. I usually also throw in a blanket or towel in the stroller storage. I have a wet/dry one that I can also use to reserve space & sit on during parades. I usually line up for parades an hour before they start. I park the stroller and spread out the blanket only for the space I need/use. A NeatSheet/throwaway tarp would also be good for this use, but can't double as a blanket if your DC gets cold. I'll usually go wait while DH is taking DD on rides to cut her waiting time.

FINDING NEMO:
The Finding Nemo ride is really cool. I noticed it is less crowded during parade times (check 30 minutes before as people are waiting for parades) and the line is more bearable when it's darker. It's an underwater ride so it's not going to make a difference whether you ride it during the day or night, IMO. I've done both. I'm willing to wait in line if it's not curled up around the lagoon. It's about 45 minutes from the point where the line starts spiraling (right after the exiting line crosses the wait line). Keep your stroller in line with you so your DC can wait in it. A cast member will take & park your stroller for you when you get to the 15-minutes-from-here sign.

FASTPASS:
We usually get a FastPass right before we eat. Usually it's from Autopia or Buzz LightYear. Those lines aren't very long anyway and the FastPass wait is about 1-2 hrs. I wait for the FP time to come & pass; then I save it as a trump pass whenever we're doing some last-minute rides. Remember that not only can you use your FP any time after it "expires" for the night, you can also get another one from any other FP ride. We usually take the Monorail to/from Downtown Disney so Autopia or Buzz Lightyear are it for us on the way out.

ROGER RABBIT/TOONTOWN:
The Roger Rabbit FP is another one you can collect right as you enter Toontown. You can play, eat, tour Mickey & Minnie's house, and ride the roller coaster while you wait for your FP time. If you do the princess show, send someone to collect the Roger Rabbit FPs for you so you can kill time at the show. One caveat - the Roger Rabbit ride breaks down often, IME. Once your FP time comes up, if it's open, you should ride it if you're in the area. You don't want to walk all the way back to that end of the park only to find out the ride is broken.

PRINCESS FAIRE:
If you plan on doing the princess meet & greet, keep in mind the line is VERY slow. Ask a cast member to guesstimate wait time. Either I or DH will stand in that line while DD watches the show or rides on Its A Small World (which I think is closed now). When I'm about 15-20 minutes from the front, I'll have them come back to the area and just color in the princess shoppe area or watch another show. Thank God for cell phones! The meet & greet is a great opportunity to get 3 or 4 princess pictures at once on a Disney PhotoPass, but it's the worst wait b/c it's so much idle standing with nothing to do or see.

BABYSWAP:
The BabySwap that PP mentioned is a really good idea. Not many people utilize that, but it's a way for your DC to ride 2x on rides like Dumbo (long line, short ride).

EARLY ENTRANCE:
I think the early entrance is for park/property guests - being a passholder, I never got that. If I was lucky enough to do that, I suspect I'd go right to Autopia. I seem to remember a post here about a couple people who got DreamFastPasses that way. (you could do a search to make sure) It's really a [email protected] kind of thing, but hopefully if you're in that area, maybe the Finding Nemo line won't be too long...

ITINERARY:
If you're going on a weekday, it shouldn't be as crowded and you could probably ride a lot of rides. I wouldn't stress out about an itinerary - as long as you get on the ones your DC likes, it'll be a good experience. You could plan ahead by knowing which ones you'll skip and also allowing times for parades if that's what you want. My DD isn't that into Pooh anymore so I don't even go past New Orleans Square anymore. I'm glad she's finally outgrown it b/c we'd walk all that way past Splash Mountain only to ride that Pooh ride and watch the Bear Country show.

GRUB/RESTAURANTS:
Have you thought about where you want to eat? I vaguely remember a site online that lists the menus for all the DL restaurants. I'll try to find it. I tend to pick the ones with healthier kid options (not hot dogs or mac & cheese). If you plan early enough, you could make reservations/priority seating. I've never eaten at the Blue Bayou b/c I forget to plan ahead to make the reservation. The Plaza Inn is a fave and also the "Ratatouille" restaurant (the name eludes me now). I can also do the Tomorrowland restaurant. I hate the Bear Country restaurant and the Fantasyland one (something "haus") for kids meals. I'm also not so hot on the Toontown restaurant, either. Try to eat at off-times when the restaurants aren't so busy. I've found the worst time to eat is right after the night parade - wait times everywhere (even Downtown Disney) and that's when DD is the hungriest! Do try to eat before then.

Phew! That's all I can think of for now. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!