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Old 10-27-2016, 10:03 PM   #21
getbak
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The crowds shouldn't be bad in early January, especially mid-week. Weekends will be busier, so if there's stuff you want to do that don't involve Disneyland, wait until the weekend, or do non-ride things on the weekend. In the non-peak times, there will likely be some shows and parades that are only held on the weekend, so plan accordingly.

You can get Fastpasses for the rides, but mid-week, they're not really needed.

If one of your kids doesn't want to do a ride, but the other one does, some rides let you do a parent-switch, where one parent goes on the ride with the kid who wants to ride while the other parent waits, then, you can switch and the other parent can ride while the first parent waits with the kid who doesn't want to ride. The bonus is that the kid who wants to ride gets to go twice without waiting.

Some rides also have Single Rider lines if only one of you wants to ride a ride. If you do that, you don't have to wait as long because they fill in the gaps with the single riders.


Buy your tickets before you go. Disney is running a promotion for 25% off multiday tickets right now for Canadians. Check that out. Also, if you're an AMA member, they usually have the cheapest tickets you can buy.


There are a lot of hotels in every price range in the area. You should be able to get a good price in early January because it's one of their slowest times of the year. The Howard Johnson on Harbor Blvd is a good family-friendly place that's a short walk away and usually a decent price. Mimi's Cafe by the HoJo is the best place to go for breakfast, by far. So much better than the Denny's or IHOP down the street.

Renting a car isn't an absolute must, there are shuttles from the airport to Anaheim, and taxis are pretty easy to get, but it'll probably be worth it, especially if you don't want to be stuck in the immediate area of Disneyland for the entire time.

I prefer Alamo/National for renting a car because their whole process is a lot quicker, and you get to pick your own vehicle. The last time I went down there, we rented from Budget, and stood in line for a good half hour just to get the car.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:04 PM   #22
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One other thing, the shows are better than you might think. My boys moan when mom drags them along but then enjoy themselves.

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Remodeling it from Twilight Zone to Guardians of the Galaxy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guardi...sion:_Breakout!
Oh my kid will be pissed. Hadn't heard that.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:06 PM   #23
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The last time I was in Disneyland, I went with family who lived there, including an aunt who basically ran the show, but she knew what she was doing. It also helped that she could buy the tickets, as they are cheaper for southern California residents.

The biggest advantage I remember is getting the fast pass or whatever it's called, where you get a certain time to go on the popular rides.

You can fly into either LAX or Orange County (which would be a lot closer).

I would rent a car if you want to drive around to lots of different places, but if you're only really going to a couple nearby places, it might be more hassle than it's worth. Roads are busy and traffic is always bad (or at least I've never seen it not bad).
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
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Remodeling it from Twilight Zone to Guardians of the Galaxy.
So lame. Tower of Terror was easily my favorite ride, and the theme really made it.
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Eat outside the park. There is nothing worth eating there. Your wallet will thank you also.
Strongly disagree.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:23 PM   #25
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Be sure not to get on the plane to Winnipeg.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:33 PM   #26
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Pretty much our only goals are leave Jan 5, Supercross is Jan 7, and fly home Jan 12. We want to hit DL one or 2 days in there. Looking for suggestions to fill the other days as well with the kids
I'd do at least the three-day park hopper ticket (the hopper lets you do both parks in the same day), especially since it's your first time. There's a lot to do in both parks, and there's no reason to have to rush the whole time, or skip things. With the discounts, you don't pay much more for an extra day or two compared to a one or two day ticket.

Your kids are at an age where the Fantasyland rides are probably going to be a big draw. Ideally, on one day, get there as early as possible to hit all the Fantasyland rides early before the crowds get crazy. None of the Fantasyland rides have Fastpass, so you have to wait in line if you want to ride them.

At that time of year, it gets pretty cold once the sun goes down. If you are going to do any of the water rides (Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run), do them in the middle of the day when it's nice and warm. They turn down the water effects in the winter so you don't get as wet, but you still will get a little wet on those rides.



For the other days, there's Universal Studios in Hollywood if you don't mind driving. If you like roller coasters (the kids might be too young, but I don't know your kids), Knott's Berry Farm is only a few miles from Disneyland. There's also Magic Mountain in the Valley. I wouldn't do either of those unless you're really into roller coasters.

A few miles south of DL off the I5 is the Discovery Cube. I've never been there, but it seems like it would be good for kids. It's a science centre of some kind.

Legoland, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park are all either in or near San Diego, which would be a couple hours drive from Anaheim.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:53 PM   #27
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Strongly disagree.
Spoiler!
It would be awesome if there were somewhere to get those locally.
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Old 10-27-2016, 10:58 PM   #28
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We just got back last week. Used the calendar which said it wasn't going to be busy, and it was still crazy busy (midweek). Awesome. Apparently Arizona was in fall break or something. Having said that, I have heard that part of January after Christmas break is over should be good.

We ended up buying that deal for Canadians for the 3 day pass, it's a good deal. Originally we were only going to do 2 days at Disney, but doing 3 was quite good, not as rushed.

We actually enjoyed California adventure more, partly because it isn't as packed...since it is newer it is designed better so you don't have narrow bottlenecks in super busy areas. But also some great rides in California adventure. Soarin' isn't just over California any more, now it goes over the world. Try to get the first row.

Cars ride is super busy. The fast passes were gone for the day in the first hour the park was open. My suggestion is get there before the gates open, get to the fast pass line first and get those, then go straight to the ride and get in the normal line. The wait won't be bad, then you can ride again using the fast passes shortly after. When we were there, if you tried to go later and stand in line, it was a 2 hour wait. Not worth it.

In either park, definitely use the fast passes for the most popular rides.

We stayed at the Hojo, it has a decent water park on site and is a short walk to the gates. We ended up not getting a car as all we did was Disney on this trip, but if you are going to hit many other attractions then I would've gotten it.
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Old 10-27-2016, 11:01 PM   #29
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Some non-Disney stuff:

Universal Studios is a lot of fun with plenty of cool rides that your kids will enjoy. Also, their new Harry Potter thing just opened recently. I hear it's great.

If you're a big movie fan and you're looking for a good behind-the-scenes tour, I highly recommend the Warner Bros studio tour.

A short drive up into the Hollywood Hills will bring you to the Griffith Observatory (near the Hollywood sign). The view from up there is pretty spectacular.


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Old 10-27-2016, 11:04 PM   #30
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Pretty much our only goals are leave Jan 5, Supercross is Jan 7, and fly home Jan 12. We want to hit DL one or 2 days in there. Looking for suggestions to fill the other days as well with the kids
If you get the CityPASS, you will need to rent a car. The value of the CityPASS has become less compelling now that Universal Studios is no longer included and Disney is currently offering 25% off their 3-day park hopper pass to Canadian visitors. If you are not renting a car and planning to stick around Anaheim, there really isn't too much to do outside of Disneyland and Angels ballgames in the summer. We always take the short trip to Little Saigon for meals and shopping when we're there but maybe Vietnamese food is not your thing. If you want more focused suggestions, you may want to inform the forum whether or not you will have a vehicle.

I would definitely take a look at the 25% discount for the 3+ day pass if you're travelling with kids. If you are going to take advantage of the discount, you will need to present your passport when using your pass for the very first time.
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:12 AM   #31
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Greatest place on earth.
Use the fastpass.
Use early entry.
You will love it more than the kids do!
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Old 10-28-2016, 12:55 AM   #32
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You should definitely try and get to Legoland depending on the age and interests of your kids. It's super neat, I was impressed even as an adult going there.
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Old 10-28-2016, 05:56 AM   #33
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Get to Disneyland 15 minutes before the gates open and do the most popular rides before 10. If you are meeting princesses find when they open and get there 15 min before they start.

Go to the lives shows they have and the night shows. They are fantastic. If you are a maticulois planner there is an app called Ridemax that plans your day based on minimizing wait times which is pretty neat but not neccessary when you are going.

Essentially its get all your rides done back to back before noon them see shows on the afternoon using fast passes for popular rides before afternoon line ups.

Again the best advice is be there before the gate opens
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Old 10-28-2016, 06:43 AM   #34
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I've been there when I was younger (14?) Would have been around 96 or 97. I loved universal studios. Would also love to check out lego land. All this info is great.

We are at the point where we are going to start planning our days out so this all works great. Thanks everyone for the suggestions and please keep them coming. I'll post my plans here for tweaking once I nail some down.
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:01 AM   #35
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I would think that you are going at a time of year where it is not as busy. if you get tot eh gates right away as soon as the park opens, you should not have to get fastpasses.

we went to some kind of kids museum in Anaheim not far from the Disney area - it was a nice change of pace.

theer is an area with some resturants (bubba gump, California pizza kitchen, pf changes) and shopping not far from Disney - once again, nice change of pace.

it is funny seeing people walking around gnawing on those large turkey legs
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:09 AM   #36
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We went to Disneyland last year about the same time. It is a beautiful place and your kids will love it!
We stayed at the Anaheim Howard Johnson, highly recommend it. Large rooms so the whole family can stay together. Nice little water park for the down days if there are any. And walking distance to the gates. You can stay at the Disney hotels, they are closer but much more expensive. They did look very nice.

But wear good walking shoes! Depending on the ago of your children's definitely consider renting a stroller for them. My son was 5 and is quite active. But by 10am he wanted to go back to the hote because he was tired. The next day we rented a stroller (and it looked a bit ridiculous because he is big enough not to use one) and it was fantastic. He was way happier.

We rented a car, it was good to be able to drive to the hotel, we parked it most of the week. But it gave us choices for dinner if we got tires of the resort surrounding food.
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:38 AM   #37
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I guess I should add there's only the 4 of us. My wife and 2 daughters. Aged 10 and 7
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Old 10-28-2016, 08:03 AM   #38
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I disagree about not going on days when it closes early. We had one day where California adventureland was closimg early (5 or 6)for a special event. We went, and it was awesome, since most people avoided it. Super short lines.

One downside would be everyone just headed over to Disneyland after it closed, so that place would have been crazy. We just headed back, but our kids are smaller. This was especially great for popular rides with no fastpass, like toy story midway mania.

Radiator springs racer fastpasses run out for the day within an hour of park opening.
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Old 10-28-2016, 08:13 AM   #39
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I didn't read a lot of posts so some of this might be a re post but... don't pay attention to crowd calender, we tried that as well and it didn't work. We ended up being there on what the people working called the second busiest day they had seen that year (in October). It is just the luck of the draw really. There are definitely times you can avoid, like Christmas or later into the Halloween season, but as far as a random mid week like yourself.. it is up to chance. But honestly even with the park being that busy, I still didn't find it that bad. I guess I was just expecting absolute chaos. The lines sucked, but we just did the fast pass thing and it was no head ache. Hit the rides without fast pass early in the morning when it is dead. Ahh ya, side note, you want to be there when the park opens with little ones, the longer the day goes the busier it gets and the more tired they will get in the heat. Get them up and out early enjoy, take a break in the heat, resume in the evening. We actually went back to our hotel and napped from like 2:30-5.

DCA is a lot of fun. The best ride in both parks is located there, Radiator Springs Racer, and it is an extra bonus if you're kids love the movie Cars. Go do the ride first thing in the morning if you can as the line gets to be over 2 hours by mid day and the fast pass actually sells out usually by noon as well (it doesn't cost money but there are a limited number of spots per day). We did the ride first thing then went back at night and all the characters (actual sized characters) were out driving up and down the streets talking to all of the kids. I was there with my wife but watching the interaction with the kids they just could not believe that this life sized car was talking to them. The animatronics on the ride/characters is top notch (as is everything in Disney).

Google Radiator Springs Racer wide right. It seems really weird, but this is what I did and it worked, there was probably 150 people waiting for the park to open and we were 2nd on the ride, we were actually first but I let a little guy go in front of us and gave them their own car because he was so excited with the possibility of being first, lol. You will want to look at the schedule and pick a day they aren't offering Magic Morning for DCA (assuming you don't have it) otherwise you might as well not even bother.

DCA also has the roller coaster if you like that, it is tame as far as they go but still worth a ride. You can also get beer there, good beer to, and wine at the pasta restaurant. With your little ones you obviously aren't getting loaded but after dealing with crowds all day trust me a nice glass of wine or a cold beer on the pier in the shade goes a long way. Grizzly River Run is also a great family ride but you will get wet, that is ok if it is a hot day, but make sure your girls are ok with that ahead of time.

There is also a giiiiant ferris wheel, massive swings ride, Soarin Over California is a neat experience for all ages, I won't spoil it but you sit in a chair and it feels like you are literally flying over the state. And there are a few more I am forgetting.. but the point is don't sell DCA short, it is usually quieter and has some really good rides. But again, your 10 year old might be down for lots of them but the 7 year old might be a bit tiny.

Now all that being said, you are bringing girls. And at the risk of being attacked on my twitter account, I imagine they like princesses (GASP DID HE JUST GENDER ASSUME!!). When I was there Frozen was in DL, but I think now it is in DCA, and so is Little Mermaid. But the rest will be in DL. So if you only have one day I would either do DL or get a park hopper (slightly more money but you can go freely back and forth between parks) and do 75% DL, 25% DCA. If you have two days though like we did, we ended up doing DL all one day then about a 80/20 split DCA/DL the second day.

Also check your schedule for parades/shows. I forget the name of the main show at night, if you're kids can last that long (naps are key!) but it has Micky and it was amazing. There is also a water color show in DCA where they project a screen on to some water jets with the ferris wheel in the background. Both are worth seeing, but pick the DL one if you have to choose one. And of course make sure your kids get to see one of the DL parades.

We stayed in the DL hotel and it was incredible, we could see DCA from our window and actually watched the fire works from there the first night as we got in late. It was pricey though and probably won't ever go that route again. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars a night staying in an off site hotel. It was worth the money, for sure, we were like a 4 minute walk to the park as well, but just looking at how much you can save would change most peoples minds. I would recommend staying near there if you are doing 2 days, if you aren't you can probably just drive in. But remember Anaheim is not LA, DL is in Anaheim, not LA. It's minimum 30 minutes from Anaheim to LA proper without traffic, hours with. I avoided driving the freeways between 7-9 and 4-6 every day and we never hit gridlock. The one day we deviated from the schedule to drive the strip and we ended up just on the tail end of it, came up the hill and 6 lanes as far as the eye can see completely stopped. Luckily our exit was very close. No matter what though you will want to rent a car, this is just a bunch of cities all grouped together with no major public transportation besides an extensive bus system. Uber works great as well though, but I would still want a car. Just get a good GPS, should come with the rental for extra, mine would highlight which exact lane I needed to be in to exit.

I would honestly just avoid Santa Monica/Venice with the kids, go to Laguna or something instead, or drive up the coast a bit to Malibu. They were both very dirty and stunk, the crowd was very rubby and the only attraction is the pier with an amusement park, but you are coming from DL. It will be like going from Calgary to Edmonton. Malibu and Laguna both have great piers and are very clean. Plus the Pacific Coast Highway is really cool, obviously it can't hold a candle to the Cabot Trail, but it is still really neat to drive the coast with places you and the family can stop to stretch your legs and walk the beach.
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Old 10-28-2016, 08:16 AM   #40
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My wife and I just went this last summer. We're both not huge ride goer's and just decided to go to Disney Land and universal since we were there. I much prefer Disney Land but I'm not sure if I could handle more than a day there. Be great for kids but standing in line for a few hours was brutal. Make sure you use the fast pass, that savd us a few hours.... Literally.

We didn't know if it until the afternoon but it still saved lots of time. Also be prepared for long waits and the ride to just break down.

That said, for one day we enjoyed ourselves and I'm sure more if we had kids and just slowed it down. The rides were pretty fun for fully grown adults. A little scary for my wife (she's a big wuss lol).

Traffic is also brutal there. It's like deerfoot trail at rush hour for hours. We came from las Vegas so our car rental waa dirt cheap. Get yourself a good GPS. We got a visitor cell plan from T-Mobile. It was like $30 for 2 gigs LTE then unlimited 3g. Waa very handy for finding places to eat, how to navigate etc.

Have fun !!
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