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July 1, 2007

We’re Going To Disneyland

by Dan

Well, actually, we just got back. We’d been planning to take a trip to Disneyland when our oldest child turned eight because we wanted to make sure they were old enough to enjoy the experience.

Mickey's House

When we found out we were expecting, our plans changed a bit. Cheryl wanted to be able to enjoy the trip, which meant we needed to either go immediately or wait another year and then deal with a newborn. So we opted for the immediate trip.

We stopped in Las Vegas to spend the night on our way there, and Cheryl’s parents volunteered to watch Brayden. We decided to take them up on the offer, so poor Brayden missed out on the first family trip to Disneyland. He did really well, for which we were thankful.

Cheryl and Tyler on Dumbo

Cheryl and Tallie on Dumbo

Dan and Cheryl on the Jungle Cruise

Disney Parade

Aladdin Theater

Tyler on the Carousel

Cheryl and Kids on Small World

Disney Castle

We had planned to go to Disneyland with one of Cheryl’s friends from collage and her family, so we called them up. They were going to be in San Diego the next week and could meet us in Anaheim on their way home. So our plans changed from “real soon” to “in a week.” Shiloh’s kids are about the same age as ours, so we were able to enjoy the same rides and activities.

Shiloh recommended a website called MouseSavers for hotel reviews and other suggestions on visiting Disneyland. Basically, you go to the ride and pick up a ticket for each person that allows you to come back later (they give you specific times) and cut to the front of the line.

They highly recommend heavy use of Disney’s FastPass system. Only a few of the rides are using FastPass, but we avoided 30 minutes of waiting in line every time we used a FastPass. Well worth an extra quick walk to the ride earlier in the day as the kids did much better walking than waiting.

The MouseSavers site also recommended a software program called RideMax, which uses statistical data about average wait times at each of the rides to give you a recommendation about when to hit each ride. The cost was $15 for three months of access to the program (the statistics are updated daily) and included tips about where to watch the parade and fireworks as well as general suggestions about visiting the park.

The tips alone were worth the price, and I spent quite a bit of time trying out different combinations of rides to see what worked best on each day. We spent almost $1,300 on the trip for three days, and the extra $15 helped us spend a lot less time waiting. Highly recommended.

We decided to spend part of our time in Disney’s new California Adventure park. I wasn’t too interested at first, but there are some great rides there. I enjoyed riding the Tower of Terror (not for kids) and Soarin’ Over California. There are a lot of Pixar film-related rides for kids too.

We had a great time, though it was exhausting even with afternoon naps for everyone.

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