How to Have the Happiest Day at the Happiest Place on Earth

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and a great end to 2018!  Because I don’t have any academic issues or things at Notre Dame to advise on while on break, I thought I’d tackle a happier subject.  One of my gifts this Christmas was a family trip to Disneyland, which occurred yesterday.  I hadn’t been for a few years (we used to go as a family once a year) but now I can safely say that they call it the “Happiest Place on Earth” for a reason!

However, there are certainly challenges involved in a day at Disneyland, and I believe there is a right and wrong way to do it.  My family’s way is filled with constant action, food, and fun.  Included in this post are some tips for how to maximize your Disney day!

Before getting into the tips, I want to present some of the challenges I mentioned.  The biggest one is that there’s too much to do, in too little time.  There are so many rides, attractions, shows, and so much to eat, see, and do.  It can be incredibly overwhelming, and it is complicated significantly by the ridiculous lines.  This was an issue yesterday in particular, as Disneyland is a crowded mess during the month of December, especially in the weeks before and after Christmas.  Overall, our biggest objective is always to maximize our time in order to justify the absurd amount of money we spent on tickets.

The effort to maximize our trip means that we literally try to be there for every minute the park is open, which for yesterday was 8 AM to 12 AM.  Before you even get to the park, it’s essential to have a decent meal that will hold you over for a while, especially because the walking and lines make any day at Disneyland very depleting.  If we hadn’t had a good breakfast before we left, we would’ve spent $30-$60 more for food at the park to make up for it!

Another thing that I recommend doing before leaving for the park is packing warmer clothes for nighttime.  I know it’s California and it doesn’t really get cold here, but it will certainly be colder than during the sunny daytime, and I know I’ve sincerely appreciated my change of clothes each time I brought it (especially when I get drenched on Splash Mountain!).  Because carrying a big bag is a hassle, we always get a locker.  Trust me, it’s worth it.

The next important tip is to make use of Fastpasses in the most efficient way possible.  Some of the best rides, like Space Mountain and Indiana Jones, have a two to three hour wait all day long, and the Fastpass is the only way to get around it by using your pass to stand in a separate, significantly shorter line.  However, you can only get a Fastpass for one ride at a time, and each ride runs out of Fastpasses for the day quite early.  Therefore, in order to avoid the most horrendous rides, it’s necessary to not only choose strategically, but also to get them as soon as you’re in the park/as soon as you’re able to get a new one.  For the rides that you aren’t able to get them for but aren’t willing to wait for, you should target them early in the morning or right before the park closes for the chance of a shorter line.

Aside from the rides, there are so many things to enjoy.  First of all, the food is amazing.  Crowd favorites include churros, Dole whip, corn dogs, and the giant turkey legs, but a lot of the food and desserts at the restaurants is to die for (although very expensive).  Second, there is an abundance of shows and special events, like tree lightings, parades, water/light shows, and fireworks.  The most important part of Disney, however, is experiencing it with your loved ones.  Above all, remember to go with the flow and enjoy your time together.  If you’re lucky enough to get the chance, hopefully my tips can help make your trip a little more magical!

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