I took Christian to Disneyland for the first time this afternoon.
It was a very different experience than I imagined after hearing all about Minne’s house from my 3 1/2 old niece who visited for the first time this summer. Instead of seeing Minnie and Mickey, we spent the afternoon shooting aliens (Buzz Lightyear ride) and watching jedi training (Star Wars show). It was an extremely fun day and I can see that my annual pass will be worth every penny.
We were lucky to go with some very seasoned Disney pass holders and they shared a few tricks for a quick dip into the park.
First, we parked at Downtown Disney, where the first three hours are FREE. You get two free additional hours if you have a validated ticket from eating at a table service restaurant. Any hour afterward is $6 measured in 20-minute increments. Regular parking is $12 and a parking pass is something around $50. We elected to keep our trip under three hours.
As a SoCal resident we qualify for a local’s annual pass which costs $169. That is a lot, but still a good deal when you consider that a 1-day, 1-park pass (there are two parks at Disney) is $80. Children under the age of three are FREE.
Also, Sierra pointed out that you can access the Disney Way exit from the 5 directly from the carpool lane.
From the parking lot’s furthest corner, you can hop directly onto the monorail and enter the park. This way you skip lines. Our tickets were scanned (purchase and print in advance), our bags checked, all in a matter of seconds and we’d completely bypassed the main entrance to Disney.
The monorail dropped us off in between the submarine ride and the car track. Christian’s eyes were as big as the proverbial saucers when he saw kids driving kid-sized cars – and they stayed that way for the duration.
I mean, how could they not? The first thing we did was the Buzz Lightyear ride. Each car has two laser guns and you get to shoot at targets during the entire ride. The console in the car dashboard keeps track of your points. At the end of the ride you can go look at your picture, which is a hoot. The best part? Instead of trying to get you to buy the pic, you can send it to your email address for free on a touch screen. Nice touch. bb gv vbc
Next, we went over to the Star Wars show, which was presented as a Jedi Training. Aiden was picked to be in the training along with about twenty other screaming hollering kids. Each kid was robed and given a practice light saber – then they all learned a series of protective moves with the activated light sabers. Just in the nick of time too, because Darth Vader showed up and each kid had to fight him ON STAGE! Everything was taken in great seriousness by the children.
After all that adrenalin rushing we were all starved and went for hand-dipped corn dogs with apple slices ($5.99 each). I watched the littlest ones while Anna and Aiden went on the airplane ride.
The teacups were fun too, but next time I’ll save my corn dog for AFTER the spinning teacups.
Then the kidlets got Dibs, which is ice cream made into finger food, as we headed out of the park via the monorail again.
The last fun treat was playing with the remote control ships outside of the Rain Forest Cafe. Sweet Aiden treated each of the kids to the $2 charge.
So three rides, one show, and dinner plus free parking. That was the perfect little dip into the craziness that is the magical kingdom.