August 20, 2009

Leisure Academy: Top 10 Disneyland Secrets to Enhance Your Visit

Being funemployed has many perks, one of which is being able to go to Disneyland, a true leisure kingdom, on a fairly regular basis. On my most recent trip to the House of Mouse I was taken by my fellow amusement seekers' Disney procedure ignorance. Now my friends are not hicks from Montana who don't know there Fastpass from their standby lines, I'm talking about Southern California Disney veterans. So, this made me think that if they don't know these things, there are probably a ton of other people who don't either. So without further delay, here are my top 10 Disney not-so-secret tips and tricks to make your visit a little more magical.

#10: The Gift of Tortilla
Everyone knows that at the Mission Tortilla Factory inside Disney's California Adventure (DCA) every guest receives one free delicious sample tortilla, but did you know that if you have a birthday button they will give you a bag of about 8! You can share them with your friends, you can enjoy them all at once as a meal, you can save them as snack to eat throughout the day, or you can take them home. It's up to you, it's your birthday after all!

*Bonus Tip* Birthday buttons don't have dates, so once you get one, it can be your birthday every visit!

#9: The Daring Adventure to the Parking Structure
At the downtown Disney tram stop there are two tram loading stations. Everyone lines up at the first, closest tram loading station creating lines of 2-3 tram fulls deep. If you're not paralyzed by the end-of-Disney-day coma, walk 50 more feet to the the second tram loading dock and sit right down in your seat. Enjoy the fact that you are going to be back at the parking structure 15 minutes before all those lazy/dumb people you just passed.

*Bonus Tip* Don't leave right at the end of the fireworks or a Fantasmic! performance, or else risk making the journey back to the car much, much longer.

#8: The Dyson Dryer Experience
At DCA they just installed a new bathroom in the old San Fransisco st. area across from the old Golden Dreams Theater/new Voyage of the Little Mermaid construction site. What is so special about this bathroom you ask? Well it features the amazing new Dyson hand-drying airblade contraptions that turbo dry your hands while giving them an air message. Not only is it a unique drying experience, but it is hygienic (it cleans the air before blowing it on your hands!), takes less energy to use than a normal hand drying, and you never have to use a paper towel. It's fun and green!

#7: Right is Right
When your line comes to a fork in the road, always take the path on the right. At Pirates of the Caribbean the right side of the line is shorter. On California Screamin' and Indiana Jones, ride vehicles that leave from the right boarding station will usually end at the opposite left boarding station closer to the exit, which means you do not have to climb up and down the stairs to get over the track and exit the ride.

*Bonus Tip* Disregard this tip when it comes to the Matterhorn, for more details read #4.

#6 Easter Every Day on Toy Story Mania
Every screen in Toy Story Mania has a strategy and a hidden Easter egg bonus that if triggered can get you the big points. Gain the envy and respect of everyone in your party by knowing how to unlock the secrets to high scoring. This article will tell you everything you need to know.

#5: Tortilla Joe's
By far the best food deals I have ever experienced at the Disneyland Resort are from the walk up window at Tortilla Joe's in Downtown Disney. For about 6 bucks you can get an enormous nacho platter covered in carnitas or beef enough to feed at least two people. They also accept the 10% discount if you are a season pass holder. So you can get that enormous nacho platter for less than 6 dollars! The other menu items are also pretty good and reasonably priced (for Disney).

#4: Getting the Most Out of Your Bobsled Run
Despite having opened in 1959, the Matterhorn Bobsleds can be the most fun and intense attraction in the park when approached correctly. The first step is to always choose the Tomorrowland side of the mountain, it is faster, longer, and more fun. The second (and most important) step is weight distribution. The best bobsled run I have ever been on we had 2 people in the very front seat of the first car, one in the back seat of the first car, one smaller person in the front of the back car, and no one in the back of the back car. Or more simply, put all the weight in the front, it will create more momentum. Weight in the back slows it down. And my final ride advise is to ride it at night, not only is it cooler looking (as everything at Disneyland is at night) but the track gets lubed up, decreasing track friction, from the bobsled splashing into the water every rotation all day long. Heed this advise and your Matterhorn run will be more insane than Space Mountain.

#3: Up Into the Castle
You can go into Sleeping Beauty's castle. Inside you will find dioramas depicting the story of Sleeping Beauty. This attraction originally opened in 1957 and the dioramas were in the style of Eyvind Earle, production designer on the 1959 Disney animated film version. In 1977 they changed the style of the dioramas to look more like the window displays on Main Street. After September 11th, 2001 the castle was sadly closed down out of fear of a terrorist attack at the Happiest Place on Earth. Seven years later it reopened with all new dioramas in Earle's original style and new technology to enhance the experience. It is a classic Disney attraction full of retro-sheik charm and there is hardly ever a line.

The Art of Eyvind Earle

#2: Happiest Happy Hour on Earth
Ariel's Grotto restaurant at DCA has a FULL BAR. I'm sure the prices are excessive and there is no actual happy hour at The Cove Bar, but the novelty of downing a whiskey coke at a place where you can meet Prince Eric is too awesome to pass up!

*Bonus Tip* DCA also has a wine place (I know nothing about wine), a margarita stand (they aren't very strong), and a Karl Strauss beer truck that sells six of the company's handcrafted brews, including a seasonal selection.

Now go watch the Brother Bear Totem Ceremony!

#1: Knowing The Intricacies of the Fastpass System
The amount of Fastpass ignorance I have experienced is astounding. The absolute most important thing to know about your Fastpass is that you can use it ANY time after the designated ride time, not just within the hour long window printed on the ticket. Disney just puts those times on there to try and control you, but they have never, ever stopped me from entering a Fastpass queue because I was four hours later than my ticket reads. This is important to know so you don't have to stress about reaching your Fastpass ride on time when you are waiting in another huge line on the opposite side of the park. The second thing to know is that you can get your next Fastpass either at the designated ride time of the previous ticket you received or two hours after you picked up the previous ticket, which ever comes first. The time at which you can pick up a new Fastpass is printed right on the ticket. The third thing you should know is that Fastpasses for Disneyland and DCA are mutually exclusive, the time restriction of getting your next Fastpass is only valid inside that park, but go to the other park and you can get another immediately. This tip is for the extreme park hopper only.

Well that's it, I hope these tips take a little stress off, save a little more time, or add a little more fun to your next trip to the Disneyland Resort in beautiful Anaheim, California. They have always worked for me!

Until next time, leisure on!

We took the right side.


  1. Wow, I did not know that stuff about the fastpass, thanks! And too bad KT threw out his Bday button. Oh well, next time!

  2. I love this blog. Tortilla Joe's!

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