Thursday, March 26, 2009

Disneyland FAST PASS Tips

When you get to Disneyland the first thing you want to do is get a Fast Pass for the first major ride you want to go on. If you plan it right you can optimize the number of Fast Passes you can acquire during the day. For the first part of the day you may feel that all you are doing is collecting Fast Passes and going on just a few rides but this will pay off during the second half when you start using them up quickly.

Disneyland rides with Fast Passes in order of popularity:
Indiana Jones Adventure
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
Big Thunder Mountain
Buz Lightyear
Enchanted Tiki Room - Just kidding

California Adventure Fast Pass Rides
Soarin' over California
Grizzly River Run
California Screamin'
Tower of Terror
Mulholland Madness

1. ARRIVE EARLY! FastPasses run out as the day goes on and if you get to Disneyland when the park opens you can get FastPasses 30 minutes apart. Later in the afternoon the ride return time get later and later, and eventually stop. Keep in mind that even if you do get a FastPass for some rides like Indian Jones, this only gets you through part of the line quickly. You may still have to wait like everyone else once the lines merge.

2. View the list of attractions that give out Fast Passes. Start with the attraction you want to ride first and send one person over there with all your tickets to get the Fast Passes. I recommend that you start with Splash Mountain because you may not want to get wet later in the day when it's starting to cool off. Also Space Mountain Fast Passes run out fast so you may want to get those second.

3. If you have a stroller this can be used to your advantage. Stroller Passes are given out if the rider does not meet the height requirement. This is good. On this ride if you have 3 people that can ride get 1 Fast Pass. Once that person enters the line ask for a Stroller Pass. The other two riders now have their ticket for the Fast Pass line in the form of a Stroller Pass.

4. You can also take advantage of the Single Rider lines. In this case you don't need a Fast Pass. California Adventure Fast Passes are not connected to Disneyland so if you hop over there you can start over.

5. Some rides only spit out Fast Passes once every 1-2 hours. Rodger Rabbits ride is not connected to the rest of the Disneyland system. Don't worry about the return time, every time I have been there they have always accepted a Fast Pass in the Return line no matter what time I go back as long as it's after the Return Time.

6. Keep track of the time, usually every two hours you can get a pass. But I'm sure that last week I got a Fast Pass on Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster and then on Splash Mountain an hour later because it was early and the park was not crowded yet. At any rate once the time is near for your next fast pass send one person in your party over to the next ride to get the next pass. Again the earlier you start the more you will get.

California Adventure and Disneyland Fast Pass systems are not connected, but may be too hard to go back and forth just Fast Passes so send one person with all of the tickets, make sure they have a cell phone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annual Passes and Parking

At the end of the day you can turn your Disneyland ticket (park hopper, 2fer or any other type) into an Annual Pass. Go to an open ticket booth on the West side of the entrance and they will credit you at face value, but you have to upgrade to the next highest Annual Pass level (you can't get a $139 pass in exchange for a $149 ticket). They have started monthly payment plans which makes it easy. Make sure you add parking for $59 to at least one Annual Pass. If you go 5 times in a year it will pay for it's self. Remember parking also has the same blackout dates as your Annual Pass.

Now here's a tip
Once you have your receipt they tell you to go through the Main gate on your next visit to get your Picture taken for your Annual Pass card. Look at the blackout dates for your plan. You should be able to get in with your receipt on a blackout date to get your picture taken, at least that's how it worked for me, twice. This may allow you to get on a Saturday if you get the California resident pass.

If you don't want to pay for parking you can park at the Anaheim Garden Walk one block east of the park. The first 2 hours are free, $3 an hour after that. That should give you enough time to get in a couple rides. You can always try to get your parking ticket validated there too.

There is a 15 minute parking lot for drop-off and pick-ups on the east side of the park just off of Harbor Blvd and a block north of Disney Way. After a certain hour (9 pm I believe) they do not monitor the lot, so you can park longer than 15 minutes.

Plan an extra 30 minutes to get to the gate if you are parking in the Mickey and Friends parking structure. The cost of parking cars has gone up $14, but they do accept Visa. Remember the the lines can be long. If your arriving in the late morning enter the parking structure from Ball Ave. rather than via Disney Way, this will prevent you from waiting in two lines, the first one being the entrance and the second the parking structure. Use the elevators on the south side if you have a stroller. If you wait in the lines at the front and back of the tram you don't have to collapse your stroller as you will be in the wheel chair section if it's available. You can walk the two blocks to the park entrance see the following image of the parking map (also ask for directions when your there).

Disneyland Discount Ticket Buying Tips

Disney Ticket Purchasing Tips

Most visitors want to purchase a 3 day hopper pass at a discount. There are several ways to purchase Disneyland and California Adventure tickets. Always be careful when purchasing tickets on eBay and Craigslist, make sure you know or trust the person.

1. Disneyland California Tickets. This has a 3 day Hopper Pass to Disneyland and California Adventure as well as other Southern California Attractions such as San Diego Zoo and Sea World. It also comes with Universal Studios.

2. Sometimes Costco sells annual Disneyland pass or multi-day passes.

3. eBay - you can purchase electronic tickets online from a reputable vendor on eBay. Read the fine print and make sure you check the expiration date. You can also negotiate price especially if the expiration date is quickly approaching, but your going to use them before they do expire.

4. Vacation Package. You can sometimes purchase your tickets as part of a vacation package through a hotel. Click here to find Disney Vacation Packages.