Best of Disneyland,California

Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Best of Disneyland,California

Hi, I am going to Disney with my four year old...for our first time. What shouldn't I miss, what should I avoid. Any help appreciated. Thanks
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 10:59 AM
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With a four year old, I'd pass on California Adventure, the park next to Disneyland. Inside Disneyland, Toon Town should be a hit. Then, there's the area with Peter Pan, Dumbo, Teacups, etc. You might want to stay away from the Snow White ride; I remember my then six year old being quite scared by the "bad lady".
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 11:55 AM
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That area is called Fantasyland. www.disneyland.com should help you. They have a new Winnie the Pooh ride that we enjoyed our last visit, located right by Splash Mountain.

Fantasyland & Toon Town are both appealing to young children, don't miss Mickey's house where you can take your picture with Mickey. I think Small World is down for repairs and the castle is also being renovated right now. Of course, don't leave without a ride on Dumbo.

When all of my kids were small, I used to pull our all of our Disney books and read them all of the stories before we would visit so they would be familiar wtih everything they would be seeing. Also, I'm sure you have lots of Disney videos or DVD's that would be fun to watch before your visit.

Have a meal at Goofy's Kitchen, located in the Disneyland Hotel. My favorite place to dine in the park is at the Blue Bayou where you can watch the Pirate's of the Caribbean ride. Have fun! ***kim***
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Within Disneyland, I'd probably head straight to Fantasyland.... Lots of kid friendly rides, including a small train, a small boat ride, the tea cups, Mr. Toad's wild ride, etc. It's a Small World is a good kids ride that you can get a Fast Pass for.

Toon Town tends to open a little after everything else, so you might check the hours for it prior to heading back there, if you get there when it opens you'll have shorter lines to meet the characters.

If you have a girl, check out the princess story reading time at the Princess store in Fantasyland.

Pirates of the Carribean is iffy at 4 years old - some love it and some are scared.

Don't forget to check out the showtimes when you come in. The Buzz Lightyear show in Tomorrowland goes down pretty well with 4 year olds.

In Adventureland, Tarzan's Treehouse (I find it exhausting) and the Jungle Boat cruise...

I kind of, but not totally, agree with beachbum about California Adventure.... But, what California Adventure has are great play areas. The big one is the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. There is also the SS Rustworthy - by McDonalds. If you are back in the pier area, the merry go round and the Ferris Wheel are good. The Playhouse Disney show is good at that age. Skip the Bugs Life show - way too scary. The rides in Bugs Land are just ok.

In general, if the lines are long, go for the shows and the play areas. The kids also tend to really like all of the character greetings.

Have fun!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 12:01 PM
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thordarson, how fun! To enjoy Disneyland for the first time with your 4 year old! We have enjoyed Disneyland for years as a family and your post brings back many good memories to me.

We have annual disney passes and I can pass on some tips to you by e-mail if you'd like. [email protected]

Your 4-year-old would enjoy California Adventure too, by the way. There's lots for a 4-year-old to do there. It's also less crowded than Disneyland. but the best way to do 2 parks is to spend the night. If you're not spending the night, stick to one park...Disneyland would be best for 1 day.

You will want to know how to use fastpasses. They are free and save hours of time waiting in line. But they don't have them for all the rides. But do get fast passes for Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Whinnie the Pooh Ride, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, and during the Christmas season they sometimes have fastpasses for It's A Small World. also there are fastpasses for Autopia, (the little cars that run on tracks.) If she's too short you need to ride with her.

For a 4 year old who has never been to Disneyland, it's important to start with things that aren't at all scary. If you put her on a scary ride early in the day she'll be afraid to get on anything else all day! Things she will enjoy that aren't scary are meeting Mickie and Minnie at Mickey and Minni'es Houses in Toon-Town, getting to explore Toontown and push all the buttons that make funny sounds; Peter Pan ride in Fantasyland; Dumbo ride in Fantasyland; It's a Small World;

Arrange time to see the character parade...it's great...she'll see all the disney princesses and cute animals from movies like the Lion King.

Arrange time to see the show they will have on the stage near It's A Small World...it's great for kids.

Try to get to Disneyland when the gates open. The first 2 hours are the least crowded, then lines start getting longer between 11:00 and 2:00 pm...that's when you use the fastpasses you should have been collecting in the morning. (I can explain that by e-mail if you'd like.)

Have a wonderful time!
 
Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 12:05 PM
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Since four year olds aren't great walkers, think about saving steps throughout the park so you don't end up carrying the child! A stroller is a possibility; I'd definitely recommend one at Florida's WDW, which is huge, but I think you can get by without one at Disneyland.

One step-saving suggestion is to take the train as soon as you enter DL. You can get off at any of the stops; for your little one, I'd try Toontown, which is the farthest from the park entrance, and backs up to Fantasyland. Because Toontown waas the last area to be added, it doesn't have good traffic flow and gets horribly crowded at mid-day and later. So, go through that first, and then you'll be right next to Fantasyland. Lines here can be long, especially for Dumbo. (Only you can decide if waiting 45 minutes is worth it for this one minute ride.) Peter Pan is fun, and the carousel is lovely.

From Fantasyland, either head over to Adventureland by foot or return to the train and get off at the Adventureland station. This is the second best area for little kids, I think. Tom Sawyers Island is fun for running off steam after waiting in all those lines. Haunted Mansion is not scary, and Pirates of the Carribean is popular for all ages. You may have had enough after Adventureland, or you may want to cross in front of the castle and into Tomorrowland, although many of those rides are off limits to four-year-olds. If you need some down time, the Tiki Room is very calming, i.e., you may all fall asleep!
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 12:26 PM
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I love the Tiki Room, unfortunately it is down for renovatoins right now. There is a Snow White musical playing right now that would be fun to see. I'm sure your DD is a huge Snow White fan, yes? There are also so many fun gift shops all over the park.

Right by the Winnie the Pooh ride is a delicous bakery/candy shop selling all kinds of Disney treats. We like the sugar cookies shaped like Mickey with chocolate-dipped ears. Mmmm! ttfn ***kim***
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 01:03 PM
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Anyone going to any of the Disneyland parks should check out the information available at www.mousesavers.com

This independent web site contains all kinds of helpful information to families about hotels in and out of the park, discounts, ticket information, etc.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 01:12 PM
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We used to head straight for Toontown when our kids were little and visit Goofy, Minnie and Mickey's houses before they get crowded. Some little ones adore seeing the characters which appear at various times in the park (check the schedule)-- others are a bit overwhelmed. The scarier rides didn't bother my daughter one bit, but my son hated them. You'll have to judge if your child is up for rides such as Pirates of the Carribean or not.

Some packages allow for an early morning entry option -- well worth it if you can get it. You get a chance to get into the park an hour earlier than than the general public. Sometimes these options include breakfast in the park.

I think no trip to Disneyland is quite complete without a Mickey ear hat with your child's name embroidered on it (adults seem to love them, too.)
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 02:13 PM
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Oh yeah! Each member of our family has one of those with the girl's mouse ears being in pink!!! ttfn ***kim***
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 04:42 PM
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Some one mentioned the scary factor...With a 4 year old, I'd avoid the Haunted house and Pirates of the Carribean. Neither is really scary to older kids, but my then 4 year old got so worked up thinking about the haunted mansion that she burst into tears when the room "dropped" and clung to be the whole ride. My older daughter said years later that she was terrified the first time she saw Pirates (at about 5 years old)and had bad dreams for a long time afterwards.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 07:18 PM
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Sometimes with small children, if you explain to them what is going to happen and what they will be experiencing, it relieves their fears. I've been taking all of my kids there from very early ages and don't ever remember them being afraid of anything at DL. It's the happiest place on earth! But then again, my daughter was jumping off the high dive at the age of three and loving it.

I'm sure your little one will have a wonderful time. Take lots of pictures! ***kim***
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Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 08:54 PM
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thordarson, if you are going to consider taking your 4-year-old on Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, save it for later in the afternoon, after you see how she reacts to the kiddie rides like Whinnie the Pooh and It's A small World. If she waits in line fearlessly in Whinnie the Pooh, for example, and approaches It's A Small World eagerly, then maybe you can go ahead and try the Haunted Mansion and the Pirates of the Caribbean.

But if you are waiting in line for Whinnie the Pooh and you notice she is already getting worried, then she's not ready for the Haunted Mansion. (The Haunted Mansion isn't that scary, but some 4-year-olds might be scared at the beginning when you are in a room that turns totally dark for a few seconds, for example.)

One of my daughters was always fearless about rides, but the other one scared more easily.

Do you know how to use fastpasses?
 
Old Nov 2nd, 2004, 09:35 PM
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It's a Small World is also currently down for renovations. ***kim***
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 04:14 AM
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Thanks so much everyone..I really appreciate your help. I don't know how to use fastpass. Can I buy the pass online? Thanks Again
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Don't count out all those so-called "scary" rides, unless you know you're kid will freak out. From all these posts, it would make all 4 year olds out to be a bunch of sissy's! I took my 4 year old niece a few months ago to Disneyland for the first time. Her absolute favorite rides were the Matterhorn, Thunder Mountain, (Space Mountain was closed but she probably would've loved that one too). She rode the Matterhorn back to back, the second time raising her arms as she saw my b/f do in the car in front of her! Granted even the staff at Disneyland were amazed so maybe she's not the norm (or she's a speed freak!) but you know your kid best.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 01:09 PM
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Is there a way to find out which rides are down? We are planning to visit Disneyland from Dec 2 - 6. It's A Small World is the most favorite ride for my husband and daughter. They will be very heart broken if the ride is still closed then.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 01:10 PM
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The Matterhorn & Space Mt. are down also for renovations, I think that completes the list of the rides that will not be working due to renovations. Didn't they shut down Thunder Mt. for good awhile back? ***kim***
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 01:13 PM
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Thunder Mountain is now re-opened.
www.disneyland.com will give you a list of rides that are currently closed.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 01:19 PM
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Thank you so much, kimamom & minnie!
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