For any child, visiting Disneyland is a magical experience. Where else can you see your favourite cartoon characters come to life in the most amazing way possible? But what about visiting Disneyland as an adult? More specifically, adults without kids?
As 1/2 of a power couple with dual income and no kids, or DINKS, I set out to do just that. Turns out, with a failure to plan and a “wing it” approach, these DINKS turned this visit into a how NOT to do Disneyland guide.
Don’t Take Uber to the Park
First up on this DINKS list of how not to do Disneyland is taking Uber to the park. Going childless to Disneyland we thought it would be fun to leave the car at the hotel and indulge in a few (several) adult beverages. Getting drunk at Disneyland, what could go wrong?
With this plan in place, we decided on taking an Uber to Disneyland, or more specifically Disneyland California Adventure Park. This proved to be an adventure of its own as the Uber directions had the drop-off point in the middle of a highway. 20-minutes of frustration later (and a driver who went from driving 160 to 16) we were dropped off in a parkade where we would’ve parked had we drove ourselves.
Not a great start.
If you’re getting dropped off I would suggest a couple of blocks from the gate as to avoid the traffic nightmare that surrounds the park.
Don’t Wing it
Besides drinking and going on a few rides, we had no plan for Disneyland. We thought we would grab some drinks and whizz through the lineups as we did at Universal Studios with an Express Pass. This was a mistake for a couple of reasons.
- Disneyland is incredibly busy, even more so on a Friday which our visit fell on.
- Disneyland’s “FASTPASS” is not as straightforward as getting in a fast lane. It requires some thought and is surprisingly restrictive.
First, you need to download the Disneyland App and enter your ticket information. Then you can purchase the extra pass. It’s $10 ticket price begins to make sense when you find out that you can only book one timeslot at a time during a set window. This means you can’t just line up all the rides you want to do and tick them off.
On top of that, the timeslots vary wildly. The Guardians of the Galaxy ride, for example, was only excepting FASTPASSES between 9 and 10 PM…eight hours ahead at the time of my search.
In the end, the FASTPASS forces you to do some planning. Although I didn’t care to be constantly checking my phone, it is understandable given the number of people at the park. We stayed much later than expected but we did hit almost every ride that we wanted and took a three-hour break in between Disneyland for some eats and drinks.
Don’t look for Drinks in Disneyland
Speaking of drinks, it wasn’t until late in the night when we found out that alcohol is not served at the Disneyland park and only in California Adventures. At that point, we had already done everything we wanted on the California side so we’re forced to wander Disneyland sober. Gasp!
In retrospect, I would’ve done Disneyland first.
Don’t get Stuck in a Parade
Next up on this list of how not to do Disneyland is avoiding getting stuck in a musicaly charged parade. If you are a DINK visiting Disneyland, chances are you’re not interested in the singing and dancing of Disney characters. If you are interested, it’s probably only in small doses. We made the mistake with trying to cross Main Street USA during one of the many parades each day.
If you want to avoid this, stick to the side streets and look for the back passages that open up during parades to assist with crowd flow.
Don’t Use Starbucks Rewards in the Park
Last up on this list of how not to do Disneyland is trying to redeem your Starbucks rewards in the park. Admittedly, this is a minor annoyance but an annoyance nonetheless. I try to use my Starbucks rewards in locations where prices are inflated but to my surprise, was not allowed in Disneyland. This is because this Starbucks, although it looks like any other Starbucks in the world, is licensed and not a part of the company. Therefore Starbucks rewards do not work.
Really, I am only mentioning this annoyance as an excuse to share this awesome photo from the Starbucks/non-Starbucks barista that served me in Disneyland:
Of course, my time at Disneyland wasn’t all failures. Also, know that when I say failure it is extremely lightheartedly. I had a blast and will definitely return. When I do, I will just do a few things differently. These, however, I will repeat:
Do Split a Turkey leg
I’m not sure where smoked turkey legs originated but for me, I associate it with visiting Disney. Do not attempt to take one of these delicious treats down on your own. They are huge and they are filling.
Also note, there is nothing sexy about eating these unless you luck out like George Costanza and find someone who is into cured meats.
Do Que up During the Fireworks Show
As noted, the FASTPASS is a bit tricky to navigate. To remedy the long periods in between your FASTPASS windows try queueing up during the fireworks and parades. We breezed through the Matterhorn Bobsled ride during the firework show even though the wait time was supposed to be 40 minutes. Bonus, we caught a lot of the fireworks while in line.
Do Visit Downtown Disney
Conveniently located in between the entrance of both parks is Downtown Disney, a stretch of shops, restaurants, and bars. This makes for a great pitstop between visiting Disney California Adventure and Disneyland. It made for a perfect break for us to catch a basketball game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Do Be a Kid
Lastly on this list of things to do in Disneyland as a DINK is, simply, act like a kid again. Laugh off the long lines, eat candy, wear Mickey Mouse ears (there was a shocking amount of adults doing this), and take in the incredible detail that surrounds Disneyland. It is, after all, the most magical place on earth. Might as well get lost in the illusion.
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Although I was provided a complimentary day visiting Disneyland,
the experience, opinions, and how not to do Disneyland tips are my own.