Chaos Attraction

Christmas At Disneyland Primer

2011-12-27, 2:34 p.m.

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(God, I'm still putting up pictures. Here is a primer on Christmas at Disneyland for you for today.)

Everyone says it's ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE to go to Disneyland the week after Christmas. (One woman told my mother that Disneyland ran out of food and water one week. Really?!) I am the only person who will tell you that "Eh, it's not SO bad." No, seriously.

Maybe it's just that everyone assumes that going to Disneyland in late December--you know, when most schools have off--is going to be ghost town empty or something and they're all pissed that it's not. If you want ghost town Disney attendance, I can tell you that the middle of the week in January is when to go. But if you go in around now with the expectation that it ain't gonna be empty, and it's going to kind of be more like you're going to Disneyland on a weekend in late June, it's fine. Just remember that if you go in December, (a) the weather is quite lovely--high 60's to low 70's this week--and you aren't standing in the lines in boiling heat, (b) the decorations are VERY lovely, and (c) they redo certain rides and do a different parade and some other stuff, all of which is really worth seeing.

And seriously, the weather was super lovely. SEVENTIES! From about 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day I was only wearing one layer! Not three! Sunshiney!

Yes, the ride lines are long. Just like they'd be in June. Especially if it's the effing Indiana Jones ride, which is a good one, but I think I only end up bothering to go on it once every five years or something because most of the time the line is so long (plus that ride breaks down like, several times a day) it's not worth it. I saw the wait for that at an estimated 140 minutes--that's the worst I saw. And of course, the hardcore adventure rides involving mountains and coasters are gonna be long. You know that, you guys. This is why you do the theme park thing: you go to Magic Mornings if you are eligible and do Star Tours/Matterhorn then. And when you get into the park, you immediately head for your favorite adventure ride and get on it first/get a FastPass. In my experience, the first hour to hour and forty-five minutes of the park being open were the best time to go on rides because there's not as much people buildup then. The park folks will also recommend your going on those rides every time there's a parade/Fantasmic/other show going on that everyone else is waiting for as well. (This is how we got into the Blue Bayou, actually.) It's doable, but you do need to keep in mind that (a) yeah, you may be waiting for an hour at the more regular rides and longer if you're going on a screamer, and (b) maybe you should find some other activities you can do in the park beyond riding sometime too?

But really, it wasn't THAT insane. The only traffic jams I ran into were trying to walk around New Orleans Square every time there was going to be a parade/Fantasmic, because between the ride lines and the people standing around waiting for shows, it was kind of hard to find a way into the square to hit a restaurant or go to to the can. And while the rides at California Adventure still had fairly long lines during the day, that cut down at night, and that park isn't as crowded in general. But other than that, most of the lines run fast if you stick to the "clamshell" rides that move 'em in and out, rather than stuff where everyone has to wait for one vehicle to go at a time. It's not THAT bad. Also, bring a book. Look for hidden Mickeys.

So there's my advice for Christmas Theme Parkin'. Also, read this article.


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