Back from first Disneyland trip

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for the kids. This is my second trip, and the first for my wife and two kids (5 and 1 year old). And we went there during its busiest time (Dec 23/24).

Some random thoughts:
1) I started to appreciate the quality, brand and customer service of Disneyland (and California Adventure) show, ride and parade. Note this is my second trip to Disneyland, the previous visit was 15 years ago, and it was a group bus tour so we had to leave at around 5 or 6pm (no time for the evening show or parade).

A small example is they have this job title of “stroller keeper”, basically there are usually a lot of strollers outside some popular rides, people come and go. The stroller keepers make sure the strollers are lined up, and the area is clean. Cannot think of any other places that have people specialized in strollers. Btw, for those who wish to rent a stroller, it’s at the park entrance (near Disneyland side), and one can pay either at the ticket counter or at the spot.

2) Scale of Southern California city: I read the hotel we stayed Hilton Anaheim is the largest hotel in southern california. And today I read from Wikipedia Anaheim has population of over 300,000, which will 6 times of Chesterfield (one of the largest suburban city in St. Louis area) if we compare two places. Not to mention Disneyland put Anaheim on the map (for that matter, maybe Los Angeles as well).

Some tips:
1) There are very little discount for 2 day tickets. I bought it form aRes, it gives about 1% off 🙂 The discount becomes more meaningful for 3 days or more tickets.

2) Stay and shuttle bus to Disneyland: some hotels offer free shuttle bus, not all. The hotel we stayed (Hilton Anaheim) does not offer hotel shuttle, but there is another bus (ART, stands for Anaheim Resorts Transit) which is fairly cheap ($5 for adult one day). Note many hotels are in walk distance (e.g., Hilton is about 25 mins’ walk). I did make a mistake by taking other hotel’s shuttle one night, and the driver graciously dropped us off near our hotel.

Breakfast: looking back I think I should probably book a place that offers free continental breakfast, e.g., SpringHills Suites). Hilton Anaheim does not have free breakfast for everyone, it appears they have it for HHonors Dimond and Gold members, I am just silver level. Note breakfast becomes important because it’s more expensive in the park, and for a lot of people, they don’t have a lot time eating well inside the park.

3) Food and meal: the food and drink inside in the park could be a bit expensive. There are workarounds, e.g., some people bring in some water or snacks. I think their official policy is no outside food or drink. But as long as people are reasonable, the staffs are the checkin desks are reasonable too.

4) Rides suitable for the young kids: there are many rides that are suitable for young kids. We did not do the famous rides such as California Screamin’, Soarin’ over California, “Splash Mountain”, “Indiana Jones”, “Star War Tours”, “HyperSpace Mountain”.

(Update 01-01-2016) Came across this article about Disneyland on Yahoo travel. Talking about the stress brought to parents in Disneyland, I recall one evening at California Adventure, I was so tired and by accident my stroller bumped into another stroller (and a lady was feeding a baby), and she was very upset. Not to mention, with all the travel, junk food, we all got sick after coming back from the trip. I think parents (grown-ups) really need to take a deep breath, and put things in perspective, not trying to complete all the rides, just try to relax and have a good time. In one sense, this is a bit like buffet, one really does not need to get stuffed (to get money worth), and then feel really comfortable. But human psychology usually does not work this way.

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