By now, you’ve hopefully seen Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of our new Disneyland touring plan that aims to take the stress of standing in lines or sitting on rides out of the equation. Though it may not be many guests’ idea of a day in a theme park, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a full day of low-impact fun at Disneyland without experiencing any of the attractions most people associate with a visit.
Here is the final part of the plan. It focuses on the east side of the park. Despite the density of rides between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, you can still find plenty of queue-free pastimes.
- Climb through the Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough, or watch the alternative experience video.
- Toss a wish into Snow White’s well in front of the castle, and gaze at her grotto of handcrafted sculptures.
- Cruise the Storybook Land canals or it’s a small world if the lines are short.
- Try on some mouse ears in the Mad Hatter chapeau shop.
- Take a break with a vendor treat (like an ear of corn) on the benches at the old motor boat dock across from the Matterhorn.
- Stick your head in the Fantasy Faire if a show is scheduled, but don’t bother with the massive queue to meet a princess.
- The elevated mall near it’s a small world is a convenient spot to stand for the parade or video projection show.
- Play with the interactive doodads dotted around the building facades.
- Take a tour of Mickey and Minnie’s homes, but bail on the meet & greet if the line is out the door.
- Walk though the cleverly decorated children’s playgrounds, being wary of bouncing babes.
- Take the monorail to Downtown Disney for a bite or a drink, then return (remember your park ticket!).
- Watch young padawans battle Sith Lords on Tomorrowland Terrace in the Jedi Training Academy show. Check the schedule for other entertainment on this stage.
- Explore both levels of the Innoventions building, leaving time to take in the Asimo robot demonstration upstairs.
- Experience Captain EO if you can endure the rock-concert volume. Ask for a non-moving seat in the back to avoid bouncing.
- The line for Buzz Lightyear moves swiftly, and almost everyone of all ages loves it.
- Browse the unique Star Wars merchandise in Star Traders with a life-sized X-Wing overhead.
- Search for imaginatively groomed edible plants along the Tomorrowland walkways.
That concludes this Disneyland anti-touring plan. Did you find it helpful? What else do you think should be included? What other parks do you think could sustain a similar plan? Please let us know in the comments!
Earlier, I introduced Part 1 and Part 2 of our new Disneyland touring plan that aims to take the stress of standing in lines or sitting on rides out of the equation. Though it may not be many guests’ idea of a day in a theme park, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a full day of low-impact fun at Disneyland without experiencing any of the attractions most people associate with a visit.
Here is the next part of the plan. It focuses on the west side of the park, which features some of Disneyland’s most inviting corners to hide from the crowds.
- See the Enchanted Tiki Room, arriving in time to buy a Dole Whip and watch the preshow video.
- Jungle Cruise is gentle fun if the line isn’t long.
- If stairs aren’t an issue, climb Tarzan’s Treehouse, or at least enter through the exit and watch the kids going wild on the playground.
- Consider walking through the Indiana Jones queue at least once, even if you aren’t interested in riding; it’s an impressive (if exhausting) example of scenic design. When the wait is posted over 15 minutes, get a Fastpass to skip the boring exterior line. Before you climb the stairs near the loading bay, you can simply tell a cast member that you want to exit. If you are brave but impatient, Indy’s single rider line often has little to no wait.
New Orleans Square
- Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean both move guests through quickly even on busy days, and neither is likely to disturb any but the most delicate constitutions.
- Seek out the jazz and pirate bands that play in the area.
- Poke around the lovingly detailed alleyways around the Pirates of the Caribbean exit.
- Sit outside at Cafe Orleans with a plate of pommes frites and watch the crowds go by.
- Stand on the bridge near Splash Mountain and watch riders take the plunge. If you dare to get damp, the single rider wait is usually bearable.
- Feed the ducks from the porch behind the Hungry Bear restaurant.
- Take a raft to Tom Sawyer Island and explore the fort and caves (watch your head!).
- Sail on the Sailing Ship Columbia, Mark Twain, or both. You can usually step on board just before departure time without standing in line, or board early for the best seat at the top front.
- Don’t miss Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at the Golden Horseshoe. Show up early to grab a box seat and some chili. If the Billys have the day off, the Laughing Stock comics are a fun diversion.
- Get to know the pigmy goats, pardoned turkeys, and other animals at the Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, and explore the decor inside Miss Chris’s cabin.
- Look for the petrified tree that was an anniversary gift from Walt to his wife; she donated it to the park. Also try to spot the jumping fish and railroad tunnel remains from Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland, across from Big Thunder Mountain.
- Pump some quarters into the Frontierland shooting gallery.
- Walk through the Rancho del Zocalo patio, especially when decorated for Dia de Los Muertos.
Check back later for the next final part in this series. And in the meantime, leave your suggestions for what was missing from this list in the comments below.
Earlier this week, I introduced Part 1 of our new Disneyland touring plan that aims to take the stress of standing in lines or sitting on rides out of the equation. Though it may not be many guests’ idea of a day in a theme park, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy a full day of low-impact fun at Disneyland without experiencing any of the attractions most people associate with a visit.
Here is the first part of the plan. It focuses on Main Street USA, a land most guests hurry through, but which holds the lion’s share of the park’s stress-free entertainment.
Main Street USA
- Ride one of the vintage vehicles up Main Street to the hub, then take a different one back.
- Look at the memorabilia in the Main Street train station, then ride the rails for a round trip or two around the park.
- Explore the Disney Gallery’s rotating art exhibit inside the old Bank of Main Street.
- See Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, arriving early enough to see the Steve Martin pre-show and examine the lobby’s historical Disneyland models.
- Check out the Emporium’s animated window displays, and the elevated manequine vignettes inside.
- Watch the classic short films inside the Main Street Cinema.
- Grab a cup of coffee from the Market House, and save your receipt for free same-day refills. Snoop on the antique party line telephones, then sit outside at a table on Center Street, listening to the amusing sounds emanating from the windows above.
- Put some spare change in the primitive 3-D movie viewers in the Penny Arcade.
- Watch the chefs in the candy store whip up a batch of sweets.
- Catch a performance or three of the Dapper Dans, Main Street Marching band, or Coke Corner ragtime pianist. The daily flag retreat ceremony is not to be missed.
- Try to identify the names of Disney Legends and Imagineers honored on Main Street’s windows.
- Stop and watch some artisans work, like the silhouette cutters, glass sculptors, and watch painters.
- Ask the prestidigitators at the Magic Shop to demonstrate some tricks for you, and stare at the creepy optical illusion in the window.
- Sit in the chairs on the porch, on the right side of the street next to the silhouette shop.
- Take a picture with the Partners statue in the central hub, and appreciate the surrounding flora and fauna.
Check back later for the next two parts in this series. And in the meantime, leave your suggestions for what was missing from this list in the comments below.
Last week, I posted a comparison of Disneyland’s Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train, suggesting that most guests will only include one or the other on their touring plan. That elicited feedback from a reader (ok, Tom Bricker) decrying the concept of choosing between two great attractions in the name of “efficiency.”
I happen to agree. I believe that the best judge of how good an experience you had Disneyland can’t be counted in the number of attractions you ride. That’s why I’m adding a new “No Rides/No Queues/No Stress Anti-Touring Plan” to the 2013 edition of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.
The following is a sneak peak of my introduction to this new tour, which flies in the face of our famous time-saving plans, but may appeal to other guests of a more laid-back nature:
Most of our readers are interested in touring plans get get them through as many attractions as possible in the most efficient manner. But, like the authors, some you may have siblings, spouses, or other companions who are congenitally opposed to queuing for anything clanking or claustrophobic. What can Disney do to occupy your Aunt Gertie, who is dead-set against standing in a line, or sitting in anything with a lap bar?
At almost any other theme park, you would be out of luck. But Disneyland Park is one of the few places where you can experience a full day of entertainment without getting on a ride faster than the railroad, and without waiting more than fifteen minutes or so, even during the busiest season.
Yes, you can get your money’s worth at Disneyland without sprinting to Space Mountain or spinning in a teacup. You just have to adjust your expectation of what constitutes an attraction. (There are a handful of sedate activities available at Disney California Adventure, like Disney Animation, the winery, and the bakery tour, but not enough to justify a full-price pass.)
Since this “anti-plan” is designed to eliminate stress, there is no strict order to follow the steps in, nor instructions to arrive before rope drop (though it doesn’t hurt). Simply tour the park as your feet take you, skipping any suggested experiences that don’t interest you. If there is more than a 15 to 20 minute wait for anything you want to do, simply move along and check back later. Most importantly, take a break after four or five hours and leave the park for a nap, meal, or swim. The key is to take your time and (literally) stop to smell the roses.
Tell us in the comments below if a plan like this interests you, and what you would include in one. Then check back later in the week for my picks of the best places in Disneyland to de-stress.