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.
Anadapur Local Cafe Menu
I’ve been there. You have two days to hit all four parks, and you want to ride everything. You know it’s possible, but you also know you’ll have to resign yourself to popcorn and Mickey bars for 48 hours.
Not true, my friends! It is possible to snag some good, healthy(ish) theme park food on-the-go!
Here are some of my favorite spots to grab some delicious, FAST food that will keep you going strong throughout your park touring. And the best news is — most of this stuff is easy to eat while you’re walking, so you don’t even have to jockey for a table! Just order, pay, and head to the next ride — eat on the way!
Pork Egg Rolls in Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Yum! One of my favorite suggestions! Over in Anadapur Village in the park’s Asia section, you’ll find a great little counter-service restaurant right between Yak and Yeti Restaurant and Kali River Rapids.
Anadapur Local Cafe serves a rockin’ pork egg roll that’s out of this world. Best part? It’s finger food, so you can grab and go!
Starring Rolls Turkey Sandwich
Gourmet Sandwiches, Muffins, Fruit, and Trail Mix in Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
There’s a plethora of grab-and-go deliciousness in the studios, and you won’t have to sit down once!
Head over to Starring Rolls Cafe for a sandwich (including a great veggie option!) or a pastry, and if you get hungry again, hit Anaheim Produce on Sunset Boulevard for trail mix or apple slices with caramel dipping sauce. I promise you won’t hit a mid-day slump with these choices!
Bratwurst and Dessert in Epcot:
There’s really no excuse whatsoever for eating poorly in Epcot; it’s bursting with delicious and easy options for substantial grab-and-go food! I like to swing by Sommerfest in Epcot’s Germany pavilion for a Brat, then stop by Tangierine Cafe in Morocco for some delectable baklava.
Bratwurst from Sommerfest in Epcot
Now, if baklava isn’t your thing, keep walking a few paces and grab a crepe in France! All are easy-to-eat options that won’t weigh you down on your touring adventure.
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup or Hot Dogs at the Magic Kingdom:
Shocked that you could find such a wholesome option in a theme park? Don’t be!
Disney’s been working hard to make delicious, healthy options easier for you, so take advantage! At the Magic Kingdom’s Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square, you can get a nice-sized portion of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup — and the soup container is pretty portable, so it will be easy to eat while you’re waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion!
Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom
Of course, if soup isn’t enough to quell your hunger, head over to Casey’s Corner before the parade and get yourself a hot dog (hey, you’ve been healthy all day!).
One of my favorite traditions (with touring plan synergy!) is to get a hot dog and dine while saving my parade viewing spot on the curb. It’s a great opportunity to do a little people-watching and rest my feet while I’m still (technically) being productive!
What are your suggestions?
I’m looking forward to your favorite tips and tricks for eating on-the-go while you’re touring the parks in Disney World! Do us all a favor and share your ideas in the comments below — you never know when you can help a fellow Disney fan by giving a quick tip!
AJ Wolfe writes about Disney food, restaurants, news, info, and planning over at The Disney Food Blog!
Just in time for the winter holidays! (Yeah, we know that’s what you were thinking.) For those of you already planning a spring or summer 2010 trip to Walt Disney World, we’ve added full coverage of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks to the site.
We’ve also created touring plans for each park, for adults and for parents with small children (under 48″) who can’t quite yet ride some of the more intense slides. These touring plans are the first to feature full color maps of the parks. And to save on ink when you’re printing these at home, the backgrounds for each page are not colored.
Disney’s water parks are larger and more heavily themed than almost any water park you’ve seen. If your upcoming WDW trip includes a day at either, a subscription to the site will tell you what you need to know to have fun.