[ Hello all! Today’s Disneyland / DCA Survival Guide is all about how to make the most of family reunions at the happiest place on earth. The lovely cuhmeelf volunteered to write it, so I’ll let her take it away! … ]
Hey, there! My name is Camille, a fellow Disney freak living in southern California. I come from a family who is also obsessed with all things Disney, and what better way to share that common bond than an annual Disneyland family reunion? My family has been doing reunions at the park for four years now, and every year it’s been so much fun, though it can be very tiring. However, our family has managed to make the most out of the parks every year, and that’s really what counts in the end.
ANYWAY, I wanted to write this little tip page for anyone who might be interested in starting their own family get- together’s at the happiest place on earth, but don’t know where to even begin. Here a some key points to help you make the most out of your family trip:
(1) PLAN AHEAD! I know this is a very obvious one, but believe me, there are some families out there that think they can muster up a successful last minute plan. Of course, this rarely works. You always have to go in with a plan of what time to meet, where to go, where to eat, etc. That way, no one will be confused and everyone won’t be so stressed out. Also, if you stick to a plan, you can ensure that everything everyone wants to do will get done, and everyone will be happy campers!
(2) Have a runner! Okay, this may sound a little weird, but trust me, it is very effective. What I mean by “runner” is that someone should be assigned the honorable duty of getting all the fast passes for the rides that provide them. In my opinion, the perfect runner would be someone who knows the park well, is responsible enough to keep everyone’s tickets together, doesn’t mind waiting in line (Especially for the Radiator Springs Racers passes), and doesn’t mind missing a few small rides (if necessary, of course). I, personally, have been the runner for my family ever since we started, and although it is tiring work, the fact that our family is able to ride all the popular rides without waiting in long lines makes it all worth it.
(3) Bring plenty of snacks! Everyone has that one person in their family who always gets hungry every hour. That’s why you should always bring some sort of snack to munch on while in line. It can be bags of chips, juice pouches, water, etc. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper as well! (However, that shouldn’t stop you from at least getting a churro or corn dog at some point!)
(4) Find group- friendly eating areas. There are plenty of food spots that provide plenty of empty tables for large groups in both parks! In Disneyland, some include: Pizza Port (Tomorrowland), Hungry Bear Restaurant (Critter Country), Stage Door Cafe (Frontierland). In DCA, there is: Outdoor seating next to goofy’s sky school that serves Italian/Mediterranean, Pacific Wharf, Flo’s V8 Cafe (Carsland), Taste Pilot’s Grill.
(5) Take advantage of all the indoor entertainment! Your family trip to Disneyland shouldn’t be all about rides. Make sure to take advantage of some of the shows and activities the parks provide. Sing a long with the birds in the Tiki Room, draw your favorite Disney character in the Animation Studio, or sit back and watch Aladdin or Captain EO. It’s something that everyone in the family can enjoy, and will hopefully serve as a way of bonding. Again, just double- check times and make sure it doesn’t conflict with your other plans.
(6) End the day with a night show! Whether it be the fire works, World of Color, or Fantasmic, the best way to end a day at Disneyland during any occasion is to catch the last shows the park has to offer. Again, it is a perfect way for everyone to bond, and it it the perfect way to end the day.
(7) TAKE IT EASY! Even though the whole idea of having a family reunion may sound super stressful, it’ll only be so if you make it that way. Again, take advantage of the shows and activities. Don’t be afraid to just sit down and catch your breath. Make time for plenty of bathroom breaks. If you just stick to a plan and follow it, I’m sure there’ll be some down time in between the rides and shows.
And that’s pretty much it, folks! One optional tip that may be fun to do is to make family t-shirts to wear during that day. My cousin and I make our own t-shirts for the whole family (as seen above from 2010) and we get complimented on them every year. I hope these list of tips will help you guys plan your very own family reunion at Disneyland/DCA. Have fun!