Alex Berriman

Tips for visiting Anaheim?

45 posts in this topic

I'm sure many of us will have a wealth of information to share with you (i've just recently returned from a trip there in AprilMay this year), but theres a few things that would be good to know first:

  • [*]Are you only visiting Disneyland and Knotts? Or are you open to see others as well? [*]Are you hiring a car? [*]have you already booked your accommodation - and where is it? [*]What else do you plan on would like to do whilst you're there? [*]How many of you are there - and what age-group (eg: is it a mix of parents with teens or a bunch of early-20-year-olds etc... it makes a difference) [*]Is everyone in your group over the age of 21? [*]How long do you have in Anaheim, and will you go to any other parts of the USA or Canada while you over there? [*]What sort of budget are you working with - are you looking to do things as cheap as possible or are you flexible to do certain things that are worth the extra money?

Thats all i've got for now. Depending on what your answers are, will depend on what kind of info tips will be useful to you...

Also bear in mind JanFeb is winter, and this may impact on some things you may wish to do while you're there.

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I'm only 20 and going with my parents, but don't really care for missing out on drinking and all that (I'll just save that for a future trip to vegas). I think we're spending about 10 days or so in anaheim. Not sure about accomodation yet, I think one of the places we were looking at were within walking distance of Disneyland. I know we are most likely going to do trips up to LA and a few other places. Looking at doing Disneyland mainly and possibly a day at Knotts Berry Farm. Mainly just want to know what sort of suggestions you guys have as to how busy it is that time of year and just some basic tips on surviving a first trip to Disneyland (because I know that some people go without looking into it and miss out on stuff).

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If staying at Anaheim you are very easily able to get to Knotts, Universal and Magic Mountain. If you have a rental car its very easy and if you need to catch busses there are many great shuttle services to all these places. 10 days is more than enough time to see all these places.

Edited by MacPark

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I'd say Six Flags Magic Mountain should be way above Knott's on your priorities list. It's a bit further but nothing too bad - around an hour's drive I believe.

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SFMM is a well shit hole with amazing coasters, nothing more. Knotts you can do in the off season in 1/2 day and its an easy cab ride from Disney. Universal is a solid day. I'd recommend staying at universal for a night or 2 and driving from there to SFMM. The drive from Disney down that way is nasty and worth not doing 4 times if you can.

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SFMM is a well shit hole with amazing coasters, nothing more.

I'm actually sick and tired of people constantly knocking SFMM. It's actually a very decent, clean park with nice landscaping. Also, the entry fee is very affordable and the ride operations are fairly efficient, which is much more than I can say for any of the Gold Coast theme parks. I really can't understand how someone can criticize a park like SFMM after visiting a park like Dreamworld.

It basically comes down to what someone wants in a park. If you like coasters, do SFMM. If you like dark rides and shows, do Universal. I will mention that Universal is much more expensive than SFMM and is fairly lacking in the rides department, though the few they have are quite good.

Edited by alex_1

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No actually it's not clean. The majority of the guests at the park are foul, ride operations are slow and the operators are more focused on what they appear to think is some new novelty item in the rides PA system, and the food is pretty poor. It has amazing coasters and pretty well zero atmosphere. I'm not saying dont go, but I don't care how sick of it someone may be I'm not going to sugar coat my opinion of the place. My biggest suggestion is visit Disney after the other two or you may be disappointed.

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No actually it's not clean. The majority of the guests at the park are foul, ride operations are slow and the operators are more focused on what they appear to think is some new novelty item in the rides PA system, and the food is pretty poor. It has amazing coasters and pretty well zero atmosphere. I'm not saying dont go, but I don't care how sick of it someone may be I'm not going to sugar coat my opinion of the place. My biggest suggestion is visit Disney after the other two or you may be disappointed.

Different strokes for different folks.

I visited SFMM after Disney and absolutely loved it. I also thought the loading an unloading was done in a timely manner (nothing will ever beat Disney on that though IMO). I also found the ops messing around on the loud speaker to be quite entertaining as it mostly only occurred while the ride was in motion and they had nothing else to do. Beats the ops at other parks just standing around and talking to each other or doing nothing at all.

edit - Also never had any problems with guests/park/staff being "foul" at all. Everyone I came across was quite friendly and helpful.

Edited by reanimated35

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ill second that MM is a bit of a hole but it seems to be the only thing in the area for teens to do so they they all hang out there as if it was a shopping mall. (the place has its own police station lol) But its a great park when it comes to rides and the ops are pretty cool.

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Theres a reason SFMM has it's own police station - it's also the reason it's one of the few parks that have been suggested that will submit you to a metal detector on entry (USH is the other).

Having just returned from a trip to SFMM I have to agree with Rappa. If you want coasters - it's the record holder (Tatsu was definitely worth the trip) but I found park operations to be slow, disinterested and lazy. I paid a premium for the platinum flash pass to ensure I got through everything I wanted to do - I even paid the upgrade for the two 'premium' flash rides (and didn't get to ride one of them anyway).

The park has cemented it's place as the king of coasters, but that doesn't make them a nice park in any other way shape or form. I wouldn't say the park was spotless, but it wasn't filthy either. Despite the fact that we paid such a premium price, queue jumping was rife, and you don't have much interaction with staff, so trying to communicate this to the staff was difficult if not impossible.

Having said that - the one thing SFMM staff did well was communicate the 'queue once, ride twice' system for the platinum pass - there were never any arguments from the other guests waiting to ride who were displaced by our re-ride.

As to Alex's initial question, now that we have a few more details... We spent half our time in LA at the Knotts berry farm hotel - it was close enough to disney property (and connected with the ART bus), but it was further north and therefore closer to USH and SFMM. KBFH was quite reasonably priced, onsite restaurant was good value, and most local facilities nearby.

Disney

As far as attending Disney - I recommend at least a 3 day pass between the two parks - one day in each, and a third day park hopping depending on what you want to see. Be sure you check the showtime dates on the disneyland park site a week or so out to work out when fantasmic, and fireworks are on. World of Colour is on most nights, but the park's hours vary (early entry days alternate, as does the 'late closure' with one park staying open later than the other. Make sure you make the most of these variable hours by picking the longer hour days to visit each park.

Fastpass system

Something that many people seem to know, but many others don't, is that you don't have to USE your fastpass before claiming another one. Say you get a fastpass for Space Mountain. If your fastpass says to return between 11:00 and 11:30, do other things until 11am - then proceed to the NEXT ride (say Indiana Jones) you want to ride, and get another fastpass. Once issued, go and use your original Space Mountain fastpass, which will help take up the time until Indiana Jones is ready. (Note that you'd generally want to pick your fastpasses in a sequence moving around the park so you're not constantly doubling back on things)

Although the fastpass system does state a window (11-11:30) in most cases Cast Members will permit you to enter after that time, although there are a few exceptions.

California Adventure

You can do your 'whole day' at DCA on a mid-week shorter day as the park isn't as immersive and involving, and get it all done pretty quickly. Use your early entry for DCA and get a fast pass for Radiator Springs (or just queue for it first). After you've gotten your fastpass there, get a World of Colour fastpass from near the rapids (you can hold that as well as your ordinary fastpasses throughout the day), which will get you a good spot to see world of colour. Check out the park maps online ahead of time, and make use of the 'filter' feature to show only specific things (like rides and attractions) it can be easy to miss something good because it isn't lit in neon lights (like the Monsters Inc attraction).

If Parades aren't your thing, then use that time to either eat (the outlets are quieter) or to take a ride or two on something well away from the parade route.

If your folks are looking to take a load off, I highly recommend the Aladdin stage performance - extremely well done, and it soaks up a good 45 minutes to an hour, whilst in air conditioning and comfortable seating.

Lastly, in a lot of cases you can make it through Soarin several times by alternating 'regular queuing' and fastpasses. Because Soarin is quite separate to a lot of other sections of the park, you're best bet is to obtain a fastpass, and then use the general Soarin queue to ride once, before re-entering with your fast pass to do it a second time. It is highly rerideable despite being the same film as different seats give different perspectives. Get Soarin done quickly (it's in between radiator springs and grizzly river run (rapids - world of colour fast pass), and you won't then have to visit that park of the park again.

I'll post some more tips for Disneyland in another post.

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Can't say - it's not like I visit on a regular basis. There was a bag check before getting near the ticket booths, and then metal detectors between the booths and the turnstiles.

Didn't look permanent like SFMM though so perhaps was only a trial test precaution for short time?

Anyhow - onward and upward -

Disneyland Park

So you've already done a day at DCA, and pretty much covered it all. For Disneyland, you're going to want to pick two long-trading days to visit, preferably both with Fantasmic and Fireworks (usually Thu-Mon). Where you can, try and see both on the same night (where Fantasmic runs two shows, get a good spot for the fireworks first, and then dash for fantasmic. The second show is usually quieter, and you have a better chance of getting a good spot.

Again the same advice applies - make sure you review the park map online before hand, and know where all the attractions are.

Get Matterhorn done early. No matter what - if it's open, it's busy. Most other attractions will generally be an ok waiting time, but Matterhorn will always have the long lines.

Just like DCA - use the fastpass system to your advantage, and make your way around the hub moving through the different lands. It pays to work smarter in Disneyland as you can almost do every attraction without doubling back on yourself at all (except Critter Country and New Orleans Square). When you get to the end of main street, either turn left and head through frontierland adventureland first, or turn right and go through tomorrow land. They're pretty efficient in Disneyland and most attractions are continuous cycle so the line will constantly move. Hit each land in turn, going from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland and so on (or adventureland frontierland). To make sure you don't miss out on certain things, keep an eye out for signage at the entrance to fantasyland which will announce when it will close (fantasyland frequently closes early for either the fireworks or private events). If you want to visit Tom Sawyer Island, also pay attention to signage at the log rafts as Fantasmic will close the island early too.

On Fantasmic - both Columbia and the Mark Twain are utilised in Fantasmic, so they will also close early.

I don't imagine your family is going to want to catch the parade - so it is a good time to ride some of the more popular attractions - but beware - take note of the parade route! Once the parade has started, whatever side of it you're on is where you're likely to stay until it's finished...

I don't really have much else to share on the Disney parks - hope it helps!

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Ok so I am currently in the US on a holiday and hitting some parks. Am currently in Orlando at Universal which apart from the wizarding world of Harry Potter is pretty crap. However, I was absolutely enthralll and in love with Disneyland when I was in Anaheim. Here are my tips. Stay in one of the hotels right near the entrance to Disney land like the Fairfield inn. This allows you to go to the park first thing when lines are short and get a whole bunch of rides out of the way quick. I would suggest going to fantasy land first thing and hitting all the dark rides as these will get supper busy as later rising families hit the park later. I would then fast pass Indiana jones and while waiting hit rides like pirates and the haunted mansion. You will definitely need to fast pass space mountain cause its extremely busy. Staying close to the park allowed you to get to the park early, do all the rides, get your hand stamp and then come back at night for the fireworks display. I would suggest getting there around 8 to get a good seat. After the fireworks you can then go and catch the late performance of Fantasmic which is putty quiet. In terms of California Adventure, there is not much there other than cars land. I would suggest getting there at opening and going straight to a world of colour fast pass kiosk to book for the night show. Then go straight to radiator springs racers. When I went the like was a 45 min wait from opening and the line just to get your fast pass ticket was at least a 30 minute wait. Fast passes had run out for the entire day by about 10. The Aladdin show is fantastic as well. We were done at California adventure by about 2 o'clock which allowed me to go back to Disney land (we had park hoppers) and do some more rides there befo doing some shopping, going back to the room for a nap and then going back to California adventure for world of colour. I am quite sad that I won't be able to go back to Disneyland for quite a while. It is without a doubt the best theme park I've ever been to.

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