Regan and I didn't know what to do for our first anniversary today until a few days ago, when we decided to go to Disneyland. Also, since we know of at least two other times that we'll likely be going to Disneyland with family members within the next two months, we decided to purchase the annual passes. They pay for themselves after 2-3 visits, and they let you go to both Disneyland and the California Adventure park, so we shelled out the dough.
It was a busy day at Disneyland for several reasons: 1. It's summer, and just before alot of kids go back to school. 2. It's a sunday, and 3. It's Disneyland's 50th anniversary, so there's all these special parades and decorations going on. Everyone's buying the solid gold mickey ears. Well, not solid, but gold anyway. Space Mountain has been refurbished, and is worth a ride.
For those of you who are big on efficiency, it turns out that if you have a park-hopper pass (or an annual pass that lets you go to both parks in the same day) you can have one active FastPass ticket from EACH PARK at the same time. We were able to demonstrate this by going to D-land, fastpassing Space Mountain (standby was a 75 minute wait!!), then going to CA, riding Tower of Terror, fastpassing Soarin' over California, going to D-land, riding Matterhorn (which doesn't have a fastpass for some reason), coming BACK to CA, riding Soarin' over California, and finally coming back to D-land to use the fastpass on Space Mountain. After that we ate dinner at that Blue Bayou restaurant that's in the Pirates of the Carribbean ride. With Fastpass, park-hopping, and reservations (which were made the day before for the restaurant), a highly efficient and structured day of carefree, blissful Disney fun can be had.
The logistics of walking around in a crowded theme park can be interesting. I find that being in a big crowd where everyone is going in different directions inspires me to try to walk fast and get to where I want to go quickly. Thus, I end up weaving a serpentine path through the crowd, watching out for people coming from different directions, knowing when to speed up to pass a slow-moving family or elderly couple, or when to get out of the way when some crazy teenagers zoom past you while squirting each other with water. One of the most unpredictable obstacles in crowds like this are kids about 10 and younger. These kids will be walking along in front of you at a normal pace, and then suddenly stop dead in their tracks in the middle of the walkway. If they're short enough, you might be able to just step over them, or swerve around them and maintain your pace, but sometimes you need to skid to a halt yourself. Other kids will be moving toward you from another direction, but will have their heads turned 90 degrees away from their forward direction, not looking at all where they are going. You need to treat these ones like robot drones that will keep on moving in a straight line and will likely run into you if you don't perform some evasive maneuvers. A side dodge or a contortionist-style body bend may be necessary to get around these kids without disrupting your path to Thunder Mountain.
Another thing you come to notice when moving among thousands of other people and standing in lines for tens of minutes is the choices people make when it comes to bringing their kids to Disneyland. Personally, it seems to me that parents should use some thoughtful discretion when deciding when their kids are old enough to bring to the theme park. I say, if the kid is not old enough to walk around all day, the parents should wait till they are older. I saw so many parents struggling with strollers today, it made me vow that my kids will be able to come to disneyland when they can walk all over it. If they get tired, it's time to sit down, eat, or go home. If you're bringing a three-year-old with a stroller, chances are you'll just end up pushing a sleeping kid around crowded, tight spaces all day in the heat. Besides, it's expensive to go to theme parks these days; you might as well enjoy your time. Theme park kids should be strong, enduring, swift, and lithe enough to navigate the crowds, AND gracious enough to appreciate the fun without whining all day. I wonder if such ideal kids really exist?