Going to Disneyland as an adult without kids was AMAZING. We walked a million miles and no one cried. Not once*! Also, I had a backpack and after a ride I'd sling it on my back and instinctively look around for my other things but there were no other things. No stroller! No baby to carry! No one asking me to haul their water bottle for them! It was very freeing but also left me with a chronic sense of worry that I had lost something (spoiler: I DID).
In true Kayla fashion, I brought the minimum and it was awesome. Here's what was worth bringing:
1. A hydration pack
This was Katie's genius idea. As I was contemplating the best way to carry my small collection of things around, she suggested a hydration pack. It carries a bunch of water AND there's space for a few other things. We spent the whole trip congratulating ourselves on the brilliance of bringing our hydration packs. We always had plenty of water, which was awesome because drinking fountains were fewer and further between than I remembered and water bottles were $$$. They easily fit in the under-seat storage of most rides and they got lighter as the day wore on and we got more tired. I will be doing this forever more.
Disneyland actually has lots of shade but the truth is that you often get stuck standing in line in direct sunlight. It's brutal. I was SO glad I remembered to apply in the morning before we left and brought the bottle with me to reapply throughout the day.
3. A long-sleeved layer
On my way out the door I grabbed one of Aaron's long-sleeved tees from the Goodwill bin. It ended up being the perfect lightweight layer for after the sun went down. During the day we were plenty warm but as soon as night fell it got significantly cooler and I was really glad to have that layer!
|Last ride of the last day! Wearing Aaron's shirt because we got damp at World of Color and it was chilly! Also, Space Mountain when you're loopy tired is quiiiite the experience.|
4. My phone
I mean, duh, right? But I used it in two very specific ways to maximize our efficiency in the parks. First, I set alarms to help me keep track of the Fast Passes we had gotten and when we could get more.
If you haven't been in a while, the Fast Pass system allows you to get a special ticket for certain rides. You return at a designated time and you get to go through a special line that bypasses most of the regular line. So you end up waiting 10 minutes instead of 50. There are limitations though- after you get a pass you have to wait until you've used that one OR two hours has passed until you can get another for each park. So every time we got a Fast Pass I'd take out my phone and input our return time AND set an alarm for 2 hours so I knew when we could get another Fast Pass for that park. I'm sure Elisa and Katie thought I was crazy but we never waited longer than 15 minutes for any ride except for Matterhorn which, inexplicably, does not have Fast Pass.
|Katie found a comfy spot on the Matterhorn while we waited and waited...|
Also, I downloaded the MouseWaits app which told me how full each park was and the approximate wait times for each ride. It helped us figure out where the crowds were! For some reason on day 2, Disneyland was at 75% full all morning while California Adventure was hovering between 30 and 40%. We spent the morning at CA and got to do some of our favorites twice. The crowds evened out in the afternoon and we hopped over to Disneyland to finish out the day.
|California Screamin' had a 10 minute wait so we had to do it twice.|
This is an obvious one when you're bringing kids but I was surprised how frequently I needed a granola bar to get my blood sugar and energy levels back to a happy place. You do not want to get hangry at Disneyland and there is not always a convenient churro vendor to save you.
And now, the things I WISH I had brought with me:
1. A lanyard
We did some research before we left and this one website suggested bringing a lanyard and pouch to hold your ticket and Fast Passes and we were like HAHA NERDS WE DON'T NEED THAT. And then 20 minutes into the first day we were like, "....Oh."
Because we were getting Fast Passes and hopping back and forth between parks pretty much every 30 seconds I was having to take off my backpack, get out my wallet, fish out my ticket/Fast Pass, then put everything back again all. the. stinking. time. I even checked out lanyard pricing in a shop but the combined cost of a lanyard + pouch was in the $20 range and no thank you, I will just suffer.
On day 2 I wore a pair of shorts with super deep pockets and kept everything in there. That worked fine. In the future though, I might look into a lanyard. ESPECIALLY if I'm there with kids and am juggling 3 additional tickets and sets of Fast Passes.
2. A toothbrush and toothpaste
By lunchtime on both days I was DYING to brush my teeth. I freaking love churros and corn dogs but they do not make my teeth feel shiny afterward. By the time we got back to my uncle's place both evenings I was falling over myself to find my toothbrush and get the scuzzy feeling out of my mouth. For future trips I'm bringing a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste and doing post meal cleanings.
*that's a lie. At least two of us cried watching World of Color and I cried watching the fireworks. Twice.
What have you found to be most useful when you go to Disneyland and other theme parks? Are you a minimalist or do you pack ALL THE THINGS?
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