Let me preface this by saying we took all four of our beautiful girls to Disneyland for the first time last September and it was a wonderful, magical time for us! I am so glad we were able to make it happen and the memories will last a lifetime as of course will the dip in our savings account but it was truly worth the cost.
Then last month my hubby told me he had a business trip coming up in San Diego and asked if I would like to meet him down there and we could go to Disney for a few days to celebrate my birthday…. without the kids! I said “yes, please and thank you.”
We asked my mom to stay with the girls and come mid-April we are walking through the gates of The Happiest Place on Earth hand-in-hand like two newlyweds.
We spent three epic days in the parks and three nights in the Disney Hotel. Being in Disney as an adult for the second time in my life and the first time ever without kids was an entirely new experience that was so worth the effort involved to make it happen.
We had anticipated major crowds for Spring Break and were shocked to find that Sunday through Tuesday mornings felt like we had the place to ourselves. After 1 o’clock traffic definitely picked up but by then we had already done most everything we wanted to do so we would go for a nice lunch at the blue bayou, the hotel tiki bar, or one of the many food carts in downtown Disney, then we would go from one major attraction to another using our fast passes that we had reserved using the awesome Disney Park’s app.
Disneyland without kids, it turns out, is totally romantic and an excellent choice for lovers looking to get away. Plus we got to go on the rides together rather than switching off with the younger kids.
It really was a different place entirely without the extra work of not losing your babies and not pushing a monstrous double stroller through crowds of teenagers looking at their phones as they walk.
Here are a few random tips we learned while at the park that I would share with anyone looking to go!
1. Download the Disney parks app- you can link your park tickets to it and scan your phone at the gates it get in, you can purchase the Disney max pass for $10 a day per person which allows you to make fast pass reservations at major attractions (including reserved area seating to shows like Fantasmic) without having to physically walk to the attraction first and collect a paper fast pass, it shows you a map of the parks and your current location, also the wait times of all attractions and the showtime schedules, you can even mobile order food from many of the restaurants in the parks and skip the long lines for some of the most famous park offerings like a delicious dole whip!
2. Stay at the Disney hotels because magic hour and the first hour the park is open to all are the best hours of the day and you can probably get all of your favorite rides in one of parks done in that time and by the time 10 o’clock rolls around you’ll be amazed at how much you have done and seen and had the park seemingly all to yourself.
3. Try sitting the the BACK on rides like Indiana Jones, the Incredicoaster, and Thunder Mountain Railroad: you will get more of a thrill as the backs of the rides tend to whip around corners and loops faster than those in front- we got this tip from a couple at the park we chatted with in line and they weren’t wrong!
4. Go out of your way to talk to the staff and ask questions when you can. Often they are looking for an opportunity to share their unique knowledge of the park and give you tips on the best places to sit for the parades, special trivia to look for throughout the park, and just share their love of Disney with you. We stopped to ask a gentleman about Fantasmic and how to get reserved seating for it. Turns out we had missed our chance so he pulled some strings and got us some VIP spots where almost no other people were allowed to go and we saw the best show of our lives up front and center.
5. If you like to start your morning in the park out with a Starbucks coffee and breakfast bagel like we do- mobile order it using your Starbucks app and skip those lines! Your food and drinks are ready and paid for waiting at the counter with your name on it when you walk in. It’s a must-do but it’s easy to forget to do it so I wanted to remind you. We did this every morning and were so surprised at how few people took advantage of the mobile order option and spent so much time waiting in the lines at Starbucks.
6. If you rent a car or bring your own car, just valet park don’t self park. That way you run no risk of magically losing your car keys even though they were literally just sitting on the desk in your room for three days. Speaking from experience, don’t lost those darn keys. They will cost you hours if looking, talking with lost and found, filing reports, talking to maid service, searching and researching every item in your luggage, and finally waiting two hours to pay a locksmith $550 to make you a new smart key so you can make your 8 o’clock flight. It is just not the thing you want to be doing on your last day in Disney.
But if something like losing your car keys does happen to you, don’t let it be a killjoy. Just thank the Lord it’s only money and time and not health or happiness you’re losing. Move on and remember every magical moment you shared in The Happiest Place on Earth with your soulmate and best friend and revel in the knowledge that you love being alone together more than ever after 13 years of marriage and four children… or whatever the case might be for you specifically but you get the idea!