Disneyland in Anaheim, California is my favorite vacation spot and as a season pass holder I’ve been there over 30 times. It is a truly magical place that I think everyone should visit at least once in their life. Of course not everyone is lucky enough to be able to visit Disneyland whenever they want to, so I think it’s important for first-time visitors and those who don’t get to go too often, to be able to make the most of the time they have there. After having gone so many times, I have picked up on a few tips that I believe can help make some of the rides at Disneyland all the more enjoyable.
Matterhorn Mountain in Tommorrow Land:
The right side is the wrong side.
The line(s) for this ride wrap around the mountain. During busy times, there are 2 separate lines that lead to the 2 different sides. One leads you into the left side entrance of the mountain and one to the right side. During less busy times, there’s usually just one line that will lead you into both entrances. Many people don’t realize it, but the left side is actually a little more fun whereas the right side is a little more mellow. The left side is bumpier, has more dips, and appears to go a little faster. Not to mention it has a more exciting finish with a splash down drop through the water. (Don’t worry, you wont get wet!) When the line going into the right side is shorter, let other people be tricked into taking it because the wait for the left side will be worth it!
Splash Mountain in Critter Country:
If wetter is better, sit in the front.
With a 50 foot waterfall drop, Splash Mountain is a ride where you can get wet. If this is your goal, ask to be seated in the front row. If you want to stay relatively dry but still want to go on the ride, request a seat in the back. Where you end up will make a big difference. In the back you may get a little splash, but in the front, be ready to feel like you’ve been nailed with a bucket full of water. It’s up to you to decide which way is the fun way.
Smile and strike a pose.
When you are making the climb up towards the top of the drop, get ready to pose for the camera. As your log begins to descend, look to your right to find it and about half way down, it will take a picture of you and your group. If you go with a group it can be fun to plan a collective pose. Just be careful not to do anything offensive. If you do, Disneyland will not show your photo and there will just be a message that says “sorry, your photo was washed away”
Space Mountain in Tomorrow Land: Be last for the biggest blast.
The great thing about Space Mountain is that it is an in the dark roller coaster that makes you feel like you’re in space. Sitting in the back row of the cart (row 9) gives the best sensation of this. When sitting in the front your eyes adjust to the dark and the track is still visible. This takes away from some of the unpredictability of the track. Being in the back makes the turns more fun and makes you feel like you are going fast when you whip around and drop. Also, at the end of the ride you will go through a tunnel where there will be another picture opportunity. Be prepared when you feel your cart making a quick, sharp left turn. Then look up to your left to pose for the camera right before you come to a complete stop.
Soaring Over California: It feels good to be on top.
There are 3 carriers in this awesome simulator, one on the left, middle, and right. Each carrier has 3 rows of seats that turn into 3 different levels when the ride is suspended in the air. The first row of the middle carrier, which turns into the top level of the middle carrier, offers the best view by far because you are right in the middle of the screen, get to be the highest in the air, and don’t have anything blocking your view. If you end up with a seat on the middle or bottom levels of the carriers, the ride is still enjoyable, but your view may be blocked or your vision distracted by the shoes or feet of the people sitting on the top level. Being in the middle carrier offers a better view than the left or right side carriers but it’s not as important as being in the front row of each carrier so you can end up on the top level when the ride is in the air.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Be kind to your nose and avoid the stinky side.
This actually has nothing to do with the ride itself but is still worth pointing out. There are 2 sides to choose from when getting in line, a left side and a right side. DO NOT GO ON THE LEFT SIDE! About halfway through the line you will end up in a corner near the Tarzan Treehouse where you will have to endear an awful sewer like smell. After this happened to me the first time, I thought it was just a fluke, but when I made the mistake of choosing the left side again upon another visit, I was in for a surprise. The nasty sewer smell was still there in the exact same spot! So spare your olfactories the trauma and choose the line on the right.
Big Thunder Mountain in Frontier Land: Thunder roars in the dark.
Big Thunder Mountain is one of my favorite rides and there is never a “bad” time to go on it. However, if you can only go on once, make plans to do it at night. I like this ride during the day, but I LOVE it at night. The darkness helps transform this mountain into something magical. You can really lose yourself in the moment and feel like you are truly going through a rugged mountain side. Also, this is another ride where it pays to request the back row. The train speeds up and slows down during the ride, so if you are in the front, you’ll go a third of the way down the fun drop at a super slow speed, where as if you are in the back, you’ll get the full drop and turn and can feel the fast speed intended.
Jungle Cruise: Animals shine brightest at night.
The Jungle Cruise is one of the original classics at Disneyland and has a timeless charm to it. However, since it is an original ride, it offers far from the best special effects and technology. Taking the tour at night makes this ride more fun. The visuals appear a little better under the lights of the night and you get a little bit of an eerie, but fun feeling from riding through the water in the dark.
Indiana Jones in Adventure Land: Be careful where you sit.
Indiana Jones is an incredibly clever and unique hydraulics attraction that is relatively new to Disneyland. (Within the past 15 years or so.) The fun starts in line where you walk through a very realistic looking temple. Your ride is an SUV with 3 rows of 4 seats each. If you get the front left seat, you get to be the “driver”. There is a wheel there for you to hold onto. If you get the very back right seat, you will be the lucky one who gets to be right in front of a hungry, giant snake that will try to strike down and bite you! Either seat sounds fun huh?
All of these rides are great fun and a huge part of what makes Disneyland such a great tourist attraction. By following these subtle tips I hope you enjoy these rides even more.
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out this one about maintaining weight while at Disneyland.