One of folks biggest pet peeves about Disneyland is the amount of people! The congestion! The blocked walkways! The hordes of people trying to go all different directions while being blocked by Cast Members for one reason or another! This time of year is known for it. I love Disneyland with all of my heart, but I still find myself losing my cool under such conditions. So I’m here to tell you the best defense is a good offense – be proactive!
Here are some ways to help you avoid being stuck in a complete standstill:
1. Make a dinner reservation during one of the super crowded times. Although there are certainly times and areas during the day where the congestion gets really bad, the worst time for it seems to be the time leading up to/during/right after a parade or show like Fantastmic or the fireworks. So make a dinner reservation during these and make it a long leisurely meal – you will be far more relaxed inside a nice restaurant with a lovely meal in front of you than will everyone else scurrying around outside.
2. Plan to exit Disneyland before the shows start. I know I just touted all of the reasons you should stay in the Park after dark, but if you are going to leave early – this would be the #1 reason to do so. Heading out before the onslaught of night-time shows (Fantastmic/parade/fireworks) will save you the headache of human traffic.
3. Spend that time in Fantasyland or Critter Country. It seems like no matter where you turn during these rush hours there isn’t a spot in the park that isn’t crammed full of people – Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, even New Orleans Square are packed. And you particularly want to avoid Main Street or around the Hub at all costs. I’ve found that Fantasyland is actually doable at this time, it’s still busy, but it’s not wall-to-wall people and you can get around fairly easily. If you want and even quieter spot, plan to be in Critter Country – granted it’s a small area and there isn’t as much to do, but I would say that just chilling out there is a far better way to spend that hour or two than trying to push your way down the sidewalks of Main Street.
4. Go while it’s raining. No joke. Get yourself a poncho, a good jacket with a hood, or umbrella and you are golden! Some attractions or shows may be canceled due to the rain but the crowds will magically disappear.
5. Watch the parade from Town Square. If you are wanting to watch the parade or fireworks, but know how nuts it is trying to leave afterwards, then plan to watch it from Town Square back by the train station – that way as soon as it’s over you can quickly slip out the exit before the hordes of people get there.
What to do if you do get stuck:
1. Have patience. Goodness knows that every man, woman, and child who finds themselves stuck in a complete human traffic standstill, with no way forward or back, is doing their best to keep it together and not a) cry, b) yell, c) push. There certainly will be some people who do any combination of those things, but hopefully we can all just do our best to be patient with each other and the situation, because there are a bunch of us in together.
2. Focus on the good things. Look up – what can you see from where you are stuck. Maybe you can see the top of the parade or some of the fireworks. Look around – if you are with folks to chat with then tell jokes, or talk about your favorite part of the day, or your plans for tomorrow.
3. Be prepared. This one is especially important if you have littles with you. I feel so bad for those kids who are stuck in their strollers with nothing but the backs of peoples knees to look at and potentially get bumped by. Kids want to lose it too during such situations. My best advice is to have a few things on hand tucked away for an emergency situation: snacks, little novelty toys (like glow-in-the-dark sticks or bracelets) handy to play with, and a blanket – snuggle them up to help them feel more safe and comfortable or just cover their stroller so they plain and simple can’t see the chaos around them.
As much as I love Disneyland, I have a difficult time handling these road-block, no-go situations and I’ve had plenty of practice getting through it and watching how my fellow visitors around me deal with it – the good and the bad. How about you? How do you feel about “the standstill”? What do you do to get through it without losing your cool?