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Dear TPR,

 

Instead of going to Beach Week like a normal teenager, I'm going to California for a week with my mommy! We're hittin' up Disneyland, California Adventure, Knott's, Universal, and SFMM. If you've ever been to any of them, or you live like right next door (meaning the entire state of California, which is huge), then you should most definitely give me advice. That means:

 

-What are the crowds like the very first week of June? (Californians are still in school.)

-What's best to hit first at these places if they were to be crowded?

-Would it be best to split SFMM into two days, or with a Q-Bot can we do it in one? (I'd still kind of want two!)

-IF YOU HAVE STAYED IN A DISNEY HOTEL: Would you recommend the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier? This one is REALLY important, because we can't decide. (Price doesn't matter, we're in the DVC.)

 

Plus anything you can think of that will make my trip the bomb-diggity!

Muchos Gracias,

Tyler Hopkins

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-What are the crowds like the very first week of June? (Californians are still in school.)

 

Usually parks aren't too bad around this time. It definitely isn't like the off-season, but you should still be able to get everything in at the parks you're going to.

 

-What's best to hit first at these places if they were to be crowded?

 

First off, it's very important that you get to each of the parks at opening.

 

At Disneyland, I always like to head left first and hit Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain before lines get long. Then on my way to the other side of the park, I ride Thunder Mountain, then get a fast pass for Space Mountain and ride Matterhorn. By that time, DCA is usually about to open, so I go over there and go straight to the back and hit Toy Story Mania and California Screamin'. Then stick around DCA for a while and get fast passes for Grizzly River Rapids and ToT.

 

Remember that fast passes are your friend! If you plan things right, you can get about 20 during the day. I've gone to Disneyland on very crowded summer days and never waited more than 20 minutes because of them. Never forget about them, and while in lines/on rides, always plan to go get another one before your next ride. Be careful not to get one with a really long time for you to ride, because you can't get a fast pass while the time still isn't up, and if it's 3 PM and you get a fast pass for say Space Mountain that you can't ride until 8 PM, you can't get another fast pass for five hours.

 

If that was too confusing I'm sure someone else on here can explain the system much better.

 

At Knott's, I like to go to Ghostrider first. Sometimes the Boardwalk doesn't open with the park (I think it does in the summer though), but Ghostrider usually gets the longest waits anyway and runs smoothest at the beginning of the day.

 

At SFMM, sprint to X2, then Tatsu, then head over to Terminator and Deja Vu.

 

Haven't been to Universal, so any information on that is useful for me too.

 

-Would it be best to split SFMM into two days, or with a Q-Bot can we do it in one? (I'd still kind of want two!)

 

Unless you like to go through parks very slowly and relaxed, you don't really need a second day at SFMM. If you need to finish some things up though, I would suggest combining a second half-day at the park with some sight-seeing (or even Universal as I've heard there is not much to keep busy with).

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I've only been to Disneyland/DCA so I can only answer for those.

 

The crowds shouldn't be bad at all the first week of June. We normally go a couple weeks after that and the crowds still aren't too heavy, especially compared to July/August.

 

For Disneyland, I usually go to Indiana Jones first, then Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. For DCA, I would go to Toy Story Mania since it seems to always get long lines and it's not on Fastpass (all of the other "major" attractions--Screamin', Tower of Terror, etc--are). Soarin' can also get pretty crowded, as can Grizzly River Run if it's hot.

 

I really like the Disneyland Hotel. I haven't stayed in Paradise Pier, so I can't really compare the two, but the Disneyland Hotel is closer to Disneyland park and Downtown Disney (although not by a huge amount). Paradise Pier is closer to DCA & has it's own entrance. Any Disney Hotel guest can use the Paradise Pier or Grand Californian DCA entrances though. I believe there is supposed to be renovation going on at the Disneyland Hotel at some point, but I'm not too sure when. You may want to check into that.

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Go to SFMM on a weekday, Saturdays at SFMM in early June can be pretty bad. Yes I know its early June, and MOST schools are still in, but mine is out on June 3rd. But all the major schools in LA are still in (HAHA Atem) KBF you can do on any day but a Saturday, I went on a Tuesday in the summer and got MANY re-rides, such as 11 times on Montezoom and I went on a Sunday and did Xcelerator 6 times in a row (without getting off for 4 in a row) But KBF on Saturday is pretty bad, I mean Silver Bullet was like a 45 minute wait, Sierra Sidewinder was like 30, Ghostrider about 30, and so on.

 

Go to SFMM for two days, KBF one, the others I haven't been to or not enough to really give knowledge.

 

As for the G-Bot, don't get it on the first day, get it on the second day so you can end your SFMM trip with a BANG!!!

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-What are the crowds like the very first week of June? (Californians are still in school.)

 

Yes, Californians are still in school, but there are close to one million passholders (according to Micechat), with most of those being So Cal residents. Since I go to Disneyland at least 3 or 4 times per month, weeknights CAN be busier than Saturdays, mainly because the first two 'cheap' passes are blocked out on Saturdays. Since you're going in June, you will still be competing with the most popular pass days. To avoid this, plan on going to Disneyland on a Saturday - yes, Saturday. I have the expensive Disneyland pass and Saturdays are less busy during the summer than Sundays or weeknights.

 

 

-What's best to hit first at these places if they were to be crowded?

 

Regardless, if you plan your visit accordingly, and expect big crowds, get there when they open (Disneyland) so you can get fastpasses (fastpasses are 'reservations' for rides - they can, and do, run out during the course of a day. Definitely hit Space Mountain first. Also, some of the fastpassed rides are on different 'networks', meaning that you might not be eligible for another fastpass until a given time, but if you go to other fastpass rides that are on different networks, you can have two different fastpasses at the same time. Sounds confusing, yes - just head over to Micechat for more on this.

 

Also, don't forget, even if you have a 10AM fastpass for a ride, you can still use it until the park closes - I have done this multiple times.

 

 

I wouldn't be too concerned about Knott's. I was there on New Years Eve, and while it was 'busy' by Knott's standards, it was nothing like a busy Disneyland day. You will easily cover all of the rides at Knott's. Ghostrider will beat you to death; sit in the front, not the back. Pony Express is fun if it's a walk-on. Silver Bullet is a neutered version of Batman, but is fun nonetheless. Every time I go to Knott's, I usually ride it 5 to 10 times.

 

-Would it be best to split SFMM into two days, or with a Q-Bot can we do it in one? (I'd still kind of want two!)

 

One day is enough. I went there four times last summer and never experienced ridiculous amounts of people. You will easily be able to ride each big coaster at least once. Start with X2, then Tatsu, then Terminator. Colossus is mandatory - just because it's from Step By Step, and it is just old and rickety. Goliath is amazing!

 

 

-IF YOU HAVE STAYED IN A DISNEY HOTEL: Would you recommend the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier? This one is REALLY important, because we can't decide. (Price doesn't matter, we're in the DVC.)

 

I live too close to necessitate an overnight stay, plus my sister lives ten minutes from the park in OC. However, the Grand Californian, that is connected to CA Adventure, is BEAUTIFUL! The lobby is amazing, and if you appreciate the beauty of Northern California, you will enjoy it.

 

Plus anything you can think of that will make my trip the bomb-diggity!

 

Hmmm... Check the Disneyland website for park operating hours and passholder blockout days. Based on my visits, I don't even bother going when So Cal Select or So Cal passes are allowed to go - the attendance in Disneyland can easily hit 65,000 or more.

 

World of Color is set to open this Spring, and should draw ridiculous crowds. As I mentioned earlier, the key to Disney parks is being there early. Otherwise, the parking structure fills up (it reaches capacity a lot), the park might limit the number of guests (yes it reaches capacity too), fastpasses run out, etc., etc.

 

I will add more thoughts when they cross my mind.

 

One more thing: FOOD! Disneyland food is overpriced, and pretty bad. There are a few places that are tolerable, but plan on eating your main meals offsite, or in Downtown Disney. At all costs, avoid the Tortilla Jo's (whatever it is, the brightly colored Mexican place) in Downtown Disney - WAAAAY overpriced, and BAAADD food. California Adventure has Boudin's, if you like sourdough bread and clam chowder. There are other restaurants that are good, but pricey. You ARE allowed to bring outside food into the parks, just NO coolers.

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I believe there is supposed to be renovation going on at the Disneyland Hotel at some point, but I'm not too sure when. You may want to check into that.

 

Going on right now.

 

They just finished adding-on to the Grand Californian.

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Remember that fast passes are your friend! If you plan things right, you can get about 20 during the day. I've gone to Disneyland on very crowded summer days and never waited more than 20 minutes because of them. Never forget about them, and while in lines/on rides, always plan to go get another one before your next ride. Be careful not to get one with a really long time for you to ride, because you can't get a fast pass while the time still isn't up, and if it's 3 PM and you get a fast pass for say Space Mountain that you can't ride until 8 PM, you can't get another fast pass for five hours.

Actually, if there's a 2+ hour return time on your fastpass, you can get a new one 2 hours after the one before it.

 

But all the major schools in LA are still in (HAHA Atem)

You're pathetic.

 

And I would also advise staying in the Grand Californian, it's right there, and just going in the lobby sells the entire hotel for me.

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I personally would recomend the Grand Californian. I have never seen the rooms there, but the hotel itself is gorgeous. I am a passholder, so there have been times when me and my friends just go hang out in the lobby and get a snack. I have heard great things about that hotel, and its got the nappa rose if your into fine dining, but I dont know much. I am assuming they are all really nice though.

 

Lol, how many days are you at disney? If its just one stick with Credit Crazy and Tinkerbells opening route. If you're staying for more than one day I wold suggest going to Space Mountain first. Then hit Nemo then Matterhorn(the line will be kind of near Nemo's que entry) then ride Peter Pan.(if you've never been on the one at Florida, if so keep going) Then get a splash mountain fastpass(ride if the line is under 20 minutes) and go ride thunder. After Thunder go to Indy, Indy has the worst fastpass in the park IMO because you still usually have to wait inside for twenty minutes and then bypass the outdoor que.

 

At California Adventure head to mania and do that first, the lines probably wont be bad til the afternoon, so your good. Then ride screamin and if you want to ride the Maliboomer. When you get to the boardwalk go to the left(by the world of color stage) and continue that way. Either fastpass or ride Grizzly, then keep walking and go ride soaring. After soaring keep going onto hollywood and go on TOT and monsters, as it is unique to only California Adventure. Also, dont forget to see world of color, if you want to of course.

 

 

This is my general strategy for Disney so you get a little bit of everything done including coasters, water rides, and dark rides. Also, do not forget to ride pirates as it is far superior. Also, dole whips may get crowded toward the end of the night, so if you want one they are at the entrance of Adventureland.

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What are the crowds like the very first week of June? (Californians are still in school.)

 

Disneyland Resort: Crowded, but not as bad as middle of summer/Christmas break. You will need two days to fully explore both parks, but I'd recommend two and a half if you can. The most popular rides might have a hour wait, so you will definitely need fastpass if it is available.

 

Knott's Berry Farm: You'll be able to get everything done in one day. On a weekday, nothing should have more than a half hour wait.

 

Universal Studios Hollywood: More crowded than Knott's but less crowded than Disneyland.

 

Six Flags Magic Mountain: This one can be variable. I've been when everything had a forty-five minute wait and I've also been when everything was under fifteen minutes (except X2). I'd say plan a day and a half for this park.

 

What's best to hit first at these places if they were to be crowded?

 

These are the plans I typically use. They are good if you want to get on as many rides as you can in one day (in my experience) but they sometimes require a bit of walking. Remember that at any park it is a very good idea to get there at opening.

 

Disneyland-Grab a fastpass for Indiana Jones Adventure, then go to Tomorrowland. Ride Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage, Space Mountain, and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. Cross over to Frontierland and ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Go use the fastpass for Indiana Jones. If it is not the return time yet, ride the Jungle Cruise while you wait. Go to Splash Mountain and grab a fastpass. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion, then return to Splash Mountain (if it isn't your return time yet, come back when it is). Go to Fantasyland and ride Matterhorn Bobsleds, It's a Small World, and any other dark rides you are interested in. Go to Toontown and ride Roger Rabbit's Car-Toon Spin and Gadget's Go Coaster (if you need the credit). You can then explore the rest of the park in any way you choose.

 

If you have two days for Disneyland and want to ride everything, the best thing to do is break the park in half and do everything in one half one day and everything in the other half the other day (I would do Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Toontown one day and Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Critter Country and Main Street USA the other day).

 

Disney's California Adventure-Grab a fastpass for Soarin' Over California, then head to Paradise Pier. Ride Toy Story Midway Mania, followed by California Screamin', then anything else you are interested in for that area of the park. Return to Soarin' Over California, riding Grizzly River Run on the way if you feel like it. Then go to Hollywood Pictures Backlot and ride anything you are interested in there. This can be done in a half-day (4-5 hours) if the park isn't that crowded.

 

Knott's Berry Farm-It doesn't really matter what order you do this park in, but remember that the Boardwalk doesn't always open at the same time as the rest of the park.

 

Universal Studios Hollywood-The Simpsons Ride, Lower Lot, Upper Lot. Can be done in half a day if the show schedule works out and the park isn't very crowded.

 

Six Flags Magic Mountain-Do not go to X2 first. It is usually not open right away and everyone runs to it. Instead, go to Tatsu first. Then go down to Cyclone Bay to ride Terminator Salvation: The Ride and Deja Vu (and the new family coaster). Climb the hill and ride Superman the Escape and Ninja. Go back down and ride Gold Rusher and Riddler's Revenge. Head to Gotham City Backlot and ride Batman The Ride. Continue to Colossus Country Fair and ride Scream, then Colossus, then Goliath. Go through Bugs Bunny World and ride Canyon Blaster (if you are sad and pathetic), then go back over to Baja Ridge. Ride Revolution, then Viper, then join the line for X2, which hopefully won't be more than a little over an hour.

 

Would it be best to split SFMM into two days, or with a Q-Bot can we do it in one? (I'd still kind of want two!)

 

Unless you plan on spending a significant amount of the second day at Hurricane Harbor, you only need one day for Six Flags Magic Mountain. If you go on a weekday, you can do everything in one day without a Flash Pass, although you may not get very many re-rides. On a summer weekend, you will definitely want a Flash Pass.

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Six Flags Magic Mountain-Do not go to X2 first. It is usually not open right away and everyone runs to it. line for X2, which hopefully won't be more than a little over an hour.

 

I have heard from some trip reports that X2 does not open at park opening sometimes, but in all my experiences I've gone straight there, waited a couple minutes for the ride to finish testing and gotten right on.

 

I would highly suggest running to the ride anyway. Even if for some reason the ride does open late and you have to wait 30 minutes, that's still a lot shorter than you will wait for the ride at any other time during the day.

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^Just based on my experience. I've been three times since X2 opened when it was operating:

 

1st-Shortly After X2 Opened: Went straight to the ride. Didn't open for an hour, then was still over an hour wait despite three train operation. Messed up the rest of the day (only got on 12 of the coasters).

 

2nd-Termination Day: Was one of the first in line for X2, but still had to wait fifteen or twenty minutes for the ride to open, then was on about the seventh train.

 

3rd-Last Month: Didn't ride X2 until the afternoon, and it had a ten minute wait (thirty due to a breakdown). Only time I've ever managed to ride it twice in one day.

 

Maybe running to X2 is a good idea, but I've never tried it. When it was just X, I found that running to the ride immediately got you on in about a half hour, and riding it later on took a little under an hour for a summer weekday (the one summer weekend resulted in a three hour wait when we got to the ride fifteen minutes after opening, in part due to one train operation and a couple breakdowns).

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I always make a mad dash to X2, it usually takes maybe five minutes before they open up the queue and let you on the ride, which completely beats waiting in the usually ridiculously long line. I mean there is the off chance that it may open an hour after the park (although I haven't personally seen that happen), but it's definitely worth the effort to run to it.

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I almost always make the mad dash to X2 for the same reasons. I have got on within 20 mins of the park opening almost every time I have done it. The only exception was one time when it broke down and didn't open until 30 mins after the park opened. Even then I got on 10 mins after it opened since I beat most people to that area. At the time of year you will be there I have found crowds at SFMM to be moderate. You would probably be able to ride all the coasters without a Q-bot, but might not get many re-rides. I would recommend the Regular Bot if you want a decent amount of re-rides. On an early June weekday the Gold Bot is overkill. Most of the lines won't be that bad. Actually I think the Gold Bot is overkill most of the time. Even last July and August I got multiple re-rides on everything with a Regular.

 

When I have been to KBF in June I have always found it to be very crowded. Go on the GhostRider first and go again if the line isn't that bad. Once it gets long it usually stays that way the rest of the day.

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My choice for Disney would be the Grand Californian. Rooms are small but it is right there. Also by staying at a Disney hotel you will get early entry into Disneyland. They only open a small section of the park but it is a good way to knock off some rides and be in the park when the rest opens.

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When at Universal, do not be suckered into buying the "Front Of The Line Pass".

 

The waits do not get above 30min for any thing and Mummy and Jurassic Park both have single rider lines.

 

 

When at SFMM get to the park 30mins before park opening and RUN to X2 first. If it is down wait 10mins, if you do not see trains cycling, go to Tatsu.

 

 

KBF, get to the park at opening and go strait to GhostRider. Once the line builds up on this ride it will stay like that for most of the day. Most of the rides will not have waits more that 30mins. Ride Perilous Plunge as soon as you can, the wait for this ride can be very, very long. And make sure you ride the Mine Ride, Log Ride, and see Mystery Lodge.

 

 

Disneyland Resort. Here is the complete list of rides that have Single Rider Lines. (this will save you a TON time)

 

Disneyland

Indiana Jones Adventure

Splash Mountain

 

DCA

Soarin Over California

Grizzly River Run

California Screamin

Maliboomer

Mulholland Madness

 

Also keep in mind your Fast Passes are good all day once you return time come up.

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One more thing for Disney...

If you're interested in riding the Fantasyland attractions (Peter Pan, Alice, Dumbo) or the Finding Nemo Submarines go to those as early as possible. They end up with some of the longest, slowest-moving lines in the park. If you stay at a Disney hotel, you can get early entry into the park and ride these attractions then. Early entry is only offered on certain days (Tues./Thurs. are coming to mind, not sure on the others) though so it depends on when you're going.

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Last year SFMM closed at 6 the week of Memorial Day and the first week of June then extended their hours the next week. This year with Memorial Day not until 5/31, they close at 6 the first two weeks of June. They have been closing earlier than the rest of the month in early June for as long as I can remember. It just worked out a little differently this year since they close at 6 farther into June than usual due to the holiday being about a week later than it usually is.

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My advice: Choose to listen to it or not...

 

Get to Six Flags Magic Mountain at opening (before it opens). Walk in the direction of X2/Viper (north from the front gate--same direction--not actually north I don't think). Watch all the kids/teens run to X2 and look at them have to wait in a line and be told that the ride isn't open yet and that they're aren't sure when exactly the ride will open. From there, continue to walk/speed walk to Terminator Salvation: The Ride and Deja Vu (Cyclone Bay). Ride both of them then head downward to Goldrusher, Riddler's Revenge, Batman, Scream, Colossus, and Goliath (all in this order).

 

Take a break; maybe go to Mooseburger Lodge and enjoy a tasty burger. Actually treat yourself to a tasty burger for being able to ride the majority of the rides in under 3 hours.

 

Worry about Revolution, Tatsu, X2, Ninja, Superman, and Viper for later.

 

This plan will result you with a 1-2 hour wait for X2 on a typical summer day. Wait to ride Tatsu in the late afternoon, early evening. The line usually gets shorter than compared to the early afternoon (or right in the morning... when all the people get off X2 and think of riding Tatsu).

 

* Revolution should never have a line.

* Don't bother riding Superman if there's a line sticking out the front entrance... unless you care for credits.. you should have time to wait it out though if you would choose to.

* Viper should not have much of a line that would discourage you to ride.

* Ninja - if you're planning on going in the next month or so, it'll probably be closed.

* Tatsu - line shouldn't be longer than 30 minutes in the mid afternoon (4:00 PM)

 

** Of course, this is based on my experiences going on a Sunday and two Fridays this past summer.

 

In essence, going for Cyclone Bay knocks off two birds with one stone, I think. Terminator and Deja Vu have some of the longest waits in this park, behind X2. Tatsu doesn't even have that long of a line in my experience compared to Deja Vu. So there's a lot of time savings there. Also, you're on the right side of the park which means limited wait for rides like Riddler's, etc if you pursue it quickly. It takes a while for the GP to MIGRATE over on the right end of the park.

 

Good luck and have fun.

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^^ Yes, the other little curveball this year is the third week in June when they close at 8:00 on weekdays. For a while it has gone directly from 6:00 the first week of June to 10:00 the next week. I assume this is related to the school year being affected by Memorial Day being about a week later than usual.

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