Orange Coast Magazine - Disenchanted


How a behind-the-scenes Disneyland childhood turned a Mouseketeer into a Grouseketeer

By Gretchen Kurz / Illustration by Jesse Lenz

In the full story, writer Gretchen Kurz recounts her years as a dark-hearted pixie allowed backstage at Disneyland in the 1960s. To order a print or digital copy of the December issue, click here. For those who are less jaded, here are the ultimate insider's tips for getting around the park.

Disneyland Insiders Tip

Avoid Peak Times
Which is practically all the time. Summer.
Even Christmas, because Main Street gets decked out for the holidays. Best times are in September and February, when kids are in school.

Skip Parades
It’s a golden opportunity to race to that don’t-miss ride and check for shorter lines.

Unwind at Downtown Disney
If you bought the Park Hopper pass, which also allows admission into California Adventure, head for The Grand Californian Hotel when you’ve had enough. You can zip through to Downtown Disney to take a load off, then head back into the park refreshed.

Book a Room
Knowing you’ve only got one day to ride everything is too much pressure. Get a three-day pass and park your family in one of the resort hotels. Disneyland is easier when kids stay on their nap schedules.

Sup With the Stars
A whole day at Disneyland guarantees toddler meltdown. Since kids’ biggest thrill is seeing the characters, skip the park and opt for a meal at one of the hotels. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale, and other furry celebs appear at character meals.

Arrive Early
Buy admission that includes early entrance on “Magic Mornings” with access to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Not all rides will be running, but it’s a chance to jump-start your visit.

To read the full story, order a print or digital copy of the December issue here.

This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Orange Coast magazine.

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