Travel Tips for Beginners (Page Two)


Best Restaurants

Some of the Gazette’s favorite restaurants include:

-Troubadour Tavern (Fantasyland)- Lots of food for not a lot of money. Try to go here for lunch, as they sometimes run out of potatoes by dinnertime. Try the Barbeque Chicken Baked Potato to make a snack into a full meal.

-River Belle Terrace (Frontierland)- Huge breakfast for a decent price. Plus, with views of Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, and Critter Country, the atmosphere does not get any better! Steamboat Pancake breakfast is excellent or try the Po’Boy if you visit at lunch or dinner.

-Hungry Bear (Critter Country)- Fantastic seating on the riverfront. Watch the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes drift by while you eat, or feed the ever-present ducks. Try the Crispy Chicken Sandwich.

-Golden Horseshoe (Frontierland)- Enjoy Laughing Stock Co. while you eat. If you’re not interested in the show, the same food is served outside at the Stage Door Café. Try the fish and chips.

-Taste Pilot’s Grill (Condor Flats)- Some of the best burgers at the Disneyland Resort. Plus, they have a fixings bar so you can customize your toppings. Try the B-2 BBQ Chicken Sandwich or the Wild Bleu Yonder Burger (bleu cheese and BBQ sauce).

-Pacific Wharf Café (Pacific Wharf)- The yummiest sourdough bread bowls outside of San Francisco. Try the classic clam chowder or be more adventurous and have a salad.

-Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta (Paradise Pier)- Truly delicious pizza and pasta. There is not a bad item on the menu, but the Five-Cheese Ravioli is amazing.

-Flo's V8 Cafe (Cars Land)- American comfort food in a classic diner atmosphere with views of bustling Radiator Springs or a panoramic look at Cadillac Range. The entire menu is delicious, so just pick your favorites from turkey to New York strip loin. For breakfast, try the amazing Brioche French Toast.

-White Water Snacks (Grand Californian Hotel)- A quiet location to grab a quick bite before heading into Disney California Adventure.

-Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express (Downtown Disney)- Same New Orleans food as the full Ralph Brennan’s restaurant without the wait.

-Napolini (Downtown Disney)- Hands down, the best pizza on property.

-Tangaroa Terrace (Disneyland Hotel): Relaxing atmosphere with a great view of the Monorail Pool. Try the Hawaiian Cheeseburger or the Kalua Pulled Pork Flatbread Pizza.

 Some of our other favorite meals include:

-Chicken Fusilli at Red Rocket’s Pizza Port (Tomorrowland)

-Pineapple Dole Whips at the Tiki Juice Bar (Adventureland)

-Red's Apple Freeze at the Cozy Cone Motel (Cars Land)

-Mickey Pretzels

 If you’re not very hungry and it sounds like something you would eat, order a kids meal. The food is just as good, but the portions are smaller. Try a Grilled Cheese Sandwich or Mini Burgers.

 The best part about Disneyland is that there are many options for everyone. Your tastes will certainly differ from those of the Gazette staff, so be sure to check out full menus for all of the dining locations at the Disneyland Resort at


Best/Worst Restrooms

At Disneyland, the cleanest and quietest restrooms are:

-Enchanted Tiki Room

-Hungry Bear (lower level)

-New Orleans Square


Disneyland’s dirtiest, busiest, smelliest restrooms are:

-Anything on Main Street


-Village Haus

-Mickey’s Toontown

DCA’s best restrooms are:

-Hollywood Land, to the left of the Hyperion Theater (except immediately following a showing of Aladdin- A Musical Spectacular)

-A Bug’s Land

-Paradise Park (aka the San Francisco buildings)

-Blue Sky Cellar (to the right of the wine bar)

-Paradise Pier, to the right of the restaurants

DCA’s worst restrooms are:

-Disney Junior Live on Stage

-King Triton’s Carousel

-Flo’s V8 Cafe

Also, any of the restrooms in the Resort Hotel lobbies are always clean and quiet.


Disney’s FASTPASS System

Using FASTPASS makes complete sense- there isn’t really a good reason not to take advantage of it. You can either wait an hour for Space Mountain or you can get a FASTPASS ticket, go do some other things, and return to Space Mountain with only a ten minute wait.

 What is FASTPASS?

FASTPASS is a ticket that you can obtain at a FASTPASS attraction that will significantly cut down the amount of time you have to wait in line for that attraction. There are a number of attractions at both parks that offer FASTPASS.

Disneyland FASTPASS Attractions:

-Indiana Jones Adventure

-Splash Mountain

-Big Thunder Mountain

-Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin


-Star Tours- The Adventures Continue

-Space Mountain

-Haunted Mansion Holiday (seasonally)

Disney California Adventure FASTPASS Attractions:

-Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

-Soarin’ Over California

-Grizzly River Run

-California Screamin’

-Goofy’s Sky School

-Radiator Springs Racers

-World of Color

How do I get a FASTPASS?

It is simple and free to everyone, regardless of whether you’re staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel. All you do is put your theme park ticket in the FASTPASS machine and it will issue you a FASTPASS ticket.

How does FASTPASS work?

The FASTPASS ticket that you are issued will have an hour-long return time window printed on it. You can return to the attraction any time during the return time window and use the FASTPASS line. There will be a cast member at the FASTPASS line and they will either take your ticket or wave you through and another cast member further down the line will take your ticket.

 You are allowed an unlimited number of FASTPASS tickets within a day, but there are a few restrictions. You are not allowed to obtain another ticket until your return time window has begun or two hours after you obtained the FASTPASS ticket, whichever comes first. Obtaining a FASTPASS at one park does not affect FASTPASS distribution at the other park, which is something to consider if you are parkhopping.

Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is not connected to the other FASTPASS machines, so pick one up at any time.

What about the World of Color passes?

Guests can obtain a pass for World of Color at the Grizzly River Run FASTPASS distribution area. These passes allow access to one of three reserved viewing areas in Paradise Park for a specific showing of World of Color, as specified on the pass. Obtaining a World of Color pass does not affect your ability to get FASTPASSES for other attractions.



The most obvious answer is riding either Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run, both of which offer FASTPASS.

If you don’t want to ride Grizzly River Run but still want to get wet, walk down the trail behind the ride. The splash from the large drop reaches the trail at one spot- stand there for a moment to get soaked!

During the hottest part of the afternoon, look for attractions with mostly indoor queues, like Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin or Soarin’ Over California. Avoid rides that have entirely outdoor queues, like Storybookland Canal Boats or “it’s a small world.”

There are a number of air-conditioned shows to visit, including:

-Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

-Enchanted Tiki Room

-Laughing Stock Company

-Captain EO

-Muppet Vision 3D

-Aladdin- A Musical Spectacular

-Disney Junior- Live on Stage

-It’s Tough to Be a Bug

Some other fun air-conditioned places to hang out are:

-Main Street Cinema: An often overlooked attraction, this little cinema screens classic Mickey Mouse cartoons all day.

-Disney Gallery: Look at vintage Disneyland concept art or other Disney-inspired art. It is connected to the Opera House Museum, which displays old Disneyland artifacts, and serves as the pre-show for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

-Animation Building: Watch clips from Disney movies, learn how to draw a Disney character, interact with Crush the Turtle from Disney-Pixar’s Finding Nemo, or play with the interactive stations in the Sorcerer’s Workshop. Food and drink is allowed in the building (though not in the shows), so perhaps plan on having a snack there. There are smoothies and a fruit cart located right across from the entrance.

-Dancin' With Disney: Guests can interact with rarely seen Disney characters, like Baloo, Marie, and The Big Bad Wolf in a fun dance party atmosphere. Designed for kids, this a great place for little ones to burn off some energy and for parents to sit for a few moments. Guests of all ages are welcome to dance, but even if that's not your thing, it's still a fun place to beat the heat.

-Blue Sky Cellar: Check out the displays on upcoming attractions at the Disneyland Resort.

Most importantly, stay hydrated! Water bottles and soda are a bit overpriced, but it’s better than a visit to the First Aid Center. Keep in mind that all of the quick service restaurants offer free ice water if you ask.



-Stay off property. There are many wonderful hotels for significantly cheaper than the Disneyland Resort Hotels.

-If you want to stay on property, be on the look-out for great seasonal deals. During non-peak times of the year, Disney offers really great prices for their Resort Hotels.

-Avoid sit-down restaurants and character meals. The food is excellent and the characters are fun, but there are plenty of really great cheaper options available.

-A fun, cheap souvenir is the pressed pennies. For two quarters and a penny, you can have a cute Disneyland or Disney character pressed penny. Penny press machines are located at the entrance of most stores . Also, you can purchase a book for just $7 to store up to 50 pressed pennies, nickels, or quarters.

-For just $11, you can purchase an autograph book at most of the shopping locations around the parks. Then, when you get a photo with character, you can get their autograph too. This also extends the amount of time that you get to interact with a character.



Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toontown, and A Bug’s Land are made for toddler-age children. All of the rides and attractions are appropriate for kids.

Nearly all of the other attractions are appropriate for toddlers, depending on their height and thrill threshold. Don’t immediately dismiss a ride because it is a “thrill” ride, as some toddlers do perfectly fine on these rides.

Here are the rides with height requirements (indicating the rides might be too intense for little ones):

-Autopia: 32” (82 cm) or taller and accompanied by another rider 54” or taller. Must be 54” to ride alone.

-Luigi’s Flying Tires: 32” (82 cm)

-Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree: 32” (82 cm)

-Gadget’s Go Coaster: 35” (89 cm)

-Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies: 36” (91 cm)

-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 40” (102 cm)

-Space Mountain: 40” (102 cm)

-Splash Mountain: 40” (102 cm)

-Star Tours: 40” (102 cm)

-Jumpin’ Jellyfish: 40” (102 cm)

-Radiator Springs Racers: 40” (102 cm)

-Silly Symphony Swings: 40” (102 cm) to 48” (122 cm) must ride in tandem swings. Guests taller than 48” (122 cm) can ride by themselves.

-Soarin’ Over California: 40” (102 cm)

-Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: 40” (102 cm)

-Matterhorn: 42” (107 cm)

-Grizzly River Run: 42” (106 cm)

-Redwood Creek Challenge Trail: Must be 42” (106 cm) to climb the rock wall or use the zip line. All other portions of the trail are open to guest of all heights.

-Indiana Jones Adventure: 46” (117 cm)

-California Screamin’: 48” (122 cm)

Measure your child before you leave to avoid disappointment when you arrive at the parks.


Take advantage of rider-swap, available at most thrill rides. Tell the cast member at the front of the line that you would like to use rider swap. They will give you a pass. You will then wait in line (or the FASTPASS line, if you have one) and give the cast member in the loading area the rider-swap pass. One parent will experience the ride, while the other one waits with the kids. When the first parent gets back, the next one gets to ride. You are allowed to take one other guest on the ride per parent, so an older child might get to go twice using this system.


Character meals are a really fun experience for toddlers, but if you can’t afford one there are many character meet-and-greet opportunities around the parks. For information about a specific character you might want to see, pick up a Times Guide at the front of the parks or visit City Hall in Disneyland or Guest Services in DCA.

Be sure to pick up a First Time button for little ones at City Hall in Disneyland or at the front desk of any of the Disneyland Resort Hotels.


A quick word about Disney Thrill Rides

In general, the thrill rides at the Disneyland Resort are much tamer than a thrill ride at any other amusement park. Disney rides are meant to be enjoyed by as many people as possible; they are designed to be less intense so that everyone from toddlers to grandparents can enjoy them together.

With the exception of California Screamin, all of the rollercoasters at the Disneyland Resort are themed. So it’s not just a roller coaster, it’s a journey to the Swiss Alps or a coal mine of the 1800s. Unless you are terrified at even the thought of a roller coaster, it is worth trying a few of the ones Disneyland has to offer.

Disneyland Resort Thrill Rides in order of intensity (including length, height, and top speed):

-Gadget’s Go Coaster: 51 seconds, 28 feet high, 22 mph (35 km/h). Designed at a Child’s First Coaster, this ride might be a little jarring for taller adults because it is so tiny.

-Splash Mountain: 9 minutes. If your kid is okay with the one large drop, the rest of the ride is pure fun.

-Radiator Springs Racers: 4 minutes 22 seconds, mostly ground level, 40 mph (64 km/h). With the exception of the big race at the end of the ride, this is simply a dark ride; arguably the best dark ride. The race at the end is the smoothest thrill ride on this list. No jarring turns or hills here, just a fun adrenaline rush.

-Matterhorn Bobsleds: 2 ½ minutes, 100 feet high, 27 mph (43.5 km/h). Only marginally faster than Gadget’s Go Coaster and despite the height, there are no sheer cliffs. If your kid meets the height requirement, they should be okay to ride. It’s an older design, so it might be too jarring for folks with bad backs.

-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: 3 minutes 21 seconds, 50 feet high, 30 mph (48.3 km/h). Not very high, not very fast. Sudden turns and drops make this a little more thrilling than the Matterhorn.

-Goofy’s Sky School: 1 minute 45 seconds, 55 feet high, 27 mph (43 km/h). This ride is not very high or very fast, but it is most like what you would find at your local amusement. It has very sharp corners that make you feel like you’re going to fall off the track, as well as sudden drops and stops. For people afraid of heights or traditional roller coasters, this ride probably isn’t for you.

-Space Mountain: 2 minutes 45 seconds, 75 feet high, 32 mph (51.5 km/h). This ride takes place in nearly pitch black conditions. There are sudden turns and drops that you can’t see at all, making this the most intense ride in Disneyland Park. Toddlers and adults with a low thrill threshold should probably skip this one.

-Mickey’s Fun Wheel: This is a Ferris Wheel with a twist- your vehicle swings back and forth as the wheel rotates. This phenomenon, in addition to the height, makes the ride incredibly intense for some people. Stationary vehicles are available, giving you the view without the motion sickness.

-California Screamin’: 2 minutes 36 seconds, 120 feet high, 65 mph (104.6 km/h). This is the only “real” roller coaster on Disney property. It includes a hydraulic launch, sending you from 0 to 65 up the first hill, and an inversion. Clearly, this ride is not for everyone, but thrill seekers should know that it is actually pretty tame for this type of roller coaster- very smooth.

-Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: 2 minutes 25 seconds, 183 feet high maximum. A complete free-fall in a very tall elevator shaft. Top speeds and heights depend on the specific ride sequence. This ride is for thrill seekers only.



In general, if you avoid the rides on the above list of thrill rides, everything else should be fine for you. Guests with motion sickness issues should also avoid rides like the Mad Tea Party or Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The motion simulator at Star Tours may also induce sickness.

For the senior citizen, all dark rides, boat rides, and sit-down shows are going to be your best bet for a fun day.

Also, don’t miss all of the wonderful live entertainment found around the parks. If you see a musician or comedy troupe that interests you, stop for a few moments and watch!

If you are in a wheelchair or have any other sort of limited mobility issue, pick up a Guest Assistance Card. This will give you access to alternate queueing areas, shorter lines (in some cases), and extra assistance loading on and off of rides.


-Get up early! The park is quietest when it first opens. This is not one of those vacations where you get to sleep in- at least, not if you want to tour the parks efficiently.

-If you or your family feels they need a midday break- take one! Go back to the hotel for a nap or a swim in the pool and come back to the parks later, feeling refreshed. It is easy to spot families that did not take a break but needed one- they’re the only ones not having any fun!

-Want to try a burger but don’t want everything on it? Ask if you can customize- most of the time, Disney is very accommodating about removing things from their regular menu items. The same applies to guests with food allergies- just ask and the cast members will be more than happy to help you out.

-Don’t want to carry wads of cash around the park with you? Disneyland Resort Hotel guests can charge all of their purchases to their room. If you’re not staying on property, pick up a Disney Gift Card at any of the shopping locations around the resort. You can load up to $1,500 onto a card and they can be reloaded at any time. If you don’t use the entire gift card before your trip is over, left over money can be used at any Disney Store or online at .

If you have any further questions or a tip you want to add to this guide, please either comment on this article or email the Disneyland Gazette staff at:

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