The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

November 3, 2013

A Concise Guide to Surviving Disneyland: Dubious Advice From a (Somewhat) Seasoned Disneyland Veteran

Filed under: travel — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 9:42 pm

It was in January of 2006 that I took my first trip to Disneyland.  Well, actually not my first trip, but the first one I could remember more than vague details of.  My mother took me and my siblings there for one day back in 1987 when my Dad was in Los Angeles on business.  Although I do remember some stuff, particularly the Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Railroad, as well as Star Tours (which was new at the time) and the construction site for Splash Mountain, for the most part it was all a blur.  It wasn’t until I was able to visit on my own as an adult that I was able to gain a greater appreciation of the place, and it wasn’t long before I became a frequent visitor.  I have now been an annual passholder at Disneyland since 2011, and me and my friends now make frequent trips to the parks, typically weekend getaways.  Not to say that I’m any sort of expert on the subject or anything like that, but we’ve definitely picked up some tips along the way.

Given the fact that I occasionally get asked for advice by people who may be planning trips of their own, I thought it might be a good idea to put together some of the general advice that I pass on most frequently into one convenient place.  If nothing else, it might save me some typing later on.  As enjoyable as a trip to Disneyland can be, it’s about as far as you can possibly get from being a relaxing vacation, and it’s also the type of thing you don’t want to just charge into unprepared.  I apologize in advance if some of these tips don’t necessarily apply to everyone After all, when me and my friends go to Disneyland we’re flying down there and generally spending three days or more in the parks.  Although from my perspective this might be the most common scenario I see when people make Disney trips, your approach may and will vary.  Some people are stopping in for one day on the way to somewhere else or when they have some extra time.  Other people might decide to make a whole week out of it and go from rope drop to park closing every day (which sounds like a great recipe for epic meltdowns if you ask me, but that’s beside the point.)  Regardless of the approach you’re taking to your trip, you still want to be prepared.

That said, don’t take any of this as anything more than advice.  I am not trying to tell people that there’s one specific way to do things, only give advice on what has worked for me and my friends in the past.  It is also likely that as I figure out new things and as things change (as they tend to frequently do) I will periodically update and add to this guide.  You will find my list of tips and tricks after the jump.

1: Don’t overdo it.  This, first and foremost, is the main piece of advice I would give anyone preparing for a trip to Disneyland.  And while it’s true that a well-organized and/or particularly foolhardy group of tourists might theoretically be able to cram every single ride in the parks into a 3-day trip (or less) if they’re determined enough to actually do it, by the time they’d be done with all that they’d likely be so wiped out that none of them would be able to actually remember much of it, much less be in any hurry to do it again.  On the DISBoards (a forum dedicated primarily to Walt Disney World, but with a significant Disneyland section as well)  I’ve heard this type of approach described derisively as “Deathmarch Tourism”  (more on this type of thing here.)  Some people have a tendency to obsessively plan out their vacations, making comprehensive plans for what rides they want to be on when, sometimes even going down to the minute with their scheduling.  In theory, this type of optimization might be able to reduce the amount of waiting in lines and squeeze a little more productivity out of a Disney day, but by planning the whole thing in such precise detail, you also don’t leave much room for error, and it takes a lot less than you might think to derail the entire thing, which often results in epic meltdowns.

2. Do your homework.  Sure this may sound like it contradicts the previous advice, but trust me on this one.  You don’t want to go overboard with your planning, but at the same time you don’t want to just  jump in blindly either.  At the very least, do some looking to figure out park hours and entertainment schedules, what the crowds might be like, what special events may be going on while you’re there, and what rides will be down while you’re there (and yes, except on very rare occasions there will be rides that are closed for one reason or another, especially if you go during the off-peak season.)  At the very least, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.  A friend of mine recently had the idea of planning a surprise “We’re leaving right now!” Disneyland trip for her children as a Christmas present, but was not aware at the time that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is by far the busiest week of the year at Disneyland, with admission shutdowns (where they gradually stop admitting people into the park as it approaches and reaches its maximum capacity) being a fairly common occurrence at this particular time of year.  If there’s a ride you absolutely can’t miss, make sure it isn’t down for maintenance or refurbishment (every ride will be down for periodic maintenance on occasion, and these days it’s becoming increasingly common for one or more rides to be down for extended periods of time for major overhauls.  For example, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has been down almost all of 2013 for a replacement of its tracks, and is now expected to reopen sometime in February of 2014.)  Regardless of what you want to know, chances are there’s somewhere to find it.

3. Know when (and when not) to go. In general, any time when children are not in school will be busy (which includes the aforementioned Winter break, the weekend after Thanksgiving, much of Summer Vacation, and to a lesser extent Spring Break, although the actual dates for Spring Break tend to vary, so thew crowds get spread out over a couple of months.)  Three-day weekends (for holidays such as President’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc.) will  also typically be rather crowded.  A good way to get an idea of when the parks will be crowded is to look at the blockout date calendars for the various types of annual passes.  The days when the Deluxe Annual Passes (which are the second highest level below the Premium passes, which have no blockout dates at all) are blocked out tend to be some of the busiest ones.  In addition to this, days when Southern California passholders are not blocked out can be more crowded than days when they are blocked out, although this typically takes the form of crowds gradually increasing as the day goes on.  Disney special events (such as Grad Nites, RunDisney events, holiday parties and the like) can also result in unusually large crowds, and can also result in late park openings or early closing times.  Just keep in mind that there will be tradeoffs.  If you go at less crowded times there’s a much greater chance of shorter park hours and ride closures, as well as potential weather issues.  If you go at peak times you’ll get more crowds, but hours will generally be longer, the nighttime shows will be running more days out of the week, and most rides will typically be operating.

4. Get your “Must do ” rides and shows in as soon as possible.  Hopefully you followed item #2 above and took the time to figure out the park hours and entertainment schedule for your visit, so you know when the shows are running.  That said, don’t count on everything running according to plan.  Especially for the nighttime shows, technical difficulties or weather-related issues can (and do) arise, and it’s entirely possible a show can be delayed or even cancelled (the fireworks seem to be the most vulnerable to this.)  If you’re saving the fireworks for the last night and they get cancelled, you’re out of luck.  By the same token, rides can go down unexpectedly (me and my friend got caught by this one on our trip back in April when Space Mountain got shut down for several weeks over safety compliance issues just before our trip) or end up with horrendously long lines.  Don’t assume that you’ll always get a chance to do something later on, because there’s always a chance you won’t.  In particular, I’d recommend making a plan for seeing the three major evening shows.  It’s generally not too hard to get Fantasmic and World of Color into one evening if one or the other is running an early and a late show (just make sure to get fastpasses for the World of Color at some point in the day over by Grizzly River Run, and as long as you don’t mind not hearing the sound you can probably find a decent spot to watch the fireworks in between, but if you want to see the fireworks with the soundtrack accompaniment you’ll probably need to brave the crowds on Main Street.

5. Don’t wait in longer lines than you have to.  You’d be surprised how many people don’t bother taking advantage of the Fastpass system in the parks and end up waiting in long lines as a result.  For those of you who might not be familiar with it, the Fastpass system is available to all park guests (some non-Disney parks such as Universal Studios charge extra for similar privileges) and allows guests to scan their tickets to receive slips of paper with a 1-hour window at some point later in the day (typically at least a half hour later, although occasionally it can be many hours later for the most popular rides, with limits on the number of fastpasses that a ride can issue in one day)  when they can return to the ride and get into a much shorter line.  Typically you can get a fastpass every two hours or when the return time for your current fastpass arrives (Whichever is shorter,) although there are some exceptions to this.  Not all rides have Fastpass, but the most popular ones generally do.  Another major timesaver that isn’t quite as well known is the single rider lines, available on a few rides (Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn in Disneyland, California Screamin’, Soarin’ over California, Radiator Springs Racers and Goofy’s Sky School in California Adventure) where individuals can get into a separate line (generally entering the ride through the exit) that cast members will draw from to fill individual seats on rides when there are odd numbers of riders.  If you’re in a group you will not be able to ride together this way, and you aren’t necessarily guaranteed to be able to get on rides any quicker than you would through the regular lines since it’s highly dependent on availability of seats, but typically it ends up being significantly faster, and riding together with groups doesn’t matter much unless you really want to get good ride photos.  Taking advantage of these timesavers can save you from some of the longest lines in the park, to the point that you might even wonder why you ever waited in those lines in the first place.

6. Beat the rush.  I have to admit that as someone who is decidedly not a morning person I’m generally not very good at this one, but one of the best ways to ride some of the popular rides with short lines is to get there as soon as possible.  Guests of the Disney hotels are generally allowed an hour’s early access to at least one of the two parks on most days, and a lot of multi-day Parkhopper tickets also include an early entry day as well.  If you can take advantage of this, it’s a good time to catch some of the more popular rides that do not have Fastpass (such as the Fantasyland rides or Toy Story Mania in California Adventure) with much shorter wait times.  Even if you don’t have early entry, it’s still a good idea to try to hit some of these rides as early as possible, as they tend to have increasing waits as the day goes on.

7. Know your way around.  In general, Disneyland Park and California Adventure aren’t particularly complicated in terms of layout, but there’s still some things about the place that can be confusing, especially for someone who isn’t too familiar with the place.  In an odd way, a newbie to the park might actually have an easier time of this than someone who regularly visits the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, which is in most ways very similar to Disneyland, but also varies significantly in layout, to the point that some things can be in completely different places than you might expect them to be.  Regardless of your experience level with the parks, it’s still a good idea to study up on the maps a bit and make sure you know where things are.  If nothing else, make sure you know where all the restrooms are.  There’s a good chance you’re going to end up needing one on short notice.  Another thing that’s good to keep in mind is that often when the main pathways are jammed with people for one reason or another, you can often cut through the various gift shops (especially on Main Street, Adventureland and Frontierland) and avoid a good portion of the crowds.  This can save you time when getting around, and in my experience only occasionally leads to ill-advised impulse purchases.

8. Always know when the parades are happening.  In case you haven’t noticed, Disneyland is one of those wonderful magical places where parades of happy cartoon characters jaunt merrily in the streets at highly predictable times each day.  This can be a awe-inspiring sight for some, but after you’ve seen the parades a couple of times they have a tendency to mostly just get in the way when you’re trying to get somewhere and clog the sidewalks with spectators.  And while there are generally walkways and crossings maintained by cast members to allow guests to get past them, you will generally have to wait for an opening between parade floats to be let through these.  Whenever possible, the best strategy is to just not be in the area when the parades are happening (unless you want to actually watch the parades, of course.)  While you’re doing your homework on item #7, it’s a good idea to figure out the parade routes as well (in Disneyland, the parades run from the front of Main Street back into Fantasyland over by It’s a Small World, and in California Adventure they run from the Tower of Terror, through Hollywood Land, and then out toward Paradise Pier, finally ending over by Paradise Garden Grill.)

9. Don’t skip the small stuff.  Obviously the big E-ticket rides are going to be the main attraction for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean that some of the smaller acts in the parks aren’t worth your attention as well.  Throughout the day there are a number of smaller shows and roaming entertainers in the parks, some of whom have been around for even longer than those E-ticket rides.  The Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show on Main Street USA or the Enchanted Tiki Room in Adventureland can be just the thing you need to get out of the sun for a bit and take a break from a hectic day in the parks.  Each afternoon, a flag retreat ceremony takes place at the front of Main Street, which I saw for the first time on a recent trip.  When most people think of a flag retreat, they imagine a pack of Cub Scouts reverently folding up a flag in some church gymnasium somewhere, but the one at Disneyland is surprisingly elaborate, with orchestral accompaniment and a daily tribute to members of the Armed Forces in attendance as the official song of each branch is played.  And somehow, I suspect that 90% of the people in the park at any given time don’t even know it’s there.  As you enter the parks, there is typically a white card next to the printed park maps that shows the weekly schedule, and will provide times for when some of these smaller shows are happening on any given day.  One of the best things me and my friend ended up doing on one of our visits earlier this year was to skip the chaos at the World of Color show (which I still wholeheartedly recommend, but after a long day it might not be something you’d want to brave the crowds for if you’ve already seen it quite a few times) and just hanging out over at the Mad T Party they do in the Hollywood Land area of California Adventure instead.

10.  Take a break every once in a while.  Let’s face it, Disneyland is about as far from a relaxing vacation as you can get, no matter how you choose to approach it.  Eventually, no matter how well you plan, you’re going to hit your limit.  For people staying in hotels near the parks, it is quite common to plan a break of several hours into the day where they can go back to the hotel and take naps or go for a swim in the hotel pool.  Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option for everyone.  When me and my friends go to the parks, we’re generally staying at a condo in Laguna Hills, which is 25 miles worth of I-5 traffic away from the parks.  As an alternate plan, we might go back to the car to take a nap for a while, or if that’s not an option there are also other places to find a nice couch to chill out for a while (I happen to like the lobby of the Grand Californian for this, which also has the advantage of having Wi-fi available.  Given the fact that cellular data connections inside the parks can be spotty at best and can drain your phone’s battery within a couple of hours if you’re not careful, this is a good place to catch up on things if needed.

11. Don’t haul around more stuff than you need to.   This is probably obvious to anyone who has been to Disneyland before already, but it can be a real pain to try to carry a whole bunch of stuff around the park all day.  One thing me and my traveling companions have figured out is that the lockers (located on the left side “side street” of Main Street USA next to what is now the Starbucks in Disneyland, and on the left side next to the camera shop/Photopass area at DCA near the park entrance) are incredibly convenient, especially when you tend to have a lot of stuff you want to bring in but don’t want to carry around all day.  Given our propensity for silly ride photos that often require a number of props, we end up using these lockers often.  They’re also convenient for things like a pair of sandals to switch to later in the day(more on this later,) bottles of sunscreen, lunches and snacks, and stowing souvenir purchases that you don’t want to carry, but don’t want to make a trip to the car for.  There are three sizes of lockers available:  A small one for $7 a day, a larger one for $10, and an even larger one (although these tend to go quick, and may not be available by the time you get there) for $15.  Yes, it is a little bit pricey, but it’s worth it.  Just keep in mind that anything you do bring in will have to go through bag check on the way in, which might be a bit of a pain if you’re bringing in a bunch of stuff.

12. Do carry around what you need.  Even if you’re using the locker to store stuff in, there are still some things you’re going to want to keep with you during the day.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a small pack of some sort (I happen to use a small sling backpack (similar to this, but a somewhat different model) that has enough capacity for a water bottle and a few other things.  Your list of “other things” will probably vary depending on your needs and preferences, but mine generally includes the following:

  • A water bottle:  something that’s reasonably light when empty but not too bulky; I’m using an aluminum one right now.  I’ve also used a Vapur collapsible bottle before to save space (it takes hardly any space when empty), but they’re hard to fill from a drinking fountain.
  • A bottle of sunscreen: I’ve found small travel-size bottles of the spray on sunscreen at Target, which seem to work best, and should contain enough sunscreen for a few applications.
  • Quick energy snacks:.  I typically carry a few Powerbars for this.
  • A small medicine holder with various things like pain relievers, antacids and things like that.
  • A few bandaids, although if there’s a need you can also get them from the first aid center at the end of Main Street USA.
  • Some pre-cut patches of Moleskin, just in case of shoe/foot issues (more on this below.)
  • An emergency rain poncho:  The first time I went in 2006 I got rained on in the parks and didn’t have one of these.  Ever since then I’ve kept one in my bag, but haven’t ever needed to use it.  They come folded up and take little space, and can be picked up cheaply in the camping supplies section at various stores (or expensively in the gift shops if you didn’t bring one and happen to need it.)
  • A tube of BodyGlide, a skin lubricant that can be used to deal with blisters/hotspots in shoes or chafing elsewhere.  Believe me, that type of thing will ruin your day in a hurry if you don’t do something about it.
  • Some Crystal Light on-the-go packets or something similar.  I’m not a big fan of the taste of the water in Southern California, I like to have something to mask it with.
  • (optional) A rechargable battery pack for my phone (useful for a bit of extra juice for a if needed, more on this later)

That seems like a lot of stuff, but most of it is pretty small, and takes little space, so I typically have some space left over for things like small souvenirs.  In the past, I’ve also had space for a point-and-shoot camera as well, but I usually just use my phone for taking pictures in the parks these days.

13. Wear good shoes.  Yes, Disneyland may be the Happiest Place on Earth, but there’s a good chance that by the end of the day, your feet may disagree with that particular slogan.  After a day of Disneyland sore feet are almost inevitable for most people, and if you don’t wear good shoes you’re just asking for some blisters to make things extra miserable.  And while everyone is going to have a different solution to this particular problem, keep this in mind:  A couple of years ago when I took a solo trip to Disneyland for three days I took a pedometer with me into the parks to measure how much walking I did.  At the end of the day, I found it had counted 12 miles worth of steps.  Although I have reason to believe that might not be entirely accurate, it’s still entirely plausible that you could be doing a lot of walking.  For example, a walk from the park entrance to the Fastpass entrance of Splash Mountain comes out to more than 4/10ths of a mile.  The distance from the gate of California Adventure to the entrance of California Screamin’ is similar.  And if you’re collecting Fastpasses and using them later, you could be making walks like that from one ride to another several times in the course of the day.  On top of that, you’re also doing a lot of standing in lines waiting for rides.  Naturally, there’s a good chance your feet aren’t going to like this all that much.  If you have a good pair of running shoes those generally seem to work well, but when me and my friends go to the parks we typically swap them out later in the day, usually for a pair of Chaco sandals.  During extended breaks during the day such as for lunch, we also have a tendency to take our shoes and socks off and go barefoot for a while to let our feet air out while sitting.   There’s a good chance you’re going to have to experiment with this to figure out what works best.  Make sure you take your shoe situation into consideration during your trip planning, preferably several weeks in advance so you have time to find a new pair of shoes and break them in before you go if you need to.

14. Airplane Mode is your friend.  Another thing that people tend to quickly learn at Disneyland is that if you aren’t careful, the place can drain the battery on your cell phone in no time at all.  Between sharing various things along the way, using some of the various Disneyland apps to check things like wait times and schedules, going in and out of ride buildings with varying levels of signal strength (usually varying from poor to nonexistent) and just having tens of thousands of phones in a relatively small area all at once, it’s quite likely that your phone’s battery can get drained before you know it if you don’t keep an eye on it.  It is for this reason that I have learned to keep my phone in airplane mode during most of the day at Disneyland, turning the phone and data connections on only as needed, and then back off when I’m done with them.  It also seems to work best if I find somewhere away from the crowds when I do use it (if you’re going out of the parks Downtown Disney is usually reasonable enough that you can get a decent signal there.)  I can usually get my phone to last me through the day that way, but I usually don’t have much battery left by the time I’m done.  If you do end up making a trip back to the hotel or the car for a break during the day, you’ll definitely want to put the phone on the charger while you’re there.  I also briefly mentioned the use of a backup battery for some extra power if needed.  Although this does work if you have somewhere to put your phone while it’s on the battery, this can be a little unwieldy to actually use the phone with it attached.

15. If you have to go back to the car, look for a better parking spot while you’re there.  The Mickey and Friends Parking Structure that serves as Disneyland’s main parking lot is one of the largest parking garages in the United States with 6 levels and 10,250 parking spaces.  When fully operational, the garage can handle as many as 3,600 cars arriving in an hour.  The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive is that they’ve turned the whole experience of parking into a ballet of sorts, with cast members moving things along as efficiently as possible.  While this can be impressive to watch, it does also mean that as you arrive for the day you often have no control over where your car will end up being parked.  This means that even when you get off the parking lot trams, you could be looking at a pretty significant walk to get back to your car, especially when you’re tired at the end of the day.  Of course, as the day goes on people will come and go, which means that spots closer to the front will open up.  If you need to make a trip back to the car at some point during the day, take advantage of this by making note of vacant spots near the escalators in the garage, and when you get back to the car, move it to one of those spots.  Also note that the parking in the garage does include in-and-out privileges, so if you need to actually leave, you can come back and park without being charged again (although if you do this you’ll probably have to park where they tell you to park again.)

16. Don’t take things too seriously.  Just because you aren’t a kid anymore doesn’t mean that you have to be serious all the time, and if there’s ever a place to not be serious, Disneyland would be it.  Over several years of visiting the parks, me and my friends have gradually developed our own little habits and traditions.  Before every trip, we always end up coming up with a number of ideas for silly ride photos on Splash Mountain and the Tower of Terror (ride photos are also taken on Space Mountain, California Screamin’ and Radiator Springs Racers, but those ones are tougher to come up with ideas for.)  We also like to make up our own little stories about things as we go along, the result of which was the Disney Facts that are Not True (see the previous post before this one for a collection of those.)  Obviously this one is easier if you have kids along with you, but it’s your vacation.  Besides, you’re never going to see most of these people ever again.  Live a little, there’s going to be plenty of time to act like mature responsible adults later.

17. Don’t penny pinch.  This particular piece of advice comes from my mother, who does a lot of traveling herself.  After all, by the time you commit to taking a trip to Disneyland you’re looking at hundreds of dollars per person in admission costs,  and most likely hundreds more on flights, hotels and incidentals just to get there.  Even though me and my friends are fortunate to have access to a condo somewhat near the parks to save us from the cost of hotels, there still is no such thing as a cheap trip to Disneyland.  That said, if you’re spending the money to go, there’s no reason to cheap out while you’re there.  And while I recognize the fact that everyone’s situation is going to be different, and that you don’t necessarily need to spend gobs of money on everything if you don’t want to, being a cheapskate is a good way to ruin your trip just as much as overspending would.  The way I generally handle this is to budget for one splurge on each trip, which typically ends up being something like a lunch at one of the nicer sit-down restaurants in the parks (usually Blue Bayou, but on a recent trip we went to Carthay Circle and enjoyed that one as well) or a somewhat pricey souvenir purchase.  In my case, the souvenir purchases typically end up being some sort of artwork, mostly the character sketches offered at the art stores in the parks.  They’re reasonably priced, hand-drawn, and they look quite nice when framed, and act as a bit of a passive travelogue of our various visits.  If you want to allow for a splurge or two but still want to keep within a budget (especially with kids) one recommendation I’ve seen is to put money on Disney gift cards and let them use those.  They’re accepted everywhere in the parks, and will let them decide what they want to spend their discretionary money on.

18. Sometimes it’s best to split up. If you’re traveling in a group (especially a large one) there are going to be times that people disagree on things.  Some people are going to want to ride one ride, but other people aren’t going to want to wait in the line for it.  Some people will want to have this for lunch, other people will want that.  Even when it’s just me and my girlfriend, there are going to be times when we have different ideas of what we want to do, or she’s going to want to go take a break while I still have stuff I want to do.  In the grand scheme of things, I find that things go a lot more smoothly if we go into the trip knowing that there are going to be times when we want to split up, and that it’s perfectly OK for us to do so if necessary.  After all, there are times you can get much more done on your own (see my comments in item #5 on single rider lines) and in the long run everyone will be happier for it.  If you do this, just make sure that you either have an agreed upon time and place to meet back up, or make sure you keep communication channels open.

19. Don’t try to cram everything in if you don’t want to.  Just because you happen to have a Fastpass for a certain ride doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use it.  If the Fastpass time rolls around and you decide that you really don’t want to do that ride after all, then just skip it.  Obviously as an Annual Passholder I’m going to have a somewhat different perspective on this than someone who might be going on the one trip to Disneyland that they’ll ever take, but with the more casual approach to Disneyland that comes with the Annual Pass, we don’t worry about trying to ride every single ride or see every single show on every trip these days.  And even though I’ve taken six trips to Disneyland and spent close to 30 days in the parks over the course of the last three years, there are still things in the parks that I’ve never done and rides I haven’t been on.  There are also rides that I have been on, but that I’m not in a big hurry to ride again (see also: A Bug’s Land.)  After all, it’s not like Disneyland is going anywhere anytime soon.

20. Above all, just have fun.  After all, that’s what you’re there for, right?  Sure, a trip to Disneyland may require a fair bit of planning and preparation, and by the time you’re done with it there’s a good chance that you’re going to need a vacation from your vacation, but remember, you’re there to have fun.  This plaque, seen over the two tunnels that lead underneath the railroad tracks from the turnstiles, sum up the whole experience for me.  And although I’ve never really had the ability to suspend disbelief to the point where I can successfully pretend that there isn’t someone in the Mickey costume or that I’m actually flying through space, I can still appreciate it for what it is:  A collection of very talented designers and engineers combining together to create unique experiences and a place where you can conveniently get away from reality, if only for a while.  And that, above all, is what keeps bringing people to the park nearly 60 years after it opened, and why me and my friends keep going back year after year.

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