Everyone’s all excited for the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon weekend and the new 10k, and the Dumbo double dare and I’m just sitting in DC feeling no magic whatsoever and just filled with regret that my Disneyland trip was not as amazing as I think it should’ve been. Here are the top 10 things I learned from my trip that can hopefully help you plan yours:
- Leave the baggage at home. I know, I know, they’re your whatever and you couldn’t travel without them but nothing kills the Disney buzz like someone who doesn’t love Disney. Or like it. Or tolerate it. Even the most magical place on earth can only do so much to counteract your Debbie Downer.
- If you’re a Disney World person who always stays on property, prep yourself for the letdown. I don’t mean that Walt’s original park isn’t magical, but for those of us who grew up with an entire world behind magical gates and have grown accustomed to Disney magic starting at the airport terminal, seeing Disneyland from the outside can be a huge letdown, especially if you tried to save money by booking a good neighbor hotel. It’s culture shock, expect it, deal with it, and then go pick a teacup that doesn’t have barf in it.
- If you’re a Disney World person, don’t lecture the Disneyland people about how much better your park is. Yeah, it’s true but it’s also obnoxious and they don’t care if your races have fireworks at the start for every corral.
- Don’t just go for Disneyland. If nothing else, Soarin’ shows you some other stuff you could possibly do in California. If you’re coming from the East Coast, factor that in.
- Early. Disneyland sells out in a way that Disney World doesn’t, so if you’re committed to staying in a Disney hotel and running the race, be ready to go when registration opens.
The Haunted Mansion will never be open for you. If you’re coming just for the Disneyland 1/2 marathon weekend, you’ll never ride the Haunted Mansion because they’re redoing it for Halloween and Christmas. I know, I was not happy either.
- You can walk! You can walk! You can walk! You can walk to the starting corrals from your hotel, most likely, you can walk from Disneyland to California Adventure to Downtown Disney and it’s like nothing. I mean you could spit on California Adventure from the main gate of Disneyland that’s how close it is. Point for Disneyland.
- Eat at Disneyland. The food’s good.
- Extra Magic Hours It’s one of those cultural differences between the Land and the World, but it’s worth educating yourself about them (and their limitations) because it will save you a lot of time waiting on lines.
- It’s still a lot of fun. Yup, that’s right, Disneyland 1/2 marathon was a great race, I look back on it fondly, and although I left saying it was a one and done situation, I’d like to do it one more time and really enjoy the parks.