Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Beckee's Deals at Disneyland: Ride Lines and Height restrictions

Hallalujah! My baby is tall enough to ride MOST of the rides now! Here he is by the Tower of Terror height sign to show you how tall he is now! (He's actually 42" this trip!!! This is a 40" sign-he only needs to be up to the red arrows you can see on the sign over his left shoulder.)
Height Requirements:
One of the most common things I see parents get upset about (and try to get around) is the height requirements for rides. I have myself been upset a time or two. It is super frustrating to learn that you have a member of your party that cannot ride the much desired ride. I get that! In fact, on my last trip to Disneyland & California Adventure, my baby (well, baby is maybe an exaggeration, he's 4) was barely 42". And by barely, I mean his head barely touched the height sign. And we had already ridden Goofy's Sky School (which is a 42" ride) when I went to Grizzly River Rapids and he was turned away (after much debate amongst the 2 employees there I might add). I was alone with the kids that trip! UG! It was infuriating, but I get it. I know they have the height requirements for a reason and it is to keep us safe. BUT I also get the frustration.

To alleviate some of the frustration, I recommend knowing before you go what the height requirements are (you can find them all here: Disneyland and California Adventure Park Ride Height Requirements). If you have children close to the height requirements, I have found it is best to prepare them for the fact that they may not be quite tall enough to go on some rides. Then they can get over the disappointment before they are in a crowd of people being turned away (or they can be pleasantly surprised if they ARE tall enough).

Your day at Disneyland will look vastly different if you are coming with toddlers versus teenagers. Our Disney days are very different now with five kids ages 4-12 then they were with five kids ages 2-10. We had 2 kids that were too short for several rides back then. Now they can all go on almost every ride (since my baby E is now 42"--the only rides he cannot do now are Indiana Jones and California Screamin')! 

Indiana Jones and California Screamin' are still popular rides with the older group (including me!!! They are my 2 faves). So, we utilize a very important policy when we do them: the awesome CHILD SWAP! Not all attractions offer a child swap (or rider swap) pass, here's a list of rides that offer Child Swap. If you have a child who cannot (or will not-my 7-year-old refused to ride roller coasters until this trip) ride one of those attractions, simply ask a cast member as you enter the line about doing a child swap pass so both adults can have a chance to ride.

Wes and I end up trading off which one stays off the ride with the little guy. If I go first, when I get in line I just let them know my hubby is with the little on and ask about the rider swap. They give me a pass (I will try to take a picture of one tomorrow) that I give to Wes after I ride. Wes takes the pass and 2 of our lucky kids (since you can generally get up to 3 guests in on the pass) to the fast pass line, hands them the pass and goes through the line quicker.

Single Riders:
One more great way to get on rides quickly that your whole group cannot ride is the Single Rider line. There are some rides that offer a single rider line (See that list here). It is a fast way for people to ride these rides without waiting through the whole line. BUT it means you will not ride with your party. You will basically fill in a single spot with another party. 

Disneyland has signs all over about how kids under 7 cannot ride without an adult (really a child over 14). At this point I now have 4 of my 5 children who are over 7, and can now ride alone. This means they can do the single rider lines! It is fantastic. In fact, when Grizzly River Rapids turned the baby and I away in the story from earlier in this post, I let the older children go on the ride through the single rider line while baby and I waited at the exit. It was a reasonable go around! 

Fast Passes:
One more way to limit your time in lines besides single rider lines, is of course fast passes. 
A  fast pass is essentially a ticket you get that gives you an appointed time to come back and ride the ride using a shortened line process. Above is our fast passes from earlier today. You can read more about the Disneyland Fast Pass Policy here!

Before you head over to the parks, make sure you are familiar with the ride height requirements and are prepared for the fact that your party may have to split up and utilize rider swaps for the bigger rides! It will make the trip a lot less stressful if you already know what to expect! Doing a little homework and planning before you go can go a long way! 
One last quick trick for kids close to the height requirements: One of the cast members told my nephew (who was right on the edge of 40" when we went with him to Disneyland). If your child is close to the height limit, tell them to take a deep breath and hold it in when they get measured. It makes them stand up straight and gives them the best chance to measure tall enough, Also, if they are at that super close stage, put them in tennis shoes with the thicker rubber soles and not in flip flops. That extra tiny bit might be all it takes! :)