What To Do at Disneyland When the Rides Are Closed


If you aren't too careful with your planning, you'll end up on vacation during a major block of ride refurbishments. That happened to be the case on our most recent trip to Disneyland. Now, we're Annual Passholders, so I wasn't super disappointed half of the rides were closed. However, it did mean one thing that I was not too happy about: the lines for everything else were that much longer. What happens when Jungle Cruise, Autopia, Matterhorn, Mark Twain Riverboat, the monorail, and the Disneyland Railroad are all closed? All those people who are normally in line or riding that attraction are now in line somewhere else and riding other rides. Rides that I'm used to being walk-ons were pushing 40-minute waits and the crowds were nearly suffocating. So what do you do when you discover lines are too long and half of the park is down for refurbishment? railroadcolor 1. Closed attraction alternative activities Some rides, when closed, aren't 100% closed. A portion of the ride may remain open, or the cast may do something special to allow you to still experience the ride to a certain extent. The Disneyland Railroad might be closed for the next year, but that doesn't mean you can't go check out the train. There are a variety of attractions at the New Orleans Square Station including coloring, puzzles, and the neat ability to "toot" the horn with the conductor. To do the latter, you actually get to cross over the tracks to an area you're typically not allowed to go. Similarly, you can visit the Mark Twain Riverboat, also closed until Star Wars Land is completed. The boat is docked where you normally can board it in Frontierland and it's available to explore. There are also meet and greets that take place here throughout the day. I recently took my 2-year-old son and let him loose on the upper level while my wife rode Indiana Jones. It's a good way to let the little ones burn off excess energy. skipper Also, for a limited time, while Jungle Cruise was closed, you could have attended Skipper Skool. This special event happened once a day at 2:30 PM. It was a time where you got to tell the Jungle Cruise jokes and you would receive a Jungle Cruise map at the end. Throughout the day, the cast also performed a "Land Bote" show that was basically the ride using pictures and stuffed animals. You didn't have to do anything for this show, but you also didn't get the free map either. castle 2. Visit a place you never or rarely visit During this exceptionally busy day, my wife and I stopped by the wishing well in Disneyland, tucked off to the side of Sleeping Beauty Castle. We've never taken the time to stop over here. Was it super exciting? Not really. But it gave us something to do, it was something we'd never seen, and it was worth the little side excursion to say we did it. Maybe there's somewhere in the parks you've never really visited. Oh sure, you know it's there, but you haven't bothered to see what it is because it doesn't sound all that exciting. You know the nice thing about stuff that doesn't sound particularly exciting? No one else thinks it is either, and that means its a place away from the crowds. That's just the thing you want on a day like this. Head deep into Critter Country and check out the candy shop near Winnie the Pooh, walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle, climb up Tarzan's treehouse, or whatever else you find to do. popcorn 3. Check out the various popcorn machines "Really? Check out popcorn machines? Have you lost your marbles?" This is what you're thinking right? Seriously, though, check them out. If you've never noticed before, the popcorn machines throughout the park are specifically themed. Not only is the stall themed, but there are these little characters in them that push a crank that stirs popcorn. I don't really know what to call them, and the cast members didn't seem to know either (I asked about five different people). Each land has its own unique character. Make a scavenger hunt out of finding them all. Shooting 4. Enjoy the non-ride attractions Throughout the park you'll find various places that you can pay a quarter (or two) in order to play some arcade games. They're mostly mindless, nonsensical things, but they can be fun. For instance, check out the shooting range in Frontierland, Shooting Exposition. Each target you hit causes a different reaction or sound. You can find some more games in the Emporium area that are fun. There, I tested the strength of my grip and my wife and son held on to this one machine that made their hands go numb with vibration. Additionally, I found a machine that let you control a Woody puppet in the store at the entrance of Frontierland across from the shooting range. They're not really good for hours of entertainment; more like about a minute, but my son really seemed to enjoy them. pirates 5. Look out for special guest experiences The coolest thing happened to us one of these busy days. I don't know if this is done regularly, or if we just happened onto something extra special. Pirates of the Caribbean had a 35-minute wait, which is just about as busy as I've ever seen it. We were walking close by the ride up near the French Market and saw two cast members holding some scroll looking things. We asked what they were about, and they told us it was a Pirate Oath. They asked if we were interested in riding Pirates, and we said yes. They said all we had to do was read the Pirate Oath together, out loud, in front of all the people passing by. This was not terribly hard since no one was paying attention to us. They asked us to laugh loudly and have some fun reading it. So we did. When we were finished they gave us the oath to keep and led us onto Pirates through the exit. Then they gave us our own boat. Literally, we were the only ones riding the boat. We skipped 35 minutes of waiting, and had a private "showing" of Pirates. It was really awesome. I don't think I will ever forget that day. Some additional unique guest experiences to look out for include being chosen as the Honorary Citizens of the Day and welcoming guests into the park in the morning, being randomly chosen to skip lines, and sometimes even receiving random food items like ice cream cones.