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We are leaving for Disneyland ONE WEEK FROM TODAY and have had little time to plan. We will be traveling with my daughter, son-in-law and my precious grand babies ...two year old twins and a 6 month old. We know that we cannot miss the Castle lighting or the 4 pm parade so I was wondering if anyone could give me a good vantage point. We will be rushing into the park at 3:30 after their naps so we really want to have this down.
I hope you are able to get the view you want, but I want to just give you a little heads up that December is a popular time. I had to vent a little bit last year, when we had gone December 5-8th (or somewhere around there) and I was kind of disappointed with the crowds we ran into. People line up for the parades very early and I'm afraid that 30 mins will not allow you adequate time to find the spot you might want. For the 4:00 parade, by 3:30 the crowd has already gotten so thick that it becomes hard to move. I remember we were rushing into Disneyland right about the time you mention because, yes, we too had just woken the little ones up from a nap. And, we became so frustrated that we just threw our hands up in the air and said "forget it, let's go ride something." I believe some other Passporters had said that it seemed more locals were in attendance than in years past, so those early weeks of December that might have been not so crowded before are...well, a thing of the past.
Ever since they gave you the option to pay for APs in monthly payments, the crowds at the parks at any time of the year have gone waaay up. I remember the good old days when there would be a quiet day, not just a quiet morning. I always go at park opening, and try to do as much those first few hours. Luckily for me, I live fairly close, so I can leave early in the afternoon, and come back another day. But as soon as it hits mid afternoon, and school is out, the crowd level goes up on the slow days. DL is frequented by locals, so not unusual for people to come for dinner, maybe do a ride or two, then leave.
I really hate the monthly payment option for APs. But with the mega price increase this year, a lot of people said they won't renew.