Time to rest up and prepare for the best 24 hours of your life! Last year, my husband and I did the 24-hour day at Disneyland. Let me tell you, this challenge is not for the weak. If you are someone who needs to take a nap on a good day…then this is not for you! The key to powering through this amazing day is preparation and strategy.
The challenge is packing a bag with everything you could possibly need without killing your back and shoulders.
- Baggage – A backpack is good, but I prefer a messenger bag. I am constantly switching from prescription glasses to prescription sunglasses and it is just easier to get to. Also, I like have a lot of different pockets and sections to keep my self organized.
- Travel size toiletries!!!! – If you are planning on stick it out and go the whole 24 hours, you are going to need supplies to freshen yourself up. Here are a few items that I carry: Sunscreen, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, moist towelettes, compact hair brush, and any type of legal pain reliever you prefer.
- Thermal protection – Unlike the weather in Florida, where the temperature pretty much stays the same all day and night give-or-take a few degrees. When the sun goes down in SoCal the temperature can drop pretty quickly so it is important to layer appropriately. I bring a really thin cardigan that folds up really easily in my bag.
- Smallest wallet possible – I try to take only the essentials: drivers license, annual pass, a couple of credit cards, Disney gift cards (if I have any at the time), and some cash.
- Backup phone charger – I think one of those portable backup battery ones would be best, it’s nice and compact. But if you don’t have one of those, I know some of the parks now have cell phone charging lockers, but I am not sure how many the parks have so it might be hard to get an available one when you need it. Also that means there will be a period of time that you will be without your phone, so don’t go straying too far from your group.
- Pins – If you like to trade pins for the fun of it, then throw your tradable pins on your lanyard, or in a plastic bag and stick it in your satchel. I always feel a little sad when I forget them.
- Water bottle – I’m not saying deprive yourself of your favorite beverage at the park to save some money. It’s just good to have so that you make sure you stay hydrated while you are there all day and night. There are water fountains in both parks you can use.
- Snacks – Let’s face it, part of the fun of going to Disney is the food and you should treat yourself when you are there. It is comforting to know you have a protein bar or crackers to snack on when you are feeling a little peckish in a long line for a ride.
We’re packed for our Disney adventure…now what?
Ok, we have our bag packed and ready to go. Now let’s plan on how we are going to get through the day in one piece and still talking to one another by the next morning.
It is important to arrive at the park with some idea of where you’re going and when. You don’t need to ride everything as soon as you get there. Pace yourself or you’ll be ready to call it day by 6:00pm.
- Even if you have been to the parks one hundred times, make sure to pick up any programs or info when you enter the park. There are things that have been programmed exclusively for this event, and those are the things you do not want to miss out on!
- Check out thing you would normally skip on a day trip. Experience Mickey and the Magical Map, or see one of the performances of The Royal Theatre at FantasyFaire. These are good things to do when you need some “off your feet” time. I think this year I might go and check out the DisneyJr. Live show over at DCA!
- If you are a foodie, make sure to visit an information kiosk (like the one in front of the Jolly Holiday Cafe) and ask them where special foods are being offered for this event. They should have the list. Most of the restaurants and quick service places have at least one special thing to offer. If you have time, check out the menu items for this year on The Disney Parks Blog.
- 3:00am separates the weak from the strong. This is the best time to really go on rides! As if by magic, there are a lot less people walking around and there are no long lines. People have either called it quits or are sleeping on benches along main street.
- If you are with a group of people, remember you don’t have to do everything together. Everyone does things at their own pace and for the sake of your friendship it might do everyone good to break off for an hour or two. Don’t feel guilty for wanting to keep going just because a couple of people want to stop and rest.
- In the wee hours of the morning, make sure you don’t go on any rides that could make you fall asleep. Last year I managed to doze off on Pirates of the Carribbean. I say stick to the Mountains or California Screamin’!
- If you do make it to 6:00am, make sure to go and sit in front of the castle. There is something truly magical about watching the sunrise at the castle with a cup coffee in your hands.
These are just some of my thoughts and ideas based on my past experience. I am not able to speak for people who do this with kids. Feel free to comment and let me know what items and strategies you have for the 24-hour day, especially if you are brave enough to do it with children in tow.
Good luck to you all!