If you really want to see the parade you need to get a spot early and be battle ready.
Disneyland is celebrating its 60th Anniversary and there are going to be huge crowds all year. As a part of that celebration they have a new nighttime parade that rivals the old Electrical Parade called Paint the Night. Our quest for Sunday night was to see this new parade and the new fireworks.
We arrived at the park around 6pm and the parade was at 8:50pm. My wife was shocked that Main Street was already jam packed with people camping out for the parade. Being a Disneyland veteran and actually having worked crowd control (when I used to work at the parks) I knew it was going to be an issue. I t became clear to me immediately that watching the parade on Main Street was not going to be an option tonight. Plus I knew my family wasn’t going to be willing to sit for nearly 3 hrs just to see the parade. We needed to eat so we headed over to Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port and then re-think our strategy.
The backup plan: Being a Disneyland vet I knew that although Main Street was full that we might still have a chance to find a decent spot over near the Matterhorn area or Small World (especially since they added the tiered section over near the motor boat area). The Matterhorn area was already a lost cause. Down towards Small World the outlook was slightly better as we were able to secure an area behind some people with large strollers in the first section in the second tier up.
So we got a decent spot about an hour and a 1 half and 15 minutes before the parade. (If you really want to see it you just are going to have to wait). Of course it is much easier to get spot for the second parade at 11pm ---But we hoped to be home by then.
Now for the tough part: Keeping rude people from trying to crowd in front of you at the last minute.
Here are 7 good tips for keeping your hard earned space.
Tip number 1: Be ready to be annoyed by Rude People
Unfortunately it is just part of the process. There are a lot of Rude People out there and you will encounter them when waiting for the parade. Don’t let it ruin the parade or your day:
If you are going to wait for the parade---Go into the parade knowing that you will be frustrated and shocked at how rude and inconsiderate the average person is. Don’t expect people to be nice and polite like you: Expect the worst of people—be ready for it and try to not let it ruin the experience. If you don’t go into it with this foreknowledge you will not survive with your happiness intact.
Tip number 2: You can’t show weakness:
Rude people can since weakness. Like a shark senses blood in the water. If you are weak someone will try and cut in front of you at any moment. Hold your territory ….Come up with a strategy
Tip number 3: Make friends with the People in front of you and to the side of you.
If you find a spot behind someone that has been waiting longer than you: Respect their personal space. Give them room and don't crowd them. Try to make friends –it will help you keep your territory and together you can form a stronger defense against the last minute Larry’s that will try to invade the space you have stood in for hours. You can form a united front. Also if they have kids and you have kids it will help make your kids wait for the parade go faster and they may end up watching and enjoying the parade together.
Tip number 4: Elbows out -Kurt Rambis style
Use what you learned from playing basketball.
You need to box out space. You give them an inch they will swim all over you. You need to make sure no one else is going to sneak past to get that rebound. Elbows out is also a good method while in line for a ride and having crowders are cutters behind you. I’m not suggesting throwing and elbow –that could get you ejected from the game----just have them in a good defensive position.
Tip Number 5: Beware of The Scout:
The Scout is usually a small child that is sent in front of you solo like an ant to scout for food –or in this case territory. You may at first be fooled by the Scout; after all it is just a very small child that can’t possibly block your view. But don’t be fooled they are never alone and are just an advanced scout for a swarm that will invade your territory. Rude parents will send the Scout in front of you after you have been waiting for a couple hours to test our resolve. The Scout is willing to duck under your arms and step over your stuff to get to the promise land. Once established reinforcements arrive –this child is usually a little taller and has a more difficult time stepping over your stuff or ducking past you. But they will not give up. They will bob and weave under direction of their rude parents to get up there with your sister. Even if you inform them that other people are in that space and have been waiting for hours. If they sneak past your defenses and establish a spot in the four open inches in front of you then you are doomed. This happened to us despite our good team defense. The Scout’s slightly taller sister –made it past us and quickly called for another child. The third child in the invasion is usually a child as tall as your wife that will then try to push her or his way past you as well. If this child gets past you forget about it.
Tip Number 6: Be prepared to speak up for your family:
After the Scout got past us and despite telling her older sister that people were already in that spot and had been waiting for two hours---once she called for her even older sister to cut in front as we joined in with the couple in front of us and spoke up and put our foot down. The Scout and her sister left. (Although we saw they sneak their way in in front of the other family a little to the left of us minutes before the parade started) They showed weakness. At some point someone is going to be so rude that the only way to discourage their rude behavior is to speak up.
Tip Number 7: Be ready for the Circus folk at the parade:
The World’s skinniest Man: This is the person that sees a space in front of you that only the skinniest man in the world could fit in and points to his wife ---“Look there is space in front of them there” NO THERE ISN’T . Usually this person isn’t skinny at all.
The Clown Car: This is similar to the Scout. They figure if they can get one person in front of you then the entire Clown Car is welcome.
The Extremely Tall Man: This Is the dad with the eight year old daughter that decides 1 minute before the parade to lift her on his shoulders making a 8 foot tall person in front of you
The Contortionist: This person can find a way to slide past you as if they were a contortionist breaking into a bank vault.
The International: Just because you don’t speak English doesn’t mean you have permission to point at a space on the ground and slide your family of five in front of me
Check out Part 2 of our Disney Discussion on our Podcast
Follow my Disney facebook page is below