Trufflers, you don’t need to be 5 years old to plan a group trip to Disneyland! All you need are good-looking friends who won’t mess up your pictures and a little advice from us. Last week, a group of us skipped work and headed to the happiest place on Earth for Kari Feinstein’s birthday. Here is our guide to a successful, stress-free, no-lines, trip to Disneyland!
Step #1. Pick Your Group Wisely! Here was our group …
For those of you unfamiliar with the first two members of our group, Kari Feinstein, and Mike McGuiness, are the two principles behind the Los Angeles based firm FMPR aka Feinstein / McGuiness that specializes in product placement, gifting suites, event planning, publicity, branding, celebrity outreach, and special events. Mike Barzman also joined who runs a DJ placement service called “Table Manners.” Chris Masterson (aka DJ Chris Kennedy) came along who is on the Table Manners roster (you can visit him at his Hollywood residencies listed on the TM website or at his bar Harvard & Stone bar in Hollywood). Ethan Embry,who you may know as Bobby Ray from “Sweet Home Alabama” or Clark Griswold’s son in “Vegas Vacation” but has also been in over 100 TV shows and films, came too. (Connecting some dots for you: Ethan played the role of bass player in “That Thing You Do” with Tom Hanks where he skips out on the band to go to Disneyland with a group of Marines he meets in their hotel lobby while on tour in Los Angeles. The park shut down the Matterhorn for a day to film this scene in 1995). Also on our crew was Julius Friedman who we all know from the original Hyde days, and now-a-days, the Sayers Club. Last but not least, the lovely Veronique Vicari, creator of Jewelry by Veronique and a blogger for LoveWeCanSee.com. Not a bad group, all of whom took these photos for us at the Truffle.
Step #2. Hire a VIP Guide
LA people don’t like lines, so get a guide. Here (pictured below) is what you will look like walking in through the exits of all the rides at Disneyland. A good guide can make this happen. If you are a major celeb, Disneyland has guides you can hire through the park. If you are not a major celeb, the guides you will want to look for are all going to be unaffiliated with the park and found by referral and word-of-mouth. These guides are not park endorsed, don’t advertise and work their “magic” with tactics we couldn’t fully follow. These guides will run you around $80 an hour for a group of 8 with a 4 hour minimum (that means $10 per person per hour, which is nothing). Bottom line: If you can find one, they get the job done. Don’t be cheap. Get the guide.
(Reasons why an unofficial guide will not take you on? They suspect your group is rowdy, problematic and will give them a bad name at the park.)
Have your guide make you a reservation at Club 33. This is a semi-secret restaurant at the park that few people know about. A good guide will be able to do this. The restaurant is located within the Pirates of the Carribean ride and the entrance is somewhat to the left when you exit the ride. The door is designed to look like a facade (not a real door) and is painted a color the park thought would be un-noticeable. If you do not have a reservation, they will not answer your call on the secret buzzer.
There are two other gems at Disneyland you guide can get you to – the first is Walt Disney’s old apartment, where he lived during construction of Disneyland, and the second is his “new” apartment at the park which was unfinished at the time of his death. His first apartment was above the Fire Station on Main Street and can be view by special request. The second apartment is now called the Disneyland Dream Suite and is located in New Orleans Square above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (as is Club 33) and has a living room, open-air patio, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The dream suite is available to spend the night for 5k and is also given to winners of Disney contests and is sometimes offered to Disney employees as a reward for good service.
#3. Give Everyone a Job
If you have a friend in your group who is a team player, make him the driver. Rent a big car so everyone can fit and stick together. Someone in the group is bound to have a handicap placard somewhere – try to get him to bring it along.
Make sure you have a group photog. Ours was Veronique. Veronique is huge on Facebook because of her hipstamatic iPhone app. If you don’t have a photog in your group, just invite anyone with a camera. Even if you don’t know them that well. Even if you have to pay for their ticket. Do it.
4. Follow Disney Etiquette
Photobombing is always acceptable. Don’t worry about ruining people’s picture. They will think it’s funny every time. Trust me. Note: there is only one person who does a better job at photo bombing than Michael Cera, and that is Mike McGuiness.
If you have a friend in your group who is famous, don’t listen to him when he says “I’ll be there in 5 minutes.” Just go on the ride.
Eat the crap and buy the toys. Here is a list of treats you should get at Disneyland: cotton candy, pop corn, kettle corn, carmel corn, lollipops, marshmallow lollipops, mouse ears with sparkles, Mickey Mouse pancakes, guns from Star Tours, black light string machines and chariactures of your friends.
Note: If we are on the phone don’t bother us. We like our phones and we are not ruining our day. Yes, even inside the rides, sorry!
Pics from Veronique Vicari, Ethan Embry, Kari Feinstein and moi!