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What I would do different next time:
1. Go during the week, they don't stay up late enough to see fireworks anyway. Go Wednesday thru Friday if you want the fireworks, they do them on Friday.
2. Purchase the "early entry" ticket for every day.
3. Leave at lunch time and eat lunch in your hotel room. Kids waste so much food. We spent too much money on food when all they really want is pb&j and carrots! Take your own water into the park.
4. Go back around 4pm when its thinned out. The crowd grows to a frenzy at noon, especially on the weekend. Go play in your hotel swimming pool, break up the day. Go back after 4pm and then stay and see the parade.
5. Make the reservation for the character breakfast, we didn't know to do this ahead of time, my kids were highly disappointed!
6. Even in October there is a need for shorts in Aneheim.
7. Stay on Harbor Blvd, across from Disneyland, and walk in, its easier than trying to navigate the parking lot.