For years, Riverton’s Tony Slade has been the go-to guy if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland. Now he’s official — as a new member of the Disney Park Moms Panel.
“Everyone at work knows me as that one guy that goes to Disneyland a lot,” said Slade. “A lot of them come by and ask me questions about how to plan their family vacations. Now I get to do it in a kind of more formal setting.”
The 42-year-old works at an aerospace manufacturing company, is the father of four and now is a Disney Mom — a group that answers questions online (DisneyParksMomsPanel.com) from folks who are planning trips to the parks. Slade specializes in Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., a place he first visited when he was 10.
“My family loaded up a motor home and did an epic journey to Southern California” and spent Christmas Day 1986 at the park, he said. “It was a great, great fun time with our cousins, and we had a blast,” Slade said.
Since then, he’s traveled to Anaheim dozens of times and spent a total of “64 days or something like that” at Disneyland. And he is a true believer in the Disney way.
“For me, it kind of aligns really nicely with my interests and values,” he said. “I really appreciate the history and nostalgia and the patriotism that are so associated with the themes and the story that Walt Disney put together when he built Disneyland.”
After applying annually for five years to become a “Mom,” he’s excited to finally be one of them. He spends several hours a week online answering questions about how to make reservations, buy tickets, where to eat, places to visit and things to do.
“It’s something that I did all the time anyway,” Slade said. “It’s our way of making magic for people.”
And, yes, he still finds something new and magical every time he goes himself.
“Every single time,” Slade said. “I’m thrilled to find something new. A hidden Mickey here or there. A new dining option. There’s always been something interesting and exciting.”
He and his wife, Rae, “are the biggest fans. We go together a lot without the kids,” he said with a laugh, “as well as with the kids. And I’m excited about anything I can do to help other people love it as much as I do.”
Here are his 10 tips for doing just that:
1. Buy multiday tickets • A lot has changed since Disneyland opened in 1955. Many new attractions and entertainment offerings have been introduced, and much more is on the way — including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opens this summer. A one-day visit, while still special, will leave you wishing you could stay longer.
2. Buy Park Hopper tickets • Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are just footsteps from each other. With two major theme parks so close, it’s easy to keep the fun going hour after hour.
3. Make dining reservations • My family definitely loves the rides, but it’s often the delicious food that keeps us talking about our previous trips and inspires us to make plans for our next trip. Going from attraction to attraction can take a lot of energy. We like to recharge with a nice, relaxed meal at one of our favorite restaurants, like Carnation Cafe.
4. Enjoy an iconic snack • Speaking of food, we love to refuel with delicious snacks from time to time. From churros to popcorn, there is something for everyone. Our family’s favorite is the Mickey-shaped beignets from the Mint Julep Bar.
5. Use Disney PhotoPass • Let the Disney PhotoPass photographers record your vacation memories for you. It’s so nice to have ALL of your family in the picture, taken by a professional photographer. Our PhotoPass photos are cherished keepsakes that adorn the walls of our home.
6. Utilize the Disney FASTPASS Service • FASTPASS is a complimentary service included with your park tickets. It allows you to make reservations to use the shorter queues at select attractions.
7. Add Disney MaxPass to your tickets • Disney MaxPass is an excellent way to maximize your visit to Disneyland Resort. It allows you to make FASTPASS reservations on your mobile device. Plus, all digital downloads of your Disney PhotoPass photos are included.
8. Disneyland isn’t just for kids • My wife and I enjoy our Disneyland visits without our children. Whether we are celebrating our anniversary or attending Mickey’s Halloween Party, we love spending time with each other at the Happiest Place on Earth.
9. Take a break • Some of the best times of day to enjoy shorter lines and beat the heat are early in the morning and later in the evening. But going nonstop from morning to night can be exhausting. A short break in the afternoon to nap or swim at the hotel can be just the right thing to keep everyone happy and energized.
10. Go on a guided tour • Some of our most memorable experiences at Disneyland have been a ride around the Disneyland Railroad in the Lilly Belle VIP parlor car, sipping hot cocoa and relaxing in reserved seats for the Christmas Fantasy Parade, and an extra special visit to Walt Disney’s private apartment. These are the types of experiences that may be available on one of the guided tours that are offered.