Disneyland: The happiest place one earth where all your dreams come true!
Even at 30 years old, everything about Disneyland still gets me excited and every time I visit my family in Los Angeles, you can bet I’ll be planning a day trip to the park!
For those of you who have never been to Disneyland, there are many things you should know before you go to make your day at the park as easy and as memorable as possible. This blog post dedicated to a multiple of tips and tricks you can utilize to get into the park as quickly as possible, minimize ride wait times and ride every single ride in the park!
1. Plan to go on an Off Peak Day
Not only is it cheaper, but the crowds are also minimal! For ages 10+, a one day off peak “value” ticket is $97, a “regular” ticket is $117 and a “peak” ticket is $135.
View the pricing schedule by day here.
2. Buy your tickets online
This one is obvious, but you’d be you’d be surprised how many people don’t buy their tickets beforehand and end up wasting 10 to 15 in line after they go through security to purchase them.
You can buy your tickets in advance on the Disneyland website here or from the Disneyland app (#3 below). If you work at a corporate company, you can usually get a 15% discount through Plum Benefits as long as you sign up in advance and purchase your tickets 48 hours or more beforehand!
3. Download the Disneyland app BEFORE you go
Not only does the Disneyland app have an interactive map that tracks your location within the park, but you can save a ton of time by tracking ride wait times and you can also see when rides are closed for maintenance in advance so you don’t waste your time walking over to them.
There is also useful information including where to find the nearest restrooms and restaurants. The best part is that you can view all the food menus in the park and order food while you’re waiting in line for a ride or walking over to pick your food up!
4. Plan to arrive an hour before the park opens
I know it might sound crazy, but by the time you arrive, purchase your parking ticket (which is $20 per car), actually park your car and take the drop-off shuttle to the entrance of the park, you’re already looking at about 20 minutes. You will also have to go through security and bag check so getting to the actual entrance can take a full 30 to 45 minutes from the time you drive into the parking lot. The other plus to getting there early is that your car will be parked closest to the park which will save you time when you leave (after you’re exhausted from walking 5 or more miles the entire day!)
5. Hit all the big rides first & map out a route BEFORE you go
As soon as you enter Disneyland, I would suggest hitting all the most popular rides first when less people are in the park. My plan of attack is usually to hit Tomorrowland first to ride Space Mountain and Star Tours. Then I would suggest popping directly over to Adventureland to knock out Indiana Jones, the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain, which are all in the same area. Afterwards, head to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain and over to the Matterhorn. That completes most of the most popular rides with the longest wait times within the first few hours! If any of the lines are already long, snag a Fast Pass! (See #6 for more info)
If you plan to do California Adventure (and I highly suggest that you do) I would head over there from 2pm to 7pm. You can typically knock out the entire park within a 5 hour time period. Don’t forget to utilize your fast pass! I usually use it for the Cars ride as it’s usually no less than a 2 hour wait.
6. Utilize Fast Pass
Fast pass is great to use between 11am and 5pm when the park is at peak capacity. It can sometimes save you and your group from having to wait in a 2 hour line. I suggest using it on rides with an hour and a half wait or more. You will scan your Disneyland ticket and get a print out showing the ride name and next time slot that you can come back to ride without waiting in line. The time slot is typically 2 hours AFTER you receive your ticket and it holds your spot for an hour. For example, if you get a fast pass at 11am, you will be able to return to that same ride 2 hours later between 1pm and 2pm and enter the Fast Pass line without having to wait in the normal line. It’s almost like being in two places at once!
You will usually get 2 fast passes a day, but 3 if you’re lucky and can time it right!
7. Eat at off peak times
If you can try to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at off peak times, it will maximize your ride time due to less people and less waiting when everyone else is eating in the park. This would mean eating breakfast at or after 9am, eating lunch before 11am or after 2pm and eating dinner at around 5pm or after 8pm. Less people at the restaurants at the same time means more ride time for you!
8. Use the Single Rider Line
If lines are more than an hour and a half long and you don’t feel like waiting, but you REALLY want to ride, you can wait in what is called the single rider line. You will be separated from your group (aka you will each have to ride solo) and will be utilized as a fill in for open seats not being utilized by groups riding the ride together that actually waited in the regular long line. It’s an easy way to save 2 hours or wait time!
Note that it could still be a 15 minute wait in the single rider line on a ride that’s a 2 hour long wait for the regular line.
9. Skip the 8pm Fireworks
If you don’t care about the fireworks or the shows, take advantage of the rides while the 8pm fireworks are going off. Majority of everyone in the park will be watching them so if there’s a ride you’ve been dying to ride all day that has had a consist long wait, now would be the time to ride it!
10. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!
I can’t stress this tip enough. I would suggest no sandals and only comfortable sneakers. I tracked how many miles I walked last time I went and it was a total 7 miles! Trust me, you will thank me later!].