Undercover Savings!

Combine select Walt Disney World® and Universal Orlando tickets for additional cart savings. Save $10 On Each Combo!
the trusted name in attraction tickets

36 Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland

Maximize your time at Disneyland

As a SoCal frog, Disneyland was my second home. Trips to the park were as routine as visiting the grocery store. I definitely put my experience to good use when coming up with tips and tricks to help visitors save time and money. Knowing that the Happiest Place on Earth can be also one of the busiest places on Earth, it's helpful to have some strategies in play when you hit the parks. That's what this post will provide—a list of tips that will help you maximize your time at Disneyland (which may also work with many other theme parks too)!

Let's Hop Into Our 36 Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland.

1. Buy tickets online. 

When you buy tickets in advance online, you'll go straight through to the entrance and won't have to spend any time in ticket booth lines! If you purchase a 3-day ticket or longer, you'll be eligible for Magic Morning. With Magic Morning, you can enjoy one day of early admission to Disneyland Park on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.

2. Pick the best times to visit. 

While it's always a good time to visit Disneyland, there are times during the year which are better than others. Holidays, school schedules and regional passholders have a big impact on Disneyland's schedule. Use this guide to determine the best time to visit Disneyland in 2017 and 2018.

3. Stay on property. 

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Disney's Grand Californian

For the most immersive Disneyland experience, stay on property. The three onsite hotels—Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel are creatively themed with great Disney touches. You will enjoy the Extra Magic Hour for every day of your stay at an onsite property. The Extra Magic Hour benefit gives you one-hour early access to either Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park, which can be absolutely critical to reducing your waits on the most popular attractions (talkin' about you Radiator Springs Racers). All resort guests can also use the dedicated resort entrance to Disney California Adventure from Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Here are more benefits to staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel.

4. If you can't stay on property, at least stay close by.

Some of the offsite hotels near Disneyland are actually closer than the resort hotels and less than a 5-minute walk to the Esplanade that connects the entrances of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. If you stay close by, you won't have to pay to park at Disneyland and you won't lose any time in the parking garage. There are other benefits of staying at hotels near Disneyland too!

5. Ease your way through the security line. 

The best way to get through the security line quickly is to be prepared. Make sure all of your bags are out and open for the Cast Member to peek into. Have keys, cell phone and other metal devices ready to be passed to the guard at the security scanners. Have something that you know will buzz, such as a belt? Take it off and shove it into a bag for a moment.

6. Get to the parks before they open.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Mickey and Guest

We say this over and over again, but it's true—the very shortest waits of the day are in the first hours of a park's opening. When you arrive at the park before it opens, you will be one of the very first people inside the parks.

7. Snag a locker.

Lockers can be a lifesaver. It's smart to travel light in the parks, but you want to bring sweatshirts, jackets and cameras. Make renting a locker your first priority of the day. This eliminates the need to haul off your gear around yet not out of the way for a quick stop for more sunscreen and such.

8. Download the Disneyland Moble App.

Life. Save. Er. Download the Disneyland Moble app before you arrive. Wait times, show listings, park maps, restaurant menus and so much more. If you buy your park tickets with the app, you only need to show your barcode at the gate for admission when you first arrive at the park!

9. Make use of Fastpass.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Indiana Jones Fastpass

The Fastpass system is one of the best ways to maximize your time at Disneyland. In case you're not familiar with the system—select attractions in both parks allow you to insert your park ticket and get a pass that gives you a return time to the specified attraction. Hop back through the Fastpass Return line for a minimal wait.

There are a few fine points worth mentioning. You can only use the Fastpass during the specified 1-hour return time window and you can only hold one Fastpass at a time. You'll grab your new Fastpass when the return time window opens for the current pass you are holding or two hours have passed since you obtained your most recent Fastpass. The earlier you arrive at an attraction, the earlier in the day the Fastpass return time will be. Finally, many attractions do run out of Fastpasses, so don't count on Fastpasses to be available at the most popular attractions later in the day.

Disneyland Park Fastpass Attractions

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Matterhorn
  • Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Star Tours — The Adventures Continue

Disney California Adventure Fastpass Attractions

  • California Screamin'
  • Goofy's Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Guardians of the Galaxy—Misson: BREAKOUT!
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Soarin' Around the World
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!
  • World of Color

10. Take advantage of Extra Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hours. 

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Disneyland Partners Statue

The only way you benefit from the Extra Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hours (EMH) is if you actually show up early for them. Both allow one-hour early admission into the parks, a huge jump on the rest of the touring population. You want to get to the park at least a half hour before the extra hour begins. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a long line of not-quite-early-enough risers who are also waiting to get into the park!

11. If you are an early bird not staying on site, start the day in the park not hosting Extra Magic Hours. 

Even if you arrive ahead of park opening, you'll still find extra long lines from those early EMHers who weren't quite early enough. You're better off heading to the opposite park.

12. If you aren't staying on site and want to experience Radiator Springs Racers first thing, head to Disney California Adventure on a non-EMH day. 

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Radiator Springs Racers

The advice above is especially true if you're set on riding Radiator Springs Racers first thing (you won't be alone). On days with Extra Magic Hours at Disney California Adventure, the park will already have plenty of guests, who are in line for the attraction or its Fastpass machine by the time you actually make it inside.

13. Pick up your Radiator Springs Racers Fastpasses next to It's Tough to Be a Bug.

Speaking of the Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass machine, it's over in "a bug's land" not Cars Land. You'll want to head that way first thing if you plan to Fastpass Radiator Springs Racers. Note that Fastpass is not available during EMH, but plenty of EMHers will line up for the machine ahead of the official park opening. Morning Tip: If you want to do this attraction more than once in your day, grab your Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass tickets then head to the attraction and hop in Single Rider.

14. Use Fastpass only if the attraction you want is 30 minutes or more.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Disneyland Haunted Mansion Fastpass

If you arrive at an attraction that offers Fastpass, and the wait is 30 minutes or less, you are better off riding then and collecting a Fastpass for an attraction with a much longer wait.

15. Only send one person in your party to get Fastpasses.

It's much easier for one person to be your appointed Fastpass "runner." I'm the runner in our family and hold onto all of our tickets. We like this because then I can take Tad and Lily on to another attraction, have a snack or we can all chill out at a play area or splash pad. See also: That time Leap lost all our Fastpasses.

16. Park Hop.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Disney California Adventure Entrance

It's much easier to hop at Disneyland than it is at Disney World. Both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure are just a short hop, skip and a jump away from each other. With the entrances maybe a minute walk apart, park hopping can be an effective way to maximize your time at Disneyland. One park normally closes before the other, so when you park hop, you can head to the later park when the first one closes. Here are more tips on choosing the best Disneyland ticket.

17. Have a plan and prioritize attractions.

You want to visit the attractions with the longest waits (and no access to Fastpass) with the lowest waits (at park opening and closing). If you've got one day for each of the parks, follow our 1-day Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure park plans.

18. Saving time in the Dole Whip line.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Dole Whip

Securing this delightful dessert with the massive following takes some strategy. Lines can be long during the day, so consider indulging in your Dole Whip when the stand opens, which is one hour after the park does. If you're craving it as an afternoon snack, the line inside the Enchanted Tiki Room waiting area is usually shorter than the one outside in Adventureland.

19. Buy your souvenirs ahead of time.

Yes, who doesn't want a Disneyland hat, shirt, mug, pin, Tsum Tsum, framed artwork and all the other tempting Disney trinkets?  We all want a little something special from the parks—Disney Dress Shop Dresses OMG—but we like to buy a few souvenirs online to give to Tad and Lily ahead of the trip. This saves us time spent in the shops but also money ... which we'll use on more dresses.

20. Wait until the end of the evening to shop.

If you're looking to maximize your time at Disneyland's shows, attractions and parades, consider saving your shopping until the park closes. The shops are open an hour after the park closes. Also, World of Disney in Downtown Disney is open one hour after Disneyland closes.

21. Save the shows for later in the day.

The parks are least busy the first few hours of the day. You don't want to find yourself in a 30-minute show when Peter Pan's Flight and Dumbo will see their lowest waits of the day!

22. Make use of the Single Rider Line.

Single Rider, which is almost always even faster than using Fastpass, is a great way to maximize your time at Disneyland. If you don't mind splitting your group on the actual ride, you can experience the following attractions at super low waits on select attractions.

Disneyland Single Rider Attractions:

  • Indiana Jones Adventure
  • Matterhorn
  • Splash Mountain

Disney California Adventure Single Rider Attractions:

  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • California Screamin'
  • Goofy's Sky School
  • Grizzly River Run

23. Know when and where to find your favorite characters.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Disneyland Cruella de Vil

While a handful of Disney characters have their own dedicated meet-and-greet stations, most of them are listed on the official site with published times. However, with the right strategies, you may very well land that meeting with favorites such as Peter Pan, Mulan, Oswalt the Lucky Rabbit or Jessie. Try hopping into Guest Relations at City Hall on Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland or the Chamber of Commerce on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure. The cast members there usually know which character will appear and when. Also, character-helping Cast Members—uusally in a red vest and hanging out with a character—will let you know if and when you can catch your favorite. Check out our tips on meeting your favorite Disneyland character!

24. Cozy up to your favorite characters at breakfast. 

Maximize your time at Disneyland - character breakfastA character meal is a great way to get up close and personal with a bunch of your favorite characters all at once. To really maximize your time at Disneyland, schedule a breakfast before the park opens. Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel and Storyteller's Cafe at Disney's Grand Californian are two of our favorites.

25. Have a plan for a lost child.

It's easy to get distracted in a theme park, for kids and adults as well. There are lots of people and lots to see. On more than one occasion, we've stopped to shoot off a quick text message, looked up, and couldn't see the tadpoles among the sea of guests. Make sure you have a plan in place in case someone gets separated from your group. Here are top 10 don'ts for getting lost in the theme park.

26. Pack your own snacks and water.

You'll save time, money and meltdowns by packing your own snacks and water (just no glass bottles).

27. Make dining reservations.

Knowing when and where you're going to eat can be a timesaver. By eliminating the time to consider your options, hopping right to your restaurant really speeds up your day. Visit the Disneyland website to see your options. Our two favorite spots are the Blue Bayou Restaurant in New Orleans Square and Carthay Circle Restaurant on Buena Vista Street.

28. Eat during off-peak hours.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Disneyland Yeti Popcorn

If you can't secure a reservation or would rather dine at a quick-service location, you'll save time waiting in line and finding a place to sit if you dine during the off-peak hours. This is from 10:30 a.m to noon and then 3 p.m to 5 p.m. Here are some of our Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure quick-service favorites.

28A. (BONUS TIP) Dine on the move. 

You can save some time by dining on Disneyland eats that can be enjoyed on the move. Turkey legs, corn dogs, meat skewers, chili and Frito bag (firefly) and chili con queso/chicken verde are all compact enough to be munched on while you're moving.

29. Bring your own lunch.

If you really want to save time and money, you bring your own lunch. Think picnic items, such as sandwiches, raw veggies and fresh fruits. You may even bring a full picnic and store it a locker outside the park near the Picnic Area.

30. Pack the essentials.

Don't forget sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, cell phone cords and chargers (Mommy needs her Instagram) and bandaids etc. It doesn't rain all that much in Southern California, but if you don't want to get wet on the water rides or plan on being in the front row at World of Color, you should bring your own poncho. You'll save time and money when you need them. Speaking of getting wet at Disneyland, we have a post with 8 essential rainy day at Disneyland tips!

31. Know when the different park areas close.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - Toontown

Mickey's Toontown, for example, where you'll find Mickey, Minnie, other characters and more family rides, opens one hour after the regular park opening time and closes earlier than the rest of the park. Over at Disney California Adventure, many Paradise Pier attractions (basically everything except Goofy's Sky School) close prior to World of Color performances.

32. Plan meals around parade and show waits.

Choosing a great spot for Fantasmic!, World of Color of the fireworks is a rite of passage in our family. We make the most of this time waiting for the show to start by making it "dinner time" as well. We find our ideal viewing location, and then one family member sets out for burgers, hot dogs or other grab-and-go type foods for the rest of the family. We eat sitting down while we wait for the show to start!

33. See the second show.

During the busiest times of year, there are often two showings of the parades and Fantasmic! and multiple showings of World of Color. The later you stay, the less time you need to stake out a viewing location for these shows.

34. Grab a Fastpass for World of Color.

The Fastpass at World of Color is not connected to the rest of the system, so you can grab this FastPass and not worry that you won't be able to get another one for two hours. Know that you will not get to choose your seating area or show time (if there is more than one). The Fastpasses are distributed sequentially by show time and viewing area. The World of Color Fastpass kiosks are located near The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure.

35. Save any of the long wait attractions you missed in the morning for the end of the night. 

Wait times drop off in the last couple of hours of park operation, which makes this a perfect time to hop in line at Indiana Jones Adventure, Peter Pan's Flight or Space Mountain.

36. Make sure you are in a ride line when the park closes.

Maximize your time at Disneyland - DJ in Cars Land

Once you're in a line, you will get to ride even if it is already past park closing time.

We hope you've enjoyed our tips to maximize your time at Disneyland. Do you follow any of these tips? Have a tip we haven't listed? Share in comments below!

Related: Exploring the Benefits of Staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
<<  Newer Posts | Older Posts  >>
Comments
Sort newest to oldest Sort oldest to newest
Hal Oct 22, 2014 at 5:55 p.m.

To expand on two of your tips and add one more...

14A. The best time to hit the Fantasyland rides is first thing before the crowd builds. Most of these rides are short and are situated very close together, meaning on a good day you can knock out all the "dark rides" in the first hour the park is open, especially if you can do it during the Magic Mornings hour. Later in the day the lines will build for these, and none have FASTPASS. Your DLR Touring Plan seems to do this but doesn't appear to share the reason.

17A. In addition to their being a Dole Whip line in the Tiki Room waiting area, you are also allowed to bring your treat in the show.

The other thing I would mention is not to skip a ride because you've done it at WDW. Most of the rides are different enough to be worthwhile. The down side is that after you've experienced DLR Space Mountain and Pirates the WDW versions will be a bit of a disappointment.

Reply
FrogBlog Oct 22, 2014 at 1:40 p.m.

Great tips, Hal! Thanks for sharing.

Leap

Reply
SandiS Dec 31, 2016 at 3:26 a.m.

Thanks for the additional tips! It's ben 8 years since we visited and we needed a refresher. I remember the fast passes being new and really maximizing that wonderful addition. Looking forward to extra magic hours this time!

Reply
akajako Oct 22, 2014 at 7:07 p.m.

With regard to eating in Disneyland, I would suggest knowing where to eat. I find the Golden Horseshoe to be under utilized (even during the performance), and if you don't mind the limited menu, you can get in and out pretty quick (for not that much) and catch a good show.

Reply
Ryan Feb 24, 2015 at 9:43 p.m.

The Matterhorn added a single rider line in 2012, I believe, after a top-to-bottom refurbishment. (Tip 19). We use it almost every time. If standby is a 30-40 minute wait, single rider will cut the wait down to under 10 minutes. Because each bobsled has 6 individual seats, odd-numbered parties often leave empty slots for single riders to fill.

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 2, 2015 at 8:20 a.m.

Thanks for sharing, Ryan!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Mary Sep 25, 2015 at 4:27 p.m.

Don't you have to strattle sit on that ride :-/

Reply
Claire Feb 3, 2016 at 9:48 p.m.

Not anymore. They refurbished the ride and cars so each seat is an individual seat.

Reply
SRGIO Mar 16, 2015 at 7:03 p.m.

planing to go on march 30 its a monday but still spring break any ideas how the lines might be??? just hate waiting for 3 hrs on a line ....TNX

Reply
Sakyroh Mar 25, 2015 at 1:30 a.m.

I am planning to go to California Adventures in April since the first time we went to Carsland, Radiator Springs Racers kept breaking down. Would you suggest going straight there to get a FastPass first and then to get a Fast Pass for World of Color, or vice versa? We want to make sure we can go on both the ride and get a spot for the showing at night.

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 25, 2015 at 9:31 a.m.

Hi there,

Most definitely get the FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers first. The FastPass for World of Color is disconnected, so it will not interfere with getting others.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Debbie Noboa Sep 15, 2015 at 5:20 p.m.

I actually have a question - one of the tips is to "bring your own lunch" but the Disneyland Resort website says that no outside food or beverage may be brought into the parks. Has that policy changed lately? Thanks

Reply
FrogBlog Sep 15, 2015 at 2:08 p.m.

Hi Debbie,

Disney has a fairly lenient enforcement on bringing food in, but there is the chance that it might not be allowed.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Wendy Mar 16, 2016 at 3:49 a.m.

We always picnic outside the gate during a 'hop' walk from one park to the other. :) No issues then.

Reply
Marina Dec 14, 2016 at 2:14 a.m.

Right, Leap! Stash your food in the lockers to the Left of the main gate, and carry your food into the picnic area. There are tables and benches.

Reply
Mary Oct 5, 2016 at 9:21 p.m.

We stayed at the Disneyland resort in the fairytale suite. On the club level we received sodas, beer, and all sorts of food and snacks. We were told we could take anything from the club room into the park. So I believe their restrictions are just a deterrent. Enjoy your trip!!

Reply
Bethany Dec 16, 2015 at 8 p.m.

Hi Debbie,

In reply to "bring lunch". We just completed our 4 day (12/12/15-12/15/15) to the park from out of town. We cooler back packed in frozen H2O bottles (with quick tear bottle flavor adds), preferred soda (Only Coke product in park & water is pricey), tortilla wraps in foil, fresh apples & oranges, mixed nuts, granola bars, etc.. The small cooler back pack worked great since our kids are too big for strollers. (freedom from stroller, but we miss the storage.) Because of the population of people with food allergies & dietary needs, they typically won't contest food brought in. No hard coolers, no alcohol. There are lockers, but the cost cancels out the savings of packing it in. At that point, you're just as well to eat from the many options they have there.

Reply
Crystal Feb 28, 2016 at 5:16 a.m.

Hi I have been to the park about 50 times. I normally either pack a lunch and place it in a small cooler in a locker just outside the entrance or I freeze waterbittles then go yo subway and wrap it all in a towel in the bottom of my bag. Works every time. Hope this helps

Reply
Cass Sep 30, 2015 at 9:26 p.m.

Do we need a fastpass for World of Color? We arrive on Mon and will miss getting the fastpass in the morning. Is it first come first serve once the passes are gone?

Reply
FrogBlog Oct 1, 2015 at 9:59 a.m.

Hi Cass,

We recommend you get a FASTPASS for World of Color, the earlier, the better, but you should get one no matter when you arrive. These FASTPASS are not tied to the others, so it won't affect your ability to get other FASTPASSes.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dave Oct 28, 2015 at 6:47 p.m.

1. Do they have lockers to put jackets or small lunch in?

2. Want to take wife to see Christmas decoration what is the best day between Nov,16th thru Nov 20th?

3. My wife is limited on long walks do they have electric carts or? for rent, Cost?

4. What's the best day with less crowds, we will be there early.

My wife has never seen Disneyland decorated for Christmas, and we haven't been back in 15 years. I really want to make the best of it due to my wife's Cancer remission. Any suggestion will be appreciated. Thank you

Reply
FrogBlog Nov 16, 2015 at 12:45 p.m.

Hi Dave,

They do have lockers in both parks and in the area between both parks.

That is a great week to visit. All of the Christmas Decorations will be up. Nov 16 is the opening of the Star Wars Season of Force in Tomorrowland so there could be larger than usual crowds that day in Disneyland. I think November 18th and the 20th are the best days to visit Disneyland (the 18th being the least crowded) and the 17th and 19th are the best days to visit Ca Adventure. Whatever park does not have an early morning admission (extra magic hour or magic morning) tends to be the least crowded park that day. If you are staying at a hotel that has that benefit, you might want to take advantage of it, but if you visit on the non-magic morning when the park opens it will probably be just as magical and uncrowded as it is for those people who visit on a magic morning. Space Mountain will be Star Wars themed as Hyperspace Mountain beginning that week (and last during the season of the force) so if you plan to ride that I would arrive early or try to get a FastPass as new changes are always the most popular, which means have the longest lines.

They rent wheelchairs and electric vehicles. Wheelchairs are $12 per day plus a refundable $20 deposit. Electric convenience vehicles are $50 per day plus a refundable $20 deposit if you return the vehicle and key

If you are using a chair in Disneyland, you go to a special loading area for rides and they may give you a time to come back later if there is a long wait. Most rides at Ca Adventure were built to accommodate a wheelchair in the regular line.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Anthony G. Nov 23, 2015 at 2:53 p.m.

I am taking my family for Christmas, Do you have a 3 day planner for easy use> To plan my trip?

Reply
FrogBlog Nov 24, 2015 at 7:29 a.m.

Hi Anthony,

We do not have a 3 day touring plan at this time, but will keep this in mind as we expand on the ones we have! We do offer plans for both of the Disneyland parks that you could use to prioritize rides.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Kate M Dec 11, 2015 at 10:01 a.m.

Hi

Love all the great ideas!

I have not been back to DL since I was 8 now it is my time to bring my children. We are there between Jan 29 and the 4 of feb. Any idea on how busy it might be and how to find out when Magical mornings are and how to plan breakfast with a character? Keeping in mind we have six kids age ranging 4-16

Any suggestions would be much appriciated

Reply
Mrs. Frogriguez Jan 4, 2016 at 5:03 a.m.

My husband Hopity, (a huge Disneyland and frog enthusiast) has not been to the park since 2006 (before first wife passed). Though I enjoy it (2004 my last visit) I would prefer to start some fresh memories. We've both never been to CA Adventure so we'll go there, but what's new at the Mouse House?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 5, 2016 at 8:41 a.m.

Hi Mrs. Frogriguez,

Love your name and enthusiam for frogs ;) There is Cars Land in Disney California Adventure, which you should not miss! Radiator Springs Racers is my very favorite ride of all time.

We hope you will consider hopping over to Disneyland Park, they have made some exciting changes to many classic rides.

You'll notice some significant (but temporary) changes in Tomorrowland, where they are undergoing the Season of the Force. Space Mountain has been transformed into Hyperspace Mountain with Star Wars music, sounds, and visual changes. It seems faster and darker too. Star Tours has a new adventure and some new characters added in. You can meet Darth Vader and Chewbacca in Launch Bay or meet Thor or Spider-Man upstairs in Super Hero HQ (as well as virtually try on IronMan's suit). You can sometimes catch Stormtroopers stalking around Tomorrowland.

They have added some classic Disney characters into the appropriate lands in "it's a small world," so have fun trying to spot them.

In Pirates of the Caribbean look out for Captain Jack Sparrow in three scenes.

The hatbox ghost has reappeared in the Haunted Mansion (you'l see him just after you leave the attic).

Thunder Mountain added a new explosion in the mine shaft.

Peter Pan has a new nursery and updated visual effects in the ride.

The Yeti in the Matterhorn is more lifelike and scary. They have added some new elements to the ride.

Alice in Wonderland has some new digital scenes that are worth checking out.

Finding Nemo might be a new attraction for you in the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarines.

To the left of the castle be sure to walk though Fantasy Faire where you can meet classic princesses, as well as some new modern ones like Rapunzel or Merida. You can watch a live show of Frozen in the theatre there as well.

Most importantly, be sure to catch the Paint the Night Electrical Parade and the Disneyland Forever Fireworks. Watch the fireworks in a spot where you can see the new projection that is an important and magical part of the new show. We recommend getting close to the castle, standing on Main street in front of Gipson Girl, or seeing it in front of Small World. Small world has the easiest projection and is actually closer to the fireworks but Main Street and the Castle will give you the iconic view, complete with flying Tinkerbelle. We have several posts on getting the best view of Paint the Night and Disneyland Forever. We are sure that all of these new experiences will help you make new "hoppy" memories that will also make you nostalgic for the Disneyland of your youth together.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Donna Jan 27, 2016 at 4:51 a.m.

Is Super Bowl Sunday as busy as I am reading it is? That Sunday in California Adventure is early entry, can anyone enter Or do you have to be staying at one of the Disney hotels?

Reply
FrogBlog Jan 27, 2016 at 9:26 a.m.

Hi Donna,

There was for a time a myth that Disneyland was dead on Super Bowl Sunday, and that's not true. It can be busy, but it won't be as busy as the holidays. For early entry, you would have to be staying on-site to get in during that time.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
ParisFamily Jan 28, 2016 at 7:48 p.m.

We are planning a 3 day trip to both parks in April. I have 4 kids and then my husbands parents and sister will be joining us. Our twins will be almost 11 months old so of course this is there first experience. We are so very excited. But I had a few questions. We are planning for the first weekend that month and was wondering what the crowd is like around that time. I know it's a very busy place but I also know it's sometimes slower at certain times. I'm just trying to be aware of what to prepare for. I have been researching a ton. Trying to organize it the best I can since they are so young and my other two are a little older. I have only ever taken my older two but was so unorganized. So I feel we missed out on a lot. Any advice for this exciting trip is greatly appreciated.

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 8, 2016 at 11:36 a.m.

Hi there,

You may find this post helpful:

https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/best-time-visit-disneyland/

Early April is expected to be quite busy.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
1st trip ! Jan 31, 2016 at 3:40 a.m.

I have read different stories about brining food into the park. We planned on backpacks with water and a few snacks. Will this be allowed ? Also this trip will be one week before my sons 6th birthday ( planned based on time off from school) do you think any of the places will do something special for him? Thanks and I can't wait for our 1st trip to DL!!

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 26, 2016 at 11:01 a.m.

Hi,

What a great way to celebrate a birthday! You can get custom cakes delivered to any table service restaurant or character dining locations. There are also mini cakes and pirate treasure chest containers. Order at least three days in advance. You can make reservations for birthday dining experiences.

You can definitely bring a backpack with water and snacks into the park. They check all bags before you enter, but they are not worried about food.

Be sure to get a free birthday button and a 1st visit button at the information booths in the parks!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Linda Feb 4, 2016 at 5:17 a.m.

Hello, I'm taking my family (husband and 4 kids ) end of March during our spring break. We plan on staying at a good neighbor hotel, from the packages that I've seen, they offer transportation at a fee or do you suggest driving in? Also is it best to get a hopper pass or one park a day. We are getting a 3 day pass. Thank you.

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 10, 2016 at 12:32 p.m.

Hi Linda,

I think it would be easier to opt for transportation to the parks since you are visit during Spring Break and parking will likely take extra time, but definitely weigh the costs. Some Good Neighbor Hotels are walking distance—that would be idea.

As far as the hopper vs. non-hopper, that is your call, but hopping between parks is pretty easy to do and doesn't cost too much more. You will have more flexibility with this, but also keep in mind that during very busy days (such as Easter), it's going to take longer to get into the parks and if one reaches capacity, you won't be allowed in until people leave.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Heather Feb 8, 2016 at 11:40 p.m.

Great tips! I know most as I read up on this all the time! But one I particularly never thought of, is going to the park without magic morning hour first if you aren't staying on property. Definitely a good idea!

Reply
Jen Feb 13, 2016 at 1:20 p.m.

We have one day in Disneyland with a 6 and 2 year old. I booked a character breakfast at 10 and an early dinner at 5 both are in Disneyland...with that time frame and one day only should I also get the park hopper...not sure if that will be too much for one day. Thanks for all

Of the great tips.

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 25, 2016 at 10:02 a.m.

Hi Jen,

You could still hop, but I think it would be better not to in this case, and spend the day at Disneyland with the more iconic rides geared for their age group.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Stefanie Feb 19, 2016 at 12:58 a.m.

You share that we should bring food and picnic type lunch. I read on the website that you cannot bring food inside. Did you find different information? We were going to do this to keep our cost down. Thanks for sharing!

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 29, 2016 at 5:10 p.m.

Hi Stefanie,

You can definitely bring a backpack with water and snacks into the park. They check all bags before you enter, but they are not worried about food. Coolers must be smaller than 24X15X18 inches or 61x38x46 centimeters.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Carrie Feb 19, 2016 at 3:57 a.m.

Hi.

Just wondered about Dis raising prices for tickets?

Should I buy now for April trip or wait?

Appriciate

Reply
FrogBlog Feb 24, 2016 at 6:27 p.m.

Hi Carrie,

I would purchase soon for the greatest savings.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Cat Feb 25, 2016 at 3:25 p.m.

Hi! How are the crowds at the end of September/beginning of October? Two, possibly three of us will be attending Gay Days weekend at the parks. Would a Park Hopper ticket be a good choice for us?

Reply
Christine Mar 3, 2016 at 5:22 a.m.

We are going to Disneyland the week of June 6th-10th. Is this a busy week?

Reply
Aimee Mar 3, 2016 at 9:33 p.m.

Hi - What's the best restaurant to sit at for the World of Color show and where is the best location to be in Disneyland to watch the fireworks.

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 11, 2016 at 9:35 a.m.

Hi Aimee,

You can't really see World of Color from any of the restaurants. You can see a side view from some parts of the Cove Bar and Ariel's Grotto (which often closes before the show), but they stop serving for the show and you would have to be in place pretty early to get a spot. Even with the expansion, there is always a long wait to get into the Cove Bar. It's not a great view of the animation/video. Of course you can see some color and water, but the animation on the water and on the Micky Fun Wheel and the loop of the roller coaster are best viewed straight on. There is a new dessert reservation you can make where you get to sit and have dessert for the show, but it is pretty pricey. I recommend getting a FASTPASS early in the day over by the Grizzly River Run. There are dining programs that allow you to eat in a restaurant with a prix fixe menu and they give you vouchers for an area to watch the show later. None offer dining while watching packages. They are expensive. Our favorite of these restaurants is Carthay Circle. But we would seriously opt for the free FastPasses. If there are two shows, the second show is very uncrowded and very easy to get a great spot to watch it.

As for the fireworks, we have a post that outlines the best places to view them. The very best view if you are willing to wait in place for hours before the show is right in front of the castle. We prefer, though, to hop in place about 20 minutes before the show on Main Street in front of the Penny Arcade and Gibson Girl ice cream in the middle of the street. You can see the fireworks very well over the castle with that iconic view, and the projection is all around you with some other surprises too. It is also easy to get a good spot in front of the fence in front of It's a Small World (which also offers some surprises too). You can see the projection there very well (even better than the castle, we think), and the fireworks are very close (over Toon Town and to the left of it's a small world). That is the best and least crowded view of projection, however, you lack that iconic view of the castle and can't see Tinker Belle fly. It all depends on what is most important to you. We don't like to wait for hours, so the Main Street and Small World locations work best for us. If you are watching near the castle, watch out for trees--they block views. Some areas are designated walkways, so ask a cast member before committing to a spot, so you don't get moved and lose your spot just before showtime.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Zareen Mar 15, 2016 at 1:31 p.m.

Hi

Thnx for ur tips really very helpful. V r coming in summer break with our kids 7 n 2 yrs n my mother in law also she is severe arthritis patient n on wheel chair I want to ask for

her will she enjoy there ? Like any kind of activity for her? n wat abt DACS is still available there ?? Or how can v buy this card ?

N plz help me for my kids also my boys love cars n dinosaurs can u tell me rides according to their ages

Thnx

Reply
FrogBlog Mar 17, 2016 at 8:41 a.m.

Hi Zareen,

Most of the rides at Disney World are wheelchair accessible, so she can enjoy anything she chooses to! DAS is available, but it’s reserved for those who cannot wait in a conventional queue due to a disability. You don’t have to buy it; you just stop by Guest Relations and see if you qualify for it. This post might help you figure out what attractions are suitable for your kids’ ages!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Amanda Campos Apr 18, 2016 at 7:26 p.m.

Hi,

I am purchasing the 3 day hopper tickets through my husbands work. How do I know if it includes a magic morning?

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 25, 2016 at 2:11 p.m.

Hi Amanda,

I would reach out to your husband's company directly to confirm.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Rebecca Apr 20, 2016 at 2:59 p.m.

Hi! These tips have made me EVEN MORE excited for our trip we are planning July 6th. Seeing that it's after the July 4th holiday, is it normally starting to calm down a little or is it pretty busy that whole week because of the holiday? One more question, if you had to choose 1 absolute must see, what would it be. My kids are 11, 7, and 4 and none of them have ever been. I can't wait to go as I haven't been there since 1996 (grad party) and I don't remember much at all about it. This article has been amazing to read but I did notice it was posted in 2014. Has a lot changed since then? Anyhow, thanks again for all the tips. Have a great day. -Rebecca

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 26, 2016 at 8:34 a.m.

Hi Rebecca,

Any days near a holiday tend to be more crowded than usual, but you should be able to accomplish a lot if you arrive early and use FastPasses for the most crowded lines. Your kids are different ages, so it is hard to say what is a can't miss. At California Adventure, there will be a new Soarin' Around the World ride that will be worth doing—get a FastPass for that—and Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land is the Must-Do ride with the longest lines. FastPasses for Radiator Springs move quickly, so either get a FastPass first thing in the morning (near the entrance to Bug's Land) or go ride it first.

In Disneyland Park, the older kids will love Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain or Star Tours (especially if you have Star Wars fans) or they like fast rides. Your youngest may enjoy Star Tours and Thunder Mountain too, depending on how brave he or she is. Pirates of the Caribbean is a great must-do for the whole family. Splash Mountain is also great for a hot day. Be sure to catch the Paint the Night parade and The Disneyland Forever Fireworks.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nori Apr 29, 2016 at 6:01 a.m.

I'm going with my two daughters ages 7 and 10 on May 28-31. It's Memorial Day long weekend. I know this is going to be super busy. Is there a park that would be less busy during this time and do you think I should do both parks or is Disneyland enough?

Reply
FrogBlog May 20, 2016 at 10:46 a.m.

Hi Nori,

We happen to like California Adventure for one of the days. With Cars Land, The Little Mermaid Ride, Soarin', Toy Story Midway Mania, and several thrill rides and more, it has a lot of offer that age group. Generally, it will be busy in both parks, but we like to avoid the park that offers an early entry because that park stays busy throughout the day. Arrive early for the shortest morning lines.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Robbin May 11, 2016 at 4:23 p.m.

I want to take my 2 year old to DL for his B-day before he turns 3. What offerings does DL have for kids B-days?

Lastly is Memorial Day and extra busy day (I didn't see it mentioned above)?

Reply
FrogBlog May 20, 2016 at 10:06 a.m.

Hi Robbin,

Memorial Day crowds can vary from year to year, but we do know that many of the annual passes, except for the lowest pass, are not blocked out that day. Most holidays bring crowds. If you are celebrating a birthday, be sure to get a free birthday button from the information booth, and you can order cakes through the online reservations system.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Amy Knoche May 11, 2016 at 4:32 p.m.

Is Olaf now meeting with Anna & Elsa, and are the wait times crazy long?

Reply
FrogBlog May 20, 2016 at 10:44 a.m.

Hi Amy,

Yes, Olaf is now in the same area as Anna and Elsa. The wait times have dropped off, and you no longer need a FastPass to see them.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Anderson Family May 24, 2016 at 4:22 p.m.

where would we meet Anna,elsa and olaf??

Reply
FrogBlog May 31, 2016 at 5:13 p.m.

Hi,

You can meet them all now in Disney California Adventure at the Royal Academy inside Animation Academy.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Daniel May 16, 2016 at 4:28 a.m.

Hi, there

I'm going to Disneyland next week, I got my tickets online, since I don't have time to wait for my tickets to be shipped I got etickes. Do I need to get an actual park ticket at the entrance of the park in order to use the fastpass machine?

Thank You

Reply
FrogBlog May 20, 2016 at 9:56 a.m.

Hi Daniel,

When you enter the park, the cast member will hand you a ticket you can use for Fast Pass.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Julie May 19, 2016 at 3:30 p.m.

I've read today about FastPass+ being implemented at Disneyland. We'll be there mid-June of this year, and wondered if you could offer wisdom about how they differ from the normal FassPass experience, as well as what you'd recommend using them for with a five-year old boy? Thanks!

Reply
FrogBlog May 30, 2016 at 8:47 a.m.

Hi Julie,

We have some tips on this post that would help familiarize you with it.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Anderson Family May 24, 2016 at 4:20 p.m.

We are traveling to disneyland next month june 14 &15 to be more exact now with only having 2 days what would be the best way to go about that? keep in mind it is my 8 yr old and husbands FIRST TIME!!!

Reply
FrogBlog May 31, 2016 at 5:14 p.m.

Hi there,

All of these tips are the best way to skip the lines at Disneyland, but you can see our touring plans here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Laura Jun 26, 2016 at 3:09 a.m.

Great blog! We are going in November over Thanksgiving. I know will be busy but I have wired 58 years to celebrate my birthday at Disneyland and see it decorated for Christmas. Many friends are coming from across the country and have never been or been 50 years since they were there. These tips will come in handy! Thanks

Reply
Belle Jul 26, 2016 at 7:02 p.m.

We're planning to see Disneyland decorated for winter. Do you think the weekend of December 2 thru 5 of this year be busy? My 22 year old son is "special needs" with Autism. Do you know if they provide line priority for those with disabilities?

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 9, 2016 at 1:06 p.m.

Hi Belle,

Head to Guest Services and ask about receiving the Disability Access Service Card. It’s designed for guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue because of a disability (especially cognitive related). It works pretty similar to FastPass; you’ll receive return times for attractions so you don’t have to physically wait in line!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Judie Aug 1, 2016 at 7:57 p.m.

Which Frozen show would be best to see if we are wanting to see World of Color too? Any advice? Also, how would you organize the day with those two shows as well as riding, Soarin, Radiator Springs Racers, Tower of Terror, Screamin, and Ariel's Ride? There are 4 adults. We are going Wednesday, August 10, 2016. Thanks!

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 9, 2016 at 12:34 p.m.

Hi Judie,

When you arrive in the morning go get your Frozen FastPass first. One person needs to take all of the park tickets to get the passes—guests must have entered the park. They hand out the shows in order of the shows for the day. Once one show fills up, they start distributing the next show. You do not get to pick. Get whatever show you can and note the time. Arrive about an hour before show time. They are all the same. Keep your ears open. Sometimes they hand out World of Color FastPasses on Buena Vista Street after people enter the park or in the Frozen line. That can save time. Otherwise you pick them up over by Grizzy River Run. Next stop pick up FastPasses for Soarin' or Radiator Springs since the shows do not affect the ability to pick up ride FastPasses (for four adults we recommend getting the FastPasses for Soarin' and doing the single rider line for Radiator Springs early—it can be very short and you may end up in a car with a family member or on the same group of cars. You will all finish within a minute of each other). Then hop in line for Tower of Terror early followed by Screamin'. Be sure to hit Toy Story Midway Mania while you are by Screamin'. Ariel's ride usually has a very short line any time of day so save that one for later.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Laura L. Aug 5, 2016 at 6:05 a.m.

Hi there! I enjoyed reading your article. I am a single mom who has been saving for 2 years to take my 2 preteen and teen boys. They and I am very excited. We are going to both DL and DCA the second week of October. I'm looking for my info and opinion on Mikey's not to scary Halloween party that will happen 2 of the 3 nights we are there. I feel like we are kinda getting the short end of the stick with park hours. The cost for 1 ticket is an additional almost $80 per person and you get about 5 more hours in DL. I'm trying to decide if purchasing those tickets in addition to the already purchased 3day park hopper passes are worth it? Candy isn't an appeal, my boys are too cool to dress up.....but I'm bummed about the loss of park time.

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 9, 2016 at 9:52 a.m.

Hi Laura,

Don't worry. You can still have a great time without buying party tickets. If you are buying a three-day park hopper you can maximize your time by hopping between the parks. We recommend doing a full day at DCA one of the party days, do a full day at Disneyland on the nonparty day, and then do Disneyland in the morning of the other party day, then somewhere in the afternoon or early evening you can hop on over to California Adventure (which has a lot to offer kids your kids' ages). Except for the party times, you can just hop back and forth if you prefer one park over the other park (be sure to check DCA nighttime hours as well because they may not be open super late). The two parks are very close and a short walk apart. Also, keep in mind that if you are standing in a line when the park closes for the party, you can stay in that line until you have ridden the ride and then leave. You can watch Halloween fireworks from outside the park in a few areas on party nights. You can see some from the area between the parks, from Downtown Disney, from some hotel rooms (even offsite hotels have some great fireworks views), and the top of the Mickey and Friends parking structure. Or use the evening to go out for dinner or to swim in the hotel pool. There are video games in the ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney and movie theater at Downtown Disney.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Ron Crawford Aug 21, 2016 at 4:53 a.m.

Found one of the best eats for the price is Smoke Jumper Cafe right next to Sorin in Cal Adventure. In there you have a great condiment bar that is you do it right you can make yourself a nice salad with condiments. They have thousand island and ranch dressing. Roasted red bell peppers, sliced peppers, sliced tomatoes and if you like pickles. You will walk out of there full and feeling good because part of your meal was salad.

Reply
FrogBlog Aug 22, 2016 at 8:38 a.m.

Hi Ron,

Great suggestion! Thanks for sharing :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Dina Sep 6, 2016 at 6:27 p.m.

Hello! I'm loving your page! I'm arriving Tuesday, November 8th with my 3 girls (12,10 & 7) and staying in Anaheim area till Thursday. I'm very unsure what type of ticket to purchase. We will arrive in Anaheim around 1 pm Tuesday. Should I purchase a 2 day hopper and try to go Tuesday afternoon/evening to get in some rides/attractions and then do all day Wednesday? And will a day and a half be enough time? Lastly, character dining? Worth it, or no? It's very big in WDW, but wasn't sure about DL. Thanks so much for any advice!!

Reply
FrogBlog Sep 19, 2016 at 2:19 p.m.

Hi Dina,

Thank you for the compliment! If you enjoy character dining, then you have a lot of choices. We recommend a lunch so you you can take advantage of morning time in the park, which is the least crowded. We do not recommend a character breakfast on Wednesday because you will want to arrive early at the park that day. Since you have a limited time, it might be hard to fit it all in. We recommend the Park Hopper so you can get see everything. If it saves money you can do a one-day park for Tuesday and a ParkHopper for Wednesday, but see how the cost breaks down. But if there is nighttime entertainment those days, you will enjoy seeing World of Color one night and fireworks the next. They will release the entertainment schedules in the next couple weeks, so use those to plan your day.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Heather Oct 5, 2016 at 10:15 p.m.

I am looking at going to both parks January 7,8 or 9,10 will it be really busy then?

Reply
FrogBlog Oct 12, 2016 at 10:18 a.m.

Hi Heather,

Holiday Time ends Jan. 8. The 9th/10th will be much quieter ... but without the holiday events.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Shmoo Oct 18, 2016 at 4:23 p.m.

Hi There!

I am planning on coming Nov 28 - Dec 5 ( or there about) It will be shortly after my son's 10th birthday and he has never been to Disneyland before.

I have read several places that this is an excellent time to go because the park is less busy.

Are there any attractions we should visit on the first couple days at the parks? We know we will be going over a weekend that tends to be busier. Any word on if they are having their Christmas performance in the evening yet?

Thanks!

Reply
FrogBlog Oct 25, 2016 at 12:45 p.m.

Hi there,

The religious Christmas Candlelight procession will be held in front of the train station near the entrance to the park on Dec 3 and 4 this year. But it is very challenging to get see. The seats are reserved, so there is standing to the side. There is a new Holiday fireworks show that will be going on—check the calendar for the nights. The holiday parade will be running, and there is a new Holiday World of Color show too.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Jan Apr 23, 2017 at 6:04 p.m.

We are planning a family reunion the first week of May 2018. For 2017, I notice the Indiana Jones Adventure will be closed for refurbishment May 1-25.

I realize this is too far ahead but does it typically close during this time every year? This is one ride none of us have done (not at WDW) and would hate to miss it.

If need be, we can switch the date a few days. Btw, your website is a wealth of information. Love it!!

Reply
FrogBlog Apr 25, 2017 at 11:14 a.m.

Hi Jan,

Indiana Jones Adventure usually goes down during spring. It's possible that the attraction will go down the same time, but refurbishments are always scheduled to change.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Leave a comment
Name is required. Email is required. Please input a comment.
About Us
About Undercover Tourist

Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando, Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando ResortTM, SeaWorld® Orlando Resort, LEGOLAND® Florida and more.

Sign up for our newsletter!
Please enter your Name Please enter your Email address
Hoppin' Hotel Deals!

Book Now for Orlando, Los Angeles and San Diego.
New! Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Stay close to the fun at the Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort™ and other top hotels!

Search Availability
In the Frog Pond
Let's Plan a Better Family Vacation
monthly news, planning tips and special deals
Email Newsletter
Please enter your Name
Please enter your Email address

©2000–2017 Undercover Tourist. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions
As to Disney photos, logos, properties: ©Disney

Create An Account

In order to save your favorite items, you'll need to create an account.
Already have one? Sign in.

An Undercover Tourist account allows you to:

Join The Frog Family
No thanks ×
Planning an upcoming vacation?

Sign up to receive our newsletter with free printable park plans, FastPass+ recommendations and more!

Error. Please try again.


Nope, I'm not going on a trip.