As long-time Disney frog-natics, Disney is practically our home, second to our humble lily pad. Trips to Disneyland are almost as routine as visiting the grocery store. We use our extensive experience to give tips and tricks so that you can get the most out of your Disneyland visit. A lot has changed over the last year or so, but things are also returning back to normal. No matter what, we've still got our hearts set on making the very most of our Disneyland day. And we want the same for you! Knowing that the Happiest Place on Earth can be also one of the busiest places on Earth, it's important to have some strategies when going to the parks. Well, frogs, that's why we're here! Here's a list of tips that will help you maximize your time at Disneyland.
Some of the tools we have relied on to maximize time in the past are changing. A new Disney Genie service is available in the Disneyland app, as of Dec. 8, 2021. Disney Genie+ is a paid service that replaces MaxPass (and FASTPASS). We're sharing what we know about these changes, as well as how to maximize your time at Disneyland right now.
40 Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland
1. Buy tickets online.
We always advise purchasing tickets online, but now you'll need both a valid park ticket AND a park reservation before you arrive. This is so Disneyland can limit and control park capacity. Did you know you can purchase your discount Disneyland tickets through Undercover Tourist and save some green? We even sell tickets pre-loaded with Genie+! As soon as you receive your ticket order, book your Disneyland park reservations to secure your dates. You'll need to pick the park you want to visit when you make your reservations. If park hopping, you'll choose the park you want to visit first. You can park hop after 1 p.m. (subject to availability).
Don't purchase tickets at the ticket booth because if there aren't any reservations left that day, you will not get in. Normally, when you buy tickets in advance, you'll save a lot of time (in addition to money) by going straight to the entrance. You won't have to spend any time in ticket booth lines. This can save you an hour on a busy day! For now, you'll want to purchase well in advance (up to 120 days). Buy them as soon as you can to lock in the lowest rate.
2. Pick the best times to visit.
While it's always a good time to visit Disneyland, there are times during the year that are better than others. Holidays, school schedules and local visitors have a big impact on Disneyland's schedule. Use this guide to determine the best time to visit Disneyland.
Right now, you can only book reservations for up to 120 days in advance. Here are two additional links you may find hopful at this time when planning your visit:
- Disneyland Park Availability Calendar — This calendar allows you to make sure the park you want to visit is available on the day you want to visit (before you buy or start to reserve).
- Disneyland 1-Day Ticket Tier Calendar — Disneyland 1-Day tickets vary in price by day. There are six price tiers. Popular days such as weekends and holidays are higher tiers and cost more than, say, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at a non-peak time. This calendar shows you the price per day. If you purchase multi-day tickets, you don't need to worry about this calendar.
3. Stay at a Disneyland Resort hotel.
For the most immersive Disneyland experience, stay on property. The three on-site hotels — Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel — are creatively themed with great Disney touches (plus you can save money by booking your stay through us!).
The hotel guest security screening opens before any other security, so if you want to be the first one at the park gates, staying on-site is a nice perk. Resort guests at the Grand Californian can use the dedicated resort entrance to Disney California Adventure from Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which is a nice perk to staying there. (Here are even more benefits to staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel.) You'll want to choose that park as your first park of the day if park hopping.
4. If you can't stay on property, at least stay close by.
Some of the off-site hotels near Disneyland are actually closer than the on-site hotels and less than a five-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 or the long walk over to the parks from there (once shuttles are running in early 2022, there can be a wait for the parking tram). There are other benefits of staying at hotels near Disneyland too! There are also hotels that are a short walk to the free parking lot shuttles at Toy Story Lot. (Ribbit! We can save you $$$ if you book your hotel through Undercover Tourist!) People start to line up at Harbor Boulevard security before 7 a.m., but once the security line starts moving (about 45 minutes before the park opens), it goes quickly.
5. Ease your way through the security line.
The best way to get through the security line quickly is to be prepared. Only bring the items you will need for the day. Bring bags with the fewest zippers and compartments possible. Make sure all of your bags are out and open for the cast member to peek into. Have keys, cell phone, coins and any metal devices in your pockets in bags or ready to be placed on the table 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. At times, some security entrances have an expedited screening for people with no bags. If you have no bags to check, you may save yourself a long line there!
Remove all banned items from your bags before you visit such as selfie sticks, loose ice, whistles, pocket knives, balls or zip ties or restraining devices. It's a bummer to have to go all the way back to return an item you frogot was in your bag (or dispose of it). Make sure your stroller fits the guidelines so you don't get turned away. Read more in our post on using a stroller at Disneyland.
6. Get to the parks before they open.
We say this a lot, and here it is again: The shortest waits of the day are in the first hours of a park's opening (and the last two hours before the park closes). When you arrive at the park before it opens, you will be one of the very first people inside.
The park turnstiles generally open 30 minutes earlier than posted. If you're early, you can usually enter up to the ropes and when the park officially opens, you will hear an announcement and the cast members will pull back the ropes. This is called "rope drop." Once the rope drops, you can enter the rest of the park and go straight to the rides. For the most popular ride, such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you'll follow cast members in a single file line to the ride after rope drop.
One of the best ways to maximize your time at Disneyland and get the most out of your day is to be one of the first people in the park.
7. Snag a locker.
Lockers can be a lifesaver (and a back saver). 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 all of your gear around, yet isn't out of the way for a quick stop for more sunscreen, layers and such.
8. Download the Disneyland mobile app and prepare to use Disney Genie and other features.
Life. Save. Er. Download the Disneyland mobile app before you arrive. It has wait times, show listings, character locations, park maps, restaurant menus and so much more. You can show your barcode at the gate for admission when you first arrive at the park! Having the Disneyland mobile app is necessary for using Mobile Order for food. Some dining locations only accept Mobile Order right now. Order meals ahead of time so you don't get caught hungry. You can also purchase PhotoPass+ through the app so you can get all your PhotoPass downloads.
You'll need to use the app to access virtual queues if they are activated. Two rides were only accessible via a virtual queue, but now they operate with a standby line:
However, the Disneyland app states that, at busy times, the park may open a virtual queue for them. You will have to be in the respective theme park to join the virtual queue.
Disney Genie is a new feature in the Disneyland app. It helps you plan and customizes your day and itinerary based on your interests.
You can use the Disneyland app before you arrive. Set up your account ahead of time. You can link your park tickets so you will be ready to make your park reservations. You may want to look ahead at restaurant menus to see what's available and plan dining (60 days in advance) or even make dining reservations through the app. If you miss getting dining reservations, you can use the app to join a walk-up waitlist in the park when available.
9. Follow these tips for the shortest wait times.
Follow these tips to find the shortest lines:
- Arrive early before park opening.
- At Disneyland, focus on Indiana Jones Adventure, Haunted Mansion and Pirates just after park opening or at the end of the night.
- Now that Rise of the Resistance has a standby line, you might want to watch its wait times in the app. Its line closes early, usually at 8 p.m.
- At Disney California Adventure, focus on Radiator Springs Racers and Toy Story Midway Mania! at park opening. Now that WEB SLINGERS has a standby line, you might want to head there early as well.
- Follow a touring plan (recently updated!).
- Check the Disneyland app for wait times.
- Focus on characters and shorter lines midday.
- Stay late to take advantage of shorter evening lines.
- Hop in a line before closing.
- Keep in mind that wait times may be faster than posted times.
- Consider paying for Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane to use the Lightning Lane and skip the standby line.
10. Use Genie+ to schedule ride return times and use PhotoPass.
Free FASTPASS and paid MaxPass services have been retired. A new paid option called Disney Genie+ replaces the old paid MaxPass.
PhotoPass downloads are included in Disney Genie+. Hop over to our PhotoPass post for the deets.
As for Disney Genie+, the ultimate way to maximize your time at Disneyland comes with a small price tag. Disney Genie+ is an optional add-on service that costs $20 per day, per person. It allows users to make Lighting Lane (the new name for FASTPASS return lines) selections from their smartphones one at a time to skip the standby lines for certain attractions. You can only use the Lightning Lane one time per ride, per day.
Disneyland Park Disney Genie+ Attractions
You can start making Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane reservations once you have entered the park for the day. Here are the attractions that are available on Disney Genie+:
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion / Haunted Mansion Holiday
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- "it's a small world" / “it’s a small world” Holiday
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (closing for Toontown refurbishment in March 2022 through TBD)
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours — The Adventures Continue
Disney California Adventure Disney Genie+ Attractions
- Goofy's Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Guardians of the Galaxy — Misson: BREAKOUT! / Monsters After Dark
- Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
- Soarin' Around the World
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
There are some limitations to Disney Genie+. Many of the rides in the park are not on it. Certain high-demand attractions are not included, but you can pay to skip the lines for those rides through individual Lightning Lane selections. You may choose up to two of these attractions per day and may not book the same ride twice. Pricing varies per date, attraction and park. Hop back for more details as we continue to learn the ins and outs of Disney Genie at Disneyland. Standby lines remain available for free.
The following new or popular attractions are available for individual Lightning Lane selections:
- Radiator Springs Racers (standby line and Single Rider line remain open for no additional charge)
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure (standby line remains open for no additional charge)
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (standby line remains open for no additional charge)
The price can vary per ride and day (between $7 and $20 per person, per ride for front-of-the-line access). You may only purchase each ride once and a maximum of two different individual Lightning Lane selections per day. You may make these selections once you enter the park for the day.
11. Take advantage of Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hours (temporarily unavailable).
While Magic Morning and Extra Magic Hours are temporarily unavailable, we still recommend arriving early to the park gates. Be there an hour early if you can. Parking lots open one hour before park opening. The parks usually let guests in early for rope drop. You may not have a dedicated hour, but you'll be way ahead of the crowds if you arrive early. You can usually knock out the most popular rides right away.
The only way you benefit from the Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hours (EMH) (once they return) is if you actually show up early for them. Both allow one-hour early admission into the parks, a huge leap 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!
12. If you are an early bird not staying on-site, start the day in the park not hosting Extra Magic Hours.
This is not applicable at this time. The good news is that both parks generally open the gates early at this time.
Your Disneyland visit gets easier and easier not having to keep track of which park is open early. Admittedly, these hours are an annoyance to people who don't get to take advantage of them (#JustJealous). Arrive early at the park you reserved and you will be fine. Again, below is our advice for how to enjoy your morning in the park that is not hosting early morning entry once this benefit resumes.
Even if you arrive ahead of park opening, the park with Extra Magic Hours or Magic Morning will have more people in it, and you’ll encounter some lines and fewer immediate Disney Genie+ options. You're better off heading to the opposite park. You can usually enter the other park 30-minutes early, but you will have access to the entire park once the rope drops at the official opening time.
13. 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.
If you're set on riding Radiator Springs Racers first thing, you won't be alone. You can hit this ride first after rope drop. However, many other people have the same idea. If the ride doesn't open right away, aim for Toy Story Midway Mania! or WEB SLINGERS instead.
14. Use Rider Switch if you have young children who don't meet the height requirements.
Rider Switch is still available — yay! If you have tadpoles who aren't tall enough to ride (or don’t want to ride), go to the entrance of the ride with the entire party and get a digital Rider Switch return window added to the supervising parent’s park ticket (along with up to two other people). One parent can supervise the tadpole(s) while the rest of the party rides; then, once the riders return, the supervising parent can have a turn to ride while skipping the line. Some members of the first party can also be part of the second party and ride with the first supervising parent when they take their turn, but they have to scan their tickets in advance before their first ride because they can’t change their minds later. Hop over to our Disneyland height requirements and Rider Switch post to see how your tadpoles measure up.
15. Only have one person in your party make Disney Genie+ selections (for now, appoint a master scheduler).
Collecting FASTPASSes is a thing of the past now that free FASTPASS is gone and so are the distribution machines. If you opt to pay for Disney Genie+, have one person make selections and keep track of everything that is happening in the park and set an itinerary. When the hard work of planning pays off, let the rest of the party think it all just magically worked out. It's easier to make ride selections for the whole party to ensure that you all get the same ride windows so you can ride together. You may find it easier to select rides for the entire party rather than individually.
16. Park hop.
To hop or not to hop? It's much easier to hop at Disneyland than it is at Disney World. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park are just a short hop, skip and jump away from each other. With the entrances maybe a one-minute walk apart, park hopping can be an effective way to maximize your time at Disneyland. During this time, you may hop after 1 p.m. and can hop back and forth between parks after that. Hopping is subject to park capacity, but it has not been a problem yet.
Double check the calendar, but Disney California Adventure usually closes earlier than Disneyland. When Disney California Adventure Park closes, you can head to Disneyland for a final ride or two. We like to end our night with Gibson Girl ice cream (order ahead via Mobile Order). We recommend starting in Disney California Adventure and then hopping over to Disneyland. That's often the easier ticket to buy right now. You might purchase early to get your start at Disneyland.
Allow at least 30 minutes from entering one park before entering the other park or you might get delayed at the gate for hopping too quickly. Here are more tips on choosing the best Disneyland ticket.
We do have some money-saving advice for park hopping. You'll pay the same $60 to add park hopping to a 1-Day ticket as you would a 5-Day ticket. So the more days on your ticket, the cheaper the price you'll be paying per day of park hopping. Fun! (Psst ... you can save even more when you buy a park hopper through your favorite froggy friends.)
17. Have a plan and prioritize attractions.
You want to visit the attractions with the longest waits when they have 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. Save time in the Dole Whip line.
Securing this delightful dessert with a massive following takes some strategy. Indulge in your Dole Whip by using Mobile Order from the Tiki Juice Bar. Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland is walk-up only.
Use Disneyland Mobile Order Service and skip the line to order. In fact, at peak times, the Tiki Juice Bar only accepts Mobile Order. The line is shrinking now that there are now TWO Dole Whip locations in Disneyland Park! You can also pick up your pineapple Dole Whip (as well as raspberry and mango favors and other favorite snacks) from the Tropical Hideaway restaurant in Adventureland (which is not available via Mobile Order). During holidays, you might even see some unique flavors make brief appearances!
19. Buy your souvenirs ahead of time.
Yes, who doesn't want a Disneyland hat, spirit jersey, set of ears, plush, pin, framed artwork and all the other tempting Disney trinkets? We all want a little something special from the parks, but we prefer to buy souvenirs online and at discount shops to give to Tad and Lily ahead of the trip. This saves us time spent in the shops and also money. Plus, if you arrive with your souvenir Disney clothes, you can wear them in the park! They look great in photos.
20. Wait until the end of the evening to shop.
If you must shop, wait until the park closes. The shops on Main Street, U.S.A. and Buena Vista Street are open an hour after the parks close. Also, World of Disney in Downtown Disney is open after Disneyland closes.
21. Save the shows or sit-down experiences for later in the day.
The parks are the least busy during the first few hours of the day. You don't want to find yourself in a 30-minute show when Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Alice in Wonderland will see their lowest waits of the day! When lines peak in the afternoon, it’s showtime (and a good time to rest those legs). Don't avoid the theaters though. Many of the show stages will set the stage for physically distanced character sightings.
As you may have guessed, shows are not something to worry about for a little while longer, but new entertainment returns to the Fantasyland Theater in February and spring 2022! Fireworks and projection shows are back! World of Color and Fantasmic! return spring 2022!
Save certain sit-down experiences for the afternoon such as Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room or the Disneyland Railroad at Disneyland Park, or Turtle Talk with Crush or Mickey's PhilharMagic at Disney California Adventure. They give your flippers a little break. And in the case of the Disneyland Railroad, it also serves as transportation. Longer rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean and "it's a small world" make for nice air-conditioned breaks.
22. Make use of the Single Rider Line or Buddy Pass.
Single Rider is a great way to maximize your time at Disneyland. Ride operators use single riders to fill empty seats.
If you don't mind splitting your group up on the actual ride, you can experience the following attractions at super low waits on select attractions (Single Rider availability may vary per ride per day at this time):
Disneyland Single Rider Attractions
- Indiana Jones Adventure (may be temporarily unavailable)
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Space Mountain (may be temporarily unavailable)
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours (may be temporarily unavailable)
Disney California Adventure Single Rider Attractions
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Goofy's Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
Buddy Pass is a similar option to reduce the wait for small parties at Disney California Adventure. Monster’s Inc. and Toy Story Midway Mania may offer Buddy Passes to parties of one or two (as well as up to two adults and a small child) at certain times. Buddy Pass holders enter a separate line and fill in empty rows as they come up. Buddy Pass is subject to availability.
23. Know when and where to find your favorite characters.
While a handful of Disney characters have their own dedicated meet-and-greet stations, many of them roam freely at Disneyland ... normally. However, meet and greets are distanced and in new places now. You can catch several characters at the Main Street Train Station at Disneyland or the Carthay Circle Fountain at California Adventure. You can talk to princesses in Fantasy Fair, or chat up Captain Jack Sparrow or Redd at New Orleans Square. Toon Town has characters outside their houses (until March 2022), and Avengers Campus has many characters around to meet.
You'll also see characters playing in new locations. We have caught characters playing in a grassy area near the hub. Look to the raised area across from "it's a small world." We recently caught Winnie the Pooh back in Critter Country. You can wait in line to have your own time with him, but he is still distanced behind a rope.
The Disneyland mobile app does not offer character locations at this time, so keep your eyes open and look for them in unusual spots. Also, character-helping cast members — usually in red vests and hanging out with the characters — will let you know if and when you can catch your favorite.
Character cavalcades are traveling through the parks in the afternoons. You can catch them on the parade route in Disneyland and the Paradise Gardens Park area of Disney California Adventure. Times can vary so ask a cast member in the morning about cavalcade times.
Check out our tips on meeting your favorite Disneyland characters! We've added some new tips for finding characters now, while characters will be mixing and mingling from a safe distance. We look for characters when attraction lines peak.
24. Cozy up to your favorite characters at breakfast.
A character meal is a great way to see a bunch of your favorite characters all at once. To really maximize your time at Disneyland, schedule a breakfast before the park opens. Character dining has begun to return. Hop over to our character dining post to see which locations are open and what they are like at this time, since the experience is slightly modified.
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 the top 10 don'ts for getting lost in the theme park (this post is focused on Disney World but our tips remain the same elsewhere!).
26. Pack your own snacks and water.
This is always good advice. You'll save time, money and meltdowns by packing your own snacks and water (just no glass bottles). Fill stations and drinking fountains are open, plus you can usually ask for free ice water from a restaurant. Having your own snacks will also help you to reduce contact with employees and surfaces.
27. Make dining reservations or check the walk-up availability
Knowing when and where you're going to eat can be a timesaver. By eliminating the time it takes to consider your options, hopping right to your restaurant really speeds up your day. Visit the Disneyland website or the Disneyland mobile app to see your options and reserve. Our three favorite spots are the Blue Bayou Restaurant in New Orleans Square, Carthay Circle Restaurant on Buena Vista Street and Lamplight Lounge at Pixar Pier. Café Orleans has fun food too (such as the Monte Cristo and pommes frites). Disneyland dining reservations open 60 days in advance at 3 a.m., but keep checking back.
Restaurant availability and menus still vary. If you don't get reservations, you can check the Disneyland app. When you're near the restaurant, open the restaurant page and tap Join Walk-Up List. You might get lucky with this new feature and score a table.
28. Eat during off-peak hours or dine on the move.
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 3 p.m to 5 p.m. Here are some of our Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure quick-service favorites. Enjoy outdoor tables set up in new places around that park so you can enjoy the beautiful views.
You can save some time by dining on Disneyland eats that can be enjoyed on the move. Turkey legs, corn dogs, meat skewers, and chili cone queso (in Cars Land) are all compact enough to be munched on while you're moving in normal times. Hop over for help in finding the best on-the-go Disneyland foods for when you need a light meal.
29. Plan your visit to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
Disneyland's newest land takes a little planning if certain experiences are important to you. You can make advance reservations to build a lightsaber at Savi's Workshop or visit Oga's Cantina. Reservations have reopened to build a droid at Droid Depot. Learn more about how to make the most of your time in Batuu from our galactic guide to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. You can maximize your time in the park by saving your visit to the land for later in the day when the lines may be shorter and the land will be less sunny or hot.
30. Use the Mobile Order service.
The days of long food lines are gone! With Disneyland's Mobile Order service, you can order food from anywhere. Make a food order while you're in line for a ride, at the back of the long restaurant line or even in your hotel room. Just stop by the Mobile Order window and pick up your food. Many restaurants inside Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa currently offer Mobile Order.
With more people using Mobile Order, even the mobile waits are bound to get long, especially for popular spots at meal times. If you know where you want to eat and approximately when, order early. You can choose an order window that is several hours away. You can always cancel or change it to later if you can't make it until you tap "I'm here, Prepare my order". But it's smart to plan ahead. We know you're supposed to wait until you arrive to say you're there, but it takes time to prepare the food, so we always tap ahead of time while we walk over. Order ahead for popular spots. You can now mobile order treats from the candy shops too!
Our new time-saving move at breakfast is to mobile order breakfast at Galactic Grill while we ride the Monorail into the park. When we arrive in Tomorrowland, breakfast is served!
31. Bring your own lunch.
If you really want to save time and money, 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 in a locker outside of the park near the Picnic Area. No glass containers, loose ice or dry ice are allowed through security.
32. Pack the essentials.
Don't forget sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, cell phone cords, chargers, battery packs and band-aids. Using the Disneyland app on your phone can drain your battery. It doesn't rain very 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 eight essential rainy day tips!
We have a new list of essential items now that COVID-19 is around. We bring our own hand sanitizer for preference or convenience, but you can find it everywhere in the park. We bring multiple face coverings. The masks get sweaty or dirty, so it's nice to swap them out for a fresh one. Plus, they are easy to lose, so you want a backup. We also remember to reapply sunscreen on the tops of our faces so we don't get an embarrassing mask line.
33. Know when the different park areas close.
Mickey's Toontown — where you'll find Mickey, Minnie, other characters and more family rides — closes earlier than the rest of the park on nights with fireworks. It sometimes opens an hour after park opening. Toontown will be closing for a big refurbishment in March 2022 to prepare for the opening of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway in 2023. Star Wars:
Rise of the Resistance usually closes early. Check the hours. We like to hop in line right before it closes for a short wait.
At Disney California Adventure, several Pixar Pier and Paradise Gardens Park attractions, food and merchandise locations close prior to World of Color performances during normal operations. The following attractions close prior to World of Color (once it returns in 2022):
- Games of Pixar Pier
- Jessie's Critter Carousel
- Toy Story Midway Mania
- Pixar Pal-A-Round
- Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
- Silly Symphony Swings
- Jumpin’ Jellyfish
- Golden Zephyr
If you want to ride the Incredicoaster at night (our favorite time to ride!), you’d better ride it before World of Color. The park often closes just before or after the last World of Color show.
Even without shows affecting the ride and land openings and closings, you may see different hours than usual at this time.
34. Plan meals around parade times and showtimes or restaurant hours.
Choosing a great spot for Fantasmic!, World of Color or the fireworks is a rite of passage in our Frog 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, corn dogs, fried chicken from Plaza Inn or other grab-and-go type foods for the rest of the family. While we wait for the show to start, we eat sitting down!
Fireworks have returned! We say to check restaurant operating hours and plan ahead so you don't go hungry. Mobile Order in advance so you don't miss out!
35. See the second show (once shows return).
During the busiest times of the year, there are often two showings of the parades and Fantasmic! The later you stay, the less time you need to stake out a viewing location for these shows. When there is a later World of Color show, the crowds tend to be much thinner for the second show.
36. Plan for Fantasmic! or World of Color early in the day (returning 2022).
With FASTPASSes being retired, we aren't sure how large shows such as World of Color and Fantasmic! will work with the new Disney Genie+ service. These shows are temporarily unavailable. The shows were available through MaxPass, so you could reserve them from your smartphone as soon as you entered a park for the day, or free with FASTPASS. That also means they disappeared even faster! They were not connected to the rest of the system, so you could obtain these FASTPASSes without worrying that they would affect your ability to obtain ride FASTPASSes. Keep hopping back for updates as more details are released once Fantasmic! returns.
37. Save any of the attractions with long waits that 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. If you're already in line when the parks close, you can stay in line and ride. We enjoy riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance right before it closes. Check the ride's hours in the app since it closes early.
38. Ride during showtimes.
The wait times drop significantly for rides in New Orleans Square and Critter Country during Fantasmic!, making show time the best time to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain. You may also find shorter lines in Disneyland during fireworks and at available rides at Disney California Adventure during World of Color if the park is still open.
39. Make sure you're in a ride line when the park closes.
Once you're in a line, you will get to ride, even if it's already past the park's closing time. Just hop in line before the park closes. Keep in mind that some rides close early, such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
40. Catch the Flag Retreat.
In Town Square, the patriotic flag retreat is still hoppening each day. It's slightly modified, but it occurs at 4:30 p.m. daily. Grab a bench and enjoy!
We hope you've enjoyed our tips to maximize your time at Disneyland. Do you already follow any of these tips? Have a tip we haven't listed? Share in the comments below! If you're looking for Disneyland tickets, you can save on multi-day tickets through Undercover Tourist.
Related: Best Time to Visit Disneyland