As long-time Disney frog-natics, Disney is practically our home, second to our humble lily pad. Disneyland trips 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 and finally back to normal. We always plan to make the very most of our Disneyland day. And we want the same for you — you've taken a frogtastic step in planning a Disneyland trip! 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 Disneyland tips that will help you maximize your time.
A new Disney Genie service is available in the Disneyland app. Disney Genie+ is a paid service that replaces MaxPass (and FASTPASS). As the Genie+ gurus, we're sharing what we know about this tool, as well as how to maximize your time at Disneyland.
40 Disneyland Tips to Maximize Your Time
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. 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+ at the lowest prices! BTW, we toadally recommend purchasing Genie+ tickets for two reasons: 1) You can lock in the lowest price, and 2) You'll be covered if Genie+ sells out that day.
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 now park hop as early as 11 a.m.!
Don't purchase tickets at the ticket booth because if there aren't any reservations left that day, you will not get in. Also, 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. Keep an eye out for our ticket sales and promos!
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. Our Disneyland events guide can also fill you in on fun festivals and entertainment so you can plan your trip to experience them.
Here are two additional links you may find hopful 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 the property. The three on-site hotels — Disneyland Hotel, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel (soon to be Pixar Place Hotel) — are creatively themed with great Disney touches (plus you can save money by booking your stay through us!).
The hotel guest security screening usually 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. Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel also has a dedicated entrance into Disney California Adventure. Any on-site hotel guest with a room key can use it.
A huge perk to staying at a Disneyland Resort hotel is Early Entry. Only hotel guests with room keys may access select rides, restaurants and shops in either theme park (with ticket and reservation) 30 minutes before everyone else.
4. Can't Stay on Property? 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 waiting for transportation. 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 phones, 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 head through Frontierland.
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.
On-site hotel guests have access to Early Entry to select attractions 30 minutes before park opening. To take advantage of this be at security an hour and 15 minutes before park opening.
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 Get Familiar With Its Features (Including Disney Genie)
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. Order meals ahead of time so you don't get caught hungry, but be sure to cancel or modify if the pickup time doesn't work.
Select experiences, specifically Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, may require guests to join a special virtual queue in order to ride at times, which can be accessed via the Disneyland app. There are two opportunities throughout the day to join the virtual queue for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. PT. You can confirm your party as early as 6 a.m. on the day of your visit and check for any available boarding group starting at 7 a.m. If you miss the first virtual queue, no need to worry! Later, you can confirm your party through the Disneyland app at noon and search for a boarding group at 1 p.m. If successful, you’ll receive a notification that it’s your group’s turn to board through the app as well.
Keep in mind that Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway now offers a standby line! The virtual queue for this ride will only be required on a needed basis (when the park is very crowded).
You can also use the app to access the virtual queue for World of Color — One (it opens at noon each day for guests who have entered a theme park).
Don’t froget — if the virtual queue is used for more than one ride in one day, you will need to enter these queues one at a time. However, you can enter a virtual queue for a ride and an entertainment experience (such as the World of Color — One) at the same time.
Since the attractions using virtual queues are subject to change in the future, check the Disneyland app just before your visit — and again before 7 a.m. on the day of your visit — to see which experiences will require a 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 can link MagicBand+ ahead of time too.
You may want to look ahead at restaurant menus to see what's available and plan dining (60 days in advance about 6 a.m.) and 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 9 p.m., but it can vary.
- At Disney California Adventure, focus on rides without Genie+ at park opening.
- Follow a park plan.
- 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 park 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.
- Use Single Rider lines when available (if your party is able to split up).
- Hotel guests should take advantage of Early Entry. Hotel guests can enter either theme park 30 minutes before park opening for select attractions, shopping and dining.
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 starts at $25 per day, per person. The price can vary per day if you purchase in the park. It allows users to make Lightning 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 (returning March 19, 2023)
- 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!
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
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 over to our guide that outlines 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)
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (standby line remains open for no additional charge)
- Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway (standby line is now available for this ride)
The price can vary per ride and day (between $7 and $25 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 Early Entry for Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests
Disneyland Resort hotel guests with park tickets and a reservation can enter either theme park 30 minutes before it opens. People with Early Entry can access select rides, restaurants and stores during that time.
12. Consider a Show Dining Package
You can save time and score a great viewing area for the parade, Fantasmic! and World of Color with dining packages. After all, you need to eat, so this solves two problems — where to eat and where to watch the show. Plus, people camp out for over two hours for some shows, so you'll save some time there. If you cannot get a reservation, try to join the Walk-Up List in the Disneyland app for table-service dining locations and ask to upgrade to the dining package.
13. Do Not Head to the Most Popular Rides First
If you're set on riding Radiator Springs Racers first thing, for example, you won't be alone. You can hit this ride first after rope drop if you want to. However, many other people have the same idea and the line can be long right after park opening. Instead, head to Guardians of the Galaxy or WEB SLINGERS and then hit the other Cars Land rides with short waits before committing to Radiator Springs Racers. Use the Single Rider line in the morning to practically walk right on! The Pixar Pier area is the least crowded in the morning. You can also accomplish a lot by starting there before heading to Radiator Springs Racers.
14. Use Rider Switch if Needed
Rider Switch is available to families with small children — 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. Appoint One Genie+ Wizard
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. At this time, you may hop after 11 a.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. You can usually get through all the major rides in California Adventure before hop time, especially if you use Genie+ and Single Rider.
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 Disneyland tips on choosing the best ticket.
We do have some money-saving advice for park hopping. You'll pay $65 to add park hopping to a 1-Day ticket but only $60 to add park hopping to 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. Use MagicBand+
MagicBands have made their way to Disneyland. While all the capabilities of this magical bracelet are still developing at Disneyland, you can use it to save some time and get your head out of your phone. You can link the MagicBand+ to your park ticket or Magic Key pass. Use it to enter the theme park, redeem a Lightning Lane, quickly capture images from a PhotoPass photographer and so much more. It streamlines your day.
Besides helping you save time (and your phone battery), it's also fun. MagicBand+ interacts with nighttime entertainment, shows in Avengers Campus and attractions, and can be used to hunt bounty in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Learn more in our MagicBand at Disneyland post.
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).
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
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Splash Mountain
- Space Mountain
Disney California Adventure Single Rider Attractions
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Goofy's Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Buddy Pass is a similar option to reduce the wait for small parties at Disney California Adventure. Monsters Inc. 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. You are more likely to find it open at Monster's Inc. than for Toy Story Midway Mania, which has not used Buddy Pass since the parks have reopened.
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. You can catch several characters at Town Square at Disneyland or near the Carthay Circle Fountain at California Adventure. You can talk to princesses in the Royal Hall at Fantasy Faire, or chat up Captain Jack Sparrow or Redd at New Orleans Square. Mickey's Toontown has characters outside their houses and wandering around the land the whole day. Avengers Campus, in California Adventure, also has many characters around to meet.
You'll also see characters playing in new locations. Look to the raised area across from "it's a small world." Pooh and friends are back in Critter Country. Anna and Elsa are back in the Animation Building. Some characters wander freely in their lands.
The Disneyland mobile app offers some character locations. 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 travel through Disneyland park in the afternoons. You can catch them on the parade route in Disneyland. Check the Disneyland app for cavalcade times.
Check out our tips on meeting your favorite Disneyland characters! We've added some new tips for finding characters now that meet and greets have returned.
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 or stop for brunch after a morning in the park. It's so nice to have the characters come to you while you dine. Talk about maximizing time! Hop over to our character dining post to choose the best one for you!
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 (or Lunch)
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. Avoid the lines with instant snacks when the tadpoles start to crash.
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.
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 6 a.m. PT, but keep checking back if you don't see any dining times that work for you.
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, chimichangas, corn dogs, meat skewers and chili cone queso (in Cars Land) are all compact enough to be munched on while you're moving. 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 Park'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, visit Oga's Cantina or 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. If Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is a priority for you, hop over to our post for tips for riding Rise of Resistance.
30. Use the Mobile Order Service
The days of long food and Dole Whip 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 mealtimes. 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. Plan an Extra Day for Holidays or Festivals
If you are visiting for the Disney 100, Lunar New Year, Food and Wine Festival, Halloween Time or Holiday Time, add an extra day to your visit. Disneyland has so much extra must-see entertainment during festivals and celebrations that you do not want to feel stressed to do and see it all. The daily projection shows usually only have fireworks added Friday through Sunday, except in summer and Holiday Time, when fireworks are nightly. You'll want to be sure to reserve a weekend night to see the full show.
As of Jan. 27, 2023, there are all-new fireworks and World of Color shows for Disney 100, plus the Magic Happens parade is back as of Feb. 24, 2023. All of these shows will take some time to get in place and watch, so allow time in your schedule to catch this amazing entertainment. And did we mention the food? All the festivals and celebrations offer many new foods and beverages to try.
32. Pack the Essentials
Don't froget 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 also have a Disneyland weather post. It takes you month-by-month on what you need to pack to be prepared.
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 but reopens later on. Now open to the public, as of March 19, 2023, Mickey's Toontown provides guests with the opportunity to meet several of Mickey's pals throughout the day, including Donald Duck, Steamboat Pete, Goofy, Pluto and Clarabelle Cow! You can also catch the park's newest ride, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, there. The land will typically close fromm 8-10 p.m. for fireworks shows.
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance usually closes early, so 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. However, in the coming weeks, Incredicoaster, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind and Jumpin’ Jellyfish may run later than usual in the evening during “World of Color – One” performances. The following attractions tend to close prior to World of Color:
- Games of Pixar Pier
- Jessie's Critter Carousel
- Pixar Pal-A-Round
- Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind
- Silly Symphony Swings
- Jumpin’ Jellyfish
- Golden Zephyr
However, in the coming weeks, Incredicoaster, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind and Jumpin’ Jellyfish may run later than usual in the evening during “World of Color – One” performances.
Keep in mind that Toy Story Midway Mania remains open during World of Color and has the shortest line of the night at that time!
If you want to ride the Incredicoaster at night (our favorite time to ride!), you can ride it during World of Color for a limited time! The park often closes just before or after the last World of Color show. The ride usually closes well before the first show.
34. Plan Meals Around Parade Times, Showtimes or Restaurant Hours
Choosing a great spot for Magic Happens, 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," or "snack 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!
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
During the busiest times of the year, there are often two showings of the parades, World of Color 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, especially since it may take place after the park is officially closed. Even the virtual queue viewing areas are much less crowded, as people leave before the show. For Fantasmic! jump in place after the fireworks or the first show ends.
36. Plan for World of Color in Advance
World of Color uses a virtual queue for the main viewing areas. Although it's free, spaces go quickly. You can join the virtual queue at noon each day. Follow our World of Color post for tips on viewing this amazing show with colorful fountains, projection, music and special effects. There are dining packages and a dessert party that also provide a reserved area to stand. Wear your MagicBand+ and watch it light up with the show!
37. Save Attractions with Long Waits Until 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 showtime 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. Nobody seems to know that Toy Story Midway Mania! is open during the 9 p.m. World of Color showtime. You can often walk right on!
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.
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