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20 Cool Tips for Visiting Disneyland in Summer 2022

by Leap on June 14, 2022 2 Los Angeles

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - PinterestIt's summer at Disneyland Resort, and one thing is clear: Disneyland is pretty much back to a normal summer. Usually, summer is peak season at Disneyland, but in 2022, capacity is still controlled by an advanced reservation system. That means there's a little planning ahead to be done before the fun! You no longer need to wear a face covering in the parks or on park transportation but hop over to our mask policy post before your visit for any changes and the latest news. Physical distancing guidelines are gone. Character hugs are back and nighttime spectaculars have returned! Character cavalcades now travel through the parks, plus the Main Street Electrical Parade lights up the parade route at night. Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park turns one and has new characters making appearances!

If you're gearing up for a summer vacation or staycation, no doubt you're looking for a few tips to save your time and sanity. Never fear, the Frog Family is here! We bring you our trusted tips for tackling Disneyland in the summer.

The Frog Family's Hop Tips for Disneyland in Summer 2022

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Big Thunder Mountain

1. Stay Close or On-Site

Whether you live locally and are looking for a staycation or are coming from more distant areas, if there were ever a time and reason to stay on-site or close by, it's during the summer months to beat the crowds. We prefer to stay within walking distance of the parks so we don't have to worry about parking and can easily hop back to the hotel in the afternoon for a nap or a swim. It's so nice to escape the afternoon crowds and heat for a bit to make the most of morning and evening time.

We recently stayed at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa on a warm weekend. It was so nice to hit the pool midday! It is right next to the hotel entrance to Disney California Adventure. After cooling off, we hopped back to the theme parks, refreshed and ready for nighttime entertainment. Mommy Frog and I eased our aching flippers with a foot massage at the spa, which is also right near the pool and theme park entrance. It really helped us make it from rope drop to fireworks with hoppy feet.

Several of the off-site hotels are even closer to the parks than some of the on-site hotels, and they can help you save money. Did you know you can book your hotel near Disneyland with us for a hoppin' good discount? We also offer discounts for the Disneyland Resort hotels! Disney's Grand Californian HotelDisney's Paradise Pier Hotel and Disneyland Hotel are all open now! On-site hotel guests have a better theme park reservation availability than other park guests.

2. Get Park Hopper Tickets

The multi-day Park Hopper tickets aren't that much more expensive at Disneyland than regular admission, and they will let you hop back and forth between the parks, which are right across from each other on the esplanade. It costs the same amount to add park hopping to a 1-Day ticket as it does for a 5-Day ticket. This summer, you'll reserve a park to start your day in, and then you can hop to the other park and back after 1 p.m.

In fact, as summer days start to book up, you may notice that Park Hopper tickets have better theme park availability than 1-Park per day tickets. This hopful link to the availability calendar shows current availability for 1-Park, Park Hopper and Disneyland Resort hotel guests.

3. Make Use of Disneyland Resort Hotel Perks

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Girls arrive at Disneyland before it opens

Guests staying on-site are close to the action, but they also get the benefit of having Early Entry to the theme parks. Hotel guests may enter the parks to access select rides, restaurants and shops 30 minutes before the parks open as of Aug. 8, 2022. If you're staying on-site, you definitely don't want to skip out on your Early Entry park time, when each park opens 30 minutes early every day. Keep in mind that the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is not open during Early Entry.

Another hotel guest benefit that returns Aug. 8 is being able to send packages to the hotel. Pool parties with characters and paddle board classes in pools are also available this summer.

4. Stay at Least Three Days at Disneyland in Summer

During the busy summer months, three days will give you enough time to experience the best of both parks. We suggest two days of Disneyland and one at Disney California Adventure. Park hopping is cheaper per day with a multi-day ticket. It's $60 whether you add it to a 1-Day ticket or a 5-Day ticket, so it really makes more financial sense to park hop with a multi-day ticket.

Also, a 3-Day ticket (or any multi-day ticket) will save money per day and not be subject to tiers and blackout dates like the 1-Day tickets are. You have 13 days after the first use to visit. You will need to reserve all days in advance, as days do fill up. (Psst ... you can save even more when you purchase discount Disneyland Resort tickets from your favorite froggy friends. Just remember to make a theme park reservation as soon as you receive your tickets via email!)

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Jessie's Critter Carousel

5. Arrive Early

The first few hours of the day in the parks see the very lowest crowds. The last few hours in the evenings during and after fireworks are also light. If you are walking from your hotel, you should plan to arrive an hour early to get through security and entrance lines. If you are driving, the parking lots open one hour before the earliest theme park opening time. Arriving before park opening is another one of our survival tips for Disneyland in summer. You'll avoid the lines and the heat. Then you can focus on shows, characters, food and other experiences once the lines get long.

Keep in mind that all guests can enter the theme parks 30 minutes early, every day. Entering early before rope drop (official park opening, when guests can access the attractions) is the best way to knock out some of the most popular rides without a wait! Guests at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel have a dedicated entrance to Disney California Adventure Park, which makes it easy.

6. Check the Ride Closures

Before you head to the parks and make your touring plans, check our Disneyland ride refurbishments. We also keep an updated list of what's open at Disneyland (and closed) since just a couple remaining attractions will reopen at a later date. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is open as of July 25, 2022!

7. Learn How to Find the Shortest Waits

We frogs know a few ways to skip the lines. We've already discussed arriving early and staying late. We also offer touring plans to help you find your way through the most attractions. While we do enjoy a bit of spontaneity in our day, a touring plan helps us hit the most popular attractions before lines form, enjoy rides with consistent or low wait times (and do other things) midday and jump in dwindling lines before park closure. Consult the wait times in the Disneyland app to find the shortest waits. You can also use the free Genie feature in the Disneyland app. You can input your interests and Genie will make suggestions for when to ride rides with the shortest wait. Don't get this confused with the option paid Genie+, which we will get into shortly.

If all the riders of your party are at least 7 years old and OK with being separated on rides to fill empty seats, using Single Rider lines can shave hours off of your day. If you have smaller tadpoles who are not tall enough or brave enough to ride, ask the cast member at the ride entrance about Rider Switch before riding. Our guide to Disneyland height requirements and Rider Switch can get you up to speed. One more thing: You can skip food lines with Mobile Order. We will get into more detail about that in a little bit.

8. Use Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Genie in front of Monorail

Both FASTPASS and MaxPass have been retired. The FASTPASS return entrances remain and are now called Lightning Lanes. There are two main ways to access these lines, which bypass the standard queues for a shorter time in line. Genie+ is an optional paid service that allows you to make Lightning Lane selections on your phone for up to 19 rides across the resort. Genie+ comes with unlimited PhotoPass photo downloads. Most thrill rides and a few other popular rides are on Genie+, but there are a lot of rides that just have one standby line. Three of the most in-demand rides are not on Genie+, but they have Lightning Lane access too. For those rides, you can pay for individual access to skip the line if you wish, whether or not you use Genie+.

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Scanning into Lightning Lane

Guests cannot start making Genie+ or individual Lightning Lane selections until they have entered a theme park for the day. You can purchase discount Disneyland tickets already loaded with Genie+ or purchase Genie+ each day through the Disneyland app once you have entered the park. We have a couple of hopful posts to explain Genie+ and individual Lightning Lanes in more detail:

If you are familiar with Genie+ and individual Lightning Lanes at Disney World, definitely read up on how to use these services at Disneyland as things operate differently between the parks. The good news is that there are a lot more choices throughout the day at Disneyland. Also, both rides that offer individual Lightning Lane lines at Disney California Adventure have Single Rider, so that's a way to skip the line without paying any extra money.

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Radiator Springs Racers

9. Don't Head to the Most Popular Attractions First

What? Really? Yes! Especially if you are using Genie+, you can hit some of the less-busy attractions first because their lines will be very short. The most popular rides will have everyone heading there first. Go hit a lot of rides without Genie+ in a short period of time instead of standing in one hour-long (or longer) line for the most popular rides. Then use your Genie+ strategically to ride those rides when the lines are long.

To make the most of your time, follow our touring plan for Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure. We have park plans for each of the parks, including park hopper plans. In short, here's our advice: At Disneyland, hit Indiana Jones Adventure, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean first as soon as the park opens. An alternative is to hit all the Fantasyland rides at park opening, but save the most popular one, Peter Pan's Flight, until the end of your run since the line is instantly long if you are not one of the first people on it. Go ride it when all the other lines are long since it stays pretty consistent. Go ride a lot of rides in a short time at park opening instead of waiting in one long line.

At Disney California Adventure, you'll want to ride Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Rollickin's Roadsters before hitting the Radiator Springs Racers Single Rider line. An alternative plan is to head straight to Pixar Pier and hit Incredicoaster, Toy Story Midway Mania!, Pixar Pal-A-Round and other rides in that area before the lines develop. Guardians of the Galaxy does have its shortest wait of the day in the first hour of park opening. Everyone else heads to Radiator Springs Racers and WEB SLINGERS first. Avoid those two to accomplish a lot elsewhere.

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Grizzly River Run

10. Ride Water Rides Early or Late in the Day

With the summer heat in full effect, Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run will see their highest crowds in the afternoon. Stave off the wait by using Genie+ (when available) or by riding them earlier in the day or later in the evening.

11. Save the Longer Indoor Rides and Shows for the Hottest Part of the Day

During the afternoons when it's especially warm and crowds are at their peak, cool off inside on a longer duration ride or show. Pirates of the Caribbean, Soarin' Over California and "it's a small world" fit the bill. A visit to the Enchanted Tiki Room with a Dole Whip may be in order! We have a few more tips to beat the heat in our post on hot tips for cool trips to Disneyland in summer.

12. Take a Break in the Afternoon (and Watch the Sun)

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Spray Bottle Fan

Sunscreen up, wear a hat and sunglasses and stay hydrated. That means taking frequent water breaks. You can refill your water bottles at fill stations or get free ice water from most restaurants. Wear or bring a fan to stay cool. Bring spray bottles or purchase a spray fan in the park to stay cool in lines.

20 Cool Tips for Visiting Disneyland in Summer 2022-Person slides down Monorail waterslide at Disneyland HotelWhen crowds are at their highest levels, take a break. This is when having a hotel close by comes in handy. Let the kids rest, swim or relax for a few hours. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel on a hot summer day, and it was so nice to jump in the pool, slide down the Monorail water slide and take a shower before heading back to the park for nighttime fun. If you do not have a nearby escape, make dining reservations for an indoor restaurant during the afternoon, such as Blue Bayou or Lamplight Lounge, to get out of the sun and relax.

13. Bring Snacks and Refillable Water Bottles

Don't let hunger creep up on you or the little ones. Pack snacks such as dried fruit or crackers to keep the munchies at bay. Bring a refillable water bottle — the refill stations are open! You can usually get a small cup of ice water at quick-service restaurants, too.

14. Cool Off with a Frozen Treat

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Girl Enjoying Mickey Ice Cream BarIn the heat of summer, nothing beats an ice cream cone from Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor or a Dole Whip from the Tropical Hideaway (both now offer Mobile Order; more details below)! You can find more Dole Whip flavors at Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland or lemon or mango Dole Whip at Adorable Snowman’s Frosted Treats at Pixar Pier. We love making a pit stop for ice cream at the Cozy Cone Motel or milkshakes with road gravel topping at Flo's in Cars Land. Of course, a Mickey bar or ice cream sandwich is always good too!

15. Use Mobile Order Service

Especially during the summer months, the quick-service and table-service locations get very full during standard lunch and dinner times. You can skip the lines by using the Mobile Order service at several quick-service locations in both parks and in some of the hotels.

One of our biggest tips for Disneyland in summer 2022 is to order food in advance. You can plan ahead with Mobile Order and order dinner early so that, come dinner time, you are ready to tap, "I'm here, prepare my order," instead of facing long food lines and hangry family members. In the morning, go ahead and order lunch, snacks and maybe even dinner through Mobile Order. Choose the times you expect to get hungry. If you wait until you're hungry to order, you might find that the first available pick-up window is a couple of hours away. If you plan to camp out to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade, plan your mobile order pick-up window in advance to acquire food in the vicinity you expect to wait for the parade.

16. Make Reservations for Dining and Special Experiences in Advance

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Lamplight Lounge Lobster Nachos With a View of Pixar Pier

Reservations for table-service restaurants can be made up to 60 days in advance at 6 a.m. Read more about the ins and outs of Disneyland's dining reservations. You'll want to reserve early as restaurants are in high demand, especially Blue Bayou, which now serves beer, wine and hurricanes! You might want to reserve dining packages that include vouchers for viewing areas for the Main Street Electrical Parade, Fantasmic! or World of Color.

Additionally, if you're interested in any special experiences such as Savi's Workshop or Droid Depot, make sure to book reservations ahead of time (up to 60 days in advance).

17. Join the Free Virtual Queue for World of Color

There is a new virtual queue to access a reserved area to watch certain nighttime shows such as World of Color. You have to have entered a theme park that day to join the virtual queue right at noon each day. You'll also need a theme park ticket and reservation that is valid for accessing the park where the show is taking place in the evening. That means having a Park Hopper ticket or a reservation for that park. Hop over to our Disneyland virtual queues post for all the details and tips for joining. All the virtual queue spaces are distributed in seconds, so read up, set an alarm a few minutes before go-time and move quickly. At this time, no attractions utilize a virtual queue in order to ride.

18. Get in There and Hug Your Favorite Characters

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Hugging Pooh

You can once again hug your favorite characters and pose for photos with them! You can once again find the general range of times that groups of characters may be in a particular location in the Disneyland app. Hop over to our post on meeting characters for some ideas of where to find them.

19. Stay Late and Catch Fireworks and Other Shows

Disneyland Park closes at midnight most days in summer. Disney California Adventure closes at 9 or 10 p.m. (Check the hours online or in the Disneyland app before you visit.) Nighttime entertainment — Disneyland Forever fireworks, Fantasmic!, World of Color and the Main Street Electrical Parade — is back! You'll want to stay late to catch these amazing shows. If you don't love shows, take advantage of shorter ride wait times during them.

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Mickey's Mix Magic

Our biggest time-saving advice is to catch the later show or parade (except there is only one fireworks show) when offered. It is much less crowded and you can hop in place without investing a lot of wait time. If you cannot join the virtual queue or get a dining package, see the later show because many people who joined the virtual queue don't show up, and that leaves plenty of space for you! Our guide to the best Disneyland shows will help you decide which shows not to miss.

Your tadpoles will love the not-too-late dance party in Tomorrowland. Stitch, a DJ and several rotating characters teach dance moves at  from 7 to 11 p.m. nightly at Stitch's Interplanetary Beach Party Blast.

At the end of the night, shops on Main Street, U.S.A. and Buena Vista Street stay open an hour after park closing for shopping. This is a great way to have bonus time in the park, enjoy the beautiful lights, take uncrowded photos, shop and relax. Remember that as long as you are in line for a ride when the park closes, you can stay in line and ride.

Speaking of shows, there is a daytime show debuting at Fantasyland Theater beginning May 28. Join The Storytellers of the Pride Lands in a re-telling of the Tale of the Lion King. Storytelling at the Royal Theatre has also returned!

20. Get Ready for Heroic Encounters in Avengers Campus

Tips for Disneyland in Summer - Avengers Campus

You'll want to visit Disneyland's newest land, Avengers Campus, in Disney California Adventure Park! There are a few things you should know before you go, including the rides, food, smaller shows that have Avengers springing to action and of course, the Super Heroes themselves. The land introduces new characters all the time based on the latest movies and Disney+ shows. All of it is toadally epic, but it helps to read up before your trip — which you can do here.

We hope you've found these tips for Disneyland in summer most hopful. Have a tip we didn't mention? Share it in the comments below!

Related: The Ins and Outs of Disneyland Dining Reservations

Related: Top Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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Jul 1, 2021 at 2:14 p.m. Tom Pesek Says...

I love the happiest place on earth.

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Jul 1, 2021 at 9:46 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

We do too, Tom! :)

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

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