For every person that goes to Disneyland, most of them don’t enjoy wasting time. Obviously, the BEST time saving hack is going on a week day during off season if you can. But, not everyone can do that. So, here are some hacks you can leverage any time of year:

  • Purchase your tickets before you arrive and have them ready (then you don’t waste time buying them when you arrive).
  • Arrive at the parks at least 30 minutes early and get in line.
    • OR, even better (and tastier), make reservations for breakfast inside the park before the park opens at a restaurant like the Plaza Inn. Finish breakfast, then have prime position in the parks to hop on rides right away.
  • Decide which rides you want to do most and which will also have long lines, and do them in the first 2 hours you’re there. With some discipline, you will accomplish more rides in the first 3 hours the park is open than you will in the remaining 5-10.
    • If you have kids, hit Fantasyland and do Peter Pan FIRST.
    • If you don’t have kids (or have kids who are tall enough), do at least one of the mountains right away: Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn.
  • Do things at “non standard times”. Examples:
    • People like to eat lunch around noon. Ride stuff while they are eating, and then you eat at 11 AM or 1.30 PM instead.
    • See all those people lined up for parades or fireworks? That means they aren’t riding stuff, so you should go do that.
  • Understand the FastPass system and maximize usage.
    • For example, most FastPass tickets, at the VERY bottom, will say “you can get another FastPass at this time”. So, yes, you can have multiple FastPass tickets at the same time if you pay attention.
    • Occasionally some rides FastPass will be “disconnected” from the central system, which means you can get an additional FastPass even if you already have a few. It’s hard to plan, but never hurts to try.
  • Take a mid day break. The parks are a zoo from say noon to 5pm (depending when it closes). Arrive when the parks open and maximize time. Break during the day. Go back later and stay until it closes when crowds are getting light again.
  • If you’re OK spending the extra money on park hopper, this gives you a lot more flexibility. If Disneyland is packed, head to Cali Adventure (or vice versa) and do stuff at the other park.
  • Reference wait time apps and evaluate what your best next bet is. If you’re standing in front of Jungle Cruise and its 90 minutes, check the app… maybe Haunted Mansion is 20 minutes instead. Go ride that, then head back to Jungle where the wait may be shorter (because enough people got sticker shock at 90 minutes earlier).

These are the best tips I can think of to maximize your time at Disneyland. Hope you have a fun trip!

This post spawned from a question I answered on Quora, where I am a top Disney writer.


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