Disneyland is the best, but those lines…Honey, no.
Thankfully you’ve got me, Carson Daly Mornings’ Assistant Producer and Disneyland expert Elena, on your side to tell you everything you need to know to keep your time in line to a minimum and not lose your mind.
Here are literally all the hacks I’ve learned over the 29 years I’ve been going to Disneyland and five years I worked at Walt Disney World:
- Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are typically the least crowded days of the week. Avoid weekends and peak seasons (typically anytime you’re on vacation, sorry!)
- When going through security and turnstiles into the park, look for the line with the least amount of strollers. Thank me later.
- The first two to three hours when the park opens have the shortest wait times. Use this time to hit up your top picks and rides that typically have the longest lines and Fastpasses that run out quickly. At Disneyland, I use this time to knock out Space Mountain and Peter Pan. At California Adventure, I do Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout and Radiator Racer Springs.
- Grab a Fastpass for World of Color or Fantasmic first thing in the morning. You can get another Fastpass immediately.
- However – don’t try to rely on Fastpass! You typically have to wait about two hours until you can get a new one, and you’ll be left with a lot of downtime if that’s your main way of avoiding lines.
- Don’t plan more than 2 rides ahead – Let’s say you wait in two 30 minute lines. By the time you head to your third ride, there’s a really good chance the line will be different than when you made your game plan. Plus, a little spontaneity will keep things exciting.
- That said, download the Disneyland app! It’s like having all the answers in your pocket. It shows accurate wait times, Fastpass availability, character meet & greet times and locations, where to find the bathrooms, parade and show times, and lets you make restaurant reservations. It looks like this:
- Don’t skip rides you might write off as lame. The line is probably short and you might find a new favorite!
- Use midday to do things that let you sit for awhile and are (ideally) inside – it’s hot and you’ve been walking around a lot. By this time, you really just want to chill. Here’s what I recommend hitting up:
- Disneyland: Star Wars Launch Bay (Tomorrowland), Mickey and the Magical Map show (Fantasyland), Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough (Fantasyland), Enchanted Tiki Room (Adventureland), Great Moments with Mr. Lincon (Main Street), shopping on Mainstreet, Disneyland Railroad, Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia (Frontierland)
- California Adventure: Frozen musical (Hollywood Land), Animation Building (Hollywood Land), drinks at Carthay Circle Lounge (Buena Vista Street), It’s Tough To Be A Bug (A Bug’s Land), drinks at the wine terraces in Pacific Warf (there are three – Alfresco Terrace, Mendocino Terrace, and Sonoma Terrace).
- Downtown Disney/Hotels: shopping, drinks at Trader Sam’s (Disneyland Hotel) or Hearthstone Lounge (Grand Californian), sit down for lunch in an indoor restaurant
- Take advantage of the single rider line. It absolutely does not guarantee you’ll sit with your friends. You probably won’t. But when the line is long and there are no Fastpasses available, you have to decide if you want to ride the ride or not.
And of course, remember to be safe, have fun, and be nice to Cast Members 🙂 See you there!
-Elena Kimball, 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles