Disneyland Resort Ride and Attraction Tips and Tricks
ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DA-ZIP-A-DEE-DAY! Who here has waited over 2 hours to ride a 3 minute ride? I sure as hell have and it is no good. We can’t spend the week talking RunDisney and Disneyland without dedicating a day to rides and attractions! There is a method to Disneyland’s madness and if you play your cards right, you can easily spend the day in lines less than hour long (If you’re willing to get up early or stay late.) So to make your life a little easier and to calm your anxieties about being trapped in line surrounded by kids, tweens and teens let’s spend the day discussing what to see and skip at the Disneyland Resort.
Obviously we have to start with rides, it’s what we all came to do (unless you’re me and you really just go to Disneyland to sit at the bar and then try to make it to fireworks. Oh that sounds terrible...DON’T JUDGE ME!) FastPass is no mystery now that it’s been around for well over a decade but there are rides to get a FastPass for and rides to just suck it up and wait. There are also rides that will run out of a day’s worth of FastPasses in an hour and others that will be around well into dusk. So ask yourself, do you want to wake up and be one of the first people in the park so you can ride the big rides without a line? If you don’t frequent the resort and are staying on site, get up early. Grab a banana and hit up a few rides before breaking for brunch. OR get up really early, eat breakfast and then hit up the rides. You can always take a nap at the pool from 12-2 when it gets unbearably hot.
The big rides that utilize FastPass in Disneyland (going counter clockwise) are Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and then Space Mountain. [Rides to get FastPasses for are Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain and Space Mountain. *Star Tours if you’re a big Star Wars fan.)] The big rides in DCA that utilize FastPass (going counter clockwise) are Tower of Terror, Radiator Springs Racers, California Screamin, Grizzly River Run and Soarin’ Over California. (Rides to actually get FastPasses for Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly River Run and Soarin’ Over Califonria.)
**TIP: If you are ever waiting in line and a ride breaks down, get out of line. Unless you can see the loading the area, get out of line. It could be 5 minutes but it’s more likely going to be 30+. JUST GET OUT OF LINE AND MOVE ON. Check back in 2 hours. If you had a FastPass, they will be good later in the day. If you are on a ride and it breaks down, it’s your lucky day you are going to receive a Re-Ad, the golden ticket that acts as a FastPass for 6 people for any ride with FastPass. (Pray for Re-Ads.)
**TIP: As long as you hop in a line 10 minutes before the park closes, you will ride the ride (with some exceptions.) Dying to ride Indiana Jones or Peter Pan but didn’t want to wait a 1-2 hours? Hop in line 15 minutes before the park closes.
First things first, if you are staying in the hotel find out if your trip overlaps a Magic Morning when you get to head into the park before it opens and hit up those rides. If you have a park hopper, get to Radiator Springs Racers RIGHT when the park opens to get a FastPass. It’s the splashiest and newest ride Disney has and their FastPasses sell out the quickest. MY PERSONAL ADVICE: Get a FastPass for Radiator Springs, ride Radiator Springs with a tiny line, then head to Paradise Pier to ride Toy Story Midway Mania (this ride always has a long line and is my favorite ride in the resort) then head to the roller coaster, depending on the line for Soarin’ Over CA, ride that (or get a fastpass for anything over 45) then ride Tower of Terror and then whenever you are allowed get a FastPass for Grizzly River Run (or ride if under 45 minutes). If you start right when the park opens you should be done by 1:00/2:00. If you are moving fast and it’s only around 11/12 head to Disneyland and grab a FastPass for Splash Mountain if it’s a hot day or Indiana Jones.
If you do not have a park hopper and you’re only doing Disneyland, get a Fastpass for Splash Mountain if it’s hot, then ride Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones (If the line isn’t longer than 40 minutes. If it’s over 40 then get a FastPass to Indiana Jones.) Big Thunder FastPasses rarely run out and are easy to obtain throughout the day. Big Thunder is also best to ride around 9:00 during the first showing of Fantasmic, lines are around 30 minutes long. Try to get a FastPass for Space Mountain before 1:00pm on a really busy day.
***TIP: The Matterhorn does not have FastPasses but has the shortest lines first thing in the morning and after the Fireworks.
**TIP: Some Fantasyland attractions and Toon Town close before the fireworks. An easy way to ride the Fantasyland rides without wait is right after it’s re-opened around 10:00pm.
If you have little ones, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin and Autopia have lines that will push you to your breaking point. Obtain FastPasses for them or you will endure hours upon hours of torture. You’ve been warned.
Mickey and the Magical Map is a live stage show. Not a must see unless you have musical theater/disney enthusiasts. No need to get there to early on a very busy day 20 minutes should be fine. Otherwise skip it.
Fantasmic: Fantasmic is a must see show. It takes place around the Rivers of America and there is tons of standing room. I always say go to the 10:30pm show (if available) because it’s easier to get a decent spot and you won’t spend more than 40 minutes waiting. The best place to see it is directly in front of the house on the island but really anywhere in the area will do. Go towards the side near Haunted Mansion for last minute spots.
Fireworks: Fireworks are another must see. Disneyland’s fireworks shows are legendary. The best place to view them is right in front of the castle but people start setting up camp about 2-3 hours before the show. For awesome seats 30 minutes before show time, head into the heart of the hub where the statues of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse are. Otherwise Main Street USA, Small World, and along the Rivers of America are all close seconds.
World of Color: World of Color is arguably my favorite thing about the resort right now. It is a water show at California Adventure that takes place at night time. Think the dancing fountains at The Bellagio in New York but with water screens and LED colorful fountains. I’m obsessed. For this show you need to obtain a FastPass that you can normally grab before 1:00pm (sometimes they add a third show and FastPasses will run out around 4:00pm). When you get to DCA head over to Grizzly River Run to get FastPasses to World of Color whether you are planning on seeing the show or not. Just give yourself the option. (Send one person with all the tickets in line and have them collect all the FastPasses. A lot faster and easier than having everyone go individually.)
Aladdin: Aladdin is a great way to beat the heat. It’s a really good production and if you’re looking for a break from walking around this is perfect. You normally don’t need to show up more than 10 minutes before show time.
Disney Jr. Live on Stage: If you have a little one, hit this up right after a nap. They eat this show up.
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade: I know a lot of people try to ride rides during the parade thinking that lines will be shorter. I’ve never noticed a difference on above average busy days. If you have kids, watch the parade. If you are really hot and want a snack, grab a sundae and sit down to watch the parade. It goes from Small World to Main St for the first show and then Main St to Small world, so you can plan accordingly. IE-if the parade starts at 2:00 and you’re sitting on Main Street, it probably won’t reach you until 2:10/2:15 and vice versa.
**TIP: During the parade guests tend to not sit directly in the sun before the parade begins so if you want front row seats without a wait, grab an umbrella, sunscreen or a mister fan and pop down on the sunny part of the street right before the parade starts.
Pixar Play Parade: The play parade is a really adorable and fun parade. It’s over in 15 minutes and it will make you smile. If you have kids that LOVE parades, stop and watch it. If you want to sit for a minute, watch it. Otherwise, not a must see.
There are other little hidden gems throughout the resort. The Jedi Training academy at Club Buzz (Actually known as Tomorrowland Terrace) is a must for your little ones. Get there early for good spots and work to get your kid noticed. It’s adorable to watch these kids fight Darth Vader and Darth Maul. Grab an entertainment schedule when you enter Disneyland for show times.
Alright ladies and gentlemen, those are some of my tips and tricks for Disneyland Resort rides and attractions. It's not everything but it's my opinion on how to get the most out of your Disney vacation.
Until tomorrow, #RunSelfieRepeat.