Disneyland Touring & Tips

Thought I would share some Touring and Tips that we have learned from all our MANY trips to Disneyland!

  • #1 tip – Get there when they open!!! You can seriously get ALOT of touring done before most people show up! Shortest lines and waits first thing in the morning. If you do nothing else, get there when they open!!
  • Try not to go on a Saturday. Just don’t do it, if possible. Trust me. 
  • Go during the Low Season, when possible. We take our kids out of school. Bad, I know! but it is so much more pleasant without all the people and lines!
  • If you do go during the busy season, my sister and brother in law SWEAR by RideMax to limit their waits in line. 
  • DRILL it into your kids what to do if they get lost. Have a meeting place. Tell them to find a Cast Member. Make sure they know your cell phone number! I can’t stress this enough. We’ve been to Disneyland and DisneyWorld MANY times, we have never lost one of our kids… until our last visit there. I was back at the hotel with our 2 year old, who was taking a nap. My Husband had our 7&9 year old with him. They were leaving Grizzly River Run and were going to head back to the hotel. There was a parade. My 7 year old distracted my husband and my 9 year old got lost. Our 9 year old is Autistic. He called me saying he couldn’t find her. I was stuck at the hotel with a sleeping 2 year old. However, within 5 minutes, I get a call on my cell phone – it was a security guard near Soarin’ over California and they had our daughter. She knew my cell phone, sought out a cast member – security guard in her case – and had them call me. I called my husband and they were able to get back together. It was a very scary 5 minutes for me though!! So drill that phone number into them! and to find a cast member at a ride or gift shop/restaurant.
  • If your kids are too small to remember your phone number, I laminated small tags with our phone number, where we were staying, etc. and used a key ring to attach one to their shoes (in the laces, or put the Velcro through it) and one to the zipper on their coats. Works for losing a coat too! Sharpie across the forehead works too, but might not look the best in photos 😉
  • Try the line inside the Enchanted Tiki Room waiting area to get your Dole Whip – often shorter and you get to enjoy a show!
  • If you have small kids or just want to ride those rides, head to Fantasyland there FIRST! Trust me! Peter Pan and Dumbo always get long lines, and it does not get better through the day. They are shortest in the morning and the best time to see them. We often send my husband to get fastpasses for Space Mountain or Star Tours while I head with the kids to get in line and he catches up to us minutes later (he is fast on his own without kids)
  • Use fastpass whenever possible – use one person to go get all the fastpasses for the group – it is much faster, especially with small children!
  • Have small children? Use rider swap for the rides they are too short for. Lessens the time you wait in line! Just ask the ride attendant outside the ride
  • With small kids, We get our rider swap and then we use our fast passes for the first group, and one parent will take the too small child on an adjacent ride – like Buzz Lightyear for Space Mountain or Star Tours (since there is rarely a long line for Buzz!), or the Jungle Cruise or Pirates for Indiana Jones and Big Thunder or Winnie the Pooh for Splash Mountain (I have ridden Winnie the Pooh soooo many times!!). We then switch, use the extra fast pass (from the parent that didn’t go the first time), and the rider swap for the other parent and the two older kids to go again! (and the other parent then takes the little one on the other ride again)
  • We also save our fastpasses for when the little one is napping. HOWEVER, I have heard rumors that they were going to enforce return times. We have not experienced this, but be warned! But, you could save your rider swaps at least for when the little one is napping, as they don’t have return times, so they don’t have to wait twice.
  • If your kids are dying to do Jedi Academy – make a SIGN. Every time we’ve been there, ANYONE with a sign gets chosen
  • The Fantasyland side of the Matterhorn, is often the shortest line
  • If Pirates of the Caribbean is running 2 lines, go with the one on  the right
  • EVERYONE heads to CarsLand first – head to Paradise Pier first instead. Do Toy Story, that often has a long line all the time and California Screaming.
  • CarsLand is less busy around 1 or 2 in the afternoon. We walked on to the Mater ride, with no wait at all, several times (like 10 times in doing the child swap for Radiator Springs), and this was only 2 months after it opened…
  • Try and see the neon in CarsLand at night
  • Use the Single rider line, when possible, for Radiator Springs – when we were there, there was no line at all for it – just walk on!
  • Get your fastpass for Radiator Springs FIRST thing in the morning. You won’t be disappointed, it is a GREAT ride! One of my favorites!
  • Then get your World of Color Fast Pass
  • While the bigger kids are riding California Screaming and other rides in Paradise Pier, take the little ones on the carousel, or the Little Mermaid (again, I’ve ridden Little Mermaid more times than I can count!)
  • While I LOVE World of Color, this show can be a PAIN, if you have small children, because they cannot see above all the adults. Our last trip, we finally found a solution. TRY and get a spot at the top of some stairs!! They can see above the other adults below! Also try piggyback to hold them up. You will be sore afterwards no matter what 😛
  • Take the Monorail to get to Downtown Disney – you get to it faster, and you get a ride at the same time 🙂
  • Down near SmallWorld is one of the better places to get a spot for a parade – often less full!
  • The Back of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is by far the best seat on the train!
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