How to Enjoy A Day At Disneyland – Saving Time At The Park

Southern California abounds with superior vacation attractions for the entire family. In particular, Disneyland in Anaheim indubitably constitutes one of the best family-oriented vacation destinations in the world. For the vacationing family striving to pack as much fun as possible into a time-limited California trip, the idea of visiting Disneyland in just one day may seem simultaneously appealing and daunting. Even though you cannot experience every facet of this massive park in a single day, you can nonetheless experience a satisfying slice of the fun. This article provides suggestions for making the most of your one-day Disneyland visit.


To get the full benefit of a day at Disneyland, it is best to arrive before the park opens and stay until closing time, with a break for lunch at midday, the park’s hottest, busiest time. With this strategy, you can concentrate your efforts on boarding as many rides as possible at the beginning and end of the day when waiting lines are shorter. If your vacation schedule is sufficiently flexible, keep in mind that Disneyland is less crowded in the middle of the week than on weekends or holidays. In general, Saturdays tend to be the busiest days.

To gain quicker access to key rides, visitors can take advantage of Disneyland’s free FastPass program, which is offered for the park’s busiest rides. You can obtain FastPasses from machines located at each applicable ride. Rather than wait in a long line, you can insert your park entry ticket into the machine’s slot and receive a FastPass that gives you a one-hour time window during which you can board the ride later in the day with little or no waiting. Bear in mind that FastPasses for a given ride can sell out for the day, so it is advantageous to obtain all your FastPasses as early as possible. Since the FastPass machines will not let you get a FastPass for another ride until the time window for your current FastPass begins, it is wise to obtain your next FastPass immediately after that time window opens.

For prioritizing your FastPasses, Los Angeles Times staff writer Brady MacDonald recommends Star Tours as the best, busiest ride. In MacDonald’s opinion, the next busiest and most desirable FastPass-enabled rides, in order, are Space Mountain, Splash Mountain (video www.youtube.com) and, finally, Indiana Jones Adventure. MacDonald recommends not wasting FastPass time windows on Big Thunder Mountain or Haunted Mansion, since the waiting lines are not long enough to require a FastPass. In addition, MacDonald mentions that he personally would bypass Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and Autopia but advises vacationers to follow their own preferences.

To save more time at Disneyland, you can also get apps for your smartphone or PDA that tell you the current waiting times for all rides and recommend the best ride to visit next to maximize your time. In addition, since the restaurants at Disneyland are typically crowded with long waiting lines, you can save time by packing your own picnic lunch, leaving to eat lunch somewhere outside the park and returning later, or making reservations up to 60 days in advance via phone or email for restaurants in the park.

Finally, the more online research you can do ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the vast array of attractions at Disneyland, the more time you can save once you arrive. Even though you cannot see all of Disneyland in one day, these tips can help you maximize your available time in this spectacular park for a satisfying and memorable vacation experience.

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