Visit Disneyland Like a Pro: 10 Practical Tips from an Annual Pass Holder

My friends know that I’m a Disney fan and frequent the parks with my Annual Pass.

Often I hear of people who had a frustrating or horrible time because it was hot, crowded, and they spent all day waiting in lines. I’ve gone enough times to know how to never have that experience, so I decided to share my top 10 tips to make the most of your visit.

1. Don’t try and do everything.

This is my top tip. Instinctively, most people want to get their money’s worth by running around and doing as much as possible. It’s impossible to do everything in 1, 2, even 3 days. Life is not fun when you are checking things off a list. Decide on a few must-do’s, and flow with the rest of the day.

2. Research when is the best time of year to go.

If possible, AVOID: All major US holidays, 3-day weekends, & Saturdays.

Also, on average, the most crowded times at the parks are Spring Break (April), Summer Break (mid June – mid Aug), & Winter Break (Dec).

3. Check what time the park opens and closes before you go.

Park hours change throughout the year based on demand. Sometimes they have special events and the park will close as early as 5:00pm.

4. Prep for the weather.

It gets miserably hot during the summer. I never go during this time of year. If it is 90 degrees, it will feel like 110 because of the crowds and concrete. If you hate hot weather, don’t go July – mid-October.

Conversely, it does get cold. The air is dry in Southern CA so there’s a big temperature drop at night. I feel bad when I see tourists in shorts and tank tops when it is 40 degrees. Yes, it can get that cold.

With my sister’s family at the parks in December. They live in San Francisco so they are always jacket-prepped.

5. Use Fastpasses.

The first thing I do when entering the park is get a Fast Pass for a popular attraction. In Disneyland that would be Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, or Splash Mountain. In California Adventure that would be Guardians of the Galaxy, Soarin’ Over The World, Cars, or Toy Story.

A Fast Pass allows you to move to the front of the line during a specific time slot. Have one person get them for everyone while you get in line for something else and meet back up. Or, you can now purchase MaxPass in the Disneyland App that allows you to obtain Fast passes via your smart phone, so you don’t have to run around to the Fast Pass stations (worth it in my opinion)!

6. Use the Disneyland App on your smart phone to check wait times.

Don’t go where everyone else is going. One of the first things I see people do when entering the park is line up for Peter Pan, the most popular attraction for kids in Fantasyland. That line is always a minimum of 30 minutes, even upon opening. It will be like that all day, so if other rides are practically empty with a 5 minute wait, why not ride those first?

Not gonna lie though – Peter Pan is one of the original rides when the park opened in 1955 and still one of the best. It’s my nephew’s favorite.

7. Park in a close by residential neighborhood and Uber/Lyft to the park.

This is faster than parking in the lot and lining up for the tram, not to mention cheaper (parking at Disneyland is currently $20). If you have small kids and strollers, parking in the lot may be better. If you want to know specifically which street I park on, email me.

8. Ride rides during parades and shows.

Lines tend to be shorter during these times. If you love parades and shows, ignore this one. 🙂 Out of all the shows, Fantasmic and World of Color are the best, in my opinion.

9. Make a reservation to have at least one nice sit down meal.

It makes the experience more enjoyable when you are on your feet all day. My favorite restaurants are Napa Rose at the Grand California Hotel, Blue Bayou inside Disneyland, and Cathay Circle inside California Adventure. Reservations needed for all.

Special Christmas dinner with my friends Mark, Jess, & Rob.

10. Bring a portable phone charger.

You’ll be on your phone all day taking photos and checking Wait times. If you don’t have a portable charger, there are outlets inside some of the rental lockers. You can also purchase power chargers for $30 at the park.

I have a lot more tips but these are the top 10. The easiest thing to do would be to go with someone who frequents the park so they can tell you where to go and when. 🙂 If you have your own tips, feel free to share them in the comments below!








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