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How to Have the Best Day at Disneyland

I love Disneyland. I love it because of all of the fond memories that I have from going with friends and family. I love it because everything about it is done so well.  From the decorations, to the different lands throughout the park, no detail is missed! The most recent time that I went to Disneyland is was during Christmas break 2015 (everything, and I mean EVERYTHING was decorated for Christmas!) We went to a night parade down Main Street. One of the girls that I was with was wearing a “Birthday pin” and characters and actors in the parade would come over and say “happy birthday” during the parade.  It was so cool!  Those extra details really add a personal dimension.   I also love the efficiency of the rides, they are not too short, but they are not too long so they can still move people. I have been there many times and I have more fun each time I go!

 I hope to share some of my love and enthusiasm for the park as well as some tips on how to make Disneyland trip the best ever! One of the reasons I think the Disneyland trips have been so fun and successful is because of all the time that’s put in planning/strategizing the day.  I broke up the planning into three sections. 1. What to wear 2. Prioritize before you go to the parks 3. When, what and where to eat.

  1. What to wear. 

Make sure you wear comfortable clothes that are easy to layer and will dry quickly.  Wear comfortable shoes, Disneyland will require tons of walking, especially if you’re doing both parks in a day.  Last time I went I walked about 12-13miles a day in each park and we went for two days! Do not bring a lot to carry, its get annoying after while, is likely to get left/lost on rides. I bring a little bag that clips onto a lanyard. It holds my phone, debit card and ID, cash and some Chapstick/lipstick. I just get a water bottle in the park and refill it throughout the day. Do not forget sunglasses, I prefer those over a hat because I like to wear the Minnie ears.

  1. How to strategize the rides. 

Before you get to the park know your priorities and what you want your day to look like. When I go, my goal is to ride as many rides as possible, others goals might be to meet characters, shop and see all the shows. Either way, know what you want out of the day, because it is really easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus.  Check ahead to find which rides are open and grab a map so you can see the parade and show schedule.  Those will help determine when to ride the rides. Ways to make your day more efficient is using the FastPasses, have a Ticket Runner, use the Single Rider Lines and the Disneyland Wait Time App. 

FastPasses are awesome! When first entering the park it is important to get a FastPass right away. I would suggest a more popular ride like Space Mountain or the Racers in Cars Land.  Fastpasses can run out quickly on those popular rides or have a late return time, the later the return time the longer it will be before you can get another Fastpass and that can mess up the groove of your day. How FastPasses work is you go near the entrance of the ride and there are boxes that say for example “Thunder Mountain FastPass”, put your park ticket in and a second ticket will come out telling you when to return (usually in 2-3 hours later).  When you return during the designated time, you’ll get into the Fastpass line and will not have to wait (because you did your waiting already). 

Ticket Runner- One of the most important jobs, what they do is they take all of the park tickets in the group and gets the Fastpasses for them, it way easier having one person navigate through the crowds than the whole group. While the runner is getting the FastPass, that is good time for the rest of the group to get in line for another ride or food.  When we usually do this we choose a ride that does not have a FastPass, like the Matterhorn.  Depending how large your group is and how long the line is, that can be a good time to grab a snack, so waiting can be done very efficiently.  When three of my friends and I went and we would divide and conquer the whole day. I was the Ticket Runner, someone would wait in line for food and the other two would get in line for a ride, while doing this we would choose a longer line 30-40 minutes. Then we would all meet in the ride line and eat the food.  We did a strategy like this throughout the whole day and we never waited for more that 40 minutes and those 40 minutes were very productive.

The single rider line is wonderful time saver as well.  It was created so every time the ride goes it has the full capacity of passengers. The Single Riders are just the “fillers”, sometimes you end up in the same car/ride section as your friends, but sometimes you will not.  The length of the Single Rider line is usually at least half than the regular line.  I always use the Single Rider line in Cars Land because it is not unusual for the regular line to be close to 2 hours long.

Use the Disneyland Wait Time or Magic Guide App. They are both very handy, the Wait Time App is free, while the Magic Guide is not.  The second app will tell you where and when to find characters around the part, where the closest restroom is, food specific food items are etc.  The wait times have always been very accurate.

  1. When/where/what to eat. 

To save time waiting in line for food, eat during the off times. Such as before 11am or after 1pm to 4pm and after 7pm.  Eat snacks not meals, I recommend this for multiple reasons. They are cheaper, the lines are usually shorter, you can eat them in a ride line or walking, and Disneyland has the best snacks! My favorites are the frozen bananas, caramel apples (they are decorated seasonally), churros and corn dogs.

In conclusion, make sure you wear comfortable clothes/shoes, and pack light.  Prioritize and make goals for your day before you go.  Eat during the “off times” and eat snacks.  Most importantly, have so much fun! 

President of the Her Campus Chapter at Grand Canyon University. I am a Senior at GCU majoring in Government. I love adventures, horses and Nutella!
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