How to Start Your Day at Disneyland

Updated March 6, 2020

So, you know how to get started at California Adventure. It’s busy over there. Be sure you know.

How about Disneyland?

Follow me for all you need to know to maximize your time in the park.

Visiting Galaxy’s Edge?

Read this link for how to include a visit to Batuu into your day at Disneyland.

The information I share here – along with that post – will ensure you see and do all that you want.

Tips for Making These Strategies Work

  • It’s imperative that you arrive an hour early if you do not have Extra Magic Hour (EMH) and 30 minutes early if you do have Extra Magic Hour. Why an hour early? On most days, you’ll be allowed into the park 30 minutes prior to official park opening to line up at Rope Drop. (More on Rope Drop below.)
  • FASTPASSES are a must for these plans to work. These plans were written out logistically to cut down on walking time for those guests using the Classic FASTPASS system. If you are using MaxPass, select the first FASTPASS on each list as soon as you walk through the gate. (I clarify which one in each plan below.) Then, follow the same plan, but select FASTPASSES on your app as soon as you’re eligible each time.
  • These plans work most effectively, of course, for an 8:00am official park opening/7:00am EMH opening. However, they are still your best strategy for 9/10am days and even 10/11am days.
  • I recommend bringing breakfast/snacks with you to eat on your walk into the Disneyland Resort or to munch on while you’re walking from one stop to the next. Save a sit down breakfast for another day.
  • My goal for you with these plans is to complete – or be holding a FASTPASS for – most iconic attractions in Disneyland by lunch. Start your day with one of the plans I share below and then take a break after lunch. Go back to your hotel and nap, swim, etc. Then, return late afternoon/evening. This allows you to avoid the most hectic and hottest time of the day when most park guests start melting down. Upon returning, meet characters, enjoy lower line attractions, see shows, visit walk through attractions, watch parades, etc. Then, once evening arrives, start “riding” attractions again.
  • Disneyland hosts both Extra Magic Hour (EMH) and Magic Morning (MM) on certain days. Most often, Disneyland hosts EMH and MM on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. But, there are exceptions. I detail everything you need to know about these early admission options – including if you qualify for them – in this post.

How to Choose – Big Kids or Little Kids Plans?

Big Kids plans include all attractions. They’re designed for guests who wish to conquer everything.

Little Kids plans are created without the bigger, “scarier” attractions little ones might not like.

Choose which works for your group based on interest.

This link shares info on each attraction. Scroll through it and use the filters at the top of the page to get an idea of what each attraction is like.

Have both big and little kids? I recommend using the Big Kids plan, as it includes all attractions. When you come across an attraction that little ones can’t ride, find a nearby alternative (cast members at the entrance to the big kid ride can advise) or have a quick snack/use the restroom. Because the big rides are scheduled for early in the day, those riding will be in and out quickly.

The Disneyland Strategy for Big Kids

This plan works best when Disneyland is NOT hosting Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning if you do NOT have either privilege. With four days a week that are free of EMH/MM, this is your best bet at getting all you want out of Disneyland. (It will still work with EMH/MM if you don’t have the option to change days.)

If you have EMH/MM, absolutely use it.

For more on Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning, visit this post. Know exactly what these options mean, if you have access to one or all of them, and how they will affect your visit.

Arrive at the Disneyland Resort an hour prior to park opening. I explain more on why this is important (essential!) in that post above on EMH/MM. Line up at Rope Drop closest to Tomorrowland after you walk through the gates.

When it’s time to start, head to the Star Tours FASTPASS machine, which is located to the right of the Buzz Lightyear attraction.

Follow this plan:

  1. Grab Space Mountain FASTPASS
  2. Ride Star Tours
  3. Ride Matterhorn
  4. Ride Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
  5. Ride Space Mountain with FASTPASS
  6. Grab paper FASTPASS for Fantasmic!
  7. Grab Haunted Mansion FASTPASS
  8. Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  9. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean
  10. Ride Splash Mountain
  11. Ride Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  12. Ride Haunted Mansion with FASTPASS
  13. Grab Indiana Jones Adventure FASTPASS
  14. Ride Jungle Cruise
  15. BREAK for lunch
  16. Enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room
  17. Ride Indiana Jones Adventure with FASTPASS
  18. Grab FASTPASS for Autopia
  19. Ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  20. Ride Astro Orbitor
  21. Ride Autopia with FASTPASS
  22. Grab “it’s a small world” FASTPASS
  23. BREAK for the afternoon – return closer to evening
  24. Grab Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin FASTPASS
  25. Ride “it’s a small world” with FASTPASS
  26. Enjoy Toontown houses & see Mickey in his house
  27. Ride Gadget’s Go Coaster
  28. Ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin with FASTPASS
  29. Ride Storybook Land Canal Boats
  30. Ride Alice in Wonderland
  31. Ride Mad Tea Party (teacups)
  32. Ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  33. Ride Casey Junior Circus Train
  34. Ride Peter Pan’s Flight (use the Play Disney Parks App while in the queue); this is ideal just after fireworks (line up near Dumbo to watch fireworks and then you’ll be escorted to Peter Pan’s Flight once Fantasyland reopens)
  35. Ride King Arthur Carrousel 
  36. Ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  37. Ride Pinocchio’s Daring Adventure
  38. Ride Snow White’s Scary Adventures


  • If you’re using MaxPass, select the Space Mountain FASTPASS as soon as you walk in the gate and then follow the plan above, selecting each FASTPASS as soon as you’re eligible to.
  • I don’t recommend trying to tackle every attraction in the park in one day, as they are listed above, but I put them in the best order for such if you plan to try it.
  • Not interested in every attraction? Skip one or many and move onto the next step. Just keep grabbing FASTPASSES in the order I suggested if possible.
  • If you choose not to break in the afternoon as I recommend, you can continue working through the attractions listed, however, you’ll be doing so during a very warm part of the day. Many guests get grouchy at this time, hence my recommendation to take a break. If you are staying in the park and want to avoid the mid-day heat, consider these options to stay cool: Ride the Disneyland Railroad, enjoy The Disneyland Story Presenting Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, explore Tom Sawyer’s Island, walk through Tarzan’s Treehouse, visit Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, ride the Disney Monorail, or enjoy the Main Street Vehicles.
  • This plan allows you to tackle all four mountains, Star Tours and Pirates within the first couple of hours after park opening. With that behind you, you’re in great shape for the rest of the day.
  • The Fantasmic! FASTPASS machines are located across from The Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland.
  • For guests wanting to do Jedi Training (when it’s happening – it’s currently on hiatus), you will need to adjust this plan to start with registering kids first. Go to registration first thing and then follow the steps above. For more on how to register, visit this post.

The Disneyland Strategy for Big Kids if you have Extra Magic Hour

Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning are great ways to get started on your day at Disneyland.

If you have EMH/MM privileges, arrive 30 minutes prior to the EMH/MM time to enter and use the strategy above for big kids. I’ve tested it during EMH and it works!

The Disneyland Strategy for Little Kids

If you’re hoping to tackle Fantasyland and focus entirely on attractions for little ones who can’t enjoy the four mountains, I recommend following this plan.

As with the above strategy, this works best on a day without Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning if you do not have one of those privileges. Arrive an hour prior to official park opening and prepare to enter the park 30 minutes early. Line up at the Rope Drop closest to Tomorrowland.

  1. Grab paper FASTPASS for Fantasmic! (or via MaxPass if you’re using it)
  2. Grab Buzz Lightyear FASTPASS
  3. Ride Alice in Wonderland
  4. Ride Dumbo
  5. Ride Storybook Land Canal Boats
  6. Grab Autopia FASTPASS
  7. Ride “it’s a small world”
  8. Visit Mickey Mouse in his house in ToonTown (opens an hour after official park opening)
  9. Ride Buzz Lightyear with FASTPASS
  10. Ride Autopia with FASTPASS
  11. Ride Pirates of the Caribbean
  12. Grab Splash Mountain FASTPASS
  13. Ride Winnie the Pooh
  14. Ride Haunted Mansion standby (if the wait is 20 minutes or less – otherwise, pull a FASTPASS for it later on)
  15. Break for Lunch
  16. Ride Splash Mountain with FASTPASS after lunch
  17. Ride Jungle Cruise
  18. Enjoy the Tiki Room
  19. Ride Finding Nemo’s Submarines
  20. Ride Astro Orbitor
  21. Explore Toon Town
  22. Ride Gadget’s Go Coaster
  23. Ride Mad Tea Party (teacups)
  24. Ride King Arthur’s Carrousel
  25. Ride Casey Junior’s Circus Train
  26. Ride Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
  27. Ride Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
  28. Ride Snow White’s Scary Adventures
  29. Ride Peter Pan’s Flight (use the Play Disney Parks App while in the queue); this is ideal just after fireworks (line up near Dumbo to watch fireworks and then you’ll be escorted to Peter Pan’s Flight once Fantasyland reopens)


  • If you are using MaxPass, select the FASTPASS for Buzz Lightyear immediately upon entering the park. Select the FASTPASS for Fantasmic! at this time, too, on the app.
  • Toontown typically opens an hour after official park opening. Hence, the wait to go there. I like for families to meet Mickey there if possible, and it’s nice to get it crossed off your list early. Meeting Mickey at his house is more of an experience. I love it.
  • I also understand that it may not be easy to take kids into Toontown, show them all the fun on the way to Mickey’s house and then pull them out of it to follow the plan. If you think this will be an issue, skip it and meet him on Main Street instead.
  • This is a really ambitious plan, so on busy days, you might only get the first half done before lunch. But, I wanted to provide you with the main idea. My goal for you is to knock out popular, but reasonable, attractions for little ones early. Those include Alice in Wonderland, Storybook Land Canal Boats, and Dumbo. Return to Fantasyland later in the day to enjoy the King Arthur’s Carrousel, Casey Junior’s Circus Train, Mad Tea Party (teacups), Pinocchio, etc, etc. Ride Peter Pan during the evening so that you’re not standing in that long line in the sun.
  • I recommend returning to Toontown around sunset. This area of the park gets hot mid-day because it has fewer trees than other parts due to fireworks being shot off just behind it. So, it always feels hotter than other lands. Save it for late afternoon or early evening.
  • Keep in mind that Disneyland includes some rides that might be scary for little ones. Visit this post to review those.
  • For guests wanting to do Jedi Training (on hiatus right now), you will need to adjust this plan to start with registering kids first. Go to registration first thing and then follow this plan. For more on how to register, visit this post.

The Disneyland Strategy for Little Kids if you have Extra Magic Hour

Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning are great ways to get started on your day at Disneyland.

If you have EMH/MM privileges, arrive 30 minutes prior to the EMH/MM time to enter and use the strategy above for little kids. It works!

If You Have Two or More Days at Disneyland

If you’re lucky enough to have two days at Disneyland, simply cut the plan of your choice in half.

Focus on the first half on day 1 and then the second on day 2.

If you have three days, split your plan in two for the first 2 days and then start over on the third.


Within my plans above, I share how you should pull paper FASTPASSES for Fantasmic!

Fantasmic! is a very popular show set on the Rivers of America. Read all about it and how to use your FASTPASS for it here.

Rope Drop

I mention Rope Drop in this post several times. Here’s what you need to know about it.

The park will typically open 30 minutes prior to official park opening on both regular and EMH days. You’ll be allowed into the park and down Main Street until the Rope Drop set up before each land. Before you head toward any of them, grab a park map or two as you walk through the turn stiles.

At Disneyland, you can set up in three places: toward Tomorrowland, toward Fantasyland, and toward Adventureland/Frontierland.

Rope Drop is a term used for when the “rope is dropped” and guests are allowed in the park. There is a physical rope set up at each of these points to hold guests back. At official park opening, a cast member will remove the rope as music is played and a short welcome speech comes over the speakers in the park. Cast members will greet you and let you know when to officially start your day.

Want coffee while you wait? Have part of your crew set up at whichever Rope Drop you choose and then send someone to the Market House on Main Street.


FASTPASSES are used in all of my plans, so be sure to know how this works. The actual machines can be seen here, below. You slide in your theme park ticket and out comes a FASTPASS. It’s magic.

Visit this post to learn all there is to know about FASTPASSES. I also detail what attractions offer Single Rider options and also which work for Rider Switch.

My strategies do not include Single Rider options because not all groups can use them. If those work for you, absolutely work them in the strategy. Skip pulling FASTPASSES for any Single Rider attraction you wish and use that quick line instead.


How to Know When You Can Pull Your Next FASTPASS

The more you understand FASTPASSES, the more successful your visit will be. Please keep in mind the following rules that debunk many popular FASTPASS myths:

  • There is no 2 hour rule between FASTPASSES.
  • You may hold more than one FASTPASS at a time.
  • You do not have to complete the attraction you’re holding your current FASTPASS for in order to pull your next one.

To know when you can pull your next FASTPASS (physically at the machines or via MaxPass), find this one simple sentence on any FASTPASS you choose. It’s included on every MaxPass confirmation on the app and it’s printed on every paper FASTPASS Reminder that the machines distribute when you pull your FASTPASS.

In the image below, that sentence circled in lime green tells you when you can grab your next FASTPASS. Some guests set an alarm on their phone to remind them of this time. I do that often. Just be sure your alarm isn’t going to go off in the middle of a quiet attraction like Pirates of the Caribbean! You don’t want to be that guest.

Note – There is one exception to this rule. You may not choose a FASTPASS for an attraction you already hold a FASTPASS for. You must ride that attraction with your FASTPASS in order to choose another.

(Please pay no attention to my manicure in this image. I do my nails in the carpool lane.)

How to Use Rider Switch with these Strategies

Rider Switch is a free service offered to all park guests. You may use it in conjunction with FASTPASSES (Classic or MaxPass) or without them.

The rules changed in 2018, so be sure to review those here. Essentially, now guests must use their return pass(es) from the Rider Switch system within an hour of them being issued.

Before this change, I encouraged guests to save the return passes until later in the day so as not to interrupt your progress in the morning. Those earlier hours in the park are essential for getting lots done before the crowds arrive. And, doubling up on attractions will slow you down.

Since this is no longer an option, I have a new plan for you:

Arrive an hour early each day and use one of my strategies shared, above. Use Rider Switch for the attractions you’re interested in with the exception of those that offer a Single Rider Line. I share a list of Single Rider attractions here.

For Disneyland, that includes:

  • Space Mountain
  • Matterhorn
  • Splash Mountain
  • Indiana Jones

Instead of asking for a Rider Switch return pass for these attractions, move on to your next step in the strategy and know that you’ll be able to enjoy these attractions later in the day with a short line.

Afternoons are great for taking a break from attractions and instead, focusing on entertainment or even taking a break at your hotel. While one adult has kids at a show or on break, have the other tackle those four attractions that offer a Single Rider Line.

The following Rider Switch attractions do not have Single Rider Lines, so you’ll need to use Rider Switch for them if desired:

  • Autopia
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Gadget’s Go Coaster
  • Star Tours

Cutting down on Rider Switch return passes will allow you to move more efficiently during your day.

The only catch with Single Rider lines is that there is no guarantee that an adult and child will sit together. And, the child has to be 7 years old to use the Single Rider line.

If those restrictions don’t work for you, simply move through the strategy using Rider Switch return passes immediately after the first ride. You’ll be delayed a bit, of course, but if you get a good start with your day, you will still make good progress.

Why You Shouldn’t Start with Peter Pan and When You Should Ride It Instead

Save Peter Pan’s Flight for a time later in the day. Even if you go directly to Peter Pan at park opening, you will most likely wait an hour to ride it. Why? Everyone else goes there first. The attraction is slow loading. It’s just not the smartest way to start your day.

Save that hour wait for late afternoon or evening – not in the mid-day sun – but later on after you get other things done. You’ll wait the same amount of time as you would if you went there first thing. But, that first hour is so valuable – use it to do so much more.

Also, setting the tone of the day with an hour long wait at Peter Pan can work against you. Kids want to wait in line even less than you do. Show them that they’re going to move through the park in a fun way, riding several rides to kick off the day, rather than getting stuck in one place upon arrival.

If you watch fireworks from behind the castle – near Dumbo – you can jump in a line that forms near Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride that will lead guests to Peter Pan when this part of Fantasyland reopens after fireworks. Getting in this line will result in waiting only 5-10 minutes for the attraction. If you’re planning on being in the park late, I recommend this.

How These Strategies Test in the Parks

I test the strategies below as the park changes and also randomly to ensure they’re the best way for you to tour the park. When I test them, I often share the results on Facebook with details from my day. Follow me there to see me walk through the plans above about once a month.

Here are a couple of sample days so you can see how the strategies worked out:

3.6.2020 – with two hours in the park prior to entering Galaxy’s Edge

6.20.2019 – before visiting Galaxy’s Edge

5.2.2019 – with 50 people!


12.28.2018 – day after a capacity day



5.31.2018 (Memorial Day) ***without MaxPass



Reviewing the posts above will give you a better understanding of how the strategies work in the park. You’ll also learn how I adjusted my day as needed for ride closures and other things that could come up during your visit.

Some Tips

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Three dark rides (Snow White, Pinocchio, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) all have super short wait times at the close of day. I recommend you skip these three until the park is nearly closed. You should be able to enjoy all three within 20 minutes if the lines are low enough. (I’ve actually walked onto each of these moments before the park closes.)
  • Have one person keep track of all theme park tickets and FASTPASSES. If children have lanyards for their pin trading, do not allow them to hold their own tickets or passes. One person should be in charge of all tickets and passes, and it should absolutely be an adult.
  • If you’re nervous about meeting the times on your FASTPASSES, set an alarm on your phone for each. While Disneyland used to be flexible on arrival, now they insist you arrive during your designated range of times.

Got other ideas? Find me on Facebook and let’s chat!

Take a look at how Get Away Today can help with your vacation


  1. Thanks for your tips! I am curious to know if you have a list like this that includes galaxy’s edge and what to see there? i know you said to go if/when we can ride ROTR, or after 3pm, but how does that affect the other rides in your daily list? Does that make sense? Or are you saying just go to Galaxy’s Edge whenever and continue the rest of the list after we do everything we want to do there?

    We will be at Disneyland on May the Fourth and I think we will avoid Galaxy’s Edge that whole day, do you think that’s best? We will return the next day and go for a ROTR boarding group and if we don’t get on we will visit Galaxy’s edge in the afternoon. Is that what you would suggest?

  2. Hi Casey! Thank you for all your hard work. I am studying these as we prepare for our trip on Monday! I’m wondering where I can find the plan for little kids on EMH/MM? We are at the DLR and have it 2 days! Or should I follow the plan that doesn’t account for those privileges?

    Thank you so much again!!

  3. Hi Casey – Thanks for all these posts and tips, they are super helpful. I will be going to Disneyland for the first time with my sister and her kids (9 and 7). We will all be first timers. Although my sister and I have both been to Disney World multiple times. I was going through your Disneyland day and then looking along at the map to see where the rides/attractions are located. As I know you have done this multiple times, I just want to make sure it’s not too much craziness and running around. As say to just staying in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland to begin the day and getting those rides/attractions out of the way.

    Thanks so much for your time and respose! We leave on Saturday 🙂

  4. Hi Casey,
    Thanks for this magical world of information.
    I’m bringing my family all the way from New Zealand to Disneyland next Wednesday and they don’t know it yet. Your site has been very helpful but I do have a couple of questions:
    I’ve just discovered that there is the new Star Wars ride opening tomorrow. Do you think that will effect midweek crowds overall?
    Does this change anything with your plans for 1 day at Disney for big kids?
    When this Boarding Group system is in operation for the new ride does that mean you can’t get into the entire Galaxy Edge area until your time is due, or is that just for the ride itself.
    Many thanks.

  5. This article is really amazing…thanks a lot 🙂
    We are travelling with our 15-month old for the 1st time and we are there for 2 days. Since our son is really young and still takes 2 naps during the day, we are leaning towards skipping DCA and experience Disneyland as much as possible for 2 days. But adding DCA for just 55 bucks with park hopper tkts is also tempting and we wonder if we can cover both the parks in 2 days with our 15-month old.

  6. Hi Casey, truly enjoyed your plan. We have a 6 and 8yr old and we’re staying at grand californian. first time in DL. Like most parent, we’re here mainly for the kids so crazy rides are not our top priority, but i think they’ll love peter pan, so like one of the posts says we would like to make sure we get that out of the way. I’m curious ’cause your plan suggests not to do that first because even if we’re there at the opening, we would still be waiting for over an hour. But what if we’re crazy enough and since we have EMH, we rope drop and get to the park 45mins before EMH (6:15ish, that is wee hour for us), will we be the first to ride peter?

    • Hi, there!

      You should be fine going to Peter Pan first if you arrive early enough and know how to get there.

      Most guests will take a while getting through the castle, parking their stroller, finding the line, etc….which results in a long wait. But, you sound like you know what you’re doing. Go for it!

  7. I used your recommendations a year ago at DCA with 2 kids and my slower moving parents and it was perfect, thank you!!!
    Looking forward to using your plan again when we visit both parks the week of Christmas. You’re website is fantastic, thank you thank you!!

  8. Thank you for all the information provided. I see where you have the Strategies listed for DCA with and without EMH, but I don’t see the same for Disneyland. All I see is where you suggest to arrive 30 minutes early if you have EMH/MM and 1 hour early if you don’t. Are the strategies the same? Can you provide the link for the different Disneyland strategies if you DO have EMH/MM? Thank you!

  9. I am taking my family to Disneyland for 2 days on Dec 31st and Jan 1st. Do you suggest I take advantage of the Early Morning hour and do Disneyland on the 31st and California Adventure on Jan 1. Or should I go to California Adv on the 31st because everyone else will be at Disney and do Disneyland while everyone is sleeping in on Jan 1st. Thank you so much!!!

  10. I love reading your plans in preparation for our upcoming vacation in November. I have a question though. I was looking at your plan this morning in comparison to current wait times and FASTPASS times. My question is: do you recommend grabbing a FP to Matterhorn instead of space Mountain because the wait times are still really long due to only having one track open? This am space Mountain was a 10 min wait, star tours was 15 min and Matterhorn was 35min. Also, any chance you will ever post a YouTube video of your day? I would LOVE seeing this. Thank you

  11. We have two days at Disneyland. I want to do a character breakfast and take my daughter to Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. Would you recommend doing them the same day or different days? Also, what time of day should I book them to maximize our time in the park?

  12. Hi Casey – this list above for Big Kids – can you tell me how you’d recommend inserting Oga’s (what time) and Batuu w/ Smugglers into the order above? We also have reservations at River Belle w/ seating for Fantasmic. Thanks so much!

  13. Hi love all the tips!! I have a 5 year old and 3 year old. Due to the time difference where we are coming from there is no way they will make it from park opening until the fireworks. If we plan on leaving the park by 8 each night, should we try to do Peter Pan first or still later in the day? Thanks!

    • Still later in the day. Follow my list to start. You’ll wait an hour for Peter Pan at any point. It’s best not to use your first hour when you can get so much else done. Enjoy!

  14. With Smugglers Run now open, would you put that as the first ride to go to? And, then resume list as is? Seems that SR has a 60-90 min. wait time every time I look at the app.

  15. Hi Casey,

    I want to try this strategy on a Magic Morning day. I read all the Facebook links and it looks like some are different from what you have above. This is what I have written down- does this look like a reasonable plan? Do you think it’s also reasonable to think we’d have this all done to make a 12:30 lunch reservation at Cafe Orleans?

    -Enter park for Magic Morning at 7AM
    – [ ] Grab FP for Space Mountain
    – [ ] Peter Pan
    – [ ] Alice
    – [ ] Mr. Toads Wild Ride
    – [ ] Pinnochio
    – [ ] Snow White
    – [ ] Ride Star Tours
    – [ ] Grab Matterhorn FP
    – [ ] Ride Space Mountain with FP
    – [ ] Ride Buzz Lightyear
    – [ ] Ride Matterhorn with FP
    – [ ] Grab Haunted Mansion FP
    – [ ] Ride Big Thunder Mountain
    – [ ] Ride Pirates
    – [ ] Ride Splash Mountain
    – [ ] Ride Pooh
    – [ ] Ride Haunted Mansion with FP
    – [ ] Grab Indiana Jones FP
    – [ ] Ride Jungle Cruise
    – [ ] Lunch at Cafe Orleans
    – [ ] Enchanted Tiki Room
    – [ ] Ride Indiana Jones with FP

    I know I put Peter Pan first- should we avoid that and focus on the other Fantasyland rides? Fantasyland is a must for our MM. thank you! We’re going in August, if that helps!

    • The links I have shared from previous tests are different because each day is different in the parks. But, they all follow the same basic structure.

      Your plan should work if you remove Peter Pan. I also suggest leaving Fantasyland (except for Alice) for later in the day because most of those attractions have consistently short wait times at any part of the day.

      But, you should be just fine with what you have. Enjoy!

  16. Hi Casey!

    So, I read that starting very soon, Fantasmic will be available on Maxpass instead on the paper Fastpass. If that is the case, does that change the window as to when you would grab a Fantasmic Fastpass? We just got our reservation time for Galaxy’s Edge on June 6th!!! I’m hoping the rest of the park will be able to be navigated easily following your plan since I bet the park will be at capacity.

  17. Hi Casey, I’ve noticed you recommend in many different places to arrive early – if we do not follow your advice to get there early, does it screw up these awesome attack plans you’ve laid out? What is the latest arrival time range that can work with your attack plan? As you can probably tell I’m getting pushback on the early arrival idea 😀 But we are going next week so I think the opening time is 9 anyway. Thank you!!

    • Hi, Christine. You have to arrive early to get it all done. The later you start, the longer each wait will take, as the park will be more crowded. With each hour you wait, FASTPASS return windows will be later.

      Absolutely arrive by 8:15am at the latest to get the most out of your day. Offer a fun hotel breakfast in your room for kids if they don’t want to wake. Coffee for adults. It’s worth it!

  18. Hi Casey, Thanks for all of the information. I do have one probably stupid question. Number 6 on your plan says to “grab a paper FASTPASS for Fantasmic”. What is Fantasmic? I did not see that attraction on a map.
    Thanks for all the time and effort you put in to helping us visitors have a more enjoyable experience.

  19. I took my 83-year old mother in December. She walks unaided but gets tired. It was wonderful exploring the park at a slow pace. We used the train several times to get from one land to the other. We rode Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Small World and a few others and enjoyed the show that is on the stage to the left of the castle. She lasted about 6 hours and then she hit the wall. I took her back to the hotel and went back to catch the fireworks and a ride on Space Mountain. We joked about going to City Hall for a button..instead of one that said “First Visit”, we’d get one that said “Last Visit”. We lived in SoCal when I was a child and went to Disneyland for many years in the 60’s. It was fun taking her one last time.

  20. Thank you for all your tips !!
    We are heading over in August ‘19. We have a 3 day pass (1day per park) & understand it has a MM for DL. My concern is would it be worth to go early during such crowds, or will everyone do the same ? Or should we skip it & go to DCA that day, when it opens, hopefully everyone will be at DL?. Have heard with Star Wars we probably won’t be able to leave the parks to return, & my concern is will the kids last all day with the earlier time ??

    • I wouldn’t miss your Magic Morning by any means. EMH/MM are busy, but getting that first hour in with the strategy I share in this post will make a big difference in your day. Enjoy!

  21. If you go in for your magic morning can you select Fast Passes (with Max Pass) for rides that aren’t open yet? Also, is all of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland open for magic morning or just certain rides? Thanks so much!!!!

    • You should only be able to select them for attractions that are open. The strategies in this post detail all of the rides that you should start with, as they’ll have FASTPASSES open. Enjoy!

  22. Hi Casey-
    Thanks so much for all of this! We are trying to plan a trip with our 4 year old and 1 year old next month, but my husband and I still want to do some of the bigger rides. We have been to Disneyland twice in the past two years and have never gotten to ride Peter Pan because the line was SO long. Can you help me understand why you wouldn’t go straight there and ride it first with MM? I really really want to make sure we ride it this trip and I’m nervous seeing it placed so late in the day on the itinerary!
    Thank you!!

  23. Hi Casey!

    Super excited about a last minute trip we have planned for the beginning of May. Your site has been super informative. We will have a 3, 7, and 11 year old; is there a way that you would recommend maximizing the plans to adjust for having both little and big kids with us? We will have 3 day passes, no Park Hoppers and will have Max Pass. We are planning on 2 days at Disneyland and 1 at DCA.

  24. Hello Casey,
    So thankful for all your strategies, I can’t wait to test them out in a few weeks. My family got 4-day passes (one park per day) and that come with 1 EMH. Which park would you recommend to visit from a Wednesday to Saturday, and which park should I use the EMH? Thanks for your advice!

  25. We’re going to Disney land on a day space mountain is closed. And are wondering how you’d switch the schedule to adjust to that if we have the magic hour and MaxPass. Also we have a 3 day pass and will be there mon tues and half of wed and are wondering which order you’d suggest with each park if we have 1 day per park passes. Thank you!

    • Hi, Kay.

      I would visit Disneyland on Sunday, DCA on Tuesday, and Disneyland again on Tuesday with Magic Morning.

      I rarely suggest Peter Pan for any plan, but it’s a good time to go to it first with the castle being under refurbishment. Arrive 30 minutes prior to Magic Morning timing, select the Matterhorn MaxPass upon entering, go straight to Peter Pan (veer right at the castle and then go in the back way near teacups), ride it and then Star Tours standby. Then, Matterhorn….and continue on with the plan.


  26. We are going in March with another family (4 people in our family, 4 people in their family.) Should one adult manage the FastPasses for all 8 people, or should we have an adult from each family of 4 manage them? We arrive at different times the first day, but spend the 2nd and 3rd day at the parks together. Concerned that they may end up wanting to split up during the day, and if we do that, it will be harder for one person to manage.

    We have been to DW over 7 times, but this is our first visit to DL, and it is so new to us planning it! Thanks!

  27. As far as I can tell, Jedi Training ended on November 4th this year. Hopefully when Galaxy’s Edge opens up, they move it over there because I would love my kids to have a try!

  28. Thank you for your information. I have enjoyed following you the past few years and I have followed your strategies.
    Have you done a day plan for when you have a very senior citizen with you? My 91-year-old mother and I are going to just Disneyland next Tuesday, the 30th. We are only going for a day. She does not need nor want a wheelchair and walks well, but somewhat slowly with a cane. I’m planning for us to go on Fantasyland rides (her favorite is Dumbo), Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Jungle cruise, eat at Carnation Cafe, and somewhere else, watch parades and shows.
    I don’t think we can hang until closing, she’ll wear out.
    I’m looking for suggestions for resting spots and anything else you can think of.
    We are in San Diego for a month with my husband and she wanted to go to Disneyland “one last time”;
    Thanks for any help.

  29. Hi Casey! I followed your strategy for CA Adventure earlier this year and it worked perfectly! Unfortunately, we got a bit off track (we had a 4 and 7 year old in tow) 😉 We are going with extended family on 11/30 and I was wondering if you have an updated strategy due to the bigger crowds for the haunted mansion and jingle cruise?

  30. Hi Casey. I have a question about the Disneyland plan for big kids with EMH. If I get a fastpass for Space Mt. first thing, using Maxpass, during EMH, what is the usual return time for that fastpass? Is it after official park opening or before? I like to enter Frontier Land, Critter Country, etc. right when they open to get on those rides first thing. I do not want to be stuck going on Space Mt. at official park opening and miss my opportunity to get in there right away. Do you have any experience with this? We will be there in December which will no doubt be very busy. Thanks!

  31. Thank you so much for all of this information! I plan to follow these almost to a T 😉 I’m hoping you can give me a suggestion though. We are going with our tall/fairly fearless 4 year old. I believe she will want to go on all the mountain/dark rides eventually; however, I’m not sure if I want to start her out on those smack dab first thing in the morning on our first day in case I scar her for life on space mountain at 8am. but I also don’t want to miss out on the best times to ride the “good” rides. Should we start out with your little kid plan for a couple of rides and then move to the big kid plan? Or can you suggest a ride or two to start off with before heading to space Mountain and star tours? We plan to utilize rider switch if she shows no interest in these rides, but I think we can work her up to it 🙂

  32. We have 4 days park hopper tickets and the privilege to enter either park earlier one of those 4 days. Where do you think it the Early Morning Hour will be best used? Disneyland or California Adventure?

    PS. we are using your big kids strategies for both parks, we will be doing rider switch since our kids are 8, 6, 4, and 2 years old. and we will probably be using Max pass.

  33. You mentioned not to try all rides in one day. If we go to half the list in one day, can we start the next day where we left off. Have you tried half the list one day and the other half the next? does it work okay?

  34. I love your plans for California Adventure! Do you have a minute by minute plan for Disneyland as well? We are going for the first time October 1. We have Mickey’s Halloween Party tickets for October 2, and planning one day at Universal Studios. What itinerary do you recommend (2 daughters ages 10 and 8)

  35. Hi Casey this is awesome thank you! We are heading down with the family first week of October. We have a 7, 5, 4.5, and 2.5 year old with us all first timers. Looking at your plan for littles and wondering if you would switch anything around if using the extra magic hour? Sorry of you have already answered this. Could you also touch on the same for California Adventure? Thanks!

  36. Hi Casey,
    I am reading your posts for couple of last weeks and all your strategies. Any tips how to combine all your tips for 1day hoper tickets for family with big kids? We will be there on Sept 15 and it is our first time visiting Disneyland. Appreciate any help!

  37. Hi Casey, can’t tell you how much I appreciate you and your site! I’ve used it on two Disney trips now! Do you happen to have any strategies for groups with big and Little kids? That always seems to be the struggle with us! We tried splitting the groups but the kids want to be together of course (cousins) so it’s tough balancing. The littles are definitely less patient than the bigs but we want to get the mountains done first of course! Thanks!!

    • You best bet is to use the big kids plan and then cross off what you’re not interested in. If big kids are going on an attraction that little ones cannot, try to find something nearby to keep them busy. Cast members can advise on that when you arrive at each attraction. You’d be surprised, thought, at how much you can all do together. Enjoy, Maria!

  38. Hi Casey,

    Thank you for your amazing website, I’ve been reading many posts and even watching some YouTube videos covering other tips and tricks for Disneyland and California Adventure and I’m? feeling a little overwhelmed by all the options available.

    I am traveling? to the U.S for the very first time from Sydney, Australia with my Wife and 11 year old son. We will be in Anaheim from September 17th 2018 until September 22nd. We have purchased a 4 day hopper pass for Disneyland/C.A. (Expedia had a deal of 4 days for the price of 2 including one Magic Morning). We have also purchased tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party for one of the evenings.

    During this vacation we will also spend some time in San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas.
    We have a day at Universal Studios and a WB Studios tour booked as well.

    Could you suggest a rough itinerary or which plan we should follow based on the above info to help us maximise our first time to the ?U.S? We have been planning this trip for years and I really don’t want to stuff it up!

    ? Thanks for any and all help you can give, Cheers.??

    Chris and Rebecca

  39. Casey – We just used the DL touring plan for little kids this past Friday to get started. We got our Buzz FP and then headed over to Alice. Seeing no one in line at storybook canal boats we headed over there first. Since we were the first guests to ride, we were asked to signed the guestbook. Such a magical moment!! Thank you for this plan!

  40. Hi! This is such a great site. Yours is the best of many I have looked at! Question for you, we will be arriving about noon to the Grand Californian on Sunday August 26 and will head To Disneyland Park for afternoon and evening for my son’s 10th Birthday! Any suggestions on attacking the park at that time of day (there will be two big kids my husband and I)? We will have 2 more days (one at each park) after the initial half day. Any tips for arriving that time of day would be great. Definitely planning to catch 10:30 show of Fantasmic that night. THANKS!

  41. Hi Casey,

    This is absolutely amazing, thank you for sharing. We’re from PDX and I’m taking nine 15-year-olds over labor day weekend. Our plan is to spend a day in each park. Would the above big kid plan work?

  42. Hi Casey,
    This is super helpful, thank you for sharing!
    Last summer we did adventure land- New Orleans-critter country first thing in the morning and we got done by 11 A.M. also I walked to register my daughter on the Jedi training academy while my husband went to get the fantasmic fastpasses before we started to do the rides and that plan worked great!
    Just wanted to share our experience with you.
    I just saw your plan for day start at DCA and will follow it on our next visit July 30th – August 3rd

  43. Hey Casey! With the advent of MaxPass, do you still see the need to arrive at the park one hour ahead of park opening on non EMH/MM days? We’re headed to DL/DCA in mid August and we’re staying at the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel. We have no little ones in our group, and we’re all early risers. I saw in one of your previous posts that their shuttle doesn’t start until 30 min before park opening. If the latter is still true, we may walk to DL on the first day ( a Wednesday) to get our tickets scanned early and collect that all-important first FastPass.

    • Hi, Ruben. I do still recommend arriving an hour early if possible. Majestic Inn is tricky since their shuttle doesn’t run that early. We have walked from that location before and it was totally fine. Try it the first day to see how your group holds up. If it’s not worth the effort, take the first shuttle and get in the park asap after arriving. MaxPass certainly helps with these situations now. You will just be behind the Rope Drop crowd headed to your first attraction. Totally doable.

  44. Hi Casey,

    Any tips for combining these plans to satisfy both a 9-year-old thrill rider and a 5-year-old who hates roller coasters but loves simulators (i.e. Star Tours)? I’d like to start in Fantasyland so I’m thinking of following the Little Ones plan to start, but getting FP for Space Mtn instead of Buzz. Do you think we can ride Buzz without a FP if we skip Toontown? Then we could do Space w/ FP (swapping since my 5yo won’t ride it), and Nemo. I’d also like a FP for Star Tours since we all like that one. Should I pull that after Space, or is it better to do Star Tours first and then pull Space for later?

    We’ll be in the parks July 4-6 so I’m sure it will be busy. We’ll have 3-day Park Hoppers with MaxPass.

    • Hi, Ava. As always, arrive an hour prior to official park opening. Upon entering the park, select Space Mountain as your first FASTPASS and then set up at Rope Drop in Tomorrowland. Go immediately to board Star Tours at official park opening. That’s the best way to get both of these very popular rides done with almost no wait time. Ride Buzz and Nemo standby after riding Star Tours, while you’re waiting for your Space Mountain FASTPASS window. You should have all four of these attractions done by an hour into your day if you follow these steps. Arriving early is imperative.

      I would then select a FASTPASS for it’s a small world. Get through Fantasyland while you’re waiting on that return window, although it shouldn’t be much of a wait at all.

      (it’s a small world just got FASTPASSES. I haven’t had a moment to revise this post to include it.)

      After it’s a small world’s FASTPASS, select Splash Mountain and continue on with the plan.

      Hope so much this helps!

  45. HI Casey, thank you for your website. VERY helpful, I’ve noted down quite a bit of useful tips. We’re a family of 4 (my husband and I along with 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son) with a 4-day pass for the parks (no hopper) from May 14-17, 2018. Unfortunately, grad night is May 15 and 16. Can you please recommend a plan-of action so that we get in all the must-dos/sees during those 4 days with minimal waits? We’re thinking 2 days in each park.
    Any advice is appreciated.
    Thank you!! 🙂

  46. Hello! Using your strategy for DLR 1 day with little ones, at what point(s) would it be best to do the monorail and train rides? Thank you!

      • Hi Casey,
        We have a 4 day 1day per park tickets. We have 4 & 10 year olds. We aren’t into Star Wars at all, would like the Peter Pan stuff but also want to see the 4 mountains and go on the bigger rides utilising rider switch. We will do the EMH for each of the parks and stick with that park for the day. With DL I’m not sure whether to follow your EMH 1 or the one for the kiddies but incorporate the bigger stuff??

        • I would use the mountain plan for your first day. Focus on getting the big rides done first. Then, on a subsequent day, use the little kid version to fill in. Still save Peter Pan for later in the day, but those two days with the listed attractions will cover the park for you easily. Cross off any repeats you don’t care to do. Enjoy!

  47. Hi Casey, We are going to be at DL on Thursday, May 17th and Friday, May 18th. My 5-year old wants to do the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique and she also wants to do the Star Wars Jedi Training. I’ve booked an appointment for the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique first-thing in the morning on Thursday because I figured she’d want to get the most out of her makeover and wear it all day long. The plan was to do the Jedi Training on the Friday but I’m starting to worry about Friday mid-May crowds and not being able to get a Jedi Training reservation. The park opens at 9:00am on the Thursday and 8:00am on the Friday. It’s also Grad Nite at DL on the Friday. Do you have any recommendations/suggestions? Should I switch up my plan or am I okay with it as is?

  48. Hi,
    Was just looking at the plan above (for if you have younger one’s) and just wondered how does it work with MaxPass? Do you follow the same itinerary but just click the fast passes off your MaxPass app?

  49. We will be visiting during the Lunar New Year celebration from the 10-13th. How would you recommend fitting that in the the DCA day?

    • I would try to focus on attractions in the morning and then the Lunar New Year experiences in the afternoon when the parks are more crowded.

      I’ll be there today sharing what I find at the celebration on

      Hope that helps!

  50. This is so helpful, thank you! If we have EMH and park hopper tickets do you recommend using our EMH at the designated park and then moving to the park without the EMH for the rest of the day? I have heard the park with the EMH and MM tend to be the busier park all day. Thoughts? Thanks for your help!

  51. Great site you are a lifesaver!!! I’m going mid September for my 40th and my twin boys 5th bday. We are staying at paradise pier. I was thinking about getting the maxpass as I like the photo option that comes with it as sometimes it will just be me and the kitties so don’t get a lot of photos with us all. Do you suggest following your ‘little ones’ plan? Also my mother will be with us for part of the trip but can’t go on rides am I able to do rider switch so I can ride the ride with one little and then switch to ride with the other so I don’t have to wait again? Are most of the rides and to accommodate one adult and two Little’s? (Would hate for us all to have to ride seperate and the rider switch although convenient may take up valuable time). What do you suggest? We have a 3 day park hopper pass.

  52. Wow, so much great information here, but this will be my first Disney trip, and my head is spinning! We’ll be at Disneyland the first full week of February, M-F. We have 5-day park hopper tickets. I am super apprehensive about crowds, which is why we chose early February and 5 weekdays. How strictly do you think we’ll need to adhere to a plan? We have two kids, 3 and 7, so I think we’ll have to split up some so each kid can go at their own pace (older brother is tall enough for all the big rides, younger brother is not). Our list of essentials is not that long (they’re big fans of Toy Story and Cars, Star Wars to a lesser extent, and couldn’t give a hoot about princesses or Mickey). On one hand, I really don’t want to rush the kids through and risk sensory overload/meltdowns, but on the other hand, I absolutely cannot wait in a 2 hour line for RSR because we spent all morning on Tom Sawyer Island or something. Also, we’ll start out the week still on East Coast time, so early arrival should be no problem!! Thank you for sharing your expertise!

    • Start each day with a plan and get stuff done without the lines. Then, relax each afternoon. You have plenty of time to do and see it all with 5 days. But, no one likes a 2 hour line. Follow a good plan to avoid just about any line longer than 20 minutes. Everyone will be happier that way.

  53. Thanks for all the great tips. We have EMH at DL on a Tuesday. We have two kids who like both Tomorrowland and Fantasyland rides. Where should we start first if we want to do both sets of rides? Can Fantasyland be done later in the day without horrible wait times? Thanks!

    • Hi, there.

      I would use the New Disneyland Strategy in this post and then focus on Fantasyland after. While waiting for a few of these attractions, you could sneak in Alice in Wonderland, which will be crowded throughout the day and is best to ride in the morning. Otherwise, most of the Fantasyland rides are decent afternoon/late evening. Save Peter Pan for later, as mentioned. If you want to skip my plan to move to the other side of the park all together, go immediately into Fantasyland after completing Tomorrowland.

      Otherwise, the ‘dark’ rides (Toad, Snow White, Pinocchio) are typically 5-10 minute waits later in the evening. Dumbo, Storybook Land Canal Boats and Alice are the longest lines. Teacups, the carrousel and Casey Junior shouldn’t be too long, regardless of the time of day.


  54. Hi, question how will your plan for little ones but with magic morning? Is fastpass working in magic morning? Or any suggestions I have a 2 and 5 year old. Thanks

    • Hi, Andrea.

      I have tested out these strategies with EMH and me not having it. So, you’re set. Follow the plans that work for you (with or without Guardians, as directed with EMH) and you’ll be in great shape). Enjoy!

  55. Hi Casey,
    I stumbled across your website and I LOVE IT! My family is going to DL on 10/7/17, which is a Saturday. We will only be at DL this day and we do not have a park hopper. Do you have a “Saturday” plan or are your plans good for any day of the week? TIA! 🙂

    • Welcome, Yvonne! Happy to help you.

      The plans in all of my posts work for weekends, too. I typically test them out on weekends, actually, so I know they’ll work with heavier crowds. If you are planning on using MaxPass, take a look at this post:

      It’s linked in this post, too, but that will take you directly there. I share my park experiences on Facebook – down to the minute – so you can see how my plans play out. I got into LOTS of detail there.

      Use the New Disneyland Strategy and adjust it as needed. You’ll see what I did and why in that link, too. Let me know if you have any more questions!

      • Thank you so much Casey! I haven’t been to DL in 5 years, and I must admit that I have been spoiled with Magic Bands at WDW! I’m excited to try out MaxPass, and now that I’ve found your website, I’m more a little more confident with my plans!! Again, a BIG Thank You! 🙂

  56. Hi Casey,
    Just a little question? After reading this very helpful page, I am little confused regarding the tour plan order.

    The “Start your day at Disneyland” has the plan which tackles the four mountains with fastpasses (not MAX). But the (very helpful) little tables in found in your 6 steps planning process = DL Whole Family) show a different order/proposal. I’m sorry I’m so confused!

    We have two boys (aged 9) and we are after a combination of little kid and big kid rides.
    Thanks I’m advance – I think your page is wonderful 🙂

  57. I have a question. We are going to Goofy’s Kitchen for breakfast at 8:15 before the park opens at 10am. I was thinking we would ride the monorail into the park that morning. Is there a disadvantage to that over going in the main entrance and waiting for rope drop? Also, we aren’t hotel guests, but I don’t think the monorail is reserved for hotel guests in the morning, is it?

  58. Hi Casey! My family will be going to The parks the first week in October for 4 days. We will be staying on property. The first 2 days is dedicated to my son. 1 day in DCA and 1 day in DL. I have been reading your site for tips and strategies for months. I noticed you have an EMH strategy for DL and a different one for little kids without an EMH. But what strategy would you suggest for an EMH that is toddler focused at DL?? Also we plan to do the Minnie and friends character breakfast at the last seating, which should be about 1030 am, based on what I read.

    • Hi, Laurie.

      I would follow the Little Kids strategy for EMH just the same as I have it suited for those without EMH. Depending on your knowledge of Disney parks and your family’s dedication – I would suggest going to Peter Pan instead of pulling that Buzz Lightyear FASTPASS – if you know your family will be there well before EMH opening and know how to go directly to Fantasyland. If you can do that, skip the Buzz FASTPASS, ride Peter Pan, and then move on through the rest of the plan.

      You sound like you know what you’re doing, so I’m thinking you’ll be ok. Have the best time!

  59. First, I need to say THANK YOU for all of this information. Because of your methods, I rode everything on the list in Disneyland….BEFORE noon (showed up at rope drop).

    A few things to note here (and I apologize if it’s already been said) but some info before I begin:

    Arrival: ~7:30am, Wednesday June 14
    Went solo


    1. Grab fast pass for Star Tours
    2. Rode Space Mountain (5-10 minute wait, line was moving so quickly it was hard to keep up)
    3. Rode Matterhorn (Being a single rider, I “walked-on”)
    4. Rode Star Tours with fast pass
    5. Rode Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (no fast pass needed, 5 minute wait)
    6. Grab fast pass for Indiana Jones
    7. Rode Splash Mountain (walk on, single rider)
    8. Rode Haunted Mansion (5 minute wait)
    9. Rode Pirates of the Caribbean (5 minute wait)
    10. Rode Indiana Jones with fast pass

    That hit all the major stuff for me in Disneyland. Time to completion: About 4 hours

    A note about the “Single Rider” option: I saw multiple groups do the “single rider” and quite a few of them managed to sit with their family/friends anyway and skipped the line.

    I then switched over to California Adventure, where I also was able to walk on many rides (even in the afternoon). I’ll post a comment there about what I did on the article for that one (link at the top of the page).

  60. Hi Casey, it is the best article i have read on the internet so far, thank you for sharing! so according to this tips, do not need to grab FT for all the rides, isnt it? i will visit disney just on my own, and will do single ride, do you think is it still worth to get FT for some busy rides?Thank you ^^

  61. Hey Casey! I know you’re super busy with the opening of Guardians today! Looks awesome! We arrive at DLR Monday night and I’m worried about some of our planning due to rides opening and closing. Specifically, I’m torn on what to do on my Wednesday and Thursday mornings both which will be at Disneyland. With Space closed on Wednesday, we’ll have to try to do it Thursday which is MM. However, most suggest doing Fantasyland during MM. Thoughts??? Help please!

    • Hi, Sabrina.

      I would use my plan for Disneyland and substitute grabbing the Buzz Lightyear FASTPASS instead of Space Mountain. Grab that, ride Star Tours, ride Matterhorn and then anything else you can fit in prior to your Star Tours FASTPASS time. Does that help?

  62. Hi Casey! I am going to DLR with a 3 and 6 year old first week of April with 4 adults for one day (actually 6 hours as are coming from a cruise in Long Beach). My 3 year old is Minnie crazed and my 6 year old is Star Wars crazed. Should we split up? My 6 year old will probably just do star tours and want to wander around the bay and I think would enjoy the rides you have on the littles. Would appreciate your advice on how to maximize our time there! We plan to be there when doors open and leave around 3:30 in hopes we will make it back to Long Beach before 6! Hopefully the traffic isn’t too bad!

    • Hey, there. I think you should split up for a bit to tackle Star Wars Land and avoid waits. Take the 3 year old to Fantasyland and then Toontown, which opens about an hour after the park opens. Then, meet back for lunch so you can enjoy the park together. Have fun!

  63. I didn’t read the links in this article so I am not sure you addressed ride closures, which should be included in this post. Ride closures happened to us several times during our first and recent trip this past weekend. On our first trip and on our first day of our first trip many big attractions were down at opening. This really screwed up our first day which crowd level wise was a 10 out of ten, and made going to Tomorrowland first was a huge mistake since both star tours and hyper were closed. So, trying to learn from our mistake we tried to use the line apps to see what would be down when first entering. I checked the app which said Peter Pan was not closed so we head there but it was down – again, messed us up. We woke up early and stood in line for a long time to get to a popular attraction before the line built but all that planning and waiting didn’t help. Maybe you could discuss things like this as these ride closures affected us 2 out of 3 days at park opening and therefor do not seem rare. Going to closed attractions first thing in the day really made us feel like failures at park planning even though I spent so much time and effort doing it.

    I would like to warn people about the touringplans paid service which I have used for WDW and for this recent visit to DL. For our trip to WDW they predicted crowd level of 6 to 8 but they were mostly 9 to 10 for most of the parks for most of the 6 days we were there. For our DL trip they were even more off. Our first day was predicted to be a 5 but it was a 10 (Friday). Our last day was predicted to be a 3 but it was a 6 (Monday). We had planned somewhat around these predicted crowd levels so if you are paying for this service only for their crowd predictions, I would reconsider. Apparently, they only based their predictions on the past instead of considering actual holiday school break dates which were different this year than the past. I did not know that they would ignore significant facts such as that when making their predictions.

    • Hi, Romaine.

      That is frustrating. I’m sorry. There are signs up outside both parks – before security – noting what is closed that day. Other than that notice on site, there is no way to know what rids will be down, especially if they’re unexpected and temporary. I keep this list as up to date as possible, but that won’t cover unexpected or temporary closures:

      I’ve heard the same about the Touring Plans crowd predictors. There is really no use any longer for any app outside of the free Disneyland app. The park is now providing most of the information 3rd party apps do, so trust Disney over outside sources. The Disneyland app will tell you which attractions are down, too.

  64. Is buzz lightyear still disconnected? Do you know how often they get changed? Also, do you know what ride in California adventure is disconnected?

  65. We will be using our e-tickets through the Disneyland app next week and won’t have physical tickets. Will this be a problem for getting fastpasses?

  66. Hello
    I wanted to know that if I was to the Buzz Lightyer fastpast and then. A Space Mountain Fast Pass. Can i then go to Disney California Adventure side to get another\3rd fast past for Radiator Springs Racers

  67. Hey Casey:
    Thank you for all your information. We are so excited for our upcoming trip, being WDW Lifers but first time for my children here. I saw you went to WDW recently, are the Big Thunder Mountain rides virtually the same for Disneyland and WDW? I am getting Confused if there is a Frozen show in March. Nothing has taken the place of Aladdin in DCA yet, right? Also, are there shows at Fantasy Faire or just princess meet n greets?

    • BTMRR is similar, but you should still ride it. Frozen show doesn’t start until May 27. The shows at Fantasy Faire are half Frozen and half Tangled. Princess meet-n-greets are there too.

  68. How are the CM’s about enforcing the return times? We are about to return to the DLR at the end of April (after a long hiatus-haven’t been since 2009) and when we were there then, you just had to return anytime after your initial return time. For example, like your FP ticket shows above shows return time of 9:40 and 10:40, as long as you showed up anytime of the day after 9:40, they would let you on. Is this still the case. Or do you have to adhere to the return times?

  69. Does it matter if I grab the space mountain tickets before the buzz light year tickets? Will the connected tickets lock me out of buying the disconnected tickets if I get the connected first in other words? Also, if I have small children but have 4 ppl that can ride rides, can I get 2 fast passes of different rides for the same times then get rider switch tickets to trade? Just wondering if I can get 2 fast passes for space mountain for one group and 2 fast passes for the other group for the same time for star tours and obtain rider switch at both and then trade?

    • It doesn’t matter which order you go in. Just be sure to know which are connected and disconnected. Rider switch ideally works like that, but some cast members are occasionally difficult about it. Just know that going in. It should work, though.

  70. Are those the only 4 thats disconnected? Can you also get some for Indiana Jones & Space Mountain? I also noticed that they cover the fastpass machines when they are not in use. Thank you!

    • Space Mountain and Indy are connected. Unfortunately you can’t pull those and others. This is a tough post to keep updated. Currently, Buzz Lightyear and Fantasmic! Are disconnected.

  71. Hi, Casey!!! 2 girlfriends & I are coming in a day early for a conference to specifically see Disneyland & CA in one day. We will be arriving Jan 10th & then taking the next day to conquer both parks. DL opens early (not staying in a DL hotel), so thinking we should arrive early to CA by picking up FPs according to your Tour Guide of both parks. Disappointed to see Soarin will be refurbished during our trip. Should be able to conquer all in a day? Hope to see you in the parks! Looking forward to it as I’m a DW pro & follow Shannon religiously. 🙂

    • Hi, MinnieSue! Yes, I would start at DCA with RSR and then head over to Disneyland unless there is more at DCA that you want to see. Soarin is the same as WDW, so don’t stress over that. I recommend spending much more time at DLR than at DCA, especially if you only have one day. Let me know what other questions come up!

      Recommended dining options for DLR in one day: Carnation Cafe for breakfast (Walt’s favorite – get Oscar’s special) and then Cafe Orleans for lunch (monte cristo, pomme frites and beignets for dessert). Make reservations for both….and they’re both DLR unique. If you can work in a dining experience that evening (Paint the Night starts on January 11), do so! You’ll have dining at Blue Bayou and then reserved seating for the parade. I’ll be at Blue Bayou that night, too.

  72. Hi Casey, any idea if the frozen show at DLR is playing through the holidays? We go tomorrow and I’m not seeing this listed on the Disneyland event schedule. Thanks! Jennie

  73. I was there 11/1. For DLR, no fastpass for the Fantasty Faire show. I asked about and they said just show up 30 minutes before. I can say – shows did not reach full capacity (the two times I saw) until about 10 minutes before showtime. Thanks.

  74. Casey,
    I’m looking at our upcoming visit and would like some clarification on the different options for Anna/Elsa/Frozen shows.
    I have down to get Anna/Elsa return tickets when we first enter CA. You mentioned in a post that they have a song-along. How is this different than what’s offered at Disneyland – “The Frozen Show?” I don’t want to repeat if they are similar shows.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • They’re actually very different shows. The one at DCA is super sweet and it’s a singalong. I completely enjoy that one. The one at DLR is more snarky and almost vaudeville in nature and people love it because it’s a twist on the movie you’ve likely seen a dozen times. Both are fun!

  75. I heard that the FASTPASS for the Frozen show is gone now. Or at least going away in the near future as it isn’t as crazy busy anymore. Is this true?

  76. Hi I recently purchased an AP and have since been to the park 5 times but can only manage to get on two rides since the lines are crazy long. I’ve read your suggestions about how to go about obtaining FPs but I don’t understand what you mean when you say they are “disconnected” would you mind clarifying this?

  77. Hi! Thanks so much for the updated post on FastPass. I was wondering how to maximize FastPass and Rider Switch. It will just be my husband and I with our 16-month old so we plan on using Rider Switch quite a bit. Do both adults need a FP to get a Rider Switch ticket?

  78. Hi, we’re staying on property and plan to do the magic morning each morning. Do FASTPASS machines only open after the park opens? I plan to follow your suggestion of riding Peter Pan first, then send my hubby to ride Dumbo with the kids while I run for FASTPASSES. What’s your suggestion as for as me lining up for the passes during the magic morning? THANKS

    • All Disneyland FASTPASS machines SHOULD work during Magic Morning. The only one I know of that does not is Radiator Springs Racers at DCA. Great plan……ride Peter Pan and then run for the passes as designed in this post while your husband takes kids to Dumbo. Well done.

  79. Hi
    I have a question, can I grab space Mountain FP after Buzz Lightyear, then go to get frozen show and Fantasmic?
    or I have to grab all the disconnected FP, THEN grab connected FP?Thank you so much

    • You should be able to grab all four since Buzz, Frozen Show and Fantasmic! are disconnected. Space Mountain is connected, so this would be your only one that inhibits grabbing others.

  80. my two kids ages 2 1/2 and 4months don’t pay to get in the parks, so they don’t have APs …if I were to get fastpasses for my husband and I would they allow my kids to use the fastpass line?

    • Hi, Stefanie.

      Since children cannot hold theme park tickets, they cannot pull FASTPASSES. Therefore, they don’t need them to ride a FASTPASS attraction with you. Little ones will be just fine without them.

  81. I have entered the park, and like you mentioned, left the rest of the family to sleep in while I gather fast passes. You did a good job of it, but you can’t STRESS THIS ENOUGH – your full party must be in the park with their tickets scanned at the front entrance in order for this to work. A ticket will not scan for a fastpass UNLESS, it has been scanned at the entry to Disneyland signaling to the computer that you are in fact, in the park. I, was very lucky though. One cast member saw me try to get fastpasses and it wasn’t working. I explained that I let my family sleep in and she helped me to get my fast passes. This will not always work, however.

  82. Thanks again for an informative article! I had no idea the Buzz Lightyear ride was disconnected. Questions: Is this the only disconnected ride in DL? As far as you know, has it always been disconnected?

Leave a Reply to Lisa Cancel reply