How to Start Your Day at the Disneyland Resort

Updated March 6, 2020

The success of your morning can determine how your entire day goes at Disneyland. I have some tips for you on how to make the most of your time and how to get everyone started in the right direction.

The benefits of an early arrival are plentiful. Save your slumber for another vacation. There is work to be done at Disneyland!

Before You Arrive

Before you even arrive on site, I suggest you have the following done:

  • Have tickets purchased. Buy online or purchase from your hotel. Lines at the ticket counters on site can be long.
  • Eat breakfast. Wake early and enjoy breakfast in your hotel or find something on your way in. If you are wanting to dine with characters, reserve the latest time available. A 10:30am reservation is a good idea. That allows you to enjoy the earlier hours and then take a break when everyone else shows up.
  • Apply sunscreen and make sure kids are prepared for their day. 
  • If you’re lining up outside prior to open, look for restrooms at each end of the waiting area between the parks. Have everyone use the restroom before entering.


When to Arrive

I repeat this time and time again because it’s actually that important.

To get the most out of your mornings, arrive an hour prior to official park opening. If you have Extra Magic Hour/Magic Morning privileges, arrive 30 minutes prior to EMH/MM opening time.

Visiting Galaxy’s Edge?

Read this post, too, so that you can see and do everything there while managing your day at Disneyland.

The Basic Structure for Your Day

Focus on accomplishing the following in order to see and do all you want to:

  • Arrive early
  • Focus on attractions for the first several hours (with a snack break at some point)
  • Break for a late lunch and then nap/rest at your hotel
  • Return to the parks for entertainment, character meets, princesses, etc
  • Resume attractions
  • Enjoy nighttime entertainment
  • Attractions again!

Standby vs FASTPASS

Attractions have two lines available to guests.

They are:

Standby – the “regular line” that guests get in; does not require a FASTPASS

FASTPASS – the line that requires a FASTPASS

See here:

Do this First at Disneyland

This post shares several plans for how to start your day at Disneyland.

They work! Follow one of my plans and you’ll have the majority of the most iconic attractions completed in the park by lunch.

Do This First at California Adventure

This post shares several plans for how to start your day at California Adventure.

They work, too! DCA has fewer attractions, overall, and is easier to navigate if you know what you’re doing. It’s entirely possible to have every attraction complete by a late lunch.

Big Kids or Little Kids Plans – How to Choose

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 share info on each attraction. Scroll through it 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.


To learn about FASTPASSES, the difference between the two options available to you, when and how often you can obtain FASTPASSES and so much more, visit this post.

When To Visit Each Park

If you don’t have Extra Magic Hour (EMH) or Magic Morning (MM), it’s ideal to visit the park not hosting EMH or MM.

If you do have EMH or MM, don’t miss out on taking advantage of that early admission privilege.

This post shares all about EMH and MM, including which park hosts on each day. Definitely take a look at it when planning your days out.

How to Plan Your Days

Here’s how to structure your visit:

  • If you have one day, use my strategy in this post, listed below. Start at California Adventure (DCA) and finish at Disneyland.
  • If you have two days, spend one at Disneyland and one at DCA.
  • If you have three days, spend two at Disneyland and one at DCA.
  • If you have four days, spend two at each park.
  • If you have five, spend three at Disneyland and two at DCA.

Definitely consider purchasing tickets now at a discount to avoid long lines at the ticket booths. I share all about my trusted source for tickets here.

Follow This Plan for One Day at Both Parks

If you only have one day at both parks, I have a plan for you. It is designed to cover all the iconic attractions in each park and is totally doable! I’ve done it. You can, too.

For this plan to work, it’s imperative you follow these instructions:

  • Understand MaxPass and FASTPASSES, in general. This post has everything you need to know. Study it!
  • Arrive an hour prior to official park opening to line up at Disneyland for a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance
  • Have your one day park hopper ticket purchased prior to arrival, and be sure to include MaxPass in that purchase. Buy your park hopper on the Disneyland app. Go straight to the gates when you arrive – no need to stop at the ticket booths. Your app will suffice for confirmation of your ticket when you go through the turn stiles.

This plan is ideal on a day that California Adventure (DCA) is not hosting Extra Magic Hour. Typically, that includes Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, but occasionally those change. Check with this post for what’s happening during your proposed timing.

Even if you visit on a day that includes DCA hosting Extra Magic Hour, you should still start there and follow this plan. There are just a handful of attractions to get through at DCA before you hop to Disneyland and spend most of your day there.

Ok. Let’s do this!


  • Line up outside Disneyland Park an hour prior to official park opening, as you’ll likely be let in 30 minutes prior to official park opening.
  • Take a deep breath and follow the steps, below.


  • Enter Disneyland Park and then exit immediately (this will allow you to grab a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance – read here for how to make this happen)
  • Use MaxPass to select FASTPASS for Radiator Springs Racers
  • Use MaxPass to select FASTPASS for World of Color
  • Get in line for Soarin’ Around the World
  • Two minutes prior to official park opening, be ready to grab a Boarding Group for Rise of the Resistance! Do this while in line for Soarin’. It takes literally seconds, but must be done the second official park opening arrives
  • Ride Soarin’ standby
  • Ride Guardians of the Galaxy standby
  • Ride Toy Story Midway Mania standby (skip if the line is long and you’ve done it at WDW – they’re very similar)
  • Ride Incredicoaster standby
  • Use MaxPass to select FASTPASS for Space Mountain
  • Ride Radiator Springs Racers with FASTPASS

Hop to Disneyland

  • Ride Pirates of the Caribbean standby
  • Ride Jungle Cruise standby
  • Snack break at Tropical Hideaway in Adventureland
  • Use MaxPass to select FASTPASS for Star Tours
  • Ride Space Mountain with FASTPASS
  • Ride Splash Mountain standby
  • Ride Haunted Mansion standby
  • Lunch break at French Market in New Orleans Square
  • Use MaxPass to select FASTPASS for Indiana Jones
  • Board the Disneyland Railroad in New Orleans Square; get off at Toontown
  • Ride “it’s a small world” standby
  • Ride Star Tours with FASTPASS
  • Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad standby
  • Use MaxPass to select FASTPASS for Matterhorn
  • Ride Fantasyland dark rides (Mr. Toad, Snow White, Pinocchio)
  • Ride Indy with FASTPASS

Visit Galaxy’s Edge

Return to enjoy Rise of the Resistance when your Boarding Group is called.

Then, aim to enter Galaxy’s Edge around 4:00pm to ride the Millennium Falcon and to explore the land. Check the app for wait times for the Millennium Falcon. As soon as you see it at an hour or under wait time, jump in line. Before and after wander the land, shop, dine, etc. If you want to go inside Oga’s Cantina, Droid Depot or make a lightsaver at Savi’s Workshop, you’ll need a reservation. I explain how/when to make those reservations – as well as everything else you need to know about visiting this new land – in this post.

When making reservations for either of the above, consider these times:

4:00pm – Savi’s Workshop

5:00pm – Droid Depot

6:00pm – Oga’s Cantina

At this point, you’ve covered most of Disneyland. You’ll ride Matterhorn at night, as that return window should be late.

When you started your day, you pulled a FASTPASS for World of Color. Hop back to DCA if you want to see this show. WDW peeps – this is ideal for you guys since WDW doesn’t have this show. If you wish to finish your day at Disneyland, consider a parade, fireworks or Fantasmic! for nighttime entertainment. This post links up to information on all of these options.

The above line up shares what your day could look like. No two days in the parks are the same. You’ll need to react here and there to avoid an unexpected long standby line, an attraction being temporarily closed down, etc. If you don’t want to follow the exact order I recommend, that’s totally fine. Get everything done at DCA first and then use MaxPass to its full advantage to conquer Disneyland. Absolutely know when you can select subsequent FASTPASSES via MaxPass to utilize the system to its full potential. I share how to know when you can select your next FASTPASS here.

None of my strategies include Single Rider lines, as they don’t work for all families. If everyone in your party is old enough (at least 7 years of age) and willing to ride solo, you can move through the attractions quicker than with FASTPASSES most of the time. Each park includes Single Rider lines for a handful of rides including:


  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Incredicoaster
  • Goofy’s Sky School
  • Grizzly River Rapids


  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Indiana Jones
  • Matterhorn

If you choose to use Single Rider lines, don’t select FASTPASSES for those attractions. Skip to the next FASTPASS on my list and utilize the Single Rider line instead.

This link details how Single Rider lines work.

***For what this looks like in the park, visit this post.

Follow These Tips for a Late Arrival Day

I highly recommend arriving prior to park opening and following the above listed plans to be sure you get to experience all that the Disneyland Resort has to offer.

However, for an arrival day, or one that you choose to sleep in on, check out this post for how to get the most out of your abbreviated time in the parks.

Magic Morning & Extra Magic Hour

  • For detailed explanations of each, visit this post.
  • If you don’t have Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour? Don’t sweat it. There’s still plenty of time for fun and you’ll do just fine by following the posts I share above for each park. (I rarely have either and accomplish everything I want to without it.)


  • FASTPASSES are essential for making my strategies work. Whether you’re using the Digital (Classic) version of FASTPASS or MaxPass, you will benefit from my plans. Absolutely review this post to know all about your options and how each works.
  • My plans are created with not only the most logical way to tour the parks, but also with how long you will have to wait until you can pull your next FASTPASS. There are many misconceptions on how long you have to wait. Know exactly what your options are prior to visit. This link goes into detail on that.
  • All of my plans are created so that any park guest can use them. I do not incorporate Single Rider Lines or Rider Swap because they’re not a fit for everyone. But, if they work for you, certainly consider using these tools.
  • I test my plans in the parks about once a month to ensure they’re as up to date as possible, giving you the most current information for your visit. Follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram to keep up with how these plans play out.
Take a look at how Get Away Today can help with your vacation


  1. Since rise of the resistance opened, is there a better time to enter the park to avoid that chaos as well as the late morning busiest time? We are going the end of february and don’t want to be waiting in lines most of the morning. Historically if you got there before opening likely the lines were ok. I’ve heard rumours though that the early mornings are chaos now with people rushing to get their boarding passes for the new ride. Thanks for your help.

    • Hi, Alison.

      Mornings are busy for sure. For guests interested in a Boarding Group, I recommend arriving 1.5 hours prior to official park opening.

      If you’re not aiming for one, an hour prior should be fine. Security lines have been long this week, so factor that in, too. If you’re entering from the Harbor side, leave an extra 10 minutes to get through bag check.

      Using my strategies in this post is more important than ever with crowds high at opening. Use MaxPass if it’s in your budget. And, follow the steps I provide.

      Have a great time!

  2. Hello!
    Great site and information. We are planning on getting Park Hopper tickets and would really like to try to get on Rise of the Resistance. If we enter Disneyland at Rope Drop or right when they open, can we get the Boarding Passes for it, and then leave and follow your plan that starts in DCA?

  3. Hello there!
    We are headed to Disneyland this week- Thursday-Saturday, January 23-25. We took advantage of the discounted 3-Day One Park per day Child tickets so unfortunately we can not park hop on this trip. I know you say again and again…go to the opposite park that has EMH, but we can’t help thinking that we should do Disney on Thursday and Calif. Adventure on Friday, then go back to Disney on Saturday and take advantage of our one EMH that day- Saturday. What do you think of this strategy? We figure the whole Star Wars land will be less busy on a Thursday and give us the best opportunity to hit more rides that day.
    Thanks so much for all this great info. on your site!

  4. Hi! Your posts are SO incredibly detailed and helpful, but I do have a question for our travel days specifically. We are first-timers for anything Disney and bringing our 4 and 6 year old boys. We will be in the park Feb. 14 – Feb 16. We already have a few meals reserved and I’m wondering if I should try to reschedule or just work around them.

    Thurs 2/13 – We have Goofy’s Kitchen booked for the evening we arrive – to meet a few characters and get excited about the next day in the park. (My boys seriously do not know what to expect, except they know they want to ride Radiator Springs Racers!)
    Fri 2/14 – We have 12 pm lunch booked at Blue Bayou Fantasmic Dining Package. I assume since this is DCA Early Entry, we should start in DL and stay at least until after lunch?
    Sat 2/15 – We have Breakfast in the Park booked at 7:30 am. I booked this because I’ve read several posts that this is the best Character meal, but if we’re already doing Goofy’s Kitchen should I cancel this? And spend the day is DCA instead. (We also have the Wine Country Trattoria/World of Color package booked this day at 6 pm.) We will have DL Early entry, but should we just plan to spend the day at DCA? Like I mentioned above my boys are dead set on riding the Radiator Springs Racers.
    Sun 2/16 – We are taking the red eye home, so I was planning on sleeping in, packing up and heading to the park a little later that day because we’ll need to be there until 10 pm.

    Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hi, Allie.

      I much prefer Minnie’s in the Park, but if you have Goofy’s booked on a non park day, keep it. 7:30am is not ideal for Minnie’s, as you should be focused on attractions early on in the day.

      Follow my strategies in this post to start each day and hop only after you feel good about what you accomplished. Start at the park NOT hosting EMH/MM if you don’t have it. With my DCA plan, you’ll be able to ride RSR in the morning and at night if you select another FASTPASS for it once you complete everything else in the park. Night time on RSR is awesome, too.

      Love your reservations. Blue Bayou Fantasmic! is awesome.

      Enjoy it all!

  5. I love your site! We will be traveling with 6 and 2 year olds. Is there a link for the best strategy for one day trip to Disneyland for little ones?
    Thank You!

  6. Hi. We will be bringing our one year old on January 14 and 15 next year. We want to knock out what we can at DCA and have storytellers cafe reservations at 11.30. The goal is to then go to DR for the afternoon and next day. I saw you have a little kids and big kids plan. I like the big kids plan but worry that she will be tired later and would rather do the little kids rides first. And suggestions for how to switch it up? Also, we will be doing rider swap for the bigger rides so we don’t need to both have fast passes if I’m understanding correctly so we could get one each at the same time for different rides? Thanks so much

  7. Casey,
    I am so happy I found your site! We are planning on taking our daughters (7 and 11) on a trip instead of Christmas presents this year. We will be leaving either Christmas Eve or Christmas day and staying through New Year’s Day. They both picked California with stops and Hollywood and Disneyland. We are huge Disney fans and want to spend enough time at Disneyland to experience it but also leave enough time to explore more of California (since we are traveling all the way from Southeast Louisiana….Geaux Tigers). I have a few questions I hope you can help with.
    1. How many Disneyland days would be the best? We can do anywhere from 2 to 4 1/2.
    2. Do you recommend Park Hoppers?
    3. What character meal has the best rare characters (as in characters that don’t regularly meet at Disney World).
    4. Any must see California stops within driving distance that you think a Louisiana family shouldn’t miss?
    Thank you so much for all of the information!!!

  8. Casey,
    I am so happy I found your website!
    We are thinking about taking the kids (girls 7 and 11) on a trip during Christmas break as their Christmas present. The girls both mentioned that they wanted to see Hollywood and Disneyland. So we are planning a trip to California from Louisiana! The best flight deals we can find are on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and leaving New Years Day. We want to spend enough time at Disneyland to really experience it but we also want to leave time to explore other nearby attractions that you have mentioned in your previous blog.
    We are huge Disney World fans but this will be our first time for Disneyland.
    I have some questions I can’t find the answer to. Sorry if you have answered them before.
    1. How many days are optimal for exploring Disneyland, especially during a busy time like Christmas?
    2. Park Hopper or not?
    3. What is the best character meal for the most rare characters (ones not at Disney World) and any tips for getting a reservation this late?
    BTW: My husband is also an LSU grad! Geaux Tigers!

    • Hi, Lacy.

      What a year to be an LSU fan! So awesome.

      OK, to your questions:

      1. How many days are optimal for exploring Disneyland, especially during a busy time like Christmas? – Spend 2 days at Disneyland if possible and one at California Adventure. Use my tips and strategies to avoid waiting in line for more than 20 minutes for any attraction (with one exception).

      2. Park Hopper or not? – Hoppers are not essential. With your limited time in the parks, I would focus on one park per day.

      3. What is the best character meal for the most rare characters (ones not at Disney World) and any tips for getting a reservation this late? – Minnie’s in the Park at the Plaza Inn. For sure.

      Here’s the scoop:

      Try each day for reservations on the app or online. If you can’t get them, walk by around 9:00am to see if they have availability. I have walked in without a reservation several times.

      Have the best time ever!

  9. Hi Casey! We’re planning to go in January with hubby and 2 teens and a 7 yr old. Will be 1 day/1 park on 1/7 and 1/8. Will bring little one to BBB. What do you recommend? How should we do our days? Thanks in advance.

  10. Hi Casey,

    We are arriving noon time in Anaheim on Dec 28. I was thinking of doing DCA for the rest of the day (I have grown-up kids (19-25). Next Day will be for DL the full da. WE are leaving around 2:00 on the next day so maybe we can do DL again. My plan is to get a 3-day one park rather than the hopper tickets. What do you recommend? Thank you so much for all posts. They are so informative.

  11. Hi Casey! I love your blog. I used it last time we went to Disneyland, two years ago. We’re going back Nov. 18-20, 3 days park hopper passes with 2 girls, age 6 and 8. I’m not sure which days to do at which parks as we’ll be there Mon/Tues/Wed and only have MM one day at Disneyland. We’ll have to do this Tuesday at Disneyland, so wasn’t sure if it was better to do Monday or Wednesday at CA (since we won’t have EMH either day).

  12. Hi Casey,

    Great pointers I feel more confident taking my 5 yr old niece . I wil be getting to my hotel on Nov 1st at noon(hotel is within a 10 min walk of DL) and I we flight out on Nov 5th . I a planning on get a 3 day pass should I start on the friday afternoon or just use the Saturday to Monday. I have a Princess breakfast on Sunday at 10:45am. I also was a bit sad because this week they will not have parades (:. Looking forward to any additional pointers based on my itenerary. I thank you in advance!!

  13. I saw where you posted actual days you went with times and schedules, so the public could see how your plans play out at different times of year. Now I can’t find it! Please let me know where I can find that. And thank you for all the info. You are making our first time disneyland trip planning much easier.

  14. Hi Casey, I’ve been reading your blogs and they are fantastic. We have just arrived in LA for 11 nights. We are a family of 6 (kids 16, 14, 14, 10) and I can’t decide between 5 day 1 Park per day or a 3 day park to park. First one is slightly cheaper but I’m worried we would get tired and end up not using all 5 days. We are also doing universal and San Diego for two days. I’m not sure what rides my kids will like. They don’t want to do big roller coasters but smaller ones ok. This our first time here. Thanks for any advice.

  15. Hi Casey. I have been scouring your site for the past couple weeks. Thanks for all the great tips. I see your plan listed in this post, which seems to be the Big Kids plan. My question is about the difference between your Big Kids and Little Kids plans. I can’t seem to find a link to your Little Kids plan. I am only seeing this
    Big Kids or Little Kids Plans – How to Choose

    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 share info on each attraction. Scroll through it 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.

    Is there somewhere to find the Little Kids plan? We head out in three days! Thank you so much!

    • I’m so sorry I didn’t get to this in time before your visit.

      For reference: The Little Kid (and Big Kid) plans are within each post that is linked up under the headers, “Do this First at Disneyland” or “Do this First at California Adventure”.

      Hope y’all had fun!

  16. Hi Casey,
    I’ve been following your blog and find it very helpful! I am going to both parks (Disneyland and DCA) on Sunday sept 8, 2019. Is there a way for me to see fantasmic, woc, the parade, and fireworks show all in one night? If so, how can I get tickets for it. Best place to watch? I plan to arrive early at rope drop and will have max pass.

    • Hi, Tina.

      You’ll be running around a lot, but this is possible:

      See Fantasmic! at 9:00pm and Watch it from the bridge above Pirates of the Caribbean. Arrive about 30-45 minutes early to grab a spot on the railing. Once it’s over, walk quickly to Main Street to see fireworks. Don’t try to get close to the castle, as people will be set up hours prior for those spots. Watch from about half way down Main, as you’ll need to make a quick departure for WOC. Fireworks should start at 9:30pm.

      Once fireworks are over, hustle to DCA to see World of Color at 10:00pm from the standby section just in front of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. It’s not at all close to the water, but provides a nice broad view of the show. I love watching from there. No FASTPASS needed for this section.

      Once WOC ends, head back to Disneyland to see the last MSEP at 10:45pm. Watch from anywhere on Main. The crowd is much lighter for this late parade, so you shouldn’t have any issue finding a spot.


  17. Hi! Is to is possible to grab fast passes for both World of color and fantastic with park hopper and max pass tickets? If so can you recommend a strategy to do that?

    We are doing 5 days in the parks but only 4 nights. We’ve done the dining packages in the past but wondering about using fast passes instead for preferred viewing options.

  18. We are planning a trip for next spring break (late March 2020). We are staying at a Disney hotel and going to the parks for three days (Disneyland, DCA and then Disneyland again). We are planning to be at each park for EMH. If we wanted to eat breakfast before EMH, where could we go? Most places seem to open at the same time as when EMH begins.

  19. Hi! My husband and I are going for the first time next month and only have one day so we are getting one day park hoppers with maxpass. We are going on a day with EMH at DCA. Do you recommend still starting there? We have little interest in parades and character meets and plan on doing quick service for meals so we don’t take long breaks. We want to do as many rides as possible though! Do you have a plan that would work for us? Or just any advice? Thank you!!

  20. Hi , I planed to go to DL on a Thursday after galaxy opens and California Adventure on Friday. I thought crowds would be higher on a Friday to see star wars but your post recommends the opposite plan due to magic hour… what do you propose.

    Great info btw thanks!

  21. Hi Cassie!! Love your blog and posts!! Doing my first ever adult trip without kids in a few weeks and only have one day. I read your plan starting with dca but going on a Monday so they will have early entry that day. What would you recommend if doing dland first but still want to make sure we can go on racers, guardians and incredicoster? So what’s the best way to flip the day? Taking a fried who hasn’t been in 10 years so very excited to show him as much as we can. Definitely will be there an hour early too!

  22. Thank you for providing the most useful blog I’ve ever followed! You are appreciated!!! What strategies do you recommend combining for active adults with 3 day park hopper with magic morning access? Day 1 is Wed. afternoon arrival and day 3 is half day only availability. Thanks again!!!

  23. We followed your plan while at Disneyland last week and it went SO good! Thank you for all of your hard work. It really helped make the whole trip go smoothly. You have great strategies! Thank you for what you do. I really didn’t know if we could have fun at Disneyland with a child with sensory issues and a husband with MS, but your specific detailed plans and information were a lifesaver! Thanks for helping to make our trip magical!

  24. Hi Casey,

    We are excited to go in two weeks. After reading all the post about Max pass and Rider switch, I’m still a bit confused. So my husband and I will be there with our 10yo and baby turning 1!!! How many Max passes should we purchase given that most of the rides we will be switching adults and getting those switch passes. It’s a bit confusing, thanks for your help!

    • Hi, there.

      Go ahead and buy everyone MaxPass. There will be some rides that you all need FASTPASSES for. Cast members all kind of treat Rider Switch a little differently, too, so you never know if one might insist you all have FASTPASSES for an attraction. Most often, cast members will allow you to do as I recommend….use one FASTPASS…..and then allow the other adult to use the Rider Switch return pass to ride next…….but occasionally, cast members interpret the system in different ways.


  25. Hi Casey,
    I used your strategies for a two-day Disneyland trip last year and LOVED THEM. I’m going for 3 days (2 full and a half day on the last day) this month and I’m a little stumped about which park to start in each day. Usually you say to start in the park that doesn’t have EMH/MM, but you also say to use MM if you have it. Since we go Monday-Wed, we would start in Disneyland on Monday (love starting in that park), then do DCA on Tuesday (and our plan is to be leisurely and just explore on Wed and be less ride focused). But MM is in Disneyland on Tuesday. So should we do our early hour and then switch over to DCA so we are still there early? Thanks for your advice!

  26. Thank you for all the helpful information!

    My wife and I are coming to Cali for the second time ever Feb 19-26 with our 2 daughters ages 11 and 15. We’ve bought 5 day hopper passes and are planning on adding Max Pass each day. Would you recommend your current 1 day at both parks plan for all 5 days?


    • Hi, Brent. Use my individual plans for each park. One day at DCA will allow you to cover all attractions. Two days at Disneyland will cover all of its attractions. On subsequent days, use MaxPass to revisit what you loved most.

  27. Great stuff Casey! We will be going, and will be in the parks April 22-24 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). We will have military salute 3 day hopper passes. I know this means we are not eligible for MM. I’m thinking 2 DL days and 1 DCA day. What order would you recommend? I know you said go opposite of MM if possible. Thank. You

  28. Hi Casey!!!

    I’m so glad I came across your tips. Going to Disneyland with a 3 year old can be tough. I’m so excited to try it your way! We are a AP holder and go about once a month but I find myself doing the same thing so it’s nice to try and change it up. My 3 year old even knows our routine but thank you for your time and all the thought and effort you put into “Disneyland Daily” I hope someday I can “Follow you” like that man did lol j/k.

  29. Thank you so much for all your work on this site and these great plans! My friend and I visited Disneyland September 9 – 12 and we followed both the Disneyland and California Adventure plans and were so thrilled with how our visit went! I plan to be back during Spring of 2019 with my sister and her family and I’ve already told them that these plans are a must do!

  30. Great work on this website
    We are visiting Disneyland for the first time on June 29 with my wife and our 3 kids (7,8&9 years old)
    3 days with one EMH are included on my city pass.
    Question : Can we use our EMH on our very first day to DL or do we have to go to the park on regular hours first day before we use the EMH?

  31. Hi,
    You are so amazing for answering our questions we will be visiting both parks on October 11th for my child’s 5th birthday it will be on a Wednesday.we bought the 3-day hopper tickets with one free character dinning my 2 questions are when or how do we plan for the character dinning? And what time are the fireworks usually? THANK you so much for your time.

  32. Thank you so much for all the work that you put into this site! Just found this to look up info for our Disneyland trip and am feeling a little bit overwhelmed – I haven’t been back since I was in elementary school a long time ago and now am returning with my husband and three kids (3,6,9) next month. We will just be there for one day. Would you recommend just sticking to Disneyland or getting the park hopper and going to both parks in one day? We would be staying off site so won’t have early access to the park. Thanks so much for any tips!

      • Thanks for the advice. If focusing on one park, and it’s the kids’ first time, would you recommend Disneyland or California Adventure? I was leaning towards Disneyland, but it looks like the more fun rides are at California Adventure? (I may be totally wrong)

        • I’m not an expert, but imho I’d just do Disneyland. That’s where most of the “experience” is. Ca Adventure is more like an amusement park. Disneyland is unique. If you choose this option, try to shield your kids from knowing about the rides at CA Adventure so they won’t be too disappointed! Just prep them ahead of time – “we’re only doing Disneyland and it’s going to be awesome!”

  33. We are visiting DL/CA May 15-19 and I’m trying to figure out which park to start in each day. We are planning to use the Magic Morning pass on Tues. Based on the EMH, we should also start with DL on M/W? DL also opens an hour earlier on M/W. Do we want to start all of those days in DL and only start in CA on Friday? (I’ll have 10 kids 16 down to baby.) I’m thinking we’d start one day at Peter Pan and one day at Star Wars area. I’ll be the runner to get Fast Passes and can jump parks if that would work better. Thanks for your help, I’ve gleaned a lot from your website!

  34. Hi we are going soon in March first time. Have 3 day hopper. We have 4 days we can utilise sun- Wed. Recommendations?? As our only mm is the Tues for DL , can we ride a few rides but then get go across to CA and get in fastpass queue for cars?? Understand it doesn’t work until proper opening time. Or do we go to back of line outside CA with everyone else waiting for entry. Only ask as every day we could do CA is an Emh day? thanks!!!!

    • Hi, Leanne.

      Your Magic Morning will work for Disneyland only – it won’t allow you access to DCA on that day. Use it for Disneyland on Tuesday and focus on that park. Definitely get Jedi Training registration if you’re interested. If you don’t care for Star Wars, go the other route and start with Peter Pan. Use this strategy:

      Don’t worry too much about EMH at DCA. You’re smart to be concerned about it (and well read if you know to avoid it and this is your first time!), but it shouldn’t deter your progress too much. I almost never use it and always accomplish everything I want to do. Instead of going to RSR first, use the plan in this post. EVERYONE goes to RSR first. Utilize your time better and you’ll get more done. RSR FASTPASSES will not run out by the time you arrive if you use this strategy:

      Enjoy your visit!

  35. Thank you so much for your wonderful posts. This will be our first trip to Disneyland for both my hubby and me. We will be taking our 2.5 year old son. We are going for 3 days. Flying in on Tuesday 2/28. Going to parks on Wed – Friday to trying avoid the crowds. We opted to not get the park hopper pass. I did see somewhere where you suggested to start and stop at DLR since that is where the magic is. I see that only DLR will only have fireworks on Friday so that will definitely be our ending spot. However, if we start Wed at DLR and end at DLR on Friday, that leave Thursday for DCA. I think that means we would miss Magic Morning or Extra Magic hour (not exactly sure of the difference). As of right now its showing World of Color is closed on but I see on your site its supposed to be back open before we get there? Thanks for all your help!!!

    • Hi, Lauryn. Still trying to figure out the schedule for WOC. Disney doesn’t provide this info to bloggers. We piece together the info and try to estimate. I like to start and end with Disneyland, however, I wouldn’t want you to miss your Magic Morning. (That’s what you have with a 3 day ticket.) So, I would start at DCA and then do DLR on Thursday and Friday. MM will be on Thursday for you. Take advantage of that. Hope this helps!

  36. Thank you so much for all of this useful information! We are so excited to take our almost 2 year old in 2017. My question is: We would like to attend the park in late February/Early March during a Wednesday-Friday trip. Which dates would you choose to avoid crowds, and which park would you visit on which day? We plan on spending 2 days at DLR/DCA and NOT purchasing park hoppers. Thank you in advance!

    • I would visit on Wednesday (Disneyland) and Thursday (California Adventure). Avoid weekends or days close to it if possible. And, always visit the park not offering Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning. Enjoy!

  37. Hi,
    Love your site! We will be visiting DLR for the first time Jan3-5, arriving on the evening of Jan2 staying on site. We will have 4 day park hopper tickets. Does your recommendation for visiting the the park opposite of Extra Magic Hour to avoid crowds still apply for 7am EMH with heavy crowds? We will have 3 mornings all wth EMH, Tues and Thurs 7am EMH @ DL and an Wed 8am EMH @ DCA. Waking up for 7am is not something we really want to do, but if the crowds are going to be insane then that may change our minds. Any recommendation on a strategy here for the morning visits during this busy time of the year would be greatly appreciated!

    • I actually recommend you take advantage of EMH if you have those privileges. Visit the park with EMH if you are staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel and get lots done! Be there 30 minutes prior to EMH. Totally worth it.

  38. Wow, you’re truly amazing! I am soaking up everything from your website and planning our first family trip to Disneyland! Thank you for your hard work! Since we are such newbies, I have a few questions. (Two adults, three kids ages 6, 3, and 1.) We are flying from Utah at 6 a.m. MST on a Tuesday and planned on hitting a park, resting Wednesday, and hitting the other park Thursday (Our kids are pretty flexible and my baby is great about napping in the stroller.). Is this a good plan, or would you recommend resting Tuesday and hitting the parks Wednesday and Thursday? Also, if we go Tuesday after the plane ride, should we do California Adventure or Disneyland? (My daughter is so obsessed with Doc McStuffins and of course Anna and Elsa!) Is it worth timing the parks opposite of the Magic Morning/Early Morning entry crowds? Thanks so much!!

    • Thanks, Jessica! I always recommend visiting the park opposite of Extra Magic Hour to avoid crowds and get a fresh start with everyone else. I would rest on your arrival day, enjoy the hotel and then make the most of Wednesday (Disneyland) and Thursday (California Adventure to begin…..then hop over to Disneyland to finish your visit). Disneyland is most magical, so I always like to start and finish there if possible. Please let me know what other questions come up!

  39. Casey, we are going to CA the 16th through the 25th of December. Our flight gets in very late on the 16th, we probably won’t make the hotel until after midnight. If it were you would you try and hit the parks early Sat. the 17th after a short night or wait to start until Sunday? I am concerned about crowds since the crowd calendar is in the red. I am wondering if there will be a big difference in how crowded things are in the park Sat. the 17th vs Sunday the 18th. We are planning on 1 day in each park. I really appreciate all of your detailed planning information. Reading your website is making us even more excited for our Disney trip!

    • I would wait until Sunday. Get rested and ready to tackle the parks. It will be crowded this time of year, regardless of which day you go, but weekends are always heavier. Hope you love it!

  40. Hi Casey,
    Fantastic information! When we were at WDW we were told to avoid parks with morning EMH as it tends to get crowded with ppl from the resorts.
    Does this also hold true for DL & DCA ?

  41. We will have the Extra Magic Hour…should we still get there an hour before that starts? So, if the park opens at 10am, we can get in at 9am…should we get there at 8am to get in line?

  42. With regard to EMH do the 3 day military discount passes qualify? I know they can be purchased at the ticket booths, so are not advanced purchased (my MWR post is about 60 miles away from me so it’s easier to buy them at the park).

  43. Hi Casey,
    I’m a little confused about the Magic Extra Hour. I know Disneyland has one. gut Does California Adventure have one too? We are staying in a Good Neighbor Hotel(Staybridge Suites and Inn). Do we get to chose which park we want or do we only get Disneyland? I talked to a couple people and got conflicting stories. I figured I would ask you and get the correct answer!! Only 42 more days until our vacation. I am getting the odds and ends tied up and ready to go!! Thank you for all of your help. I really appreciate it!!

    • Hi, Heather!

      Disneyland hosts Extra Magic Hour (for DLR Hotel guests) and Magic Morning (for guests with 3+ day park tickets) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

      California Adventure hosts Extra Magic Hour (for DLR Hotel guests) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. This early entry option is not available to guests with the 3+ day park tickets.

      So, you won’t get to choose between the parks.

      But, you can choose Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday for Disneyland. You will get one Magic Morning at Disneyland with a 3+ day park ticket.


  44. If you get a 2 day park hopper ticket with a 1 night DRH stay in between the days, would we get the extra magic hour both days? Also, do you have to get fastpasses asap? Do they run out?

  45. Your posts are so wonderful! I definitely have taken some notes from your website but I’m sort of at a loss for how I should pick what parks for each day I’m there (in August – 2 days – flying in on a Wednesday and then all day Thursday). I haven’t picked flights for Wednesday yet, but the earliest arrival time seems to be around 9 am into SNA OR 10:15 am into LGB (our flight is about 3 hours meaning we would be awake to start the day at 3 or 4 in the morning for airport rides, airport waiting, and flight times). I initially thought Disneyland on Wednesday would be best because Radiator Springs Racers is such a hard ticket item and I should be there at park opening (which is why I left this park for Thursday) but Disneyland seems to have more attractions to do. Another thing I considered were the Extra Magic Hours and how Disneyland has them on Thursdays and DCA on Wednesdays (would going to the opposite parks help with lines since we don’t have this perk?). Sorry for this long winded post! My biggest struggle in planning comes from which park on what day and when on Earth I should fly. Thank you for any help!

  46. Casey … love your site and have been soaking up the information before our trip in 1 week. We have 3 day passes (one early bird – which we would have to take on Tuesday since we will be there Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). Looking at your touring guides and I am wondering which park you would recommend us starting in on Sunday and Monday and what to take in first on our Tuesday being early morning in Disneyland). We have a grandson whose first priority will be Star Wars and granddaughter who has indicated she is interested in Indiana Jones, Cars and Frozen.

  47. Hi we’ll be visiting Disneyland in a few days. On the magic hours for the parks if you have a 3 day ticket can you do magic hour for both parks or does it only work for one park?

  48. I clicked on the link that you mention to read about Anna Elsa and Olaf and it isn’t working—it says it is a draft. I’d love to read it before we head for our first Disney trip tomorrow. Can you let me know when the link is working? Thanks!

  49. Casey,

    First, love you on social media – you’re hilarious! Now, to the question. Is there a list somewhere of attractions that are generally open during extra magic hours at each park?

    Thank you!

    • They actually change often. The parks will sometimes open all lands, but it varies nearly every day. There are a few rides that do not pass out FASTPASSES until park opening – Hyperspace Mountain and RSR being at the top of that list. Any super popular rides will be on that list. You also cannot signup for Jedi Training prior to official park opening. Wish I had a concrete list to give you, but it’s always changing! And thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  50. Hi,
    We are going to DLR & DCA in July and we have 4 day passes. Since that includes a Magical Morning, can we also utilize the Extra Magic Hour from staying at a DLR Hotel?

    TIA~ Kara

    • Absolutely. Staying at a DLR hotel entitles you to every magic morning and extra magic hour. That includes DLR on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. DCA is all the rest. Enjoy them!

  51. Hi, Casey!

    I’m enjoying your site while planning our May Disneyland trip. One question about the 60th celebration … are all the fun photo ops still up around the parks? I’m hoping to get pics scaling the Matterhorn and inside the Haunted Mansion singing busts, along with all the others I saw posted last year.

    Also, do you have any tips for touring around Grad Nites? There are two of them during our week there. We’re staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier and hoping we’ll see some after hours World of Color shows from our room!

    – Michael

    • Hi, Michael! The 60th celebration is going on until September 2016. You’re good! Grad nights are crowded, but manageable. The grads are encouraged to go to DCA, as that park will eventually only be open to them after close. They are technically allowed to visit DLR, but many go over to DCA. Arrive early those days and get a lot done in the morning in case the night time feels too crowded for you. WOC is amazing. Enjoy!

  52. Hi Casey,
    I love your blog. It is so informative and also entertaining. My problem is that initially we were going to stay off site and have recently changed to staying at the Disneyland hotel. (park days June 1-3). I made touring plans and lunch and dinner reservations based on Wed at DL, Thurs at DCA, Fri at DL. and not planning to use early entry. Now staying onsite, early entry is available but on opposite days. Should I skip early entry or do early entry and then switch to the other park at lunchtime and spend the afternoon and eve at the second park? Too late to change reservations. Need to have lunch at Ariel’s Grotto on Thurs. because of 6 year old’s birthday. Please give me some advice. Early entry will probably be at 8 on the first two days. Is 3.5-4 hours enough time at the first park each day?
    P.S. Hope your husband is doing better.

    • Hi, Robyn.

      I would definitely take advantage of early entry privileges and then switch to parks that you have dining secured for. That hour in the morning can really make a difference and I would hate for you to miss out on it. Follow your plan as you have it, but just be there early to take advantage of that hour and then proceed with what you had before. You’re in great shape!

  53. Hi Casey, your site has been invaluable. I’ve read every post, clicking back to the very first one of how to announce your visit to Disneyland. Now there’s only one question I have left: Are you allowed to take advantage of the Magic Hour on the last day of your hotel stay? That is, if you’re back in time for check-out at 11 am?
    I really appreciate all your help!

  54. I think I’ve read every post that might have the answer but can’t find anything concrete… when do the fastpass kiosks open? We’ll be staying at GCH so we will utilize EMH most days. I *think* the kiosks won’t open until official park opening? So if we want fp for Hyperspace or RSR, we should line up for that shortly before official park opening? In either case, if they aren’t supposed to open up the fp ticket line before official park opening – do they some times anyway? I don’t want to waste EMH trying to figure this out once we’re there, but I also don’t want to waste a chunk of time waiting in line at a kiosk later in the morning either!

      • I KNEW I had read something about Hyperspace and the fastpass kiosk not opening until reg park opening!!! When I first read that post, I wondered if that was specific to Hyperspace or for all fastpass rides but didn’t think to find out until now, and too much time had passed for me to remember where I read it. 😉 My kids refuse to do Jedi training b/c stage/people-looking-at-them, ha. Do you have a suggestion for what time to line up for fastpasses for either ride w/o wasting either EMH or standing in line forever… or getting that 8:50 return time? We’ll probably ride RSR during EMH but not Hyperspace (we want to use EMH for the non-fp rides in DL). I think everyone will want to go on RSR again anyway so I figure I should ask for both. Thanks for such a quick reply!!

  55. Hi Casey, we’re coming down on the first flight out this Friday, so can get to the park late morning. We have 3 day passes, and will be celebrating our kid’s birthdays on Sunday, Valentine’s Day (son turning 14, daughter turning 16). We spent their bday at DP last year and had so much fun, it was on the top of their wish list again this year! I think we have an early morning to DP on Sat, but was thinking to do DP when we get there Fri, and their bday on Sun. What would you recommend? Also, any other tips for celebrating birthdays in the park? We got the birthday buttons from city hall last year which was a lot of fun! Food suggestions, or better to leave the park for dinner? (We went to Buca de Beppo last year.) thanks for any tips!

    • I think I would actually start with California Adventure on Friday. Then do DLR on Saturday (for early entry) and Sunday. I always recommend more time at DLR than DCA. Grab RSR passes if they’re still available upon entering on your first day and WOC for that night, too. I would also schedule a Minnie’s in the Park breakfast for a birthday celebration on Sunday. Do that quickly in case they’re close to running out of reservations. And even if they are full, you can check the day of because they often have availability for walk ins. Enjoy it all!

  56. HI Casey,
    I am wondering your option on the hours in January on a Monday 10am til 8pm on the 25th. Do less people show up on these less hour days? Should we instead go on Sunday when there are 4 more hours, we are a family of 7? The Jungle Cruise is closed too…sad face.

    • Most of January is slower crowd wise. If you want more time, definitely go on Sunday. The parks will be more crowded, but you’ll have more time to get stuff done. Jungle Cruise is down until April. It’s getting a new dock. 🙁

      • Thank you so much.
        One more question…. What is your take on the Royal Hall- meeting Princesses? Is there a better time or don’t bother?

  57. Hi,
    We will be visiting DLR for the first time. Our first day is 1/14. I am wondering if using our early hour that day is worth it because I have to pick up a DAS for my son & our photo pass. Are those things we can do before rope drop? I don’t want to spend 30 minutes doing those things after rope drop on our early day.

  58. Casey,
    I read that there are fast passes available for the Aladdin show, could you tell me where that fast pass machine is located?
    I really appreciate your blog! So much great information! We are excited to visit next week!

  59. Hi Casey!

    I will be in the park on January 1st and 2nd, and possibly the 3rd (to be determined). I am 20 and I am wondering how best to plan for just two adults? I haven’t been in a few years and I’m worried I’ll just waste time and wander around. Thanks so much for all your help!

      • Thank you so much that’s very helpful! I was wondering if you know how early the park begins selling tickets? I saw online that they say pre-purchased tickets do not guarantee entry on especially busy days and that worries me. I’m planning on being there 30 minutes or more before the park opens but I’m not sure when we can actually purchase the tickets if we decide to do it in the park.

  60. Hi Casey,

    Loving your great info! I’m curious if you can clarify for me how to see the rope drop. On our last visit we stayed on site and used the early entry every day. Is the rope drop done after? Next month we have a quick trip planned and will stay off site. I am really hoping to see the rope drop this time! Do we need to plan around the early entry hours?

  61. Hi Casey. Absolutely amazing advice on your site!!!

    We have 3 days planned with the family (Mom, Dad and 5 Year Old Girl and 4 Year Old boy). Dates:

    Sunday 24 Jan
    Monday 25 Jan
    Tuesday 26 Jan

    I was thinking of doing 1 day at DCA and 2 days at DLR.

    Which park would you do on which day?

    Thanks so much!!!

  62. Hi Casey, thanks for this awesome guide!

    I plan to stay on one of the Disney properties. Does it mean I can enjoy the daily Early Magic Hour with a SoCal Citypass?

  63. Hi, I am going to Disney Land and doing the park hopper. Unfortunately, I can only do one day and I want to get as much done as I can in the 15 hours that Disney Land is open. Which park is the best park to start off with in the morning?

  64. Hi Casey!!

    As we, my husband and three kids under eight, are having our first ever trip to Disneyland, from Australia, I’m so grateful for the information you post – I have been doing reserch for a couple of months now, reading everything I possibly can to understand how it all works……yours is the most clear and ‘easy to grasp’ information I have read!!

    I would love your opinion though- we arrive on a tues in jan so our first day in the parks is a Wednesday. We are staying at the disneyland hotel and will also have the three day, park hopper tickets. I know that DCA will have its early magic hour on the wed, so I was thinking of doing the reverse to what hotel guests will be doing as I really want the first park my family sees to be DLR!!! My concern is am I being silly in not following the early magic hours if we do DL on the wed then DCA the thurs (and then wherever on Friday)?? On the Wednesday I wanted to start the day by having breakfast at the plaza inn as my eight year old (one of the only things she is excited about, can you believe it) is meeting Minnie!!! What do think, you’re a park expert!! ?

  65. Thank you for all the info! Is this post, fastpass guide, and plan park touring applicable during 12/30/15 & 12/31/15? Do they have the same kind of scheduling and fast pass available? TIA, our first trip to disneyland ever so pretty clueless!

  66. Hey Casey. Love your blog! I’m a current WDW cast member and am visiting in 2 weeks and have never been to West Coast. I am so excited and your tips are great. The paper fast passes make me a little nervous since I am used to sitting at home and planning days in advance through my phone haha

  67. I am taking my two boys and am wondering if they will really enjoy all the stuff about Frozen (my 7 year old won’t even use the tooth paste I bought him because it has Olaf on it…it is a girl show), or would my time be better spent in the morning hours doing something else. Thanks for any suggestions.

  68. My husband, daughter and I will be at Disneyland and California Adventure at the end of the week with three-day park hopper passes that allow us one Magic Morning at Disneyland. Thursday appears the only morning we can use the early privileges, but it also the only morning that other guests won’t be able to enter California with early privileges. Would you forgo early entry to to Disneyland to enter CA at 8 am? We have not been to the parks since Cars Land was introduced, and our daughter would like to see the Frozen characters.

  69. We are doing MM on the first Saturday of December! We plan to arrive 30 minutes early. Do you suggest a specific gate in order to best position us to see PP first? Thanks!

  70. First of all, you this has been a wealth of information and a lifesaver! My question has to do with Anna & Elsa and return ticket vs FastPass. Your info says that Anna and Elsa meet and greet is a return ticket so we could get Cars FastPass at the same time. Is that the same thing as Anna & Elsa Royal Welcome? Disneyland keeps saying you need a FastPass. Is it really a return ticket or have things changed? We leave in 2 days!!! THANKS!

  71. Thank you so much for all the great information! I as wondering if all the information here would be applicable at the end of this year ( around New Year’s Eve) as well or are all of these updated constantly? I thought I read somewhere that Anna/Elsa won’t be around at year end? Thank you in advance.

  72. We have Disneyland tickets to Mickey’s Halloween on a Sunday in October (25). I was wondering if they will still have Fantasmic and Fireworks, and the Blue Bayou reserved seating for Fantasmic package?

    • I asked about this on my last visit and they’re for sure doing all the 60th celebration shows, but I’m not sure about Fantasmic! quite yet. As you get closer to your date, I recommend calling the dining line to see what is planned. That number is (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).

  73. I am really loving this site. Thanks for all your help with my questions. (I am trying to read all the comments first to make sure I’m not asking something you already answered.)

    In the case of early entry for Disney hotel guests, can you grab any fastpasses before the normal opening time? If not, how should the touring plans be adjusted…I think this mostly applies to DCA. Should you try to just wait in line for Radiator Springs and Toy Story and then queue for fastpasses? What time should you try to get fastpasses for Elsa & Anna and Radiator Springs?
    Thanks again!

  74. We are a group of 8 going to Disneyland next week. You mention to line up for Peter Pan 1st thing (after rope drop) and send someone to get FastPasses for the group for Indiana Jones (while the rest waits in line at Peter Pan). My question is, once the person getting the FastPasses gets back can they rejoin the group in line for Peter Pan or does Disney frown on “rejoining” your group?

    • Disney does frown on it and I don’t love it, either. We typically choose someone to miss Peter Pan in order to get the passes for both Fantasmic!, Indiana Jones and you can even get them for the Frozen show, too. If no one volunteers, I suggest going directly to Peter Pan and then following the routine for grabbing passes. Great question!

  75. We followed your touring guides and other advice (one day at Disneyland and one at California Adventure) and it worked out perfectly! Thank you so much for posting them! This was our first time at Disneyland (any Disney, really) and I’m stoked that we managed to see all the good stuff instead of wandering around aimlessly 🙂

  76. Hi Casey!!
    Great info as always. I’ve been at disneyland on Tuesday… We did as you said and got to see peter pan (altough at 8 there Was a 60 minute wait already!!!!!)
    Now we aré planning our magic morning and be there by 7.. Do you have another strategy we could use? What do you recommend? We aré a party of ten with kids between 3 and 10
    Thank you so much
    Ale (from Argentina)

    • Hi, Ale.

      Is this for today? I’m so sorry that I’m just now responding! We are traveling, so I’ve been on the computer less than normal.

      I’d go to Splash Mountain and work your way back through the park. Grab Indy passes en route. Ride Haunted Mansion without a FASTPASS.


  77. Your site has been SO helpful!! A question; I have heard from a few people to take a break during the middle of the day, from about lunch-time (1pm-ish) to around 4pm-ish. I am all for this, but we are not staying at a Disney property (actually, we’re not staying near Disney at all, we’ll be in Burbank — just doing a day trip to Disney) … so, where do you recommend we go during this mid-day break?? Are we just kind of out-of-luck? Or can we take the monorail to one of the hotels and just chill, even though we aren’t actually staying there? Is there someplace close that you can recommend?? Any suggestions would be such a great help! Thanks again!

  78. My husband and I are bringing our 10 year old in a couple weeks. We have two day Park Hopper passes, but I don’t see a plan for that. I’m so afraid with all the new happenings we will wind up missing out on everything if we don’t have a good plan! This is nerve racking!! 😮

    • Yes, the more I read the more stressed I am getting. I feel as though I will be running all day, back and forth to get fast passes and will not actually experience any of it.

    • Nancy, in your previous comment, I left the link for touring plans. I have one day plans for each park. No need to park hop if you don’t want to. Check those out and let me know if I can help. Don’t stress! FASTPASSES and touring plans are designed to alleviate stress. Once you get used to them, I think you’ll be able to relax. I know how intimidating it all is, though. I can relate.

  79. I was thinking of taking our toddler to Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn for our first day at Disneyland. Do you still recommend getting to the park 30 minutes in advance? I am trying to figure out what to do to keep our little one occupied that long, without giving him snacks that will take away his appetite for brunch.

    Also, how early does the Mad Hatter open?

    • Yes, always arrive early. If you get a resevation before the time the park opens, they will escort you in with your reservation. I love this breakfast as a way to start your trip. So, go super early or give you child snacks to tide him over until the breakfast begins. I believe the doors close at 11:30am and they stop serving breakfast at 11am.

      Mad Hatter is always open when the park opens and almost always open for early entry.

  80. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your suggestion about doing something for your spouse!!! Trips with kids (especially Disney trips) can totally revolve around the kiddos and it’s nice to remember your spouse and feel like you are a priority to each other!! This is the first time I have seen that kind of suggestion on a Disney focused site! Great thinking!

      • We have made 1 of our dinner plans specifically for the Dads. Steak and potatoes shall make them both very happy. So lucky to travel with my daughter and her little family. Thanks for all the tips. Many I haven’t read before. Nice work!

  81. hi, I’m going in October to surprise my daughter for her 5th bday. (My younger daughter will be 18 months at the time). Any tips on making the most for both kids (3 day 1 park per day (prolly doing DL/DCA/DL) with one magic morning. Also I love these tips for mornings (you do an amazing job w details), but do you have a similar list for your second arrival of the day (coming back at night).
    How to start your night of right. And details on the shows… although… I know they are all changing for the 60th anniversary celebration? Can’t wait to read an update on that, once you’ve attended! Getting very excited =)

    • Hi, Sara.

      I’ll have a post soon on all the new shows. Stay tuned! I’ll be there tomorrow to see the parade and fireworks. Follow me on facebook to see all of that.

      I don’t have a post for the second part of your day because after you get started, I recommend following the touring plan that works for you. So, get started and then proceed where you left off. You can find those here:

  82. Hello. How early should we arrive at the parks prior to extra magic hour? Would 30 mins be good, or do you recommend even earlier? We want to make the most of that time. We will be arriving on May 13th for a 6 night stay at Disneyland Hotel. May 14th will be our first day in the parks. The only day we won’t be at Disneyland/ DCA will be Sunday the 17th, because we will be at Universal Studios that day.

  83. Hey! I was really happy to see info about the Frozen area – I haven’t seen any tips or tricks about that before. But, when I click the link, I get a message saying that I
    “don’t have permission to view drafts.” Darn.

  84. i was recently researching where to get the WOC fast pass, and was told it would be at the kiosk by the little mermaid ride, so now I don’t know who is right!