Updated January 2, 2019
There are a million ways to tour the parks, but a few rules will make your visit successful.
These are non-negotiable for crowded days and highly recommended in general.
Take a look!
In this article
1. Arrive early.
I recommend arriving an hour prior to park opening. Check the daily schedule to know what time the park opens for business and get there well before. Take a look at my post on how to start your day for more details. Know the difference between Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning and if you have one or both of these privileges.
Why so early? Others will be sleeping in. Let them slumber. Enjoy the park with lower lines. It’s totally worth the early wake up and coffee run. Plus, you’ll likely be let in 30 minutes prior to official park opening. Don’t miss that.
2. Have a plan.
Use my touring plans or create your own. If you don’t commit to a plan, that’s OK. Just have a general idea of what you want to accomplish for the morning before you arrive.
Even a loose plan will help you stay focused and will hopefully deter the chaos of not knowing what is next.
Consider these posts for how to start at each park:
3. Use FASTPASSES.
There are a handful of rides at each park that allow FASTPASSES. Know ahead of time how this system works and use it.
Consider taking advantage of single rider lines and the child swap system, too. Being familiar with these options will come in handy during your visit. I cover all of this in the FASTPASS post.
4. Leave mid-day.
I know it’s tempting to stay all day and squeeze every minute out of the parks. I’ve done it. But, I don’t recommend it – especially with young children. Leave after lunch, around 1-2pm, for an escape back to your hotel.
Whether you’re staying at a DLR Hotel or off-site, there are options for relaxing and dining in addition to spending time in your room. Even Downtown Disney has options. Just escape from the chaos of the parks. A few hours can re-set everyone’s minds and attitudes.
Enjoy a swim or nap or relax and watch TV for a couple of hours. Shower before returning and be refreshed for the night time hours.
5. Return for the evening and plan to stay late.
Disneyland comes alive at night and the park feels entirely different from daytime. After a break at your hotel, you’ll be ready for the evening and I recommend you stay late.
If your little ones can handle it, consider staying after fireworks. Many people leave then, so you’ll enjoy lower lines if you can handle the later hours.
***For upcoming events at the park and dates to keep in mind, visit this page. I update it every day with all that is happening at Disneyland.
***Want LOTS MORE information on how to survive Disneyland and get the most out of your visit? Review this post.
Let me know how I can help!