Updated March 9, 2017
There’s 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.
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In this article
1. Arrive early.
I recommend arriving between 30 minutes and 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.
Why so early? Others will be sleeping in. Let them slumber and enjoy the park with lower lines. It’s totally worth the early wake up and coffee run.
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.
Visiting Anna and Elsa? This requires a specific strategy. Know this ahead of time.
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.
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 1pm, 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.
Enjoy a swim or nap or even just 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.
See? That wasn’t so hard. Integrate these few rules into your plan and you’ll be glad you did. They all work towards a more comfortable, relaxed trip.
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