Have a day to spend at the Happiest Place on Earth and want to work in some day drinking?
I’m here to help.
It’s like I’ve been training my whole life for this one single post.
Follow me! I’m sharing a plan for a day at both Disneyland and California Adventure (DCA) with wine mixed in, followed by a lovely dinner at the one and only Napa Rose.
What You Will Need for the Day
One day at Disneyland Resort is a ton of fun, but it’s pricey. You will need a single day’s park hopper for this plan and Disney doesn’t allow discounts on single day tickets.
You’ll need some basic understanding of the parks and how to use FASTPASSES. I recommend using the Single Rider line, too, in the plan below. Take note of how to do that in the FASTPASS post provided.
Review these posts to be sure you’re ready.
You’ll also need to make a reservation at Napa Rose for dinner. If Napa is out of your budget, consider another option in Downtown Disney, at the Disneyland Resort Hotels or within California Adventure. I share lots of suggestions in my post dedicated to dining throughout Disneyland Resort.
Want to LOOK like a wine pro while you’re acting like one?
Take a look at the wine ears below and order them from Kathy’s Kreations. Find her on this page detailing companies I recommend for your trip.
When to Arrive
This part is non-negotiable. To see and experience all you want to do, you’re going to have to arrive early. Be at the gates of Disneyland an hour prior to official park opening.
Most days, guests are allowed into the park 30 minutes prior to official park opening, even if the park is hosting Extra Magic Hour and Magic Morning.
You want to be there before that 30 minute mark to get a place in line. Allow a little wiggle room in your schedule, as most people underestimate the time it takes to arrive, park, get through security and then make it into the actual park.
Grab a quick breakfast or coffee in Downtown Disney if you have time. Bring a snack breakfast just in case you don’t.
Because you bought your one day ticket online or via the app, you don’t have to worry about getting your ticket at the ticket booths. Bring the app or online confirmation of your tickets straight to the turn stiles. When you’re allowed in, the cast members will issue you actual theme park tickets that you will use for retrieving FASTPASSES.
Ok, so you have breakfast finished, your ticket issued upon walking in, and now you’re ready to focus.
I’m going to show you how to see some key attractions at each park and work wine into the visit, too.
Disneyland gets busier than California Adventure and it has fewer options for quick rides. It also doesn’t serve wine. So, we’re going to start there.
Follow this basic plan. As your day progresses, keep track of your timing and eliminate stops that work against the agenda. This line up is quite ambitious and a more crowded day might not allow time for every one of these attractions. But, the order I have provided will work you through both parks, allowing you to experience some of the best in each while sipping wine and having fun.
When you’re let in at the 30 minute mark, set up as close to the Tomorrowland Rope Drop as you can. You’re headed there first.
- Grab a FASTPASS for Space Mountain
- Ride Splash Mountain
- Ride Haunted Mansion
- Ride Pirates of the Caribbean
- Ride Big Thunder Mountain
- Ride Jungle Cruise
- Ride it’s a small world
- Ride Autopia
- Ride Space Mountain with your FASTPASS
- Move over to DCA and grab a FASTPASS for Toy Story Midway Mania
- Ride California Screamin’ Single Rider
- Break for wine at the Alfresco Tasting Terrace next to Wine Country Trattoria (add a cheese plate)
- Ride Toy Story Mania with your FASTPASS
- Ride Radiator Springs Racers Single Rider
- Move into Downtown Disney for a drink at Uva
- Dine at Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel
- Head back to Disneyland for the second Main Street Electrical Parade
- Finish your day with some dark rides behind the castle (Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Pinocchio, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride)
Save a screen capture of these maps to help you navigate the parks:
- This plan includes a lot of rides at Disneyland in the morning, as it’s the best time to get a lot done. If your day includes a later park opening, such as 10:00am, consider cutting out a few of the options in the morning like Jungle Cruise or Autopia. We all have our favorites. Eliminate what you have done before or don’t have interest in.
- Add in snacks throughout the day since I have only allocated time for a cheese plate at Wine Country Trattoria during your first wine break. If you wish, make a lunch reservation for Wine Country instead of my suggestion for wine and cheese (#12).
- Each of these stops have options for good beer, too. Uva has an excellent rotating selection of SoCal brews.
- Work in shopping at key souvenir shops like the Emporium on Main Street in Disneyland, Elias and Company on Buena Vista Street in DCA, or World of Disney in Downtown Disney.
- Use the restrooms in the lobby of the Grand Californian Hotel to refresh for dinner at Napa Rose. Find them to the right as you walk in the entrance from Downtown Disney.
- Guests dine at Napa Rose in clothes they wore to the park. For this day, I recommend dressing up a bit because you’re stopping at places a bit fancier than the churro cart. Check out some recommendations on what to wear to Disneyland that are both comfortable and cute.
- If there isn’t a second MSEP parade the day you’re visiting, enjoy the park instead. The later hours include lower crowds and the opportunity to experience more attractions.
Let me know what questions you have!