Your adult Disneyland experience will be vastly improved by planning. You will always be thankful you prepared and educated yourself beforehand. The “homework” assigned below is well worth the time. And the biggest payoff? A fabulous trip with minimal aggravation!
Tip #1: Plan the Time of Year and Day of the Week to Visit
Crowd prediction is more magic than science. Disneyland attendance is strong – so know you’ll have many guests to share the parks with no matter when you go. Decide on your date(s) – then buy your park ticket ahead. The parks can be sold out on busiest days. Here are some general guidelines:
See “TICKETS” for more information
- Lowest crowd sizes tend to be January through early March (New Years week and President’s Day weekend excluded). BUT park hours are shortened and refurbishment projects are in full swing – making some events/rides unavailable.
- Largest crowds are spring break, summer and holidays (mid-September to first week of January).
- Lowest crowds tend to be weekdays – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (except summer when every week day is busy).
- Here are some other indicators:
- Visit Disneyland One Day ticket prices – the lower the price, the lower the anticipated crowd.
- Visit Disneyland “Southern California Select” passholder blockout dates. Block out dates are days larger crowds are anticipated.
Be aware that once Star Wars “Galaxy’s Edge” opens in Disneyland Park (summer 2019), all bets are off. Disneyland Resort is making many changes in anticipation of the expected record-breaking crowds. For more about Disneyland’s Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, CLICK HERE.
Tip #2: Get the Disneyland App
The Disneyland App is key; it is critical to familiarize yourself with its features. Some things to figure out on the Disneyland App BEFORE you get to Disneyland:
- If you have a Disney account, log in with the app. If you don’t, set up an account now.
- Find “Attractions” on top menu, Tap on a balloon. Tap it to see ride details.
- Find “Dining”. Tap on a balloon. Important restaurant information appears.
- Find “Entertainment”. Tap on a balloon. Here you’ll find details on parades, night shows, fireworks, etc.
- Click on the circle icon at the bottom of the screen. This is the place you’ll visit for Max Pass, Photo Pass, Fast Pass, Ticket Purchases and Park Hours. Check them all out.
Tip #3: Plan 'Must Do' Events
Events are fixed time activities: plays, fireworks, parades and shows. Pick the ones you want to see and plan around them. Keep this in mind:
See “EVENTS” for more information
- Plan at least 30 minutes (an hour is better) prior to the event to arrive.
- Some events have dining packages that include special event viewing locations. If that option is of interest, book your reservations now.
- World of Color and Fantasmic have Fast Passes that give you special viewing locations. Locate the event Fast Pass terminal on your Disneyland App. Go there when you arrive at the parks first thing – these Fast Passes go quickly.
- If there are two event shows – the later one is always less crowded.
Tip #4: Make Dinner Reservations
Now that you have your events planned and their times identified, you can make dinner reservations that compliment your schedule. (This applies to sit-down restaurants only. You do not need reservations for self-serve eateries or fast-food kiosks.) Some tips:
- Make reservations using your Disneyland App or go to disneyland.com. Reservations can be made 6 months in advance – and cancelled up to 48 hours prior.
- If you can’t find a reservation at the time/place you want, keep checking. Cancellations create new reservation availability over time.
- Still no luck? Here’s some alternatives to consider:
- Downtown Disney offers great restaurants that have tables for guests without reservations. At popular dinner times, there will be a wait.
- Get to your restaurant no later than 5:30 PM (5:00 PM is better…).
See “FOOD” for more ideas and tips
Tip #5: Select Your 'Must Do' Rides
Adult rides are very popular. Shortest wait times are at park opening. It makes sense to have a list so you can get to your “must rides” first thing. More tips:
- See “RIDES” for a full list of rides, their popularity, single-rider options and recommendations.
- Most adult rides have Fast Passes – you should use them whenever possible. See “FAST PASS” for more information.
- Check ride wait times and Fast Pass availability on your Disneyland App a few days prior to your trip . It’s good practice and you’ll get a better idea of which rides are the most popular.