Tips and Tricks for Disneyland

Last year for Christmas my parents got my sister and I Disneyland passes for Christmas and I have to say…it’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten!  Partly because it’s the gift that just keeps on giving.  In fact, now that I think about it, most of my favorite gifts are the ones that keep on giving…my KitchenAid mixer, my mattress pad warmer.  But I digress! Disney Tips and Tricks | Girl on the Move Blog

In the eight months we’ve had our annual passes I’ve learned a few tricks and I thought it was a little selfish of me to keep these to myself, so here you go!

1. Go in January or February!  Seriously.  I know it’s tempting to go over Spring Break when the kids are off school or during the holidays when the whole park is a magical holiday wonderland, but so does everyone else!  If you really want to make the most of your trip, go in January or February when the lines are significantly shorter!

2. If the lines are a bit crowded, head over to California Adventure and explore Redwood Creek!  Virtually no lines and the kiddos can explore and complete the wilderness challenge. Redwood Creek | Girl on the Move Blog

3. Don’t forget the free stuff!  I know that you probably think you read that wrong because it seems that you can’t get anything free at Disney, but this is not true!  Head over to Pacific Wharf in California Adventure and stop by the Ghirardelli and Boudin stores…both hand out free samples!

4. World of Color – I can’t believe I’m even going to share this with you because it might make it more difficult for me to get prime seating, but because I like y’all so much I thought I would let you in on this secret…if you are going to watch World of Color in California Adventure, do it from the bridge!  The views are amazing!

5. Optimal Matterhorn times – Y’all the line is always really long for the Matterhorn…like I’ve often seen it close to two hours!  That’s crazy for a spin around a  mountain.  But if you really want to take a mini trip to Switzerland go around the same time as the Disneyland fireworks…the line gets much shorter!

6. Use Fast Pass and Single Rider Lines – Be smart about what you are going to ride and get as many Fast Pass tickets as you can.  We find it works best to get a Fast Pass ticket, wait in line for a different ride, and then once we get off go and use the Fast Pass…then get another one!  Also, for rides like Cars, take advantage of the Single Rider line.  If you have younger kiddos this won’t work very well but almost every time we’ve done this we end up only one or two cars apart and it’s worth it when you think about how much time you are saving!

7. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a must-ride attraction.  Disney recently completed renovations on this ride and I have to say…this is hands down one of the smoothest rides I’ve ever been on!

8. Toy Story Secret!  There are very similar Toy Story rides in Disneyland and California Adventure, but in my experience the wait for the Disneyland version is significantly shorter…so head to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters instead of waiting in line for Toy Story Mania.

9. Soak it all in!  Seriously.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Disney pays attention to the details.  And while the trip won’t be cheap, they do a great job, in my opinion, of making sure every detail of the experience is pretty magical!

What do you love most about Disney?  Do you have any Disneyland tips or tricks?


  • Tina Muir

    I loooooooveee disney, and would go back there all the time if I could afford it! My sister and I went a few years ago, and we LOVED it. We got there as the park opened, and left when it closed. We were first on splash mountain, so they gave us a free photo of our ride…..so there is another tip for you…if you are first to a ride 🙂 Now you made me want to go again!

    • jmdenouden@gmail.com

      I didn’t know about the free pictures so thank you for the tip! I think because we have passes we are rarely there from open to close but for a free picture it’d be worth it!

  • Pam

    I love these tips! I will have to come back to them when I finally visit Disneyland! I’ve been to Walt Disney World, but never Disneyland!

  • Leslie

    I would LOVE to go to Disneyland! We went while I was little but it has an entirely different feel when your older. Thanks for sharing these tips & tricks.

    • jmdenouden@gmail.com

      Happy to share! And you’re right, it is a very different experience as an adult than it was as a kid!

  • Madalnie

    OMG I’m so happy to hear Big Thunder got some renovation! The last time I went on it, it was so rickety my neck hurt for a week! Have you ever done the restaurant in the pirates ride? It’s my fav!

    • jmdenouden@gmail.com

      The renovations were absolutely worth the wait! And I haven’t been to that restaurant yet…just breathe in all the delicious smells while I’m on the pirates ride!

  • Shelly @ Behind Blue Eyes

    I have never been to Disneyland; however, I did go to Disney World and it was awesome. Fortunately, I was in the military at the time and they were offering free 5 day park hoppers which was great. I can’t wait until my daughter is a little older and we can take her there.

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