I thought I would update my tips about making the most of your time in Disneyland after our most recent trip (June 2-4, 2013). Without a doubt, the most important tip for getting the most bang for your buck is to make sure you arrive at opening time.
Crowds are light in the park up until around noon. The earlier you arrive, the lighter the crowds. What does this mean? It means you will most likely be able to walk onto every ride. Really! We tried it out all three days and the benefit was consistent everywhere except in Cars Land. On our California Adventure day, we arrived half-hour after opening time and the line was already 80 minutes long for Radiator Springs Racers and 45 minutes long for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree! Yikes.
Being that it was our first time in Cars Land, we felt compelled to ride Radiator Springs Racers but passed on everything else. After Radiator Springs Racers, we walked onto Ariel's Undersea Adventure, then spent just 20 minutes in line for Goofy's Sky School coaster, followed by walking on Jumpin' Jellyfish. We had Fast Passes for California Screamin' (20 minute Fast Pass line) so we were able to walk on to ride both times (Gümby wasn't tall enough to ride so Crumpet rode twice, once with me and once with Mars) after securing the Fast Passes. We had lunch in Flo's V8 Cafe but then found that the wait times for rides had increased a lot, i.e. around 1:00 pm we stood in a 45 minute line for Grizzly River Run.
Another new tip I learned specifically for this trip (thanks to a kind person on Mouseplanet's disboard):
If you will not be doing Early Entry, know which parks are scheduled for Early Entry and avoid that park on that day. Why? Because if you get to the park at 8:00 opening time, others will have been enjoying Early Entry since 7:00. You will not get the most time-saving benefit of getting there early since ride queues will have been filling for an hour without you.
We were spending three days in Disneyland Resort and would be there on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We knew we wanted to spend two days in Disneyland and one day in California Adventure. According to the Disney website:
-Early Entries for Disneyland are scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays
-Early Entries for California Adventure are scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays
Since we did not have Early Entry access, we planned to spend Sunday and Monday in Disneyland and Tuesday in California Adventure.
This worked out really well for us.
|Look Ma, no crowds! Taken ~9:30 on a Sunday in June|
The pic at right of Gümby was taken in front of Tarzan's Treehouse at around 9:30 am on a Sunday, 1-1/2 hours after park opening. Proof crowds are light! We were among very few park guests in Adventureland, New Orleans Square, and Bear Country for the first 3 hours of park opening on Sunday. We walked onto Splash Mountain once, Haunted Mansion once, Jungle Cruise twice, Winnie the Pooh twice, and Pirates of the Caribbean three times. All before lunch! We were loving it.
One last tip...
If you love Pirates of the Caribbean like I do, plan to ride without waiting in a line during Fantasmic. Fantasmic starts at 9:00 and 10:30 every night and lasts approximately 20-25 minutes. We were able to walk on and enjoy it twice before the show ended and people started queuing again.
More tidbits from our trip....
We were in the parks all three days from approximately 8:30 am until around 10:30/11:00 every night. That daily afternoon mid-day break/nap at the hotel was extremely important! Even so, the kids were getting about 3 hours less sleep than usual. As a result, there were some expected flares of poor behavior. All things in stride.
Be sure to add your tips in the comments below. I'm always looking for ways to maximize my experience... now more than ever because while we were there, ticket prices increased $5 from $87 to $92 for a one-day one-park adult ticket (kids' tickets also increased $5, from $82 to $87)!