Tips and Tricks on How To Have The Best Day at Disneyland!
This is your how-to guide that explains how to utilize the Disneyland Fastpass and Maxpass effectively, as well as where to eat the best food, and just overall how to make the most out of your day!
1) How to Navigate during Peak Days via Maxpass!
What does a peak day mean? A peak day is when the crowd level at Disney is very high. During these days I suggest getting the Maxpass. This is a new feature that is available for purchase through the Disneyland App! It is an additional $15, but it allows you to reserve a new Fastpass from your phone every hour and a half, and it includes all ride and photographer photos!
In case you were unaware of what a Fastpass is, it is a pass that allows you to return in a certain window of time and wait in a significantly shorter line. Without the Maxpass, the Fastpass must be obtained at the ride location using your entry ticket or season pass and you are only allowed to have one at a time. Fastpasses are generally offered for certain rides that have a higher wait time. These rides include; Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Star Tours, Buzzlightyear Astro Blasters, Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World, and Roger Rabbits Car Toon Spin.
Ever since the Maxpass came out I have always added it to my ticket. It saves so much time not having to physically go to a ride to obtain a Fastpass, and the fact that it allows you to have more than one in your queue really helps optimize the time you spend at the park.
Aside from the Fastpass feature, it allows you to keep the digital copies of all photographs taken around the park. This for me, was an added perk! The ride photos are so silly and wonderful tokens, and it also allows you to take those beautiful pictures in front of the castle or the sword in the stone without having to worry about getting a ton of people in the background.
2) Secret Food Hacks and Snacks!
Carnation Cafe Mickey Waffles
One thing different that I did on my most recent trip to Disneyland was make reservations for the Carnation Cafe. This is the cafe where they serve the iconic Mickey Waffles. These waffles will start anyone's trip to Disneyland right! Even better? These waffles are not extremely overpriced as one may think when it comes to food at Theme Parks. They're priced at only $12, and comes with your choice of sausage or bacon. Especially since they are served at a sit down cafe. The trick to eating these yummy waffles? Make a reservation at least a week in advance. Spots to this Main Street staple fill up quick, so make sure you reserve your spot at the Carnation Cafe!
Coffee and Chocolate Funnel Cake
Here is another must try if you're visiting the park this summer! Their new seasonal food treat at Hungry Bear Restaurant is located across from Splash Mountain. It's the Coffee and Chocolate Funnel Cake! This funnel cake is an absolute chocolate and coffee lovers dream, which I happen to be both! It is a funnel cake topped with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and espresso chip ice cream. Here is the trick, however, there are no signs posted saying that this is offered so you must ask to order! Priced at only $7.99, it is a definite must have!
One of my favorite Disneyland staples is their steak gumbo served in a bread bowl. Located right next to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Royal Street Veranda serves this gumbo in a steak or vegetarian option. Priced at $8.99, it is a wonderful, filling, dinner option that is perfect for when the sun starts to set and the air becomes a bit chilly. It's broth is rich with Cajun flavors that perfectly compliment the New Orleans land it resides in. Being served in a bread bowl, it allows you to dip the bread in the stew for an additional texture and eating adventure. It is and will always be my go to dinner option while at the park.
One important food trick that will save you time is ordering your food ahead via the Disneyland App. This allows you to pick an arrival window and saves you the hassle of waiting in the lengthy lines.
And the most important tip for food at Disneyland is pack your own snacks and water. I love all of the unique treats at Disneyland, but they can definitely add up in price. I like to pack myself some healthy treats to keep my energy up throughout the day as well as take up some time as I wait in line. I also bring my Hydroflask to Disneyland every time I visit. At the Galactic Grill in Tomorrowland, they have a water spout that you can refill your water bottle with. Keeping hydrated throughout the day is extremely important, and this saves you spending $5 on each bottle of water you need.
3) The Best Times to Ride Each Ride
Each ride's wait time varies by season. If it's summer, Splash Mountain will always be around 60 minutes. However, if it's Winter, it's more like 10 minutes. So here is when to ride each ride to ensure that you are able to ride them all at least once, and possibly even twice.
I always suggest arriving to the park when it opens. If you are staying at one of the hotels on Disneyland property you are allowed to enter the park 1 hour before any of the public. This is when you can really knockout the most rides. However, if you are not staying at one of the hotels, I would suggest arriving to the park as soon as it opens.
First things first, always hit Space Mountain. This is one of the most popular rides at Disneyland averaging at about a 70 minute wait time by the time afternoon rolls around. So head there first. BUT before you ride, make sure to snag a Fastpass so that you will be able to ride again at an earlier time.
Next, I would head to Big Thunder Mountain. That is another one of the more popular rides. It also offers a Fastpass, however, if you can get there while the line is under 30 minutes, I would suggest riding it and snagging a Fastpass for one of the night windows, because in my opinion that ride is always best at night.
After Big Thunder, I would snag a Fastpass for Indiana Jones. That ride always has a long line, and it is best to use a Fastpass for it.
Depending on the season, I would always ride Splash Mountain in the afternoon when it's the warmest. Since it is a water ride, you will be getting wet. There is no avoiding it!
Next, head over to Fantasyland and secure a spot on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. This ride has a longer line, but it moves pretty quickly. It also has an option for a Fastpass.
Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are definitely iconic rides that must be ridden, however because they constantly flow and load boats and cars, the wait times are never terrible and the line is constantly moving.
All of the other smaller rides have wait times at about 30 minutes or under.
If you were wondering when the best time to hit the small Fantasyland rides was, I would suggest going during a parade, the fireworks, or late at night. This is when the younger kids are either watching the parade or have left the park, so this is when the wait times are no longer than 10 minutes.
If at all possible, ride single rider. If you don't mind riding alone, this line will almost always be a 5-10 minute wait. And the few times I have done it, they have actually put my party and I together!
4) Don't Miss Your Favorite Shows and Characters!
To ensure that you don't miss your favorite character appearances or shows around the park, Don't forget to snag a Times Guide that is at the front entrance of the park. They no longer have them at the entrance turnstiles, but you can find them at the entrance to each tunnel when entering the park. Some of the events that you won't want to miss including the Parade, Fantasmic!, the fireworks, and more.
5) Utilize Your Phone Battery
This isn't so much a park hack, but more of a life hack. Between using the Disneyland App as well as taking pictures, and just overall wait time wasting activities, your phone battery is bound to die quickly. I never go to Disneyland without a portable battery pack. On top of that, I always turn my phone to low power mode. This really does make your phone battery last a lot longer, and you won't have to worry about your phone dying throughout the day.
6) Commemorate Your Visit with a Button
Disneyland offers pins for special visits. Whether it be your birthday, engagement, first visit, or simply "just celebrating", they always will give you a personalized pin that lets cast members around the park know that you are celebrating something special. You can obtain these pins at guest services at the entrance to the park on the left after the tunnel, OR you can walk through Main Street and obtain them at the smaller guest service kiosk just by the Walt and Mickey statue. I usually prefer this option because there is often no line, while the Guest Services at the front usually has a long line.
Often times cast members in the gift shops will have buttons, but not always, so it is best to obtain them at one of the Guest Service locations.
7) Capturing Your Park Memories
If you decide to purchase the Maxpass, all ride and photographer photographs are free for download off of the Disneyland App! After exiting a ride, make sure to capture the picture number and enter it into the photo section of the Disneyland App. If it is a photographer, be sure to pull up the QR code in the photo section of the Disneyland App so they can scan it and link their photographs to your account for download.
Not purchasing the Maxpass? That's OK! You're still able to purchase your ride photos or take a picture of the picture. As far as photographers go, they are happy to take pictures for you on your own personal camera or phone at character locations or different various landmarks. There is no reason for any memories not to be captured at the Happiest Place on Earth!
8) Instagram Photo Walls/Locations
There are a few noteworthy Instagram photo walls and locations around Disneyland Park. Here is where to find them:
Small World Wall
This wall is located outside of It's a Small World. It is a beautiful Cinderella blue and is a unique place to snap a cute photo.
Minnie's House Polka Dot Wall
This wall is located in Toon Town at Minnie's House. If Minnie is your favorite character, then this wall is a perfect place to take a cute Minnie inspired picture.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle
There is no missing this iconic Disneyland location. Located in the middle of the park, Sleeping Beauty's castle is one of the most famous photo landmarks. You can have one of the professional photographers take a picture, or head down the side path for a different perspective and less crowds.
Tarzan's Tree House
This unique photo location is located at one of the stair corners in Tarzan's Tree House. This spot gives you a unique bird's eye view of the park, and captures Frontierland and Big Thunder Mountain perfectly in the background.
9) Don't Wait to Check the Wait!
Don't wait until you get the the ride you want to enjoy next to check the wait time. Utilize the Disneyland app to check the ride wait times! It is regularly updated and displays accurate wait times.
10) When in doubt, Go "To the Left, To the Left"!
Beyonce was definitely on to something. In the Disneyland version the left of everything is better. If the ride lines split into two, go to the left. Generally, people instinctively pick right, so the left is usually shorter. The only exception is the Pirates of the Caribbean because the left line is actually a bit longer of a path.
Another way you should always go left is on Matterhorn! The left track is a bit longer than the right, so you can get more out of your ride by riding on the left!