Disneyland Planning Tips for First-Time Visitors

Disneyland Resort in California is the original Disney theme park, with a great mix of classic rides and newer additions such as the popular Cars Land. With its 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration underway, many guests are looking to visit Disneyland – here are some tips for first-timers to become familiar with how to plan for a visit.

Make use of FastPass to avoid waiting. With FastPass, guests can obtain a return ticket for eligible attractions and return to the ride later. Then, guests can enter the FastPass queue for a much shorter wait. Note that, for most rides, you can only hold one FastPass at a time. Keep in mind that not all Disneyland rides offer FastPass, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matterhorn. Disney California Adventure’s most popular ride, Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land, is so popular that it typically distributes all its FastPasses for the day before noon.

Guests should also definitely try to get FastPasses for two of Disneyland’s nighttime spectaculars, Fantasmic! at Disneyland and World of Color at Disney California Adventure. These FastPasses are distributed like regular FastPasses and allow guests access to some of the best viewing areas for these shows. FastPasses for Fantasmic! are distributed behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and for World of Color by the FastPass machines for Grizzly River Run. These FastPasses also disappear quickly, so try to get them as soon as possible. There are also dining packages available for both these shows that include lunch or dinner and FastPasses for the show.

Another way to avoid waiting is to make use of single rider lines. Only a few rides have it, but they’re especially useful for high-demand rides without FastPass, like the Matterhorn, or the incredibly popular Radiator Springs Racers. You’ll be separated from the rest of your group during the ride, but your wait will be much shorter.

Guests should also consider purchasing a Park Hopper. The entrances to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are barely two minutes’ walk from each other, making it incredibly easy to hop between the two parks. If you’d like the freedom to bounce between the parks, add a Park Hopper to your ticket.

Disneyland offers a Magic Morning Hour, early admission to one of the two theme parks on select days. Guests staying at a Disneyland resort hotel have early admission to both parks when offered (typically Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday for Disneyland, and Monday, Wednesday, Friday for Disney California Adventure). This is a huge advantage at Disney California Adventure, because resort hotel guests will have first crack at riding or getting a FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers. Guests with a 3+ day park ticket can also take advantage of one Magic Morning Hour during their visit at Disneyland only. Typically, only Fantasyland, Toontown, and Tomorrowland are open during the Magic Morning Hour.

Keep in mind that the time of year you visit will have a large effect on how crowded it will be. Summers and the holidays tend to be the most crowded times of year, whereas January and February, early May, and September through early November tend to have fewer crowds.