How to Get the Most out of Disneyland

Since Brad and I have been traveling to CA so much for work this year, we decided to get an annual passes to Disneyland. Being pretty well traveled, I can honestly say that Disneyland is my very favorite spot to vacation – and I’m glad to have married someone who feels the same way! Ha! We have turned into quite the Disneyland junkies — So I thought I’d share some tips that have made our Disneyland vacation smooth and enjoyable.
1) I’ve seen the ‘happiest place on earth’ become the most ‘stressful chaotic place on earth’ when you’re trying to jam everything in, in one day. You definitely need at least 2 days to fit in both parks. And yes, you need to go to both parks. 2) Purchase your tickets online before your trip, no one wants to stand in that ticket line, while you can be in the park! 3) Download the ‘DL Waits’ App to your phone. You can see the wait time for each ride in real time. 4) Eat early lunch and early dinner, or eat late lunch and late dinner to avoid the “food rush”. 5) If you’re planning to watch a parade, grab your lunch to go and eat it on the curb as you save your spot. 6) Get familiar with Disney’s “Fastpass” system HERE. 7) Disneyland and CA Adventure are on different Fastpass systems. So is Radiator Springs Racers and California Screamin’ in CA Adventure, so utilize that by immediately Fastpassing another ride. 7) There is a Baby Care Center on Main Street, where you can comfortably breastfeed, heat up baby food in a microwave, and change a diaper. Heck, there is even miniature potties in there! 8) Do all of your shopping at the end of your visit. The shops stay open an hour after closing! That way, you don’t have to carry around bags all day. 9) Write your cell phone number on your childs wrist, just in case they get lost. I learned this one from my awesome sister! 10) If you’re vacationing with a baby or small child, get familiar with the Rider Swap system. It’s pretty much the bomb.


If you use a “Rider Swap” pass when using a Fastpass, you don’t need a Fastpass for your whole party! So go and fastpass more rides at the same time. For example: If you have a party of 4 adults and 1 baby, get 2 Fastpasses to Splash Mountain, then immediately go Fastpass Indiana Jones with the other two tickets. Everyone gets to enjoy both rides, with the connivence of the Rider Swap!MUST BRING:
Stroller/Backpack, Sunscreen, Jacket/Blanket, Camera, Supportive Shoes, Snacks & Mickey Ears! I also keep all my valuables in a small bag that I can take on the rides with me. That way, when I park the stroller I can be stress free about things getting stolen.
These are rides that always have the longest wait. Don’t stand in line for these rides or it will eat up your day. If you miss the chance to get a Fastpass for these rides, consider waiting in the ‘Single Rider’ line. Except, never wait in the single rider line for Splash Mountain, I waited an hour in that line once! Disneyland: Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain Railroad & Space Mountain. CA Adventure: Radiator springs (Make sure this is the first thing you Fastpass, because they run out quick!), Tower of Terror, & California Screamin’.
Must ride: Jungle Cruise, Winnie the Pooh, Enchanted Tikki Room, Peter Pan Flight, Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Caribbean, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, & It’s a Small World (Be prepared to go insane, but little kids LOVE it.).
Must Ride: Monsters Inc, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story Midway Mania, Maters Junkyard Jamboree, & Bugs Life Land Rides.
Must Ride: Indiana Jones, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain Rail Road, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Enchanted Tikki Room, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan Flight, Winnie the Pooh, Haunted Mansion, & Pirates of the Caribbean.
Must Ride: Radior Springs Racers, Soarin’ Over California, Tower of Terror, California Screamin’, Grizzly Rapids, Toy Story Midway Mania, Monsters Inc, The Little Mermaid & Bug’s Life Theater.
The red corn dog food truck on Mainstreet (I’m not even into corn dogs, and I’m obsessed with these), Cheese Burgers at the Hungry Bear, Churros, Quarter Chicken at French Market (There is an awesome quartet that sings here at night!), Dole Whip (Get in the line INSIDE the gate of the Tikki Room. It goes 10x quicker than the line outside.).
Broccoli Cheese Soup in a Bread Bowl at Pacific Wharf Cafe, Ghirardelli shakes and hot chocolate (You get free chocolate samples there, too!) Breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks, Chimichangas from the food carts (Yummy meal to easily eat on the go). You also can’t go wrong eating anything at The Cozy Cone in Carsland… The Pear of Dice soda and Red’s Apple Freeze are a “must drink”!
The morning is best for Tomorrowland, and evening is best for Fantasyland (and really any of the ‘little kid’ attractions). Everywhere else is pretty busy all day long, so use your ‘DL Waits’ App to keep an eye on the best wait times between your Fastpasses. At 2pm-4pm rest, and get off of your feet! You wont miss much, because this is the busiest time of day in the parks. Take a seat in the air conditioned sorcerer’s workshop (CA adventure), Get a Dole Whip and watch the Tikki Room (Disneyland), or get a sundae at the Golden Horseshoe corral (Disneyland). If you’re staying close, take your little ones to go get a nap – they’ll need it to get through the evening with a smile.Do you have any Disneyland tips I’m missing here? Leave a comment!

Our bucket list is to visit all of the Disney parks… We only have Paris and Hong Kong left! Check out our adventures at Tokyo Disney HERE. And my very first time I went ALONE to Tokyo Disney, HERE. Ha!


  1. April 11, 2015 / 3:19 am

    I am totally pinning this so I can use it when I take my little girl to Disneyland! Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. April 11, 2015 / 12:57 pm

    I grew up in San Diego (my family still lives there), and we loved going when it was raining. No crowds! No lines! During the holidays the parades still go on unless it's truly a downpour! Just come prepared with jackets and ponchos (don't even bother with umbrellas), and you're set!

  3. April 11, 2015 / 4:39 pm

    Love this! Thank you! You guys should team up with Musicbed to give us a promo code for my next disneyland video ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. April 11, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    Don't forget that you need to avoid Magic Morning due to crowds already in the park in the mornings! Also in California Adventure get a Radiator Springs fast pass then walk to Toy Story, California Screamin', then over to Goofy's flight school. That way you go the opposite way of the crowds because, they always go towards Radiator Springs! For Parades walk over to Small World towards the area where the floats enter + exit. Every time we go we are able to get a curb seat 5 minutes before the parade! (It's perfect even by the exit because, the characters don't break character). The love for disney is mutual! I vote for one in Utah? xoxo.โค๏ธโค๏ธ

  5. April 11, 2015 / 11:31 pm

    Smart move getting those season passes, they really are the best!! I grew up in Southern California and we got to the point that we realized that it was better for us to get to the park later in the day and have the stamina to stay all day, because at night when the park starts emptying out is when you have the shortest lines across the board. One time we even rode Space Mountain four times consecutively because no one was in line behind us! : )

  6. April 12, 2015 / 5:57 am

    Going to all of the Disney parks is a great idea!! Tip for Disney HK: NEVER go on a Monday. Most Asian kids have it off. Wednesday is a great day. Since pretty much no one drives in China/hong kong, they will ALL be attracted to Autotopia. Just completely ignore it. The parade is in Cantonese but it's still pretty cool. Grab some curry popcorn, and find a spot EARLY!!! You will find most restaurants completely packed so just grab some snacks and call it good. Don't waste your time in their shops. get a t shirt and LEAVE. They are always super crowded. We lost our sister in there for like 20 minutes one time. Hahaha! Also, at "grizzly gulch" (our personal favorite), there is pretty much NO LINE so, they will let you hop over a fence and get back in line. Space mountain is also good!

    • April 12, 2015 / 7:33 am

      GREAT advice!! You rock. I'll save this for the future ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. April 12, 2015 / 6:56 am

    this is good. we got annual passes this year too and it pains me pretty much every single day that I could be in disneyland but I'm not! Ha! I would have to add that thunder mountain railroad is a fast pass must! and the monte cristo sandwhich in New Orleans square (you can get it at a couple places) is what dreams are made of. it's always good to find someone as enthusiastic about disneyland as I am. holla!!!

    • April 12, 2015 / 7:33 am

      Yum!! I'll have to try that sandwich — also adding Thunder Mountain to the fastpass list too ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. April 13, 2015 / 4:14 pm

    Such great tips! I can't wait to take my little girl to Disneyland, I just need to convince my husband that we don't have to wait until she's 4!

  9. April 13, 2015 / 5:45 pm

    disneyland has given me some of the best meals of my entire life. no joke! i got the vegetarian chili once at the pacific wharf and thought i had died and gone to heaven! how have i never known about the indoor dole whip line?!?! also, you & brad need to try the jolly holiday bakery cafe. it's right there off main street. get the turkey sandwich and the tomato basil soup with a grilled cheese. SO GOOD!

    • April 13, 2015 / 10:23 pm

      Yay!! I love new recommendations, thanks Ky! PS. Are you still blogging?

    • April 14, 2015 / 4:06 pm

      yeah! i'm still blogging ( & sometimes still talking about my mission on the mission blog too, there's a link for that on my normal blog.

  10. April 13, 2015 / 7:11 pm

    Such great tips (and pictures!) And you and Brad are not alone… I am a Disney junkie too!!

  11. April 13, 2015 / 7:17 pm

    When are the best months/weeks out of the year to go to Disneyland?:)

  12. April 13, 2015 / 8:26 pm

    You definitely inspired me to create my own blog to learn more about videography and photography. I love your style.

  13. April 13, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    Aw, this reminds me of all the times I went to disney when I was younger, I miss it! Haha love how much fun you and your little family seem to be having ๐Ÿ™‚ Your baby girl is precious, Hailey! xx


  14. April 13, 2015 / 11:59 pm

    Love this! Thank you for the tips. Disneyland is my favoritest place to vacation as well!

  15. April 14, 2015 / 12:36 am

    Great tips! The only thing I would add are the great shows Disneyland and California Adventure offer. In California adventure I think Aladdin, the Frozen singalong, and the Disney junior show (for the littles) are fantastic and shouldn't be missed. In Disneyland the royal theater does a fun show and the kids are very close to the performance, and Mickey's Magical Map is arguably the best way to eat your lunch, take a break, and enjoy an amazing show. My kids also love meeting the characters- and the best way (and to get the best pictures) is to meet them in Main Street Square for both parks. My daughter loves frozen and they've made the wait for Elsa and Anna in California Adventure a million times better than when they were stationed in fantasyland. I would avoid meeting Mickey in Toon Town and the Princesses at their stations because the lighting is dark and the pictures are terrible.

  16. April 15, 2015 / 3:04 am

    Nice tips, Hailey! I've gone to Disney Land/World so many times — I completely agree with your advice. A side note: FastPasses are going away in 2016. Better start getting acquainted with the Magic Band system. Hope to see more blog posts from you! I love them!!

  17. April 20, 2015 / 12:24 am

    My husband Eric and I went the first week of October during the middle of the week for our honeymoon (Tuesday and Wednesday I think) and it was completely DEAD! We went to CA our first day and rode every ride in the park before 1! The next day we spend in Disneyland and were able to hit every ride that day! I have never seen a shorter line for Indiana Jones, we walked right onto it, it was AWESOME! While I was in high school my family would go in January and that was an awesome time to go to! Just a few times I've been that have been where it's been super fun and not crowded at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. December 2, 2015 / 6:46 pm

    Why in the world would you say must not ride Star Tours?!?! That is one the best e ticket rides at Disneyland! And I love It's a Small World. I'm all about nostalgia and those iconic rides, that's what makes Disneyland my favorite vacation spot. Wish I had a husband that also loves Disneyland as much as I do, then it wouldn't be a fight every year when I want to go (we live in Oregon so we only make it there twice a year and he fights me every. single. time).

  19. February 21, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    You seriously are SO pretty! What a cute little talented family you guys are! This is one of my favorite videos ever!!

    • Hailey Devine
      February 21, 2017 / 11:40 pm

      That’s so nice of you to say. Thank you!

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