Disneyland Park is made up of 7 lands, not including Main Street USA, and each one is full of unique attractions and shows. With so much to see, I always recommend guests have a plan for visiting, so that you can see these amazing attractions with as little waiting and stress as possible.
First of all, I recommend allotting 2 days for visiting Disneyland Park, if possible. There are a lot of very popular attractions in this park, and it’s difficult to fit even most of them into one day, especially on busier days.
Let’s start with the morning at Disneyland. I recommend arriving before the park opens, especially if you plan to head for big-ticket rides first thing when you enter the park. One important note about mornings: Disneyland does offer Magic Mornings, which are similar to Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World but follow different rules. All Disneyland resort hotel guests have access to Magic Mornings at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Guests that have purchased a 3+ day ticket have access to one Magic Morning during their trip at Disneyland Park only. Magic Mornings at Disneyland are available on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday only for all guests with access to Magic Mornings, including on-site resort guests. Only attractions in Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are open during these Magic Mornings.
Whether you’re entering for a Magic Morning or not, Fantasyland is a good place to start, because there are lots of popular attractions right next to each other for you to visit in that first hour or two. Peter Pan’s Flight and the Matterhorn in particular will have long lines later in the day.
After spending the first part of your morning visiting rides, you can start collecting some FastPasses as you explore other parts of the park. Disneyland Park still uses the paper FastPass system, where guests obtain a return ticket from an attraction and return during the one-hour window printed on the ticket for a shorter wait to ride. Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and Star Tours are all great choices. Late morning is also a great time to visit other moderately busy rides, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion.
After lunch the parks will be busier and the lines for busy rides will be long, so keep making use of FastPass. You may want to catch the amazing Soundsational Parade in the late afternoon. You can also enjoy low-wait attractions like the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through, Mark Twain Riverboat, or the Disneyland Railroad.
Evenings at Disneyland are currently very busy due to the extra Diamond Celebration entertainment. This is another reason why I recommend two days for Disneyland Park – it’s difficult to fit in all the nighttime entertainment in one evening. As part of the anniversary celebration, guests can watch the new Paint the Night Parade and the incredible Disneyland Forever fireworks. There are also regular showings of Fantasmic on the Rivers of America. I would recommend seeing the parade and fireworks one night, and Fantasmic on another.
Elizabeth lives in Kansas City with her wonderful family. Elizabeth first visited Disney as a child, and when she prepared to visit Walt Disney World as an adult, she foolishly thought she may have ‘outgrown’ Disney. Happily, Elizabeth was proven wrong – but she also realized how good planning can make such a difference for having a fun, relaxing vacation! Elizabeth became her family’s go-to resource for Disney planning. Now she is dedicating her planning skills to helping other families create vacation memories as a travel agent specializing in Disney destinations. She will plan your trip as if it were her own. Her blog, planningformagic.com, has tons of advice on how to plan your next Disney trip, including trip planning instructions, sample itineraries, dining tips, and more. Visit her on Facebook or Twitter for more planning tips and theme park news. Contact Elizabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.