Magical Ways to Start Your Disneyland Days

Updated May 2016

The success of your morning can determine how your entire day goes at Disneyland. I have some tips for you on how to make the most of your time and how to get everyone started in the right direction.

The benefits of an early arrival are plentiful. Save your slumber for another vacation. There is work to be done at Disneyland!

Before You Arrive

Before you even arrive on site, I suggest you have the following done:

  • Have tickets purchased. Buy online or purchase from your hotel. Lines at the ticket counters on site can be long.
  • Eat breakfast. Wake early and enjoy breakfast in your hotel or find something on your way in. If you are wanting to dine with characters, choose a restaurant at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels that serves breakfast. They open as early as 7:00am, which will allow you time to enjoy the meal and then get to the park in time to still enjoy the earlier hours without such a crowded park. (Make reservations well before!)
  • Apply sunscreen and make sure kids are prepared for their day. 
  • If you’re lining up outside prior to open, look for restrooms at each end of the waiting area between the parks. Have everyone use the restroom before entering.



Upon Arrival

Always arrive an hour prior to the park opening. Why?

  • Often the gates will open early and you can enter into Main Street (Disneyland) or Buena Vista Street (California Adventure) before the actual slated opening time.
  • You’ll get to see the “Rope Drop”, which is a special way to start your day. After you see this, arriving later than the Rope Drop can often feel like you missed the previews at a movie. (Just. Don’t.)
  • Cast Members line Main Street with white Mickey gloves while handing out high fives and big smiles. It’s a magical time and shouldn’t be missed. You might just break out in song. Zip a dee doo dah!
  • There’s a really positive energy in the morning. Most people are still meltdown-free. It’s a great time to be at the parks!

Here’s a short video from Fresh Baked Disney, which includes a bit of the Rope Drop and a morning walk through the park. Note: The Rope Drop here happens prior to Adventureland. Most often, it happens at the End of Main Street. It’s a similar idea in all locations.

Get Stuff Done

Your morning hours should be busy. Save shopping and snacking for later.

  • Lines are shorter in the first few hours before the park gets crowded. This is true year round – even during the busy summer months. It’s always slower in the morning. Take advantage!
  • Use FASTPASSES. A handful of rides at each park allows FASTPASSES and you should utilize them whenever possible. A previous post explains all about the passes, how they work and how to make them work for you.
  • Be prepared with a plan. Follow my touring plans for how to navigate through the parks (what to ride when and which attractions use FASTPASSES). Or, at least set up your own strategy on what you want to accomplish during these few important hours.



Do this First at Disneyland

Ride Peter Pan – Walk down Main Street, see the Rope Drop, and then continue through the castle and you’ll see Peter Pan on your right. Get in line ASAP. It’s a magical ride and will immediately put you in the mood for a day at Disneyland. Get in line for Dumbo shortly after. Both of these are iconic Disney rides and lines will populate quickly.

FASTPASS tip: If you have big kids in your group who wish to ride Indiana Jones, send someone to grab those passes en route to Peter Pan or shortly after. Also, if you have interest in seeing Fantasmic! during the evening, grab that FASTPASS, too. You can find that along Big Thunder Trail.

(Skip the Fantasmic! FASTPASSES, of course, while it’s on hiatus until mid-2017.)

If you’re interested in Star Wars, you’ll want to consider Season of the Force in Tomorrowland. If you have children who want to enjoy Jedi Training, you’ll need to register them first, before Peter Pan. Take a look at my post on how to get the most out of Season of the Force.

Here’s a map for your reference:

DisneylandMorning-1024x671 copy

Do This First at California Adventure

Ride Toy Story Mania – Walk down Buena Vista, through Carthay Circle and pass CarsLand on your left. Cross over into Paradise Pier to get to Toy Story Mania.

FASTPASS tip: If you plan on riding Radiator Springs Racers, grab that FASTPASS on the way near It’s Tough to Be a Bug in Bugs Land. If you plan to see World of Color that evening, send someone over to grab FASTPASSES for that show near Grizzly River Run. The WOC FASTPASS will not prevent you from pulling other FASTPASSES during your visit.

Here’s a map for your reference:


Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, Anna & Elsa + Olaf at California Adventure

If you plan to meet Anna & Elsa or Olaf and want to enjoy the new Froznw show, review my post on how to make this happen. A strategy is a must to accomplish all that you’ll want to do. The map, plus lots of other information, can be found on that post.

Frozen Fun


Magic Morning & Extra Magic Hour

  • What is a Magic Morning?  Parks open one hour prior to the regular opening time for guests with Magic Morning privileges. These Magic Mornings happen at Disneyland Park on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. You can enjoy one Magic Morning Experience by purchasing a 3+ Day Park ticket prior to arriving at the parks. Or purchase a Southern California City Pass.
  • What is an Extra Magic Hour? Parks open one hour prior to the regular opening time for guests who stay at one of the three Disneyland Resort Hotels. These Extra Magic Hours happen at Disneyland Park on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and at California Adventure on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
  • If you have the extra hour, follow the above plan and enjoy even fewer lines!
  • If you don’t have Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour? Don’t sweat it. There’s still plenty of time for fun and you’ll do just fine by following the plan.

Make Your Own Magic Happen

coffee-smilI’m a big believer in over-doing things. And, there’s no better place to go overboard than Disneyland. Consider these extra touches when planning your visit.

  • Utilize the “Vacation Fairy”.  As a reward for good behavior, a fairy arrives each night in the hotel to leave gifts for each child.  These gifts can be small or big, but mostly tie into the day ahead.  I often disguise money-saving snacks and items I would buy for our kids anyway in these gifts, including pool toys, glow sticks and autograph books.  Design your gifts with what you have planned for your day. Kids waking to a sweet surprise like this can set the tone for your entire day!
  • Give your spouse time for a morning jog or to check in with work prior to leaving the hotel. Surprise him or her with a favorite coffee or breakfast treat as a thank you for putting effort into your trip. Happy adults = happy kids. And, Disneyland can often be much more stressful than a hard day at the office. Show your appreciation and you’ll likely get it back, too!



Additional Tips

  • If you plan to purchase Mickey Ears for your visit, grab these at The Mad Hatter just before Main Street, to the left of The Opera House. They fold easily and will store in your backpack in between photo ops. If the shops are open prior to Rope Drop, get this done before even departing from Main Street.
  • Grab a daily entertainment schedule and map upon going through the ticket turn stiles.
  • Review the map and schedule and ask Cast Members questions prior to the Rope Drop.
  • Order a coffee at the Market House (serving Starbucks) on Main Street if you’re needing a little help keeping up with the kids’ excitement.

If you start early and enjoy all of the perks of a morning at Disneyland, reward yourself with a mid-day break. Many people will be arriving by noon, so plan to pause for lunch around then or shortly after. Head back to your hotel for a swim, nap or simply a refresh for the evening ahead. You’ve earned it!

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  1. Wow, you’re truly amazing! I am soaking up everything from your website and planning our first family trip to Disneyland! Thank you for your hard work! Since we are such newbies, I have a few questions. (Two adults, three kids ages 6, 3, and 1.) We are flying from Utah at 6 a.m. MST on a Tuesday and planned on hitting a park, resting Wednesday, and hitting the other park Thursday (Our kids are pretty flexible and my baby is great about napping in the stroller.). Is this a good plan, or would you recommend resting Tuesday and hitting the parks Wednesday and Thursday? Also, if we go Tuesday after the plane ride, should we do California Adventure or Disneyland? (My daughter is so obsessed with Doc McStuffins and of course Anna and Elsa!) Is it worth timing the parks opposite of the Magic Morning/Early Morning entry crowds? Thanks so much!!

    • Thanks, Jessica! I always recommend visiting the park opposite of Extra Magic Hour to avoid crowds and get a fresh start with everyone else. I would rest on your arrival day, enjoy the hotel and then make the most of Wednesday (Disneyland) and Thursday (California Adventure to begin…..then hop over to Disneyland to finish your visit). Disneyland is most magical, so I always like to start and finish there if possible. Please let me know what other questions come up!

  2. Casey, we are going to CA the 16th through the 25th of December. Our flight gets in very late on the 16th, we probably won’t make the hotel until after midnight. If it were you would you try and hit the parks early Sat. the 17th after a short night or wait to start until Sunday? I am concerned about crowds since the crowd calendar is in the red. I am wondering if there will be a big difference in how crowded things are in the park Sat. the 17th vs Sunday the 18th. We are planning on 1 day in each park. I really appreciate all of your detailed planning information. Reading your website is making us even more excited for our Disney trip!

    • I would wait until Sunday. Get rested and ready to tackle the parks. It will be crowded this time of year, regardless of which day you go, but weekends are always heavier. Hope you love it!

  3. Hi Casey,
    Fantastic information! When we were at WDW we were told to avoid parks with morning EMH as it tends to get crowded with ppl from the resorts.
    Does this also hold true for DL & DCA ?

  4. We will have the Extra Magic Hour…should we still get there an hour before that starts? So, if the park opens at 10am, we can get in at 9am…should we get there at 8am to get in line?

  5. With regard to EMH do the 3 day military discount passes qualify? I know they can be purchased at the ticket booths, so are not advanced purchased (my MWR post is about 60 miles away from me so it’s easier to buy them at the park).

  6. Hi Casey,
    I’m a little confused about the Magic Extra Hour. I know Disneyland has one. gut Does California Adventure have one too? We are staying in a Good Neighbor Hotel(Staybridge Suites and Inn). Do we get to chose which park we want or do we only get Disneyland? I talked to a couple people and got conflicting stories. I figured I would ask you and get the correct answer!! Only 42 more days until our vacation. I am getting the odds and ends tied up and ready to go!! Thank you for all of your help. I really appreciate it!!

    • Hi, Heather!

      Disneyland hosts Extra Magic Hour (for DLR Hotel guests) and Magic Morning (for guests with 3+ day park tickets) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

      California Adventure hosts Extra Magic Hour (for DLR Hotel guests) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. This early entry option is not available to guests with the 3+ day park tickets.

      So, you won’t get to choose between the parks.

      But, you can choose Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday for Disneyland. You will get one Magic Morning at Disneyland with a 3+ day park ticket.


  7. If you get a 2 day park hopper ticket with a 1 night DRH stay in between the days, would we get the extra magic hour both days? Also, do you have to get fastpasses asap? Do they run out?

  8. Your posts are so wonderful! I definitely have taken some notes from your website but I’m sort of at a loss for how I should pick what parks for each day I’m there (in August – 2 days – flying in on a Wednesday and then all day Thursday). I haven’t picked flights for Wednesday yet, but the earliest arrival time seems to be around 9 am into SNA OR 10:15 am into LGB (our flight is about 3 hours meaning we would be awake to start the day at 3 or 4 in the morning for airport rides, airport waiting, and flight times). I initially thought Disneyland on Wednesday would be best because Radiator Springs Racers is such a hard ticket item and I should be there at park opening (which is why I left this park for Thursday) but Disneyland seems to have more attractions to do. Another thing I considered were the Extra Magic Hours and how Disneyland has them on Thursdays and DCA on Wednesdays (would going to the opposite parks help with lines since we don’t have this perk?). Sorry for this long winded post! My biggest struggle in planning comes from which park on what day and when on Earth I should fly. Thank you for any help!

  9. Casey … love your site and have been soaking up the information before our trip in 1 week. We have 3 day passes (one early bird – which we would have to take on Tuesday since we will be there Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). Looking at your touring guides and I am wondering which park you would recommend us starting in on Sunday and Monday and what to take in first on our Tuesday being early morning in Disneyland). We have a grandson whose first priority will be Star Wars and granddaughter who has indicated she is interested in Indiana Jones, Cars and Frozen.

  10. Hi we’ll be visiting Disneyland in a few days. On the magic hours for the parks if you have a 3 day ticket can you do magic hour for both parks or does it only work for one park?

  11. I clicked on the link that you mention to read about Anna Elsa and Olaf and it isn’t working—it says it is a draft. I’d love to read it before we head for our first Disney trip tomorrow. Can you let me know when the link is working? Thanks!

  12. Casey,

    First, love you on social media – you’re hilarious! Now, to the question. Is there a list somewhere of attractions that are generally open during extra magic hours at each park?

    Thank you!

    • They actually change often. The parks will sometimes open all lands, but it varies nearly every day. There are a few rides that do not pass out FASTPASSES until park opening – Hyperspace Mountain and RSR being at the top of that list. Any super popular rides will be on that list. You also cannot signup for Jedi Training prior to official park opening. Wish I had a concrete list to give you, but it’s always changing! And thanks for the kind words. 🙂

  13. Hi,
    We are going to DLR & DCA in July and we have 4 day passes. Since that includes a Magical Morning, can we also utilize the Extra Magic Hour from staying at a DLR Hotel?

    TIA~ Kara

    • Absolutely. Staying at a DLR hotel entitles you to every magic morning and extra magic hour. That includes DLR on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. DCA is all the rest. Enjoy them!

  14. Hi, Casey!

    I’m enjoying your site while planning our May Disneyland trip. One question about the 60th celebration … are all the fun photo ops still up around the parks? I’m hoping to get pics scaling the Matterhorn and inside the Haunted Mansion singing busts, along with all the others I saw posted last year.

    Also, do you have any tips for touring around Grad Nites? There are two of them during our week there. We’re staying at Disney’s Paradise Pier and hoping we’ll see some after hours World of Color shows from our room!

    – Michael

    • Hi, Michael! The 60th celebration is going on until September 2016. You’re good! Grad nights are crowded, but manageable. The grads are encouraged to go to DCA, as that park will eventually only be open to them after close. They are technically allowed to visit DLR, but many go over to DCA. Arrive early those days and get a lot done in the morning in case the night time feels too crowded for you. WOC is amazing. Enjoy!

  15. Hi Casey,
    I love your blog. It is so informative and also entertaining. My problem is that initially we were going to stay off site and have recently changed to staying at the Disneyland hotel. (park days June 1-3). I made touring plans and lunch and dinner reservations based on Wed at DL, Thurs at DCA, Fri at DL. and not planning to use early entry. Now staying onsite, early entry is available but on opposite days. Should I skip early entry or do early entry and then switch to the other park at lunchtime and spend the afternoon and eve at the second park? Too late to change reservations. Need to have lunch at Ariel’s Grotto on Thurs. because of 6 year old’s birthday. Please give me some advice. Early entry will probably be at 8 on the first two days. Is 3.5-4 hours enough time at the first park each day?
    P.S. Hope your husband is doing better.

    • Hi, Robyn.

      I would definitely take advantage of early entry privileges and then switch to parks that you have dining secured for. That hour in the morning can really make a difference and I would hate for you to miss out on it. Follow your plan as you have it, but just be there early to take advantage of that hour and then proceed with what you had before. You’re in great shape!

  16. Hi Casey, your site has been invaluable. I’ve read every post, clicking back to the very first one of how to announce your visit to Disneyland. Now there’s only one question I have left: Are you allowed to take advantage of the Magic Hour on the last day of your hotel stay? That is, if you’re back in time for check-out at 11 am?
    I really appreciate all your help!

  17. I think I’ve read every post that might have the answer but can’t find anything concrete… when do the fastpass kiosks open? We’ll be staying at GCH so we will utilize EMH most days. I *think* the kiosks won’t open until official park opening? So if we want fp for Hyperspace or RSR, we should line up for that shortly before official park opening? In either case, if they aren’t supposed to open up the fp ticket line before official park opening – do they some times anyway? I don’t want to waste EMH trying to figure this out once we’re there, but I also don’t want to waste a chunk of time waiting in line at a kiosk later in the morning either!

      • I KNEW I had read something about Hyperspace and the fastpass kiosk not opening until reg park opening!!! When I first read that post, I wondered if that was specific to Hyperspace or for all fastpass rides but didn’t think to find out until now, and too much time had passed for me to remember where I read it. 😉 My kids refuse to do Jedi training b/c stage/people-looking-at-them, ha. Do you have a suggestion for what time to line up for fastpasses for either ride w/o wasting either EMH or standing in line forever… or getting that 8:50 return time? We’ll probably ride RSR during EMH but not Hyperspace (we want to use EMH for the non-fp rides in DL). I think everyone will want to go on RSR again anyway so I figure I should ask for both. Thanks for such a quick reply!!

  18. Hi Casey, we’re coming down on the first flight out this Friday, so can get to the park late morning. We have 3 day passes, and will be celebrating our kid’s birthdays on Sunday, Valentine’s Day (son turning 14, daughter turning 16). We spent their bday at DP last year and had so much fun, it was on the top of their wish list again this year! I think we have an early morning to DP on Sat, but was thinking to do DP when we get there Fri, and their bday on Sun. What would you recommend? Also, any other tips for celebrating birthdays in the park? We got the birthday buttons from city hall last year which was a lot of fun! Food suggestions, or better to leave the park for dinner? (We went to Buca de Beppo last year.) thanks for any tips!

    • I think I would actually start with California Adventure on Friday. Then do DLR on Saturday (for early entry) and Sunday. I always recommend more time at DLR than DCA. Grab RSR passes if they’re still available upon entering on your first day and WOC for that night, too. I would also schedule a Minnie’s in the Park breakfast for a birthday celebration on Sunday. Do that quickly in case they’re close to running out of reservations. And even if they are full, you can check the day of because they often have availability for walk ins. Enjoy it all!

  19. HI Casey,
    I am wondering your option on the hours in January on a Monday 10am til 8pm on the 25th. Do less people show up on these less hour days? Should we instead go on Sunday when there are 4 more hours, we are a family of 7? The Jungle Cruise is closed too…sad face.

    • Most of January is slower crowd wise. If you want more time, definitely go on Sunday. The parks will be more crowded, but you’ll have more time to get stuff done. Jungle Cruise is down until April. It’s getting a new dock. 🙁

      • Thank you so much.
        One more question…. What is your take on the Royal Hall- meeting Princesses? Is there a better time or don’t bother?

  20. Hi,
    We will be visiting DLR for the first time. Our first day is 1/14. I am wondering if using our early hour that day is worth it because I have to pick up a DAS for my son & our photo pass. Are those things we can do before rope drop? I don’t want to spend 30 minutes doing those things after rope drop on our early day.

  21. Casey,
    I read that there are fast passes available for the Aladdin show, could you tell me where that fast pass machine is located?
    I really appreciate your blog! So much great information! We are excited to visit next week!

  22. Hi Casey!

    I will be in the park on January 1st and 2nd, and possibly the 3rd (to be determined). I am 20 and I am wondering how best to plan for just two adults? I haven’t been in a few years and I’m worried I’ll just waste time and wander around. Thanks so much for all your help!

      • Thank you so much that’s very helpful! I was wondering if you know how early the park begins selling tickets? I saw online that they say pre-purchased tickets do not guarantee entry on especially busy days and that worries me. I’m planning on being there 30 minutes or more before the park opens but I’m not sure when we can actually purchase the tickets if we decide to do it in the park.

  23. Hi Casey,

    Loving your great info! I’m curious if you can clarify for me how to see the rope drop. On our last visit we stayed on site and used the early entry every day. Is the rope drop done after? Next month we have a quick trip planned and will stay off site. I am really hoping to see the rope drop this time! Do we need to plan around the early entry hours?

  24. Hi Casey. Absolutely amazing advice on your site!!!

    We have 3 days planned with the family (Mom, Dad and 5 Year Old Girl and 4 Year Old boy). Dates:

    Sunday 24 Jan
    Monday 25 Jan
    Tuesday 26 Jan

    I was thinking of doing 1 day at DCA and 2 days at DLR.

    Which park would you do on which day?

    Thanks so much!!!

  25. Hi Casey, thanks for this awesome guide!

    I plan to stay on one of the Disney properties. Does it mean I can enjoy the daily Early Magic Hour with a SoCal Citypass?

  26. Hi, I am going to Disney Land and doing the park hopper. Unfortunately, I can only do one day and I want to get as much done as I can in the 15 hours that Disney Land is open. Which park is the best park to start off with in the morning?

  27. Hi Casey!!

    As we, my husband and three kids under eight, are having our first ever trip to Disneyland, from Australia, I’m so grateful for the information you post – I have been doing reserch for a couple of months now, reading everything I possibly can to understand how it all works……yours is the most clear and ‘easy to grasp’ information I have read!!

    I would love your opinion though- we arrive on a tues in jan so our first day in the parks is a Wednesday. We are staying at the disneyland hotel and will also have the three day, park hopper tickets. I know that DCA will have its early magic hour on the wed, so I was thinking of doing the reverse to what hotel guests will be doing as I really want the first park my family sees to be DLR!!! My concern is am I being silly in not following the early magic hours if we do DL on the wed then DCA the thurs (and then wherever on Friday)?? On the Wednesday I wanted to start the day by having breakfast at the plaza inn as my eight year old (one of the only things she is excited about, can you believe it) is meeting Minnie!!! What do think, you’re a park expert!! ?

  28. Thank you for all the info! Is this post, fastpass guide, and plan park touring applicable during 12/30/15 & 12/31/15? Do they have the same kind of scheduling and fast pass available? TIA, our first trip to disneyland ever so pretty clueless!

  29. Hey Casey. Love your blog! I’m a current WDW cast member and am visiting in 2 weeks and have never been to West Coast. I am so excited and your tips are great. The paper fast passes make me a little nervous since I am used to sitting at home and planning days in advance through my phone haha

  30. I am taking my two boys and am wondering if they will really enjoy all the stuff about Frozen (my 7 year old won’t even use the tooth paste I bought him because it has Olaf on it…it is a girl show), or would my time be better spent in the morning hours doing something else. Thanks for any suggestions.

  31. My husband, daughter and I will be at Disneyland and California Adventure at the end of the week with three-day park hopper passes that allow us one Magic Morning at Disneyland. Thursday appears the only morning we can use the early privileges, but it also the only morning that other guests won’t be able to enter California with early privileges. Would you forgo early entry to to Disneyland to enter CA at 8 am? We have not been to the parks since Cars Land was introduced, and our daughter would like to see the Frozen characters.

  32. We are doing MM on the first Saturday of December! We plan to arrive 30 minutes early. Do you suggest a specific gate in order to best position us to see PP first? Thanks!

  33. First of all, you this has been a wealth of information and a lifesaver! My question has to do with Anna & Elsa and return ticket vs FastPass. Your info says that Anna and Elsa meet and greet is a return ticket so we could get Cars FastPass at the same time. Is that the same thing as Anna & Elsa Royal Welcome? Disneyland keeps saying you need a FastPass. Is it really a return ticket or have things changed? We leave in 2 days!!! THANKS!

  34. Thank you so much for all the great information! I as wondering if all the information here would be applicable at the end of this year ( around New Year’s Eve) as well or are all of these updated constantly? I thought I read somewhere that Anna/Elsa won’t be around at year end? Thank you in advance.

  35. We have Disneyland tickets to Mickey’s Halloween on a Sunday in October (25). I was wondering if they will still have Fantasmic and Fireworks, and the Blue Bayou reserved seating for Fantasmic package?

    • I asked about this on my last visit and they’re for sure doing all the 60th celebration shows, but I’m not sure about Fantasmic! quite yet. As you get closer to your date, I recommend calling the dining line to see what is planned. That number is (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).

  36. I am really loving this site. Thanks for all your help with my questions. (I am trying to read all the comments first to make sure I’m not asking something you already answered.)

    In the case of early entry for Disney hotel guests, can you grab any fastpasses before the normal opening time? If not, how should the touring plans be adjusted…I think this mostly applies to DCA. Should you try to just wait in line for Radiator Springs and Toy Story and then queue for fastpasses? What time should you try to get fastpasses for Elsa & Anna and Radiator Springs?
    Thanks again!

  37. We are a group of 8 going to Disneyland next week. You mention to line up for Peter Pan 1st thing (after rope drop) and send someone to get FastPasses for the group for Indiana Jones (while the rest waits in line at Peter Pan). My question is, once the person getting the FastPasses gets back can they rejoin the group in line for Peter Pan or does Disney frown on “rejoining” your group?

    • Disney does frown on it and I don’t love it, either. We typically choose someone to miss Peter Pan in order to get the passes for both Fantasmic!, Indiana Jones and you can even get them for the Frozen show, too. If no one volunteers, I suggest going directly to Peter Pan and then following the routine for grabbing passes. Great question!

  38. We followed your touring guides and other advice (one day at Disneyland and one at California Adventure) and it worked out perfectly! Thank you so much for posting them! This was our first time at Disneyland (any Disney, really) and I’m stoked that we managed to see all the good stuff instead of wandering around aimlessly 🙂

  39. Hi Casey!!
    Great info as always. I’ve been at disneyland on Tuesday… We did as you said and got to see peter pan (altough at 8 there Was a 60 minute wait already!!!!!)
    Now we aré planning our magic morning and be there by 7.. Do you have another strategy we could use? What do you recommend? We aré a party of ten with kids between 3 and 10
    Thank you so much
    Ale (from Argentina)

    • Hi, Ale.

      Is this for today? I’m so sorry that I’m just now responding! We are traveling, so I’ve been on the computer less than normal.

      I’d go to Splash Mountain and work your way back through the park. Grab Indy passes en route. Ride Haunted Mansion without a FASTPASS.


  40. Your site has been SO helpful!! A question; I have heard from a few people to take a break during the middle of the day, from about lunch-time (1pm-ish) to around 4pm-ish. I am all for this, but we are not staying at a Disney property (actually, we’re not staying near Disney at all, we’ll be in Burbank — just doing a day trip to Disney) … so, where do you recommend we go during this mid-day break?? Are we just kind of out-of-luck? Or can we take the monorail to one of the hotels and just chill, even though we aren’t actually staying there? Is there someplace close that you can recommend?? Any suggestions would be such a great help! Thanks again!

  41. My husband and I are bringing our 10 year old in a couple weeks. We have two day Park Hopper passes, but I don’t see a plan for that. I’m so afraid with all the new happenings we will wind up missing out on everything if we don’t have a good plan! This is nerve racking!! 😮

    • Yes, the more I read the more stressed I am getting. I feel as though I will be running all day, back and forth to get fast passes and will not actually experience any of it.

    • Nancy, in your previous comment, I left the link for touring plans. I have one day plans for each park. No need to park hop if you don’t want to. Check those out and let me know if I can help. Don’t stress! FASTPASSES and touring plans are designed to alleviate stress. Once you get used to them, I think you’ll be able to relax. I know how intimidating it all is, though. I can relate.

  42. I was thinking of taking our toddler to Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn for our first day at Disneyland. Do you still recommend getting to the park 30 minutes in advance? I am trying to figure out what to do to keep our little one occupied that long, without giving him snacks that will take away his appetite for brunch.

    Also, how early does the Mad Hatter open?

    • Yes, always arrive early. If you get a resevation before the time the park opens, they will escort you in with your reservation. I love this breakfast as a way to start your trip. So, go super early or give you child snacks to tide him over until the breakfast begins. I believe the doors close at 11:30am and they stop serving breakfast at 11am.

      Mad Hatter is always open when the park opens and almost always open for early entry.

  43. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your suggestion about doing something for your spouse!!! Trips with kids (especially Disney trips) can totally revolve around the kiddos and it’s nice to remember your spouse and feel like you are a priority to each other!! This is the first time I have seen that kind of suggestion on a Disney focused site! Great thinking!

      • We have made 1 of our dinner plans specifically for the Dads. Steak and potatoes shall make them both very happy. So lucky to travel with my daughter and her little family. Thanks for all the tips. Many I haven’t read before. Nice work!

  44. hi, I’m going in October to surprise my daughter for her 5th bday. (My younger daughter will be 18 months at the time). Any tips on making the most for both kids (3 day 1 park per day (prolly doing DL/DCA/DL) with one magic morning. Also I love these tips for mornings (you do an amazing job w details), but do you have a similar list for your second arrival of the day (coming back at night).
    How to start your night of right. And details on the shows… although… I know they are all changing for the 60th anniversary celebration? Can’t wait to read an update on that, once you’ve attended! Getting very excited =)

    • Hi, Sara.

      I’ll have a post soon on all the new shows. Stay tuned! I’ll be there tomorrow to see the parade and fireworks. Follow me on facebook to see all of that.

      I don’t have a post for the second part of your day because after you get started, I recommend following the touring plan that works for you. So, get started and then proceed where you left off. You can find those here:

  45. Hello. How early should we arrive at the parks prior to extra magic hour? Would 30 mins be good, or do you recommend even earlier? We want to make the most of that time. We will be arriving on May 13th for a 6 night stay at Disneyland Hotel. May 14th will be our first day in the parks. The only day we won’t be at Disneyland/ DCA will be Sunday the 17th, because we will be at Universal Studios that day.

  46. Hey! I was really happy to see info about the Frozen area – I haven’t seen any tips or tricks about that before. But, when I click the link, I get a message saying that I
    “don’t have permission to view drafts.” Darn.

  47. i was recently researching where to get the WOC fast pass, and was told it would be at the kiosk by the little mermaid ride, so now I don’t know who is right!