Step 5: Plan Park Touring

There are more ways to tour Disneyland and California Adventure than you can imagine.  How do you decide which is best for your family?


First, some tips:

  • Start early – Arrive prior to the park opening.  Fewer lines and less traffic makes this time of the day better for riding more.  For a full day, we arrive at least 30 minutes prior and often an hour prior to the park opening.  California Adventure will sometimes let people in as early as 30 minutes before the posted open time.  It pays to be there early!
  • Take advantage of mornings.  While people sleep in, work and go to school, you should be utilizing the park.  Mornings give you an opportunity to do more.  Don’t waste it.
  • Divide your day.  After enjoying a busy morning, try to relax at lunch and regroup.  Depending on everyone’s mood and behavior, start thinking about the second half of your day.  Confirm timing for parades and shows to fit into your park touring.
  • Consider a break around 3pm to avoid afternoon meltdowns and a hot, busy park.  Afternoon hours are most crowded, so take advantage of your hotel room being so close and escape for a bit.  Swim, nap, shower and re-group for your evening visit.
  • Use FASTPASSES.  If your group includes little ones, send one adult to the fast pass distribution booth to grab passes as needed.  You will need one theme park ticket or annual pass per person to insert into the machine to receive a fast pass back.  Have one adult carry all tickets during your day to decrease the chance of them getting lost.
  • Utilize touring plans (below) for guidance on how to navigate the park.  I’ve created two versions  – Littles and Big Kids, with one and two day plans for Disneyland and one day plans for California Adventure.  Height restrictions, my knowledge of line times, and personal experience guided my design.  These are proposed schedules for your days, which help you walk through the parks in an organized fashion, utilize fast passes and enjoy key attractions that fit into your time allotted.  A lunch break has been included, which can be adjusted to work with your plans.  Not every ride appears on every plan.  Some were omitted due to time restraints or because I think they’re worth missing.
  • Compare the plan that fits with your group to my refurbishment page to know what you will need to exclude from each day’s plan. Refurbishments happen throughout the year to ensure the park is consistently in picture perfect form. 

Here are the pages individually for printing, saving and easy view on your smart phone:

DLR 1 Day Littles


DLR 2 Day Littles



DLR 1 Day Big Kids


DLR 2 Day Big Kids



DCA 1 Day Littles



DCA 1 Day Big Kids


Disneyland, Entire Family (With the last column listing nearby alternate options if kids are too little to ride) – 1 Day Plan



California Adventure, Entire Family (With the last column listing nearby alternate options if kids are too little to ride) – 1 Day Plan

DCA Family


One Day at DLR & DCA for Entire Family

One Day DLR, DCA

Finally, here is how to check for attraction refurbishments during your stay:

rideclosures copy

Last step is next: Adding Extra Magic!