Disney Tips #2 - Disneyland Anaheim Park Strategy (Fail) One
I'm hitting you up with the first of our strategy outlines for the two Anaheim Parks, this is a general park strategy for Disneyland, I'll also be sharing our Star Wars experience strategy and California Adventure Park / Frozen Strategy.
Please bear in mind for two out of three of the days we visited we were able to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours (we missed the third because unlike Tokyo the Extra Magic Hour and Park hours change almost daily)
After our experience at Tokyo Disney and DisneySea I knew that we would need at least three days to really cover the parks, because of the way that the Extra Magic Hours fell on the days we were there we decided to go to Disneyland on our first day.
Because I am a #travelnerd before we left Australia I sat down and created a spreadsheet with all of the rides matched up against whether they were open during Extra Magic Hour (not all of them are), whether they were a Fastpass Ride, and because Eve is still very petite what the minimum height was for each ride. I can't guarantee the information will stay the same, but in case it helps anyone just email me and I'll send you a copy!
Besides having a rough idea of which rides we wanted to head to first, we also made sure to get to the park about 1/2 an hour before Extra Magic Hour and we were already behind a fairly phenomenal line, it's amazing just how many people can pack in to the three property hotels. The hotels recommend you get there an hour and 1/4 before Extra Magic Hour but we were never that organised.
Don't forget that Park Opening times (and therefore E.M.H.) varies so it's important to check your times the night before you go.
Making the most of Extra Magic Hour
Because of our experiences at Tokyo Disney I had a rough idea in my head of the rides that "should" be the hardest to get on to and using the spreadsheet had a rough plan of which rides we needed to get on during E.M.H.
The reason I'm not sharing that here, is because what's popular in Tokyo doesn't translate to what is popular in Anaheim.
Essentially to make the most of your hour in the morning I suggest using the first 45 minutes to get the rides that you are most interested in completed and then the last few minutes to find the Fast Pass line for any one of the in demand rides. Or if you have a little one that might be interested in being a Jedi head to the Launch Bay to sign them up (more on this in another post).
Fastpasses in Disneyland
I'm going to go ahead and let you know right now Fastpass doesn't equal fast, but it is still *mostly* faster than just heading into the line. And for a couple of rides essential if you don't want to spend around 2 hours in a line (this is a more likely factor in California Adventure Park)
If you didn't ride the following rides during E.M.H. and want to ride them then I would strongly recommend grabbing them whenever you are eligible to grab a Fastpass:
(Apart from shows you can generally only hold one Fastpass at a time, keep an eye on your Fastpass print outs though because they will tell you when you can grab another one.)
Indiana Jones (not available during E.M.H.)
Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters
Splash Mountain (not available during E.M.H.)
How long do you need to cover Disneyland?
It's totall up to you and depends on what you want to get out of your visit, we spent a good chunk of time meeting princesses and characters to collect their autographs (more on this later).
Without doing that, we most likely would have covered the entire park in the 1 and 1/2 days we had set aside for it, but because we chose to meet and greet as much as possible in the end we skipped a few rides.
Ride closures, break-downs and other minor hiccups
The first day we were at Disneyland a few rides were shut down for refurbishment, but in some cases they re-opened when we were there two days later. Like with the park opening hours it's worth keeping an eye on this more than once during your visit or you might miss something you really wanted to see.
More so in California Adventure Park the line wait times changed or we had to abandon rides altogether because the ride was "experiencing technical difficulties". It's important to be a bit flexible and just move on to something else you haven't completed when this happens or could could spend way too mch of your visit waiting in non moving lines.
Want more Disneyland Info?
And stay tuned for upcoming posts on
Tokyo vs California pros and cons