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Disneyland Tips and Tricks

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FASTPASS Return line at Disney's California Adventure

FASTPASS Return line at Disney's California Adventure

Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com

Maximize Your Time at Disneyland

Tickets. There are several different kinds of tickets you can buy for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. There are not a lot ways to get discounts on tickets, but see my Disneyland Tickets page to figure out the best deal for you.

Buy your tickets in advance to save time waiting in the ticket line. Pay attention to whether your tickets (such as annual passes) have to be picked up or validated at Guest Relations. Guest Relations does not open until the park opens. Will Call tickets can be picked up before the park opens.

Get to the park early. The ticket booths open about half hour before the gates open. Be in line with your tickets already in hand when the gates open to ride some of the non-FASTPASS rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant or the Matterhorn Bobsleds before the lines get long.

Use FASTPASS when possible to make an appointment to get in the short line.

Use RideMax to minimize time waiting in lines and walking between rides at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.

Ride during parades. If you've already seen the parade or you don't mind missing it, this is a good time to get on rides since so many people stop riding to watch the parade.

Afternoon Break. If you have a hotel in the area, plan to go to the park early, take a break at your hotel in the afternoon and come back to spend the evening at the parks. Since most families with small children leave early, the lines for popular kiddie rides like Dumbo and Peter Pan are shorter at night. This mostly applies during the summer when the park is open from 8 am until 11 pm or midnight.

Fireworks from Fantasyland. The best view of the fireworks is from Main Street in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Most of the Fantasyland rides close down during fireworks and reopen afterwards. If you watch the fireworks from Fantasyland near Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Carrousel, the fireworks will appear both in front of you and behind you, so you have to watch in two directions, but you'll be first in line when the Fantasyland rides re-open. The Fantasyland rides outside the roped off area re-open first, so you can ride Dumbo and then be ready when they take down the ropes to the rest of Fantasyland. Otherwise there's usually a 40 minute or longer wait for these rides.

Early Entry. Some Disneyland Resort packages include early entry into Disneyland. This allows you to enter the park one hour before the gates open and ride some of the more popular rides before the lines get long. This can mean 7 am in the summer. Usually this offer only applies to guests of the three Disney Resort hotels, but occasionally the promotion will include guests at "Good Neighbor" hotels as well.

Stay at a Disney area hotel. Even if you live in Southern California, you can save time and money by staying at a hotel close to the Disney Resort. Stay at a hotel with free parking and breakfast and it can equal what you would have paid for parking, gas and breakfast at Disneyland if you drive in for the day. If you're checking in the same day, most hotels will let you park at the hotel in the morning, take the shuttle to Disneyland, come back at check in time to have a rest, then shuttle back to the park. The shuttle will bring you back to the hotel up to half an hour after the park closes, so you don't have to drive home when you're wiped out after a long day in the sun. If you time it right, you might be able to have breakfast when you drop off your car.

1. Maximizing Your Time at Disneyland
2. Tips for Eating at Disneyland
3. What to Wear and Take to Disneyland
4. Visiting Disneyland with Babies and Young Children
5. Disneyland Conveniences and Accessibility
6. Disneyland Tips for Smokers
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