How to do Disneyland in a Day

Hi 'yall! 
My name is Ashley A. and I blog over at Young, Married, and Mormon! Miss Brooklyn is my internet twin. Let me tell you, 'twin' doesn't even begin to describe how much a like we are, and we found all of this out by internet stalking each other! 
(We're not creepy, I promise. Okay we're super creepy. But you love us, right?) 

Today I'd like to share with you our number one love: Disney. 
If you don't then just run, RUN AWAY AND NEVER RETURN! (Name that movie guys??) 

Before I get started with my tips and tricks for doing Disney in a Day, let me just share a few quick things with you. First off, I live about an hour and a half from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, so I make trips pretty frequently. Second, I have spent every single birthday (with the exception of my 18th... ask me why and I'll tell you!) at Disneyland since I was two years old. I know this park like the back of my hand! And finally, my tips for today will be about exploring the park if you don't have children with you, simply because I don't have any little mouseketeers of my own yet so I don't know how I would tackle the park with them running around with me! Maybe in the future I'll master that game plan ;)  Please also note that this is advice based on crowd control during the first week of August... that's when my birthday and out of every other time I've been there, that's when it has been the most chaotic.. 

So let's get started! I'll walk through a typical day with me and my hubster, Jayson, as we roam the Happiest Place on Earth.

We always drive to the park. If you decide to do the same, I HIGHLY recommend getting to the parking garage right when it opens! Some times they will decide to let you park in the Pinocchio parking lot. Bonus to this? Quicker walk to the tram, which means a quicker walk back to your car at the end of the day! 

Once you're parked (and you've remembered to grab your sun screen!), head on over to the tram! You need to consider this a ride, because the adrenalin rush you feel knowing that you are now that much closer to the esplenade is something you won't experience on any other ride in the park! (I promise I'm not crazy here guys.. stay with me.. )

Congratulations! You've made it to the esplenade! Now, let's start off over at Disneyland. I'll help you out later if you decide you want to start at California Adventure...

So you've made it through the opening gates, and you're now skipping down Mainstreet USA to the rope, because you've obviously gotten to the park just before it opens, right? Make sure you stand to the right hand side of the rope... You can get into Tomorrowland faster if you're closer to it! 

Jayson and I love to hit Space Mountain first. Mostly because I've forced him to get out of bed at about 4:30 that morning, and then we sat in morning Los Angeles traffic to get to the park on time, and we're both still practically sleep walking, so we need an adrenalin rush. Also, Space Mountain has been known to get up to a 120minute wait pretty early in the day. As you walk to the line up que, now would be a good time to grab a fast pass if you know that you will want to do this ride again later. 

After Space Mountain, we head on over to Star Tours! Have you been since it reopened in 2011? This is one of the rides you could come back and do again if you love it, because they have about 50 different ride options, so your journey is different every time! (Note: Do NOT mistake your husband's 3D glasses for his sunglasses and then accidentally throw away his sunglasses instead of the 3D ones..or you will never hear the end of it...)

Now that you've walked out of Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is just across the way! Buzz Lightyear is my absolute favorite character in the world, and you better believe that I make Jayson ride this more than twice a day. Once you're done, jump across the central plaza and head into Adventure Land! 

Indiana Jones is knows to break down a lot, and the wait time easily climbs up to over 60minutes. Discuss with your party on if you want to grab fast passes or not. I personally choose not to just because the last time I used one, the ride broke down before we got on and we were not given a new one, and they didn't have anymore to distribute at the fast pass station. Jayson and I ususally jump on as soon as we get into Adventureland. 

As you walk off the ride, turn left and pass Tarzan's Tree House, and head all the way over to Splash Mountain! (If you've been to the parks and are freaking out because I've skipped over Pirates and Haunted, "patience my dear, patience!") I know, you're going to get wet. But it's the beginning of the day! You will dry off, don't be a baby.. When you get off, head into Pooh Corner and get a Hunny Pot Rice Krispy Treat!!! Just trust me on this one.. 

Okay, head back toward the Rivers of America, and jump on The Haunted Mansion! Take a quick break from those thrill rides, and enjoy a slow and steady ride.. 

Okay, lets back up a bit! So if you're day at Disneyland began at 8:00am, check what time it is after each ride you go on. If you're lucky you will have ridden Space, Star Tours, Buzz, Indy, Splash, and Haunted before 10:00am. Now California Adventure is open!! 

Now that you're at California Adventure, you can do one of two things. You can race over to Cars Land and jump on Radiator Springs Racers, or save Cars Land for a later point in time. If you've chosen to wait, go grab a fast pass for RSR.. you're gonna need it! Oh, and don't be too judgmental of Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.. that's mine and Jayson's favorite ride. 

If you've decided to save Cars Land for later, head on over to Tower of Terror! It's the best ride!! Once you're done, head on over to Paradise Pier and jump on California Screamin', and then ride Toy Story Mania! Toy Story will climb up to a 90+minute wait almost instantly, so even if it says 45 minutes, that's honestly the best it will get all day. After ToyStory, head back toward Condor Flatts and jump on Grizzly River Run and Soarin' over California. 

So now that you've hit all of the major thrill rides (with the exception of Radiator Springs Racers) it is probably somehwere between 12:00-2:00pm depending on how bad crowds were. But the good news is, this is usually the time that families who have kids and are staying at hotels have decided to head back for an afternoon nap and lunch outside the park! So jump back over to Disneyland. 

Once you're back at Disneyland, head over to the Matterhorn (which is technically in Fantasyland, but I consider it to be part of Tomorrowland...), then go back to New Orleans Square and jump on Pirates of the Caribbean, followed by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland. (Note: Big Thunder just opened up again in March 2014, so expect a long wait for this fan favorite..) 

Now it's probably super hot, and you're absolutely exhausted. Well now is the chance to hit up some slow, relaxing rides! Head over to Fantasyland and ride anything you've been dreaming of, but don't be surprised if the lines look ridiculously long! They 'look' long because the line up que zig-zaggs, so it looks like there are way more people than there really are. The lines go by fast, I promise! And don't forget to hit up It's A Small World! 

So now you've done a majority of Disneyland and about 50% of California Adventure. Please keep in mind that the scenario I've just written our for you is just what my husband and I do based on our preferences for rides. Usually we don't ride any of the Fantasyland rides just because we know we are going to have to spend a few years on only those rides, so we want to save the excitement of riding them over and over and over for when we have our mouseketeers with us (and for my husbands sanity and not wanting to just disappear into the crowds and run away from me).

If you have any questions about anything Disney related (i.e., hotel recommendations, food options, restaurants, ride reviews, more attration and show suggestions, first time experience advice and tips, etc.,) please leave some comments below! I will answer all of them :] I hope to see you on my side of the blogging world! And PLEASE share with me your experiences at Disney.
... and remember, "Disneyland is YOUR land."

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Hanna Lei said...

This makes disney land sound amazing, I want to go! -Hanna Lei

Taylor said...

Interesting list, I would change some of it to save on waking and time in crowds but some of the stuff is very valid. Do you Pin trade and have you ever been to club 33?