Sometimes, you cannot avoid going during crowded times for Disneyland. Sometimes, Aunt Marie and Uncle Bill and the family want to visit the Disneyland Parks while they are in Southern California for the holidays. Then there are times that you arrive at the park only to find it insanely crowded and know that you will have to deal with the crowds for the day.
Don’t despair! I have some helpful tips that will make your trip more bearable, regardless of when you go:
1.Get there early. Not at park opening, but before. If the park opens at 8 a.m., plan on getting to the gates about 30 minutes before park opening. Don’t be intimidated if you see long lines to enter the park. The people are absorbed into the park quickly. Go to your favorite rides and have fun. We once arrived early on a holiday and were able to get on ten rides in two hours!
2. Avoid the parking structure. The parking structure on crowded days can take forever. You have to wait to pay, wait in line to park, wait to use the elevator, wait to use the tram…we have a secret that I probably should not tell you about because everyone will start to use it, but…go to the Toy Story parking lot. It is south of the park on Harbor Blvd., but it is quick. There are buses that take you right into the park and bring you back your car
3.Get Fastpasses. Get them whenever you can in the morning times to use in the afternoons when the crowding is worse. There is a return time on the passes, but we have found that the cast members will let you return far, far after the return time.
4.Eat at off times. Eat your lunch before 11:30 am and your dinner before 5:30 pm. You can avoid the long food lines this way and more importantly, have a place to sit. Besides, eating at the off times allows you to get your favorite Disney snack later (Popcorn Anyone?) There is also the option of Disney Dining, where you can make priority seating reservations in advance. Only a few restaurants offer this option at the resort. If you are thinking about eating at Blue Bayou, be advised that Priority Seating reservations are a must. For Blue Bayou, you will need to get these reservations far ahead of time, not the same day. More information about Disney Dining can be found here.
5.Go on the most popular rides first. If you like thrill rides, Space Mountain or Star Tours is definitely the first place you want to go. If you like Fantasyland, go to Peter Pan first. These are the most popular rides in the park. Their lines get longer as the day goes on.
6. Secure your spot. If you want to see a show, parade or fireworks, get to your spot early and plan to stay about 15 minutes after it is over. It is best to let the crowds go about their business first. It is worth spending the extra time waiting so that you aren’t stuck for twice as long trying to go about your business. On our last visit on the Fourth of July, we ended up staying in the park for an extra two hours before heading back to our hotel. We noticed that a lot of people left right away and the time was very pleasant.
7. Patience is a virtue. Make sure that you are really patient during the day. You will not be able to make it across the park in five minutes and don’t use your stroller as a weapon. Remember you are at Disneyland and enjoy the day.
The most important thing to remember about the crowds is that they are not there to ruin your magical day. We are all there to have fun and we are united in our quest for an enjoyable visit. So go forth and conquer!
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