Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How to Survive a Crowded Day at Disneyland

I just spent two of the most crowded days at Disneyland and California Adventure. The reason is that June 15-16 were the last days of summer where the many Annual Pass holder could go and California schools were all out for the summer. On the 15th they stopped letting people in at 5 p.m. but opened up again once the crowds died down.

Regardless we still had a fun day and this is how we did it.

WE ARRIVED EARLY. Arriving early is the only way to get on tons of rides before the crowds arrive. We were able to get on 14 rides in the first 7 hours from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. because we started by collecting Fast Passes quickly before they ran out. We had one person take the tickets to the fast pass machine while we waited in line for our first ride. If your staying in a hotel near Disneyland this is sure fired way to get in early.

Here are our suggestions:
Make sure you get Fast Passes for these 3 rides in this order. 1. Space Mountain. You can ride this anytime after your fast past return time and you can get your next one 1.5 hours later. 2. Splash Mountain - you want to ride early in the day in case you get wet. Don't get this first or you will have to wait 2 hours for your next Fast Pass. I always ask to ride in the back and never get soaked. 3. Indiana Jones, should be your third Fast Pass but watch the clock as these run out fast.

Some people start by going over to California Adventure and getting a Fast Pass for Soarin' over California or Bear Rapids since they are close to the entrance. Then they head over to Disneyland. Since the Fast Passes in both parks are not connected this works well if your Hoppin. In between Fast Pass rides you can get in line for The Matterhorn and other rides.

The three rides you need to go in California Adventure are. 1. Tower of Terror - this is one of the top 3 rides. 2. California Screamin' - a very fast looping roller coaster with 48" height restriction because of the loop. 3. Soarin' Over California. If you pick a 4th ride it should be Bear Rapids but make sure you want to get wet or bring a poncho. These are the main rides at CA all the others are fillers.

Once you have your fast passes you will have some down time while you wait. This is a good time to go back over to California Adventure and use your first Fast Pass. It's probably the early afternoon by now and the hot part of the day so this is when you rest up and see some shows and plan on which night time shows you want to see and when. On crowded days make sure you get your hand stamped if your Hopping between parks, even if you have an Annual Pass.

If you plan ahead you can avoid waiting in long lines or even worse getting locked out. If your going 2 or more days the second day you will be tired so you may not be able to get there as early, unless your staying in a hotel. I've even seen people use Fast Passes from the day before, by holding their thumb over the date and using them at night. ;) And don't forget to ask for a stroller pass if you have a child in a stroller, even if they are tall enough to go on the ride. there are some rides that have Single Rider Lines, Indiana Jones, Screamin', Toy Story Mania. These let you get right on in most cases and often you end up riding with someone from your group.