Making the most of your day or short trip at Disneyland can be tricky, especially for new visitors. With eight Lands in Disneyland Park alone, how do you fill your day without tiring out your family? The lines, often longer for the E-Ticket rides, can be the leading cause of “lost” time in the park. One of the best (and easiest) solutions to this lost time is the FastPass.
FastPasses can be found in Disneyland and California Adventure Park and are offered for many of the E-Ticket rides. (Disneyland Park is not yet using the Magic Bands recently released in Walt Disney World.) FastPass kiosks are located next to the main entrances of the rides and take seconds to use: simply insert your admission ticket into the slot and receive your FastPass. (Each member of your group needs a FastPass.) Your FastPass will display your return time as well as when you can get a FastPass for another ride. Based on the popularity of the ride, the return time may get pushed back until later in the day and FastPasses can also run out, so you may want to grab a FastPass from the most popular rides (like Indiana Jones and Space Mountain) first thing.
Heads Up: Unlike in recent years, you may no longer return to the ride you got a FastPass for any time later in the day. Instead, you can only use the FastPass during the return time marked on the ticket. If the ride happens to break down during your return time, the cast members will allow you to return whenever the ride is back online.
To make the most of your “Disney Day,” it’s best to plan ahead, even a little bit. Are you eating breakfast first? In the park or at the hotel? Are you going to watch a parade? If you plan to grab breakfast in the park, send one member of your party (if you can) to get FastPasses while you order food. The return time will almost always be after you have eaten and not all members of your party need to be present to get FastPasses: all you need are your admission tickets. After you eat, or after your first non-FastPass ride, you’ll be able to jump right on the FastPass ride. This pattern is one of the best to fill your day with attractions and rides: always have another FastPass in your hand and while waiting for the return time, you can enjoy the non-FastPass rides, grab a snack, or wander to California Adventure or Downtown Disney.
It’s a good idea to look at a map of Disneyland and the events pamphlets (you can get them at the entrance, Disneyland Hotels, or online) and decide which rides or events your group most wants to do. A plan of action is helpful when running around the park and deciding how to fit everything into your day. If your group wants to see a parade or other event, such as Fantasmic, you’ll want to set aside extra time to find and hold a spot. Fantasmic is especially difficult to find a seat for close to its start. You may want to trade off letting a member of your group hold seats even an hour before the event begins. The parade is easier to find a seat for, but if you want a good one, especially for the youngsters in your group to be able to get the full experience, you’ll want to get a spot earlier.
Always check park hours for each park, as the opening and closing times change every day. All of Disneyland except for Toontown is open until closing. If your group wants to explore Toontown, remember to see it earlier in the day as it closes early in preparation for the fireworks display. It’s a good idea to pack a few snacks, and perhaps some water bottles, to munch on while waiting in line. Throughout the year, the weather in Anaheim changes during the day from cold, to hot, to cold again at night. If you plan on staying in the park all day, you might want to bring a light sweater with you.
Disneyland Park FastPass Attractions: Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Autopia, Space Mountain, and Star Tours.