We recently went to Disney and we found that sometimes the lines were just way too long to wait (like waiting two hours to see Elsa.)
These ideas for what to do in Disney when the lines are too long are helpful. Here are 21 secret things to do in Disneyland when it is crazy-crowded, like during Disneyland Diamond Celebration! (Thanks to Carissa Houston – a Disneyland regular, for sharing her family’s favorite tips)
“Our family has visited Disneyland more than 150 times in 8 years! It was during some of the more crowded times that we found our favorite parts of disney (that aren’t rides!) If you only focus on hitting the rides, you may forget to stop to smell the roses — and of course at Disneyland they’re in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head!
Without further ado… 21 things to do in place of standing in lines:
What can I do instead of going on a ride (with a long line)?
1. First- I want you to know that the fastest E ticket ride on “standby” is the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Frontierland in Disneyland): (Standby is the line for folks without a Fastpass — that’s a ticket that lets you go through an expedited line at a specific time.) The wait time for Big Thunder is rarely over 25 minutes and we often see a 5-15 minute posted wait time, even on the busiest days. (That’s when we jump in line!)
2. Oh! And the Fastest “dark” Disneyland ride line is Pinocchio’s Daring Journey (Fantasyland), because everyone else is in line for the new rides.
3. You don’t have to wait in line for a photo op! Most people will stop to take photos in front of the Mickey Mouse flower bed and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! A better idea? Instead of taking these first thing, just go back to those spots in the afternoon, after most folks have already been there.
4. Interactive Photo Op stations: In Disneyland, there are new interactive photo op stations near the Matterhorn Bobsleds (Fantasyland) and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Frontierland). A Photopass photographer will take your photo — and she’s always happy to snap a few shots with your camera too!
5. Take a “spin” in the teacup between Mad Tea Party and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! Its not a ride, so usually no lines! “Ride” Dumbo without waiting: Pose on the Dumbo seat (behind Dumbo the Flying Elephant).
6. Discover hidden gems at Disneyland while everyone else waits in line! Look for little Mickey’s all over the park!
7. Go to Frontierland Shootin’ Exposition (Frontierland): There’s never a wait and although you do have to pay to play, it’s a whole lot of fun for 50 cents!
8. Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough: The castle corridors lead you through the classic story of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty with retro dioramas amped up by modern technology. (Pause in the hallway of doors just past the diorama of Aurora sleeping to get a scary surprise!)
9. Main Street Cinema (Main Street): Watch clips from vintage Mickey Mouse cartoons that play on several different screens in a cool, dark room.
Watch a show. Check out the Mickey and the Magical Map (Fantasyland Theatre) Waltz in at showtime and relax in the shade for 23 glorious minutes! The kids will love it and you will have a well-deserved break to enjoy a show.
10. Meet a Disney character without waiting in line!
Visit Mickey’s Toontown in the afternoon! (Toontown is busiest in the morning when little ones are fresh and can’t wait to see Mickey and Minnie.) Toontown will close forever in 2016, so go there while you can!
11. Catch up with a Stormtrooper or chat with a Disney Princess!
How? Well, this one’s not a guarantee, but keep an eye out (You may get to interact with a Disney character before the crowd notices)
*Star Wars Stormtroopers frequently make a fast-paced stomp through the Tomorrowland crowd. They’re friendlier than they look, and they’ll often stop for a quick pic if a kid flags them down!
*Disney Princess like to hang out just inside the entrance tunnel (near City Hall)!
12. Get a Single Rider pass. If you want to go on a ride, consider going on as a single rider.
Example: The wait for Goofy’s Sky School is usually longer than it looks, but anyone over age 7 (the minimum age to ride alone at Disneyland) can ask the Cast Member at the ride entrance for a Single Rider pass and skip the line — you’ll be “flying” in no time!
13. Get in the fast lane in Cars Land: Ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree! If you don’t have a Fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers, you can expect up to a 2-hour wait time! The other ride in Cars Land, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, loads very quickly and holds a lot of people per round, so you can get on the ride in just a few minutes, even if the line looks long.
14: Disneyland Diamond Celebration Photopass displays: Roar above Grizzly Peak (near the Grizzly River Run water wheel) or scream on the California Screamin’ loop (outside California Screamin’) at the new interactive Photopass stations.
15. Monsters University dorm (Hollywood Land, near the Hyperion Theatre marquee): People line up to get the forced perspective shot at the picture spot right next to the Aladdin marquee. Just turn around, and you’ll see a facade of the dorm from Monsters University! If Sulley’s not doing a meet & greet (if Sulley’s there, so is a line), you can walk right up on the dorm doorstep and show off your scariest monster pose!
16. Disney Animation Building (Hollywood Land): Yep, that’s where you go to meet Anna & Elsa (Fastpass required!) but you can experience every other attraction right away! You can even take a drawing lesson with a Disney Animator (and take away a fantastic free souvenir!), sit in on Turtle Talk with Crush, and record a playback with you as the star of a Disney movie! Tip: make sure each kid has a question ready to ask Crush!
17. Redwood Creek Challenge Trail (Grizzly Peak): On our latest Disneyland vacation we hung out on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail every day — twice! It’s one of my kids’ favorite things to do in Disney California Adventure. There’s only one way in and out, so you can let your kids run rampant! (If you have small kids you may want to station a parent near the entrance.)
18. See a show (but don’t get in line earlier than you have to!)
See Aladdin — a Musical Spectacular: We’ve watched the Aladdin show dozens of times. Each time, we walk up to join the crowd moments before the Cast Members allow guests to go upstairs and seat themselves on the mezzanine and balcony.
19. Disney Junior — Live on Stage! If you have a little one, you know who Doc McStuffins and Jake are! Once the doors open, the line funnels into a warehouse-sized building with a carpeted floor and everyone just plops down. There’s no audience participation in this show, and there’s no “front row”! Save yourself the trouble of waiting in line with antsy kids: Walk up 5 minutes before show time!
20. See a Disney Character after the show! While your kids are running around Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, ask the Cast Member at the entrance when Dug (the dog from Up!) will be around for photos (Cast Members know everything!) Dug hangs out just inside the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail entrance, and we never have to wait in line to get a hug, a kiss on the nose, and great photos with him!
21. The Redwood Creek Challenge Trail is also the spot for the Wilderness Explorer Ceremony, featuring Russell from Up! Make sure your kids sit in the front row, because after the show the host invites everyone to line up to take photos with Russell — and she sends Row 1 first!
You can expect huge crowds at the Disneyland Resort throughout 2015 and 2016 during the Disneyland Diamond Celebration, (going on this summer) — and pretty much forevermore, since Disneyland is The Happiest Place on Earth and we all want to be there!
Not to worry — even if you take your Disneyland vacation at a super crowded time, your family will have an amazing experience at Disneyland if you know where to go to beat the crowds!
When was the last time you went to Disneyland?
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