Making the Most Out of a One-Day Disneyland Pass

Last weekend we went to Southern California for 48 hours. This past weekend, we also went to Southern California for 48 hours. Did you have to read that again? No we aren’t crazy (not totally). Here is what happened there– Alec is very popular and is in a couple weddings this spring (one of those was this past weekend and another one is in May). But for both of those wedding weekends, we were going to be so busy and I was really missing my girlfriends and he wanted to hang with some guy friends so we found ourselves some cheap tickets and that first weekend was literally the only weekend until mid June that was going to work. Then once we found out two of our best friends from Seattle were actually down there the same weekend in Disneyland, we just tacked ourselves onto their trip for the day! We were only able to be there from 8am-5pm since we had a plane to catch at 7pm, so here is how I make the most out of a one-day Disneyland pass:

Mickey Crop Tee | Denim Shorts | Tennies | Backpack

  1. Get there first thing in the morning!! Like, before it opens. 8am-12pm is for sure the least busy time and you you will be able to get a ton done without the crowds.
  2. I like to start in CA Adventure because they have bigger rides that get crowded in the second half of the day and I feel like Disneyland is crowded no matter what time of day it is so I always expect to wait there.
  3. I go on a big ride first, then get fast pass after. We did Guardians of the Galaxy first (also, I suggest eating something beforehand unlike us who went on that, Incredicoaster, Cars, and Goofy’s Sky School with nothing in our stomachs and for real thought I was going to get sick) then we got a fastpass for Cars. I know you can pay $15 each a day for the Disney MaxPass which I actually think is a great deal because then you can reserve fastpasses on your phone (like in Disney World) and it’s a game changer and you also get all your photopass photos for free if that matters to you.
  4. Just eat what you want. Listen, if you are only in Disneyland for a day, just eat the corn dog, eat the bengal barbecue, eat the chowder in the bread bowl, eat the cheese twist, eat the lobster nachos. It’s one day, you’re good. We got to try out the new Lamplight Lounge (formerly Ariel’s Grotto and Cove Bar) and it was SO cool. I really loved the updated menu and the vibe was so different than before. But I am still always a sucker for the Mickey’s Fun Wheel drink & lobster nachos.
  5. You can’t do it all. You have to go into the day being okay with not doing it all. You won’t be able to go on all the rides (or eat all the food you love) in one day. Manage your expectations people.
  6. Get dropped off. If you can, have someone drop you off or get an Uber to the park because you waste so much time waiting to park, parking, getting on the tram, getting to Downtown Disney, walking to the gates and then doing it all again at the end of the day.
  7. Make a list of your 5 priorities. Get your list in your head and just make sure that you get your 5 things done and then you will feel accomplished. It takes a long time to walk everywhere, wait for rides, wait in food lines, blah blah blah and the day is going to go by really fast. So instead of being like “I want to go on these 10 rides and have 6 lunches and do it all in 9 hours”, have your top 5 priorities and then it’s smooth sailing after that.

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