How to Hit ALL the Big Disneyland Rides in a Day


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Want to hit all your favorite Disneyland rides in a single day? Follow these 7 simple tips and you’ll maximize your time at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Disneyland Tips Fast Pass Rides

How to Hit All the Big Disneyland Rides in a Day

If you want to get the biggest bang for your Disney buck, or if you only have a short time at the park, we’ve put together 7 tips for hitting all the biggest and best rides at Disneyland and California Adventure in a single day. We did this on a day when we left the kiddos home, but it’s definitely possible whether you’re with the family or an adults only trip. You’re never too old to get the most out of Disneyland! Here are our tried and true tips:

7 Disneyland Tips for hitting up all the rides in one day

1. Shop for Souvenirs on Another Day

If you only have one day to spend in the parks, stay focused on the rides! Visit the World of Disney in Downtown Disney after the parks close or the day before or after your park day. You’ll find everything in that one store that you can find inside the park and you’ll save tons of time! Bonus: the store usually stays open until midnight or 1 a.m.

2. Wear the Right Clothes

  • Keep your clothing super simple and light! Avoid dark colored shirts, which will attract heat. A lighter colored shirt will keep you much cooler on those hot days.
  • Bring a lightweight windbreaker, instead of a sweatshirt. The windbreaker will keep you warm and dry, and you can roll it up and it hardly takes up any room. Sweatshirts are bulky, will absorb water and weigh you down.
  • Wear stretchy, form fitting yoga or workout pants. They dry quickly and work terrific in hot or cold weather.
  • Avoid jeans or even denim shorts. They never seem to dry once you get splashed on the wet Disneyland Rides.

3. Eat at the “Walk-Up” Places

  • Grab fresh salads, sandwiches, corn dogs or pizza at one of the many casual dining spots in the park. You can have your food in a matter of minutes, and it’s all really good!
  • Save a special sit-down restaurant experience for another time or make a reservation in advance. Know your dining time and give yourself a little wiggle room in between rides.

4. Be Strategic About Your Ride Schedule

  • Download the Disneyland app on your phone before you go. MouseWait, Mouse Addict, or Disneyland Explore are also great options. These will give you accurate wait times and a heads up on any unexpected ride closures.
  • Get Fast or Max Passes for the shows you want to see (Fantasmic! or World of Color) and then go for your most popular rides (Cars or Guardians of the Galaxy). The “show” fast passes are separate from the “ride” fast passes, so you can get a show pass without waiting to get a fast pass for a ride.
  • Go against the flow. Spend the first part of the day in Frontier Land and the water rides. People usually wait until the afternoon to go on these rides because they don’t want to get wet and cold. Put on your windbreakers and go to these rides FIRST. Think about what a typical tourist would do and do the opposite.

5. Fit Smaller Rides Between Fast Pass Times

This goes along with #4 because it involves some strategy. You can fit in some of the smaller rides while waiting for your Max Pass and Fast Pass times. Check your app to see the wait times and decide from there.

6. Have a Designated “Runner”

Designate someone in your group to be your “runner”; someone who will take your tickets and get the fast passes for everyone in the group. Just note that every person in your group must be checked into a park to get a Fast Pass. One person can’t do that for the whole group.

7. Do Single-Rider

For a fraction of the wait time, do single rider! You can still wait in line with your group, just not sit with them on the ride. It’s totally worth it, and gives you more time to do other rides that you can ride together. Most of the big California Adventure and Disneyland rides like Indiana Jones Adventure, the IncrediCoaster, Radiator Springs Racers, Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn offer single rider.

Some Extra Disney Tips

  • If you are doing Disneyland with small kids who can’t go on the big rides, do the “rider switch”. Take the smaller kid(s) to ride on a smaller ride while the first parent and older kids are in line and then do a switcheroo. Go to the entrance of any ride and the worker will tell you how to do the rider switch. SUPER easy and SO worth it!
  • For all the details on where and what to eat at the Disney parks, check out how to eat GLUTEN FREE at Disneyland or read up on Our Favorite FOODS at Disneyland and Our Favorite FOODS at California Adventure.
  • Before booking your trip, talk a travel planner to get the best deals before you go. We always go through Get Away Today and they’re so helpful! Use our discount code: FAVORITE for terrific deals from Get Away Today!
Get Away Today Discount Code Coupon

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. thanks im really gonna use the tips with my husban Gary. We are so attracted to disneyland this days!

  2. My husband and I went to Disneyland in the middle of March 2016 for our anniversary just the two of us, and we were able to get on every ride we wanted at both parks, AND rode several of them multiple times. We even chose to stand in the 60+ minute standby line for RSR since we had already done everything anyway and it was towards the end of the day (we had also done single rider for it earlier in the day). It was great and we never felt like we were rushing.

    We got to Disneyland before it opened, we were some of the first in line at the gate. Grabbed fast passes for Space Moutain and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (since it’s not connected to the fast pass system) and then headed over to Peter Pan. After that it seemed like it was a breeze doing everything else. And after riding everything with a fast pass I don’t feel like we’re wasting any time having to wait in some of the longer lines without a fast pass (like Toy Story Midway Mania, and Radiator Springs Racers).

    Having said all that, last year in September we went for one day with our kids and barely got to do anything we wanted to, and ended up missing the Paint the Night Parade because we were rushing. Kids really do slow things down, I hate to say it. So when we go in February with the kids we’re going to just do one park per day. I think that will really cut back on the stress!

    1. That is awesome! I love a good day like that at Disneyland. I also think it’s a good idea to do one park a day. It saves so much time running back and forth… it’s also less expensive! Last time I checked you can save about $40 a ticket doing it that way. Thank you for sharing your experience!