As a follow-up to my last post, I wanted to share an example of an itinerary I would create for a "perfect" day at Disneyland. A few qualifiers before I set out:
1) I'm assuming this is a normal crowded day at the parks (not during the holidays or during any other special events)
2) There are no children in the group
3) No one is using a Parkhopper pass
4) We have the full day to explore
Given the conditions outlined above, my top priority for the day would be rides. With that in mind, here is how I would plan my day. (Please note, that with any good plan it's wise to go in with the expectation that you may need to shift things slightly as the day unfolds. Disneyland can be an unpredictable place so I never take my itineraries too seriously when I head to the parks.)
7:30am - Arrival (It takes time to park, go through bag check, get on a shuttle, and enter the park, so I always try to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to that day's park opening)
8:00am - Disneyland is open for business!
8:05am - Head directly to Space Mountain and grab a Fastpass (I don't stop for coffee or pictures on Main Street. If coffee is a must I suggest arriving at 7am and hitting up Starbucks ahead of time or picking up your coffee on the drive over to the parks.)
- If you're a crazy Space Mountain fan like me get in line and ride it before you grab your Fastpass. If you're not a crazy fan like me, get in line for Peter Pan's Flight in Fantasyland. (Yes, this is a kiddie ride but it's super cute and always has a ridiculous wait time so if you want to do it, do it first).
8:30am - Head over to Frontierland (most people tend to spend the morning in Tomorrowland so Frontierland can feel like a ghost town)
8:35am - Get in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
8:50am - Head over to the Haunted Mansion and get in line
9:20am - Head over to Splash Mountain (if it's a cold day bring a poncho and disposable plastic bags to put over your shoes, you may look silly but you'll stay dry ;))
9:45am - Jump on Winnie the Pooh (almost always a 5 min wait)
9:55am - Head back over to the main part of Adventureland, the line for Pirates of the Caribbean should still be pretty short
10:00am - Pirates of the Caribbean
10:30am - By this time you should be eligible for another Fastpass. Grab one for Indiana Jones Adventure.
10:40am - Get in line for the Jungle Cruise
------- You've just done almost everything in Frontierland and Adventureland. Pat yourself on the back. -----------
11:00am - At this point in your morning, it's likely that your Fastpass for Space Mountain is about to expire, so hightail it back to Tomorrowland and ride that
11:30am - Get in line for It's a Small World
12:00pm - The park is probably feeling pretty crowded now. From here I would head to Toontown and meet Mickey and Minnie in their houses. If that is not your cup of tea, head back over to Main Street and take those pictures you know you've been wanting to.
LUNCH - If it were my perfect day I'd try to make a lunch reservation at the Blue Bayou Restaurant for 1pm. These need to be made well in advance because they fill up fast. If there isn't a rezi available, my alternative would be the Carnation Cafe on Main Street. This too requires an advanced reservation. If you don't want to make a reservation in order to have more flexibility with your schedule then you can't go wrong with a Corn Dog from the little red wagon at the end of Main Street!
2:00pm - It's likely that somewhere around or after 2pm is where your Fastpass for Indiana Jones Adventure will fall. Make sure you don't miss your window. If there is time, grab a Fastpass for Star Tours.
2:00-6:00pm - This time can be super flexible. Some suggestions of how to use this might include:
- Grab a Dole Whip in Adventureland and watch the Tiki Birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room
- Catch the Disneyland Band as they cruise down Main Street at 5pm
- Watch Mickey and the Magical Map at 3:15pm (a delightful stage performance featuring characters from your favorite movies)
- Check out the Dapper Dans on Main Street at various times throughout the afternoon
- Go shopping on Main Street
- Hit up some Character Meet & Greets
- See what the wait times are for some of the rides you didn't do yet like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and the Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Grab another Fastpass
6:00pm - I'd start thinking about dinner. My top suggestion is the fried chicken at the Plaza Inn (see my post on Must Eat Disney Treats for more on this).
7:00pm - Head down Main Street and try to stake out a spot for the Main Street Electrical Parade. They let people post up at 7:30pm and believe me all the spots will be taken immediately if not right before then.
8:30pm - Main Street Electrical Parade starts
9:25pm - Fireworks start (you'll want to be on Main Street with clear view of the castle for these)
10:00pm - If the line is not too long do Big Thunder Mountain Railroad one more time. It's so much fun in the dark!
10:30pm - Head over to Fantasyland (at this point a lot of the young kiddos have conked out so the lines for these rides are much shorter)
See if you can make it until park close at Midnight!