Your best trip to Disneyland is all about strategy, and one of the most important parts of your park strategy is how you manage your mornings – the first few hours in the parks can determine how the rest of your day goes. Besides the usual ways to effectively plan your day, here are our surefire tips to supercharge your mornings in Disneyland:
GET THERE SUPER EARLY
You probably think you’ll have enough time to leave your hotel, park, and get to Disneyland by the time ropes drop, but take it from us: you probably won’t. We always budget a decent amount of time for the morning trip to the park but somehow frequently find ourselves walking down Main Street 10-20 minutes after the park has officially opened.
Add at least half an hour to whatever time you think you’re going to need to get ready. There are usually unexpected lines at the parking lot, trams that take way too long to arrive, weird situations with security, or you'll happen to choose the one entrance line with fifteen people getting their photos taken for their new tickets – don’t let these situations slow you down! You want to be at the parks for as much of the morning as you possibly can.
MOBILE ORDER AT STARBUCKS
If you’re one of the bajillions of people in the world that start your day with some caffeine, you’re going to want to stop at Starbucks before you get on your first ride or two. Unfortunately, because bajillions of people in the of the world start their day with caffeine, the lines at the Starbucks in Disneyland get LONG. Don’t let a long coffee line totally disrupt your morning and throw off your whole day.
We now order our coffees through mobile ordering on the Starbucks app once we’ve boarded the parking lot tram at the Mickey and Friends parking lot. You bypass the lines, and usually the drinks are ready just about when you get there. Be sure you order from the correct Starbucks though – the one by the Disneyland Hotel will set you back (you’ll have to backtrack through nearly all of Downtown Disney to get there).
MAXPASS/FASTPASS THE BEST WAY
It’s pretty common knowledge that everyone heads to Space Mountain and Indiana Jones first thing upon entering Disneyland. Unless you’re only there for these rides, don’t bother trying to get on them first, since the line will be just as long as it is the rest of the day (unless you’re the very first person there, which would be a shock).
Also don’t waste your time trying to get a Fastpass first thing, since usually when that happens you end up with a Fastpass entry time of only about 20-40 minutes later, which means you have to wait around instead of using your time for other rides. It’s much more useful to spend your morning on rides with shorter lines (due to the smaller crowds) that don't have Fastpasses, since you can nearly always get a Fastpass for the others with Maxpass.
We find that the best rides to start with are either Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, or Alice in Wonderland – if you start with Alice, you can usually walk on to every ride in Fantasyland (aside from Peter Pan, which is just as busy first thing in the morning as it is the rest of the day) before the parks start to get crowded.
WAIT ON BREAKFAST
Eat a snack on the way to the park, and then don’t worry about breakfast until you’ve gotten some rides in – the mornings are the best time to get on rides, and spending your prime ride time on a sit-down meal is a waste of the morning.
We don’t usually eat breakfast until at least 10:30, sometimes closer to 11. This is great because almost no one else eats breakfast at that time, and we’ve usually done a large amount of attraction riding by then. We are sure to eat something before we start our morning though – usually a snack at Starbucks – because nothing spoils your Disney day like morning hanger.
Disneyland is all about pushing yourself in the morning so that you feel super accomplished by noon, and can allow yourself to relax the rest of the day. If you do all you can to supercharge your mornings, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a better experience with the rest of your day.