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  • Writer's pictureJenny Lou Faber

A Day at Disneyland

Updated: Mar 6

There is so much that goes into planning a Disneyland park day! I have a few tips that I personally use when planning a client's itinerary. Let's say for the sake of this blog post that you are only going to be at Disneyland for one day. You will most likely want to do Disney's California Adventure as well, but today we're just focusing on the OG Disney theme park for one day and no park hopper.

If you don't want to read this entire thing - here are the takeaways. I will go into more depth for each of these in this post, but if you just want the gist for now, here you go! 

There are a lot of things to do at Disneyland. There is so much that you may experience some FOMO. To help curb this even a little, you should make a bucket list of things you have to do in the park. The next tip is to build in rest times. A lot is going on when you go to Disneyland - planning on what to do next, walking, and eating. The eating is my favorite part, so I feel like the walking and the eating go hand in hand. 😀 Lastly, and this is the most important tip of all, do not forget to bring your patient pants!

Those are the topics for this post. I hope you come back to read the rest of this, but if you don't - Thanks for stopping by!! 👋😁

Bucket List

The first thing I always ask for from my clients is a must-do list. This could be up to five items for the entire day or you can break it down by category. Typically categories for Disney would be rides, food, and entertainment (which include shows and meet & greets). If you want to list by category, I suggest no more than three for each.

Let's say you're going into this trip not knowing much about Disneyland and are just like I want to experience Disney and I'm not going to stress about much. Maybe you give me this general list:

  1. Eat something Mickey-shaped

  2. Ride at least one of the iconic rides - Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, or Space Mountain

  3. Ride one of the newest rides - Rise of the Resistance or Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway

  4. Watch the main nighttime show in front of the castle

  5. Buy something that's only sold at Disneyland

This is totally a doable list! It's especially doable with the purchase of Genie+. If you don't know what Genie+ is or if it confuses the hell out of you because of all of its rules, contact me and I will help you through it!

Here's what the list might look like by category:


  1. Pirates of the Caribbean

  2. Rise of the Resistance

  3. Indiana Jones Adventure


  1. Mickey-shaped anything

  2. Beignets

  3. Corn dogs


  1. Meet Mickey

  2. Watch the parade

  3. Watch the nighttime show

Again, this is a very doable list, and you should be satisfied with what you accomplished when leaving the park at night. Remember that your goal is not to do everything, as tempting as that is. There is so much to explore and experience at the Disney theme parks that you may not be able to get it all in one day. These bucket list items are the things you absolutely want to do and everything else is just a bonus.

I would suggest rope dropping or getting in line at the end of the night to be able to get on the most popular rides, such as Rise of the Resistance or Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. In case you are not familiar with the term rope dropping, this just means to get there at park opening. Maybe I’ll do another blog post explaining some of the common lingo with Disney, Universal, and cruising.

It’s probably obvious as to why you’d want to be one of the first in line for a popular Disney ride, however, some people don’t realize that it’s also strategic to be in line at park closing to get on a ride. As long as a ride is still operational, every person in line when the park closes will be allowed to ride. Even if the line for Rise of the Resistance is 2 hours long, as long as there are no breakdowns, every person will be allowed to ride. Plus, you’ll see a pretty empty park as you make your way through to the gates. 😍

A couple more tips to help you out:

  • Always grab a snack or two while waiting to watch the parade or the nighttime show - always a good way to cross off a couple of bucket list items together.

  • Beignets can be found at Tiana’s Place which is located in New Orleans Square. Also residing in New Orleans Square is Pirates of the Caribbean, and Indiana Jones is right next door in Adventureland.

  • My go-to for corn dogs at Disneyland is the Little Red Wagon located at the bottom of Main Street USA, which you can Mobile Order. Corn dogs can also be found at Stage Door Cafe in Frontierland next to River Belle Terrace which can also be Mobile Ordered. Corn dog nuggets can also be found in Cafe Daisy in ToonTown.

Rest times

There are two parts to this - build in rest times into your trip because a LOT is going on and a lot of walking at a Disney theme park, and you also need to remember that you and everyone in your group are still yourselves, even at Disney.

There is A LOT of activity happening at Disneyland. There is a shit-ton of walking, a lot of decision-making, and then, of course, the eating. Disneyland is known for its awesome food. Wait until you head over to California Adventure! You do not want to burn yourself out in the first couple of hours of being in the park. You should really plan for some rest time. Resting your brain, your feet, and maybe even your stomach.

You most definitely can eat all of your food while you’re in line waiting for a ride. However, just because you can doesn’t always mean you should, right? This is especially true if you are riding something like Big Thunder Mountain or the Matterhorn. 🤢 Waiting in a 90-minute line could go a little faster if you eat a little snack, but you could also sit down somewhere to eat, too. Take a few minutes to sit somewhere with some delicious grub and just people-watch or maybe talk to your group about the day you’re having so far.

It seems like everything at Disneyland is go go go and you’ll miss something if you stop. Firstly, you know that whole way of thinking that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others? As a mom of two myself, this is very difficult for me daily. It’s true in our everyday lives and is still true at Disney. Make a little bit of time to chill and relax. Even if it’s just 10 minutes here and there. Secondly, it’s Disney. I already said that you’ll probably experience some FOMO anyway. Why not just take a few minutes for yourself and your group for sanity and your feet?

With that thought, remember that you and the people you are Disney-ing with are still the same people. If you have children that nap - they’ll still need their nap on your vacation. If you don’t eat breakfast in the morning, that’s not going to change and you’re probably not going to want breakfast while on your trip. This is just a reminder to be mindful of yourself and your group. Many people get lost in the fun and excitement of being at Disney, that they forget their day-to-day needs and wants. 

If you have a child that naps and they can sleep in their stroller, then sweet! Maybe you can just take a walk through Downtown Disney, or check out the resorts so that it’s a little more mellow. However, if you have a picky child (looks at her own kid) who needs to sleep in a certain setting, try to get a hotel room right on Disney property or very close by. This way you’re not taking too much time away from the park.

Taking a break might make or break a great Disney trip.

Be patient!

The biggest and most important item to pack with you when you go to a Disney theme park is your patient pants!! Bring them, put them on every day of your vacation, and breathe. Disney is very crowded. There are lots of people and a lot of situations happening at the same time. Please, please, please remember to be patient with others, especially with Cast Members. As a former Cast Member myself, they want you to have the best day. They do not want to ruin your day by moving your stroller out of the way of the incoming parade. They moved it for safety reasons. The Cast Members do not set the prices for items in the stores, or how many people they allow on the ride at a time. Please be kind, even if you’re angry at a situation, to those around you. Even if someone else is being rude and crude around you, remember that you have the choice of how to deal with whatever is happening. You can either act in a way that will allow you to enjoy the remainder of the day, or you can choose to have a bad day for yourself, those in your party, and possibly others around you.

Also, if you see or experience something an amazing Cast Member did or said, please leave them a Cast Compliment which can be done on the app! I received a few of these during my time, and it made me feel so great and encouraged me to keep looking for ways to create magical moments for guests. 🥰 Please do that for current Cast Members! 🎉

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