My kids are on spring break and that means our Disneyland Passes are about to get a workout.
“But what about the crowds?”
Disneyland is notoriously crowded during spring break. I won’t even try to argue that fact. This is peak tourist season. So much so that for many passholders these are “blackout days”. In order to have access to the park on these days, us locals need to upgrade to a deluxe pass. Not everyone is willing to pay more. We are.
“Why go when it’s crowded?”
It’s crowded because this is when everyone has off from school, work, etc. Our visiting friends and relatives are going now. We want to go with them!
We sprung for the more expensive passes because we know how to have fun at Disneyland, even when it’s really crowded, or really rainy, or really cold… What I’m saying here is that there is no such thing as a bad day to visit Disneyland. Everyday at Disneyland is a good day, in my book. But this doesn’t mean you should go in without a solid plan. Try and “wing it” and get on a few rides and you’re cruising for a meltdown. Be smarter.
Yes, you really can have fun at Disneyland even on the most crowded days. You just need a strategy!
Tips and tricks, after the jump…
Make a Plan! 1 of 13It's important to set expectations before you leave or you'll all turn into the original Angry Bird (aka Donald Duck). There's plenty to do at Disney on a crowded day, but it may not include riding all the roller coasters.
Be Realistic about Rides 2 of 13We all love rides at Disney but standing in line for hours, in the middle of the day, when crowds peak and temperatures soar, can be a real downer. Pick a couple of must-do rides if you must and do them first, as early as possible, or last, shortly before the park closes. Crowded days are not the best time to try and ride hop. On the other hand, sometimes the ride wait times can surprise you. Rides that have been shut down can open up again suddenly with no wait time at all. Arm yourself with an app and check the rides around you frequently throughout the day.
Check out the Tiki Room 3 of 13Most days we're on a mission to get to the next ride. On crowded days, we take our time and take in the show at the Tiki room. It's a good way to cool off from the heat and (insider tip) this is when you want to get a Dole Whip. The line is much shorter in the Tiki room waiting area.
Discover your Mickey Ears 4 of 13Now is the time to find yourself. Search in the Mad Hatter shop on Main Street for the perfect pair. Then get them monogrammed. Save your souvenir shopping for peak crowd hours and beat the last minute rush when leaving the park.
Mini Disney 5 of 13Check out the way Disney was, and explore these 3D maps near the Great Moments with Mr Lincoln Attraction. This is just one of many Main St USA attractions that tend to be less mobbed. Characters are frequently spotted in this area so it's a great place to hang around for a photo op.
Meet the President 6 of 13Great Moments with Mr Lincoln is another oft-ignored attraction that is both air conditioned, and uncrowded. The scale models outside the show are fascinating as well.
The World is a Show 7 of 13You have only to look up at the blossoms, over at the pin laden tourists or down Main Street at the Parade to take in a show. But if you are interested in watching one of the many shows scheduled throughout the park throughout the day, plan ahead. Crowded days are a great time to watch a show but you need to get there early!
Fuel up Fast and Healthy 8 of 13When the land is crowded, so are the restaurants. Fortunately there are a few markets that sell fresh fruit and cold water. The fruit is very reasonably priced and perfect for a hot day. Check the marketplace next to the Jungle Cruise or the kiosk opposite Space Mountain for fresh cold grapes, mango and pineapple spears, strawberries ad chocolate and more.
Tarzan’s Treehouse 9 of 13Here's your opportunity to get in a workout while seeing an attraction. When you are done climbing through the labyrinthine treehouse, your kids can play in the play area at the base. There are ropes to climb and pull, pots and pans to clang and assorted other hands on activities.
Get Lost on Tom Sawyer Island 10 of 13Can you believe that it took me almost ten years of being an annual passholder to finally explore this amusing island. Just a short raft float across the water and kids will love the many caves and climbing structures that await. No lines, lots of active play and a fair amount of shade await explorers.
Pinch a Penny 11 of 13Also on Main Street, next to the Mad Hatter shop, you will find these Souvenir Penny Maker machines. Guaranteed to make your kids smile.
Visit the Future 12 of 13It's been so long since I've been in Innoventions that I think I've been lapped. The future is now! This hands on attraction houses dozens of activities, regular shows and tons of crowded day fun for you and your family... with no long lines! Best of all, it's nice and cool in the family room of the future. Go on, have a seat for a few minutes while the kids explore.
All Aboard! 13 of 13My name is Ciaran and I am a Disneyland devotee. I'm thrilled to visit the park even on the most crowded days! If all else fails, you can ride the train to crazy with me. The Disneyland Express circumnavigates the park and the Monorail travels between Tomorrowland and Downtown Disney. Both trains rarely have long lines and and offer a break for tired travelers.
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