So you have one day in Disneyland to hit all the good rides, see the parade, fireworks, AND get an ice cream cone before the park closes. Sounds like a lot to pack into one day, and a 60 minute wait for Indiana Jones?! Ain’t no body got time for that!!
Follow this guide for the best route to take in the park so you can avoid lines, maximize your time and do all of the things.
I’ve made a handy dandy mobile guide for you to download to have right on your phone! I’ve also made a printable version that can be found at the end of this post.
1. Indiana Jones
I’m assuming you’re standing amongst all the other crazy Disneylanders waiting anxiously at the gates for the park to open… if you’re not, are you even a Disney fan?!
To get the most out of your day, be there about 30-45 minutes before the gates open because lines will start forming and you will spend forever just waiting to get in. If you’re driving, 1-1.5 hour prior because now you have traffic, parking and the tram to get you to the gate.
Now you’re in!! Walk down Main Street and take a sharp left into Adventure Land. You’re about to start your day off with a thrill and cross one of the heavy hitters off your list.
Once the afternoon hits, Indiana Jones ALWAYS has a long line. That’s why we’re doing it first. If you don’t mind being split up with your party, do the Single Riders Line for an even shorter wait!
2. Pirates of the Caribbean
Now that you’re awake and grooving, walk about 500 feet to Pirates of the Caribbean. This is a beloved classic, but for some people it’s not that exciting (I say some people because I love it) so it’s best to do this one while the line is somewhat short.
3. Haunted Mansion
Keep making your way through New Orleans Square and into Haunted Mansion.
4. Splash Mountain & Winnie The Pooh
Critter Country is the last land back here so knock these two rides out of the water (get it? haha) and then you can focus on the rest of the park!
5. Thunder Mountain Railroad
Depending on how fast your little legs are, you are probably getting pretty hungry, but if you can hold out, we are going to get the second of the 4 “mountains” out of the way before lunch. If the line is too long, maybe grab a fast pass.
LUNCH BREAK – this might be a good time for some food I recommend the Jolly Holiday Café on Main Street right to the left of the entrance to Adventure Land. There are also yummy spots with short lines behind the castle.
Take the short cut to the right of the Mexican restaurant in Frontier Land to get back behind the castle or go through the castle drawbridge on Main Street. I lumped all of Fantasyland together because these rides are more nostalgic and for the little tykes, but hey!! No judgment if you want to ride!! Just please don’t wait in line for 90 minutes for Peter Pan. Come back to that one.
This line is usually pretty short and goes by fast even if there are a lot of people in it. If you can handle the spins, get in line.
8. It’s a Small World
Classic. You have to do it. Take a left at the Teacups and straight on till morning.
¾ of the mountains are complete once you ride through the Swiss Alps and get scared by the Yeti. Use your judgment on this one. Usually the line is too long for me to want to wait in it and there are better rides in my opinion.
10. Space Mountain
As you keep walking, you’ll enter Tomorrowland through the back and you have almost completed the tour!! Depending on the time of day, Space might have a really long line, but my guess is you’ve done amazing and knocked out so much of the park already, you can either afford to wait in the line or grab a fast pass and come back later in the evening.
11. Star Tours
Same applies for this ride as Space Mountain. It’s SO FUN though so I definitely think it’s worth the wait.
12. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
This is my mom and grandpa’s favorite ride so we ALWAYS have to do it. But I don’t mind because it’s super fun and usually the line is pretty quick.
HOLY MOLY! Check your watch?!?! You just finished the whole park and there’s still time to spare!! Grab a churro and an ice cream cone (at Gibson Girls on Main Street) to celebrate your amazing park navigation skills.
Now you have the rest of the day to fill in with all the other things that were 2nd priority. Go back to a line that was too long, revisit one that you loved, eat another snack etc.
Here are some of the things I like to do when I have extra time:
- Tarzan’s Tree House (Adventure Land, between Indiana and Pirates)
- Peter Pan (Fantasyland)
- Pinocchio and Snow White (Fantastyland)
- Alice in Wonderland (Fantasyland)
- Walk through Toon Town
- Finding Nemo (Tomorrowland)
- Meet the Characters (throughout the park)
- Sit on a bench in Main Street and people watch
Here is a handy map/guide with the route laid out so you can print it off and check things off as you go! For the best snacks/food in the park and where to find them, check out this article: The Ultimate Disneyland Snack Guide
I hope you have the most magical day at Disneyland! Subscribe to my blog for other fun travel destinations, healthy recipes and encouragement!
xx Nicole #DoStuff
Get the Lightroom presets I use to edit my Disney photos here!