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How to Save Time at Disneyland (like 5+ hours!)

Inside this article:

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘The early Nerd gets the worm’ and never has this been more true or more crucial to save time at Disneyland.

Nothing says Disneyland vacation like waking up early (we’ve actually heard the *CRACK* of dawn during our Nerd family outings), bleary-eyed, exhausted and your round up yourself and the Nerdlings and head out into the pre-dawn darkness to stand in line at the entrance to a theme park.

Sounds great, right? Well, it is! This is the #1 tip for any Disney theme park outing IF your goal is to enjoy the world-class rides and shows.

If you are planning to just to stroll through the park, maybe grab a FastPass or enjoy a our favorite Disney treat – the Mickey pretzel!! – this post is not for you. Though we should point out that if you can dedicate some relaxing time to “stroll and chill”, we absolutely support you!

READ MORE: The least crowded days at Disneyland

These outings can be welcome respites from the craziness of a Disneyland vacation and be your ticket to sanity.

However, if strolling and chilling in a Disney park sounds like an unattainable pipe dream, then this post is for you. You can save time at Disneyland and apply this “found time” in a variety of ways to enhance your visit.

save time at disney
Arriving early is certainly not a secret and seeing lines like this may cause you to think twice. Keep the faith! Even waiting in this line will help you save time at Disneyland Resort parks.

In our Nerdy approach to Disneyland, there are two main reasons to arrive early:

  1. Experience more attractions
  2. Free up time to make your trip relaxing

In order to spend time at Disneyland, we must first save time at Disneyland!

save time at disneyland
Another “side effect” of arriving early is great photo ops!

And we save time by arriving early. It’s truly not any more complicated than that.

Although we Nerds cannot match the scientific data of the amazing folks over at TouringPlans.com (we are so grateful for their work!), we have plenty of anecdotal experience to share. Mapping out a quick plan using TourinpPlans.com or their Lines app plays a large part in our strategy, but this article is focused on the WHY and not the how.

Depending on the season, we are generally at the turnstiles between 15 and 45 minutes prior to scheduled park opening. And yes, we are including this time “investment” in our analysis of how we save time at Disneyland. Every person has something they want out of a Disneyland vacation and it generally, though not always (see pretzel article link above – YUM!) involves a Disney attraction.

Our Nerd family finds that we typically experience 3-5 attractions per hour to kick off our Disney day and we can maintain this volume for the first +/- 3 hours of the day. We’ve experienced as many as 13+ attractions in 2.5 hours on a Saturday at Disneyland. And we didn’t just keep walking through Tarzan’s Treehouse or ride Pooh’s Hunny Hunt over and over.

READ ALSO: How to meet all the Disney Princesses

Our plan included a lot of the major fan-favorite attractions like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and even long rides like Haunted Mansion.

Every time we completed an attraction, we saw the line had grown longer and we were glad we had already enjoyed it! By the time we were ready for lunch and as lines increased, we realized we still had the vast majority of our day left.

So now…decision time.

Save time at Disneyland in order to experience even more attractions!

Okay, you did everything right. You stayed nearby. You set your alarm.

Basically, you made a plan and executed the plan – great job!

You’re having a great time with friends and family and decide to just keep going. We love it!

This is what a Disneyland vacation is all about. Grabbing food, finding a short line and experiencing all of your favorite attractions and some of them more than once.

save time at disneyland
Sometimes, it’s fun to drag people on it’s a small world because, well, you can! Plus you are at Disneyland. Do you!

Maybe it’s time to park hop? No matter which attractions you missed in the morning, you have a full day ahead of you to keep ridin’.

You can save time at Disneyland by arriving early in order to have an easy-going afternoon.

You did a great job and found a way to save time at Disneyland and now your options are endless. You could go back to the hotel for a nap or a swim. Perhaps you cruise down Main Street, U.S.A. exploring the shops.

If you are spending your chilled after at the park(s), be sure to grab a Fastpass here and there to work in low-wait attractions that will not disrupt your chill time.

You could also….

 

save time at disneyland
With your found time, take some whacky photo ops!
save time at disneyland
See an attraction you might have otherwise skipped or catch a sneak peak of an upcoming Disney film.
save time at disneyland
Grab the Nerdlings and see a parade WHILE snagging a photo op. Seriously, the time is yours!

save time at disneyland

Meet up with your favorite character!

save time at disneyland
Grab a snack! Ooooohhhh!!!! Pretzels!

save time at disneyland

Or a sweet treat that’s as big as your face!

save time at disneyland
Enjoy a sit-down meal. Look how much fun the Nerds are having!
save time at disneyland
Become a Wilderness Explorer!
save time at disneyland
Book a tour!
save time at disneyland
Collect stickers from Cast Members or the Disney Vacation Club kiosks.

Make fun of people running themselves into the ground while you chill. Or just enjoy looking around and appreciating all the imagineering that went into creating Disneyland. No matter what you decide, you found a way to save time at Disneyland by being early.

Now it’s your time. Enjoy it!

 

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