As a three time Disneyland attendee, I've been able to figure out a few tricks, tips and time saving hacks for others visiting Disneyland over the course of ten years.
But times have changed and so has the technology. As of the writing of this post for 2018, I'm sharing the 3 time saving hacks that will help you take on Disneyland and Disney California Adventure successfully.
I'll get right to it, because this IS a time saving hack post.
1. Stay within walking or shuttle distance to Disneyland by staying at hotels surrounding Disneyland. My favorite hotel which is a good neighbor to Disneyland is Anaheim Marriott. I recently wrote our hotel experience during our stay at Anaheim Marriott that I highly recommend reading for even more time saving vacation hacks directly inside the hotel.
Staying within walking distance or shuttle distance to Disneyland means saving on gas and paying for parking at Disneyland. Plus if you're planning on staying all day or using multi-day tickets, it is convenient to be a block away from Disneyland. At Anaheim Marriott, you can purchase ART passes for just $5 per person to use the ART shuttle back and forth all day. And the shuttle pick-up is at the corner of the Anaheim Marriott entrance and Disneyland entrance.
You can also opt for Concierge level perks at Anaheim Marriott which means you can have a breakfast with the kids in the morning and then head out for a full day of fun at Disneyland. And on the weekdays, you can attend the evening reception with light appetizers and beverages. You also get FREE internet with Concierge level!
And during your stay at Anaheim Marriott you can take advantage of the family friendly amenities like the pool, The Market and the onsite restaurants.
2. Take advantage of the FastPass system for riding rides. You can utilize FASTPASS Distribution points near the entrances of select attractions at both parks. Keep in mind that FASTPASS entitlements are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are not guaranteed. Here's how to use FastPass in the park…
How to Use:
Look for the Disney FASTPASS Distribution sign near the entrance of a participating attraction.
Check the Return Time displayed on this sign.
If the Return Time works for you, insert your valid Disneyland Resort admission ticket or Annual Passport into the FASTPASS machine.
The machine will generate a FASTPASS receipt with your Return-Time window.
When you arrive at the FASTPASS Return entrance, make sure to scan the same Disneyland Resort admission ticket or Annual Passport you used to obtain the FASTPASS entitlement.
Enjoy the attraction with a minimal wait.
Please Keep in Mind
FASTPASS entitlements are valid only during the Return Time printed on the FASTPASS receipt on the day of issue.
Everyone in your party using the FASTPASS Return entrance must have a FASTPASS entitlement.
FASTPASS Service machines will not issue another entitlement until the time stated on your current one.
FASTPASS selections are subject to availability and are not guaranteed.
A valid Disneyland ticket or Annual Passport that has been used for park admission is required to obtain FASTPASS entitlements.
Other restrictions may apply. Subject to change or cancellation without notice.
There is also a MaxPass option. When you purchase the Disney MaxPass feature, you’ll be able to make Disney FASTPASS selections right from your phone using the Disneyland app. Please check the day’s FASTPASS availability and park details before purchasing.
How to Use:
Link your tickets to your Disney account.
After entering Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park, tap “Get FASTPASS” to make your FASTPASS selections (availability is limited and not guaranteed). You may make FASTPASS selections only for the tickets in your Disney account that have the Disney MaxPass feature.
When it’s time to enjoy the attraction, head to the FASTPASS Return entrance and hold your mobile device up to the scanner so it can read your Disney FASTPASS redemption code.
If your plans change, no problem. You can easily cancel or change your selection on the My Plans screen (based on availability).
Which brings me to the ultimate time saving hack of all Disneyland time saving hacks…
3. Download and use the Disneyland app ahead of time and while at the resort! You can make every visit more magical — buy your tickets, see wait times, browse maps, locate Disney Characters and much more!
We used the Disneyland app to take advantage of MaxPass and reserve rides for FastPass right from our app. We also Used the app to purchase food and pick-up in the Mobile Pick-Up section which saved us 45 minutes of waiting in line and for our food for EACH dining place! Here are all the great features!
- Check Wait Times
- See attraction wait times for Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park at a glance.
- Skip the Ticket Lines
- Buy park tickets with the app and show your barcode at the gate for admission when you first get to the park!
- No ticket booth lines to stand in or e-tickets to print out. †
- Check Disney FASTPASS Return Times and Make Selections Digitally
- View in-park FASTPASS entitlement distribution information for select attractions and entertainment.
- Or, make FASTPASS picks for select attractions right from your mobile device when you purchase the Disney MaxPass feature.
- FASTPASS selections are limited and subject to availability.
- Make Dining Reservations
- Reserve a table at your favorite restaurant before your next visit—or while you’re at the park.
- Review upcoming reservations and, if your plans change, cancel them easily.
Order Food Ahead of Time
Save time at select restaurants by making food and beverage orders before you arrive. Choose menu items from participating locations, customize your order and pre-pay—right on the app!
View Disney PhotoPass® Photos
Download and share Disney PhotoPass photos from your day with the Disney MaxPass feature. Or, for pics taken during longer visits, purchase Disney PhotoPass+ One Week, a feature available only on Disneyland.com.
Sign in with TouchID
Sign in using your fingerprint instead of entering a password with TouchID (available on iOS only).
See Restaurant Menus
Browse tasty offerings in advance when picking the perfect spot for your next bite. You can view menus for dining locations in both parks, the Downtown Disney District and all 3 Disneyland Resort hotels.
Exploring Made Easy
Find what you’re looking for quickly with GPS-enabled maps that show your location and the attractions, restaurants, shops and more near you.
Purchase, Renew or Upgrade to an Annual Passport
Buy or renew** Annual Passports right in the app. In some cases, you can even use the app to apply the value of your valid theme park ticket to the purchase of an Annual Passport for a full year of magic.*** Already have an Annual Passport? Link it to your Disney account to view blockout and expiration dates. When you arrive at the gate, just show your digital barcode and valid photo ID for admission!*
Locate Favorite Characters
Get those autograph books ready! You’ll magically know when—and where—Disney Characters are appearing in the parks.
The Details You Need
See park hours, schedules, accessibility information and descriptions for attractions, entertainment and more.
With these three time saving hacks, you are guaranteed to save at least 3 hours from waiting in line (and even more if you plan ahead before you arrive at Disneyland)