Top 5 Tips for Visiting Disneyland During Spring Break

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Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Orange. Enjoy the ride as we share our top 5 tips for visiting the Disney Parks during Spring Break.

Visiting Disneyland during spring break can take a lot of energy out of your family because the park will be very crowded.  These are my top 5 tips for visiting Disneyland during spring break.  It can be a fun trip if you just understand that it will be crowded but there are things you can do to make it still a magical trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.

#1 – Arrive at the park early

Arrive at the park early or take advantage of Magic Morning Early Admission. With the Magic Morning Early Admission you can enter the park up to 1-hour prior to the general public and enjoy select attractions, stores and entertainment.  To take advantage of this perk you need to have at least a 3 day (or more) passport. The Magic Mornings are available on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and rotate between the parks.  For example, on Tuesday Disneyland will be open early but on Thursday Disney’s California Adventure will be open early.

If you don’t have a 3 day passport you can still arrive at the park early to make it through the Security Checkpoint and are in line for when the gates open.  If the park opens at 9:00 am, plan to be at the gate and ready to enter by 8:30 am as most times they do a soft opening and may let you in early.

#2 – Get a Fast Pass for Radiator Springs Racers

Radiator Springs Racers Fast Pass

On a packed day at the park you can expect the wait for Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land to be at least an hour and half if not more.  After you enter the park take all of your families tickets and send them to wait in line at Radiator Springs.  Then you head to the Fast Pass kiosk near the entrance to “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” and before you enter Cars Land.  Grab Fast Pass tickets for your family and then meet them in line at Radiator Springs.  You now have your tickets to ride Radiator Springs Racers again for later in the day.

#3 – Single Rider Lines

Many rides offer a single rider line.  This technique can be helpful for the times when only two people in your group want to ride a specific ride but don’t want to wait in line for hours.  You shouldn’t do this if you have more than 2 in your party because you will more than likely be split up, unless that is ok with you.  I suggest trying it at least once to see if it works for your family dynamics.

Not all rides have a single rider line, but for the ones that do, this technique can be a great way to reduce the amount of time you wait in line.  I wouldn’t do this with a child younger than 12 as some rides do have rules where children can’t ride alone under a certain age.   The one ride this does work out well on is Radiator Springs Racers.  Since the car holds 6 people the likely hood of you and the other member of your family riding together is high.  If it works out that you do get separated just wait for them at the exit.

#4 – If you have little ones, get to Fantasyland first

There are no fast passes available for rides in Fantasyland.  Since most of these rides hold only a few people per ride car these lines can be insane and I mean INSANE during spring break.  The night before you go to the park decide which Fantasyland ride your kiddo wants to ride on first and make that your priority.  I highly suggest getting in line for Dumbo first because it is an epic ride and most kids want to fly with an elephant.

#5 – See a show or do an indoor activity mid-day

The Animation Building at Disney's California Adventure -Beauty and the Beast

My roller coasting loving daughter rolls her eyes when I suggest we take a break and watch a show. However, this can be a great time to re-energize your troops.  These types of shows let many people in at once so the lines and the wait times are not as bad as other attractions.  There are many shows that you can watch that are indoors and allow you to cool off and take a break.  Here are a few to choose from:

Disneyland

Mickey and the Magical Map
Enchanted Tiki Room
Innoventions
Captain EO
The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Disney’s California Adventure

The Animation Building
Muppet Vision 3D
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Disney Junior Live on Stage!
Disney’s Aladdin -A Musical Spectacular

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ I Am a Disney Nerd  <—-You are here
2nd Stop ~ Disney with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
3rd Stop ~ Capturing Magical Memories
4th Stop ~ Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere
Final Stop ~ Disney Mamas

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  • http://www.capturingmagicalmemories.com Capturing Magical Memories

    Great tips Dawn! Do you think you can do Disneyland and California Adventure in one day or should you just try one part per day when it is this crowded?

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      Doing the both parks in one day during Spring Break is possible and I’ve done it but be prepared for a very long day. During Spring Break the park is normally open until Midnight, my daughter and I usually “close the park down” as we like to call it but be aware that many of the restaurants even in Downtown Disney will be closed once the park is closed or even earlier. This was something I learned the hard way so if you plan to stay in the park late be sure to get a snack at least an hour before the park closes.

      If you do both parks in one day you need to figure out what is most important for your family to do first. If you have little ones that want to do Fantasyland then that is what you need to get to first. Once you enter the park put your blinders on and walk past all of the characters that will be set up in the Main Street Hub as this will derail your plan all together of getting to Fantasyland. There will be other opportunities to meet the characters during the day.

      If you have older kids who want to ride Radiator Springs Racers then you need to head to DCA first and do the fast pass trick I mentioned so you can at least ride it twice. Be sure to get Fast Passes for any other rides that you want to do as these will help out if you are only in the park for one day.

      Here are some other general tips if you are visitng the park for one day during Spring Break.
      – Be prepared to walk a lot because you will be park hopping.

      – Utilize the Disneyland Railroad to get you around the park during the parade times.

      – Rent a stroller from City Stroller Rentals or bring your own for any child under the age of five. This will keep them from getting tired because Disneyland in one day for kiddos is a lot ask. My three year old couldn’t make it all day in the park and headed back to the hotel with daddy in the afternoon, but my seven year old did both parks in a day.

      – Consider eating not at the normal dinner or lunch time because when Noon rolls around, instead of waiting in line for food like everyone else you can be riding Splash Mountain.

      – Bring a soft sided cooler with plastics bottles of water, some Gatorade and snacks.

      – When you get back to your hotel room after the long day lay down on the floor with your feet up against the wall. This will help your legs from hurting the next day.

  • Lisa Cameron

    Thanks for the helpful tips! It sounds like DL is just as crowded as WDW in the Spring. When we ever get around to planning a Disneyland trip, you will be our go to!

  • http://heidi-strawser.com Heidi Strawser

    These are some great tips! I am glad I know who to come to for advice when I do actually get a chance to come out and visit Disneyland! :) Is the 3-day passport what you would recommend for first-time visitors?

    • http://www.capturingmagicalmemories.com Capturing Magical Memories

      Good question! I am heading there for the first time in July and would also love to know.

      • Lin @ DisneyMamas

        Me as well! Headed down sometime this summer with the fam for the first time. We’ve been looking at passports but are so used to WDW that we aren’t sure what we need for DL!

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      3 Day Park Hoppers are the best value to purchase since they allow you to participate in the Magic Morning program. Having the park hopper pass will allow you to bounce around between both parks at your leisure. For those of you who have not yet been to Disneyland Resort you will
      find this easy to do as it is a quick walk between the parks. Remember that Disney’s California Adventure used to be Disneyland’s parking lot so this is a quick walk. You will not need to go through the security check again either, unless you leave the resort and that includes going into Downtown Disney. Since the park will be crowded I suggest hopping from Disneyland to Disney’s California Adventure in the afternoon and riding Grizzly River Run if it is a hot day. Disney’s California Adventurehas more space for people to walk around, unlike Disneyland where the pathways seem to be more narrow and during crowded times these areas can turn into bottle necks.

      • http://www.adisneymomsthoughts.com Beth Green

        We had 2 day park hoppers when we went and three would have been better. I would still choose 4 if I could! :)

  • http://www.mydreamsofdisney.com Mickey

    Good tips, Dawn, that will work at both parks. The key to Spring Break I think is getting their early enough to beat the afternoon crowds. Thanks for sharing!

  • Becca_LoveOurDisney

    Great Tips! We have gone the last three years at Spring break. Last year was definitely the most crowded we have seen.

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      I think you and I were there at the same time, it was so crowded. I lost Abby in the crowd for about 3 seconds it was the most terrifying feeling ever. She heard me calling for her and jumped out from behind some lady and said “here I am Mommy, I was hiding from you”. OMG!!!!

  • ReturnToDisney

    Do you recommend eating in the parks during Spring Break, or leaving for area restaurants?

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      I believe that it depends on your family dynamics when making the choice to leave the park to eat. While there are restaurants surrounding the park and at Downtown Disney I wouldn’t suggest leaving on crowed days as there is the possibility you may not get back into the park if it is closed due to capacity levels being high. Instead, pack a lunch and snacks in a soft sided cooler that your family can enjoy inside the park. If you do decide to leave I suggest eating in Downtown Disney or at the Disneyland Hotel. Then jump on board the monorail in Downtown Disney to avoid the crowds at the front gate.

      • http://magicalfamilyadventures.blogspot.com/ lori ketcherside

        What times of year does Disneyland generally hit capacity? I know at Walt Disney World, it’s a fairly predictable pattern of New Year’s, Presidents Week and Fourth of July for high days. Since Disneyland is more of a “locals” park, do you get those same crowds?

        • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

          Hi @loriketcherside:disqus Disneyland is most crowded during any major holidays with Christmas and New Years being the worst, Spring Break and 3 day weekends. A good way to try to predict if the park will be crowded is to check the Annual Pass and Southern California Pass blockout calendar. If those passes are blocked for a specific day then chances are the park will be crowed.

  • Lin @ DisneyMamas

    Thanks for the awesome Disneyland tips! We are looking to go as a family for the first time thus summer, and are really excited! Is there a summer month/week you would recommend or not recommend?

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      Hi @lindisneymamas:disqus I would recommend going the first week in June or last two weeks in August. The weekends will be crowded no matter which week you go but Mon – Wed would be the best days to go during the week. You can check out the Annual Pass Blockout Calendar here https://disneyland.disney.go.com/passes/blockout-dates/ and if the Southern California and Deluxe passes are blocked then you can be assured it will be crazy busy.

  • DisneyDonnaKay

    Great tips Dawn, since I am on the east coast and haven’t visited Disneyland. what are your “must do’s” for someone who may only get to visit once in a lifetime?

    • DisneyDonnaKay

      Well I see Heidi has asked the same question, great minds think alike don’t they. :)

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      I would add Cars Land to the list of “must do’s” since it can only be found at the Disneyland Resort in Disney’s California Adventure. Once you step foot into Cars Land you will feel like you are on Route 66. Be sure to eat at Flo’s V8 Cafe or grab a snack at the Cozy Cone. For the ultimate ride experience jump in a race car at Radiator Springs Racers. Also be sure to ride my families favorite ride Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. It may seem like a kiddie ride but you will laugh so much on this ride it will become your families favorite ride too.

      • DisneyDonnaKay

        Thanks for the great advice Dawn. Cars Land sounds like lots of fun!!

  • Lee Beatens

    I agree with the Single Rider tip. We used this exclusively when riding Radiator Springs Racers. Only a 30 minute wait no matter how busy it was. Great tips!

  • http://www.adisneymomsthoughts.com Beth Green

    These are great tips and they will work for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World! I like the watch shows tip! Which of these is your favorite? I know I hate Captain EO now!! ;)

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      I like to hang out in the Animation Building in Disney’s California Adventure. It is fun for all ages because kiddos can do Turtle Talk with Crush or hang out in the large lobby area and watch clips from movies. There is a lot to do in the Animation Building and so it offers a nice break from the crowds.

  • Rosanne_Mottola

    I love these tips. I am going to try them out in two weeks at Disneyland. I’m so excited!

  • DIStherapy

    Thank you, Disneyland pro, for these park-specific tips! (For instance, I am so glad you included WHERE to find the Radiator Springs FastPass kiosk; it is in a bit of an unlikely spot.) The plan you offer is literally a trip saver!!

  • http://www.disneyonwheels.com/ Melissa – Disney on Wheels

    I am so glad you explained where to get Fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers. We had no clue on our first visit last year! We took a break in the Animation Building on our trip and it’s a perfect spot. I loved watching the cartoons plus there are so many treasures in there. I’m emailing you before our next trip! :)

  • http://www.magicalmouseschoolhouse.com/ Jodi / MagicalMouseSchoolhouse

    I love your detailed advice! Do you think some of those tips will also apply to WDW?

    • http://www.iamamommynerd.com/ Dawn Cullo

      Hi @MagicalMouseSchoolhouse:disqus I think these tips could apply to WDW as well, especially the single rider lines.

  • JenniferLissak

    Great advice! I don’t ever plan to go anywhere during Spring Break, but I think I can apply this to a Disneyland trip any time of the year!