I recently discussed how having a plan can make all the difference when you visit a Disney park. It's a tested theory that has always proven true and my recent trip to Disneyland was no exception.
All in all, we probably spent no more than hours in line during our entire 4 and-a-half day stay. Considering we were there during some of the busiest days of the year, and we got every attraction on the map done, I'd say our group did pretty well.
The first thing we did right was getting to the park when it opens. The parks take about an hour to really start filling up, so you've got a good amount of time to dash to your favorite attraction and hop right on.
But before you get on, get a Fastpass. You know you're going to want to hit up that attraction at least one more time that day, so it makes sense to ensure you skip out on the line your second time around too.
Since it's early in the morning, there are not a whole lot of people lining up to get Fastpasses just yet, which means it's only about an hour's wait until the Fastpass becomes valid. This means two things: you don't have a long time to wait to get back on the ride, and you can get another Fastpass in a decent amount of time.
Something new I discovered this time around is that you can often get another Fastpass before your current one becomes valid. The rule is, according to my Disney College program ambassador Jovanie Seghers-Narvaez, the official rule is that you can get your next Fastpass either at the time of your current Fastpass, or in 2 hours, whichever comes first.
Now my next tip is kind of cheating, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. If you have a Fastpass that you didn't use from a previous day, chances are you'll be able to use it after the date on the pass. The Fastpass attendants really only pay attention to the time the Fastpass becomes valid, so as long as it's after the first time listed on the pass, regardless of the date, you should be good. Another tip that could fall under the category of cheating, according to my fiend Jovanie, is that you can get one Fastpass from one park, and then another Fastpass in a different park. Say, "Space Mountain" and "Soarin'" at the same time.
Now, there's the odd attraction here and here that's an E-ticket experience, yet has no Fastpass. "it's a small world holiday," "Matterhorn Bobsleds," "Pirates of the Caribbean, "Peter Pan's Flight" and "Toy Story Midway Mania" are the ones that stick out. For the former two, get there when the park opens, or just before it closes. I can just about guarantee you there will be no line.
"Peter Pan's Flight" was built pre-Fastpass, but its counterpart has a Fastapass at Walt Disney World, so there's no good excuse. It's the most popular dark ride, so there's always at least a 20 minute wait. The best time to hit that one up is closer to closing time.
For "Pirates," just don't go between 1 and 5. Any other time the line moves swiftly because of the attraction's hundreds of boats.
With "Midway Mania," you're going to have to wait. I don't know why there isn't a Fastpass, it's hugely popular and was constructed post-Fastpass, so there's no excuse to not have one. I'd say your best bet is to check on the wait time, from a smartphone app if you have one, around noon. Getting there right when the park opens is a bad idea. That's what we did, and it was a 70 minute wait almost instantly. When the gates open, everyone heads straight to "Midway Mania." So skip the opening rush and stick around until the line dies down a little. But good luck getting on the attraction with less than a 30 minute standby time.
With this advice, the only obstacle crowds should provide is slowing you down while you dash to the next attraction, where you can laugh out loud at the 110 minute wait time.