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How To Do Disneyland Like A SoCalian


I enjoy a trip to Disney as much as the next gal, and being from Southern California has given me unique experiences and many chances at visiting the happiest place on Earth. Now it’s my time to share my tips for doing Disney like the SoCalian* that I am.

Space Mountain First

The only exception is Haunted Mansion from Halloween through Christmas because not only does Haunted Mansion become Nightmare Before Christmas themed during that time, but the line becomes unbearable because it is special. Every other time of year, beeline right for Space Mountain. It both has one of the longest waits ever but Tomorrowland is very crowded making it difficult to navigate to later.

Skip the Dole Whip….

…or try something else too. I highly recommend the popcorn. I swear it’s salted with magic it is so good and so simple. Explore the park a little and you’ll find some great food places tucked away in far off places.

Short Lines Beat Long Waits

Find the short lines and ride those rides. Don’t get caught up in a long line, I guarantee it will ruin your trip. If you can plan your trip a bit beforehand with what you must do, what you want to do, and what you’ll give up, you will enjoy your time more. If you absolutely must ride Space Mountain but don’t want to watch Fantasmic, then you can plan your Space Mountain ride then when many others are fighting for a view of Fantasmic. And sometimes you just need to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride and other smaller rides. One of my more recent trips to Disney we ended up riding 20+ rides and riding some multiple times because we didn’t wait in the long lines and went on shorter line rides, and it is one of my favorite trips to Disney ever.

Fast Pass Musts

Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and Indiana Jones are top fast pass spots. You can even get Fast Passes for Fantasmic and World of Color now, which I HIGHLY recommend if those shows are on your must-do list.

Take The Train

You will get tired of walking. It’s the nature of theme parks. If you want to get around the park quickly, take the train. It stops at Main Street, New Orleans Square, Toontown, and Tomorrowland. You get a cool behind the scenes look at Disney and a relax trip to where you want to get to. The train, however, is a bad idea at the end of the day because everyone is tired and will take the train to get to Main Street to exit. At that point just walk out of the park. To make this easier, end your day on Main Street, do your shopping at the end of the night so you’re not carrying bags all day, and you will be at a prime location for Fireworks and leaving quickly at the end of the day.

One Park Per Day is the Way to Go

With Park Hoppers and expanded packages, Disney makes it so confusing to buy tickets and passes. I prefer one park per day if you want to go to both Disneyland and California Adventure. Each park really deserves a full day of attention, and I never liked going back and forth between parks. If you really want to enjoy all Disneyland has and all CA Adventure has, do them individually.

Find The Mickey Ears

This was something my Uncle, who was my first big Disneyland partner when I was very young, taught me. Disney has hidden the Mickey Mouse ear shape everywhere. On rides, in lines, in stores and restaurants, everywhere. It’s a fun game to play when you’re waiting in line or on a slower paced ride.

There’s Always a Shortcut

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten caught in a crowd like above. *raises hand*

The crowds are terrible, but you can navigate around the worst of it with a little smarts and a map. There are sideways into all the areas of the park so you can avoid the large front entrances and the craziness of Main Street. My favorite is between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, especially since Tomorrowland is the absolute worst to get through.

Favorite Seasons and Fun Photos

This is less about being a SoCalian and more just the fun of Disney at different seasons. Halloween time is my favorite, and you can visit the Halloween theme all through October, but you need to remember that Disneyland closes early to the general public some days for the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, which costs extra. I recommend, if you want to be there on Halloween itself, do Disneyland the day before and CA Adventure on Halloween itself. CA Adventure is significantly less busy because everyone else is at Disneyland, so lines are shorter and getting fast passes is easier.

If you’re looking for those photo hot spots, I like looking for ones we don’t see as often, like the Sword in the Stone (yes, that is me trying to pull the sword. Just look at the technique!) Of course get your castle pic, but see what else you can find!

What are your favorite things to do at Disney? Let me know with a comment below!


This post is a part of the Geek Blogs Unite Theme Week for March, Happiest Place on Earth.

*Yes, I made up the term SoCalian. What’s life without a little whimsy*

15 replies on “How To Do Disneyland Like A SoCalian”

I grew up in Cali, in fact about 10 miles away from Disneyland. I remember sitting on the roof of my house watching the fireworks! The Electric Parade was always my favorite and luckily right before out to Vermont they brought it back and I got to see it one last time. These are great tips for anyone who hasn’t been there! Every time we got tired we would hop on the train!

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