Disneyland Busy Day Guide To Maximize Fun

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Disneyland Busy Day Guide

Last week when we were at Disneyland, it was a very busy Saturday summer day!

Normally we plan our visits to Disneyland when it is off season, or during the week if it is summertime, but that isn’t always possible to do when you are needing a little Disney magic in your life! 

If you are are planning a visit to the Disneyland Parks when it is a busy day, this guide is for you. 

season of the force disneyland

So you are going to Disneyland, and it is expected to be a busy day, so be there right when it opens and go straight to Disneyland, leaving California Adventure for a bit later in the day. 

Once you are inside the park, head straight to the right and enjoy the Season Of The Force! This area gets busy super fast, so enjoy this all right away. There are a few rides that you can get fast passes for, like Hyper Space Mountain! 

astro blaster ride

Don’t forget Astro Blasters! This ride often has little to a reasonable wait and is fun for the whole family.

water ball disneyland

Another fun thing to do in the area is the water ball, especially when it is hot out! Little ones love to test their strength.

what to do at Disneyland on busy summer days

Now head towards Adventureland! 

Adventureland Disneyland Tips

tiki room

Go and get a Fast Pass for Indiana Jones and enjoy a treat while you are waiting for your time! 

pineapple chunk disneyland

Our favorite treat when it is hot out is a Dole Whip or pineapple spear. Both can be found in adventure land.

Dole Whip Float

Tarzan’s Treehouse is also in the area and fun to go on. 

Now head towards Pirates of the Caribbean. This ride is one of the best to sit back and relax on… and enjoy the air conditioning! It doesn’t seem to get busy until the early afternoon so hopefully you can walk right on it. 

Same with The Haunted Mansion which is not too far away!

Be sure to take a picture and be careful of hitchhiking ghosts! 

Disneyland 60 Haunted Mansion

Disneyland ghost

Hop on over and get a Fast Pass for Splash Mountain and then go on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh while you wait. 

winnie the pooh ride disneyland

winnie the pooh disneyland

Now head back towards Main Street. There are so many places to eat in the area so get some lunch and then check out the wait time board.  This is the best place to see what the wait times are. Sometimes we find some really great rides that have low wait times for no real reason. The Cast Members that work here are also some of the most knowledgeable in planning and have great tips for what to see and do based on all sorts of criteria so stop by and say hi and ask them questions.

Disneyland wait times

Here are some really easy tips to having fun on busy Disneyland days:

  1. Get there early.
  2. Go the opposite direction of everyone else. Most people go down Main Street and turn left into Adventureland first. Do the opposite and work your way through the parks in a counterclockwise way.
  3. Use Fast Passes to your advantage. Always have one going after you use one and fill the time in between with less busy rides.
  4. The kids rides get less busy as the day goes on into the late evening because the kids have gone to sleep.
  5. Really busy rides are slower during parades and fireworks.
  6. Make meal reservations at restaurants on busy days as soon as you can. Don’t forget restaurants outside the parks and in the hotels. A couple of our favorites are Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland Hotel), Storytellers Cafe (Disney’s Grand Californian) and PCH Grill Buffet (Paradise Pier Hotel).

main street horses disneyland

When the rides are busy, don’t forget all the other fun things to do!

Let the horses show you the way, or get your picture taken with a character (and get their autograph)! People watch, go shopping, have a coffee break (Starbucks in on Main Street), or wander through the park and look for things you haven’t seen before!

frozen at disneyland

After that head over to California Adventure. 

Right after you get into the park go straight for Soarin’ Around The World and get a Fast Pass. This new version was just released and is out of this world amazing! We would go on it over and over again, it is that awesome!

Soarin Around The World Review

Other fun things to do when it is hot and busy is the Adventure Trail, Bugs Life, and have an ice cream at Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop! 

It was just announced that the Tower of Terror will be transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy so be sure to go on it while you still can! 

There is so much to do at both parks, so don’t let a busy day slow you down! With a little planning and flexibility, busy days at Disneyland can be super awesome too!

What are your favorite rides at Disneyland and California Adventure Parks?

Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.


  • I haven’t been to Disneyland is such a long time, but the last time I was there my fav ride was Indiana Jones. It was so different for any of the other rides. Love the Haunted House, it’s been a fav since I was a kid.

  • Thank you for this awesome guide. I wouldn’t know where to start. There are so many fun things to do at Disneyland.

  • I’ve never been to Disneyland but it looks like fun! A guide like this is really handy when the place you are visiting is so big!

  • I’ve never been to Disneyland but it looks like you had a great time. I’ve heard so many people brag about the dole whips. 🙂

  • We love spending time at Disneyland, and fastness is always a must. Best way to save time is to use your Fastpasses. Great tips!

  • You’ve got it all figured out! I’m always happy when someone has been kind enough to do all the hard work for me, making my life easier! Now, I just need to plan that trip to Disney and the rest is all set, thanks to you!

  • It’s been two years since I’ve gone to Disneyland and I am missing it so much! You totally look like you’ve got DisneyLand down pat and your trip seemed amazing!

  • I’d love to go and have another Disneyland trip. Nothing compares to the feeling of being a kid again. Thanks for the tips on how to maximize a tour of the happiest place on earth!

  • We are huge Disneyland fans. My husband’s family all have membership so we meet up there for birthdays, special occasions or simply because someone sends a text to everyone stating… “It’s a Disneyland day!”

  • I really hope that I can go to Disneyland some day. I have always wanted to go as a little girl, but never got to go. I would love to be able to take my daughters there sometime too. It looks like a blast!

  • I can’t wait to get back to Disney World. I am missing it. My favorite thing to do was pin trading. I have a small collection started, but I am always willing to get more!

  • A Disney vacation had become one of those things that is a rite of passage in many communities. It is good for you to share tips so that people can get as much enjoyment from the trip as possible.

  • I am dying to take my family to Disneyland! We have visited Walt Disney World many times since we are Florida residents, however, Disneyland is definitely another adventure we’d love to explore. Cannot wait!

  • Looks like so much fun! These tips will surely help get the most out of a day at the park!

  • Oh, I want to go to Disneyland too! My son keeps asking me about it. Nice guide!

  • I would love to go to Disneyland during the off season so it is not as crowded. The Dole Whip or a pineapple spear are both delicious treats to help you cool off.

  • These are great tips for enjoying a busy day at Disneyland. We are hoping to go next year. The off season might be a good time to go.

  • My kids would love to go to Disneyland. Thanks for the great guide to get the best out of your day. The Dole Whip looks so delicious and refreshing.

  • I will have to start looking into planning a surprise trip to Disneyland for my family. It would be an amazing adventure.

  • I am so excited for when my family takes our first vacation. I hope to be able to try all these treats and ride the fun rides!

  • They also have a Sourin at Epcot- it is my favorite ride. Same with the Astroblasters

  • This is a great guide for people who want to make the most out of a day at Disney when it’s crowded. I bet this will be handy to a lot of people!

  • Never been to Disneyland myself but would love to take my family. I’ve been dying to try one of those dole whips! Looks so good!

  • Looks like you certainly had a busy but fun day at Disneyland, I am so glad you all had fun and shared the fun with us. I certainly would love to visit there someday!

  • So much to do there! I’m glad you indulged in the Dole pineapple ice cream, Tiki room! 🙂 I swear I’d go to Disney just for that haha!

  • Great tips! Getting to Disneyland early is always important. You get your Fast Passes, beat a lot of the crowd, and can avoid the heat.

  • This is a great guide to visiting Disneyland on a busy day. It looks like you all had a blast at Disneyland for sure. I would love to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mason. Thanks for sharing your experience and the guide.

  • Some great tips to note. Disneyland is one of my favorite places to visit & our last trip with my kids was such a great one that I still hold those memories. The pictures are quiet interesting that I would want to go for another trip so sooner!

  • Great photos and tips, looks like you had perfect weather that day too. Love Disney… fun for all ages.

  • I thought everyday was a busy day. Lol We’re planning on going to Disneyland in a few years when our daughter is older. Thanks for the tips!

  • These are great tips for maximizing your time at Disneyland. We always try to plan ahead and I love your suggestions. I love the water ball. I don’t think that had that the last time we were at Disneyland! 😉 Bookmarking this for future visits!

  • I’ve been to Disney World but not Disneyland. I’d love to make it to that coast.

  • Ah, Disneyland. It’s always a place that never gets old and always has something new for new, even when looking at other people enjoying the place! Though I must admit I haven’t explored it thoroughly like the restaurants. It’s true that when we went there, we needed an early reservation.

  • These are all great tips! I love Disneyland and Disney World and it’s definitely best to have a plan so you can get the most out of your days there.

  • Looks like you had a great time! Maximizing your time at a park this big can be tough. Thanks for the pointers.

  • Not yet managed to venture to Disneyland in the status only been to the Disneyland Paris. Such a lovely guide you’ve put together

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