There's a lot to be said for spending a relaxing day at Disneyland, but if your goal is to do and see it all, it's a different kind of trip entirely — especially if you don't have a lot of time to accomplish it in. If you're wondering how to see Disneyland in one day, I won't lie: it's tough. But it's also doable — it just requires a little bit of effort to get it done. By the time the day is over, though, you'll have had the most magical day ever. And your feet will also probably hurt, but that's besides the point. It's worth it.
Attempting this challenge is definitely not for the faint of heart, and if you're more laid back, it might not be for you — and that's OK, too. If you've already done Disneyland in a day, try doing Disneyland and California Adventure all in one day to level up your challenge. There's honestly no wrong way to do Disney, and that's one of the reasons why these parks are so much fun.
Getting ready for the ultimate Disney challenge? Here's everything you need to know.
Make Sure You Plan Ahead
Keep in mind that before your Disneyland day, you're going to want to get a good night's sleep. You'll want a fully charged phone, and if you have a portable battery, bringing one of those along is a good idea. Make sure you dress for the weather, and most importantly, wear comfortable shoes — you're going to be on your feet for a very long time. It also won't hurt to check out the park's opening and closing times, either.
And certain things will inevitably closed — sometimes, that even includes Sleeping Beauty Castle — so you'll want to be prepared for that, too.
Download The Disneyland App
The Disneyland app is the key to accessing all the information you'll need during your park day anytime, anywhere. You can find a park map, wait times, showtimes, and you can even order food on the app. It's definitely essential for making the most of your visit and getting things done efficiently. It's available in the App Store, as well as Google Play.
Getting through security on your way into the park can take forever, and that slows you down in getting to the attractions — packing light will help when it's your turn at bag check. Bring only what you need, and you'll be thanking yourself later, when you've been in the park for 12 hours and you haven't been lugging around a backpack the whole time.
MaxPass is relatively new to Disneyland — and it does require an extra fee on top of your park ticket — but it seriously pays off if you're trying to ride everything. If you've been to Disney World before, you're familiar with making FastPass reservations on the app, and that's how this works, too.
After you purchase MaxPass on the Disneyland app (it costs $15 per person, per day), you're free to make ride reservations via the app, too — and the app will tell you when you can make another, meaning that you can several at once. You can really use this to your advantage. You just have to have scanned your ticket at the front gate to start making reservations, so you can't make these MaxPasses in advance.
So which rides should you grab MaxPasses for? The ones that usually have long lines, like Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Indiana Jones Adventure. This will save you a ton of time, and then, you'll only have to worry about waiting in shorter lines vs. wasting an hour or more for the more popular attractions.
Get To The Park Before Rope Drop
"Rope drop" is a term that means park opening — and if you're really serious about getting a lot done during your Disneyland day, you'll want to arrive about an hour before the park opens for the day. Then, when you're allowed in, you can make a beeline for one of the more popular rides. In the first hour or so that the park is open, you can accomplish a lot, leaving the rest of your day free to see the less popular attractions as the crowd grows.
Grab Food On The Go
Disneyland has a lot of amazing sit down restaurants, but unless you're doing great on time, those will only slow you down. Grabbing a quick service meal is the way to go, and Disneyland also has a lot of legit options there, like the bread bowls at Royal St. Veranda in New Orleans Square and the poutine and Beauty and the Beast-themed snacks and desserts at the Red Rose Tavern in Fantasyland. If you're really pressed for time, eating a turkey leg or a corn dog while you walk or wait in line might just have to do it.
Use Single-Rider Lines
As much of a bummer it is to split up from your friends, if you're trying to accomplish seeing all of Disneyland in one day, this part is pretty necessary. At Disneyland, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure and the Matterhorn Bobsleds all have single rider lines, which can cut your waiting time in half (or even more). And you'll be reunited with your buds in no time.
Don't forget to take time at the end of the day to marvel at your accomplishment — and take plenty of photos along the way. After finding out how exhausting doing everything at Disneyland in one day is, you may never want to do it again, so these photos will be important. It's tiring for sure, but it's also so much fun.