Disneyland Tips: Beating the Crowds

Disneyland Tips for beating the crowds

Disneyland Tips & Tricks for Family Visits during Crowded Times

  • Do you have school age kids that limit your vacation windows to major holidays and summer?
  • Do you and/or your kids want to go to Disneyland for a vacation but you’re dreading the crowds?

That was our predicament as we tried to squeeze in a family road trip vacation in California in mid-August and wanted to end with three days at Disneyland.  Since our last two family visits to Disneyland occurred during the Christmas/New Year school breaks, and the newly redesigned Star Tours had just opened, I was nervous.  Well, with some time invested in planning and a little help from some Disneyland tips and tools I discovered on the web, as the Romans said,

Veni, Vidi, Vici-

“We came, we saw, we conquered”!


Here are the three best Disneyland tips for enjoying your visit during crowded times.

  1. Ridemax.  This software tool available on ridemax.com for $14.95 for a 90 license allows you to customize multiple Disneyland visit itineraries based on what rides you want to ride, when you will arrive at the park, and even how fast you walk.  The resulting Ridemax itineraries will be organized down to meal breaks, returns to your hotel for a relaxation break and meals.  This is the absolute best $14.95 we spent on our Disneyland trip by a long shot!
  2. Disneyland Resort Hotels (Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian, or Paradise Pier).   While it is the most expensive of our Disneyland tips, staying at one of these hotels will provide at least the opportunity for one early morning admission (see Tip 3) and often will afford other unique benefits such as the summer of 2011 promotion which provided each registered guest 2 Fast Passes good anytime on any FastPass eligible ride.  Talk about a a valuable perk with the unbelievable excitement around the newly re-designed Star Tours!
  3. Enter at Park Opening.  No other Disneyland tips will insure minimum wait times and greater flexibility with your overall day then lining up early and entering the park as the gates open.  If you have Early Admission available from staying at a Disney property or some other promotion, then use it!  It can be tough to get up and be in line over an hour before normal opening, especially at crowded times when the park’s normal opening time is 8a.  However, when you are sitting by the pool for three hours that afternoon, having ridden every ride on your list,  and then head back into the park refreshed, relaxed, and ready to enjoy your evening plans like Fantasmic, a parade, and fireworks, you will feel well rewarded for your early morning effort.

 Here are links to other great resources full of Disneyland Tips and Deals.

  1. MouseSavers
  2. MousePlanet
  3. DISboards (tremendous archive of visitor and fan discussions to answer every possible question)


If you have a good Disneyland tip or trick, please share it in the comments below and check back often for future updates, which will include links to other great resources for making your Disneyland trips enjoyable and affordable.


  1. So helpful thanks…we are overdue a Disney trip…kids have been begging for it!

  2. nina sadjadpour says:

    I can echo #3 above. “Go EARLY”! Lines form by 7 or 7:30am for 8am park opening. If you are there when they first let you in, you’ll be fine til lunch with very limited waiting, if at all (we felt like we had the run of the house for the first 4 hrs) – and this was on one of the busiest weekends (Thxgiving).

  3. D-Land can be sooooo difficult to navigate and the stress of it can ruin a visit. Your info is awesome! Mickey here we come!!!

  4. Your Disneyland post caught my eye. Our family visits every year for spring break so I will definitely look through your ideas before going this year.

  5. We make the annual pilgrimage to Disneyland with our 3 children and their friends, and always spend lots of time charting our course. I am going to download ridemax.com for our next visit. Thanks, Kerry!

  6. Richard Duff says:

    Can’t say enough good things about RideMax! After an August day where we rode probably 15 rides without waiting more than 10 minutes and spent 3+ hours in the afternoon relaxing by the pool, we were getting on the monorail at about 8p at night listening to a frustrated mom with three kids complaining to her husband that they had been at Disneyland all day and had only ridden three rides….that’s when I realized RideMax was the best vacation investment we have made!

  7. We love Disney! I can totally appreciate RideMax although one of our favorite family times (when we go to a Disney park) is making up our daily itinerary. We get all the maps, times, info, and put together a game plan. We save the RideMax fee but mostly we do this because its a family tradition:) Thanks for your awesome tips!

  8. Terry Hennessy says:

    My last trip following your advice was the very best!

  9. We just went in February and had the time of our lives: kids age 16 and 9 and something fun for everyone. Stayed at California Adventure and I too would recommend paying the premium for the total Disney experience complete with speciall access. When you only have a couple of days…it’s worth it!

  10. I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

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