I grew up with a Disneyland pass for the majority of my childhood. I learned a lot in those years. Here are my top Disneyland pass holder secrets.
Let’s kick it.
1. Skip the traditional entrance and security lines.
So this lil’ tip requires you going through Downtown Disney. If the security lines are awful, enter the parks through the Grand Californian Hotel. The entrance is right next to Sephora. The parks channel you through the hotel’s private security line.
Going through this line works for Disneyland, as well, despite entering directly into California Adventure. For this trick, you do need the pass’ ability to go into California Adventure.
2. Don’t pay for water bottles, and don’t weigh yourself down with them either.
Walk up to any counter that serves fountain drinks and ask for water. They’ll give you as many ice cold cups of it as you want. Now, save that cash to get yourself some Dole Whip from the Tiki Room–or better a Mickey Mouse Macaron from the Carnation Cafe.
3. Eat in Downtown Disney.
If you need a break from the crowds, eat in Downtown Disney. There are amazing options available. Seriously, Tortilla Jo’s is my favorite–unlimited chips and salsa always get me. Also, check out the Jazz Kitchen’s dessert menu.
4. Fast pass that ish.
Get the World of Color Fast Pass upon entering the park–immediately! This fast pass is located by the Ariel ride. This pass will not hinder you from getting other fast passes.
Same deal. You’ll need to get a Fast Pass for Fantasmic.
You cannot see either show without a Fast Pass. They will not allow you to camp out for hours before the shows due to traffic flow. Having tickets for both Fantasmic and World of Color won’t hinder your ability to use other attractions.
If the Cars roller coaster (Radiator Springs Racers) is a must for you, then get the pass ASAP. They will run out quickly. Radiator Springs Racers need a fast pass. The line is ridiculous.
Here are the Fast Passes available for Disneyland:
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Haunted Mansion
- Indiana Jones
- Roger Rabbit’s
- Space Mountain
- Splash Mountain
- Star Tours
Here are the Fast Passes available for California Adventure.
- World of Color
- California Screamin’
- Goofy’s Sky School
- Grizzly River Run
- Radiator Springs Racers
- Soarin’ Around the World
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Toy Story Midway Mania
5. See the fireworks between the parks.
There is this very large space between the two park entrances. Your kids can run around and spread out. Plus, after the fireworks, you beat everyone to the exits and buses!
6. Skip the ticket lanyard. download the Disneyland app.
This thing is transformative. It has your ticket, your photo pass, your fast passes, the wait times for all attractions, the times for shows, and a list of all the places you can eat (and…there is probably more).
My sister lost her Disney World pass within the first hour of us being there–true story.
Now you don’t have to rock the lanyard. You’re welcome.
7. Be there at opening.
My husband and I got there twenty minutes before opening, and I’ve never felt childlike joy like I did in those first minutes entering the park. We rode every big ride that we wanted to within thirty minutes. Really. Not exaggerating.
8. Don’t waste your time waiting for parades.
Squeeze in there. I promise you, there will be room.
9. Speaking of parades, skip the parade.
…and ride all of the usually crowded rides. A lot of the wait times drop when the parades start.
10. If you need the special occasion buttons (because you need the buttons), don’t go to Town Hall.
Go to any of the gift shops. No lines and you can get the exact same freaking buttons.
For the Disney Parents
11. Parent passes are real and need to be used–Really.(rider switch service)
So if there is a ride that you, as an adult, want to ride, but there is an adult in your party that cannot ride at that very moment because of of…you know…kids: get yourself a freaking swap pass.
How do you get a parent swap pass? You (the first adult) asks the attendant at the front of the ride for a swap pass. Then they go through the line as usual (because all perks have their limits). When the first adult comes out of the ride, the second adult gets more or less a front of the line pass. I’m pretty sure they allow you to take a buddy with you back on the ride. You enter through the exit.
12. It is possible to get your kid to nap at Disneyland.
I usually just have Ollie take his nap in the general region wherever the rest of our party is.
Best nap spots in Disneyland: Pizza Port, Pooh Corner’s Hungry Bear Restaurant, Star Wars Launch Bay, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
Best nap spots in California Adventure: Behind Flo’s V8 Cafe and in a corner in the food court. If you need air conditioning, your best bet is somewhere around or in the Boudin’s factory area.
Honorable mentions: Tiki Room and Haunted Mansion
13. If food costs are piling up, buy it outside of the park and bring it in.
If you have picky eaters, I tend to bring fruit, applesauce squeezers, and instant mac n’ cheese in a cup.
14.Run out of diapers or wipes? Keep a little extra cash on you.
You can buy diapers or wipes in the Baby Center. They’ve saved me on many occasions.
15. Keep an extra outfit for your kids–and maybe an extra shirt for yourself.
Accidents happen. It’s one of the most developed parenting principles. Another parenting principle, if things can go wrong, it will go wrong. Bring an extra outfit, people.
There you have it. These are my best Disneyland Passholder Tips & Tricks–that, and well, my Disneyland with a Toddler Tips & Tricks.
Drop me a question below, and I’ll add answers to this list!
7 thoughts on “Passholder Secrets: Rock Your Disney Trip [Even with a Toddler]”
Thanks for the info! Our son turns one in September and we are waiting a little while longer to take him to Disney. Definitely will have to look back on this post though for sure.
We started taking our son around age one. He liked it then, but he definitely started enjoying it more when he was around 1 and a half.
Lovelovelove reading your blogs Evi!!! This post is awesome and I’ll backlog it for when the day comes that I have a tiny human on my hip.
Thanks, Tay! When you have that tiny human, let’s do a Disney date together. 😉 xoxo
I don’t have kids but these are still great tips. It’s been far too long since I’ve been to Disney.
Great tips. Though I’ve gone through the Grand Californian before to get in the parks, and last time I tried to do that they wouldn’t let us into the hotel without a key or a dining reservation! Maybe it was just because it was extremely crowded.
Wow! I didn’t even know that happened. I know that there are some hours in the mornings where they limit usage.