Disneyland strategies allow for stress-free fun

Mia Hawkins, Editor-in-Chief

Mia Hawkins
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT: Nighttime view of the Pixar Pal-A-Round and the Incredicoaster. The lights along the Pixar Pier shine bright before the start of the after hours event, World of Color, which is held in California Adventure.

With summer break soon approaching, many students will find themselves wanting to spend a day off at the happiest place on earth, the Disneyland Resort. For some, planning this adventure may be overwhelming. To ease that potential stress, here is guide to some of the best Disneyland Park rides, photo spots and food places.  

Where to start

Make sure you plan on getting to the park when it opens as it tends to get very busy in the summer and on the weekends (approximately 30 minutes before the park opens)

  • Have a plan of which rides you want to ride in both parks, you can find a list/map online
  • Start at Disney because it opens first and already plan which rides you want to ride in
  • Grab a FastPass for a rides that are most popular (i.e. Space Mountain, Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain)
  • Get in line for rides that get longer throughout the day (like Peter Pan)   


Disneyland has different areas including Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, and Critter Country.

Best rides

  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Peter Pan (Extra long line do last or first)
  • Indiana Jones’ Adventures (Also has a long line; FastPass available)
  • Matterhorn Bobsleds
  • Space Mountain
  • Star Tours
  • Roger Rabbit

Photo spots

  • On the Mad Tea Party ride (also called teacups)
  • In front of Small World (where the trees are)
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse
  • Anywhere in Toontown

Food spots

  • Pizza Planet (cafeteria-style food, near Space Mountain in Tomorrowland)
  • Bengal BBQ (kabobs, quick food, in front of Indiana Jones in Frontierland)
  • Red Rose Tavern
  • Churros, popcorn, and pretzels (can be found throughout Disneyland and California Adventure)
  • Mint Julep Bar (to-go line for beignets)
  • Tiki Juice Bar (pineapple soft serve and a Disney must-have)

What to do when lines are too long

  • Take the Monorail to Downtown Disney and back
  • Take photos
  • Take the train at the front of Disneyland
  • Watch cartoons on Main Street

California Adventure

  • This park opens an hour after Disneyland and may get more busy because it has more “big kid” rides
  • I would recommend getting a FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers as they run out the fastest and the line is typically the longest (same goes for Guardians of the Galaxy and Incredicoaster)

Best rides

  • Grizzly River Run
  • Goofy Sky School
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT
  • Incredicoaster
  • Radiator Springs Racers
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure
  • Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
  • Symphony Swings

Photo spots

  • Wall of different photo backgrounds (in Hollywood Studios, next to the Coca-Cola truck)
  • On the bridge of the pier

Food spots

  • Flo’s V8 Cafe (fast dining)
  • Award Wieners (hot dogs)
  • Cozy Cone Motel (ice cream, chili, and a LOT more)
  • Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill (on the wharf)

What to do when lines are too long

  • Take photos
  • Ride The Little Mermaid (the line never stops moving and is typically faster than normal)
  • Go to Animation Academy and watch Turtle Talk with Crush or draw Disney characters

Other tips and fun facts

  • You can only have one FastPass at a time but on the ticket they give  you it tells you the time you can get your next FastPass
  • You can bring your own food and water into the park to cut down on costs
  • Download the Disneyland app for access to maps, finding places to eat, ride wait times, and to find characters if you’re keen on taking a photo with a few
  • Go on rides if a parade is coming up, most people, especially other tourists stop at this point to watch the parade