How to do Disneyland like a BOSS

I’m sure if you’ve kept up with any of my posts, you’re well aware that Disneyland is my absolute favorite place. And during our time in Florida, our annual passes were a very sore subject for me, because we had to give them up and chose not to renew, you know, since we were 3,000 miles away and getting there often wasn’t really going to be an option.

Moving back to California was very much welcomed by Joey and I for a plethora of reasons, one of them being able to once again be annual pass holders. AND then, moving to Orange County was the absolute cherry on top. We used to drive an hour from Pasadena, CA to get to Disneyland when we were pass holders before. Now we are a whopping 20 min away. Like could that get any better?!?

My annual pass might literally be my favorite piece of plastic. I’d take it over my debit card any day. Since becoming an annual pass holder, I’ve learned to appreciate Disneyland and the world of Disney so much more. We take our time going through the parks and don’t feel so rushed to “get on every ride,” some days we’ll go for a half day and only get on 2-3 rides and that’s totally fine. I realize I’m extremely lucky to be able to be a pass holder and spend my time how I’d like when visiting the parks.  I also feel EXTRA lucky to have friends that are also pass holders *shoutout to my favorite ginger*; making each and every trip unique in it’s own way.

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We’ve had our passes for 1 week and have already been twice; mine (as a birthday gift from Joey; happens to be the one with 0 blackout dates, making him officially the best boyfriend ever. Although he’s already held that title for 4 years straight.)

So with me being somewhat of what I refer to as a “professional Disneyland-er” I thought I’d put together a little post of how we typically spend our Disney days and what my “musts” and “must nots” are for both Disneyland and California Adventure parks. I’ll make this a part one and discuss Disneyland only.

Disclaimer; if you’ve never been to Disneyland before you MUST get there when it opens and stay as late as you can! The park is totally different between day/night and you’ll have to watch the parade and fireworks. Now with how many times we’ve been; we typically don’t stay till closing or watch the parade or fireworks anymore. Unless they’ve promoted new shows, then of course we watch them for the first time!


We typically get to the parks right when it opens and with the popularity of two rides: Cars Land and the newest ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, we head straight to California Adventures to get a FastPast for either ride. Because the Guardians ride is new; we’ve been getting our first FastPass for this ride lately. Without a FastPass you will end up waiting 70-140 min for the ride, which is not how I like to spend my time. Getting the FastPass first thing also ensures that you’ll be able to get your second FastPass earlier in the day (you have to wait an hour after getting one before you can get another.)

After getting our FastPass we actually leave CA Adventures and head back to Disneyland. It has been our experience that as the day goes on, Disneyland typically gets busier so it’s better to hit all the rides first thing and then go back to CA adventures to finish out our day.


Anytime I enter those gates to Disneyland; I’m immediately excited and cannot wait to get on my favorite ride (and my dad’s favorite ride too): Pirates of the Caribbean. This is tradition and is always the first ride I go on.  Of course I’m going to suggest you do the same!

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We always start our days in AdventureLand and then head to New Orleans Square and FrontierLand to ride Pirates, Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, and then the rollercoaster Thunder Mountain right away. Typically they only have 10-20 minute waits in the morning. And these 3 rides are MUSTS. Later in the day we will return to AdventureLand if we’re in need of a rest and ride the Jungle Cruise or head to Critter Country to ride Winnie The Pooh.

Next we head to TomorrowLand to ride Space Mountain. Depending on the time and how busy the parks are on that specific day, a FastPass might be needed for this one. Then we get in line for BuzzLightyear AstroBlasters (one of our favorite rides)! You compete with your partner and shoot targets to see who can rack up the most points. They even take your picture for you to email yourself at the end. (I’m aware my score isn’t the beeesssstttt -____-) 


There’s also a small spaceship ride next to the Buzzlightyear ride that is pretty fun if you can get on without waiting longer than 10 min (otherwise spend your time somewhere else).

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Next up is typically FantasyLand. And if it’s just Joey and I; we walk around, take pictures, try to get on Peter Pan (another one of my favorites but always has at least a 60 min wait), ride Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinnochio, and then head straight out to do the tea cups and then head back to the It’s a Small World ride. If we are going with friends with children; we’ll wait in line for the Dumbo ride and also ride the carousel. Another good ride that always has a pretty long wait is the Alice in Wonderland ride (different than the tea cups) so I suggest doing it if you have the patience!

Then we finish out the day in ToonTown, where we mainly just take pictures because the entire area is just super photogenic and designed perfectly. 




After that we either watch a show or head back to California Adventures; which I will detail in another post!

Things We Skip

  • Star Wars: The 4D Ride- in Tomorrowland. Joey and I have not seen a single Star Wars film and honestly the couple times we went on, the 4D effects made me nauseous.
  • Splash Mountain- in Critter Country. Unless it’s hot outside we typically pass on this one. I hate walking around the rest of the day soaked.
  • Train-in FantasyLand. I can remember going on this as a kid and honestly haven’t been on since. Then again, I don’t typically go with a 2 year old so don’t feel like I have the “right” to make the line longer for the little ones.
  • Storybook- in FantasyLand. this is a canoe ride that takes you through the mouth of Moby Dick and into the “towns” of all the Disney princesses; which happen to be small miniature houses and cities built along the water.
  • ToonTown rides- there are 2 rides and then just walk thru’s of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Chip ‘N Dale’s “houses.” We’ve been so many times that we don’t do these anymore since they’re mainly for younger children anyways.
  • Finding Nemo ride: in Tomorrowland. I waited 2 hrs for this ride when it first opened (they don’t offer FastPasses) and was extremely disappointed. I’ve never even been on the ride with Joey because every time I tell him it’s just a waste of time.
  • Mattahorn: in FantasyLand. Yes, I know this is one of those “classic” rides. But again. it’s always packed and doesn’t have FastPass capability. And honestly, the ride is about 30 seconds long and not all that entertaining to me.


Shows/Meet & Greet’s to Watch Out for

  • As a kid, I did the whole character autograph books and all the pictures with each Disney princess. Obviously as an adult, I don’t do these anymore. Unless I see Jack Sparrow, then duh. I will follow the guy for a picture every time. 
  • Mickey’s Magic Map: This is a fun interactive show near ToonTown. It’s pretty entertaining and a show I recommend seeing while in Disneyland!
  • Mickey’s Soundsational Parade: This is the daytime parade and one of my favorites. Definitely worth watching!
  • Main Street Electrical Parade: This parade they brought back for the summer and only happens at night. I can remember watching this one as a kid. Although the floats look a lot better now!

That’s my round-up for how we go thru Disneyland. Granted, we stop a lot, take pictures, shop, and eat. That being said, I’ll try to put together a Disneyland food post soon.

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Amanda 🙂


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