While Cody and I may look and act like grown-ups, deep down we are still kids at heart. So when an opportunity to go to Disneyland comes up, we were NOT about to pass it up! Here are our top tips for how to do Disneyland in only two days (and without kids)!
1 Make the most of your time
Get there before the gates open! Being towards the front of the line makes it easy to get to whatever ride you want! Plus, it’s really crowded to leave at park close. We did it one day, and it was worth it to see the fireworks show once. But it was definitely way nicer to be there at the open than at the close (plus it gave us the option to do both and make the most of our time there).
2 Get the MaxPass app!
We had heard of fast passes, but always assumed that they cost extra, so we weren’t sure they were worth it. At Disneyland, you can get a fast pass for free, but you have to physically go to the ride you want one for. To save time, Disney has a MaxPass app that is only $10 a day! It’s
definitely the only reason we were able to hit all the super popular rides – most of them multiple times too! Waits for Radiator Springs Racer, one of Disney’s newest rides, were upwards of 1.5 hours, but we were able to go three times while we were there thanks to that app! The goal here is to schedule a fast-pass in the app, then hit as many rides as you can fit in before your time comes up. Then, you head through the fast pass line and hop on without the ridiculous wait time! If you have a park hopper pass, you even get to schedule fast pass rides in both parks, no matter which one you are in!
3 Hit the popular rides first
Each morning we made a beeline for a popular ride that we would otherwise need a fast pass for. As awesome as a fast pass is, you can only have one at a time, so you still have to be strategic. Hitting a popular ride like Indiana Jones Adventure saved us from having to get another fast pass, and allowed us to still hop right on a popular ride!
4 Pack light
We brought one small backpack with some sunscreen, a couple granola bars, and a glasses case for me. It was nice to have a small bag to put wallets/glasses/ etc in on rides, but also not be weighed down by too much that we were uncomfortable on rides or stuck dealing with sore shoulders!
5 Invest in the park hopper
A park hopper pass at Disneyland gets you into both Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. Being able to bounce back and forth between parks was THE BEST. Since we could schedule fast passes in either park, a park hopper pass was the best way to maximize our time and money on our Disney trip! In our two days, we hopped back and forth around 10-12 times, since the parks are right next to each other!
6 Eat at weird times
You could EASILY waste hours and hours waiting in food lines. Our recommendation is to eat at
weird times. Obviously, our bodies weren’t adjusted to eating at non-meal times, so we just ate more frequently. At 9:30 or 10 we would split a corn dog, then over the lunch rush we could hop on some rides, then at 1:30 or 2 we would get churros or split a meal somewhere. We’d save our granola bars for later in the afternoon to keep us full enough over dinner, and then after the dinner rush we’d grab our own food!
7 Wear good shoes you can move in!
This may seem like a given, but I’m a midwest girl. I wanted to soak up the sun, enjoy the California warmth, and break out my flip flops. Thank goodness I had the sense to throw on my tennis shoes again. Since we were childless at Disneyland and only had two days to soak it all in, being able to move fast to dart past strollers and get to your fastpass reservation was AMAZING!
8 Be smart with your money (plan souvenirs ahead of time, split food)
You could EASILY spend hours (and dollars) shopping at Disney. If you have more than two days, it might be fun to have a shopping day. For us, we wanted to maximize our time on rides! We made a plan ahead of time for what we were going to get – Cody collects shot glasses, and we both collect coffee mugs so we knew those were the two things we were going to get! And if at all possible, wait until you are ready to leave the park to buy them. Why carry the extra junk all over the park when you don’t have to?
BONUS TIP: If a ride breaks down, be patient!
One of the biggest advantages of traveling kid free was having a little more flexibility. Rides break down a LOT. If you’re in line, we encourage you to stick around. Disney does a stellar job of closing, fixing, and re-opening rides very efficiently. Almost every ride was fixed in 10 minutes or less, but for people with kids, that’s too long to wait. With uncertainty if it WILL be up and running soon, the lines cleared out super fast. We would often end up on the ride faster than if it hadn’t broken down!