Disneyland Holiday Time saving Tips: Part 2

As I mentioned in PART 1 of my two-part series on getting the most out of Disneyland at the holidays, it’s my favorite time of year to go. It will also be busy with other guests seeking some holiday cheer Disney-style.

As a former local resident who grew up near Disneyland, and married a former dancer in the parades, here’s my second list of suggestions on how to get the most out of your holiday visit to the park, and avoid the crowds as much as possible.

Tips #1-5  in my Part 1 can be viewed HERE

7 more tips for beating the crowds at Disneyland:

1.    Visit in the middle of the week-

Weekends can be twice as busy as weekdays, and up to three times as busy if it’s a long weekend holiday. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays are the least crowded.

2.    Plan and prepare your kids for shopping-

Most attractions have a gift shop at the end of each ride. If you spend just 10 minutes in each shop, over the course of the day you’ve wasted at least an hour or more. Plus, there’s the whining and potential meltdowns your kids will have when they see something they want and can’t buy right then. When our kids were little we had discussions before coming to Disneyland about how we weren’t going to look or shop until the end of the day. We avoided the tantrums and stress, which helped us to make smooth transitions from ride to ride. Then later, if you wish, reserve the last 30 minutes of your evening for souvenir shopping as you head out of the park.

3.   Go on rides during parades-

This might sound sacrilegious to Disney die hard fans, but if your kids have already seen it, or aren’t interested, then skip it. Or go the just the evening parade later when your kids are tuckered out from the rides anyways. We’ve found that the lines to the popular rides are a little shorter when people line the streets to watch the parade. Take advantage of this reprieve if you can.

 4.   Buy fast passes-

If you don’t want to miss the parade, you have limited time at the park, or you just hate waiting in lines, I suggest you buy the fast pass. While it costs more, your sanity and enjoyment of the park might just well be worth the price.

 5.   Pack water & snacks-

Most people forget to calculate the cost of buying drinks and snacks throughout the day, and I’ve seen friends easily spend $100 just trying to keep their families hydrated and stave off cranky kids. Besides the exhorbent cost of snacks, there’s the time wasted waiting in long lines just to get a $4 churro. My suggestion? Bring a small backpack to carry your family’s favorite snacks in. I usually get a locker and put 3-4 frozen water bottles in it, and then put 2 in my pack along with the snacks. The kids take turns carrying it, and we go back to the locker to change out the water bottles later in the afternoon. You might not need as many in the winter, but it’s nice to know you have them and it didn’t cost you much to store them.

6.   Purchase a multiple day pass-

If you have the ability to come for more than a day, buy a multi-day pass. If it’s your first time, or if it’s the first time you brought kids, you will want more than a day to see everything. This allows you to slow down and enjoy yourself and the extended time. No need to show up right when it opens, skip the parade, or feel hurried.

7.   Stay at Disney hotels-

As a bargain shopper, I used to avoid staying on the property, and chose to drive in each morning from a less expensive hotel in the vicinity. However, the time and cost of parking, versus the easy tram ride from a Disney hotel, ate into my “savings” quite a bit. My  greatest reason to stay as close as possible to the park is that I could bring the kids back to the hotel for a few hours to nap, rest, play in the pool, etc. and then easily shuttle ourselves back after dinner. If you can swing it, do it. It’s worth having your options open.

I hope these 12 tips will help you enjoy Disneyland during the holidays. If you have any other time-saving tips, I’d love to hear them!

(Check out Part 1 for 5 more of our helpful ideas.)


It’s been a few years since we’ve been, and we will be going to Disneyland in a few weeks ourselves to enjoy the Christmas season. We’ll post pictures and more tips from our trip, so check back to see them!





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