How to Never Wait in Long Lines at Disneyland, in Four Steps

Disneyland: As a child, you long for it. As a parent, you’re not long for it.

And thanks to a booming population and robust economy, America’s most ballyhooed family vacation now boasts 28-minute average wait times for its rides — which is probably 27 minutes longer than your kid’s ability to stand still.

The L.A. Times recently published a list of stats showing the various peak waits by time of day, ride and season. Biggest takeaways:

  • Best time of year: Late August-September; January
  • Best time of the week: Wednesday, Thursday or Friday
  • Best time of day: Early morning (8-10 minutes)

And since your correspondent happens to live in L.A., here are a few more tips for staying sane the next time you take the kids to the Mouse’s house:

Go as soon as it opens and never stay in the park past noon
The early bird gets the worm, and those later-day peak waits are no doubt due to the fact that many a visitor is on his vacay — and thus sleeping in. Kids get up early, so use that to your advantage. And leave by noon, when the hordes are settling in.

Spread things out over two days
Pace yourself, Griswold: Disneyland has multiple sections and there’s no reason to pack it all into one day. Focus on what you think the kids are going to enjoy most. Then head back home or to your hotel pool for the afternoon.

Stay at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa
The Grand Californian is actually located in Disneyland and has a monorail straight to the entrance. That’ll save you some time. So will ordering a room-service breakfast the night before. They also have a massive pool with waterslides and poolside food that’s way better than what you’ll find in the park. Besides, nothing beats a day of walking like a nice massage while you take turns watching the kids.

Your ticket allows for re-entry, so don’t discount leaving the park and coming back later
Don’t worry about missing the nightly Main Street Electric Parade (though it does end August 20th), you can come back in to see it. And consult with the all of the peak ride hours: some — like Fantasyland — have shorter lines in the afternoon and evening.