Disneyland Rides in 2 Hours

10 Disneyland Rides in 2 Hours

10 Disneyland rides in 2 hours, in the middle of summer. It’s possible and maybe a little bit crazy (you can read about more crazy stuff like when I did Disneyland and California Adventure in one day here).

 Disneyland Rides in 2 Hours

We talk a lot over here about how to maximize your time at Disneyland. I’ve covered strategies like Single Rider Lines at Disneyland and California Adventure. We’ve talked about Rider Switch options at both parks. And of course we’ve discussed rope drop at California Adventure and Disneyland park.

If I haven’t said it enough, let me say it again: arrive at the gates at least 30 minutes before the park is scheduled to open. If you need to park your car and take a shuttle or tram, make sure you add that time onto the 30 minutes.

Bonus Tips: Buy your discount Disneyland tickets in advance from Park Savers!

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Reserve those 30 minutes for sitting in front of the gates, eat my favorite breakfast-type snacks and chat with the friendly cast members waiting to open the gates. Your patience will pay off big time, and I’m about to tell you how.

A couple years ago we stayed at the Red Lion near Disneyland. It was summer and the parks opened at 8 am. It was tough to wake my kids from their slumber at 6:00 am, but certainly worth it. By 6:30 am we were in the breakfast dining room all alone! This was a good sign. We walked to Disneyland about 5 minutes after 7, mostly alone. Another good sign.

We arrived at the gates with our discount Disneyland tickets in hand plenty early and this is how we rode 10 Disneyland rides in 2 hours— in the middle of summer break, during the busiest time of year.

10 Disneyland Rides in 2 Hours

7:30-7:45 am The first guests lined up at the Disneyland park gates enter onto Main Street, U.S.A. Shops are open! Starbucks is open! We make our way toward the hub near Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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7:55 am The park opening announcement is made and the rope officially drops!

8:00 am We are in line (with lots of other people) for the ever popular Peter Pan’s Flight. During other visits we’ve swapped our first ride out with Star Tours or Space Mountain. You can really choose any attraction you’d like or follow my suggestions on what to ride first.

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8:20 am With Peter Pan’s Flight done in record time, our young kids eyes are drawn toward the fairytale elements in Fantasyland. We ride Dumbo, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Alice in Wonderland and Mad Tea Party in about an hour.

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9:30 am I take the little princesses to meet the Disney Princesses, followed by Tinker Bell and friends while the boys grab FASTPASSES for Space Mountain and ride Astro Orbitors.

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9:45 am While the girls are still visiting with their favorite Disney characters, the boys head to Casey Jr. Circus Train and King Arthur’s Carrousel where we meet up together just past 10:00 am.

10 Disneyland Rides in 2 Hours Recap

In just 2 hours, together we completed 7 rides, have FASTPASSES in hand for another attraction and when we broke up into groups we squeezed in another 3 rides and met with 5 different characters.

So is it worth getting up early to avoid lines? To me, the obvious answer is yes! Use that morning time wisely and you could conquer your favorites easily by noon. Then have an enjoyable, relaxing lunch and head to your hotel (like my favorite, Grand Legacy At The Park) for a nap or a swim.

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Would You Do 10 Disneyland Rides in 2 Hours?

What do your mornings at the Disneyland Resort look like? Does this schedule make your head spin or does it sound like something you’d do? Our schedule is different every time, but those morning hours are golden opportunities to ride, ride, ride and make the most of your Disneyland tickets.

Tell us, could you do 10 Disneyland rides in 2 hours or is it just plain crazy?

Disneyland expert who also loves the beach, flip flops and pink nail polish.

Published by

Jessica Sanders

Disneyland expert who also loves the beach, flip flops and pink nail polish.

33 thoughts on “10 Disneyland Rides in 2 Hours”

  1. This is amazing info! We are leaving in 2 weeks for 2 days at disney. We went 2 yeats ago for my kids first time, did the 3 day park hopper, went slow, did parades and pictures, etc. My youngest couldn’t ride as much as my older one that trip. This trip we plan to just ride as much as possible. We have 2 day park hopper tickets and can pretty much ride everything this go round. Any suggestions on where to start to get the most out of our trip and ride everything, as much as possible, at least once? We will be there a Sunday and Monday with tickets purchased already. Thank you for your input.

    1. Michelle, thanks for your comment and questions! Check out our “what to ride first series” for the best idea on what to ride first in each land, which should give you a good idea on what first ride to choose for your family’s specific preferences. Please let me know how I can help if you need anything else. Enjoy!

    1. That’s what I like to hear! It helps give people confidence that it can be done. And if I can do it with 3 kids in tow, it’s totally something everyone should attempt. Thanks for sharing your success.

  2. Hello, we are going the weekend of 8/26, should we do disneyland Saturday or Sunday? Also how crowded you think it will be?

    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for your question! If you’re going just one day I’d visit Disneyland park on Sunday. Saturday is Disneyland park’s Magic Morning day so more people start their day there. Either way, you’re looking a bigger crowds because it’s the last few weekends before school begins and the final days of the Diamond Celebration. Plan on arriving to park at least an hour before park opening time. I’ll also have more info on August as it gets closer, but here’s what’s happening so far. Let me know if I can be of more help and enjoy your trip!

      1. Thank you for the info, we are only going 1 day and the other day we will go to Universal Studios. I’ll look into more info on August.

  3. Love this site and all your information! So helpful! We are headed down in a couple of days and I am trying to plan our strategy–and I’m overwhelmed! We have 3 day park hopper passes, a 5 year old girl who loves princesses and an 8 year old boy who loves Star Wars and has very little patience and gets cranky super fast!! Any suggestions on how you’d plan your mornings? We plan to get there at opening. Thanks in advance!!

    1. Hey Jennifer! So glad you wrote in. I’d love to hop on a quick phone call with you before your trip but for now let’s dive into a couple things. A 3 day hopper allows you early morning access to Disneyland on one morning. During that hour only Tomorrowland and Fantasyland is open, but Star Wars Launch Bay is not open during that hour (as of my last visit a couple months ago). I’d use that morning hour plus some to complete the following: 1. Go right to Star Wars Launch Bay and sign up for Jedi Training which now allows a limited number of sign ups during that hour, more details here. 2. Grab a FASTPASS for Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters on your way out of Tomorrowland (those FASTPASSES are right next to each other). 3. Ride something in Fantasyland, like Peter Pan’s Flight. It generally has a wait of 40 mins or more, but the line is almost all in the sun so if you can do this in the morning it will be the best time to wait for it. 3. Split up for about 30-45 mins if possible. 4. Take your daughter to meet the Princesses and Fairies while your son rides Hyperspace Mountain or Astro Orbitors and possibly Autopia. This is similar to our plan above and I think it will fit your family well. I will email you to see if we can set up on a phone call. Sending Pixie Dust your way!

  4. Hi hon! We’re going the week before Halloween, October 24-27th. It’s a Monday-Wednesday. Any super wonderful tips that’ll make it less stressful? We’re staying at the Grand, already reserved and we’re bringing out 5 year old daughter. Do you think it’ll be super crowded? We’re traveling from Phoenix. AZ, any extra help you can give us would be super appreciated. Thank you! <3

    1. Hi Cassie, thanks for your questions. That week will definitely be busy, especially in the evenings as I suspect most nights will be Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland park. These are extra ticketed events and tickets go on sale late July.

      For your stay, I recommend visiting Disneyland on days when it’s Mickey’s Halloween party since most people won’t arrive until that event begins. Then, if you don’t have a ticket for MHP, head over to DCA for the evening. I would also suggest to do one day without a regular park ticket and relax at the hotel, then go to Mickey’s Halloween Party during the evening. It’s a very fun experience!

      For other helpful tips during this time of year, check out the post on Mickey’s Halloween Party, 2016 Disneyland Planning Guide (scroll down to October and then check back in September for more updates to that section) and we also have a Disney Road Trip article which should help for your drive from AZ. Please don’t hesitate to reach out or email if I can be of more help.

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me. I’ll check the schedule and see when the MHP’s are. What is the best time of the year to go? We’re open to changing our dates. This’ll be the first time my daughter has been there and my husband and I haven’t been in well over 10 years. *gasp* I KNOW. We won’t ever wait this long again. LOL

        1. I would definitely still go in October! This is a great time of year with all the fall decor and ride overlays. Disneyland has seen such an increase in attendance that even what used to be the low season is now more crowded than in years past. Don’t let it worry you. The best thing you can do is prepare and plan and know that a good attitude goes a long way.

          We also have a Best Time to Visit post which highlights the best times to visit year-round depending on what you’re looking for. Keep me posted! 🙂

  5. Thanks a lot for writing this post! So glad I came across it. I’m almost 30 and swear I’m more excited about going to Disneyland than most children are. I am extremely glad that it’s only me and one friend going, no children attached, for my first time especially since we are doing it in 1 day! Crazy, I know. I totally plan on using your tips to hit up as many rides as we can in the first 2 hours!

    1. Awesome Vanessa! You will rock it. Seriously, going as an adult without kids is SO much fun. Remember to get to the gates about 30 mins before opening and you’re good to go. Let me know if I can be of any more help. Love planning Disneyland trips and helping my readers. 🙂

  6. How is your experience with late September? 25th-29th. I’m turning 21 and were flying to Vegas and then straight to see Mickey! We know we’ll be tired, that’s why we booked 5 day passes! Wondering if you have any experience with the crowds, and Cove Bar? I’m the last friend to turn 21 and we can’t wait!!

    1. You’ll have a great time in September! Those dates are marked “value” days by Disney, so the crowd level is not peak and 5 days will give you plenty of time to see everything.

      A few things you want to be aware of: driving from Vegas to Southern California on a Sunday can be crazy! Expect major traffic since there’s only one way back to LA area and lots of people go to Vegas for the weekend. Be safe driving and stay alert. If possible, leave Vegas before 10am.

      Mickey’s Halloween Party will be in the works. Select nights Disneyland will close early for special ticketed guests. You can read about Mickey’s Halloween Party here. A bonus about this time of year is all the fall decor.

      Cove Bar is a great spot! It’s first come, first serve and you’ll notice a line just to the side of Ariel’s Grotto as Cove Bar is behind it. Just plan to arrive about 30-45 minutes before you’d like to eat and drink. I love the famous lobster nachos. Here’s a little more about why I love California Adventure.

      You guys will have a blast celebrating your 21st! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you celebrate and check out my birthday article as well.

  7. Great post. We have been to Disneyland once and our going again during the crazy Thanksgiving holiday. My boys will be 7 and 13. They have never been on any of the roller coasters. Excited to do those this trip. Any suggestions for planning for being there during the very busy season. We will be doing Plaza Inn breakfast one day and Goofy Kitchen Dinner one night. Just not sure when to do which. 3 day park hopper going Thanksgiving, Black Friday and that Saturday.

    1. Cynthia, thanks for asking! It will indeed be a busy time. You’ll want to book your Thanksgiving day reservations exactly on the 60 days out mark. Set a reminder on your phone for that. I’ve been there on Black Friday and had a great experience. The parks didn’t start getting busy until after noon.

      If I were doing this trip myself, I might try Goofy’s Kitchen for dinner on the night you arrive (time permitting) or Friday. Since Goofy’s Kitchen is outside the parks, if you leave to eat there on Thanksgiving, there’s no guarantee you’ll get back into the park if it’s at capacity. When you book Plaza Inn, I’d vote for either a super early reservation or the latest available. If you do late, you can still ride a bunch of rides in the morning and it will be more like a brunch.

      As far as a morning schedule with your two boys, I suggest first thing to head for either Space Mountain (Hyperspace Mountain now during Season of the Force) or Star Tours. Both of those have FASTPASS options, so grab a FASTPASS for one and ride the other. Most of the rides teens love have FASTPASSES… after Star Tours and Space Mountain, grab a FASTPASS for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and ride Pirates, Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion before noon and you’ll experience very little waits.

      Don’t forget to get FP for Indiana Jones later on. Then ride Matterhorn when night time falls. Also check out our “what to ride first” series, that should be a big help. Please don’t hesitate to ask if I can help any more.

      1. Thank you for the ideas. We are very excited. I most def will be doing the fast passes. We also want to sigh up for Jedi training academy on Friday and also do the WOC desert party. Any thoughts? It’s good to know about the idea of leaving due to capacity, I never thought about that!

        1. Hi Cynthia, thanks for your questions! Be sure to arrive at rope drop and head straight for Tomorrowland to sign up for Jedi Training. For World of Color dessert party, you can book your reservation 60 days out and you will love the VIP treatment and seating area for World of Color. Enjoy your visit and let me know if there is anything else I can help with!

  8. Sounds great! Were going in 2 weeks, the week after spring break where I’m from, so I know its going to be super crowded!!!! Definitely getting up early early and doing the rope drop. We are bringing my 6 1/2 and 10 year old, so I’m wondering if they will even really be feeling Fantasyland? What do you think? I’m thinking we might just bypass that and go straight to Adventureland. Whenever I go, I always end up going to the right and end up in TomorrowLand first and then by the time we make it to Adventure land and New Orleans, it’s already packed. Thoughts?? I’m so excited, I’ve already booked lunch at Cafe Orleans, and a dinner at Ariel’s Grotto with the World of Color package. I ordered lanyards and trading pins on ebay yesterday. Bought the kids crocs, and am making lists and scouring the internet for blogs like this one. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Go girl! You’ve got this down! Definitely get there at rope drop. Fantasyland is certainly magical, if there’s anything there you think your girls will enjoy I’d hit that first, but limit it to one or two rides. After that I’d do: FASTPASS pull for Indiana Jones, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain (I like to ride Winnie the Pooh after Splash since the line in the AM is never long) before Indiana Jones then possibly hit Big Thunder after Indiana Jones. If the line is short for Big Thunder, grab a FP and ride it twice. By that time it should be lunch. I’d love to hear how you like Ariel’s Grotto, that sounds perfectly magical. I am happy to help in anyway so don’t hesitate to reach out again. Enjoy your trip!

  9. Thanks for the tips! as a first time Disneyland-goer this was really helpful. We normally like to ride the old-time cars up and down mainstreet in the morning, but we may have to ride a few of the big rides first thing and then head back to main street for the car rides.

    1. Hey Amanda, glad you found this helpful. I would definitely save the Main Street vehicles for later in the day when lines are much longer on all the rides you already went on (without waiting!) in the morning.

  10. Love your site:) Thanks for the tips. We’re going to Disneyland this summer. We can’t wait getting so excited!

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