Best One Day at Disneyland Plan - The Happiest Blog on Earth

Best One Day at Disneyland Plan

If you’re spending one day at Disneyland, or even several in a row, I have put together my best one day Disneyland Plan tips just for you.One Day at Disneyland PlanIt isn’t easy doing Disneyland in one day and it’s why I recommend getting discount Disneyland tickets for at least 3 days, but today we’re talking all about my best one day Disneyland Plans so you can maximize your time over one day or a few. 

One Day at Disneyland Plan: Before You Arrive

Doing one day at Disneyland takes some major commitment and smart planning. Before you arrive at Disneyland, there’s a few things you need to check off your to-do list.


Disneyland Ticket Discount


  1. Download the official Disneyland App now, and make sure all adults in your party have it on their phone too. 
  2. Buy your Disneyland Park tickets on the app. This is advice I rarely give because there are no discounts on one day tickets. One day park hoppers cost nearly $200 vs a lower-level 2 day ticket is only around $220.
  3. Pre-pay for Disney MaxPass, an essential for any one day Disneyland trip.

One Day at Disneyland Morning Plan

Do not sleep in. I know, it’s so tempting but if you’re spending only one day at Disneyland it is vital you get there for what locals call “Rope Drop.” Here’s the details on opening Disneyland Resort.


Disneyland gates


  1. Arrive at parking early; here’s where to park and what time to get there
  2. Prepare for a quick security screening and don’t bring any banned items.
  3. All the details on why you actually want to be there that early, for Rope Drop.

One Day at Disneyland Printable Plan

After all the money spent and time committed, the last thing you want to do is show up with no game plan. It’s crazy how quickly several hours can fly by and you realize all you’ve done is a couple rides and wandered around. I don’t want that to happen to you! 

Disneyland Plan thumbnailThis Disneyland Plan is my only one day park hopper plan that combines favorite elements from both parks. It focuses on a family-friendly experience, so there’s a mix of rides for all heights and some thrill rides. You can easily swap out a kid ride for a nearby thrill ride and vice versa. It also excludes most rides that tend to make people sick.


One Day at Disneyland Plan for Food

If your goal is to do and see everything you can possibly squeeze into one day, you might want to skip those leisurely sit down meals, but I do think those are great for a “forced” recharge. 


Lamplight Lounge drinks


Still some meals and/or locations are worth it, even when time is limited. These sit down meals will take about 60-90 minutes of your day. 


Lamplight lounge lobster nachos


No time to slow down? Quick service, in combination with mobile ordering will be your best friend! Use the Disneyland App to browse menus and order even while you’re waiting in line. Here are a few of my favorite options for quick meals.


Disneyland cinnamon roll


  • Breakfast: Hands down, Jolly Holiday for breakfast croissant or cinnamon roll.
  • Lunch: Corn Dog from the Little Red Wagon on Main Street or mobile order at Stage Door Cafe or Corn Dog Castle. 
  • Dinner: Soup in a bread bowl from Pacific Wharf Cafe or fried chicken from Plaza Inn.


Fried Chicken at Plaza Inn.


Don’t forget there are often seasonal festivals at California Adventure like Food & Wine and Festival of Holidays. These new menu items are some of my favorite things to try and are a quick grab and go options. 

One Day at Disneyland Plan for Parades & Shows

If parades and shows like Fantasmic or World of Color are on your list, I have a few time-saving secrets for you. 

  1. Your Disney MaxPass purchase allows you to secure a FASTPASS for both Fantasmic and World of Color. Depending on the day’s schedule you might not be able to do both but snagging a FASTPASS won’t hurt . . . it doesn’t count against you for ride FASTPASSES. Grab it first thing in the morning on the app and decide as your day goes on. Fantasmic MaxPass
  2. Upgrades for shows and parades could save you time. On the busiest days, you might want to book something with reserved viewing. Disneyland offers reserved space for parades, World of Color and Fantasmic


Halloween World of Color


3. Don’t miss the fireworks! Fireworks show most nights throughout the year, but are limited to weekends during the slower season. See what’s playing during your visit here

What’s your one day at Disneyland course of action? Walk to talk things through a little more? Email me [email protected] and we can set up a phone call for all your questions and answers. 

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