Disneyland plans? How we rode 17 attractions in one day, with time to spare, regulating apps as the guide


Wait times displayed inside a central and really graphical Disneyland Resort smartphone app.

Apologies to Walt, though Disneyland competence now be described as, “The app-iest place on Earth.” Or it should be if we wish a best vacation knowledge with a slightest time station in lines.

Crowds and prolonged captivate waits during a strange Anaheim park and a Disneyland Resort neighbor, Disney California Adventure, might siphon fun out of even this happiest place. But branch to record before withdrawal home, and relying on it once inside a parks, can assistance soothe a lot of a will-we-see-it-all anxiety.

App downtime in Toontown with Frank and associate Dee Dee. (GeekWire Photo / Frank Catalano)

That’s what we detected on a new prolonged weekend scrutiny of Disneyland Resort. we was visiting with my mother Dee Dee on regular, entirely paid 3-Day Park Hopper tickets. No special GeekWire writer diagnosis for us. So this recommendation will approaching work for we as well.

At slightest it will if we (and, importantly, those with whom you’re traveling) don’t mind giving adult some impetuosity in preference of time-saving digital direction. We were dual adults, no kids, and tended to determine on what we wanted to do. As with all Disney vacation advice, YMMV (Your Magic May Vary).

Dueling Disneyland apps

For decades of visits, starting with my childhood in southern California, a common Disneyland slight was to uncover adult during a park, buy a tickets, squeeze a paper beam map, and afterwards run to a many stirring rides during a time when E sheet was not shorthand for “electronic ticket.”

Today, we can do most of this by a central Disneyland Resort smartphone app. The giveaway app lets we buy park tickets (or store a bar codes of already-purchased earthy tickets for entrance scans), check park hours and uncover times, and haven dining. All are useful before we arrive.

But is this one app enough? In a experience, no.

The web-based trip-planning dashboard for a TouringPlans.com Lines app with throng forecasts.

That’s since we incited to a renouned app Lines. It’s from a creators of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and a associated website TouringPlans.com. The app recommends that rides to see, in what order, to minimize time in line, formed on ancestral information and your group’s preferences. Lines is free, though requires an annual subscription to use dual of a some-more absolute features: real-time captivate wait times and a calendar that forecasts altogether crowds during any of a parks on any given day.

One subscription relates to both a TouringPlans.com website and a Lines app. We found it to be reasonable. A Disneyland Resort subscription is $7.95 for a year, even reduction if we also buy a Unofficial Guide book. We did, from Amazon, and paid $14.73 for a book and $5.17 for a one-year subscription. There are also subscriptions and books for Walt Disney World, if you’re streamer to Orlando.

Disneyland’s in-app MaxPass upsell for FastPass reservations and PhotoPass pictures.

The central Disneyland Resort app also has an reward upsell within it for a newer underline called MaxPass. For an additional $10 per sheet per day, MaxPass gives we a choice to get allege FastPass float entrance time reservations (to minimize line waits) directly from inside a app though carrying to revisit a earthy FastPass placement kiosks subsequent to a rides that accept it. MaxPass also allows total downloads of PhotoPass cinema taken on attractions and in a park. And, of course, if we buy your entrance tickets from within a central Disneyland app, that costs additional as well.

There are several some-more facilities in each, such as grill menus and prices in a Lines app and mobile dish grouping in a Disneyland app. But candidly, we were all about a rides.

Home screens of a Disneyland app (left) and Lines app (right) are visually really different.

Prepare to accommodate your Mouse

The initial certification step was to download a Android versions of a dual apps to a Samsung Galaxy 7S phones. Both apps are also accessible for Apple’s iOS. we immediately beheld that a central Disney app had a graphically richer and some-more complicated interface, while a unaccepted Lines app was some-more text-based and practical in appearance.

The subsequent really critical step? Decide that attractions we positively must ride.

But we wish to be child-like and sugar-fueled, we hear we cry. That sounds like work and this is ostensible to be fun.

The smirch with a Peter-Pan-on-the-fly proceed is that to use possibly app effectively when you’re in a park, we have to know what it is you’ll be unhappy to not experience.  Besides, there’s legit investigate that’s found simply formulation a vacation indeed boosts complacency due to anticipation.

We’d visited a parks before, so selecting must-do rides was easier for us. But for newbies and those who haven’t been in a prolonged time, there are good descriptions of a attractions on many websites, including TouringPlans.com and a central Disneyland Resort site. Also a good idea: Check that rides are sealed for refurbishment on possibly site. Or check a news site like MousePlanet (one of my favorites, even as a Disney non-obsessive) that provides weekly updates.

Time-saving step-by-step itineraries are a standout facilities of a unaccepted Lines app.

Armed with a must-sees and a days we knew we’d be there, we went to a TouringPlans.com site to emanate personalized furloughed plans. That meant, for any day, picking a park, a attractions, and a approaching park attainment and depart times. We could have finished this on a smartphones, though we used a laptop so we could improved see some-more options on a incomparable screen.

The initial thing we beheld was that TouringPlans.com’s throng foresee for both parks was normal in intensity, though augmenting over a 3 days (two of a 3 nights were high propagandize Grad Nites). That gave us a heads adult as to when lines were approaching to be longer.

We knew we wouldn’t have full initial day in a park due to an attainment moody that morning, so for Friday we picked a smaller Disney California Adventure. Saturday, we chose Disneyland with a “Magic Morning” early entrance enclosed with a Park Hopper tickets. And for Sunday, also a prejudiced day due to a moody home, we combined a tiny devise for any park to cover a reduction critical captivate choices.

The Lines app asked us to name how quick we walk, either to minimize watchful or walking, if we’d be regulating a MaxPass, or if we had a FastPass curtain who’d scurry and get a earthy kiosk FastPass reservations while a rest of a organisation hoofed it to a subsequent attraction. We chose “average,”  “balance,” “no,” and “no.” We also motionless not to embody dish or mangle times, presumption we’d break while in motion.

Wait times are some-more graphical in a Disneyland app (left), some-more notation in a Lines app (right).

TouringPlans.com also has several pre-configured skeleton highlighting renouned attractions for adults, families, and relatives with tiny children. These, too, can be customized, though we started from blemish for ours.

Then we clicked “Optimize.” That practical estimated and real-time line information to classify a devise into a step-by-step itinerary. It had specific captivate attainment and wait times, and told us when to run and get a FastPass to float an captivate later. we also printed out copies of a useful customized park maps with any step’s plcae highlighted.

Now to a central Disneyland app. we simply photographed a bar codes of a earthy Disneyland Resort tickets into a Disneyland app’s My Tickets section. This also had a advantage of giving us a serviceable backup in box we ever unnoticed a costly paper sheet originals.

I double-checked and was gay to find that an existent dusk grill reservation seemed in a Disneyland app’s My Plans section. we had finished it on a Disneyland website months progressing regulating a same email residence log-in credentials.

We were app ready.

Entering Disney California Adventure during Disneyland Resort. (GeekWire Photo / Frank Catalano)

Friday: a loyal Disney California Adventure

Our moody was early. So instead of removing to Disney California Adventure, a initial park, during 11:30 am as planned, we arrived during 10:45 am.

We could have ironically stood and waited 45 mins to start regulating a Lines channel we’d optimized a night before. Instead, we non-stop a app, altered a attainment time to 10:45 am, and pulpy “Optimize.” In reduction than 45 seconds, a devise stairs had been re-ordered and re-timed for a day.

That meant instead of The Little Mermaid, we began with Monsters, Inc. We fast finished it by a initial 3 attractions with probably no waits (Lines accurately likely that a Goofy’s Sky School FastPass we picked adult during a kiosk could be used immediately, bypassing those station in a 30-minute unchanging line).

Sorry, Ariel. You got optimized to second though interjection for waiting. (Geekwire Photo / Frank Catalano)

It was usually when we got to a new — and packaged — Guardians of a Galaxy Mission Breakout captivate that we strike a initial glitch: battery life.

After we finished an channel step in Lines, we were ostensible to open a app and click that a step was “Done.” we insincere this was to concede for channel recalculation. But I’d also been checking a Disneyland app’s wait times for comparison, and beheld any time we did so, a abounding graphical park map solemnly reloaded.

We’d been in a park reduction than an hour and we was already down to 75 percent battery. To make matters worse, a outmost recharging container I’d purchased on Amazon, expecting we’d need additional extract any day, was faulty. I’d charged it during home, though we hadn’t tested it beforehand. It didn’t work.

It was Dee Dee who had a shining suspicion of putting a phones into aeroplane mode when we weren’t actively regulating them. Good idea: Switching in and out of aeroplane mode got my removal battery by a rest of a day.

For a fee, we can buy and barter battery packs via a Disneyland Resort parks.

Granted, we could have forsaken $30 for a entirely charged unstable battery during one of 4 locations inside a park, with a ability to barter it out for a newly recharged one for free. But we had rides to ride, and we wasn’t meddlesome in interlude to buy a low-capacity battery pack.

Second doctrine schooled while in a Guardians line: a Lines app was roughly always some-more accurate on wait times than a Disneyland app. There were occasions when even Disneyland’s app and a posted wait time pointer during a captivate didn’t agree. For Guardians, Disney pronounced there would be a 45 notation wait. Lines projected 25 minutes. The existence was 30 minutes. Advantage Lines.

Waiting for super-headliner Guardians of a Galaxy in DCA. (Geekwire Photo / Frank Catalano)

By 2:00 pm, we’d arrived during a eighth and final captivate in a furloughed plan, a impossibly renouned Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land. We waited 48 minutes, a longest line of a day. But when we got to a front of it, one Disney expel member told me we were lucky. He pronounced he frequency had seen waits of reduction than 90 to 120 mins during any indicate this year.

It might have been both fitness and Lines. We’d had a app re-optimize a channel a integrate of times, and twice it had stirred us to collect adult FastPass reservations. By 3:00 pm, we’d strike all a must-see attractions in Disney California Adventure and we were giveaway to wander, shop, and watch parades.

First day results: Eight attractions in about 4 hours, no rushing, and lots of giveaway time.

For Star Tours, FastPass was like intergalactic PreCheck. (Geekwire Photo / Frank Catalano)

Saturday: Disneyland or die

If we were going to stress-test a Lines tradition itineraries, it would be during Disneyland park. We had an desirous report of 17 must-see attractions (I do like a strange park). Lines had estimated it would need 3 FastPass reservations.

Our Park Hopper tickets enclosed one day with “Magic Morning” early entry, and we designed to use it today. We arrived during 8:00 am, one hour before a park non-stop to a entire public.

First problem: The Lines app wanted us to initial squeeze a FastPass for Space Mountain and afterwards float it immediately, bypassing a unchanging line as we’d finished with Goofy’s Sky School a day earlier. However, a channel didn’t commend that Disneyland wasn’t permitting a use of a FastPass until a posted 9:00 am opening time. We simply skipped that step and got in a unchanging line.

TouringPlans.com provides a park map for a endorsed Lines app steps. Print or save a copy.

Second problem: In opening a Lines app following to click that Space Mountain was “Done,” a web connectivity blunder regularly seemed instead of my itinerary. we apparently was in a partial of a park where T-Mobile information coverage was bad (Disneyland Resort does have some WiFi prohibited spots, though they’re distant from ubiquitous). This was when carrying a printed paper duplicate of a channel helped. we was means to go to a subsequent step on a map.

Despite these early morning glitches, by 1:52 pm we’d left on 17 rides, including headliners Star Tours, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion, and Peter Pan’s Flight. I’d walked 13,754 steps, my Fitbit declared. We had not waited in any line for some-more than 15-20 minutes. On a Saturday in June.

All of that, in reduction than 6 hours, with a rest of a day to freestyle.

Using leftover time, an visitor concept, to locate a Pixar parade. (Geekwire Photo / Frank Catalano)

Sunday and beyond: Do over and over

Our knowledge with a Lines app had been so successful, we scrapped a step-by-step furloughed skeleton for a third and final day. We’d managed to re-ride renouned attractions and bound on a delegate choices on a prior dual days, after we finished a Lines itineraries.

With that giveaway time, we even braved It’s a Small World.

Paper still persists for some tickets and FastPass lapse reminders. (GeekWire Photo / Frank Catalano)

But carrying let a smartphones, instead of a consciences, be a guides (sorry, Jiminy), we left Disneyland Resort with 5 tips for anyone else wanting a less-stressful nonetheless gratifying park app experience:

  • Use both a central Disneyland and unaccepted Lines apps. While a Lines app was unmatched in saving time watchful for attractions, usually a Disneyland app can be used for mobile food ordering, creation dining reservations, and — interestingly — canceling a FastPass we aren’t going to use so we can get a new one for a opposite float right away.
  • Bring paper or pixel backup. Smartphone connectivity goes down. If we have printed a paper duplicate of your Lines itinerary, it’s easier to stay on track. Or improved still, save a PDF chronicle or print of a printed chronicle to your phone.
  • Carry a unstable battery pack. Both apps can be battery sucks. Power outlets are tough to find in a parks and will delayed we down as we wait for a assign to replenish. Drop $10-20 and get a good peculiarity rechargeable battery for your smartphone. Test it before we arrive.
  • Optimize your Lines channel often. Since existence intervenes (rides do close, even temporarily, and throng distance forecasts might change), Lines is means to use stream information to make certain we can keep relocating and maximize your changed vacation time.
  • Consider MaxPass if you’re certain you’ll use it. We didn’t opt for a Disneyland app’s extra-cost MaxPass option. But it might be inestimable if we wish some-more rides that use FastPass, or if we devise to download a lot of park-taken photos. We didn’t need it since a Lines skeleton were plain and we’re into selfies.

With good formulation and a right apps, Disneyland Resort itself might feel like a tiny world, after all.

An suitable and gratifying ending. (Geekwire Photo / Frank Catalano)

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