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The Ultimate List of Hacks to Prepare for Your Upcoming Disneyland Trip

If you don't want to pay for parking and are going to park hop, you can use the Downtown Disney 3 Hour lot for free (for three hours) and either go in and out every three hours, or buy something and validate the ticket for more time.
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  • If you don't want to pay for parking and are going to park hop, you can use the Downtown Disney 3 Hour lot for free (for three hours) and either go in and out every three hours, or buy something and validate the ticket for more time.

  • Use the Grand Californian Hotel entrance/exit from DCA to sneak out for mojitos. Constantly.
  • Fastpasses aren't really a hack, as they're for every guest, but using them effectively is a hack. Also, abusing them, which I won't detail, is definitely a hack. Light Googling will tell you how to do that.
  • During parades, walk through the stores on Main Street instead of on the sidewalks. The stores are connected all the way down.
  • Always take the left line in a fork in line. People generally instinctively go right.
  • Complain and compliment. Did something really great happen? Did something really bad happen? Tell guest relations in the front of the park at City Hall. Believe me, reports from guests that are in earnest and not just screaming are absolutely handed to the right people.
  • Get a Happy Birthday pin even if it's not that close to your birthday ("this is my birthday trip that got delayed!"). At the very least you get a lot of smiles and Happy Birthdays, and sometimes a Cast Member will do something nice for you.
  • Get a mint julep soda from the back of French Market, where there is a never-used walk-up coffee/pastry/delicious things window.
  • Ask one of the Railroad ops if you can see the Lily Belle or the engineers cabin.
  • Ask for the front seat. They'll give it to you every time. You might have to wait for the next train, but you get the seat you want.
  • Check for days that are Annual Passport blackout days with early opening that are not traditionally crowded days. If you can find a day that is all three of these things and you get to the park half an hour before rope drop, you will have no crowds and ride everything multiple times.
  • Go see the Disney Gallery in the Bank.
  • ONLY ride the Matterhorn left side, it's by far the better of the two.
  • Learn when to "clap off" the lights in the Haunted Mansion preshow. It's funny.
  • If you have good connections to a member: Go get buzzed at Club 33.
    • Single riders: A few rides (Indiana Jones, Splash Mountain are the 2 I'm sure of) have single rider lines that you can go through if you're riding alone, or don't care if you sit with your friends. You end up waiting in line for about 2 min for the Indiana Jones one (but still have to walk a loooong way, that takes the majority of the time).

  • Babies: "Baby Swap" (aka "Baby Pass") is great if you're going with a small child. One adult stays with the child while everyone else waits in line, then you swap the child and the original holder gets to go through a much shorter line. They can take other people with them, too, so other party members can go multiple times!
  • Moms: The mother's center (at the end of Main Street) is fantastic -- a quiet place to breastfeed, nice changing tables, high chairs for feeding, and they sell baby food, diapers, etc. if you're in a pinch!
    • To save time and money, buy your tickets online first. The lines at the ticket windows during the summer can get long very quickly. Also if you are a member of AAA you may be able to get a discount.

  • You can "steer" the Mark Twain if you ask the captain.
  • On Indiana Jones, look for the bamboo rod as you walk through the entrance area where skulls and arrows are. If you pull on it very hard, you'll hear a tremendous crash and the ceiling will drop about a foot down. It's great fun to see that entire hallway move. Readers have mentioned this at times does not work. It's been my experience it is down about 30 - 40% of the time based on riding Indiana Jones several times during a 3 month period.
  • You only have to wait two hours between the times you get a FastPass, regardless of the time printed on it. The internal Disney system tracks who came in the park on each ticket and also tracks in 120 minute intervals when a FastPass was printed. This works very well for high-traffic rides including the new Star Tours and Space Mountain.
  • Getting in the park at 8am and going straight to the FastPass line for Star Tours can save you hours. Typical wait times without a FastPass for this [ride] are quite long (over 120 minutes on Father's Day) so getting an early start definitely pays off. This ride is worth it, it's excellent.
  • Lines 13, 20, or 21 move fastest at the Disneyland entrance.
  • Definitely get an application on your phone that tells you wait times by ride. While WiFi service in Disneyland is spotty, I've used Verizon 3G in the park to check ride wait times with good results.
  • A great place for a quiet dinner is the Mexican restaurant right next to Thunder Mountain. It is designed for large crowds, yet often only has maybe 50 - 100 people dining there. The name is Rancho del Zocalo Restaurant. I recommend this place, it's quiet and the food is excellent.
  • Make reservations at the Blue Bayou, the restaurant inside Pirates of the Caribbean now before you go. It's worth it, the atmosphere is amazing there. This is the number for Disney dining and special events reservations: (714) 781-3463.
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