1. The line for Pirates of the Caribbean splits into 2 directions at one point. When that happens – go right. Going left the line extends into a corner so you’ll wait longer.
2. The doors in the haunted mansion open to let you onto the ride are underneath the stretchy photo of the barrel guy. You can see a red light on the wall.
3. There’s a little known washroom up by the Enchanted Tiki Room. And the line for Dole Whips is much shorter up by the Tiki Room as well.
4. Toward the end of the night, Disney will inflate the wait times for the more popular rides. We once entered the queue for Radiator Springs Racers 15 minutes before the park closed. The posted wait time was 120 minutes. We were on in less than 20. They keep the posted time high so cast members don’t have to deal with 2 actual hours worth of people at the end of the night.
5. If it gets super busy & you need a drink – there’s a tiki themed bar at the Disneyland Hotel called Trader Sams (kid friendly too) where the bar itself kind of comes to life when certain drinks are ordered. Good food too.
6. World of Colour > Disneyland Fireworks. Plus it happens every night in California Adventure. Not just on weekends.
7. There’s a coffee shop in the Disneyland Hotel where you can get a Dole Whip with rum in it.
8. In the Star Wars Launch Bay – there’s a seemingly empty Mos Eisley Cantina. If you see cast members hanging around- ask if they’ve seen Boba Fett. It may trigger a secret meet & greet.
9. In Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – there’s a secret 100,000 point target just underneath the Z on Emperor Zurg’s chest.
10. Plaza Inn fried chicken is very good. And you don’t need a reservation to get in.
11. There’s a Starbucks in each park where you can get pretty neat Disneyland/California Adventure specific You Are Here mugs. They usually have a line specifically for merch so you can avoid the super long coffee lines.
12. The parks are least busy the first 2 hours of the day. If you can get there around then you’ll walk right onto rides for the first hour or so. They get most busy around 2 but there’s a second wave of busyness between 3:30-5 as SoCal locals get off work & just swing by the park to hang out for a few hours.
13. Wear your best shoes. The parks are earthquake-proof so the ground is super reinforced concrete. When you add that + 20,000 steps your feet will be sore AF.
14. Kids tend to have sensory overload sugar infused dehydration meltdowns between 2-4 pm. Bring your own bottles of water or get a free cup of water from anywhere that has a soft drink fountain.