Ways to save time at the Disneyland Resort

Many Disneyland and Disney World posts are about ways to save money.  That's not surprising -- Disney vacations don't come cheap, and it makes sense to save wherever you can.  That being said, however,  I think the most scarce (and hence, valuable) commodities you have while on vacation is time.  Vacations never last long enough, and vacations at the Disneyland Resort seem to fly by in the blink of an eye.  If you're like me, and want to make the most out of every second you spend at the Disneyland Resort, here are some tips on how to save time while you're there:

Purchase park tickets before you arrive
Ticket lines can get long at the beginning of the day!  Purchase your park passes before you leave home so you can head straight to the park gates.  You can buy them online, at a Disney Store, or at supermarkets and retailers.

Arrive at the parks early
I can't say this often enough -- arriving at the parks within 30 minutes of opening time can save you hours of waiting time!  Wait times are 10 minutes or less, and people end up getting off a ride and walking right back on again.  Based on my family's experience, you could potentially enjoy more rides during the first three hours of park opening than in the next six hours!  Don't forget to check opening times for the days you plan to be at the parks.

Eat early or eat late
Most people have lunch between noon and two in the afternoon, so lines are always the longest during that time period.  We like to skip a morning snack and head to an early lunch at 11:00am.  Another option (especially on days when you have an early start) is to enjoy a hearty morning snack at 10:30am, which keeps you fueled throughout the morning, and have a late lunch after 2:00pm.

Eat during parades
If you like watching parades, you'll know that families like to stake out the best parade viewing spots at least 1 hour before the parades are scheduled to begin.  Why not combine waiting time with eating time and have lunch or an afternoon snack while waiting for the parade?  If you have another adult in your party, you can hold your spot while someone else goes and gets some food.

Make dining reservations
Even if you plan to eat during low-traffic hours, chances are you'll still have to wait in line (just not as long).  Eliminate your wait time entirely by making reservations at your favorite Disney dining spots.  You can make reservations to many popular park restaurants online or on the phone, so you'll never have to hear the dreaded words, "it will be a 50-minute wait". Note, you'll be charged $10 per person in your reservation unless you cancel a day ahead of your scheduled time.

Shop late at night
Did you know that the shops in Disneyland's Main Street USA stay open an hour after the park closes?  If you plan to stay until the end, leave the shopping until the end!

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