Big Thrills versus Little Frills- What should I do first in Disneyland?

I can not stress using the Fast Pass system enough. The Fast Pass is free and it allows you to virtually hold a space in line at the big rides while you carry on your merry way. Usually our strategy involves, getting to the park early (opening time early). I know that many, many people would rather sleep in and “take it easy” in the park. Don’t sleep in. There will be even longer lines with longer waits (brutal if the heat is above 80).

Peter Pan’s Flight NOTE: In Disneyland if you wait later than opening time, Peter Pan’s flight wait begins to build up to 70 minutes long and that’s a wait no one can get around. No fast passes, no shorter lines at different times of day, no nothing. To minimize your wait, hit that first when they open Fantasyland. Have a patient parent wait in line while the toddler and you ride the carousel.


As soon as you get into Fantasyland, knock out all the little rides there before they stack up with people waiting to get on since none of these rides use the Fast Pass system, you have to wait. The rides are so short that sometimes the wait just doesn’t seem worth it to an adult but to a kid, they are having the time of their lives. Also, you meet the thrill capacity for the littles and are able to bribe them with other things like cold drinks and shows.

IMG_4397Dumbo and the teacups have an especially high pay off after you ride them for everyone. After Peter Pan’s flight, you’ve rode at least 3-4 little kids rides. Head back to Toon Town when it opens, usually an hour or so later.

I am not a personal fan of Toon Town, it just feels too TOONY. It has an entirely different feel from Disneyland especially Fantasyland which is where it’s located out of. This past vacation, we did find a few cool gems.

If you get to Toon Town when it opens you can literally walk right onto Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and Gadget’s Go Coaster. A tip for the Go Coaster, while part of your family is on the ride have everyone else watch from Donald’s Boat house. The coaster passes right in front of you. Also, take off your ears or else they might end up in the pond.

You can also meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse back here but we skipped out on the characters this time around. One day Mickey…. one day. 

If you ride all the little rides early, you can ride at least 5-6 rides early with the rest of the afternoon opened up for family rides, snacks, character meetings and shows. The big kid rides can be sprinkled in there as you go about your day or ride them while everyone is watching the parades around 5pm.

Here’s also another way to play the waiting game, while a family member is on the “Big Kid” Rides with the fast pass, ride the little kid ride nearby to kill some time.

While Big Kid is on _____________ (BK) ride this ____________(LK).

Splash Mountain——> Winnie the Pooh
Indiana Jones ——–> Tarzan’s Treehouse
Star Tours or Space Mountain——–> Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters or Astro orbitor
Matterhorn—–> Storybook Canals


Tower of Terror——-> Bug’s Land rides
Radiator Springs——> snack time at Cozy Cones
Screaming’————-> King Triton’s Carousel
Goofy’s Flight School—–> Golden Zypher or Ariel’s Undersea Adventure

Family Rides: Recommended rides that everyone can ride together (Toddlers-upward)
Storybook Canal Boats
Alice In Wonderland
Peter Pan’s Flight
Mad Hatter Tea Party
it’s a small world
Nemo’s Underwater Adventure
Buzz Lightyear Astro blasters
Jungle Cruise
Pirates of the Caribbean
Haunted Mansion

Disney California Adventure
Heimlich’s Chew Chew
Flick’s Flyers
Mickey’s Fun Wheel
Ariel’s Underwater Adventure

Final thoughts, ride as many little rides as you can before 10am so you can take your time enjoying the other rides later in the day.

NEVER, EVER… do stand-by on any ride with a wait over 60 minutes. EVER.


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