Mickey & Friends Trams

It’s no secret that taking a trip to the Disneyland Resort can nearly bankrupt a small family if you’re not careful with your planning. Over the years our family has sought out ways to get the most out of our visits from easier ways to get around the parks, to ways to ride our favorite attractions with minimal wait times. The following tips will work during any visit, but will be especially effective during crowded times like the upcoming Monstrous Summer 24-hour event!

Are you ready? Let’s go…

1. Get Your Walk On.

Yes Disneyland offers the Mickey & Friends tram service from the parking structure of the same name. The problem here is that everybody and their mother, and possibly their mother will be trying to cram themselves, strollers and children into each tram that arrives.

Here is a better option…When you get to the bottom of the escalator leading out from the parking structure you will see a crosswalk on your right. Once you cross, turn left and head toward the street called Magic Way. Once you get to the street make a left and walk toward the crosswalk (Disneyland Drive) and cross the street. On the other side of the street go right and follow the path which will lead you right to the Disney Resort main entrance. From start to finish this walk will take about 10-12 minutes at a moderate pace. Compare this to 25-30 minutes total tram time (including waiting), and you can see this is a huge time saver when you factor in your return trip to the parking structure later that evening. Not to mention it’s just good exercise.

Alternatively if you want to check out Downtown Disney first and already have your tickets, you can catch the Disneyland Monorail which will take you straight into Tomorrowland at the Disneyland Park. Here is another entrance tip…If you’d like to go to Disney California Adventure first (DCA) then head on over to the Grand Californian Hotel. Here you will find a special entrance that will lead right into the park in the Grizzly Peak area. Keep in mind this entrance is reserved for hotel guests exclusively until the park officially opens, but after that it’s open to anyone with a valid park ticket. To get to Downtown Disney you will follow the same directions above, but make a right at Magic Way and cross the street to the Downtown Disney district.

Mickey & Friends Tram Station

Don’t be these people!

2. Don’t Forget Where Your Whip Is!

No we aren’t talking about the type of whip that Indiana Jones uses! Whip is a slang term for “expensive automobile” or just simply your car. Regardless of what value you place on your whip,  you certainly don’t want to forget where you parked it! The easiest way is to make a note on your phone, or take the ticket that’s provided by the cast member as you enter the parking lot with you. You can circle the level, row and section where you parked your whip, so you don’t spend time walking around aimlessly after a tiring day at the parks.

3. Head Due East.

You’ve made it to the Disneyland main entrance plaza! If you already have your tickets you’re golden, just head straight to the entrance of the park you’d like to visit. If you don’t have your tickets you will notice the ticket booths right as you come through the security checkpoint, walk past them! Everybody will stop to get their tickets here, and you can easily waste an hour just trying to buy your tickets. Keep walking to the east side of the Disneyland entrance plaza where you will see another batch of ticket booths. These tickets booths are far less crowded since they are on the opposite side of where 80% of guests will enter the parks. On crowded days we’ve been in and out of the ticket line in less than 15 minutes.

Evan By Ticket Booth

Everyone must be using those west side booths.

4. Are You a Potty Animal?

Ok, clearly we’ve watched the Elmo Potty Video one too many times, but everyone will need to go at some point. Outside of each park you will find a restroom that is far less crowded than the ones as you enter the parks. While everyone else is trying to get into the parks you can use the restroom in peace.

5. Take the “A” Train.

New Orleans Square Station

First stop…Fun!

If it’s your first time visiting Disneyland we order you to walk down Main Street U.S.A! As a child both my wife and I have that first memory of walking in and seeing the long stretch that is Main Street that leads to The Quad, where your adventure truly begins. But if you’ve been before, you can do what we do now, and hop on the Disneyland railroad from the Main Street station and bypass the Main Street crowd altogether. You can take a round trip around the park if you’d like, or hop off on one of four stops along the route. Our vote is to jump off at the New Orleans Square station and ride Pirates of the Caribbean, as the wait time is typically no longer than 30 minutes, and even less on days where the park isn’t crowded. If you’re hungry you will find some of the best food in this area as well! Here is a small challenge for you…Can you find the entrance to the exclusive Club 33?

Pirates Wait Time

15 minutes to get the booty…Pirate booty that is!

6. Stay In a Single File Line.

You will quickly notice that walking side by side just doesn’t work when the park is crowded. We’ve tried it, and you just end up bumping into people, and slowing everybody down. The fix? Walk in a single file line, and hold on to the person in front of you. This a “must” after parades, or any big shows like fireworks, World Of Color, Fantasmic!, and so on.

7. Don’t Veer Into Oncoming Traffic.

Just like when you drive on the street, there is a natural flow of traffic that follows the same pattern in the parks. Disney cast members are great about keeping things flowing so you won’t have to really worry about this. However we still have to remind ourselves from time to time to walk with the flow and not against it. This may seem like a no brainer, but you can waste a ton of time just trying to weave around oncoming traffic, when it’s so much better to walk with the flow.

Evan & Elijah Holding Hands

These guys broke both rules.

Well that’s it for part 1. Don’t forget to check back for part 2 in our next post. Until next time…


Filed under: Save Time

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