2-Day Disneyland Plan

Taking a longer California vacation and want to do 2 days in Disneyland? This touring plan offers a step-by-step strategy for efficiently experiencing the park’s most popular attractions to save time. In so doing, our 2-day itinerary also offers suggestions for leisurely ways to “stop and smell the roses” and enjoy the exceptional Disney theming.

With the highest attraction count of any Disney theme park in the United States, dedicating two days to Disneyland is a good idea. Although it’s the smallest park in square footage, Disneyland’s attraction density is impressive, making it akin to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (if you’re looking for a Florida comparison). Quite simply, the vast majority of guests who are going to spend 3 days or more at Disneyland Resort should spend their “bonus” day in Disneyland (Park).

We’ve already shared our 1-Day Disneyland Itinerary, but this post is not simply “Day 2” of that. Rather, this is a stand-alone touring plan that reevaluates what your priorities and pace should be if you’re spending a second day in Disneyland. You could say this “plan of attack” is more like a “foray of fun,” as it takes a slightly more leisurely pace than our 1-day Disneyland itinerary…

Additionally, we offer minimal FastPass and MaxPass guidance. This is not because you shouldn’t use these–you absolutely should–but because it’s difficult to recommend specific times to get a FastPass since it’ll differ depending upon crowds and whether you purchase MaxPass. Consult our Guide to FastPass & MaxPass at Disneyland for recommendations on attractions to prioritize.

Note that this 2-day Disneyland itinerary is not a thorough listing of every attraction in the park. Even in 2 full days, you’re likely going to be skipping some stuff. For our ride ratings and reviews of each attractions, read our Best Disneyland Attractions & Ride Guide post.

If you need comprehensive assistance planning every aspect of your trip to Disneyland Resort, from where to purchase discount tickets to transportation from the airport, etc., read our Disneyland Resort Trip Planning Guide. That covers all facets of your vacation–this just covers how to spend your park time at Disneyland. There’s so much more to know, from Disney California Adventure to hotels, and more!

What this Disneyland itinerary provides is a rough blueprint for experiencing our favorite things to do in an “ideal day” at Disneyland. This touring plan assumes moderate crowd levels (click here for our Disneyland Crowd Calendars); actual crowd levels and wait times will vary depending upon when you visit.

Early Morning Attractions: Fantasyland – Without question, you should start the morning of the first day in Fantasyland. We highly recommend starting with Peter Pan’s Flight, which gets the longest line the quickest.

Follow that with the following attractions in order: Alice in Wonderland, Casey Junior, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. If the posted wait time is over 20 minutes for any of the attractions after Peter Pan’s Flight, skip it. We’ll come back later to hit the rest of Fantasyland.

One of the big selling points for MaxPass is that you can virtually “grab” FastPasses while you’re zigzagging across Fantasyland, doing these attractions via the standby queues.

Toontown Tranquility – Once the crowds arrive in Fantasyland, it’s time to bail. You’ll stay one step ahead of the masses by moving on to Toontown, which will see its rush later in the day.

You’ll want to start by doing Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, which takes you aboard a spinning, dark ride voyage through Toontown. If your kids don’t know who Roger Rabbit is, just tell them he’s a knock-off Bugs Bunny. (Wait…do today’s kids know who Bugs Bunny is, either?)

After doing Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, feel free to take a bit of a breather–you’ve earned it. There are a ton of funny interactive gags throughout Toontown, and the alleyways are great for memorable family photos. These areas will be packed later in the day, so doing this now actually is an efficient use of your time. (After this, grab a FastPass for something if you haven’t been doing it via MaxPass.)

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Morning Snack: Matterhorn Macaroon – With most of Disneyland’s popular dark rides crossed off your list, it’s time to slow down and have a snack break. Head down to Jolly Holiday Bakery at the edge of Main Street where several delicious treats are available, including Sarah’s favorite: the Matterhorn Macaroon.

Personally, I prefer a couple of nearby alternatives. The first of these is the Disneyland donut stand to the left of Sleeping Beauty Castle. This serves a variety of inventive donuts, but they are sometimes sold out, even early in the day. Failing that, I like the Cheddar Garlic Bagel Twist at Maurice’s Treats in Fantasy Faire (also left of the castle). This cart also serves the Grey Stuff Twist and Strawberry Rose Twist, both of which are probably more appealing to the Instagram crowd, but I love the savory flavor of the cheddar garlic one.

Late Morning Attractions: Three Disneyland Classics – After the snack break, round out your morning with a trio of Disneyland’s iconic, flagship attractions. Start with Jungle Cruise in Adventureland, which can get longer lines in the afternoon due to its lack of FastPass.

Then, head to New Orleans Square where you’ll do the best one-two punch of any theme park in the world: Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. After that high-powered dose of concentrated awesomeness, you’ll need to take an hour or so to collect yourself, so it’s the perfect time for lunch in New Orleans Square.

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Lunch: Creole Cooking – In New Orleans Square, you’ll find two of our favorite Disneyland restaurants: Cafe Orleans (read our full review) and French Market (read our full review), along with the most iconic dining option: Blue Bayou.

We love the former two, and while we think Blue Bayou is overpriced for the quality of the food, if your budget allows, go anyway. It is the quintessential Disneyland restaurant, and dining along the water at the start of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is a really special experience. If you do opt for Blue Bayou, you should strongly consider booking the Fantasmic Dining Package in advance (usually offered after 4 p.m.) and do dinner there.

After you’re done eating, take a few minutes to explore the nooks, crannies, and shops of New Orleans Square. It’s one of Disney’s best theme park lands in the world, and you could spend hours wandering around. We prefer this romanticized version of New Orleans to the real thing.

Riverside Recovery – There are two options here if you want to recover from your big lunch. If you’re the kind who counts every calorie and is a bit sick to your stomach over the fat content of the Monte Cristo you just had, head to the Rivers of America for the only Disneyland attraction that doubles as a good workout: Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. Then, follow that up with a stroll around Tom Sawyer Island.

If you’re the type who believes calories don’t count on vacation, head to the Disneyland Railroad Station in New Orleans Square, and do a grand circle tour of Disneyland in style, enjoying beautiful views of the Rivers of America without the pesky exercise. Personally, we far prefer the latter approach.

Double-Secret Option 3: Redeem FastPass for a thrill ride and “work off” that lunch in a much different way. It’s never a bad time to do Indiana Jones Adventure!

Afternoon Attractions: Relaxing Disney Originals – If you didn’t redeem your FastPass with the third option, do that next. There’s a chance you have a couple to redeem at this point after the lunch break, so prioritize those.

Once you’ve finished that, the middle of the afternoon is when Disneyland sees its longest lines, making this a great time to enjoy some of the gems of Disneyland that go unnoticed by most guests. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the adjacent Disney Gallery, Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through, Mark Twain Riverboat, and Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room are all highly recommended.

Sleeping Beauty Sunset – The best time for photos at Disneyland is sunset. The best spot for these sunset photos is Snow White Grotto, on the right side of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Not only can you get photos of the castle and grotto, but also the Wishing Well and Fantasyland by peaking through the castle archway.

After this, head to Tomorrowland. The two best options for stunning sunset and dusk photos are the monorail platform (go up through the exit) and second floor of Star Wars Launch Bay. Both of these locations will offer panoramic views of Tomorrowland and beyond.

Plaza Inn Disneyland Restaurant Review

Dinner: Plaza Inn – The fried chicken at Plaza Inn (read our full review) is the stuff dreams are made of. To quote Kramer, “I need that chicken, I gotta have that chicken, you leave those roasters alone, Kenny never hurt anybody.” (Just pretend that Plaza Inn is managed by a dude named Kenny.)

If you had a big lunch and another hearty meal is too much, stop next door at the Little Red Wagon (read our full review) to have the best corn dog of your life.

Evening Attractions: Better at Night – Splash Mountain, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and the Matterhorn are four attractions that are better at night. We have a full list of the 10 Best Disneyland Attractions at Night, in case you have time for more than these four.

You won’t have time for all of them before the fireworks–or even on day one–but do what you can. After the fireworks, depending upon how long Disneyland is open, continue working your way through the attractions on that list. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain offer FastPass, and both Splash Mountain and Matterhorn have Single Rider lines, so it’s not impossible to do all for attractions in a single night.

Nighttime Spectacular: Fireworks – Currently, the fireworks at Disneyland are “Remember… Dreams Come True.” That will change (temporarily?) later this spring when “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular” debuts.

Regardless of the fireworks show, we recommend following these viewing location tips for Disneyland’s fireworks. There is no nighttime parade at Disneyland, and you’ll see Fantasmic on the second night of this itinerary–unless you booking the Blue Bayou Fantasmic Dining Package. If you’re a big nighttime spectaculars person, you might consider watching Fantasmic both nights regardless–we love it. On Page 2, we’ll cover the Day 2 of our Disneyland Itinerary. Click here to keep reading!


11 Responses to “2-Day Disneyland Plan”
  1. Kylee Gano July 31, 2018
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