General Disneyland Resort Planning Tips:
When planning a visit, take into account the time of year that you come. During the summer and around holidays, local Californians can make the parks very crowded. However, if you go during a slower time, there may be no waits for most attractions.
Being at the parks in the morning is huge. Disneyland is mostly visited by locals who have annual tickets, so they often arrive in the middle of the day after deciding to go. Being at the park early will also allow you to use their fastpass system to your advantage.
Contrary to Disney World, Disneyland has paper fastpass tickets. These require you physically go to the ride, insert your park ticket into a kiosk, and receive a fastpass. This fastpass will give you a 1 hour window to return to the ride to use. As the day goes on, a kiosk will give out later and later times, until they run out for that ride. So if you arrive in the morning, your time will be almost immediate. If you try to get a fastpass for a popular attraction at 3 pm, it could be for 9pm or later. The fastpass slip will also have a designated time where you are allowed to get another fastpass. Pay attention to these times so that as soon as you’re able, you can get a new one.
Due to this system, you want to be there in the morning, get a fastpass for one attraction, then ride a different one. You then use that fastpass, immediately get another one, and so on. The earlier your fastpass times are, the quicker you can get another one.
The parks are busiest in the afternoons, about 12-5. This is why it is best to arrive at park opening and stay until park close. If you’re one of the first people in the park, there will be a no wait for the best attractions that will have 2 hour waits just an hour later. If it’s too much to stay all day (very likely-it’s tiring) then its fine to leave the park in the middle of the day and come back later. Wait times for rides could be 90 minutes at 2pm, and only 20 at 10am or 8pm.
Always get a park map and times guide when you enter so you know when and where to be at all times. Or ask someone if you need help!