Disneyland has become an iconic American family retreat, drawing almost 20 million visitors from across the globe every year. There’s so much to see and do that even mere minutes become valuable, as you want to experience all of the magic and splendor that seems to only exist within those theme park gates.
However, facing the crowds of millions can make it challenging to do the simplest things, like move from point A to point B, especially when those two points feel like they are at complete opposite ends of the park itself. Visiting Disneyland is an exciting time for my kid, so I like to keep the momentum moving at her pace, while also decreasing as much of the adults’ stress as I can.
With a little bit of forethought and the useful apps and maps I mention below, removing a significant amount of stress from your visit to Disneyland is possible, opening up the opportunity to make warm memories your family will cherish for years. We utilize these tools and resources to make our entire trips to Disneyland much smoother.
Uncertainty Causes Stress
Most of the problems that cause significant hold-ups at Disneyland are unexpected and arbitrary; this is part of the reason that so many well-planned vacations can go awry quickly.
Stress is caused by a number of variables that can change at any moment. Weather forecasts are imprecise; park conditions are subject to random events like rollercoaster malfunctions; and even social trends (what’s popular and other current events) can affect the amount of visitor traffic on any given day, month, or weekend. With so many variables that can change the conditions of your vacation, you can get stressed out before you’ve even left home. Removing uncertainty from your plans is the best way to ensure your family’s good time.
Prepare As Much As Possible Beforehand
Before going into Disneyland, look at their interactive map on a computer to determine the “must-have” rides, restaurants, and activities that you know your family will want to go to during your time at the park. If your kids are old enough, involve them by asking them to list or circle rides and attractions they want to visit on a paper version of the map so they can feel more of a part of the actual day and its planning process.
Be sure to plan out food stops, what you’ll need to bring (use an app like Remember the Milk or Evernote to keep it on your phone for safekeeping and easy access). While this approach might seem a little “old-fashioned,” the only way to feel more prepared is to write everything down. Writing has been shown to decrease stress, as it allows the mind to “empty” into an outside resource.
Once you’ve prepared as much as you can when it comes to mapping out your “attraction wish list” for your day(s) in Disneyland, it’s time to lean into the more technological side of what the park has to offer. There are many outlets for up-to-date information on Disneyland’s inner workings and minute changes, made available to the consumer through apps.
Getting the inside scoop on Disneyland’s day-to-day processes has never been easier. I use two tools to plan my family’s visit: Ridemax (paid) and the Mousewait application (free) for iOS (it is also available for Android on Google Play).
Ridemax allows me to set the date of my visit and browse any Disney amusement park’s expected conditions on that day, based on past trends. The website even allows me to create an hourly park itinerary with specific rides and attractions, ensuring a smoother, less stressful process, since it can tell me what to expect. Ridemax gives the predicted wait times at each of the places I want to stop, and lets me compare similar itineraries for things my kid might like. I like to use this mainly as part of the planning process, before we go into the park.
Since there can still be complications on the day of our visit to the “Happiest Place on Earth,” I use the Mousewait app for park navigation. The app gives me precise details on everything happening in the park, from character meet-and-greets to rollercoaster malfunctions. It also allows you to see how busy the park is, based on crowd metrics from internal data. While Mousewait is an “unofficial” app for Disneyland and Disneyworld, it has appeared on many “must-have” lists when it comes to being prepared for a Disney park experience. Being able to have this resource on my phone while I am at the park with my family truly is a lifesaver.
What I like best about these tools is their portability. Because Ridemax and Mousewait are available on mobile devices, my itinerary can stay flexible during the actual visit, while making it possible to make clearer decisions ahead of time. With their data, we have less waiting and unwanted surprises, resulting in a great experience for my family and me.
A trip to Disneyland should be able making fond memories with the ones I love, without having to worry about the trivial things, like broken bumper cars or cancelled parades. Hack Disneyland to stay prepared and make the most out of your next trip there.