5 things you need to know this Friday – Disneyland tips and tricks.

I wrote this morning about how to save money at Disneyland hotels. Now I’m zeroing in on what to do once you get there (trying to get this out of my system). 😉

So (bonus!) today’s “5 things” are actually 7 things…a handful of tips and tricks that will hopefully enrich, enhance, or add to your Disney experience.

1. Get in on a Photopass share.

Photopass is a very Disney way to capture family photos while you are at the park.  The way it works is that Disney photographers amble through the park, taking photos of guests at classic photo spots such as in front of Cinderella’s Castle or by the Flagpole on Main Street.  Sometimes you can get pics with special effects that appear when you view the shot online…such as if you held out your (empty) hand when the photographer snapped the picture, it would appear that you were holding Tinkerbell, or if you brandished a lightsaber it would look like you were dueling to the death with Darth Vader.

There are also photo ops available at Character Meals, and action shots on some rides.

Once you return from your trip, you can edit your photos on the Photopass website and add borders and other graphic elements.  You can also upload your own photos to use.  You’ve got 30 days to edit your photos, then you order a Photo CD which is sent to you through the mail.

As you can imagine, this is expensive! The current price for a “Memory Maker Advance Purchase” package is $150! Yikes!

However, with a Photopass share, you split the cost of the package between several people. There are lots of groups on Facebook and in other online forums. Here is a link to one as an example.

2. Watch the fireworks from the best seat in the house…a boat.

This requires a bit of good timing. Get in line for Storybook Land Canal Boats about 20-30 minutes before the fireworks start.  When the fireworks start, the boats stop…which means you will have a perfect view of the fireworks.

3. Steer the Mark Twain.

As you enter the line for the Mark Twain, you can ask to steer the ship.  They will allow up to four guests to go to the very top and steer the ship and sound the horn at four different times as it makes its journey around the Rivers of Amercia.  After the round trip you can sign a guest book and your kids will get a special certificate.

4. Celebrate!

First visit? Birthday? Anniversary? Stop by City Hall for a free button. If you wear it around the park, you will get lots of birthday wishes or congratulations. I’ve also gotten little freebies.


5. Use the single-rider line.

This is a huge time-saver. Cast members use people from this line to fill single empty seats on certain super-popular rides, so if you don’t mind splitting up, the wait is often much shorter. You can learn which rides have a single-rider option on this Disneyland Ride Sheet.

6. Do a kid-swap.

This is a great solution if you’ve got little kids. The way it works is that one adult can wait with the kid(s) while the other adult goes on the ride. Then the adult who was waiting “tags out” with the first adult and goes on the ride. You can read more about it here.

7. Slow down and notice the details.

There are so many “hidden” details woven into the design of the parks. Most people miss these! It pays to slow down and look around. Here’s one of my favorite examples: if you touch the brass apple at the entrance to the Snow White Adventure in Fantasyland, there will be a loud clap of thunder and the witch will cackle with laughter.

I hope this post made at least one of you cackle with delight.




  1. I have never gotten over my love of Disneyland and I’m 65. I have always believed it’s because Walt Disney and I are both Dec. 5th babies. Some sort of psychic connection there. 🙂

  2. Rebecca says:

    I love Disneyland. Taking my nieces this spring will keep this guide handy. Thanks!

  3. nieces decided they wanted to do Universal Studios instead this trip. Let us know if you have any tips & tricks for there instead!

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