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Disneyland Attractions with Fewer Crowds!
You'll usually wait 30 minutes of less at these Disneyland rides and attractions; save them until mid-day when the park is full to the brim!Are you trying to squeeze in the maximum amount of Disneyland Park attractions, while spending a minimum amount of waiting time? Then, you'll be interested in the content of this page, which will explain which attractions have a 30 minute or less waiting time even during Disneyland peak periods---USUALLY! Nothing is certain at Disneyland Park, where every day brings an entirely new and different batch of eager tourists, all wanting to experience their own personal "favorites." Yet, its been my experience that, year after year, certain rides are simply easier to get onto than others.
Naturally, one reason you should study this list of Disneyland rides with lesser crowds is so that you can AVOID them...during the LIGHTER-attendance periods of the day (early in the morning and late at night.) Spend any precious moments when the lines are less-lengthy at the most popular rides to grab the chance to hop aboard them!
If you read the page previous to this...the Disneyland touring plan for families with older kids and adults... then you know that you can probably wedge in a number of popular attractions on the LEFT side of Disneyland Park within the first few hours after the park opens in the morning...whatever time that might be. You know that if you don't waste time, you can experience the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride, the Indiana Jones ride, the Jungle Cruise, the Big Thunder Mountain ride, the Haunted Mansion, and Splash Mountain (in your order of preference) in the first 3 hours after the park opens, IF you don't stop to shop in the stores, eat a meal, or ride one of the rides which aren't on the "most popular" list. As an alternative, you might have squeezed in a visit to the mega-popular Space Mountain at the very start of your day before scurrying over to the left side of the park (to Critter Country, New Orleans Square, Frontierland and Adventureland.)
By the time you have finished this list of rides, the crowds should be plenty thick. It's time to "switch gears" and switch to experiencing the less-crowded rides if you find that your "favorites" have a huge line.
On this page, we'll talk about which rides you can enjoy without too much waiting during the busy afternoon and early evening hours at Disneyland Park. Another bonus of seeing these attractions in mid-afternoon will be felt by tourists during the hot summer time---many of these attractions are shaded or air conditioned!
Don't forget to check the times that your favorite shows will be having a performance. This page won't be talking about the live shows and parades you can attend while visiting Disneyland Park. Squeeze in the shows and/or parades on your "must see" list at the time you choose throughout the day.
Disneyland Attractions with Fewer Crowds -- Critter CountryIf you end your morning's activities on the left side of the park (in Critter Country, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, or Adventureland) you have a choice to make. As the crowd gets heavier as the day passes, you can either move to the right side of the park...and see "something new" by moving on to Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Mickey's Toontown...or you can stay on the left side of the park and "finish up" seeing what you missed while you were trying to visit the most popular attractions first.
For the sake of laying out this page in an orderly manner, let's assume that you have chosen to stay on the left side of the park and finish seeing every attraction before heading on to something new. Hopefully, if you're a first-time or infrequent guest at Disneyland, you've purchased at LEAST a 2-day admission ticket, because there really isn't any way to see everything at Disneyland if you only have one day allotted. (If you can only squeeze in one day of your vacation for visiting the Disneyland Resort, I would recommend NOT getting the "One day Park Hopper" pass...unless you just want to make a quick overview of the 2 theme parks. It's really IMPOSSIBLE to see BOTH Disney's California Adventure AND Disneyland Park in-depth within the space of one day's visit.)
Let's also assume that you have 2 days to visit Disneyland...and maybe 3, if you're planning to visit Disney's California Adventure park, as well. Under these conditions, you will want to see MOST of the attractions throughout Disneyland Park. Here is the list of Disneyland attractions you should see in Critter Country AFTER you've already taken in the most popular rides during the quieter morning hours:
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, which is an indoor "dark ride" aimed at kids, in the building where the Country Bear Jamboree used to be. Even if you don't have kids, you'll want to take a quick ride-through if you're curious about this still-fairly-new attraction
Winnie the Pooh & Friends Character Greeting, where you can meet & hug Pooh Bear, Eeyore the donkey, and Tigger...sometimes Piglet, too. Some tweens may still wish to stand in line and meet the characters; adults will at least want to catch a glimpse, however.
The Pooh Corner store is a don't miss for shopping lovers. You can find all sorts of Pooh & friends merchandise here, as well as buy candy made fresh inside the store's kitchen daily.
The Hungry Bear Restaurant: Even if you don't opt to stop for a snack, I recommend you use the restrooms downstairs from the restaurant. Restrooms are hard to find in this part of the park, and these facilities are large enough that you can breeze in and out without a wait on even the most crowded days. Plus, if the ladies in your group dawdle combing their hair, the menfolk will have nice shaded seats upon which to wait!
Davy Crockett Canoes: If taking a canoe ride is on your to-do list, catching the canoe ride while you're already in Critter Country will save a long trek back later. Be forewarned: the canoes are fun, but the ride really gives the arms a workout...and the canoes are never in the shade.
Raft to Tom Sawyer's Island: There's never a huge crowd on Tom Sawyer's Island, where kids can romp around, run and explore. The line you experience while waiting to board the next available raft is the only wait you'll have, because attractions on the island usually don't have any sort of a wait.
Disneyland Attractions with Fewer Crowds -- New Orleans Square
If you were wise, you've already enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride and the Haunted Mansion ride earlier in the day before their lines became long. So, since these are the only 2 rides in New Orleans Square, what can you do in this area of the park during the more crowded times of the day?
The best answer to that question is: GO SHOPPING! New Orleans Square is filled with unique little shops that wind along a street that was made to look like the New Orleans French Quarter. You'll want to take some time to stroll through the area and enjoy the interesting merchandise---such as Christmas decorations sold all year long, and a Nightmare Before Christmas shop (also year-round.) New Orleans Square is also a place where you can get your portrait drawn in pastels by a real artist. Afternoons when other visitors are jamming up the ride lines is a good time to get your portrait made, if doing this is on your "wish list."
Disneyland Attractions with Fewer Crowds -- Frontierland and AdventurelandFrontierland is the home of 2 large-capacity boats which you can enjoy just by waiting for the boat to return to dock and pick up its next load. The first of these 2 attractive vessels is The Columbia sailing ship, which you can see in the photo to your left. Unfortunately, the Columbia only runs during summer mid-days and holiday seasons when Disneyland's crowds are at their peak.
However, there's a second craft, the Mark Twain paddle wheeler, which you can enjoy riding year round. Both vessels leave from a central dock along the riverfront in Frontierland. Simply wait for the vessel to return to port, and hop aboard for the next ride. It would be extremely rare NOT to get aboard the very next sailing.
The Shootin' Exposition is a very cute shooting gallery (using laser beams, not bullets) that you'd undoubtedly enjoy giving a try. (There is a small extra fee involved.) Aim your "gun" at one of the posted targets; when you get a "hit," you'll be rewarded with a humorous surprise.
Shopping: Frontierland features western-themed items, plus "general merchandise" in an "Old West Mercantile" setting. Adventureland features exotic merchandise in a "bazaar" type setting. Neither of these shopping experiences can be duplicated elsewhere in the park, and true shoppaholics should not miss checking out these stores!
Tarzan's Tree House in Adventureland is another attraction that you can head-in then head-out even during the busiest of times. You'll take a strenuous climb up a fake---but beautiful---large tree, and enjoy viewing dioramas of scenes from the Disney Tarzan animated movies.
The Enchanted Tiki Room: This delightful older attraction was renovated for the Disneyland 50th Anniversary celebration. If you still haven't checked out the changes...and heard the terrific new sound system...be sure to drop by. It's a cinch that you'll get into the very next showing. PLUS---did you know that the Enchanted Tiki Room is one of the few...maybe the only...Disneyland attraction in which you can eat and drink? You can grab some delightful pineapple ice cream or fresh pineapple at the Dole Pineapple Cart just outside the Tiki Room's entrance, then take your food inside to eat during the show! The pineapple treats are delicious and reasonably priced...and what a time saver to be able to eat while viewing one of the Disneyland attractions! You'll be refreshed and ready to head to the next ride when you're through with the Tiki Room show!
Disneyland Attractions with Fewer Crowds -- FantasylandFantasyland has lines that build up solid within an hour or two of park opening time, and don't let up until after dark. If you're heading to the park with young children whose main interest is kiddie rides, by all means, head to Fantasyland first!
The biggest bottlenecks in Fantasyland seem to be the Storybookland Canal Boats, the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, and Peter Pan's Flight. I'd see them first, if possible.
Other popular rides in Fantasyland include Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, the Mad Tea Party Teacup ride, the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland dark ride, and the Casey Jr. train ride.
On the other hand, adults just looking through Fantasyland to "see what it's all about" might want to enjoy a quick ride through one of the less-popular rides...that don't ever have much of a line! If you just want to test out a Fantasyland ride or two, I'd recommend the Scary Adventures of Snow White indoor dark ride and the Pinocchio's Daring Adventure indoor dark ride. Quite often, you can breeze on and off of these attractions. Also, the line at the King Arthur Carousel is often only a mid-sized wait. Often you'll get your turn after only waiting through several carousel rides ahead of your turn. In the evening, the line often dwindles to even less.
Storybook Time at the Princess Shop is generally never crowded. Unfortunately, the story telling times aren't always listed in the Disneyland schedule of events for the day. Be sure to ask at the Princess Shop for the times; and be aware that they only have story times during the morning-to-early afternoon hours. Try to have the story-telling times checked out by noon at the latest, or you'll miss getting in on a session. It's air conditioned, and there are always costumed Disney characters present!
It's A Small World has a line that ebbs and flows throughout the day. As you pass by, check out the line; head on in if it's not crowded. Try again later, if it is. Be aware that during the summer time (when the Fantasyland Theater is operating), that the Small World line grows immensely after a show at the Fantasyland Theater lets out!
The Matterhorn is a problem. If you toured the left side of the park first, as I have been mentioning, the line will already be long at the Matterhorn Bobsleds by the time you arrive. Consider riding in the evening, if you can. The special effects are particularly great-looking in the dark...and if you have to wait awhile, at least you won't be standing in the sun!Shopping: While Fantasyland rides are oriented towards kids, the shops are "just made" for adults. Don't forget to check out the Heraldry Shoppe, where you just might come away with your family coat of arms...or a REAL sword!
Disneyland Attractions with Fewer Crowds -- TomorrowlandHere's a list of rides and attractions in Tomorrowland that shouldn't keep you waiting for long---
Innoventions: The Innoventions attraction is essentially a science museum...with rotating exhibits and all! If it were a free-standing science center, it would certainly be a "favorite," but at Disneyland Park...surrounded by more exciting things...its attendance lags. Getting into Innoventions is quick. Browsing through the exhibits can take as little or as much time as you want to explore them. DON'T miss the robot show, where a $1 million Honda robot waits to amaze you! (You won't find THAT item within the budget of a normal kid's science museum!)
"Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" 3D/4D movie: This older show...in a comfortable, air conditioned theater!...stays cute & funny season after season. Waiting time? Simply until the show ahead of you ends and the next screening begins (20 minute maximum.)
Star Tours: This Star Wars movie series-based attraction will often have waiting times approaching out "30 minute limit" mark...but not more. Besides, the queueing area at Star Tours is delightful---after all, you're in a busy intergalactic space terminal! Plus, your old friends R2D2 and C3PO help to keep you from being bored while you wait. After the ride's over, you'll end up in a Star Wars gift shop...and browsing around amongst the Star Wars goodies is nearly as fun as the ride itself!
Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters: Despite the new-ness of the Buzz Lightyear ride, the ride's wait-time is often under 30 minutes. (This does not bode well for the ride...but it's great for visitors!) And, in case you arrive at this attraction when the line IS longer, there's a fast-pass option you can use.
Autopia mini cars: Speaking of fast-pass options, you may wish to use a fast-pass ticket at the Tomorrowland Autopia. Wait times often decline towards closing time, as well.
Redd Rocket's Pizza Port: I like this restaurant not only because of its food, but because I've never experienced a long waiting time to eat here. Never. Usually, it's just "in and out," PLUS you'll end up with a nice hot meal instead of a burger!Arcade games: If you don't mind spending extra money, there's a video game arcade in Tomorrowland that generally has elbow room to spare. Game prices are comparable to out-of-park arcades.
Disneyland Attractions with Fewer Crowds -- Main Street USAWhether the park announces it or not, the Main Street shops stay open later than the other attractions in Disneyland Park. You can save time in the middle of your day by not browsing through the shops until the other attractions are starting to close.
On the other hand, if you're interested in doing some serious shopping, head to Main Street in the afternoon. Nobody's shopping, and the lines are much shorter than they will be during the closing-hour rush.
Mr. Lincoln Theater: Whatever feature happens to be playing in the Main Street Theater---whether it's about President Abraham Lincoln, or about the Walt Disney legacy (which has been playing throughout the Disneyland 50th Anniversary celebration), it's a good bet that you can get right into this theater's performance on its very next presentation.
Main Street Cinema: If you're interested in seeing vintage Mickey Mouse cartoons, the Main Street Cinema is a place where you can breeze in and out at your whim.