Disney California Adventure

It’s no secret that you can do DCA in about half a day, but what you might not know is how you can do it really, really well on a budget of about half a day.


You want to arrive early, at least 30-minutes before the park opens, and get yourself as close to the front of the line as possible. As the gates open, a new crowd will form inside the park on Beuna Vista Street where park employees will have a rope strung across the street to hold you there until the park formally opens.

People are typically going one of about three places from this crowd: Radiator Springs and/or Radiator Springs Fastpass, Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout, or Toy Story Midway Mania. So most of the people in this crowd are going to crowd to the left. If you are traveling with smaller children, this might be your plan as well. But adults and those traveling with older children should work their way to the right-hand side of the crowd. We have a different plan.

When the park opens, head straight back and to the right. Go all the way back to Goofy’s Flying School. We were the only one’s on it when we visited, and we were able to ride it three times back-to-back without even getting off the ride because no one else was in line. We could have ridden it more, but we wanted to enjoy the rest of this back corner of the park in a similar fashion.

If you want to waste 90-seconds of your life that you are never going to get back, you can go ride the Golden Zephyr. Or you could just skip it. Either way, from there go hit the Silly Symphony Swings. You’ll likely walk right on, and might even ride it by yourselves. We did.

From the swings, we walked right on to King Triton’s Carousel; and then onto California Screamin with only about a 10-minute wait.

By now, the long line for FastPasses should have diminished and you should start collecting them. Collect a FastPass for Radiator Springs on the way to ride Soarin’ around the World, and then either stand in line for Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout or collect a FastPass for it as well. If you choose the Fastpass option, you’re on break to do as you please until it’s time to return to your rides that you have FastPasses for. In fact, now is a great time to relax a bit and enjoy some food down on the wharf – or wherever you like to relax.

This plan is somewhat general in nature, doesn’t allow for customization, and was created and utilized on a Value Day, meaning off-season and lower than normal crowds. Peak-season mileage may vary, and the best way to maximize your time in any Disney Park is to use RideMax. In fact, we highly recommend it.


Our only child is a teen, so we’re done with most of the little kid stuff that Disneyland has to offer. That means fewer rides that appeal to us and the prospect of standing in long lines several times a day. Or so we thought! Enter Ridemax.

Ridemax promises more magic, less wait. And they totally deliver in ways that are hard to imagine until you’ve experienced it for yourself.

Ridemax is a planning tool designed to help you spend less time standing in line at Disneyland (and Walt Disney World), and more time doing the things you want to do! They are like the NSA of Disney Attraction Wait Times. And when you’re spending hundreds of dollars a day on admission alone, don’t you think that it’s a good idea to spend more time doing what you are paying for?

As far as the rides were concerned, we were basically interested in Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. The sample ride plan below is for just some of those rides. As you can see, we did all the rides we came for (on Day 1) before lunch.

We’ve obscured much of the image above to protect Ridemax’s intellectual property. The portions highlighted in yellow are the breaks scheduled by Ridemax. We planned our rides first, then scheduled our meals into those breaks. As you can see, we were left with plenty of time for spontaneity. And that meant more Princess and Character Photos than ever before!

Those that argue against Ridemax often argue that when you plan everything out to the last minute you rob yourself of the magic that is accidentally finding your way into something you might not have experienced otherwise. But with 6 hours of break time in our plan, how could we not? Not only did we do everything we wanted to quickly and efficiently, we actually had more free time to explore and have fun than if we had wasted hours just standing in line.

Others argue that there’s no fun in keeping a schedule. Well, if schedules are a problem for you, you might be right. But it’s a schedule for fun, so we didn’t mind. And we weren’t able to keep it exactly as planned, either, due to temporary ride closures. But that allowed us to stop and enjoy some Beignets while we waited. And with all that information at our fingertips (much more than I have shared in that one image above), we were well informed on how best to handle the temporary closure and make up for it once it reopened.

Ridemax is much more than just a schedule. It’s a complete dossier of expert advice on how to make the most of your Disneyland (or Walt Disney World) visit. You’ll discover things you didn’t know, best places to watch a parade, and even which line is shortest at Pirates of the Caribbean. To get all of this intel you’ll need to purchase the package that includes the PDF. Because that’s the only place you’ll find much of it.

My personal promise to you is that you’ll love Ridemax and that you’ll never want to do Disneyland any other way once you’ve experienced it. But don’t just take my word for it, Ridemax promises a 30-Day money-back guarantee on all of their products.

And no, they didn’t pay me to write any of this. I love them enough to write it for free, and you will too!