Can I do Disney Land in a day with a Fast pass with my 10 year old son

I have been told that I can see Universal in Half a day? So was hoping to do that the day we arrive in Hollywood. Then with our full day ( following day ) do Disneyland with a FastPass? Any suggestions please, It’s going to be Boys things.

One day will only give you time for the highlights. I usually recommend at least 3 days to enjoy all of both parks (Disneyland and DCA), 4 if your kids will need to go at a slower pace or needs a nap/midday break.

Also, if you’re planning on going after May 31, be aware that Star Wars Land has just been announced to open that day so expect Disneyland to be absolutely crazy busy. The below article talks about the expected impact to both Disneyland and Disney World. It’s important to note that if you will be coming from a hotel in Hollywood that you will need to leave super early to avoid traffic & with Star Wars land, there will be so much more of it and the infrastructure in Anaheim is going to be very stressed with it so driving to the parks or even taking transport to the area is going to be extremely tough.

I’m not sure what you mean by “with a FastPass.” If you mean MaxPass then you could definitely do “most” of one park…if you really hustled you could probably do all the major highlights of DCA. You could not do all of Disneyland Park in one day, even with MaxPass unless you were happy to skip quite a few things.

Hi ApolloAndy,

I stand corrected I do mean MaxPass ( I think?)

This is our plan for the last leg of our road tour.

20th April 9am to 11am Whale watching in Monterey, then we head down to Hollywood,staying at Hilton Universal Opposite Universal Studio…We Depart Hollywood and head to San Diego on the 23rd April. We would also like to see some bits of Hollywood while we are there.

My son would of just turned 10,so to be honest I (and him) are not really interested in the children’s rides,more of the adventure kind of ones,star wars,space mountain,Thunder Mountain etc, and that kind of thing.
As we are staying opposite universal I was told you could do that in around half a day as well?

Oh good you will be there before the Star Wars craziness BUT it seems like your dates are the week leading up to Easter which one of the busiest weeks of the year so you will still be in some rather large crowds. If you don’t mind crowds then you should be ok but if you are at all crowd adverse I would skip Disneyland & stay focused on Hollywood/Universal things.

If you arrive an hour before park open you can complete all of the rides in DCA in a half day by a late lunch-time. With your son’s age there are some great rides at DCA that he would probably really love that are more thrilling (Incredicoaster, Guardians of the Galaxy, my almost 8 yr old son loves either of those more than any of the thrill rides at Disneyland but he does immensely enjoy Indiana Jones, Big Thunder Railroad and Space Mountain, he’s only ok with Splash & Matterhorn).

Either we did it wrong or we went at the wrong time of year, because we were some of the first people into the park (and actually skirted around the Soarin’/Grizzly Peak way and got in before official RD) and felt like we hauled butt for most of the day and still missed out on Cali’ Screamin’ (GotG was still undergoing it’s transformation so that was off the table as well). Maybe because we took a long lunch or the kids really wanted to spend a lot of time in Bug’s Land? We did not have MaxPass at the time (because there was no MaxPass) and we did stop of Disney Jr., Frozen Show, and lined up an hr. early for World of Color.

I would never say that spending lots of time in bugsland wih kids or doing Disney Jr or Frozen live is “wrong” but those are definitely less efficient (highly enjoyable especially with kids) ways tour.

But moving through the morning from ride-to-ride & not stopping for those things you can knock out all the rides in DCA by lunch & then spend your afternoon evening on entertainment & repeats. Casey from Disneyland Daily has a morning DCA plan that she tests almost weekly in the parks that is designed to do this and even on busy weeks will get the job done by mid-afternoon (might need to get a few more FPs for things that on less busy days would still have fewer than 20 min standby where she has them in the plan and break for lunch before you get through all your FPS).

And a lot of DL Liners will swear by the very similar “The Gabe” strategy that is designed more to get you repeat rides on the DCA headliners focusing on Pixar Pier first then heading to GotG pulling an RSR FP after you’ve gotten quick return times for IC,TSMM,GotG to do each of them 2-3x. Then only other rides left to get a FP are Soarin’, Goofy’s Sky School & Grizzly River so all doable after you’ve waited your 90 min-2 hrs to pull an RSR FP.

I wish I could change my dates ;-(

This is what I have done on Touring plan so far, but not sure if I have missed out anything and I am also confused about the two parks and what is different about them?

Anyway this is what I have planned so far.

1) Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters 8:03am 4 5 0 1
2) Obtain FASTPASS for Indiana Jones Adventure using MaxPass

Return Time: 8:55am-9:55am||8:13am|0|0|0|0|
|3) Star Tours: The Adventures Continue||8:13am|4|7|0|3|
|4) Space Mountain||8:27am|8|5|0|7|
|5) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad||8:47am|5|4|0|2|
|6) Indiana Jones Adventure||8:58am|1|10|0|1|
|7) Obtain FASTPASS for Splash Mountain using MaxPass

Return Time: 9:30am-10:30am||9:10am|0|0|0|0|
|8) Pirates of the Caribbean||9:10am|4|15|0|4|
|9) Splash Mountain||9:33am|1|11|0|3|
|10) Obtain FASTPASS for it’s a small world using MaxPass

Return Time: 10:20am-11:20am||9:48am|0|0|0|0|
|11) Haunted Mansion||9:48am|4|9|0|7|
|12) Peter Pan’s Flight||10:08am|27|3|0|3|
|13) it’s a small world||10:41am|1|14|0|5|
|14) Star Wars Launch Bay||11:01am|20|45|0|6|
|15) Bengal Barbecue

12:00pm for 45 minutes||12:12pm|||||

What is “the Gabe?”

The Gabe is: before rope drop line up at the rope next to the Little Mermaid (pulling a WoC FP on your way to the rope) then proceed to ride as follows: Toy Story Midway Mania x 2, Incredicoaster x2, Wheel of Death (aka Pixar Pal-Around), Guardians of the Galaxy x 2.

If you have MaxPass, start pulling immediately (as soon as your ticket is scanned at the turnstile) to assist in those multiple TSM, IC, GotG rides and then after you’ve had a thrill-ful morning spree, grab your RSR MaxPass. If you’re doing free paper FPs then you may need to adjust to get less FPs/skip repeats to be able to get an RSR FP before evening. And you can totally skip anything that isn’t a priority for your family (i.e. over the years Toy Story has become less important to us, but Incredicoaster now that one of our kids is tall enough & loves the Incredibles is a must).

If you want 2 rides on RSR then grab RSR no later than your 2nd MP (get at least one close to immediate FP for either TSMM, IC or first GotG first before locking in your wait for likely 90 min. by pulling an RSR FP).

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Disneyland Resort (often abbreviated as DLR) is the entire area of the 2 parks, shopping district, 3 Disney-owned hotels & parking structures & lots surrounding the resort. The shopping district (known as Downtown Disney and often abbreviated as DTD) & 2 parks have a security perimeter setup around them requiring you to pass through a bag check & metal detector scanner at a minimum to enter. Once inside the security perimeter you can move about the shopping district free of charge as well as a plaza area (call the Esplanade) that has lockers, a picnic area, guest services, public restrooms, lost & found & abundance of ticket booths to purchase your park entry. Bordering the Esplanade on the north & the south ends are the entry turnstiles for each of the 2 parks that are a part of Disneyland Resort. You will need ticket access to enter the turnstiles and if you want to visit both parks will need to add the option of a Park Hopper to be able to go through both turnstiles in the same operating day. If you have only purchased a one-park-per-day ticket once you enter 1 park, you cannot enter the other that same day unless you upgrade your ticket at the ticket booths to add a Park Hopper or wait until the next day.

The first of the 2 parks is the original park built by Walt Disney in 1955 and so is simply Disneyland (often abbreviated as DL but can also be referred to as DLP for Disneyland Park, but that also confuses me with Disneyland Paris, so I simply call the park DL for short). The plan you have copied above is for Disneyland.

Then the 2nd of the 2 parks is called Disney’s California Adventure (mostly abbreviated as DCA). This land was added as an expansion to the resort in 2001 and has a bunch of top-notch headliner attractions that are among the favorite rides of those who visit DLR as a whole. If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World in Orlando, they have some copies of the same rides in DCA but at WDW they are spread across 2 of the 4 parks. DCA also has many unique features in its theming including the very superbly done Carsland that mimics the small-town, Radiator Springs from the Cars franchise movies. If your son has any attachment to the franchise then its a must-do.

As for the plan you have above: In general, most Liners find that they are able to pull more FastPasses using MaxPass than the plan anticipates that they will be able to (the software is optimized to make it more conservative as many people do not take a Storm-the-Castle approach to fully use every last second of Maxpass that they can). They also find that the touring plans underestimate waits especially on busier days so with that said, here is what I would change/add:

  • As soon as you enter through the turnstiles that morning, grab your first MaxPass for Space (but only if it’s return time is within the 30 minutes after park opening). If you’re near the front of the entry lines to be let in first they often start letting guests in 30 min before park opening then barring any technical difficulties with the ride, it should be available that soon. If it doesn’t then I would grab Indiana Jones first & come back to pulling a MaxPass once you’ve gotten Splash & before it’s a small world.
  • After you’ve grabbed Space for your first MaxPass, make note of the time it says you can get your next MaxPass selection & set an alarm on your phone to go off at that time to pull your Indiana Jones MaxPass next. Continue to do this for the day to help you keep track of when you will next pull a MaxPass, using your plan as a reference of the order in which you want to select your MaxPasses.
  • At rope drop (the term for park opening as they’ll hold the crowd in the center hub with the different lands roped off until the park is officially open and they drop the rope to allow the crowds to pass), proceed first to Star Tours, then use your Space MaxPass (be sure to select your next MaxPass for Indiana Jones), then do Buzz Lightyear on your way to Big Thunder. If your Indiana Jones MaxPass hasn’t yet come up after you complete Big Thunder you can either do a 2nd Big Thunder ride if the standby line is still 10-15 minutes (this is my daughter’s absolute favorite attraction so often we are doing this one 2-3x first thing so it’s totally doable) OR you can option to do Pirates first before you go to your Indiana Jones MaxPass. Pirates is very good to get done early as the line can get long and offers no MaxPass options.
  • I would also add in Matterhorn and Alice in Wonderland to your plan. Since Matterhorn offers a MaxPass, I would have you select it where the plan has you pulling an it’s a small world MaxPass after getting onto Splash. The return time should fall before or after lunch somewhere and you will still be able to get an additional MaxPass for it’s a small world with not too much additional trouble. Then for Alice in Wonderland, I would do that around the same time as Peter Pan.
Click to expand the arrow for a not-so-short note on accomplishing Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland with reasonable wait times

Both of those attractions get long lines that build quickly and while they are great, I have a hard time waiting longer than 30 minutes for either one as they are a 3 min ride, so I’m sure a 10 yr old boy may feel even more strongly about this. They are both the very best of the Disney dark rides and quintessential Disney fair tales so if he is on board with their stories, then definitely include them.

Peter Pan needs no explanation for why it’s cool because Peter Pan is the very best Disney character in my opinion. But Alice is especially cool because it was updated really well to add some beautiful images & then I love love love that it comes outside towards the end at the top of the show building & you wind down, down, down to the very end of the ride with beautiful views of Fantasyland.

I do think that with Easter Crowds the 27 min. estimated for Peter Pan is very low. If the line is longer than 30 minutes then it may be a better use of time to do some shows & check back for both Peter Pan & Alice before/during the 1st Soundational Parade (usually at 3:30). The lines take a slight dip as most people are waiting for the parade. We have waited less than 15 min. for Alice while the 3:30 parade is starting and have seen that the Peter Pan queue looked reasonably less than the usual 40-50 min queue that it is all day long. I would get into Peter Pan first shortly around 3pm when the majority of people are looking for & staking a parade spot. Hopefully then you’ll be done at or shortly after the start of the 3:30 parade to then make your way over to Alice. And also note that with Spring Break crowds it may still be 30 minutes but hopefully with the parade drawing a lot of people out of the queues that might be the top end of the wait.

Another option for Peter Pan & Alice is at the very end of your day just before the park closes. Alice may have a small dip in the wait so you’ll want to plan to get into line at least 30 min before park close to be able to do both. Then once off Alice, get into line for Peter Pan as your last queue of the day. You are allowed to enter the queue up until the park closes (most cases, sometimes they may need to close down a line early for technical difficulties, but more often than not, lines are up & running until the end of park operation). Even though Peter Pan won’t be substantially less of a wait (it could be as little as 20-25 min or still at the 35-40 min that it holds pretty steady at) but if you’ve done everything else you set out to do & the park is closing then you won’t be “wasting” anytime waiting in line & potentially missing something else. Plus you’ll be able to walk out to a near empty castle hub & Main St to end your day in the magic.

Anywho, if you’ve got other questions about your plan, please ask away! I’m happy to help & share my expertise of all things Disneyland for your special trip!


Can I message you privately? as all this is confusing me now ( not too hard ) I would also like to add Matterhorn and Alice in Wonderland.

My son has a disability and I remember when we were in Florida we got a special pass which helped a lot ( but we had two weeks there!)

Are my plans in two different parks?



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Yes you may absolutely direct message me. I will try to answer as much as I can!

There is a DAS pass in Disneyland that is similar to Florida, but it tends to be slightly harder to obtain due to guest abuse/overuse. But I would say it is definitely worth a shot to help with your one day.

With only one day, the best you could hope for is a “highlights” tour - especially around Easter. I know DL and DCA like the back of my hands (I’ve spent at least 50 days between the two parks), and if I go at a very low crowd time ( e.g. weekdays when school is in session), I can accomplish a fair amount in one of the two parks (OK, almost all of DCA), but for someone who doesn’t know the parks and the crowd flows, one day will give you the ability to say “I’ve been to Disneyland”. For first timers, I believe that 2 days is the bare minimum, and even 3 days would be challenging. I’m not trying to be a downer here, but you have to have realistic expectations…

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