Our Disneyland 2-Day Itinerary is a touring plan consisting of what attractions, shows, and dining we’d do with 2 days in the park. This itinerary is our efficient way to experience all of the, what we consider, Disneyland essentials. Our Disneyland 1-Day Itinerary focuses on our favorite parts of the park and is an extremely busy itinerary that would be extremely hard to complete. What the 2-Day Itinerary affords is a chance to take a more leisurely pace, while still experiencing everything we recommend. With that said, we still don’t include every single attraction in this itinerary as there are some that should be skipped. Even with 2 full days in Disneyland, there is plenty to do there that will more than fill the time. If you are looking for an itinerary to other parks, click here.
As I mentioned above, the extra day won’t necessarily be used to get every single attraction in. Rather this gives guests a chance to experience our favorite aspects of Disneyland for a longer amount of time, see more shows and do a few more attractions. If you do enjoy riding attractions more than anything else, than check out our Disneyland Attraction Rankings to prioritize what to do first.
Adding an extra day at Disneyland is something we recommend, hence the inspiration for this post. There are so many quality shows, attractions and lands to enjoy that experiencing it all in one day is next to impossible. Two days certainly helps in that but there are many times at the end of our trips where I wish that I had gotten to do just a little more. With that in mind, this itinerary still has you in the park from opening to close both days. While the pace is more leisurely than the 1-day itinerary, this will still be tiring. If you have a small child with you, adjusting the itinerary to fit in a mid-afternoon break is probably smart. All of this is made easier by staying at a hotel close to the parks. Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian or a cheaper one across the street on Harbor Blvd all fit that bill.
There are so many factors in a vacation and theme park day that I can’t really account for. Crowd levels fluctuate throughout the year and that can be a big factor in the number of attractions you can accomplish, as is the size of the group you are traveling with.
As of September 2021, Disneyland is still working its way into being the park we all know and love. Entertainment is still missing, FastPasses are gone forever and all the while capacity is still limited. While we predict that all to change by the end of the year and possibly before, the itinerary is dramatically affected. We’ve taken out any steps that included FastPass, outside of the virtual queue options and just skip any steps with a show that isn’t running. The parks are in a fluid state so we will keep updating as time goes. For now, this itinerary assumes that you are not using Genie+ or Lightning Lane, whenever those do become available. Before getting to any of this itinerary, you’ll need to buy tickets. We prefer buying them from here!
As always, if you have specific questions then please leave us a comment below. My best advice in this general touring plan is to loosely follow the plan while also keeping a sense of exploration. While Disney World has become a place where it benefits to follow a schedule, Disneyland can still play for those who want to be a little more spontaneous. Let’s get to the plan!
Get There 30 Minutes Early and On the App Even Earlier
As of January 2020, Disneyland uses a virtual queue system for their latest attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The virtual queue system allows guests to go about their day while waiting in line digitally for the new ride. Thankfully, you can do the virtual queue from the comfort of your car, hotel room or wherever you might be at 7 AM. That is when you’ll be able to log in to the Disneyland app and try to get a spot. If it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, then you’ll be able to try again at noon. If trying at 7 AM (which we do recommend) then make sure to login to the app a few minutes prior to 7 and have all of your group’s tickets linked together.
For breakfast, we recommend eating before you go in the parks as the breakfast offerings aren’t great (outside of one or two) once inside and it would be a waste of valuable time. We generally pack a few snacks but other quality options are Tangaroa Terrace, Steakhouse 55 if you want something nicer, the breakfast chimichanga and there’s a McDonald’s and a few other quick places on Harbor Blvd.
As the park opens, make a beeline to Peter Pan’s Flight for some classic Disneyland fun. Even with this being your first attraction, there is a decent chance that you’ll have to do some waiting here. As long as you are at the park before opening then it shouldn’t be too bad. After flying over Neverland, the goal is to do as many popular Fantasyland attractions as you can.
After your flight, go straight to Matterhorn Bobsleds and take a ride through the yeti filled mountain. The line should still be under 15 minutes. After that, try to squeeze in any attractions in Fantasyland that are under 15 minute waits, especially Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White’s Enchanted Wish and Storybook Land Canal Boats. If the wait time for any of those is over 20 minutes then skip it because you’ll be back later.
Take a Spin in Toontown
After Fantasyland, make the short walk to Toontown. The main reason we head back here is for a ride on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. While we aren’t fans of Toontown, this attraction is a classic and well worth experiencing. If the wait is over half an hour come back at night or check the app throughout the day. If not, just go with the standby line. After that, experience Toontown at your own leisure. There are several attractions to climb around on and some fun interactive gags throughout the land.
After you have had your fill on Toontown, head towards Critter Country for a ride on Splash Mountain before the line gets too long. As long as it’s not too hot and before late morning, you should be in good shape here. If it’s a long line already then saving this for nighttime should clear out the wait. Along the way, grab a snack! We recommend the beignets at Mint Julep Bar or a bakery item from Jolly Holiday Bakery.
The New Orleans Classics
We continue our run of attractions with Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion, both of which are in New Orleans Square. While these are some of the finest attractions that Disneyland offers, neither tend to have long lines due to their large capacity. If either do happen to be over half an hour then skip it and come back later. While in the area, get your first look into the alleys of New Orleans Square.
Once done with those attractions, take the short back to Critter Country to ride The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. While it doesn’t measure up to the previous two attractions (or any of the others the morning’s itinerary has included) it is a fun little dark ride. If you are a Splash Mountain fiend then this would be a decent time to go for the single-rider line even if you already did it Don’t forget to stop at Pooh’s Corner along the way.
Lunch at Cafe Orleans
After that whirlwind of a morning, it’s time to relax for a bit. What better place to relax than lunch along the Rivers of America. Cafe Orleans is one of our favorite places in Disneyland and an affordable table-service option. For something slightly more iconic, lunch at Blue Bayou is another good choice. The atmosphere can’t be matched at Blue Bayou but the food doesn’t quite live up to the over-inflated prices. French Market is in the same area and is an excellent counter-service choice with an atmosphere almost equal to Cafe Orleans.
Slowing it Down
After lunch we continue to slow it down a bit so that food can settle! After all the rushing around in the morning, there’s hardly been a chance to look at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. This is a good time to get a look around the castle and it’s hub. If the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough appeals to you then go for it! Head back up Main Street after you get your fill of castle photos and selfie’s.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is an unheralded Disneyland classic. That’s where we’re headed next. Give yourself a few minutes to explore the gallery that doubles as a queue. Some of the artwork and models are breathtaking as is the classic attraction. After the attraction take a quick jaunt up to Main Street Train Station and catch a full circle ride on the Disneyland Railroad. Get a drink beforehand to make the train experience all the more enjoyable.
Once you’re off the Disneyland Railroad, head back down Main Street and hang a left towards Adventureland. Our last bit of slowing it down comes way of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. Go inside the queue for the attraction, grab a Dople Whip Float and enjoy this classic.
Sunset on the River
The next three steps could be moved around depending on the time of year. One of our favorite places in Disneyland is the walkway along Rivers of America. That’s where we’ll be taking in the sunset tonight. Actually, we recommend a ride on the Mark Twain Riverboat during sunset with a stroll around the river preceding the boat ride. There is nothing more peaceful in Disneyland than a sunset cruise on the Mark Twain.
If you were ahead of schedule in this itinerary and made it to this part of the itinerary by late afternoon then consider exploring Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. There are many paths to explore and fun bridges and little playgrounds to enjoy.
Rancho del Zocalo Dinner
Come dinnertime we’ll stick around Frontierland for Rancho del Zocalo. I enjoy this Mexican counter-service spot, which isn’t extremely authentic but does offer good food at a solid price. I like the Carne Asada and Enchilada Platter. Harbor Galley is another exceptional choice with bread bowls and Lobster Rolls.
Nighttime Attractions Pt. 1
There are several attractions throughout Disneyland that we prefer at night as opposed to during the day. We’ll do a couple of attractions each night. For night one, we’ll stay on the Frontierland side of the park and go on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Jungle Cruise. Both attractions are excellent any time of day but take on a whole new experience at night. If the wait time is over half an hour then you can skip an attraction here but hopefully you’ll be able to fit in both.
Fantasmic! and Galaxy’s Edge
Following your nighttime thrill rides, head back to the river. It’s time for one of the best nighttime spectaculars in any Disney park – Fantasmic! Watching the show along the river is pure bliss and you’ll want to arrive early to get a good spot. The show is not to be missed.
We’ve been holding off on Disneyland’s latest land all day until now. You could certainly go to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge earlier in the day but knowing that you’ll have two days makes the nighttime option blissful. Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run should have low wait times at this point and the land will be far less busy during the day. Add in that the lighting is absolutely gorgeous at night and ending your first day here is an easy choice. Stay through closing time and let the land clear out before making your way out of Disneyland.
A Morning in the Future
The second morning starts with a race to Space Mountain. Get in the standby line so that you can ride it twice. After a ride or two through Space Mountain, we’ll work our way through the rest of Tomorrowland. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and Star Tours – the Adventure Continues are essentials. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Autopia are older Disneyland classics that you can take or leave. Small children will probably get a kick out of Autopia. Getting all of Tomorrowland done in the first hour is the goal and should be easily accomplished as long as you are at the gates before opening. Before breakfast (our next step), walk over to Indiana Jones Adventure and ride that, assuming the wait is under 40 minutes.
As a side note, if you want to ride Rise of the Resistance again (I’m guessing most probably will) then just follow the same steps as the first morning.
Breakfast at Carnation Cafe
The second day at Disneyland could be called a culinary tour along Main Street. That starts with a breakfast at Carnation Cafe, a table-service restaurant with very moderate breakfast prices. Eating along Main Street early in the morning is a beautiful, tranquil experience. Another option here would be to take the Disneyland Monorail from the Tomorrowland Station and enjoy a breakfast at Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel. The food there is slightly more upscale, both in quality and price, but the experience will take significantly longer.
After breakfast, head back to Adventureland and enjoy the other classic, Jungle Cruise, in the daylight. Experiencing the attraction in the daylight is pretty different from nighttime. Just in case your feet aren’t aching, take a hike up Tarzan’s Treehouse while in the area. The treehouse offers some beautiful views of the park. As you finish up in Adventureland.
Disneyland Classics Pt. 2
This is also titled, rides so good you need to ride them twice. This includes Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain and Big Thunder. Some of this will have to be done throughout the entire afternoon as the lines will likely have gotten long here or there at this point. If there were rides you enjoyed earlier in the trip that I didn’t include up above then add them to the list.
Lunch at the Little Red Wagon
After a bigger breakfast, we’ll go for a smaller lunch at the iconic Little Red Wagon. These hand dipped corn dogs are easily the best I’ve ever had and not to be missed. They are also one of the cheaper options at the park. If that’s not up your alley then Red Rose Taverne, a snack cart chimichanga or any of the previous restaurants I’ve mentioned are good options.
For dessert head over to Jolly Holiday Bakery and get a Raspberry Rose Macaroon or Matterhorn Macaroon. Both are excellent options although I prefer the raspberry.
Galaxy’s Edge in the Daylight!
We saw Galaxy’s Edge at night and now it’s time to see the boisterous land in the daytime. Smuggler’s Run often has manageable waits and a single rider line so enjoy if you’d like. There’s also time to try out the Blue Milk, explore the market, walk through Dok Ondar’s and give Chewie a big hug! Take your time here as the afternoon is going to be pretty relaxed.
Slowing it Down Again
After lunch and Galaxy’s Edge it’s time for a few slower attractions that will be mixed in with the following step. We haven’t made our way down to “it’s a small world” in Fantasyland yet, and that’s a must-do. If the line is over half an hour go later in the evening because the queue is outdoors. Another fun, under-the-radar option is to take the monorail out to Downtown Disney, if you didn’t for breakfast. Last of all, we would recommend Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island if you weren’t able to make it there the previous day.
A Parade and Show
Along with the slower attractions in the afternoon, check out a showing of Mickey and the Magical Map. We like the show but don’t love it. Along with the big entertainment option, seek out some of the streetmosphere entertainment that includes the Dapper Dan’s and any character meet & greets you’d like to do. All of this will make for a relaxing but enjoyable afternoon. If there’s a parade running then this becomes a must-do!
Flag Retreat and Main Street Ambiance
The Flag Retreat at Disneyland is one of those hidden gems that is touching and understated. At 4:30 PM each day they lower the flag on Main Street and honor service men and women who are at the park. It’s a nice little ceremony that is authentic and charming. It won’t likely be a top highlight but it also won’t be something you or the rest of your family will forget.
After the flag retreat, our day 2 sunset will be coming. We recommend sticking around Main Street and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to enjoy the glow against the stunning foreground. If sunset vibes aren’t your thing, then doing some of the small rides in Fantasyland like Casey Jr. and the Teacups are a good use of time
Dinner (Fried Chicken!) at Plaza Inn
We saved one of our must-do’s for the last meal, and that’s another Disneyland classic – Plaza Inn. While this isn’t the very best fried chicken I’ve ever had, it’s in the top-5 (I like to consider myself a fried chicken connoisseur) and far exceeds ‘theme park fried chicken’ expectations. The entire counter-service restaurant is a vignette into a simpler time, matching the Main Street motif. Other options include ones I’ve already mentioned – French Market or Blue Bayou.
Nighttime Attractions Pt. 2
We’ll add to the slew of nighttime attractions we mentioned in day one, adding Dumbo, Splash Mountain (if it’s not too cold), Tarzan’s Treehouse, and Astro Orbiter. While I listed more attractions here, all of these are much easier to get on than the previous night. They also aren’t quite as much fun as Big Thunder or Jungle Cruise so if you prefer just to re-ride then I’d go that route.
Disneyland has changed out what fireworks show they are playing often over the last few years. That doesn’t seem to be slowing down so the quality of show you’ll get is entirely dependent on when you visit. If it happens to be Remember… Dreams Come True then you are in luck as it doesn’t get much better than that. Either way, seeing the fireworks on Main Street is a quintessential Disneyland experience and not to be missed. We recommend lining up about half an hour before the show and try to stand in the center of Main Street, just past Plaza Inn and Jolly Holiday.
After the fireworks, there is probably a little time left in your park day. There are two options here:
- Try to go on a few of your favorite rides one last time.
- Enjoy the atmosphere in New Orleans Square.
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge one last time
Personally, I’d pick option 2 or 3 as staring out at the river while the jazz band plays followed by a walk down New Orleans Square’s tight alleys is an exceptional night as is the amazing world building of Galaxy’s Edge. You could probably squeeze a couple of rides into that, as well!
Take your time walking out of the park and enjoy the ambiance around the castle, as security will let you linger for a while. If you aren’t completely exhausted, another night cap at Trader Sam’s wouldn’t hurt anyone! While this is a busy two days at Disneyland, we think it will make for an exceptional experience.
What do you think of our Disneyland 2-Day Itinerary? Let us know in the comments! If you are planning a trip to Disneyland, check out our Disneyland Resort Trip Planning Travel Guide. Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney! If you enjoy what you’re reading please subscribe to the blog and like our social media pages! You can do both of those things on the right side of this page. Have a great day!
Categories: Park Itineraries