Vacation Tips

Avoiding the Lines – Disneyland

There comes a point in a full theme park day where you just don’t want to wait anymore. Feet are throbbing, the sweat has had time to dry twice over and all of the phone games have become half as interesting as they were when the day started. Usually this happens in mid-afternoon when the sun is the hottest and the lines are the longest but the longing for no lines can strike at anytime! In this series, we’ll talk about our favorite attractions that have next to no line regardless of the time. After starting with Magic KingdomEpcotHollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, we’ll move across America to Disneyland today!

Not to confuse anyone, this series isn’t about the best time to go on popular rides. Refer to our itineraries for that! This post is dedicated to attractions that don’t really ever have a line, outside of waiting for loading or the next show to start. Does that mean there will be a few listed that aren’t exactly the highest quality? Naturally! But others are certainly hidden gems. I’ll be putting my favorites of what’s listed at the top before working our way down to ‘rides that have no lines because they are terrible’.

Castle and pink blooms DL

Even the worst on the list provide some air conditioning on a hot day or a respite from a rain storm. There’s also something to be said about personal taste, and my least favorite is probably someone else’s favorite! Disneyland’s attractions are so good that I’m not even going to make an Autopia joke here.

Speaking of, Disneyland has far more attractions than any other park in this series. The sheer number of attractions means that some will go without much of a line, even on a busy day! The capacity of attractions is really impressive and something that all theme parks should shoot for. I’ve been encouraged by Bob Iger’s recent comments about park capacity.

Obviously, that doesn’t mean that the best rides are walk-ons. You’ll still do your fair share of waiting at Disneyland. But the larger attraction roster does leave us with a bigger list for this post and one full of quality! There are quite a few rides that just missed the list because they attract just enough of a line including Small World and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. The Matterhorn and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run both have single rider lines that drastically reduce the wait times.

SWGE Falcon rain DL

Those are a few that almost made the list but let’s get to what actually did!

Disneyland Railroad

A small caveat that the Disneyland Railroad does have a line at times and at different stations. Never try to catch it in New Orleans Square because the line backs up and very few people seem to get off the train there. But catching the train on Main Street and doing a full loop often has little wait and is one of the most relaxing experiences in Disneyland. Make sure to stay on for the full loop to experience Primeval World!

Dinos eating DL Railroad

Mark Twain Riverboat/Sailing Ship Columbia

If the Disneyland Railroad is the most relaxing experience in the park, a ride on the Mark Twain around sunset is the prettiest. Wait until the boat is at the dock then saunter on over, as it won’t leave right away and you’ll be able to walk right on. The ride around Rivers of America is beautiful and offers views of Disneyland that you wouldn’t otherwise get. While I prefer the Twain, Sailing Ship Columbia is great too! There’s a few places to explore on the lower deck of the ship and the cannon is a surprise!

Mark Twain RoA DL

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

What more to say about the Tiki Room that hasn’t already been said? If you don’t like singing birds then I can’t help you. I’ve never had to wait for the show, outside of them just loading the room and it is still very entertaining all of these years later. This is a perfect mid-afternoon activity, especially with a Dole Whip in hand.

Tiki room pole DL

Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes

Take what I said about AC and throw it out the window here! If you participate properly in the Canoes then you’ll probably break a sweat and may end up a little sore. How’s that for selling an attraction? That said, I love the Canoes as they’re full of character and a vestige to a former Disneyland. There’s hardly ever a line here.

Canoe logo DL

Mad Tea Party

Like everything in Fantasyland, the teacups can garner a line in the afternoon but this wait generally stays under 15 minutes, if that. I like a few other rides on this list a little better than this one but none are as iconic as spinning with your friends or family in the shadow of the Matterhorn.

Teacups and light night Fantasyland DL

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

The best place to get air conditioning on the hottest Disneyland day comes in the form of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. There’s never a line here and the theater seats are pretty comfortable. The show itself is endearing and impressive all these years later. Seeing the Lincoln animatronic is worth taking the time alone. Factor in that you may or may not need a 10 minute power nap after the Disneyland hustle and bustle? This is a good spot!

Great Moments with Mr Lincoln night DL

Tale of the Lion King

While this stage show doesn’t run every day, it’s a great spot to go sit down for about half an hour. The show is fairly strong, with musical numbers and a loose telling from Lion King. Shown in the Fantasyland Theater, there will be some shade and, Lord willing, a nice breeze to make for a relaxing little break.

Tale of the Lion King post DL

Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer Island

If you need a full break from the park for an hour or so, take the raft over to Tom Sawyer Island and explore the caves, bridges and paths. It’s a lovely place to sit and relax for a while, assuming it’s not too hot. Like the canoes, this is another reminder of a former Disneyland. It’s worthy of exploring!

Tom Sawyer Island telescope DL

The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh

Even when this attraction says it has a 20+ minute wait, it’s usually under 10 minutes. Do I still hold a grudge here because this attraction took the place of Country Bear Jamboree? Oh yeah. Is it a cute ride that’s worth doing since there’s no line at all? Sure!

Woozles DL Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Casey Jr. Circus Train

There might be a slight line here sometimes and if there is then please skip this. Casey Jr. is not a very good ride. But if there’s no line and you have a kid then enjoy this kiddie train! Or, and hear me out, if you just want to embarrass yourself as a full grown adult and get overly excited while riding on the very back car then do it! I don’t speak from any experience at all.

Casey Jr sign DL

What are your favorite places in Disneyland without a line? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments! If you are planning a trip to Disneyland, then check out our planning guide. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages.  You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email.  You can do all of that on the right side of this page.  Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!

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