• Caitlin McAninch

5 Activities To Do at the Disneyland Resort Besides Wait in Line

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

Even if you’re a professional at keeping up with fastpasses and knowing which rides to hit throughout the day, busy times at the parks is always frustrating. Dylan and I have found plenty of ways to keep ourselves entertained when the lines are too long and we need a break.

1. Pin Trading

As my closest friends and family know, Disney pin trading is my most favorite hobby. Over the years, my collection has expanded and trading in the parks is pretty much my favorite activity. While at the parks, I normally focus on specific pins that I need, and run around searching for the pins I want, which is basically like completing a scavenger hunt. I swing into every shop to check pin boards and look at cast member’s lanyards as I walk from ride to ride.

Whether you’re new to trading, or have been participating for awhile, there are lots of fun, pin focused things to do at the park. At 4:30 pm everyday in the resort hotel lobbies, all the managers come out wearing lanyards and lots of traders arrive to trade. In each park, sometimes you can find people near the Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta in DCA or Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante in DLR with their binders out to trade with. **You can always find me rocking my lanyard when I'm in the parks!

2. Visit the Disney Resort Hotels

The three Disneyland Resort Hotels, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Hotel, and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, are all gorgeous and amazing to see. Each hotel has distinct themes and features that make them unique. At first, I thought it would be awkward to go into the resorts if I wasn’t staying there, but it’s totally fine! So if you are looking to pass the time, head over and check them out.

Each hotel also has unique bars and restaurants. When we stayed at the Grand Californian in January, we had a great time downstairs drinking by the fireplace in the Hearthstone Lounge.

Pics: (left) Us at the Hearthstone Lounge. (right) For the 60th Anniversary Celebration, there was a "Grand" Sleeping Beauty Castle Cake in the lobby at the Grand Californian. It was gorgeous!

3. Eat Disney Food

Eating at Disneyland is not only great, it’s also a great way to take a break and relax when it’s busy. Like most food establishments, the busiest time to grab food is right around noon for lunch, and 5 pm for dinner. But, these are the times lines can be shorter. If you plan your day to eat at off times, you are more likely to find shorter lines for food, and you won’t be missing out on rides. Check out our blog covering our favorite places to eat.

4. Check Out the Events

Pretty much at all times during the year, there is something going on at Disneyland. When we were there last, they had a stage set up in front of the castle, and that night we got to watch Elton John perform, for free! Whether it’s a seasonal event, or a special activity for the day, there’s always something extra special to see. Always check the schedule flyer that’s at the entrance, and keep your eyes open to see what’s going on.

Pics: Elton John performing, which was recorded and later featured on the Disneyland 60th Anniversary TV Special on ABC; then us at the park during Halloween, and a photo of It's A Small World during Christmas.

5. Take a Break

Last but not least, during the busiest, and warmest parts of the day, there’s nothing better than going to take a quick break. Dylan and I have found that taking a break anywhere between 1 and 4 pm allows us to relax and rest, and miss the hot crowds.

Taking a mid afternoon break also allows you to be prepared for the late night. On weekends Disneyland tends to stay open til midnight, and it gets less crowded as small children are taken back to their hotels. The park is also totally different at night, so being energized for the evening will make your experience even better!

Pic: I don't know how this is the only shot of our room at the Grand Californian back in January, but here it is!!! Can you tell I was ready for a break? ha!

And one more came to mind as I get ready to post this blog... Another great way to pass the time is to take photos! I love all of our Disney Vacation pics we bring home, from my iPhone and the ones that Disneyland's amazing photographers snap! So if you have some down time, strike a pose!

What are your favorite things to do besides the rides at Disneyland? Share what you and your family do when it’s busy at the parks in the comments below!

Disneyland Resort

Distance: 540 miles

Driving Time: 7 hours & 45 minutes

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