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10 Things To Do At Disneyland With No Lines

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10 Things to do at Disneyland with no lines

Ed. – We’re taking a trip to Disneyland for this Best Week Ever. Guy Selga will be taking the slot that Dani had. While Dani will be missed, we’re really happy to bring you more California coverage on a regular basis. Please reach out to us in the comments with ideas for more Disneyland content you’d like to see.

Is it too busy at Disneyland for you? Is it the last day of your trip and you want to take an easy? Or are you just plain sick of waiting in lines? Here’s 10 things to do at Disneyland with no lines.

1. Watch the Disneyland Band or other live performances

The Disneyland Band is a group of talented musicians that perform concerts filled with classic songs from Disney’s animated movies and theme park rides (you may hear Under the Sea as well as A Pirate’s Life for Me in the same concert). They even have several different set lists each day, so you can watch multiple times and hear different songs. Disneyland Band performs all over the park, such as Town Square and Frontierland. But my favorite is seeing them in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Disneyland has many other wonderful live bands and performers scheduled every day of the year as well. Some of my favorites include Jambalaya Jazz of New Orleans Square, Pearly Band from Fantasyland, and of course The Dapper Dans on Main Street. Viewing these performances only require you to be at the designated spot when its show time. Our Lines App shows all performance times for every day of the year, and you can ask a cast member where in the park the performers will be appearing for any given show.

2. Watch Mickey and the Magical Map

Mickey and the Magical Map is the current stage show playing in Fantasyland Theater. It’s got all the singing and dancing you would expect in a Disney show but it’s blended with an impressive technologically advanced stage. Overall it’s a high energy show that is can be enjoyed by all ages, even if you’ve heard these songs a hundred times before. Mickey and the Magical is a popular show, but demand is dropped off over the the last couple of years. We’ve observed that you should be able to easily get a seat even right before showtime, but people do wait in line early to lock in anything remotely close to the stage.

3. Ride The Mark Twain Riverboat

There’s nothing quite like a ride around the river on Mark Twain. It may not be the most exciting Disneyland attraction, but it is definitely relaxing. There’s more than just trees to look at as you circle around Disneyland’s Rivers of America. There’s waterfalls, a fort, an old settler’s cabin, animals, and more. There’s no line for Mark Twain, but you may have to wait a few minutes for it to return from it’s voyage. If Mark Twain is out and about, there’s also the Sailing Ship Columbia, which is a 18th-century merchant ship. The trip around the river on Columbia is the same as Mark Twain, but you’ll get a different spiel and the ability to explore some neat scenery below deck.  Note that all Rivers of America attractions are currently closed, but are expected to be open in time for Summer.

4. Watch the Enchanted Tiki Room

Enchanted Tiki Room is an all time Disneyland classic that still packs in people, partially thanks to the popularity of the Dole Whip dessert sold in its waiting area. Also, even if you’re some sort of monster that hates animatronic birds singing and tweeting, you’ll really love the air conditioning on a hot day. Grab a Dole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar and see why the Tiki Room has been a Disneyland favorite for over 50 years.

Image © Disney

5. Watch Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln

Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is a 16 minute show staring an extremely lifelike and sophisticated audio-animatronic (seriously, it’s incredible looking) Abe Lincoln. The show starts off with a brief  biography, including some scenes that were later used in Hall of Presidents at Magic Kingdom, as well as the Two Brothers segment from American Adventure at Epcot. Overall the show is  moving, impressive, and very patriotic. While you wait for the show you can explore the lobby where you can hear about Walt Disney’s personal involvement with the creation of the show. There’s also even more to explore in the Opera House (where Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln is located) in the form of a mini museum dedicated to Disneyland’s history.

6. Ride the Main Street Vehicles

Take a leisurely ride in a horse drawn carriage, an old fashioned fire truck (say hi to cast member Steve who’s been driving it for decades), or the double decker Omnibus. The Main Street vehicles are perfect for people watching, or to get a unique vantage point of Main Street. Be sure to ride one of the Main Street vehicles early in the day as they are often closed in the early afternoon as the park gets busier.

7. Watch some classics at Main Street Cinema

An opening day attraction, this small theater shows 6 classic Disney cartoons simultaneously. See Mickey at the start of his career in classics like Mickey’s Polo Team (1936), and of course, Steamboat Willie (1928). While I understand how watching 90 year old cartoons may not sound like the most exciting thing to many people, you’ll be surprised at how well some of the early Disney cartoons withstand the test of time.

Image © Disney

 8. Explore Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

Even though Sleeping Beauty Castle is the icon of the park and one of the most photographed objects in the world, it’s surprising how easily overlooked the walkthrough is. As you explore the innards of the castle you’ll find dioramas telling the story of Sleeping Beauty. Each diorama is beautifully done and rich in detail. Take some time and really soak this one in, as there are dozens of hidden details that are easy to miss.

9. Walk Through Tarzan’s Treehouse

Even if you’re not a fan of Disney’s Tarzan film, or Phil Collins’ soundtrack which is played on repeat in the treehouse, this walkthrough does give some rewards. You’re treated to beautiful views of Adventureland and Frontierland, and you’ll burn off a few calories from the churros you scarfed down earlier.

10. Look at Cool Stuff

It’s not all about the rides! Disneyland is packed with really nice and/or interesting stuff to look at. A few examples: Insanely detailed Dioramas in Main Street windows depicting Disney animated movies like Peter Pan, Toy Story, and Frozen. The petrified tree stump in Frontierland that Lilian Disney presented it to Disneyland in 1957 saying it was “too large for the mantle” at home. Or the beautiful Snow White wishing well and grotto (located to the right of Sleeping Beauty Castle). Even if you’re not looking for merchandise the park’s shops are packed with props and knick knacks that are worth seeing (I especially like the little humorous scenes inside the Emporium on Main Street). If you’re in Disneyland during the Christmas season you can take time to admire the decorations, especially the winter lights on ‘it’s a small world’ (pictured above).

Those are 10 Things To Do At Disneyland Without Waiting in Line. Do you have any other things to do in the parks that have little to no wait? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guy Selga Jr.

Disneyland writer for TouringPlans.com and co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. Also a Disneyland local and appreciator of Disney theme park history. Twitter and Instagram: @guyselga

14 thoughts on “10 Things To Do At Disneyland With No Lines

  • A few other ideas that come to mind:
    -Watch a parade from a non-Main Street location
    -Watch fireworks from a non-Main Street location (in front of Small World or in the Fantasyland courtyard)
    -Experience the ADA-accessible version of Submarine Voyage (just ask a CM)
    -Watch whatever’s playing in the Tomorrowland (Magic Eye) theatre

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      All of these are great suggestions. Thanks!

  • Now I may be biased, but… The flag retreat is another unique thing to watch everyday. Includes the band too! Great article though!

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Absolutely agree. Love the flag retreat ceremony.

  • At least until the train goes back online, the display they have over at the New Orleans Square station. Checking out the artwork in Disneyana (and whatever the current exhibit is, between the store and Great Moments). People watching in Town Square (and character watching, if they’re out). I’ll also second the flag retreat.

    I do really like this list! Any chance of getting a similar article for DCA? There are quite a few things I can think of in that park.

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Yes I love the train exhibit at New Orleans Square station! I will be putting together a DCA list soon.

  • Stephen Muto

    In 2016 I enjoyed Disneyland with my family. The last time I was at Disneyland was in the early 1960’s. I was born and raised in California. And, Disneyland is a big part of my life. It feels like I grew up with Disneyland as a big part of my imagination. It has been a truly fun and entertaining experience.

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Wow that’s a long time between visits! Great to hear you had a good time when you went in 2016.

  • Great article! I think DL has great food, and I would love to see more coverage on unique treats. I don’t think I have seen a review yet on the new food for the PoC anniversary, I don’t recall seeing reviews for F&W this year or any info on the seminars.

    I often hear people say they saw ‘everything’ at DL in one day. Articles like this that showcase the lesser known attractions are terrific.

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Great idea! I haven’t talked about Disney food in a while, maybe it’s time to revisit that again. But yeah I know what you mean, no way one can see everything in one day.

  • This was a great article! We are WDW vets looking forward to our first Disneyland trip this August, so I’m soaking up all the info I can find! Some articles for WDW regulars about how to tackle DL would be wonderfully helpful!

    • Guy Selga Jr.

      Good idea for a post. Thanks!

    • Laura S.

      I agree. I know that Disneyland has some attractions that are very similar to WDW and some where Disneyland has a much better vision (aka Pirates of the Carribean). How about an article telling WDW fans which of these duplicate attractions we can skip amd which are must dos?

  • All three of my kids loved exploring Toon Town at their own slow pace when they were 3-5 years old. Some of my best memories are just following them around separately and watching their faces light up as they interacted with everything from Minnie’s house to the public telephones. It can be such a crowded, overwhelmingly noisy land that parents want to avoid, but I found it quite relaxing and magical and better than a nap. Luckily none of them were ever into the barnstormer so we didn’t have to deal with that line!The gift shop is also great for kids’ items, it is pretty big and not as crowded as some others.


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