There is no place I rather visit than Disneyland. Thousands of other locals feel the same. At a certain point though the crowds will be unavoidable.
You can still have fun at Disneyland even when Disneyland is packed. It’s all about perspective. So my best advice to you is to go with the flow. It will get crowded in December and there’s not much you can do about it.
Attitude is really the most crucial part of visiting Disneyland when it’s busy. If you let the crowds affect you by the middle of the day, you will be miserable. Think about in a positive light. Because my family works here, I know that being busy is good. I think this means the Cast Members are getting the hours they need.
Know where to go. Both parks have gift shops that run down the main streets. The shops on Main Street and Buena Vista Street. You can walk through them faster than the main streets.
Take advantage of the transportation. The monorail and the Disneyland Railroad are a great way to reach your destination when it’s crowded. You may have to wait in line but you won’t have to brave the crowds.
When Disneyland is packed avoid rides, you do not have a FastPass for. Find something to eat. When it’s busy, I will pick a quick service location and get a snack.
Order and find a place to relax. Take a breather. You could try relaxing at Alfresco Tasting Terrace at Wine Country Trattoria. This is a hidden spot in California Adventure. At Disneyland Hungry Bear is in Critter Country is often not crowded. You can take the Disneyland Railroad and disembark in New Orleans Square and walk over. There are benches that overlook the Rivers of America on the lower level. It is a great place to relax.
I like to eat over at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta at California Adventure. It’s cafeteria style and you’ll see a line forming with people picking pasta. If you tell them, you can take your spaghetti and go the line will go much quicker.
I also look for under appreciated attractions like Winnie the Pooh. Those rides have the shortest wait times.
I also recommend that you read my post on how to skip the lines. When Disneyland is super crowded these tips can help a lot. Just remember to combine the single rider lines and FastPasses. You should be able to ride most E-ticket rides with little hassle.
Take advantage of fireworks in the parades. During fireworks and parades rides have shorter lines. Most Fantasyland rides are closed during the fireworks because of fire safety issues. The fireworks are the best time to go on rides like Big Thunder Mountain or It’s a small world.
Star Wars Launch Bay sometimes is the best place to hide from people. At, most even on a crowded day meet and greet lines are 20 to 30 minutes per character. In, my experience it’s always been about 20 or less. In California Adventure you can visit the Animation Academy. I prefer Mickey’s Sorcerers Workshop I like to hang out in Beasts Library.
Hop on the monorail and get off in downtown Disney. You can explore the grounds the Disneyland Hotel. There are places to eat and drink. The hotel coffee shop has Dole Whips with rum.
Visit the Grand Californian. You can explore the grounds you can go to the Hearthstone bar.
One of my favorite things to do when it’s super crowded and I’m getting a little stressed out is visit Sephora. You could also go to Naples and sit on the patio and get drinks and appetizers and relax. Napolini is Naples quick service pizza and is reopening the last weekend of November. Napolini will be more similar to Blaze Pizza.
Once again when it’s super crowded your attitude is going to make the biggest difference. If the crowds are too much, I will get a snack and enjoy the Christmas Lights in Radiator Springs. Or grab a snack and sit and try to decompress.
If you are visiting without kids, there is a secret 21 and over only bar in Cathay Circle. You can get the details here. Word is it is an amazing bar. I have not had the privilege of visiting yet.
Make sure you install MouseWaits and the Disneyland app. These apps make knowing wait times for rides and food so much easier.
I hope you have a wonderful visit to Disneyland this holiday season. I hope these tips help.
Here are some helpful posts to help prepare for your visit to Disneyland.