Everything We Did During Spring Break at Disneyland

My family just got back from spring break at Disneyland. This was my first visit to Disneyland Resort since 2006 but it was my wife and kids first time making the trip from Ohio to California. Being one of the busiest times of the year, I was worried we wouldn’t be able to do everything we wanted to despite having four parks days. Luckily, it went as well as I could have hoped. Here’s everything we accomplished.

spring break at disneyland

When is Spring Break at Disneyland?

A good indicator of when Disney is expecting the crowds for spring break is by looking at the ride refurbishment schedule at the bottom of the park hours pages. Disney likes to have as many attractions as possible open to help deal with the expected crowds. Looking at the maintenance schedule for Incredicoaster at California Adventure, it is scheduled to be closed March 4-14, 2024 and April 8-18, 2024. Why not just take it down for a longer period of time? Because spring break is from March 8 to April 7. Our visit occurred during our school’s spring break. We stayed at the Pixar Place Hotel from Saturday March 16 through Thursday the 21st.

Attractions closed for construction or refurbishment during our visit:

  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
  • Fantasmic!

Everything We Did During Spring Break at Disneyland

Before our trip I made a list of all the attractions at Disneyland. Then I split that list into two for each of the two theme parks: high priority, “must ride” attractions, and low priority, “won’t be sad if we miss it” attractions. I kept this list on my phone and checked each ride off as we rode them. Since we were in a Disney hotel, we took advantage of the half-hour of early entry on three out of our four parks days (the way it lined up, we didn’t need a third early entry day at California Adventure).

We also added on the ability to park hop onto our tickets, though we could have saved money here as we only used this on two of the four days. We only stayed until park close the last day, the first three days we took a 2-4 hour break in the afternoon to nap and swim back at the hotel.

So how did we do? Here’s a list of all the attractions (rides and shows) we experienced and the number of times we did. The (LL) symbol is for when we used a Lightning Lane. We did NOT use any of the Individual Lightning Lanes (Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Radiator Springs Racers are the only rides that have it, priced at $29/person and $19/person respectively). Note: you can only use a Lightning Lane on an attraction once per day, so when you see x4 (LL) next to Runaway Railway, we rode it once on all four days.

Attractions experienced, in the relative order of the first time we did it (re-rides not ordered):

  1. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree x2
  2. Radiator Springs Racers x2
  3. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters x1
  4. Webslingers x2 (LL)
  5. Little Mermaid x1
  6. Toy Story Midway Mania x1 (LL)
  7. Jessie’s Critter Carousel x1
  8. Incredicoaster x2 (LL)
  9. Pixar Pal-A-Round Swinging x1
  10. Pixar Pal-A-Round Non-swinging x1
  11. Jumpin’ Jellyfish x1
  12. The Bakery Tour x1
  13. Soarin’ Over California x2 (LL)
  14. Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout x1 (LL)
  15. Mickey’s PhilharMagic x1
  16. Monorail x2
  17. Gadget’s Go Coaster x1
  18. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway x4 (LL)
  19. Red Car Trolley x1
  20. World of Color x1
  21. Alice in Wonderland x1
  22. Mr Toad’s Wild Ride x1
  23. Pinocchio’s Daring Journey x1
  24. Jungle Cruise x1
  25. Pirates of the Caribbean x2 (LL)
  26. Adventureland Treehouse x1
  27. Shooting Gallery x1
  28. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad x2 (LL)
  29. Autopia x1 (LL)
  30. Disneyland Railroad x2
  31. It’s a small world x1 (LL)
  32. Storybook Land Canal Boats x1
  33. Millennium Falcon x1 (LL)
  34. Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough x1
  35. Indiana Jones Adventure x2 (LL)
  36. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters x2 (LL)
  37. Star Tours x2 (LL)
  38. Space Mountain x2 (LL)
  39. Mad Tea Party x2
  40. Matterhorn Bobsleds x4 (LL, single rider line)
  41. Finding Nemo Submarine x1
  42. Mickey’s House x1
  43. Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin x1 (LL)
  44. Snow White’s Enchanted Wish x1
  45. King Arthur Carousel x1
  46. Mark Twain Riverboat x1
  47. Tom Sawyer Island x1
  48. Winnie the Pooh x1
  49. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance x1
  50. Disney Visa Lounge Photo Op x2
  51. Parade
  52. Fireworks
  53. Goofy’s Sky School x1 (LL)
  54. Golden Zephyr x1
  55. Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind x1
  56. Silly Symphony Swings x1
  57. Monster’s Inc x1 (LL)
  58. Enchanted Tiki Room x1
  59. Casey Jr Circus Train x1
  60. Peter Pan’s Flight x1
  61. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln x1

As you can see, we experienced 61 different attractions and a grand total of 82 overall (20 per day average). And the most amazing part it, we didn’t wait more than twenty minutes for anything (until the dog incident, more on that in a second). Favorite attractions among my family were Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Big Thunder, Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, Radiator Springs, and Soarin’.

The only attractions we didn’t experience that we could have during spring break at Disneyland were:

  • Explorer Canoes (too much physical labor)
  • Grizzly River Run (too wet)
  • Dumbo (too dumb)

Rope Drop Strategies

To make the most of your day at a Disney theme park you need to do your research and come prepared. The most important part of the day is the start, hence why the first hour is called “The Golden Hour” and while I don’t recommend trying to map out your entire day, I highly suggest you have a strategy for rope drop. Here’s what we did:

Day 1: Early Entry at DCA

We rode Maters first because we could walk right on and it’s a relatively short ride. Then we went and got in the Radiator Springs Racers line and made our first Lightning Lane selection of the day for Webslingers. RSR is not a part of early entry, but on this day they opened the ride 10 minutes early. After RSR, the park had opened to the public but we still walked right onto Luigi’s. Next we did Webslingers and immediately picked up a LL for Toy Story. After Webslinger we did most of the attractions in the Pixar Pier area.

Day 2: Normal Entry at Disneyland

Early entry was at DCA again but we wanted to start the day at Disneyland. We did Alice in Wonderland, Mr Toad, Pinocchio, and Jungle Cruise first because they do not have LL. Next, we tried to use our first LL for Indiana Jones but it broke down.

Day 3: Early Entry at Disneyland

First we did Space Mountain and the teacups during early entry, then when the park opened we used our first LL on Matterhorn (probably unnecessary) then walked onto the Finding Nemo Submarine.

Day 4: Early Entry at DCA

We were hoping for a repeat of day one but RSR did not open until 8am so we had to wait a little longer but still avoided paying the extra cash or waiting 120 minutes like the posted wait was later in the day.

How to tackle Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?

As you can see, Rise of Resistance wasn’t on any of our rope drop plans. Why? For a few reasons:

  1. It’s all the way at the back of the park and takes longer to walk there.
  2. It is a long 15-20 minute experience which eats up a lot of the golden hour.
  3. It breaks down a lot and is unreliable. You don’t want to walk all the way back there only to find the ride is down.

Admittedly, I didn’t really have much of plan of how to ride Rise of the Resistance without waiting in a long line or paying $116 for my family to ride it. I wasn’t too worried about it until midway through day 3 when I realized we hadn’t rode it yet and didn’t have a plan. I kept checking wait times in the app when I noticed the ride went down. I kept checking and it stayed closed for awhile. We decided to stay near.

We ate lunch at the Hungry Bear then rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. As soon as we got off I checked the app the Rise had reopened and was showing only a 20 minute wait!

Everyone in the park seemed to realize this at the same time and people started running towards the back of the park. Luckily we were close and got to the ride quickly. I was worried how accurate the posted wait time was but soon realized we had walked straight through the whole queue and right into the pre-show with no waiting!

The Strangest Thing That Happened

As I mentioned earlier, we didn’t wait more than 20 minutes for anything, until the last family ride of the trip when the strangest thing happened. We hadn’t rode Peter Pan’s Flight because it doesn’t have Lightning Lane and it always has a long line due to the high demand and low capacity. The posted wait was 30 minutes so we decided to get in line. 40 minutes into the wait and getting close to the load area, we hear someone in line say “Oh, that’s a cute dog!”

We look over and a woman had just boarded the ride with her little White French Bulldog. The ride operator puts the lap bar down and sends the ride vehicle off. As the pirate ship begins to lift off the dog freaks out and jumps off the ride, down onto the roofs of London below. The guests in line surged forward to see what happened and the quick thinking ride operator hit the E-stop button. Luckily, the dog appeared to be unharmed. Unluckily for us, the ride had to be powered down and restarted, which took another thirty minutes and we missed the fireworks because of it.

Tips and Things We Learned

  • Left is best for shorter lines except for it’s a small world.
  • You can usually return for your Lightning Lane five minutes early.
  • Don’t let a Lightning Lane expire otherwise you will not be able to ride that attraction that day. Learned this the hard way. Never cancel a Lightning Lane either. Instead, modify the time or change to a different attraction.
  • Don’t get out of line once you’ve scanned your Lightning Lane or it will be forfeited. Especially if the ride goes down. If a ride is down for 20 minutes, they will dump the queue but you will receive a multi-experience pass which is essentially a Lightning Lane (Fastpass) for most attractions but without a specific return time window.
  • Some rides have single rider lines. While Matterhorn was posted at a 1 hour stand-by, my son and I were on it in 15 minutes. Later that night after the fireworks, Matterhorn had a 30 minute posted wait but I walked straight on to two back-to-back front row rides! I could’ve had a mini-ERT (exclusive ride time) session and rode it over and over had I wanted to.


Finally, I’d like to give a shoutout to SoCalDisneyDad YouTube channel for all the great tips. I can relate to him because he is also a dad but I really like how his videos focus on one subject and there’s no fluff, he gets straight to the point and provides great tips.

spring break at disneyland sleeping beauty castle

Have you ever experienced spring break at Disneyland? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!