The Serious Business of Selecting Your First Attraction on Each Disney Day


There are many planning lessons that you can learn here on The DIS, but when it comes to choosing the order in which you'll ride the attractions, the decision is a very personal one. Everyone does it differently, and it can even become a point of contention when traveling in groups. Today, I wanted to explore how you decide on your attraction lineup and, more specifically, looking at Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom, how you select which order you experience each land.

Most of you know I take my Disney days very seriously. Once you are lined up against that rope, waiting for the signal to walk (as fast as humanly possible), but not run to your first destination, you need to have a plan in mind. Choosing the wrong order for your visit can make or break the rest of the day. And yes, it is that serious.

If you could see me, you would know I have my serious face on.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

There are a few different styles I have noticed that people adopt. You have your E-ticket Crew that prefers to hit every major ride as early in the day as possible. While this is an excellent strategy to tick those important things off your list, there is a lot of traversing involved, which can be time-consuming and wreak havoc on the later hours as you move back and forth through the park to fill in the gaps.

Next up are the Devoted Land Guests. These peeps like to cover an entire area before moving on to the next, marking off every attraction, store, show, and desired food/beverage stop in the interest of not doubling back. Even though this technique is highly efficient walking distance-wise, it can leave you waiting in lines for much longer than if you were to pick and choose as needed.

Not quite in either of those two categories? Perhaps you are in Team FastPass, moving through the park based on the best offer the My Disney Experience app can make you for a shorter line. You'll spend less downtime waiting around but can easily miss out on a few of the must-do items on your list when they simply don't have a shorter wait available.

Last but not least, we have the Playing Favorites guests. These guys and gals like to mix it up, throwing out all the rules and focusing on their nostalgic, wish-list blend of attractions, old and new, waiting as needed to make sure they get their fill.

You may recall that I am a Disneyland girl at heart, most familiar with that heart-pumping decision between the Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland entry points. Even though it was a long-standing tradition to begin with Pirates of the Caribbean, we now tend to head straight for Peter Pan. Without FP in Disneyland, this attraction fills up early and doesn't calm down until the day is done. With MaxPass now in play (though temporarily disabled as the park reopens), it is much easier to hit those bigger rides throughout the day. Peter Pan, however, is still in the dark ages of the pre-1990s, where you still have to actually wait. Ugh!

The temptation is definitely there to experience the lands one at a time, led by the overwhelming desire to start to the left at Adventureland and work our way around, probably because down here in Australia, we drive on the left. That and visiting the supposedly 'futuristic' Tomorrowland before sliding into the wild wild west of Frontierland seems counterintuitive. And though it isn't the best timing considering you get very wet, I love riding Splash Mountain at night, often making it my last ride before reluctantly exiting. Seeing the park lit up for that moment before you barrel down the drop feels like pure magic. If doing this in DL, try hitting this one as others are waiting for the parade (when everything is up and running again).

How do you choose your ride order? Do you use one of the methods listed above, or is there a new and improved process you have cultivated over the years? If you feel like sharing, I am particularly interested in your Disneyland / Magic Kingdom attraction organization. What works? What doesn't? And even if they aren't functionally the best decisions to make, what would you prefer to start and finish your day with if the queues weren't a factor?

**Feature image photo by W Alan on Unsplash (And yes, I know this is Hong Kong Disneyland, but just look at how stunning this image is!)

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