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Top 5 Line-Waiting Activities for California Resident Disneylanders (Featuring Jeff Reitz)

Top 5 Line-Waiting Activities for California Resident Disneylanders (Featuring Jeff Reitz)

When I was a kid, we had Disneyland passes. I was homeschooled, and we used to take a dance class in Anaheim every Wednesday afternoon. Every week, we would go an hour early to Anaheim, run into Disneyland, and wait in what seemed like abandoned queues to go on a few of our favorite rides (usually Matterhorn, Peter Pan, Jungle Cruise, or Small World if it was unbearably hot). Then, we’d take a quick tram back and be on our way, no rush or stress, to our dance class. This was such a great time in my life, and I treasure the memories of my uninterrupted experiences at Disneyland and California Adventure.

Mind you, this was before Disney passes cost roughly 307,286.40 pesos, a pound of flesh, and a publicly performed ritual dance inspired by the feather duster from Beauty and the Beast (her name is Fifi, for all you unenlightened souls). Likewise, while the lines at Disneyland have never been pleasant, they also didn’t used to make me feel like I had just finished taking 25 units of college classes when I got to the end of the line. 

It’s hot. It’s loud. It’s unpleasant. And, especially for California natives, it’s worth it. The heat of the sun on my skin while I wait is enough to bring my inner child out in full force, and I am the first to drop everything just to get park access and jump on my favorite ride (Pirates). 

However, for Californians, buying a few postcards from the shops and filling them out while waiting in line isn’t really a good option to distract ourselves from the painfully slow lines we choose to subject ourselves too, and if you’re used to the system, it only takes a few minutes to figure out the whole fastpass situation. It’s time for us to get creative in our distractions. 

I got in touch with Jeff Reitz, a renowned Disneyland expert (he’s been going to Disneyland every day since 2011!) to ask for some of his favorite distractions. He’s someone who’s actually managed to turn going to Disneyland into a job. Here are 5 of his (and my) favorites for California Residents.

Ebooks and Games

We’ve seen the giant mouse. We’ve experienced the proposal(s) in front of the castle. We’ve taken in the sights, sounds, and smells of every twist and turn of these long lines. While the thrill of simply being at Disneyland is exciting enough to keep anyone searching for hidden Easter eggs along the line’s pathway, there’s only so many times you’ll be utterly thrilled by the detail that goes into the intricate costuming of each pirate on the walls of the Pirates of the Caribbean line. Jeff likes playing different games on his phone, I like to download a book and read while I’m in line. In either case, it should be something that’s easy to take in in small chunks. Scribd is my go-to app for cheap and easy literature access! 

Call your mom

This really should need no justification. When was the last time you talked to your mom? Seriously, just, like, call her, man. Remind her of all the fun times you had at Disney together when you were growing up. (Wait…you mean those were only fun for the kids, and it was more of an endless line, sticky sunscreen, breaking the bank trauma? Whaaaat?) A half hour wait time is more than enough time to make her feel loved. 


There are 10,000 groups of tourists all over the park, all in these weird matching shirts. They’ve all got some kind of camera slung over their shoulder, and they’re hogging all the nice photography spots. You know what very few overwhelmed tourists will take a photo of? Hidden Mickeys all over the park. There are so many intricate details that only locals who are unenthused by the blinding haze of pixie dust will be able to notice. When you do, try to catch a new angle or a unique perspective on a detail that someone else just missed.

Plan your next moves

This one’s good for residents and tourists alike. Did you know there’s a Disneyland app? It’s updated constantly with wait times, FastPass availability, show schedules, and more. It’s invaluable for someone who wants to prioritize their park time, and there’s no better time to use it than while you’re blowing two hours on the wait for Soarin’. The map will show you where you are, and you can use it to make dining reservations or even order food – straight from your app! A great way to skip yet another line.

Head’s Up! (and other games)

You know that game Ellen’s played on her show like a million times? There’s an app for that! You’ll probably get the idea from a bunch of other groups playing it in line, but no one wants to use data to download a big app in the middle of a public place (gotta conserve that battery). Check it out in advance. Or, if you’re running low on phone resources, you could always play SO many other games – my favorite “line” game to play is something I learned in China, a game called “3 6 9.” If you can figure that one out, you’ll be the envy of all the surrounding tourist groups who can’t understand what you’re doing, or why the heck you’re having so much fun. 

Thanks to Jeff Reitz for his insight on beating the depression that sets in while you’re waiting for the Incredicoaster! I can’t wait for my next Disney trip now. Thanks for reading! 

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