The Disneyland No Rides/No Queues/No Stress Anti-Touring Plan (Part 1)

Last week, I posted a comparison of Disneyland’s Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train, suggesting that most guests will only include one or the other on their touring plan. That elicited feedback from a reader (ok, Tom Bricker) decrying the concept of choosing between two great attractions in the name of “efficiency.”

I happen to agree. I believe that the best judge of how good an experience you had Disneyland can’t be counted in the number of attractions you ride. That’s why I’m adding a new “No Rides/No Queues/No Stress Anti-Touring Plan” to the 2013 edition of the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland.

The following is a sneak peak of my introduction to this new tour, which flies in the face of our famous time-saving plans, but may appeal to other guests of a more laid-back nature:

Most of our readers are interested in touring plans get get them through as many attractions as possible in the most efficient manner. But, like the authors, some you may have siblings, spouses, or other companions who are congenitally opposed to queuing for anything clanking or claustrophobic. What can Disney do to occupy your Aunt Gertie, who is dead-set against standing in a line, or sitting in anything with a lap bar?

At almost any other theme park, you would be out of luck. But Disneyland Park is one of the few places where you can experience a full day of entertainment without getting on a ride faster than the railroad, and without waiting more than fifteen minutes or so, even during the busiest season.

Yes, you can get your money’s worth at Disneyland without sprinting to Space Mountain or spinning in a teacup. You just have to adjust your expectation of what constitutes an attraction. (There are a handful of sedate activities available at Disney California Adventure, like Disney Animation, the winery, and the bakery tour, but not enough to justify a full-price pass.)

Since this “anti-plan” is designed to eliminate stress, there is no strict order to follow the steps in, nor instructions to arrive before rope drop (though it doesn’t hurt). Simply tour the park as your feet take you, skipping any suggested experiences that don’t interest you. If there is more than a 15 to 20 minute wait for anything you want to do, simply move along and check back later. Most importantly, take a break after four or five hours and leave the park for a nap, meal, or swim. The key is to take your time and (literally) stop to smell the roses.

Tell us in the comments below if a plan like this interests you, and what you would include in one. Then check back later in the week for my picks of the best places in Disneyland to de-stress.


Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

12 thoughts on “The Disneyland No Rides/No Queues/No Stress Anti-Touring Plan (Part 1)

  • April 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Doesn’t interests me personally (I like to hit ALL the rides when I visit DL and WDW) but I am forwarding this info on to a friend who I think, would REALLY like this plan.

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    This describes pretty much all my trips to WDW! I call it the WTWBM(Where The Wind Blows Me) TP. My boyfriend insists that we follow it as well :b) Easiest to accomplish solo, however!

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Well, my boyfriend and I basically do this type of touring plan every Saturday at Disneyland! Especially the skip a ride if the wait is more then 15/20 minutes! It’s about as lazy and impatient as one can get. But I find the amount of time spent walking in circles in the park instead of standing in line is great exercise. hahah

  • April 23, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    I want to take my Mom, 75, to WDW. She doesn’t see anything on ads but thrill rides. I would love to see a stroll and see TP. It would be great to include park breaks exploring resorts. For example, tour Magic Kingdom until noon and do lunch and look around at a monorail resort.

  • April 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I would actually LOVE to see a touring plan for both DL and WDW with this type of information, not just about “hidden mickeys” but with all sorts of interesting stories and details! It’s so easy to get focused on the attractions and miss all of the little details that Imagineers put into the parks.

  • April 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I would have loved to see a similar report before my husband and I went on our first trip to WDW last November. Some of our best times were the restaurants and the other “sit-down” attractions. (Loved our breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table and lunch at Crystal Palace to name just two)We are both 60 this year, and though we were raised on Disney and lived a very short distance from Disneyland then, our bodies just won’t keep up with our memories of all the fun we had back then. We had a lot harder time with the rides than we thought we would, and after our first MK ride (Splash Mountain) we were even scared we wouldn’t be able to do any of the rides. Mostly our problem was bending our knees enough to sit in the various boats/doom buggies etc as we both have leg issues. But I have to admit we had a wonderful time regardless. I’m starting to plan another visit in 2014 and I know I will be searching out those low-knee-impact kinds of attractions/places. I noticed today that Disney Food Blog had posted a tour of the three Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants (sans meals) – that will go on my list of possibles.
    I subscribed last year to your site and it was a BIG help – thank you so much for all you do.
    Debbie V.

  • April 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I will be attending a 5 day conference in Orlando this June. Even though I will miss my family at WDW with me, I am looking forward to some well spent time – solo – at MK watching Wishes & Epcot watching Illuminations. I also want to take a better look at the World Showcase too – at my pace! I like the thought of WTWBM! Can’t wait!

  • April 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Several years ago, my friend and i — passport holders at the time — devised a plan that we would not duplicate anything until we had done it all (ie: rides) and we would find different pathways to locations. It truly became one of the best years at disneyland. We discovered shortcus and hidden pathways all over the park. We rode everything and did not limit ourselves to “the favorites” but instead found many new favorites! We watched fantasmic from the back – over by the canoes, we wandered every shop on Main Street and took the time to talk with cast members, we read signs, noticed hidden mickeys, and rode in the front car of the monorail and the train. Yes –a plan like this interests me. Enjoying the hidden secrets of disneyland is a day of discovery. … And when you are so “lets conquer the rides” you miss a great deal of the disney magic.

  • April 24, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I would love such a plan. We are now AP holders with a 6 and 8 year old. One of the things that keeps Disneyland and DCA fresh for us is trying to find something new to experience every time we visit. Doing this has really helped us appreciate how much work Disney puts into the total experience.

  • April 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I did my first solo WDW trip last fall and this was pretty much my plan. Short lines only. Fastpass my one mustdo for each park. Catch every “street performance” that I found and stay for the whole thing. I’ve now seen more Epcot shows than I knew existed, and got to be Caesar for the Red Ladies. I discovered Mulch Sweat and Sheers during EMH and had a great time. I sat on a curb under the Osborne lights, just watching, listening and relaxing, for well over an hour. Wandered all over the paths around the Tree of Life. Sang all the songs with Phineas and Ferb. Watched the police man give a scooter rider a no-parking ticket, and then cope with one of the actresses in DHS. There is so much going on besides the rides. I think it would be well worth giving people a list to watch for.

  • April 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I would love something like this for WDW as well: examples: touring Epcot’s Innoventions, the Aquarium of the Living Seas, various exhibits throughout the World Showcase (like the Tomb Soldiers in China). for AK: I’d include one ride on the train to Conservation Station (and perhaps even start there when they open up).

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