Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Tips for a 24-Hour Disney Day! *Updated for 2015*

Looks like the Disney Parks 24-hour day is becoming an annual event! We shan't be going - we already spent the night in Disneyland in style, but these 24-hour events are similar to comic conventions and we thought we might be able to offer some advice.  

First, the Official FYI from Disney Parks - information on queue times, parking lot hours, entertainment, Downtown Disney and more: 



Here's our Top Ten Tips for a 24-Hour Day at Disneyland:

1. Pack Light

The Main Street Lockers are an option, but those will probably be snapped up quickly, so if you brought it, plan on carrying it for at least 24 hours. It might even be a good idea to downsize your wallet - cash/credit cards, driver's license and your AP/ticket.  Every little bit helps.

We would also advise using a backpack - years of convention-going have taught us that it's easier to keep your hands free and maneuver crowds with a backpack rather than a purse or a messenger bag (even more so when it's not full of comic books).

You'll probably need:

  • A light jacket/sweater (unless you're one of those tough-it-out weather types). The low for Friday overnight in Anaheim is 56F. 
  • A water bottle; you can refill it.
  • Extraordinarily comfortable clothes and shoes that you don't mind spending 24+ hours in.
  • Some Excedrin to help with the coffee problem - more on that below.
  • Some light snacks so you don't have to just eat the Disneyland food - the nice thing about carrying snacks is that you consume them, so they don't weigh you down the whole time. Eating frequent little meals is probably the best way to go the distance for the 24-hour event.

2. Get There Early and Be Prepared to Wait...But What Else Are You Gonna Do?
Parking will be a nightmare; the crowds will be massive; the theme parks could possibly hit capacity.  Lines for rides, shows and food won't be much shorter.  If you have San Diego Comic-Con Training, that would come in handy.

Also, your concept of time management should change from how you normally prioritize and tour the parks.  On another day we wouldn't wait more than 30 minutes for any ride, period. Being Annual Passholders, we can always come back when the line is shorter.  But don't be put off by a long line during the 24 hour day - you're likely to spend a good deal of your time in line anyway, so don't let a 90 minute wait for Space Mountain deter you if you're dying to ride it.  You'd just be waiting in two 45--minute lines elsewhere, and you've got to fill that 24 hours somehow.

3. Don't Switch Parks

It's possible that if you leave Disneyland, you might get shut out and not be able to get back in.  It's also likely that this won't occur, so make sure to check park status on social media, because...

4. Social Media is Your Friend 

Keep your tech charged because you're going to want to both follow and post to the #Disney24  or #Disneyland60 hashtag. Photograph yourself every hour, tweet your observations, keep an eye out for any news regarding special shows and foods, monitor crowd levels, etc - that's why you're there, right?. Document and share, If for no other reason than to a) kill time, and b) let everyone who decided not to go live vicariously through you. 

5. Coffee/Liquor?!?!

  • Coffee: Sadly there are no more free coffee refills since the Market House closed.  Hence the Exedrin - it includes the same amount of caffeine as in a cup of coffee.  And you probably will have a headache at some point.
  • Liquor: DCA is the only park that (officially) serves alcohol, and local liquor laws do require establishments to stop serving at 2AM, so we figure that's the cutoff time for alcohol sales there .

6. Recharge
Bring a recharging device for your phone like a Mophie or invest in a recharging case.  If not, here's where some of the plugs and outlets are:

  • Most every bathroom has them, of course. 
  • Inside buildings like Innoventions, Main Street Opera House and Animation Academy.
  • Frequently in or near planters and bushes outside.
  • Golden Horseshoe has a plug in the seating area right off the stage.  Thanks @timwguy!
  • Here is a long list of outlets - it's from 2009, but how often do they change the electrical outlets at Disneyland?

7. Rest
Main Street Cinema is one of the more obvious places (as is Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln).  Innoventions will also be popular in a way that's not typical. Here are some other options (Some of these may be subject to closures during the 24 hours):

  • The House in Big Thunder Ranch
  • The Hungry Bear
  • Fowler's Harbor
  • Aladdin's Oasis
  • Disneyland Railroad 
  • Captain EO (any shows with seats, really)
  • Frozen/The Muppet 4D Theater in DCA
  • The Golden Horseshoe

8. Water Refills
Of course you can fill your water bottle in any water fountain, but Disneyland does have larger water taps where it's much easier to refill those bottles. Confirmed places to fill water bottles in DL from our friend Miss Tonya:

  • Tomorrowland: Tomorrowland Terrace - When facing the order/pick up windows on the left near the ramp down to the Little Green Men Store Command.
  • Frontierland:  Rancho Del Zocalo - In the seating area when exiting from the registers on the left behind the utensil cart.
  • New Orleans Square: CafĂ© Orleans - When exiting the registers on the right when entering the seating area.

9. Pace Yourself
It sounds obvious, but this is the quintessential marathon, not a sprint.  If you're going for the full 24-hours, or even just as long as you can hold out, you need to conserve as much of your energy as you can.  The parks will probably be too busy to do anything quickly, which may be just as well, because you have a lot of time to kill.

10. Be Happy at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Doing anything for 24 hours is a slog.  Doing it in a place with probably upwards of 100,000 people, with limited resources, an epidemic of sleep deprivation and long lines is especially tough.  Our best advice?  

  • Be kind to yourself.  
  • Be kind to your travel companions.  
  • Be kind to total strangers in the park, people you've never met and are not likely to see again, but with whom you are also sharing this journey.  
  • Especially be kind to the Disney Parks Cast Members.   

Tempers can flare, (we know this personally from our Disney Coast to Coast adventure) but try to remember that you're all there to have a fun and unique experience.  

Got any tips to add or advice to share? Go ahead and leave it in the comments! And tweet me if you're going! Let's hear your stories!


  1. Excellent article! I went to the "One More Disney Day" last year and stayed the whole 24 hours. Cannot tell you how excited I am that they decided to do another 24-hour thing. To add to your suggestions: You can also fill up your water bottle in Pizza Port at the soda fountain. We do this all the time and it's cold! They frequently run out of ice, so don't count on that. I'm guessing they will be selling day-specific merchandise. If you want any of this, get it AS SOON AS YOU WALK IN!! It will be gone by 9am. Another option is to get it on eBay for twice the price...and my family thanks you. Seriously, Disney World attendants had last year's offerings on eBay on my way into Disneyland at 6am. Lockers are a must. OH...take band-aids for rubbing shoes or other such inconveniences. If you forget, an 8-pack can be purchased for $2.50 or so at the shop at Space Mountain's exit. Excedrin is an excellent idea. I am a 2-pot-a-day drinker of coffee (black) and held off last time until 3am. When I finally found a seller, the line was 30 minutes long and the coffee pots were not functioning properly. This produced coffee that a spoon would stand up in if it didn't dissolve first. I like strong I didn't complain. At about 2am, I noticed people were not adhering to the smoking area rules. Smokers all over the park with no cast members enforcing rules. Anyway...I'm excited! See you there!

  2. Wow Pinky that sounds amazing being at Disney fur a full day. It is obvious your comic con expertise has not gone to waste.

  3. great job! I survived the One More Day in 2012 -- I did leave the park at 2 a.m. to go to my car and sleep for an hour -- I just packed a blankie and my pillow in my car, but the back seat down and I was good. I also brought a travel toothbrush & toothpaste and brushed my teeth when I woke up from my nap. So refreshing! Unfortunately, I doubt I'll get to the park on Friday -- taking care of someone who is recovering from surgery and who needs me here at I'll be the vicarious-living enthusiast.

  4. Thanks so much for your great feedback!!

  5. Thanks for these tips. I am going for the first time this year for the #rockyourdisneyside promotion. I am super excited!!

  6. Thank you for these tips. I was thinking of walking to Disneyland from my hotel at around 4:00am. Do you think there will already be long lines by then for the 6am rope drop? Thank you.

    1. Hi Michael. That should be plenty of time. I don't think it's quite as busy to get in as it used to be in prior 24-hour days.
      --Your Pal, Pinky

  7. Those are great tips, Pink Bunny! I've done both of the other 24 Hour events and one thing I can say is, it's not usually all that crowded at the 6 am opening. It seems like it might be when you're in a huge line, but the majority of the people don't come until much later, because most people don't do the full 24 hours, so they choose to do the overnight. The worst crowding usually happens after people get off work. The Dinner lines are usually as bad as the ride lines. Last year, we got EVERY RIDE IN DISNEYLAND done by noon. And then we had soooooo much time to kill later on. The biggest bummer is that Cars Land is open minimal hours (basically the hours it normally is open). It definitely won't open at 6. Last year, I think it didn't open until 10 am. Thursday night is a Grad Nite night, and they get to use Racers, which needs a huge shut down time every day to keep functioning.