I have been to Disneyland a couple of times previously and it is an awesome place. It has a great, relaxed vibe, fantastic staff and lots of really fun attractions.
There are lots of hidden surprises at Disneyland, you can turn a corner and meet the Fairy Godmother, or discover a quiet, little garden. You could happily spend all day at Disneyland without doing any of the attractions and still have a great time. So with that in mind, it is important to approach it with the right mindset and while you may have a plan for the day, it is okay to break from the plan as well.
I will say however, that you should maximise fast passes as much as possible. These allow you to have a reduced waiting time for some of the more popular attractions. You can only have one at a time, and you need to return in a specific window of time, but these will save you heaps of time in the queue.
The other thing I would strongly recommend is getting a hotel close to the parks. You will want to pop back to your room in the afternoon for a rest or a nap. You can then come back to the park for the night-time shows and feel refreshed.
We managed to see quite a lot today. We did a number of attractions multiple times and still saw fantasmic and had a great lunch.
We ate at the blue bayou restaurant which is located within the pirates of the Carribean ride. The restaurant is set at the start of the ride, in the bayou. While not the cheapest option for lunch, the food is fantastic and the setting is one of the best in the resort. Just make sure you request a table by the water. Your wait time may be slightly longer, but it is worth it.
We saw the new Star Wars simulator ride 5 times. Some rides will tell you that they have a different ride experience every time, but the differences are tiny and you can’t really tell. Star Wars has 11 different scenes in various combinations so you do feel that the ride is quite different and worth seeing several times. My favourite scenes are on Hoth and Naboo. (As much as I hate Jar Jar). The queue experience is also fantastic, there are tourist videos and conversations with the droids. We also had a great experience with a staff member on this ride. On hearing that we were trying to see all scenes she kindly provided us with an additional fast pass. Awesome service and really thoughtful.
We rode Indiana Jones 3 times. It is good try try this ride late as the waiting times will likely be significantly reduced. This ride still has great technology and is lots of fun. Definite,y worth riding multiple times.
We also saw Fantasmic which has aged very well. This story of dreams and nightmares still manages to impress crowds. There is a dragon, pyrotechnic effects, princesses and pirates. would like to see the villains win occasionally though.
Also rode Space Mountain (classic), Alice in Wonderland (I’m and Alice fan, so fun for a kids ride), submarines (Based on Finding Nemo) and Astro Blasters (rode 3 times – is a competitive video game).