1st Disneyland Trip

I am beginning to plan my first trip to Disneyland. And, as a subscriber to Touring Plans, I am looking at the crowd calendar for the days of my trip in July 2020. I am seeing that Disneyland has low crowd predictions, all under 5. DCA has 5 or higher during my trip. Is it best to use the multi-pass to jump between parks based on crowds? What would you recommend for the best way to see both these parks in 4 days? I have been to WDW many times and can easily plan for that resort.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my very first post.
David B


Welcome! I have only been to Disneyland once in 2017. We had 5 day PH tickets. We stayed at Paradise Pier and used the Extra Magic hours. It was great hopping back and forth between the 2 parks depending on Fastpasses and dining. We were there around Halloween. We probably could have managed just fine with a 4 day PH.

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Thank you. I am definitely getting a park-hopper as part of my package. Considering how close the two parks are to each other, bouncing from one to the other sounds very doable. I am used to spending an entire day in the Magic Kingdom, walking miles, but it is a much larger park. Based on the crowd calendar, DCA will be the busier than DL during my visit, often much busier. So, I am thinking of planning my days beginning in DCA, transferring over to DL as the crowds increased DCA.

I’m very much like you. A WDW vet planning their first DLR trip. I’ve been asking a lot of questions and I purchased / read the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. I’m definitely buying the hopper. It seems like one park always closes a couple hours before the other. Plus, I like the idea of just treating all of Disneyland / DCA as one big park. It’s not like WDW where hopping can take an hour to get from one place to another.

Also, I’m also buying MaxPass. It seems to be amazing. For less than the price of WDW PhotoPass I get access to MaxPass and my photos at DLR.


As a teacher, I am a researcher. I bought the Unofficial Guide to WDW for my first trip, and I just got my Disneyland Resort Guide. Yes, I’m planning on adding a park hopper and max pass to my tickets. I’m still a little confused exactly how max pass works. And, I’m so used to having a MagicBand, scan and go. The idea of carrying my ticket seems antiquated. I’ve already started roughing out touring plans, and I like the idea of making a plan in one park for the morning, returning to my room to rest, then have a plan for the other park for the evening. I’m even considering doing plans for different sections of DL, with an evening ‘on’ Batuu.

Just did my first visit last month to Disneyland. Hoppers are great. It is so easy to go back and forth.

You pass through security at the garage or hotel entrances and then you have disneyland, california adventure and disney springs available without doing security again. So it makes hopping easy.

I LOVED having max pass. So worth it. Not only do you get your fast passes on your phone without having to cross parks. You get them faster and you can pull passes from either park no matter what park you are in.

You also get photo pass and ride photos. Just make sure to snap a pic if your ride photo number to claim later through max pass.

As to planning I basically winged it. It is so much more relaxing than wdw. Fast passes are only day of. I went 3 days and was hapoy with all that I got done.


If you are trying to maximize rides, then rope drop the EMH park of the day, use MaxPass to get an FP for the other park, ride a bunch of rides for 90 minutes with small wait times, then head over to the other park to use your FP.
During EMH, we can usually do space mountain, matahorn, star tours, and buzz lightyear… and you’re basically done with tomorrowland for the day.
Radiator springs is THE fastpass to get since it runs out quickest.

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Thank you. As I am staying at a Good Neighbor hotel (5 min walk to either park), am I eligible for EMH?

MaxPass is what those stupid Magic Bands should have been.

You can use either the papers or your phone.

MaxPass - you can get your next MaxPass 90 as soon as you scan in to the current ride or 90 minutes after you get the prior one. We were rocking MP for three of our four days. We opted not to get them one day (a quieter one) to see if it affected us much. Not really as it was a slower day and we were only in DLR that day and we still walked to the machines and got passes.

Now that I’ve been to DLR, going to WDW seems so much less fabulous. I know we will have fun at WDW (we’ve been many times) but DLR was so much more wonderful.


I will likely draw some ire here, but I’m going to go ahead and suggest that you really focus first on what WDW doesn’t have. Many will point out that many of the rides are slightly different and need to be experienced on both coasts. For sure I was glad to experience each of them, but if you have to choose between Peter Pan and Mr. Toad, I’m going to go with a resounding MR. TOAD. Hopefully, with rope dropping you won’t have to choose between anything.

We went for four days in June 2018 and Pixar Pier was still closed and WOC was dark and there were still some things we couldn’t do. BUT - we also opted for five rides on GOTG and four on RSR and three on Alice, etc. We loved the novel rides and were glad to reride them.

I found the rest of Carsland to be in the one-and-done category.

Fantasmic is different than at HS, but it was much better to my family. Even though there isn’t amphitheater seating, we loved it. The action takes place so much closer

I’m sure you’ll read this else where, but start trying to see the fireworks from the first night on. Because of Santa Ana winds they are frequently canceled, so have fireworks as plan A every night until you get to see them.

@lolabear_la @Wahoohokie and @Jeff_AZ are all pros IMO. I’m sure they will weigh in.


I, too, am staying at a Good Neighbor Hotel. You only get to go to EMH at Disneyland, not DCA, one time if you are doing at least a three day visit. (DCA EMH is reserved for on-site guests)

A favorite DLR vlogger of mine - does a great video on how MaxPass works -


I haven’t even been to DLR yet and this is my impression. So many characters just walking around that, at WDW, you’d have to pay $100s to see at an event or ADR. Plus, it just seems so much more relaxed. I know ppl will flip out once paid FastPass comes to WDW - it’s going to happen - but MaxPass seems like a better system.


Awesome, thank you for the share.

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David, I hate to say this but I have found the Touring Plans crowd calendar very unreliable my last two trips to Disneyland, the crowds seemed much larger than they had predicted. Whatever numbers Touring Plan posts, it would be safe to at least double it! You can get a second and third opinion at the Undercover Tourist Crowd Calendar and Magic Guides Disneyland Crowd Calendar. I would take all three into consideration.


I’m a Touring Plans mega fan and even I agree with this. It’s usually off by 2 points. If it says CL2 - count on it being CL4.

I know TP CLs are supposed to represent the queue waits - not actual number of ppl in the park. So… It may look busier to us, but the queues move fast.

Still… in the last year or so, I’ve started my trip planning by looking at all the various Crowd Level Calendars and getting my travel date from the consensus of when it should be best to go.

Then using TP to make my personalized plan. Even then it’s only a guide. The numbers still tend to be off. You have to use the TP “Lines” app to get a better plan. However, doing that will often send you crisscrossing the park to get to the shortest queue. While that may be faster - it can wear me out.


I didn’t use TP at all for DLR, just bought the book for the good info. The good news was even our rated CL 6 and 7 days were very manageable.


Here is a snapshot of the same 2 days in July, 2020, from all three crowd calendars: Touring Plans, Undercover, and Magic Guides. Undercover and Magic vary quite a bit. Ultimately, the crowd number is subjective, with each company having their own way to measure. I have used Touring Plans very successfully for WDW, although their numbers can be off, or felt off once in the parks. Bottom line, I am traveling solo, as I have done to WDW a few times, so I should be able to maneuver well regardless of the crowds.

36%20AM 20%20AM 59%20AM

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I’ll further add, that while TP will let you start planning a year in advance those CLs are just “guides” until about 30 days out. Your inbox will blow up each morning about 60 – 45 days before your trip with TP adjusting their numbers and DLR / WDW finalizing their hours. They’ll even shift right up to the week of your trip. I’ve had to redo plans 2 days before my travel date because TP updated with new predictions.