We are a family of 4 with 2 kids. We are planning to visit Disneyland between Dec 20 and Dec 26th and we have 5 day tickets. We plan to spend 3 days at the Disneyland park and 2 days at DCA. We plan to get into the park around noon everyday and stay until park closes in the midnight. What are best options to plan our visit? Would we need Genie plus?
The problem with Genie+ and your plan is at DL you can’t start booking Genie+ until you are in the park. With 5 days and staying until close, you probably won’t need it anyway even if the park are super busy (but based on last year, it might no be that bad).
With 5 days you’ll be able to do most everything whether or not you get Genie+. Buying it would be a matter of if you really want re-rides on favorites and/or if you can tolerate longer lines that it will be from noon until ~10pm and also a question of budget (that /person/day cost adds up!). You definitely don’t need it for all your days though so I would pick at most 2 days that will be your ride heavy days and utilize it then to pack in all the rides & thrills. If you like taking photos with the Disney photographers it is included. You can just buy Genie+ for one person just for the photos, so any days you wanted to focus on photos you could get it for just the one person.
I always like to rotate days going back and forth between DL & DCA so I would plan to do DL, DCA, DL, DCA, DL. But I also like to avoid DL on Mondays but the week you’re going might not make a difference since 12/25 is the Monday
Will your start and end days be partial days, or will you do noon to midnight all five days? For your first day, I recommend you make atmosphere entertainment, shows, parade, and fireworks your priority. Don’t get Genie Plus; just do rides as you can when lines are shorter, as many will be after Fireworks. If your kids are old enough, do single rider on Space Mtn, Matterhorn, and Millenium Falcon. I’d get Genie Plus one day in each park after you scan in, then decide on the remaining days if you think it was worth it. You will save considerable time that way, leaving you more time to enjoy the awesome Christmas atmosphere. You get more bang for your buck with Genie if you also have park hoppers, but it"s still worth it one park at a time. When I go multiple days (and I always hop), I usually only get Genie one of those days because I get a little stressed with the pressure of feeling like I need to maximize my use of it to get full value out of it.
I also recommend making a visit into the lobby of the Grand Californian, esp in the evening, to see their decorations, the huge fireplace and gingerbread house, and, (if they will be there this year), the bell choir singers. Very Christmassy. I’d do that on a day you will be in DCA since you can go directly into the hotel from the park.