Advice for DL first-timers/WDW veterans!

Hi all!
We’re planning a trip during our kids’ (2 boys, 10 and 13) fall break in sept. Planning to spend a few days in San Diego, then drive up to DL on Wed, 9/20, spend that afternoon at the hotel pool (Disneyland Hotel) and downtown Disney. Thurs/Friday will be park days.

We’ve done WDW 4 times but this will be our first west coast trip. Looking for your thoughts on a few things!

  1. Is 2 days enough? We could potentially add in Wed afternoon/evening if necessary. We know we’re not going to be able to get to every single thing, but also dont want to be disappointed!

  2. Oogie Boogie Bash is Thursday night while we’re there. We did MNSSHP once, on our first WDW trip when our kids were really too young for it to be worth it. I’m torn on whether we should do it on this trip. On one hand, it’s expensive, and takes away from regular park time, but on the other hand it looks fun and different enough from MNSSHP.

  3. We always get park hopper tickets at WDW. Feels like that would be a good bet for this trip, but would be happy to be told I’m wrong!

Thanks, all!


I’m looking to do something similar next May with sons who will be 11 and 14 by then. I’m stalking your responses to get ideas.

  1. I would think 2 days would be enough especially if you take advantage of the 1/2 hour early entry since you are staying on site.
  2. Personally, my family would skip OBB as we are all about the rides (OBB is in DCA where there aren’t as many rides). If you like unique character interactions and entertainment (parade/shows) than it might be for you.
  3. I would get park hopper. You might run out of things to do in DCA if it is a slow day and it will help you adjust for the crowd fluctuations from OBB. If you are getting Genie + than definitely get park hoppers.

I think 2 days should be enough, depending on the CL, what you want to do, and if you are planning on Genie+ and ILL.

Are you planning to ride everything? Many of the classic Fantasyland rides do not have Genie+. But your boys may be too old to enjoy those rides. I suggest prioritizing rides not available at WDW first.

Are you planning on doing all of the night entertainment? It is best to do fireworks one night and World of Color another night. But if one of the nights is Oogie Boogie and you do not do Oogie Boogie, you will not get to see any version of World of Color. Check the fireworks schedule. They may not do fireworks every night.

I never get hoppers at WDW but always get hoppers for DLR! The parks are so close. One time, we realized we had a Lamplight reservation in 15 minutes and we were at the end of Toontown! We quickly walked over to CA Adventure and got there is just under 15 minutes!

I like reading trip reports as I get closer to my trips to see what’s going on at the parks.


Thanks for the input! Going to stick with what I was originally thinking: 2 days, no OBB, with hoppers and genie+. Can’t wait!

You should be fine. Don’t forget to check out the DLR Genie+ drop thread before you go.

  1. I usually say yes to adding time EXCEPT if it’s the jump from 2 days to 3 (or 1 to 2 days). The price increase is pretty steep so unless you would be able to get more than an evening out of that 3rd day, I would say stick to the 2 days. Maximize the 30 min early entry and definitely for sure splurge on G+ for both days. And if you can take a break midday to come back and maximize evening time to stay as late as possible when it can empty out a little, that’s even better!

  2. We did Oogie Boogie Bash for the first time last year and it was a lot of fun, they put on a great show. We’ve done the Halloween Party a couple of times at Disneyland when it was over at that side and liked that just a bit more than Oogie Boogie Bash because of the fireworks & Cadaver Dans that aren’t a part of the DCA party. We haven’t ever done the MNSSHP at WDW to compare those directly. But my advice on parties is it really depends on what you’re looking for on if a HP is worth it. We loved dressing up and doing as many treat trails & character meets as we could and we did love that the party had villains acting out their roles & interacting with the passing by audience collecting treats along each treat trail. The parade was pretty good too but fast & short it seemed. There is also the Villains Grove at Redwood Creek Challenge trail that was really stunning but the line for it was SO long no matter what so we saved it for last & were all very tired doing it. It can be a sensory overload is you’re sensory-sensitive especially with smells (super strong perfumey floral for a rose garden) and some bright lights but really cool if those won’t bother you. If dressing up & characters aren’t your thing, but you may want to see the atmosphere & take advantage of the short lines, the party could still be used as time to hit all the rides in DCA with great low waits, if not walk-on for all but the headliners. Plus you’d miss out on how busy Disneyland can get on a DCA party night. Especially if it’s a weekend or weekend adjacent day (like Sun or Thursday parties). That all said, it’s not the worst to skip the party, especially if you’ll have G+ for the night & still have a good plan to accomplish DCA still working around the party.

  3. If you enjoy hopping at WDW, you’re in for a real treat at DL. We never hop at WDW because it seems exhausting. We hop non-stop at DL and are so happy the hopping time is now 11am instead of the 1pm that it was. We would be happy with even earlier too because DCA’s breakfast offerings are lacking so starting there for headliners always feels like we’re choosing to sacrifice a real breakfast. So my take: Hopping is a sure bet.

Hope you have all the fun!