DL from SD Thanksgiving week?

Looks like we will be in San Diego for Thanksgiving to visit family. We’ve been there several times and have done almost everything there so we are looking for something different and thinking of DL. I know its a long way off but I’m trying to see if this is feasible and if so I need time to prepare the extended family.

I’m looking at driving from San Diego on Tuesday of Thanksgiving week spend Tuesday night at a resort hotel and spend all day Tuesday and until 2 or 3 pm on Wednesday at the parks. We would be willing to leave early at 5 am on Tuesday. I can’t find any official times but TP has times listed as DL early open at 7 am on Tuesday. Would we be able to make it to DL around then? If I stayed at GC, could we valet park, leave our bags and head to park? Do we need to check in before being allowed early access? If we can’t be there right at 7, do we still start on DL or try CA at 8 am? I was thinking starting at CA on Wed with the early morning hour. Looks like more rides at DL so I would think more time there. I know we won’t be able to get to everything…just trying for our favorites and the unique to DL rides.

Also, with Tuesday being our only night there, is WOC the best night time event to see?

We’ve been to WDW during crowded weeks (Thanksgiving x2, New Years) so know what to expect but its been over 20 years for us to be at DL and our kids 1st time. Almost done reading UG…still debating on which resort hotel.

Any suggestions, tips and feasibility for this week is appreciated!

We have gone the past few Thanksgiving weeks and each year it is more crowded. The closer to Thanksgiving, the more crowded it is. Many schools in the area take the whole week off, so there are more people coming locally.

You will have to check in to get early morning, as they ask to see your key.

Honestly with the crowds I have been seeing historically, it will probably be crushed that week.

Also, holiday traffic will have started, as well as the general rush hour in the morning, so you would need to factor that into your plans. I would probably drive down really late Monday night, instead of Tuesday morning. Get some sleep and be ready for the park in the AM.

Thanks. I had thought about leaving Monday night but that means 2 hotels rooms x 2 nights while still paying for a rental house in SD. However, I have a feeling that we’d stress out a bit less about getting there. WDW has been getting more crowded every year too that we decided we probably won’t do another Thanksgiving week there. I just feel that since we’ll be in the SoCal area, we should try for it once. We’ve done SD things so many times.

The great thing about DL (and WDW) is that when it gets more crowded, they really roll out the shows, parades, and other live entertainment.

The bad thing about DL (and WDW) is that those may be the main things you get to do :slight_smile:

We’ve been around Xmas/NYE and it is very, very crowded. Think wall-to-wall people, especially in choke points like between RoA and Pirates, and Matterhorn and Nemo. You have to use RD and Fast passes (paper, not magic bands) effectively.

I would do it, but I’d also spring for the second hotel night to get to RD (and EE/MM, if available). Go-go-go first thing each morning, then do shows etc. as the crowds pick up later in the day.

It’s fun, but you have to go in with a plan, and then plan to adapt as the situation changes (e.g. ride inops).

Agree with the 2 above posters that to make that EE on Tuesday, you’ll want to have a hotel in the area Monday. I might even go so far as to suggest that since you don’t need the EE for Monday, instead of doing both nights onsite have a cheaper option offsite but still nearby booked for Mon night. You’ll still want to be up early in order to go make your way over to the Grand for check-in, but you won’t have to do the whole commute from SD and still save some money.

Also on your nighttime entertainment question, especially at the time of year that you are planning most of the nighttime entertainment shows have 2 times scheduled and if Paint the Night does indeed come back like the rumors indicate, you’ll have that as an option as well. I would wait till there’s a schedule announced to decide on what night show you would plan. The soonest that anything would be out is 6 weeks before, and sometimes it can take within 30 days for Disneyland to really give any details so I would be patient with it and know that it’s very easy to change plans at Disneyland.

On the resort hotel, if within your budget, the convenience of the Grand cannot be beat. You’ll be able to maximize park time by spending less time getting back for a rest to the hotel and you’ll be completely within the Disney bubble for your 2 days. For how busy it is likely to be, this sounds like the winner to me. However, I do personally prefer the theming of the Disneyland Hotel over the Grand and you’ll still be in the Disney bubble if a bit farther than GH. It will boil down to, do you want the option to have a quick retreat for midday breaks at the Grand? Or will your family love more of the Disney touches at the Disneyland Hotel (hidden Mickey features all over the room, fireworks headboard, passing by Trader Sam’s & Monorail pool slides on your way to the parks- all things we LOVED in our stay there).

All in all though, if you are Disney fans, then I definitely think you should go for it! You’re well ahead of the ballgame having read the UG and the knowledge you have by that alone will make a world of difference for when things don’t go according to plan.

I live in SD and make the drive to Anaheim often - if you’re just talking about drive time, I’ll go against the grain and say that if you leave at 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning, your drive will be fine. Depending on where in San Diego you’re starting from, you should be there by 6:45 or 7 a.m. (not counting check in / parking / walking time, though). Personally, I’d rather do that then lose an entire afternoon / evening with family and pay for an extra hotel night. The drive back to San Diego on Wednesday afternoon could be bad, though. Unless you’re planning to leave by 1 p.m., I’d probably plan to have dinner and not hit the freeway until at least 7 p.m.