Hi there. We haven’t been to Disneyland or California Adventure in years. We normally do DisneyWorld but want to take our 5 year old here instead. We would be going in the beginning to mid December on a Wed - Fri. Do you think we need 2 or 3 days to see the parks? We want to take in some Christmas stuff too. We would also purchase Genie +. We are thinking about taking my little one to Universal as well but not for sure on that yet. Thanks y’all!
3 days, definitely!
3 days if you don’t want to feel rushed or pressured to go earlier/stay later than is ideal.
I usually recommend 3 days for Disneyland / DCA. Since you’ve been before, 2 days would be OK, but you’d feel rushed and wouldn’t see everything.
I like Universal just fine but it’s a little sad compared to UOR, IMO. It has its unique charms, like the backlot tour. Super Mario World and Jurassic World are the two must-dos if you go there. Everything else is pretty much the same as UOR but a little less classy.
You can do it in 2 days, especially if you prioritize doing thing that a different than WDW. Take the 3 days if you can to have some down time and flexibility.
We were just there for the first time this week, and I agree with this. We’re WDW veterans and tacked 2 DLR days onto a San Diego trip. We were satisfied with our 2 days, but would’ve enjoyed 3 at a more relaxed pace, too. Especially with a 5 year old—mine are 10 and 13, and this is our first Disney trip without a long afternoon break, and we were exhausted (in a good way) by the end! Have fun!
For a first trip I recommend 3 days minimum and suggest 4 days with small kids that will need naps or more flexibility in general. With a 5 yr old 3 days would be plenty.
I haven’t been to Universal Hollywood in many years, but most of that is because I have 4 kids (right now ages 3-12) and everytime I pull up the list of what the younger ones aren’t tall enough for I just can’t get myself to pay for one park day for them with what little is left to do. We have been to UOR though and there they have a lot more that a small kid can do & love that I feel is not quite there at Hollywood.
For a 5 year old I would certainly prefer another Disney day to a day at Universal. You’ll cut out time in traffic and feel much less rushed the entire trip in my opion.
3 days at Disney is a good visit. Depending on when and where you’re flying from, you may also be able to take advantage of arrival day. With the time difference, direct flights, and ability to walk from hotel/motel to parks we usually squeeze in a few hours of park time that first day. It also helps that you’ll be there during a low crowd time.
We did a day in each park (no park-hopping) with our son a couple years ago when he was 6 and will go this mid-Dec. with our 6 yo daughter. 2 days was perfect for us. We went early and stayed late and let him choose what he wanted to do. We got a Disneyland book to look at together on the flight so he could have a better understanding of what he was choosing. I imagine her trip will be very different - less rides and more princesses. We didn’t do every single thing but it was a great trip.
I will add, we’re from Texas so time zones made it easy to wake up way too early and eat at the IHOP to kill time before gates opened.