How many days for a first timer?

I am contemplating a DL trip (our first!) for early December 2022. If we fly in on Sunday, arriving early afternoon so we don’t have to get up at the crack dawn (travelling from Dallas), and go to the parks that evening, how many more days should I plan to stay? We’d probably fly out around 2 or 3 on our last day. I’m not sure if that’s enough time to hit the parks in the morning or not. Generally we are not rope droppers. We’re a group of 8 including ECVs and strollers. We don’t move fast! We would be staying at GCV and would have park hoppers. I’m happy to pay for Genie+ and/or whatever else saves us time (short of a VIP tour, I’m not shelling out for that, too many diverging ride interests).

Any input appreciated! Thanks!

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We have only been to DL once in 2017. We had 5 day park hoppers. We had plenty of time to do everything, repeating things as wanted. The 5th day for that trip, probably wasn’t necessary. We are going at the end of January 2022 with 5 day park hoppers.

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That seems to be what I’ve read on other threads, but then I’m wondering since our first day is a half day, would 3 more full days be enough? Or do I need a 4th full day?

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My first trip in 2018 I did 5 days scattered around a conference. I went on arrival day around 2pm and a full day the next. After a couple full conference days I did another half day after the final conference sessions and then another full day and partial day on departure day. I would say that was more than enough. I did everything I wanted and had plenty of time to repeat my favorites. The price difference isn’t much between 4 and 5 days and it’s nice to be able to be leisurely with the touring.

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5 days is beautiful and if you can swing it I vote 5 :blush: :heart: . It can be done in 3 with park hoppers but not as relaxing as 5.

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It depends on your touring style and how much you’re willing to spend on ILL’s and G+. We did 3.5 days (one park per day) in the summer before G+ and took a few hours each afternoon in the pool. I’d say that was a little bit tight and there were a few things here and there that we missed.

It could be done with 2 days Park Hopper and full ILL/G+, but 3 is probably good for a once-in-a-lifetime trip if you’re touring hard and/or using ILL/G+.

Of course, the cost of the 4th day of tickets is, like $30 per person after that and there’s definitely 4 days worth of stuff if you want any re-rides or to stroll through the parks and enjoy the atmosphere.

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I foresee us taking full advantage of ILLs and G+. I’m a sucker for paying for convenience! As far as touring style, I was actually just thinking that we may well be able to rope drop on the west coast! I assume that will allow us to get more in.

In normal times I would do 5 full days plus the 2 travel days, but, we are starting a business next year and it’s probably not a good idea to jet out of town for a full week. I guess I really just need someone to tell me we can have a successful trip in 3 full and 2 partial days! I’m guessing anything less than that won’t be enough.

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3 full and 2 partial with ILL’s and G+ will be plenty. Especially if you’re getting 4+ rope drops and doubly so if you’re not as worried about missing duplicate attractions from WDW.

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I will caution that the only attractions I think are duplicative are TSMM, Soarin’, and probably Galaxy’s Edge (have yet to see DL’s version). For me, all the other “duplicates” are very different between the parks and I tend to prefer DLR’s versions of them.

3 full days and two partials are probably fine. We did four full days and I wish we had one more day, …but I am a geek and wanted to do a bunch more stuff again!

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We needed 4 full days to be able to do and repeat attractions, and that was before Galaxy’s Edge and Avenger’s Campus.

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The more days the better, but DLR is much more manageable than WDW. It’s also easier to rope drop. The time zone helps (I’m also from Dallas) as does not needing to take one or more modes of transportation to get from the resort to the parks. Everything is right there.

Are you looking at the last two weeks of December or earlier in the month? During the busy times you may want to consider an extra day since everything will take longer. Otherwise 3 full days is a good number. That said, we did 5 last month and still missed a few things. Good to have an excuse to go back though…

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I’ve booked 12/4 - 12/8. I haven’t booked flights yet, but my plan is to arrive around lunch/early afternoon on the 4th, and leave in the afternoon on the 8th. That will mean 3 full days and 2 half days.

I had always thought DL would be a one and done for us, but the more I research, the less I think that will be true!

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It looks like you went with what I would recommend, which is 3 full days. The two travel days will be nice for orientation and hitting up favorites.

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It depends on if all the shows are back. We were just there and were able to do mostly everything we wanted in 3 full park days, with two Rope Drop days and one midnight departure (following a mid day break). We had park hoppers (essential IMO) and G+ and ILL. They were 8 of 10 park crowd days though. However, none of the big production shows were back yet, no fantasmic, no world of color, no frozen, no Mickey’s magical hat etc etc. if those had been back then 3 days would not have been enough. We went in 2017 and did 5 days. I thought last day would be throw away (only bought it b/c incremental cost of a 5 day hopper was nominal vs 4). Every one wanted to go to parks that day as there was still stuff on our list.

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Mine and DH’s first DL trip with our own kids was a combined family trip with extended family to both DL and San Diego. Our own 2 kids were both under 2 years old. The other two families had preschool and elementary aged kids & had been on a trip together 2 years before (when I was home 39 weeks pregnant with my oldest). Those two families elected for 3 days. We felt 4 days was essential with having such young kids and needing midday naps (we also stayed right across the street on Harbor so it was easy to go back and forth). It was most definitely essential and allowed us to really feel like we could take the time in the middle of the day to nap/rest with them.

Ever since then we’ve become DLR-obsessed junkies who 13 months after that first trip (on our 4th trip over those 13 months), realized that we would save a whole lot by getting APs & upgraded on the last day (and haven’t yet figured out how to quit).

Most of our trips are 3-4 day weekends when we can squeeze them but my favorite trips are the 5-6 days once we manage once a year or so.

I always recommend 4 days for a first trip if you want to not feel like you have to cram everything in and prefer to be more relaxed in your touring, and especially if you have small kids who will be cranky midday anyway unless you get them some sleep/downtime. I also add that 3 days is good if your whole group is mobile and would enjoy 3 full days without more than a leisurely lunch break. Then in true enabler fashion, I always follow that advice by saying (as has been mentioned above) the difference between 4 and 5 days is so small that if you have even partial time it’s so worth it to get and go for even just 2-3 hours on that 5th day. The math is less favorable for the jump from 3 to 4 but still really worth considering for partial days. I think that having park time on your arrival day and departure day with 3 full days in between is a great baseline for the makings of a fabulous first timer plan.

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