Late August Trip Planning

Hi DL forum!

My wife and I just got back from a WDW trip in February (Trip Report), and my mom wants to go to DL now as a family after hearing about our trip with my wife and her family. This DL trip would include myself, my wife, my mother (55), my brother (25), and my niece (5). My mother, brother and niece went last August, and they said it wasnt too crowded. But they’re also the kind of folks who sleep in, do a few rides, and go home early. My wife and I are the crazy open to close kind of people.

My wife and I are quite the vets of visiting Disney World, but it has been quite some time since I have visited Disneyland and DCA, and my wife was 5 last time she visited DL. My last DL trip was 2012 during Christmas, when the basketball team I coached had an evening off and we sprinted through DL in 4 hours trying to get the most done before closing.

We’re planning a trip for the Aug 17-22, since it fits in between my work schedule. I was just curious what I should expect for a crowd? I know that Cali schools and most of the Southwest are back in school, so locals might not be as bad. And also, my mom does not want to do Park Hopper tickets and I was curious what everyone’s thoughts were on only one park per day? Right now, we’re going to do 3 day passes, but could possibly do a fourth. I personally like the flexibility of the PH tickets, but I understand its $150 more for my mom, brother and niece for only two parks, compared to what you get at WDW for four parks.

With our one “day off” my wife and I are considering going to Knott’s Berry Farm, or Universal Studios Hollywood, or adding another day at DL/DCA. I think we’d both prefer USH over Knott’s, even though I have fond memories of Knott’s. My wife is just too much of a Harry Potter nerd to miss out on more Hogsmeade. Though after visiting USO/IOA, am I setting us up for disappointment? And is the drive/uber worth it from Anaheim to Hollywood? Or are there any other local attractions that you would recommend? My wife and I are avid baseball fans, so I could be interested in going to an Angels game.

Sorry for all of the questions! I know that DL/DCA are much more free flowing parks with no advanced FPP, which I think I prefer over the reservations at WDW, but I do like to have some sort of plan for my days, and I cannot lounge by a pool to save my life. What are some can’t miss things for a “first” timer like my wife?


You will have such a great time, we will starting our trip the day you are leaving… Expect it to be busy and hot but so much fun!!!

I am not a one park per day person, especially in Disneyland/ DCA. The parks are so close that you can just walk across the esplanade and go to the other park.

When we went in October we tried out Max Pass and I loved it, I am the planner and everyone just sort of follows along. We had 7 in our group and with Max Pass we were able to get in all the rides everyone wanted to do and more. Being able to book a fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers at DCA while being over in Disneyland was perfect, I would keep watch on the fast pass times and book one for when we would be switching parks. Often times I could get a fast pass on the app and pretty much walk right on the ride, while the line was 45 mins long on Big Thunder Mountain etc. I know it is an extra $10 per person but for us it was so worth it, it also gets your photo pass pictures, which is a nice bonus.

Have a great trip!!!

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I agree, that the PH makes sense with the two parks being literally right next to one another. It might be something I have to do convince my mother into. And we are definitely getting the Max Pass to be able to take advantage of any FPP that we can get. Like I said before, I enjoy that DL hasnt gone the way of WDW and every ride has a FP there and they’re all booked in advance. Though I am sure it helps with staffing, it makes the vacations seem much more rigid.

I totally agree with the planning, I love that you can decide at the time what you want to do next in Disneyland. I am helping plan a trip for my sister in law for July at DW and for myself in December. Disneyland is a breeze haha…

One thing that worked for me in DCA was to get on Soarin at rope drop then book my first fast pass while in line. We did this a few times and we were able to get on either Cars or Guardians right after we got off Soarin which was nice.

Hi & welcome to the laid-back west side of the forum!

We’ve gone in Auguest around that same time & it’s not too bad at all. Especially at rope drop. Because DL is such a locals park, most don’t/can’t make it early enough for RD. So those that do are rewarded with great, low waits. Around 10-11ish you’ll notice an uptick in crowds.

Personally, I think it’s crazy because they are so close together & DCA has some favorites (Soarin, RSR, Toy Story, GotG) that you’ll most likely want to do more than once, but hard to do in just 1 day but I wouldn’t recommend 2 full days in DCA unless you want to be enjoying a lot of shows/lesser attractions too. Also, even though DL only has 2 parks did you know there are more attractions in DL’s 2 parks than in the 4 WDW parks combined? True it’s crammed into a (much) smaller footprint but because of that the value of your PH is even greater because you don’t lose more than 10-15 min tops to hop (and usually it’s much less like 2-5 min). As opposed to WDW’s 1 hr in between parks. And lastly, where are you getting $150 more per person more for hoppers? It should only be $50 more per person (which can & does add up, but if your group is mobile and/or smaller SO worth it). That being said, if cost is an issue, you can totally break it up into 1 park per day.

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That was definitely a typo on my part. It was $150 more total. But agreed that the PH makes sense with how close the two parks are, it’s essentially one large park.

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PH and MP are two of the best investments you can make at DLR in my opinion. Post DCA, I don’t think I have ever just gone to one park per day and not sure I would know how to operate that way. As for your family’s touring style of sleeping late going back early, I would get them to concede one of them (preferably RD) or explain to them how you and your wife tour and let them know you will meet up with them when the arrive at the park or back at the hotel if they choose to leave earlier.

This will most likely be our plan of attack as my wife and I are certainly early risers and go getters as we are both teachers :sweat_smile: Also, with the 5 year old, I know she will not want to ride some of the bigger name attractions like BTTMR, Splash, Space, Indy, possibly - so, if I can get some of those attractions done earlier in the day that works better for the whole party.

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I work in a school setting (not a teacher though) and I take my hat off to you both! I see how hard teachers work each day. You deserve to have some fun! As for a non adventurous 5 year old… I know NOTHING about that. I have two boys that were dare devils at that age and rode everything their height limit would allow.

I am hoping she will be better, but I guess she was absolutely terrified on Splash Mountain :joy: If we can get her on BTTMR and Matterhorn, I will consider it a success for her. Indy might still be too high of a height requirement, but is my absolute favorite ride. Only FOP at AK even comes close.

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Funny part is, my oldest has a sensory disorder and refuses to get wet when in regular clothing. As a result, SM and GRR are the only two rides I cannot get him to go on (even now and he is 14).

Dang! SM is one of my absolute favorites, though I can agree with him, I do not like being wet in my clothes all day, or even for part of the day. Hopefully one day he gets to experience the joy of SM! GRR is good, but its one I could live without if it came down to being soaked all day.

We managed to get him on each ride once, but after each one was over, he said never again. GRR actually led to one of his epic melt downs and we had to go back to the hotel to calm him. We ALL said never again for him on that one!

Oh my goodness! My DS6 has a huge inner battle with himself every time we plan to ride Splash. At first we though the drop might scare him off, but oh no, he’s just fine with the drop, he just can’t stand to get wet. But he love love LOVES the song & the ride. So he has conditions about when he’ll ride it (i.e. it has to be a hot day, with enough sunlight left for him to dry off completely- and I’ve made the mistake of cutting it too close to sunset to riding it & hearing about it from him all night about how he was still slightly damp because there wasn’t sun to dry out).

He refuses to even think about GRR. The last ride that he has to get tall enough for is the DCA coaster (RIP California Screamin’!) and aside from that, GRR is the very last one he has yet to try. And he’s been tall enough for a year or two now. DD5 just barely got tall enough for GRR this last trip but it was down so we didn’t get to test the waters on how she felt about getting wet. But she did absolutely hate the drop on Splash so I’m not in a hurry to have her try anything with drops again. lol.

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One of my kids is the same way! (And also has sensory issues)

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